ACAD
36.045
-2.315
-6.035%
AEMD
0.196
-0.01
-4.6341%
APRI
1.62
+0.01
+0.62%
ARNA
4.22
-0.27
-6.01%
ATEC
1.41
0.00
0.00%
CNAT
6.35
-0.31
-4.65%
CRXM
0.415
+0.061
+17.397%
CYTX
0.915
-0.07
-7.107%
DXCM
67.56
-1.87
-2.69%
GNMK
10.35
-0.34
-3.18%
HALO
15.78
-1.08
-6.41%
ILMN
183.71
-5.88
-3.10%
INNV
0.145
0.00
0.00%
INO
10.055
-0.295
-2.850%
ISCO
0.074
-0.001
-0.6757%
ISIS
62.02
-4.35
-6.55%
LGND
87.3
-2.45
-2.73%
LPTN
2.23
0.00
0.00%
MBVX
3.17
-0.19
-5.65%
MEIP
2.07
-0.09
-4.17%
MNOV
3.76
-0.33
-8.07%
MRTX
26.98
-0.89
-3.19%
MSTX
0.476
-0.014
-2.857%
NBIX
39.5
-3.87
-8.92%
NUVA
43.36
-0.63
-1.43%
ONCS
0.291
+0.023
+8.582%
ONVO
4.87
-0.32
-6.17%
OREX
6.95
-0.41
-5.57%
OTIC
28.58
-3.22
-10.13%
QDEL
23.41
+0.03
+0.13%
RCPT
156.22
-13.66
-8.04%
RGLS
14.59
-2.9
-16.58%
RMD
64.55
-1.15
-1.75%
SCIE
0.019
-0.007
-27.95367%
SPHS
0.75
-0.05
-6.24%
SRNE
9.36
-1.16
-11.03%
TROV
8.27
-0.53
-6.02%
VICL
0.96
-0.05
-4.48%
VOLC
17.99
0.00
0.00%
ZGNX
1.41
-0.13
-8.44%
ACAD
36.045
-2.315
-6.035%
AEMD
0.196
-0.01
-4.6341%
APRI
1.62
+0.01
+0.62%
ARNA
4.22
-0.27
-6.01%
ATEC
1.41
0.00
0.00%
CNAT
6.35
-0.31
-4.65%
CRXM
0.415
+0.061
+17.397%
CYTX
0.915
-0.07
-7.107%
DXCM
67.56
-1.87
-2.69%
GNMK
10.35
-0.34
-3.18%
HALO
15.78
-1.08
-6.41%
ILMN
183.71
-5.88
-3.10%
INNV
0.145
0.00
0.00%
INO
10.055
-0.295
-2.850%
ISCO
0.074
-0.001
-0.6757%
ISIS
62.02
-4.35
-6.55%
LGND
87.3
-2.45
-2.73%
LPTN
2.23
0.00
0.00%
MBVX
3.17
-0.19
-5.65%
MEIP
2.07
-0.09
-4.17%
MNOV
3.76
-0.33
-8.07%
MRTX
26.98
-0.89
-3.19%
MSTX
0.476
-0.014
-2.857%
NBIX
39.5
-3.87
-8.92%
NUVA
43.36
-0.63
-1.43%
ONCS
0.291
+0.023
+8.582%
ONVO
4.87
-0.32
-6.17%
OREX
6.95
-0.41
-5.57%
OTIC
28.58
-3.22
-10.13%
QDEL
23.41
+0.03
+0.13%
RCPT
156.22
-13.66
-8.04%
RGLS
14.59
-2.9
-16.58%
RMD
64.55
-1.15
-1.75%
SCIE
0.019
-0.007
-27.95367%
SPHS
0.75
-0.05
-6.24%
SRNE
9.36
-1.16
-11.03%
TROV
8.27
-0.53
-6.02%
VICL
0.96
-0.05
-4.48%
VOLC
17.99
0.00
0.00%
ZGNX
1.41
-0.13
-8.44%
Home » Archive by Category

Syndication

John Maraganore: From “Prototypical Geek” To Canny Alnylam Chief

September 6, 2014 – 9:01 pm

John Maraganore opened up an envelope in 1994 that changed his life. Inside were the results of the pivotal study of an anticoagulant drug Maraganore had created in the lab. It was the star prospect…
[[Click headline to continue reading.]]

Dynamic duo takes out the cellular trash

September 6, 2014 – 5:00 pm

LA JOLLA—In most of the tissues of the body, specialized immune cells are entrusted with the task of engulfing the billions of dead cells that are generated every day. When these garbage disposals don’t do their job, dead cells and their waste products rapidly pile up, destroying healthy tissue and leading to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dynamic duo takes out the cellular trash

September 6, 2014 – 5:00 pm

UPDATE: Additional research from the Salk Institute published September 29 in eLife further details how the two receptors are critically different, having implications for treatments for autoimmune disease.

LA JOLLA—In most of the tissues of the body, specialized immune cells are entrusted with the task of engulfing the billions of dead cells that are generated every day. When these garbage disposals don’t do their job, dead cells and their waste products rapidly pile up, destroying healthy tissue and leading to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rare Disease Spotlight: Amyloidosis

September 6, 2014 – 4:55 pm

Rare Disease Spotlight: Amyloidosis:

The dark side of light chains, part 1

September 6, 2014 – 3:34 pm

We have a paper that’s just been published about light chain amyloidosis, a type of

Antibodies, otherwise known as immunoglobulins, are one of the main ways that the immune system fights disease. They are protein molecules that circulate in blood, and bind (mostly) to things that shouldn’t be there, like invading bacteria. These targets are called antigens. There are millions of different antibodies in the blood, with different protein sequences and different antigen specificities. The familiar Y shape of antibodies comes from the organization of their protein structure. Each molecule is made up of four protein chains: two identical heavy chains and two identical light chains, held together by disulfide bonds between the chains. Each chain is built up from two or more repeats of the immunoglobulin domain, a characteristic folded structure that’s used in many different proteins. Light chains have a constant domain, which is similar in all antibodies, and a variable domain, where the sequences determine the antigen binding specificity. Antibodies are produced and secreted into the blood by plasma cells, and each plasma cell makes only a single type of antibody.

