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Beaker is Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's science blog, updated frequently to highlight interesting research and news... especially relating to cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, rare childhood diseases, stem cells and drug discovery.

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Sanford- Burnham
62 posts

Susan Gammon
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  • October 18, 2013
  • 10:08 AM

Using a bigger “cell” to accelerate drug discovery and development

by Susan Gammon, Ph.D. in Beaker

Romain Stalder, Ph.D., and Gregory P. Roth, Ph.D., combined a microfluidic system with a high-capacity electrochemical cell to allow scientists to simulate the chemistry that occurs in the liver when drugs are metabolized. ... Read more »

  • September 26, 2013
  • 10:00 AM

Freedom from insulin dependence by regenerating pancreatic beta-cells

by Susan Gammon, Ph.D. in Beaker

Fred Levine, Ph.D., M.D., uses a newly discovered molecule to induce new, insulin-producing beta-cells in diabetes.... Read more »

  • August 2, 2013
  • 12:47 PM

Kicking invasion up a notch

by Guest Blogger in Beaker

Sanford-Burnham researchers identify a novel, signaling pathway that promotes the invasion of cancer cells, which has important implications in understanding how cells communicate with one another under normal and disease circumstances.... Read more »

  • July 23, 2013
  • 09:06 AM

Scientists discover a novel molecular pathway underlying neural stem-cell biology

by Bruce Lieberman in Beaker

Biologists have long wanted to understand how neural precursor cells self-renew and generate their progeny in a highly organized fashion, and now a team of researchers at Sanford-Burnham has discovered a pathway critical for these processes.... Read more »

Flavio Cimadamore, Alejandro Amador-Arjona, Connie Chen, Chun-Teng Huang, and Alexey V. Terskikh. (2013) SOX2–LIN28/let-7 pathway regulates proliferation and neurogenesis in neural precursors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1220176110  

  • July 9, 2013
  • 02:16 PM

Researchers develop novel nanoparticle to deliver powerful RNA interference drugs

by Bruce Lieberman in Beaker

Silencing genes that have malfunctioned is an important approach for treating diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One effective approach is to deliver drugs made from small molecules of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, which are used to inhibit gene expression.... Read more »

Huricha Baigude, Jie Su, Joshua McCarroll, and Tariq M. Rana. (2013) In Vivo Delivery of RNAi by Reducible Interfering Nanoparticles (iNOPs). ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. DOI: 10.1021/ml4001003  

  • June 17, 2013
  • 09:01 AM

Reversing the loss of brain connections in Alzheimer’s disease

by Bruce Lieberman in Beaker

The first experimental drug to boost brain synapses lost in Alzheimer’s disease has been developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham. The drug, called NitroMemantine, combines two FDA-approved medicines to stop the destructive cascade of changes in the brain that destroys the connections between neurons, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.... Read more »

Talantova, M., Sanz-Blasco, S., Zhang, X., Xia, P., Akhtar, M., Okamoto, S., Dziewczapolski, G., Nakamura, T., Cao, G., Pratt, A.... (2013) A  induces astrocytic glutamate release, extrasynaptic NMDA receptor activation, and synaptic loss. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1306832110  

  • June 10, 2013
  • 03:00 PM

Why the shape of nanoparticles matters

by admin in Beaker

A new study involving Sanford-Burnham's Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., contributing to work by Samir Mitragotri, Ph.D., at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that the shape of nanoparticles can enhance drug targeting. The study found that rod-shaped nanoparticles—or nanorods—as opposed to spherical nanoparticles, appear to adhere more effectively to the surface of endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels.... Read more »

Kolhar, P., Anselmo, A., Gupta, V., Pant, K., Prabhakarpandian, B., Ruoslahti, E., & Mitragotri, S. (2013) Using shape effects to target antibody-coated nanoparticles to lung and brain endothelium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308345110  

  • May 16, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

Hard at work against the hardening of arteries

by Patrick Bartosch in Beaker

Sanford-Burnham researchers identified a potential drug target to prevent the hardening of arteries in patients with atherosclerosis. The gene Dkk1 encodes a protein that plays a key role in increasing the population of connective-tissue cells during wound repair, but prolonged Dkk1 signaling in cells lining blood vessels can lead to fibrosis and a stiffening of artery walls.... Read more »

  • May 10, 2013
  • 09:01 AM

Children with rare disease CDG don’t have mutation in every cell type

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Sanford-Burnham researchers discover that several children born with rare diseases called Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG) don’t contain the mutation in every cell type—raising new questions about inheritance, genomic sequencing, and diagnostics.... Read more »

