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News roundup: August/September 2019

News roundup: August/September 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Will these startups help biotech take root in Chicago?
Tom Gajewski is stepping into the spotlight with Pyxis Oncology, a cancer-therapy startup. He and co-founders John Flavin and David Steinberg raised $22 million to launch the spinout from his lab. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Can gut bacteria heal food allergies?
How manipulating the microbiome could reverse and prevent peanut allergies and more. Cathryn Nagler featured. (Elemental by Medium)

Study finds an unexpected link between farming and immune system evolution
A new study by University of Chicago Medicine genetic researcher Luis Barreiro found the immune systems of hunter-gatherers showed more signs of positive natural selection, in particular among genes involved in the response to viruses. (phys.org)

Wash U team finds the ‘signature’ of guts that don’t get c. diff
Researchers have found the molecular signature of a healthy gut microbiome—the kind of bacterial community that keeps Clostridium difficilein check even in the aftermath of antibiotic treatment. (Futurity)

With new grants, Gates Foundation takes an early step toward a universal flu vaccine
Scientific teams from inside and outside the world of influenza research have been awarded funding to try to unlock mysteries that could provide the foundation for a future universal flu vaccine. Patrick Wilson featured. (STAT)

Human breast milk may help babies tell time via circadian signals from mom
The composition of breast milk changes across the day. Researchers believe this “chrononutrition” may help program infants’ emerging circadian biology. (The Conversation)

Just four nights with less sleep can alter fat storage
Restricting sleep for just four days alters how the body metabolizes fats and changes how satisfying meals seem, according to a new study with 15 healthy men. (Futurity)

 

News roundup: June 2019

News roundup: June 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Technology commercialization expert to head Polsky Center
Jay Schrankler has been appointed associate vice president and head of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Schrankler transformed the University of Minnesota’s technology transfer office, generating more than $550 million in revenue over 10 years and helping launch startups that have raised $420 million to date. (UChicago News)

Rotavirus vaccine also apparently reduces risk of type 1 diabetes
Babies fully vaccinated against rotavirus in the first months of life have a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes than unvaccinated peers, according to a new study from the University of Michigan. The babies also had a 94 percent lower rate of hospitalization for rotavirus and a 31 percent lower rate of hospitalization for any reason. (NYTimes)

A vaccine against stress may be one step closer to reality
University of Colorado Boulder scientists identified a soil-based bacterium (Mycobacterium vaccae) that “vaccinated” immune cells against inflammation and thereby tuned down the flight-or-fight response in mice, both in the short run and longer term. (Psychology Today)

Findings link gut bacteria and fibromyalgia
Long a mystery disease that causes widespread chronic pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties in two to four percent of the population, fibromyalgia has no known cure. McGill University researchers found that people with fibromyalgia have a distinctive makeup of gut bacteria, and the more severe the symptoms, the more pronounced the microbial differences. (Psychology Today)

How do your food choices influence your microbiome?
Food label nutrition facts are important, but don’t tell you much about how they affect your gut microbes. Scientists at the University of Minnesota hope that greater specificity in food labeling may one day help us fine-tune our diets to our gut needs. (The Conversation)

 

News roundup: May 2019

News roundup: May 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Improving care for young hearts
Ivan Moskowitz is investigating the genetic causes of pediatric congenital heart disease (CHD) in an effort to improve diagnosis and treatment of children born with this condition. A recent gift from The Heart of a Child Foundation will help support his research. (Give to Medicine)

Antibiotic treatment alleviates Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in male mice
Researchers at the University of Chicago have demonstrated that the type of bacteria living in the gut can influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in mice. Sangram Sisodia featured. (UChicago Medicine)

Addressing social needs and structural inequities to reduce health disparities
Entering Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a cutting-edge issue is addressing social determinants of health, which are especially critical among diverse Asian American ethnic groups that vary in education, income, and acculturation,” writes UChicago Medicine’s Marshall Chin. (NIMHD Insights)

Phage therapy to prevent cholera infections—and possibly those caused by other deadly bacteria
Discovered a little more than 100 years ago, bacteriophages, or phages, are generating renewed interest as potential weapons to fight bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. (The Conversation)

