An innovative Chinese Alzheimer's drug that hit the domestic market last week, will go through clinical trials on 2,000 patients overseas in 2020.
The orally administered drug GV-971 will be tested in 200 clinical centers in North America, the European Union, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and other places, according to Green Valley Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, one of the drug's co-developers.
The company says it plans to complete the global clinical trials in 2024 and submit the New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency in 2025.
GV-971 was jointly developed by the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Ocean University of China and Green Valley, after a 22-year study.
The results of the mechanism of action study were published in the international journal Cell Research in September 2019, saying that the drug, extracted from brown algae, works by modifying gut bacteria to ultimately reduce brain inflammation in mice that were genetically engineered to have the disease.
It was approved to market last November by China's National Medical Products Administration, which said the GV-971 "can improve cognition in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD)."
According to researchers, apart from animal experiments, more than 1,100 Chinese AD patients participated in clinical trials before the drug hit the market. In the last test, a total of 818 participants from 34 leading hospitals in China took 450 mg GV-971 orally twice a day for a treatment period of nine months, which proved safe and effective in improving cognition.
"Because of its effectiveness on Chinese patients, we expect this drug to benefit more people in the rest of the world," said Lyu Songtao, chairman of the Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company.
A new cafe culture is brewing in the San Francisco area, where a growing number of coffee houses are banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies.
What started as a small trend among neighborhood cafes to reduce waste is gaining support from some big names in the city's food and coffee world.
Celebrated chef Dominique Crenn, owner of the three-star Michelin restaurant Atelier Crenn, is opening a San Francisco cafe next year that will have no to-go bags or disposable coffee cups and will use no plastic. Customers who plan to sip and go at Boutique Crenn will be encouraged to bring their own coffee cups, says spokeswoman Kate Bittman.
On a bigger scale, the Blue Bottle coffeehouse chain, which goes through about 15,000 to-go cups a month at its 70 U.S. locations, says it wants to "show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups."
Blue Bottle is starting small with plans to stop using paper cups at two of its San Francisco area branches in 2020, as part of a pledge to go "zero waste" by the end of next year. Coffee to-go customers will have to bring their own mug or pay a deposit for a reusable cup, which they can keep or return for a refund. The deposit fee will likely be between $3 and $5, the company said.
Blue Bottle's pilot program will help guide the company on how to expand the idea nationwide, CEO Bryan Meehan said in a statement.
"We expect to lose some business," he said. "We know some of our guests won't like it — and we're prepared for that."
Larger coffee and fast-food chains around the U.S. are feeling a sense of urgency to be more environmentally friendly, and will no doubt be watching, said Bridget Croke, of New York-based recycling investment firm Closed Loop Partners, which is working with Starbucks and McDonald's to develop an eco-friendly alternative to the disposable coffee cup.
Despite the name, today's conventional paper cups for hot drinks aren't made solely from paper. They also have plastic linings that prevent leakage but make them hard to recycle, Croke said. She says it's unlikely large national chains will banish disposable cups, in the immediate term, or persuade all customers to bring mugs, so they're looking for other solutions.
Starbucks and McDonald's chipped in $10 million to a partnership with Closed Loop to develop the "single-use cup of the future" that is recyclable and compostable.
"They know there are business risks to not solving these problems. And the cup is the tip of the spear for them," said Croke, adding that Blue Bottle's choice of San Francisco for its test run is clearly the right market.
Starbucks, which has more than 15,000 U.S. cafes and about 16,000 internationally, plans to test newly designed recyclable cups in five cities next year: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and London, spokeswoman Noelle Novoa said.
California cities have long been leaders in recycling and passing laws to encourage eco-friendly habits.
This year, the state became the first to ban restaurants from automatically handing out plastic straws with drinks. It was also the first, in 2014, to prohibit stores from providing disposable plastic grocery bags to shoppers, and bags at checkout now cost 10 cents.
Also this year, San Francisco International Airport became the nation's first major airport to stop selling water in plastic bottles. Water is now sold in glass bottles and aluminum cans, and travelers are encouraged to bring their own empty bottles to fill up for free.
Starting in January, cafes and restaurants in Berkeley will charge 25 cents for disposable cups, and San Francisco is considering similar legislation.
Anticipating the fee, a group of about a dozen Berkeley cafes teamed up in a mug-sharing program, where customers can rent a stainless steel cup from one cafe and drop it off at any of the others. Vessel, the Colorado start-up that provides the cups, has a similar program running in Boulder.
Many coffee drinkers in the San Francisco area are taking Blue Bottle's announcement in stride.
"Of course it's a good idea," said freelance writer Tracy Schroth, at a Blue Bottle cafe in Oakland. "It's such a small step to ask people to bring their own cup. People just have to get into the mindset."
At a Blue Bottle in San Francisco, electrician Jeff Michaels said he does love the coffee but doesn't want to pay more if he forgets a mug.
"I paid almost $7 for this coffee," Michaels said, sipping a cafe mocha. "How much are people willing to pay for a coffee?"
Small-cafe owner Kedar Korde is optimistic that one day it will become trendy for coffee drinkers to carry around reusable mugs, just like stainless steel water bottles have become a must-have accessory in the San Francisco area.
Korde's Perch Cafe in Oakland ditched paper and plastic cups in September, along with lids and straws.
