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News Article | August 26, 2008
Site: www.xconomy.com

QLT, (NASDAQ: QLTI) a Vancouver, BC-based biotechnology company, said today its U.S. subsidiary provided an exclusive license to Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals to develop Atrigel sustained-release drug delivery technology. Reckitt agreed to pay $25 million upfront, and milestone payments of another $5 million if it can successfully develop two Atrigel products. Rickett acquired 18 employees from QLT, and will take over its facility in Fort Collins, CO. QLT and its previous licensees will retain certain rights, the company said.


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Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

During the 43-year period examined in a study, some 1.2 billion tonnes of grain were lost to heatwaves, and 1.8 billion tonnes to drought -- the equivalent of global wheat and maize output for 2013 (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski) More Paris (AFP) - Drought and heatwaves depleted grain harvests by 10 percent from 1964 to 2007, with sharper losses in the latter two decades and rich nations, reports a study released Wednesday. The first global overview of how extreme weather disasters affect grain output comes as climate scientists project even more severe and frequent warming over the next half-century. At the same time, other research has shown, food production will probably need to double by 2050 to feed a population of more than nine billion people. The study "highlights the important historical effects of extreme weather disasters on agriculture," the authors note in a study published in the journal Nature. It also "emphasises the urgency with which the global cereal production system must adapt to extremes in a changing climate." A trio of researchers led by Corey Lesk of McGill University in Montreal crunched data from 177 countries covering nearly 3,000 heatwaves, drought and floods. Using average yields as a benchmark, they looked at how extreme weather events affected output of 16 cereals, including wheat, maize and rice. "Until now we did not know exactly how much global production was lost," said co-author Navin Ramankutty, also of McGill. During the 43-year period examined, some 1.2 billion tonnes of grain were lost to heatwaves, and 1.8 billion tonnes to drought -- the equivalent of global wheat and maize output for 2013. As expected, the impact of heatwaves was more short-lived than droughts, which sometimes extended over more than one growing season. The losses over the period 1985 to 2007 were higher, averaging nearly 14 percent, raising the question of whether climate change is playing an greater role. The authors pointed to other research suggesting that a jump of one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in seasonal mean temperature can shave six or seven percent off of yields in some regions. But the additional crop losses at the end of the 20th century could be due to other causes as well, they said. Global warming has heated Earth by 1C since the start of the Industrial Revolution, mostly over the last 50 years. Under the umbrella of the United Nations, the world's nations have vowed to hold the increase to "well under 2C". Somewhat surprisingly, heatwaves and drought claimed twice as much cereal production -- 20 percent -- in the United States, Canada and Europe than in the developing world. This was probably due to the prevalence of industrial-scale mono-culture -- growing a single crop over vast tracts of land. "If a drought hits in a way that is damaging to those crops, they will all suffer," Lesk said in a statement. "By contrast, in much of the developing world, the cropping systems are a patchwork of small fields with diverse crops. If a drought hits, some of thos crops may be damaged, but others may survive."


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Site: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

