Sickle Cell Treatment Shows Promise (Abstract Science, Nov. 17 - 23)
Also: studying immune response to malaria; effect of the gut on stroke recovery
(Rob Stein, NPR, 11/19/19)
CRISPR modified cells administered to one patient with sickle cell disease have started producing the protein needed to counteract the disease. Although the treatment is only being testing on one patient at the moment, the results are promising. The patient, Victoria Gray, has reported fewer episodes of painful attacks, has not needed any blood transfusions, and has not had any sudden hospitalizations since the treatment has taken effect.
(Science Daily, 11/20/19)
Researchers in Australia have studied inflammatory signals caused by malaria infections in order to trace the immune system’s response to the disease. They believe their findings could be used to develop treatments for diseases that produce similar immune responses, like hepatitis C and HIV. Their research showed that the inflammation signals helped boost the effectiveness of immune B cells, which are also known to sometimes cause autoimmune diseases.
(Diana Kwon, Scientific American, 11/19/19)
Researchers are studying the link between healthy microbiomes and better stroke recovery. Some studies conducted in mice found better recovery in mice with artificially created “younger” gut microbiomes, compared with mice given “older” microbiomes. One factor may be the presence of short-chain fatty acids, which were tested separately in mice. No human trials have yet been attempted.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker