Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

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29 June – 5 July 2015

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The World is entering a Sixth Mass Extinction

A study published in Science Advances says that species loss rate is 100 times greater than the expected rate and this HAS to be alarming news. Numerous reports are saying that many of the world’s living organisms are facing extinction due to poaching and a myriad of other irresponsible human activity. For example, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is endangered, there is only one male northern white rhinoceros left in this world and recent report states that 3 out of 10 marine and land species could go extinct in Singapore. These are all alarming reports and something to be thought about. (Click here to read more)

DeNova Sciences – the One Stop solution for Dermatological testing

DeNova Sciences Pte Ltd, a spin-off company from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore was founded in December 2012. It was founded by Chong Han Chung, Kelvin (CTO, PhD- Specialized in molecular biology analysis), Tan Ming Jie (MJ) (COO, MSc-Specialized in invitro skin modeling) and Daniel Tan (CEO, BSc-Business Development). The company’s scientific advisor is Asst Prof Tan Nguan Soon, Andrew, Assistant Professor from School of Biological Sciences, NTU. DeNova Sciences is currently located at NTU Innovation Centre, Singapore. We, at biotechin.asia sat down with the founders and had a chat about their startup and the services they offer. (Click here to read more)

HIV Vaccine could be tested in humans sooner than expected

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institution (TSRI), Harvard, MIT and other institutions made ground-breaking discoveries that has led to a HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) vaccine that could be tested in humans in as little as 2 years. This vaccine, administered via several injections over weeks to months, works by providing man-made molecules that mimic specific parts of the virus structure to gradually train the immune system to make broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV. (Click here to read more)

A ray of hope for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an age-associated movement disorder with no available treatments to stop or slow down the disease progress. This disease is characterized by a progressive loss of brain cells that produce dopaminergic neurons. Part of the disease process develops as cells are destroyed in certain parts of the brain stem, particularly the crescent-shaped cell mass known as the substantia nigra – that help control movement and coordination. (Click here to read more)

Scientists discover protein that plays key role in Streptococcal infections

The bid to brand new ways of fighting infections has taken a step ahead now that scientists have identified a pivotal protein concerned in a host’s response to strep infections. This protein, called “NFAT,” appears to play a key role in the body’s inflammatory response to an infection, which when uncontrolled, can be as bad, if not worse, than the infection itself. Furthermore, this discovery was made using streptococcal bacteria, which are responsible for a wide range of human illnesses, ranging from sore throat and pink eye to meningitis and bacterial pneumonia. This discovery was published in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. (Click here to read more)

World’s first ever Climate liability suit: Dutch citizens sue their government and win!

There is a genuine reason to cheer! After two decades of international negotiations on climate change by activists and environment lobbyists, comes the landmark court ruling from Holland.  For the first time ever, a judicial body has ordered the government of a country to do something about climate change. 886 environment-conscious Dutch citizens, which included common folk like students, teachers, grandparents and entrepreneurs united to sue their government for its inability to act on climate change. The Urgenda Foundation, the group that brought the suit on behalf of the citizens, specifically sued the government for violating human rights by failing to take adequate action to prevent the harmful impacts of climate change. In a ruling issued yesterday in the Netherlands, The Hague District Court ordered the state to reduce emissions by 25% within the next five years, to protect its citizens from climate change. This judgement is likely to create a ripple effect and could inspire a global civil movement. (Click here to read more).