"We now offer a glass jar that comes in a 12 ounce (350 milliliters) or 16 ounce (470 milliliters) size," Korde said. Customers put down a 50 cent deposit and can return it for a refund or keep it and get 25 cents off future drinks. The cafe also sells 50 cent reusable sleeves for the jars.
Korde says he's been surprised by how quickly customers have adapted. He was inspired to make the change after his 9-year-old daughter's school did a cleanup project at Lake Merritt, across from his cafe, and found their disposable cups in the water.
His daughter joked that she shouldn't have to clean her room if he couldn't keep his stuff out of the lake, but he took it more seriously.
"We're a small coffee shop. We're not going to save the world," Korde said. But at least "our cups are no longer winding up in the lake."
Researchers at the University of Illinois (UI), Cergy-Pontoise University in France and the University of Freiburg in Germany found that nanopores can be used to identify all 20 amino acids in proteins, a major step toward protein sequencing.
According to a news release posted on UI's website on Tuesday, the researchers used a membrane channel naturally made by bacteria, called aerolysin, as their nanopore. In both computer modeling and experimental work, they chopped up proteins and used a chemical carrier to drive the amino acids into the nanopore. The carrier molecule kept the amino acids inside the pore long enough for it to register a measurable difference in the electrical signature of each amino acid, even leucine and isoleucine, the near-identical twins.
The researchers found they could further differentiate modified forms of amino acids by using a more sensitive measurement apparatus or by treating the protein with a chemical to improve differentiation. The measurements are precise enough to potentially identify hundreds of modifications, said UI physics professor Aleksei Aksimentiev, a co-leader of the study, and even more may be recognized by tweaking the pore.
"This is a proof-of-concept study showing that we can identify the different amino acids," he said. "The current method for protein characterization is mass spectrometry, but that does not determine the sequence; it compares a sample to what's already in the database. Its ability to characterize new variations or mutations is limited. With nanopores, we finally could look at those modifications which have not yet been studied."
The aerolysin nanopore could be integrated into standard nanopore setups, Aksimentiev said. The researchers are now exploring approaches to read the amino acids in sequential order as they are cut from the protein. They also are considering other applications for the system.
"One potential application would be to combine this with immunoassays to fish out proteins of interest and then sequence them. Sequencing them will tell us whether they're modified or not, and that could lead to a clinical diagnostic tool," Aksimentiev said.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a way to supercharge protein production up to a thousandfold.
Proteins are built from chains of amino acids hundreds of links long. The researchers stumbled on the importance of the first few amino acids when an experiment for a different study failed to work as expected.
"We changed the sequence of the first few amino acids, and we thought it would have no effect on protein expression, but instead, it increased protein expression by 300 percent," said Sergej Djuranovic, an associate professor of cell biology and physiology and the study's senior author. "So then we started digging in to why that happened."
The researchers turned to green fluorescent protein, a tool used in biomedical research to estimate the amount of protein in a sample by measuring the amount of fluorescent light produced. They randomly changed the sequence of the first few amino acids in green fluorescent protein, generating 9,261 distinct versions, identical except for the very beginning.
The brilliance of the different versions of green fluorescent protein varied a thousandfold from the dimmest to the brightest, indicating a thousandfold difference in the amount of protein produced. With careful analysis and further experiments, researchers from Washington University and Stanford University identified certain combinations of amino acids at the third, fourth and fifth positions in the protein chain that gave rise to sky-high amounts of protein.
Moreover, the same amino-acid triplets not only ramped up production of green fluorescent protein, which originally comes from jellyfish, but also production of proteins from distantly related species like coral and humans.
The findings could help increase production of proteins not only for medical applications, but in food, agriculture, chemical and other industries.
The findings were published on Wednesday in Nature Communications.
Bangladesh will take special initiatives to eliminate trans fat, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Sunday.
“To determine the maximum level of Trans-fat to 2 percent, it is also necessary to legislate as well as implement policies accordingly,” he said at an inaugural advocacy campaign titled ‘Eliminate Trans-fat, Reduce Heart Disease Risks’, according to a statement.
Trans fat (Trans Fatty Acids) is a certain type of fat which is injurious to health and the consumption of it causes the blood flow of the arteries to be blocked, raising risks of heart attacks, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
The campaign was jointly organised by the National Heart Foundation, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) at the CIRDAP Auditorium in the city.
“We can certainly reduce the trans fat level to 2 percent by 2023, with the aid of the Prime Minister,” said Prof Dr Md Habibe Millat, MP, the special guest of the event.
He promised to provide thorough support and assistance to legislate regulatory laws to eliminate trans fat.
CAB President Ghulam Rahman said vegetable oils containing excessive levels of trans fat should not be imported.
Chairing the event, National Prof Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malik, the founder and President of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, said the number of people with heart disease below 50 years of age is increasing now-a-days for which trans fat is a major determinant.
He hoped the situation can be changed by eliminating trans fat.
ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA, said each year around 277,000 people die of heart diseases in Bangladesh. He said the intake of unhealthy foods is one of the leading but preventable causes of heart diseases.
The keynote speakers of the programme included Professor Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury, Department of Epidemiology and Research, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh; Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Country Coordinator of Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and Md Hasan Shahriar, Team Leader of Trans Fat Project, PROGGA.
The programme was hosted by the President of Bangladesh Health Reporters’ Forum Toufiq Maruf.
Prof Dr AHM Enayet Hussain, Additional Director General (Planning and Development), Director General Health Services; Md Muazzem Hossain, Director General, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution; Syeda Sarwar Jahan, Chairman, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and others were present there.