In this file:


·         Report: Scientists Find Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes

·         Scientists are genetically engineering immune systems to attack and destroy HIV



Report: Scientists Find Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes


CBS New York

January 2, 2018


(CBS Local) — Although their goal was to cure diabetes, scientists may have stumbled onto a new medication to help treat the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.


According to a press release from researchers at Lancaster University, a new drug being tested for diabetes patients was found to have “significantly reversed memory loss” in test subjects and is now being examined as possible treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.


The medication, known as a triple receptor drug — or “triple agonist” — reportedly works in multiple ways to protect the brain against degeneration and promote growth. Researchers say that a study of mice being given the drug found that the animals had an increased ability to learn and retain memories.


“These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes,” Professor Christian Holscher said in the release.


The scientists added that the mice showed a decrease in chronic inflammation and amyloid plaques in the brain, which have been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s in people...


more, including video report



Scientists are genetically engineering immune systems to attack and destroy HIV


by Chase Purdy, Quartz

Jan 2, 2018


The battle against HIV has been a long and difficult. As scientists have searched unsuccessfully for a cure, more than 35 million people worldwide have died of the illness since the 1980s.


Now emerging medical science—made possible by high-tech gene editing and grant money from the US National Institutes of Health—is yielding positive results in the petri dish and in monkeys, according to a new study published in the PLOS Pathogens. The study was small, but suggested scientists can genetically modify the immune system to better fight the virus.


The experiment involved genetically modifying stem cells to produce immune-system T cells and other blood cells with a specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that enables them to identify and attach to antigens on HIV-infected cells. Once attached, the CAR-T cell kills the infected cells. Even better, the genetic modifications also protect the CAR-T cells from becoming infected with HIV themselves. According to the study, with these modifications, the CAR-T cells can act as sentinels, offering a robust response to the virus in infected cells. It was the first time such a method yielded results in a relevant large-animal model.


Perhaps the most notable finding researchers documented was that the engineered cells killed HIV-infected cells in petri dishes and in two macaque monkeys for a full two years. “These results set the stage for future attempts to eradicate viral infection and provide more effective immune surveillance for HIV,” the study says.


The researchers did note that their technique did not eradicate infected cells in which the HIV virus was dormant. For that reason, they say, future studies should focus on a combination approach to treatment. That would mean engineering cells to attack HIV infections while also making the blood system resistant to infection.


According to STAT, human trials...