In real estate, location is key. It now seems the same concept holds true when it comes to stopping pain. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and McGill University in Montreal indicates that the location of receptors that transmit pain signals IS important in how big or small a pain signal will be and how effectively drugs can block those signals. Blocking pain receptors in the nucleus of spinal nerve cells could control pain more effectively than interfering with the same type of receptors located on cell surfaces, the research shows. The scientists also found that when those same nerve cells encounter a painful stimulus, some of the receptors migrate from the cell surface into the nucleus. “Chronic pain affects almost 30 percent of Americans, and we’ve found, in rats, that by blocking specific receptors inside the cell, we can block pain,” said co-senior author Karen O’Malley, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience at Washington University. “If we can find ways to specifically block pain receptors inside of cells rather than on the cell surface, we may make a big dent in chronic pain with fewer drug-induced side effects.” The study is published online Feb. 3 in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers focused on a specific type of glutamate receptor that is part of the family of receptors called G-protein-coupled receptors, which are important in signaling between neurons. In a rat model that mimics a type of chronic, neuropathic pain, animals treated with investigational drugs to block the activity of the receptors in the nucleus responded in ways suggesting they had gotten relief from their pain. “Drugs that penetrate the spinal nerve cells to block receptors at the nucleus were effective at relieving neuropathic pain, but those that didn’t penetrate the cells were not,” said McGill’s Terence J. Coderre, Ph.D., who developed the rat model. Coderre also explained that rats with nerve injuries displayed less spontaneous pain and less hypersensitivity to a painful stimulus when those nuclear receptors were blocked. But normal rats without nerve injuries had no changes in pain sensitivity when those receptors were blocked and the animals were exposed to a painful stimulus. “This is the first time we’ve been able to demonstrate that receptors inside the cell, on the nucleus, affect behavior in living animals,” O’Malley said. Coderre quipped: “By engineering drugs to target glutamate receptors at the nucleus, I guess you could say that pain treatment has gone nuclear.” Scientists have been studying glutamate receptors in the pain pathway for decades. What’s new, O’Malley explained, is that these most recent experiments — in cell cultures and rats — demonstrate that the location of the receptor in the cell has a major effect on the cell’s ability to transmit pain signals. For example, the researchers found that when these particular glutamate receptors on the nucleus of a nerve cell were activated, the response — measured by the amount of calcium released— was nine times larger than when the same type of receptor was activated on the cell’s surface. Changes in calcium levels play a key role in signaling in neurons. Increased calcium can release important neurotransmitters, regulate specific genes and contribute to synaptic changes that are critical to pain signals. “The nuclear calcium response goes up and stays up for a significant period of time — about four minutes,” O’Malley said. “The increased levels of nuclear calcium activate pathways that carry pain signals from the nerves to the brain.” They also found that the glutamate receptors on the nucleus responded to painful stimuli more robustly than the same types of receptors located on the cell’s surface, and that when the cells encountered such a stimulus, some receptors migrated from the surface to the nucleus. The researchers also discovered that receptors located in the nucleus stopped activating pain signals when targeted with drugs. The researchers focused mainly on nerve cells in the spinal cord, an important area for transmitting pain signals coming from all parts of the body. Future research will be aimed at determining what events cause the glutamate receptors to migrate to the nucleus and how to make drugs that more specifically block only glutamate receptors in the nucleus of the nerve cells.


Home > Press > A 'printing press' for nanoparticles: New technique could facilitate use of gold nanoparticles in electronic, medical applications Abstract: Gold nanoparticles have unusual optical, electronic and chemical properties, which scientists are seeking to put to use in a range of new technologies, from nanoelectronics to cancer treatments. Some of the most interesting properties of nanoparticles emerge when they are brought close together - either in clusters of just a few particles or in crystals made up of millions of them. Yet particles that are just millionths of an inch in size are too small to be manipulated by conventional lab tools, so a major challenge has been finding ways to assemble these bits of gold while controlling the three-dimensional shape of their arrangement. One approach that researchers have developed has been to use tiny structures made from synthetic strands of DNA to help organize nanoparticles. Since DNA strands are programmed to pair with other strands in certain patterns, scientists have attached individual strands of DNA to gold particle surfaces to create a variety of assemblies. But these hybrid gold-DNA nanostructures are intricate and expensive to generate, limiting their potential for use in practical materials. The process is similar, in a sense, to producing books by hand. Enter the nanoparticle equivalent of the printing press. It's efficient, re-usable and carries more information than previously possible. In results reported online in Nature Chemistry, researchers from McGill's Department of Chemistry outline a procedure for making a DNA structure with a specific pattern of strands coming out of it; at the end of each strand is a chemical "sticky patch." When a gold nanoparticle is brought into contact to the DNA nanostructure, it sticks to the patches. The scientists then dissolve the assembly in distilled water, separating the DNA nanostructure into its component strands and leaving behind the DNA imprint on the gold nanoparticle. (See illustration.) "These encoded gold nanoparticles are unprecedented in their information content," says senior author Hanadi Sleiman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience. "The DNA nanostructures, for their part, can be re-used, much like stamps in an old printing press." From stained glass to optoelectronics Some of the properties of gold nanoparticles have been recognized for centuries. Medieval artisans added gold chloride to molten glass to create the ruby-red colour in stained-glass windows - the result, as chemists figured out much later, of the light-scattering properties of tiny gold particles. Now, the McGill researchers hope their new production technique will help pave the way for use of DNA-encoded nanoparticles in a range of cutting-edge technologies. First author Thomas Edwardson says the next step for the lab will be to investigate the properties of structures made from these new building blocks. "In much the same way that atoms combine to form complex molecules, patterned DNA gold particles can connect to neighbouring particles to form well-defined nanoparticle assemblies." These could be put to use in areas including optoelectronic nanodevices and biomedical sciences, the researchers say. The patterns of DNA strands could, for example, be engineered to target specific proteins on cancer cells, and thus serve to detect cancer or to selectively destroy cancer cells. ### Financial support for the research was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Centre for Self-Assembled Chemical Structures, the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.