Ng, B., Buckingham, K., Raymond, K., Kircher, M., Turner, E., He, M., Smith, J., Eroshkin, A., Szybowska, M., Losfeld, M.... (2013) Mosaicism of the UDP-Galactose Transporter SLC35A2 Causes a Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 92(4), 632-636. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.03.012  

  • May 8, 2013
  • 05:41 PM

Differences between “marathon mice” and “couch potato mice” reveal key to muscle fitness

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Sanford-Burnham researchers identify microRNAs as the missing link between the two defining features of muscle fitness—fuel-burning and fiber-type switching—providing a potential new target for interventions that boost fitness in people with chronic illness or injury.... Read more »

Gan, Z., Rumsey, J., Hazen, B., Lai, L., Leone, T., Vega, R., Xie, H., Conley, K., Auwerx, J., Smith, S.... (2013) Nuclear receptor/microRNA circuitry links muscle fiber type to energy metabolism. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI67652  

  • April 2, 2013
  • 03:02 PM

White blood cell enzyme contributes to inflammation and obesity

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Imbalance between an enzyme called neutrophil elastase and its inhibitor causes inflammation, obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice and humans—providing a new therapeutic target for these health conditions... Read more »

  • March 24, 2013
  • 02:00 PM

Unraveling the molecular roots of Down syndrome

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Researchers discover that the extra chromosome inherited in Down syndrome impairs learning and memory because it leads to low levels of SNX27 protein in the brain.... Read more »

  • March 20, 2013
  • 11:48 AM

Building “mini muscles” from stem cells

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Researchers discover that the protein BAF60C is necessary for generating "mini muscles" from stem cells.... Read more »

  • March 18, 2013
  • 01:00 PM

How some prostate tumors resist treatment—and how it might be fixed

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Researchers discover that a protein called Siah2 helps prostate cancer cells resist hormone therapy—making it an attractive biomarker and therapeutic target.... Read more »

  • March 13, 2013
  • 02:55 PM

Molecule’s structure reveals new therapeutic opportunities for rare diabetes

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

3D structure of HNF-4α, a protein mutated in a rare, inherited form of diabetes, reveals new pockets that could be targeted with therapeutic drugs... Read more »

  • January 27, 2013
  • 01:01 PM

Patients’ own skin cells are transformed into heart cells to create “disease in a dish”

by Heather Buschman, Ph.D. in Beaker

Researchers use skin cells from patients with an inherited heart condition to recreate the adult-onset disease in a laboratory dish—producing the first maturation-based disease model for testing new therapies.... Read more »

Kim, C., Wong, J., Wen, J., Wang, S., Wang, C., Spiering, S., Kan, N., Forcales, S., Puri, P., Leone, T.... (2013) Studying arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia with patient-specific iPSCs. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11799  

  • January 18, 2013
  • 08:31 AM

Sanford-Burnham cancer drug targets hard-to-reach leukemia stem cells

by admin in Beaker

Researchers find that certain types of drug-resistant leukemia stem cells are vulnerable to sabutoclax, a novel cancer stem cell-targeting drug based on Sanford-Burnham research.... Read more »

  • January 17, 2013
  • 08:33 AM

Diabetic fruit flies support buzz about dietary sugar dangers

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

First fruit fly model of diet-induced type 2 diabetes shows how high-sugar diet affects the heart and reveals new therapeutic opportunities... Read more »

Na, J., Musselman, L., Pendse, J., Baranski, T., Bodmer, R., Ocorr, K., & Cagan, R. (2013) A Drosophila Model of High Sugar Diet-Induced Cardiomyopathy. PLoS Genetics, 9(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003175  

  • January 10, 2013
  • 03:27 PM

Type 2 diabetes: a cellular metabolism problem

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

A new computational model of sugar transport in the pancreas reveals a metabolic "tipping point” in type 2 diabetes—a discovery that may form the basis for new efforts to prevent and treat the disease.... Read more »

  • January 9, 2013
  • 09:20 AM

How belly fat differs from thigh fat—and why it matters

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

Researchers discover that the genes active in a person’s belly fat are significantly different than those in his or her thigh fat, a finding that could shift the way we approach unwanted belly fat—from banishing it to relocating it.... Read more »

Karastergiou K, Fried SK, Xie H, Lee MJ, Divoux A, Rosencrantz MA, Chang RJ, & Smith SR. (2013) Distinct developmental signatures of human abdominal and gluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue depots. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 98(1), 362-71. PMID: 23150689  

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