Using artificial intelligence to identify Alzheimer’s disease, how researchers are safely treating advanced stage liver tumors and a creative way of using CRISPR.

AI can spot signs of Alzheimer’s before your family does

(MIT Technology Review, 3/19/2018, Emily Mullin)

It’s not always obvious when patients are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Alterations in the brain can cause subtle changes in behavior and sleep patterns years before people start experiencing confusion and memory loss. Researchers think artificial intelligence could recognize these changes early and identify patients at risk of developing the most severe forms of the disease. Devices equipped with such algorithms could be installed in people’s homes or in long-term care facilities to monitor those at risk. For patients who already have a diagnosis, such technology could help doctors make adjustments in their care.

Targeted Immunotherapy Treatment Shows Promise for Treating Advanced Stage Liver Tumors

(Drug, Discovery & Development, 3/21/2018, Society of Interventional Radiology)

Advanced stage liver tumors may be safely treated through image-guided injections of an immunotherapy approved for melanoma, according to a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Using image-guided needle injections, researchers at centers in the United States, Switzerland and Spain, treated 14 advanced-stage cancer patients with liver metastases, including those with cirrhosis. Patients were given escalating doses of T-VEC, up to the maximum FDA-approved dose for melanoma. Injection volume was based on lesion size. Researchers found the patients tolerated the treatment well with expected side effects, including temporary flu-like symptoms. New trials to investigate if the drugs works against advanced cancer in the liver are also in the works.

Cheers! Brewers Use CRISPR to Make Hopless Beer

(R&D Magazine, 3/21/2018, Kenny Walter)

Our Eureka Blog coverage of CRISPR has been extensive. But this is a first for us. Biologists from the University of California Berkeley have developed a way to create the flavors and aromas of hoppy beers without hops, by producing strains of brewer’s yeast with the gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 that both ferments the beer and provides two of the prominent flavor notes provided by hops. To achieve this, the researchers inserted four new genes, as well as the promoters that regulate the genes, into industrial brewer’s yeast using the gene editing tools. Linalool synthase and geraniol synthase—two of the genes used that came from mint and basil—code for enzymes that produce flavor components common to several plants. Biologists also hope to create other strains that incorporate novel plant flavors not usually in beer from the canonical ingredients of water, barley, hops and yeast.

 

 

 —Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola