Ahead of the Curve: Cytokine and Biomarker News

Zika Virus Research Integral to Combating Spread of Disease

Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) recently released an article exploring the connection between host immunity and Zika virus, an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947. Since 2007, Zika outbreaks have been reported in 64 countries and territories with the most recent spread to South and Central America beginning in 2015. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) as the recent uptick in Zika infection outbreaks, combined with the coincidental rise in neurological and auto-immune complications and fetal malformations, have caused great concern worldwide. Continue reading…

Flavivirus antagonism of type I interferon involves metabolic enzyme prolidase

mosquito biting

Single-stranded flaviviruses are primarily found in ticks and mosquitos, and occasionally infect humans, causing encephalitis and hemorrhagic diseases, leading to widespread morbidity and mortality. They include tick-born encephalitis virus (TBEV), West Nile Virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Langat virus (LGTV), dengue virus (DENV) and yellow fever virus (YFV). Type I interferons (IFN-I) have potent antiviral effects against flaviviruses when administered prior to infection, however, these pathogens evolved various strategies to block IFN signaling. Viral NS5 protein from LGTV, TBEV and WNV (strain NY99) inhibits IFN-I-dependent JAK-Sat signaling through unknown molecular mechanisms (see ref 1). In the July issue of Cell Host and Microbe, an international team of scientists led by Sonja Best at the NIAID report that NS5 from Continue reading…

Interferon lambda and interleukin 22 act synergistically to control rotavirus infection

Gastroenteritis or infectious diarrheaIn March, PBL’s blog highlighted the role of type III interferons (IFN-λ) in controlling the enteric murine norovirus (MNoV). This month it focuses on new research on the roles that IFN-λ and interleukin 22 (IL-22) play in controlling enteric rotavirus in mouse in vivo infection models, as well as mouse, rat and human cell-based assays. Continue reading…

Simoa technology offers ultrasensitive, automated multiplex immunoassay biomarker measurements

Quanterix ImageEarlier this month, PBL Assay Science announced a new partnership with Quanterix Corporation. We are now offering Ultra-Sensitive Biomarker Services using the Quanterix Simoa (Single Molecule Array) Technology. Some of the attractive features of this digital, bead-based immunoassay technology are its sensitivity, automation and ability to measure multiple cytokines in a single biological sample.  Continue reading…

Interferon alpha/beta enhances Cytotoxic Response of MEK Inhibition in Melanoma

Melanoma or skin cancerThe World Health Organization estimates that approximately 2-3,000,000 non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. In the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates approx. 73,870 new melanomas diagnoses in 2015 and that ~ 9,940 people will die of melanoma. Rates of melanoma in the U.S. have also been rising for at least 30 years. Interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) treatment is sometimes used to treat melanoma patients and can shrink advanced (stage III and IV) melanomas in a small fraction of patients (10% to 20%). IFN-alpha is also used as an added therapy after surgery to try to prevent cancer cells from spreading and growing. This might delay melanoma recurrence, but it is not yet clear if it improves survival, and side effects from interferon-a treatment are also significant. Continue reading…

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