Daily Archives: April 8, 2014

New genomics initiative at UC Berkeley

With a $10 million gift from the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Berkeley recently announced the formation of the Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI). Its purpose is to “lead a revolution in genetic engineering based on a new technology already generating novel strategies for gene therapy and the genetic study of disease.”

Excellent. And UC Berkeley is a good place to do it since the university is home to Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna, who is credited with co-discovering CRISPR/Cas9, precision “DNA scissors” that allow scientists to better edit genes.

Scientists regenerate immune organ in mice

UK scientists report that they have fully restored a degenerated organ in a living animal, a discovery that could pave the way for future human therapies.

Professor Clare Blackburn from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: “By targeting a single protein, we have been able to almost completely reverse age-related shrinking of the thymus. Our results suggest that targeting the same pathway in humans may improve thymus function and therefore boost immunity in elderly patients, or those with a suppressed immune system. However, before we test this in humans we need to carry out more work to make sure the process can be tightly controlled.”

Here’s a BBC article about the work. And the original press release.