A new strain of virus named after Washington University

A new strain of virus has been identified by the medical school and named the “WU” virus after Washington University.

The virus, a type known as a polyomavirus, is closely related to two others, JC and BK, which attack the nervous system of HIV patients and cause kidney transplants to fail, respectively.

The virus has been reported in such geographically disparate countries as the United States, Australia, Germany and Korea, according to Gardner.

In fact, the first samples of the then-unknown WU virus came from the University of Queensland in Australia.

The samples were sent to the University because the school has ViroChip, a sophisticated pan-viral DNA microarray. This tool allows scientists to quickly screen viral samples and compare their structure to more than 22,000 known viruses. It was instrumental in distinguishing SARS from known viruses during the 2003 outbreak

David Wang, a University professor who leads the research team, states that the WU virus has unique properties unlike either of the others and he questions if it even is a human pathogen.

The scientific article is published at PLOS Identification of a Novel Polyomavirus from Patients with Acute Respiratory Tract Infections

Transposon insertion site profiling chip (TIP-chip)

Transposon insertion site profiling chip (TIP-chip) was invented by Researchers at the Johns Hopkins’ High Throughput Biology Center. Tip-chip can be used to help identify otherwise elusive disease-causing mutations in the 97 percent of the genome long believed to be “junk.”

TIP-chip (transposable element insertion point) can locate in the genome where so-called jumping genes have landed and disrupted normal gene function. This chip is described n the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. the article titled Eukaryotic Transposable Elements and Genome Evolution Special Feature: Transposon insertion site profiling chip (TIP-chip

The most commonly used gene chips are glass slides that have arrayed on them neat grids of tiny dots containing small sequences of only hand-selected non-junk DNA. TIP-chips contains all DNA sequences. Because each chip can hold thousands of these dots – even a whole genome’s worth of information – scientists in the future may be able to rapidly and efficiently identify, by comparing a DNA sample from a patient with the DNA on the chip, exactly where mutations lie.

Jef Boeke, Ph.D., Sc.D, professor of molecular biology and genetics and director of the HiT (High Throughput Biology Center), who spearheaded both studies at the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at Hopkins, and his team have focused particularly on transposable elements, segments of DNA that hop around from chromosome to chromosome.

These elements can, depending on where they land, wrongly turn on or off nearby genes, interrupt a gene by lodging in the middle of it, or cause chromosomes to break. Transposable elements long have been suspected of playing a role vital to disease-causing mutations in people. Boeke hopes that the TIP-chip eventually can be used to look for such mutations in people.

The new TIP-chip contains evenly sized fragments of the yeast genome arrayed in dots left to right in the same order as they appear on the chromosome. Boeke’s team used the one-celled yeast genome as starting material because, unlike the human genome, which contains hundreds of thousands of transposable elements of which perhaps a few hundred are actively moving around, the yeast genome contains only a few dozen copies.

Like a word-find puzzle, where words are hidden in a jumbled grid of letters, the TIP-chip highlights exactly where along the DNA sequence these elements have landed. By chopping up the DNA, amplifying the DNA next to the transposable elements and then applying these amplified copies to the TIP chip, the researchers were able to map more than 94 percent of the transposable elements to their exact chromosome locations.

double-tiled DNA chip 

Standard chips contain one layer of DNA dots that read from left to right, like the across section of a crossword puzzle. Boeke’s new double-capacity chips hold two layers of dots, a bottom layer that reads across and a top layer that reads down, again using the crossword analogy. So if their experiment lights up a horizontal row of dots, the researchers learn that the data maps to the region of the genome contained in the bottom layer; likewise, if the experiment highlights a vertical row, the data correspond to the top layer.

Says Boeke, “It’s so easy to differentiate the top and bottom layers. Next we’re going to try adding another layer reading diagonally” to triple the amount of genomic information packed onto the tiny chips.

Authors of the TIP-chip and double-tiled DNA chip papers are Sarah Wheelan, a new faculty member in the Department of Oncology, Lisa Scheifele, Francisco Martinez-Murillo, Rafael Irizarry and Boeke, all of Hopkins.

Microsoft acquires health-care software company

Microsoft has acquired the assets of Global Care Solutions Ltd., a health-care software company in Bangkok, Thailand

Global Care Solutions comprises a fully integrated hospital information system and Radiology RIS/PACS complete with image archiving, patient and bed management, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, pathology, financial accounting, materials management and HR systems

Affymetrix and Illumina in war path again as fresh patent litigation on microarray patents

Illumina and Affymetrix have been in a patent battle since 2004. In its second wave of patent infringement litigation cas against illumina filed in UK, Germany and US, Affymetrix has targeted technology offered by Solexa, the company acquired by Illumina in January 2007, as well as all of Illumina’s BeadArray(TM) products.

The new case is for patents 5,902,723, 6,403,320, 6,420,169, 6,576,42, 7,056,666, 0834575, 0853679, 0799897

Affymetrix previously sued Illumina for patent infringement in 2004 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. In March 2007, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Affymetrix.

Affymetrix has developed one of the industry’s strongest patent portfolios, featuring more than 400 patents granted in the U.S. and more than 40 patents granted in Europe.

More details on the case is available at Affymetrix Investor Website

Things have improved for Affymetrix this year, The company has aposted Q3 profits with the company’s revenues for the quarter increasing 12 per cent to $94.9m compared with $84.7m during the same period last year.

The results of these lawsuits could dramatically change the face of the DNA microarray market that has seen such growth due to the application of genetic information to drug discovery and ‘personalised medicine’.

 

free web-based LIMS (Laboratory Information Management) System and ELN for Science Research

Your Lab Data is a free web-based LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), aimed at a typical small molecular biology laboratory. It allows users to manage their chemicals, fridges, freezers, boxes, strains, plasmids or glycerol’s, oligos / primers and much more.

Register

Vote now for the Best Places to Work as a Postdoc

Your thoughts about your workplace will help us rank the best postdoc institutions around the world

Participate in the survey the the- scientist Magazine – Vote Now

Medicine OnDemand

Move over the TeleMedicine and the usual chutzpah, Yesd Web2.0 is a bubble thats going to burst, but in healthcare field strangled by Insurannce companies, web2.0 is giving a whiff of relief to some people atleast , How!

 WebMD ,MayoClinic ,eMedTV are few site that offers to help you through videos, blogs and other channels

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have linked the Health records to the WebMD site, With companies like google and Microsoft coming into the same field it might bring some changes in the way we see medicla treatment in the next 5-10 years, that after the inital euphoria subsides and companies starts to build comercially viable services.
                                                                                         

%d bloggers like this: