BioLegend Web Updates
Video - Kinetic study of B cell depletion with a novel mAb anti-mouse CD20, clone SA271G2
Description: This video outlines BioLegend's scientific poster describing B cell depletion in mice using BioLegend's anti-CD20 antibody, clone SA271G2.



Watch more videos...

Video - BioLegend - How We Work


Watch more videos...

Blog - The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub: Seeking to Cure All Diseases

Chan (left) and Mark (right) Zuckerberg. Image from Reuters/Stephen Lam.
©Thomson Reuters 2016.
 
A few months ago, we discussed Sean Parker and his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. BioLegend is a key reagent contributor for this $250 million grant aimed at defeating cancer. Now in the new year, another key Facebook contributor is making headlines in research. If you’re not familiar with Mark Zuckerberg, his claim to fame comes from the creation of Facebook, a near ubiquitous app valued at an estimated $350 billion with 1.86 billion subscribers1. He and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have engaged in numerous philanthropic pursuits and made sizeable donations to this point, including2:
  • $1.6 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • $120 million to San Francisco Bay Area schools
  • $100 million to the Newark New Jersey school system
  • $75 million to the San Francisco General Hospital (where Priscilla worked)
  • $25 million to the Center for Disease Control
  • $20 million to the Education Super Highway
Now, Chan and Zuckerberg are seeking an incredibly lofty goal: to “cure, manage, or prevent all diseases” by the year 2100. This plan was started with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a limited liability company that will be funded by 99% of the couple’s Facebook shares (an estimated value of $45 billion). This was announced in a letter to their newborn daughter in late 2015.
Read the full letter here.

He looks like a natural.
Image from Stanford Medicine.
With the CZ Initiative set up and funding plans in place, the couple announced the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. The CZ Biohub (CZB) provides $50 million in funding for researchers based in the San Francisco area at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). 750 researchers applied for the grants, but ultimately, 47 (who are listed here) are going to receive cash grants of up to $1.5 million3. Overall, the CZB is expected to receive $600 million over the course of ten years. The CZB also had some interesting provisions and choices for their grants. For example, some individual investigator awards were reserved specifically for non-tenured scientists, making it easier for newer scientists to obtain a grant without competing with more senior researchers. For those averse to either the teaching or grant writing process, the Biohub created lab-leader positions that are devoid of these responsibilities.
There are two main components to the CZB: the Infectious Disease Initiative and the Cell Atlas. The Cell Atlas’ goal is to document and characterize every single cell within every tissue and organ of the human body. One of the purposes of this is to understand the nature of a healthy cell, then analyze how certain diseases affect them. Once the atlas is completed, the CZB plans to make this information readily available internationally to all scientists. They cite new technological advancements in sequencing and CRISPR as reasons why the atlas can be completed now. With an understanding of the cell types, CRISPR may then allow them to specifically edit combinations of genes or study protein functions to observe their roles in disease4.
The CZB wants to create an expanded version of our Cell Markers page.
In recent years, the world has been caught off guard by sudden outbreaks like Ebola and SARS. Public outcry quickly followed as the demand for vaccines and answers rose. The Infectious Disease Initiative (IDI) looks to take action on this front by developing new drugs and using computer models to help design vaccines and analyze data. In addition, the IDI is looking to create a universal diagnostic test to help diagnose virtually any infectious disease.
The basis for this last objective stems from a patient case in 2014, where a 14 year old boy was infected with a bacterial encephalitis that attacked the brain. His illness came on precipitously as he was hospitalized for six weeks and then put into a medically induced coma. Thankfully, Dr. Charles Chiu and Joseph DeRisi, PhD, led a team to use next-generation sequencing to diagnose the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid and blood within 48 hours. They then compared the obtained sequences to patient samples in GenBank, discovering 475 distinct DNA sequences from the cerebrospinal fluid that belonged to the bacteria, Leptospira (for comparison, 3 million sequences were found to be human). Penicillin was administered and eliminated the infection. This was done without actual confirmation of the diagnosis as a standard clinical test wasn’t available at the time. It wasn’t until 5 months later that the CDC confirmed the doctors were correct on their Leptospira hypothesis5. The rapid advancements in sequencing affordability and speed are reasons that the IDI are bullish on the future of disease assessment.
The first phase of Leptospira infection and its symptoms may subside quickly, but the secondary phase can cause meningitis and encephalitis.
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is pushing boundaries with the new technology at hand, and it’s encouraging to see some of the leaders in technology (Zuckerberg, Parker, and Bill Gates to name a few) take such interest in fostering strong research environments. Do you have any additional thoughts on the Biohub? Is the goal of curing all diseases by 2100 possible? Let us know at tech@biolegend.com.
Contributed by Ken Lau, PhD.

References
  1. Why Facebook could one day be worth $1 trillion
  2. What you should know about Mark Zuckerberg’s Big Gift News
  3. Mark Zuckerberg’s Research Hub Just Gave 47 Scientists $50 Million to Fight Diseases
  4. Chan Zuckerberg BioHub Homepage
  5. UCSF Genome Experts Show Value of “Next-Generation Sequencing” in Diagnosing Infection
Click for Reuters Restrictions.


Read more from our blog...

New Web Page: Immuno-Oncology Research Tools
BioLegend provides an extensive array of research tools for immuno-oncology research. From Flow Cytometry Antibodies to Recombinant proteins, BioLegend’s reagents can be used to study many aspects of immune involvement in cancers.

Learn More

Podcast Episode - Cannibalistic Hamsters, Newly Named Species, and More Animal News!
This latest podcast covers interesting animal-related news, including cannibalistic hamsters and the nerdy names scientists have given to newly discovered species.

Topics

Corn turns wild hamsters into cannibals
Bathing chicken eggs in light makes for calmer chickens
Fistulated Cows
Malaria molecule makes blood alluring to mosquitos
New amoeba named after Gandalf
New crab named after Severus Snape and other nerdy animal names

Keywords: animals, corn, niacin, hamsters, chickens, malaria, mosquitos, HMBPP, Gandalf, amoeba, Severus Snape, pellagra, biolegend


Having difficulty playing this episode? Listen on PodBean


Listen to more podcast episodes...

Video - Thinking Outside the Brain: Interactions Beyond the CNS
Description: Development proceeds in a tightly controlled manner regulated by diverse, but intersecting signaling pathways. A growing area of research examines the role of communication between the brain and surrounding systems to regulate development and function. This video, provided by The Scientist and cosponsored by BioLegend, brings together a panel of experts to discuss the role of these synergistic interactions. Topics covered include signaling between the neural and vascular systems during development, as well as the role of cerebrospinal fluid in regulating neurogenesis.

Keywords: CNS, CSF, Stem cell, neural progenitor cell, glia, cellular markers, nestin, beta catenin, tubulin β3



Watch more videos...

New Web Page: Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is one of the most well-known neurodegenerative disorders among the 600+ disorders afflicting the nervous system. This page details the known associated proteins that contribute to the disease. BioLegend provides an array of world-class antibodies, ELISA kits, and recombinant proteins for Parkinson’s research.

Learn More

Blog - From Bugs to Bedside – The Rise of Cisplatin as an Anti-Cancer Agent
Peculiar observations initially made in Eschericha coli (E. coli, left) led to the development of cisplatin (right).
Image Credit: HealthyHearing.org
In our previous blog post, we featured the side effects related to an up-and-coming method to treat cancer – immunotherapy. The notion that the body’s immune system combats circulating tumor cells has been known for decades, and blocking barriers that dampen the immune system makes rational sense as a mode of therapy. The rise of immunotherapy to treat cancer culminated from decades of targeted research, with advancements in the fields of immunology and cancer research that were funded and designed to understand the etiology of the disease. With a large proportion of research funding allocated specifically for the goal of understanding and defeating cancer (research budget of the National Cancer Institute [NCI] for 2015 was just north of 5 billion, and expected to grow to over 6 billion by 20201), this infusion of resources will hopefully bring promising therapies that revolutionize cancer therapy in the future.
But did you know that a large majority of effective clinical agents that are currently being used in the clinic originated, not from these types of targeted research, but from those that had nothing to do with diseases? In some cases, completely by accident?

A prime example of this is the story behind cisplatin.


House. Fox Television.
It began in the 1960s in the Michigan State University lab of Dr. Barnett Rosenberg, who studied the effects of electric currents on bacterial cell division. One day, he decided to utilize platinum as the material of choice to hook up to the cathode/anode in an electric chamber containing a tub of E. coli, thinking that platinum will most likely not have any biological effects on its own on the bacteria. However, once he began running electric current through the chamber, he noticed something very peculiar happening to the bacteria – they had stopped dividing, and became elongated up to as much as 300 times their original length. Once they stopped running the electric current, the bacteria once again started dividing in the medium.

