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Add another layer of complexity to our understanding of the brain. Researchers at University of Lausanne have discovered that a heretofore unknown class of cell is also involved in the complicated internal communications of the brain. The research was published Wednesday in Nature.
To understand why this is a big deal, for a long time its been understood that (to vastly oversimplify things) the brain is primarily composed to two kinds of cells: glial cells, which are basically the brain’s infrastructure; and neurons, which communicate with each other with chemicals called neurotransmitters at special sites called synapses.
The researchers in this paper discovered some types of astrocytes, a glial cell that can be found near synapses, also have the molecular “machinery” they need to send out neurotransmitters. It’s been long suspected this was the case, but different studies have provided evidence both pro and con for the hypothesis. But the researchers in this paper not only demonstrated that certain astrocytes are capable of neurotransmission, the mechanism by which they do so also explains why researchers in the studies that seemed to oppose the idea got the results they did.
This discovery offers neuroscientists a new opportunity to get a better understanding of how the brain works. This, in turn, could potentially lead to new treatments for neurological diseases. “[W]e now have a new kind of cell at hand,” co-author Andrea Volterra said in a press release. “Its discovery opens up immense research prospects. Our next studies will explore the potential protective role of this type of cell against memory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as its role in other regions and pathologies than those explored here.”
Moderna’s Updated Covid Vaccine Is Effective Against Pirola Variant—As Concern Over New Strain Grows
Moderna’s updated Covid vaccine provokes a “strong immune response” against fast-spreading coronavirus variants “Pirola,” “Fornax” and “Eris,” the company said Wednesday, amid a late summer wave of infections across the country and as governments prepare to launch fall booster campaigns.
Read more here.
Pipeline & Deal Updates
Drug Discovery: Computational drug discovery company Nimbus Therapeutics announced that it has raised $210 million in a private financing round co-led by GV, SR One and Atlas Venture.
AI For Clinical Trials: QuantHealth, which aims to improve clinical trial design using machine learning, announced that it has raised a $15 million series A co-led by Bertelsmann Investments and Pitango HealthTech.
Anti-Aging: Biotech startup Rejuvenation Technologies, which aims to use mRNA-based therapeutics to potentially target aging mechanisms, announced a $10.6 million seed round led by Khosla Ventures.
GLP-1 Therapeutics: Weight-loss drug Wegovy launched in the U.K. on Monday, Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk announced, continuing the company’s push into new markets despite ongoing supply shortages.
Acquisition: The Federal Trade Commission announced Friday it had reached a settlement with Amgen over the biopharmaceutical firm’s $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics.
Senior Care: Blooming Health, which has developed software to help seniors age in place and address social care needs, has raised a $4.2 million seed round from investors, including Afore Capital, Crossbeam Venture Partners and Chelsea Clinton’s investment firm, Metrodora.
For Next Walgreens CEO, ‘Deep Healthcare Experience’ A Must
After less than three years on the job, Roz Brewer resigned as CEO of Walgreens with Walgreens share price trading at a 14-year-low and the company spending billions of dollars to transform into a provider of primary medical care. A successor has yet to be chosen but Ginger Graham has been named interim CEO for now and the drugstore giant’s board and chairman say its next CEO will have “deep healthcare experience.”
Read more here.
Other Healthcare News
With a potential winter and fall surge of the flu, Covid and RSV, some experts recommend getting all three shots at the same time.
The CDC issued a health alert warning healthcare professionals to be on the lookout for fatal infections of the “flesh-eating bacteria” Vibrio vulnificus, as warmer waters and Hurricane Idalia may cause a spike in cases.
Neurosurgeons in Australia this week reported pulling a live, three-inch worm from a woman’s brain, a shocking, world-first discovery that adds another threat to the catalog of dangerous worms and parasites that already target billions of people around the world.
Cancer is on the rise among young people and scientists don’t really know why, according to new research, which threatens to strain already stretched healthcare systems and upends much of what scientists assumed about the disease.
Forget Robotaxis. Upstart Gatik Sees Middle-Mile Deliveries As The Path To Profitable AVs
From Google To Nvidia, Tech Giants Have Hired Red Team Hackers To Break Their AI Models
How The HeyDude Guy Became A Billionaire Selling Ugly Shoes