Common food additive found to affect gut microbiota
Experts call for better regulation of a common additive in foods and medicine, as research reveals it can impact the gut microbiota and contribute to inflammation in the colon, which could trigger diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer. (ScienceDaily)

 

News roundup: April 2019

News roundup: April 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Providing a community of support for young women
The region’s first pediatric lupus clinic opens at Comer Children’s Hospital thanks to the generosity of the Handley family and Lakeshore Recycling Systems. The clinic aims to help adolescents manage the physical and psychosocial challenges of living with lupus. Melissa Tesher featured. (Give to Medicine)

Drug delivery technique makes cancer immunotherapy more effective
Researchers in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the UChicago have developed a new way to target immunotherapies and deliver them directly to tumors, helping to both reduce side effects and make the therapies more effective in treating cancer. Jeffery Hubbell and Melody Swartz featured. (UChicago Medicine)

Your sexual partners can change your microbiome, a new study in mice finds
People’s sexual partners could impact both their gut microbiome and their immune system, according to a new study from the University of Colorado, Denver. (STAT)

Gut microbiome directs immune system to fight cancer
Researchers identified a cocktail of 11 bacterial strains that activated the immune system and slowed the growth of melanoma in mice. Thomas Gajewski quoted. (Drug Target Review)

The Microbiome Center continues its focus on the broader world of microbes
Co-director Cathy Pfister, PhD, says the resources and research infrastructure being developed by the DFI are a tremendous boon for all researchers studying the microbiome at UChicago. The DFI’s emphasis on human health also allows the Microbiome Center to focus its efforts across many environments. (UChicago Medicine)

 

News roundup: March 2019

News roundup: March 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Polsky Center’s Life Science Launchpad partners with faculty to launch startups
The Launchpad bridges the gap between academic research and entrepreneurship by forming hands-on partnerships with life sciences researchers who seek to convert their research products into business ventures. Cathryn Nagler and Eugene Chang featured. (Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

How the microbiome could be the key to new cancer treatments
The effectiveness of drugs that help the immune system fight cancer cells appears to depend on bacteria in the gut. (Smithsonian magazine)

Training cells to attack
Groundbreaking CAR T-cell therapy engineers cells to target tumors. Michael Bishop featured. (Chicago Health)

How to reduce the chances of being hospitalized for Crohn’s disease
Take these steps to lessen the risk of complications from the inflammatory bowel disease. David Rubin featured. (U.S. News and World Report)

Real innovation is going to be centered on how we collect, standardize, and harmonize data
Bridging the gap between clinical care and research means creating two-way collaboration, and improving the way in which data is collected, organized, shared. Sam Volchenboum featured. (Outsourcing-Pharma.com)

 

News roundup: February 2019

News roundup: February 2019

A selection of health news from the University of Chicago and around the globe curated just for you.

Germs in your gut are talking to your brain. Scientists want to know what they’re saying.
The body’s microbial community may influence the brain and behavior, perhaps even playing a role in dementia, autism and other disorders. Sam Sisodia featured. (New York Times)

At the Forefront Live: Head and neck cancer
Medical oncologist Alexander T. Pearson and nurse navigator Patricia Heinlen discuss head and neck cancer, including the HPV vaccine and how new treatment approaches are tailored to each patient’s cancer type, making treatments more effective while reducing side effects. (UChicago Medicine)

Teaching our immune system how to fight cancer
UChicago researchers work to make the next leap in cancer immunotherapy, in which the immune system is stimulated to fight cancer. (UChicago News)

‘Cultured’: A look at how foods can help the microbes inside us thrive
A surge in microbiome research over the past two decades has revealed microbes do much more than simply digest food. They can mediate weight gain, fight off infection, and even alter our mood. (NPR)

Microbiome research will accelerate the biotechnology industry
Humans have relied on the ocean for millennia as a source of food and materials for tools. Now, we rely on the ocean as a source of genes that we can harness to increase food stocks and use as medicine for cancer and other diseases. (Forbes)