Dr. Barnett Rosenberg (1926-2009).
Image Credit: MSUToday
Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues initially believed that they had found a way in which they could manage bacterial cell division by controlling electric current. However, upon further investigation, they realized that it wasn’t necessarily the electricity applied to the chamber, but rather something specific about the platinum electrodes they used, and the compound being solubilized from the poles into the buffer. Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues published this intriguing finding in Nature in 19652, and eventually isolated the causative agent to be cis-[Pt(NH3)2(Cl)2] (originally identified as Peyrone’s Salt, named after Italian chemist Michele Peyrone who initially formulated the compound in 1845). Now this compound is referred to as cisplatin.
Applying this newly-found discovery of cisplatin’s ability to stop bacterial cell division, Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues tested cisplatin on rat sarcoma models, in which they identified its anti-tumor properties3. Remarkably, despite the compound being composed of a heavy metal, cisplatin was relatively well-tolerated in vivo. Meanwhile, transplatin (trans-[Pt(NH3)2(Cl)2], the stereoisomer of cisplatin, was acutely toxic and did not have anti-tumor effects.
Cisplatin (left) and transplatin (right). Cisplatin has anti-tumor effects, and transplatin is simply just toxic to the body.
Clinical trials for cisplatin began in 1972, and by 1978, it was approved by the FDA for use to treat testicular and bladder cancer. The clinical benefit of cisplatin, especially in testicular cancer, was astounding – it can cure up to 90% of cancers when detected early. Since 1975, the mortality rate of testicular cancer patients had declined by two-thirds, and this has largely been attributed to the introduction of cisplatin into the clinic4. Given the success of cisplatin, new platinum-based analogs of the compound including carboplatin, satraplatin, and oxaliplatin have since been developed and put into therapeutic use. They have been shown to have added benefits to cisplatin’s anti-tumor activity, including efficacy in multiple tumor types, with lowered toxicity. More recent research identified cisplatin’s mechanism of action, which acts by binding to DNA to generate intra-strand crosslinks. This results in alterations of the DNA structure which, upon undergoing replication, can generate DNA damage that ultimately elicit cell death in rapidly dividing cells. The mechanism also explains why transplatin didn’t have any anti-tumor effects – the chemical structure of the trans-form doesn’t bind to the DNA grooves like the cis-isomer.
From what began as an experiment that you might perform in a high school chemistry class came one of the most groundbreaking cancer therapeutic discoveries that has saved millions of lives (and counting). The rise of cisplatin in the clinic also exemplifies how scientific experiments that are seemingly unrelated to diseases can create an impact, not only in the clinic, but in future avenues for targeted research. Different forms of DNA damaging agents are widely used (with more being considered and investigated) in the clinic today. So who knows? Don’t be surprised if the next breakthrough therapy comes out of somewhere that is totally unexpected!

The next big cancer treatment coming out of nowhere?
Do you do research related to cisplatin and platinum-based analogs? DNA damaging agents? Let us know at tech@biolegend.com!
References
  1. NCI Budget and Appropriations
  2. Inhibition of Cell Division in Escherichia coli by Electrolysis Products from a Platinum Electrode
  3. Platinum Compounds: a New Class of Potent Antitumour Agents
  4. The "Accidental" Cure—Platinum-based Treatment for Cancer: The Discovery of Cisplatin
  5. Biography of Professor Barnett Rosenberg: A Tribute to His Life and His Achievements
Contributed by Kenta Yamamoto, PhD.


Read more from our blog...

New Web Page: Cell Health and Proliferation
Cell labeling probes (both antibodies and non-antibodies) can be used in a number of applications, including cell cycle, apoptosis, viability, cell proliferation, cell movement. Check out our upgraded Cell Health and Proliferation webpage to learn more about how these reagents work and how they can aid you.

Learn More

Podcast Episode - Rat Tickling, Peanut Allergies, and the Mesentery
The Talkin' Immunology podcast makes its return for the new year! We discuss peanut allergies, the new Mesentery organ, and the joy of tickling rats!

Topics

Introducing peanuts to children at young age may prevent allergies later in life
Meet your new organ: the Mesentery
Keeping the science honest on TV shows
Lying may wire your brain to keep lying
Rats enjoy a good tickle
Teen worms are like human teens
Transmissible cancer and genetic variations in Tasmanian Devils

Keywords: peanuts, food allergies, podcast, BioLegend, immunology, oral tolerance, hygiene hypothesis, mesentery, lying, tickling, Tasmanian devil, cancer



Having difficulty playing this episode? Listen on PodBean


Listen to more podcast episodes...

Login/Register
Request an Account