New CRISPR Tool Could Cure Herpes (Abstract Science: April 13-19)
Plus mouthwash falls short in easing a side effect of radiation, and Yale scientists restore some brain function in dead pig brains
(Ian Ingram, MedPage Today, 4/16/19)
Mayo clinic researchers have completed a multi-institution, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III clinical trial on doxepin mouthwash, or “Magic Mouthwash.” The compound was designed to alleviate the oral symptoms of radiation therapy for patients with head and neck cancers. Radiation therapy can cause mouth sores in patients, and the mouthwash was proven to reduce pain in patients when compared with a placebo, but not at a level deemed clinically important, the study found.
(Dan Robitzski, Futurism, 4/17/19)
Cornell University researchers have used a new CRISPR technique, called CRISPR-Cas3, on human cells for the first time. The gene editing technique can erase targeted sections of DNA in the human genome; a feat not yet accomplished by CRISPR-Cas9. Hypothetically, the technique could lead to treatments that target and delete viral DNA within human cells, which could mean a cure for viral diseases like herpes and hepatitis.
(Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR, 4/17/19)
Yale researchers successfully restored some cellular functions to pig brains that had been dead for four hours. Using a specially designed system called BrainEx, which supplied the brains with oxygen and nutrients via a pump, the researchers found that cells removed from the revived brains displayed electrochemical responses not seen in dead tissue. The research raises questions for neuroethicists, though the technology cannot be adapted for medical use.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker