In our newsletter issue #18, we highlight several exciting research findings. Scientists at the Buck Institute have discovered a new molecule that could have therapeutic effects in age-related diseases. Researchers from the Francis Crick Institute have found that breast cancer cells rely on vitamin B5 to grow and survive. New research also shows that doing yoga can help people with epilepsy by reducing stigma and seizure frequency. Scientists at Duke University have used CRISPR technologies to improve the success of T-cell therapy for cancer. A recent study suggests that high-fiber diets, including broccoli sprouts, may help reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed an AI-based tool to track muscle mass in children with brain MRI scans. A new study from Columbia University has found that regularly getting less sleep can increase the risk of diabetes in women. Lastly, researchers at Columbia University have discovered that the diabetes drug metformin could help prevent the progression of prostate cancer, particularly in tumors with low levels of a protein called NKX3.1.
Scientists at the Buck Institute have discovered a new molecule, called MIC (Mitophagy-Inducing Compound), that keeps mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles in our cells, healthy. They found that MIC extended the lifespan of C. elegans worms, improved mitochondrial function in mouse muscle cells, and ameliorated pathology in models of neurodegenerative diseases. MIC works by enhancing the activity of a key protein involved in the recycling process of damaged proteins in cells. The researchers believe that MIC could have therapeutic effects in various age-related diseases and see it as a promising candidate for future drug development.
Vitamin B5 associated with Tumour Growth
Researchers from the Francis Crick Institute, working with the National Physical Laboratory and Imperial College London, have discovered that breast cancer cells rely on vitamin B5 to grow and survive. The study focused on the metabolic effects of a gene called Myc, which drives cell growth and makes tumour cells dependent on certain nutrients. By using a technique called mass spectrometry imaging, the researchers found that vitamin B5 was associated with tumour growth in mice and human transplanted breast cancer tissue. Further research is needed to explore how altering vitamin levels could impact treatment and characterise different types of tumours.
Enhancing Mind Health
New research has shown that doing yoga can help people with epilepsy in a couple of ways. Firstly, it can reduce the feelings of stigma associated with the disease, which can have a big impact on their quality of life. Secondly, it can help to reduce the frequency of seizures and levels of anxiety. The study involved people in India with epilepsy who were randomly assigned to receive either yoga therapy or sham yoga therapy. Those who practiced actual yoga had a greater reduction in perceived stigma and were more likely to see a reduction in seizure frequency. The study highlights the potential benefits of alternative therapies like yoga for people with epilepsy.
Dark Genome Master Regulator Enhances Cancer T-Cell Therapy
Scientists at Duke University have used CRISPR technologies to improve the success of T-cell therapy for cancer. They discovered that a master regulator gene called BATF3 can reprogram thousands of genes in T cells, making them more effective at killing cancer cells. This breakthrough could enhance current T-cell therapies and potentially lead to off-the-shelf versions of the treatment for various diseases. The researchers were able to identify and manipulate other regulators, increasing the potency of T-cell therapy. The study is an important step towards improving T-cell therapy for a wider range of cancer patients.
Broccoli Sprouts Shield Against Colitis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
A recent study conducted on mice suggests that high-fiber diets, such as those that include broccoli sprouts, may help to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the study, the researchers focused on the interactions between the immune systems of mice with Crohn's disease and the broccoli sprout diet, as well as the microbes in their gut that can convert compounds in the sprouts into anti-inflammatory substances. The results indicated that the mice who ate the broccoli sprout diet had higher levels of an anti-inflammatory compound in their blood, which protected them from severe disease symptoms. The younger mice, in particular, had milder symptoms and healthier gut microbial communities. Based on these findings, the researchers suggest that broccoli sprouts could be a helpful treatment for IBD patients.
AI Algorithm Offers Growth Chart, Measures Muscle Development in Children
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed an artificial intelligence-based tool to track muscle mass in children using brain MRI scans. The tool generates a growth chart that can quickly and accurately measure muscle thickness, allowing clinicians to monitor growth within an ideal range. Tracking muscle mass is important for assessing overall health and longevity, and the new tool provides a standardized and reliable method for doing so. The researchers hope that this tool will allow for early intervention in patients who show signs of muscle loss, preventing negative health effects.
Sleeping Less Raises Diabetes Risk in Women
A new study from Columbia University has discovered that regularly getting 90 minutes less sleep can increase insulin resistance in women, particularly postmenopausal women. This is the first study to show that even a mild lack of sleep over an extended period of time can increase the risk of developing diabetes in women. The research highlights the importance of getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for optimal health. The team at Columbia University will now investigate whether stabilising sleep patterns can improve blood sugar control and whether restoring sleep in those who regularly don't get enough can improve glucose metabolism.
Diabetes Drug Sheds Light on Prostate Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Columbia University have found that the diabetes drug metformin could help prevent the progression of prostate cancer, but only for tumors with low levels of a protein called NKX3.1. The drug restores mitochondrial activity that is lost when NKX3.1 levels are low, preventing the progression of prostate cancer in mice and improving survival rates in patients with low-NKX3.1 tumors. This discovery could lead to the use of metformin as a preventative treatment for prostate cancer in newly diagnosed patients. The researchers also suggest that metformin could be particularly beneficial for Black men, who are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer.
I hope you enjoyed reading issue #18 of smuklok. I am constantly trying to improve every issue. If you have any feedback, suggestions or criticism for me, please send them to my email at
Sampath Amitash Gadi