Heavy chains carry out most of an antibody’s function, but it’s the light chains that cause the disease that I’m working on. Light chains, as the name suggests, are smaller than heavy chains, and their sequences are less diverse, so they sometimes have a smaller role in antigen recognition than heavy chains. They also lack the effector domains, which heavy chains use for recruiting cells to whatever the antibody is bound to. Light chains are an important regulator of antibody production: heavy chains cannot be folded and exported without the light chains. This prevents them being released prematurely from cells, so that only mature, fully-built antibodies make it into the blood. The extra specificity provided by the light chains prevents heavy chains binding to the wrong things, which could cause the immune system to attack itself.
Plasma cells make slightly more light chains than heavy chains, and the excess light chains are released into the blood, either as monomers or dimers. They are then quickly removed from the blood by the kidneys, which work like a sieve to remove small proteins. Mature antibodies are too large to be filtered out, so they remain in the blood for much longer. A light chain molecule might circulate for a couple of hours before being filtered into the kidney and degraded by enzymes there. We don’t know of any ‘normal’ function for these free light chains, but because they’re abundant they serve as a useful marker for kidney function – too much light chain (known as Bence-Jones protein) in your urine (proteinuria) suggests that there’s a problem.
If you’re unlucky enough to develop a plasma cell cancer such as multiple myeloma, then a single plasma cell will expand and multiply until it’s the dominant cell type in your bone marrow. This is bad news, but it can be treated if it’s caught early. These cancerous cells have the same genotype, and secrete a single antibody, or sometimes just a single light chain. The presence of this single (“monoclonal”) protein in blood is diagnostic of a plasma cell cancer. Mostly, this protein is excreted via the kidneys in the same way as other light chains. But sometimes, the light chain molecules stick together and form deposits called amyloid fibrils, pictured below. These fibrils cause organ damage where they accumulate, especially in the heart and kidneys. This is called light chain amyloidosis (unintuitively abbreviated to AL) and affects one person in 100,000 each year. Typically, most patients get symptoms of amyloidosis when the cancer is at a relatively early stage. Treating the underlying cancer will cure the amyloid, but some patients – around 1000 per year in the USA – are too sick from the amyloid to tolerate chemotherapy. So an important goal is figuring out how to reduce the amyloid in patients’ blood and tissues without the toxic side effects of the cancer treatment.

AL is a rare disease, but it’s one of the more common ones. We call a number of conditions “rare diseases” because they’re unlikely to affect you or anyone you know, but there are an awful lot of them, and their combined burden is high. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for drug companies to make much money from treating these diseases, so they are not generally the focus of much attention, unless someone can make the case that a cure for AL, for example, might be useful in treating other diseases. For pharmaceutical companies, a drug for diabetes which will provide a small benefit over decades to 10 million rich Westerners is a much better business opportunity than a drug which will cure 200 people a year of a deadly rare disease. But I digress.
Only some patients with plasma cell cancers develop amyloidosis. We don’t know why, but if we could work out the difference between patients with AL and those whose multiple myeloma presents without amyloid, we might find a way to treat the amyloidosis, and hence the cancer. One thing that seems to be important is the stability of the light chain protein. Light chain genes have unique DNA sequences in each plasma cell, the result of some complicated genetic rearrangements as the cells mature. These sequences result in different antigen specificities, thanks to the different protein sequences in the variable domain, but they also produce light chains with different stabilities. It seems that light chains which form amyloid are less stable than those that don’t, but we don’t know exactly how these differences in stability influence whether a particular protein will form amyloid.
So to sum up, light chains are an important part of antibodies, but in some circumstances they can cause problems. We want to understand how and why some, but not all, light chains form amyloid fibrils, and to figure out ways to prevent this from happening.

Sr. Mechanical Engineer (contract) – International Programming & Systems Inc. – San Diego, CA

September 5, 2014 – 9:55 pm

control, sensors, metrology systems, PLCs) preferred. • Work experience in biotech or medical device field desired. • Experience with high volume manufacturing…
From International Programming & Systems Inc. – 06 Sep 2014 04:55:16 GMT
– View all San Diego jobs

Research Scientist at Eclaro (San Diego, CA)

September 5, 2014 – 9:17 pm

autonomous manner Previous experience in pharma and/or biotech environment is preferred. Industry experience and understanding oncology drug discovery is required. Previous experience in epigenetics is highly preferred, although candidates…

Targeted Medicine Changes Clinical Trials

September 5, 2014 – 3:12 pm

Recent trends in biotech research point to faster, more efficient and less costly drug development for pharmaceutical companies.

Graphic Designer / Art Director – Diseño Communications – San Diego, CA

September 5, 2014 – 2:07 pm

corporate branding and wants to work on projects for our global clients in the biotech, hi-tech and financial services industries. You’ll collaborate with the…
From Indeed – 05 Sep 2014 21:07:36 GMT
– View all San Diego jobs

Local Bars and Restaurants Urge Pregnant Women Not to Drink

September 5, 2014 – 11:16 am

To help get the word out that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix, volunteers with the Southern California affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (SoCal NOFAS) are handing out “Pregnant? Don’t Drink” coasters to San Diego area bars and restaurants on Tuesday, September 9th as part of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.