Some of the most interesting properties of nanoparticles emerge when they are brought close together - either in clusters of just a few particles or in crystals made up of millions of them. Yet particles that are just millionths of an inch in size are too small to be manipulated by conventional lab tools, so a major challenge has been finding ways to assemble these bits of gold while controlling the three-dimensional shape of their arrangement. One approach that researchers have developed has been to use tiny structures made from synthetic strands of DNA to help organize nanoparticles. Since DNA strands are programmed to pair with other strands in certain patterns, scientists have attached individual strands of DNA to gold particle surfaces to create a variety of assemblies. But these hybrid gold-DNA nanostructures are intricate and expensive to generate, limiting their potential for use in practical materials. The process is similar, in a sense, to producing books by hand. Enter the nanoparticle equivalent of the printing press. It's efficient, re-usable and carries more information than previously possible. In results reported online in Nature Chemistry, researchers from McGill's Department of Chemistry outline a procedure for making a DNA structure with a specific pattern of strands coming out of it; at the end of each strand is a chemical "sticky patch." When a gold nanoparticle is brought into contact to the DNA nanostructure, it sticks to the patches. The scientists then dissolve the assembly in distilled water, separating the DNA nanostructure into its component strands and leaving behind the DNA imprint on the gold nanoparticle. (See illustration.) "These encoded gold nanoparticles are unprecedented in their information content," says senior author Hanadi Sleiman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience. "The DNA nanostructures, for their part, can be re-used, much like stamps in an old printing press." Some of the properties of gold nanoparticles have been recognized for centuries. Medieval artisans added gold chloride to molten glass to create the ruby-red colour in stained-glass windows - the result, as chemists figured out much later, of the light-scattering properties of tiny gold particles. Now, the McGill researchers hope their new production technique will help pave the way for use of DNA-encoded nanoparticles in a range of cutting-edge technologies. First author Thomas Edwardson says the next step for the lab will be to investigate the properties of structures made from these new building blocks. "In much the same way that atoms combine to form complex molecules, patterned DNA gold particles can connect to neighbouring particles to form well-defined nanoparticle assemblies." These could be put to use in areas including optoelectronic nanodevices and biomedical sciences, the researchers say. The patterns of DNA strands could, for example, be engineered to target specific proteins on cancer cells, and thus serve to detect cancer or to selectively destroy cancer cells. Explore further: Oh, my stars and hexagons! DNA code shapes gold nanoparticles More information: Thomas G. W. Edwardson et al. Transfer of molecular recognition information from DNA nanostructures to gold nanoparticles, Nature Chemistry (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2420

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