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Tecan Gives Back is an employee-driven initiative supporting charities that help to improve people’s health and quality of life. Created as part of the company’s 40th anniversary celebrations, the scheme gives employees the opportunity to earn ‘kilometers’ for their chosen charity by engaging in fitness and wellness activities, or by volunteering. These are then pooled and converted into cash donations at the end of the month-long challenge. One of this year’s beneficiaries is World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), a global research charity focused on reducing the risk of developing cancer and improving the outcomes for those already diagnosed.
Multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable blood cancer, but recent advancements in treatment have significantly improved patient prognosis and quality of life. UK-based specialist diagnostic company The Binding Site has developed a new strategy that monitors pre-cancerous conditions associated with MM as well as treatment success, helping to guide therapeutic pathways with more accurate information.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, killing hundreds of thousands each year. However, the current routine screening method for checking prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels generates false positives in an alarming number of cases, leading to thousands of unnecessary biopsies each year. To combat this, Life Length has developed ProsTAV®, a state-of-the-art in vitro diagnostic test that uses telomere associated variables (TAVs) to identify patients with a higher risk of prostate cancer, aiding screening initiatives and reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies
Many of the anti-cancer drugs currently used for chemotherapy work by causing replication-associated DNA damage that kills individual cancer cells. While this can be an effective way of treating the disease, the drugs often also indiscriminately affect healthy cells, causing unpleasant side effects for the patient. To help resolve this problem, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are developing DNA repair inhibitors that are able to selectively introduce toxic DNA damage to cancer cells, while avoiding causing harm to normal cells, to support the successful treatment of cancers and improving patients’ experience of chemotherapy.
Dr Sam Abraham is an associate professor at Murdoch University, Australia, with a research interest in antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery. His presentation at Tecan’s virtual Genomics Symposium can be viewed here.
Several outbreaks of the Zika virus have been reported around the world since its discovery in 1947, but a commercially available treatment for the disease is still not available, and scientists continue to search for the best antiviral agent. Professor Martin Würtele and his colleagues in the Department of Science and Technology at the Federal University of São Paulo recently published a study identifying several natural substances that showed potent antiviral activity against the Zika virus protease.
Synthetic DNA has become the central component of countless scientific and technological innovations across many applications, from biopharmaceuticals to biofuels. However, research and drug development pipelines are often hindered by the cost and the length of time that it takes to obtain long sequences of DNA or multiple DNA variants. Ribbon Biolabs, based in Vienna, is addressing this issue by combining automation and adaptive algorithmic control with highly precise, optimized enzymatic synthesis.
Several studies have shown that healthcare clowning has a strong positive effect on pediatric patients in general, but there is limited research into its impact on those with psychological disorders. RED NOSES Clowndoctors Austria – an organization with decades of experience in healthcare clowning – is addressing this issue through a collaboration with the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Vienna. A joint study is currently being conducted in several psychiatric in-patient wards across Austria, using salivary stress biomarkers to assess whether clown visits are really benefitting patients.
9-Delta Analytical LLC in California provides independent forensic and clinical toxicology testing services for academic research groups, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies across the USA and Canada. Focusing mainly on human samples, the company uses numerous analytical techniques to screen for a wide range of legal and illicit drugs.
Ralf Griebel, Head of the Partnering Business Division
The biomanufacturing industry is constantly on the lookout for new technologies to improve the speed, accuracy and performance of its processes, particularly in the biologics arena. Biotechnology company ValitaCell has embraced this challenge, developing novel assays and label-free bright field imaging approaches employing artificial intelligence to complement fluorescence-based cell monitoring techniques.
Trauma is the main cause of premature death internationally, resulting in more deaths in people under 40 years old than all other causes combined. Even trauma victims receiving hospital care have a high mortality rate, in part due to massive systemic inflammatory reactions leading to the dysfunction of organs that were not initially injured. A team at Oslo University Hospital in Norway has been investigating the role of the protein HMGB1 (High Mobility Group Box 1) in the development of trauma pathologies and its potential as a clinical biomarker or therapeutic target in these cases.
Opioid addiction, alongside addiction to other substances, is a significant public health, social and economic challenge in the US. In 2017, the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency by the Department of Health and Human Services, with one of its aims to improve access to treatment and recovery services. Despite this, over 100,000 US lives were lost to opioid overdoses in the year to April 2021. Increasingly, outpatient centers such as Ideal Option are providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – combining approved medications with counseling and support therapy – to offer a ‘whole-patient’ approach to treatment of, and sustained recovery from, these addictions.
The use of enzymes as biocatalysts in industrial applications has steadily gained popularity, as it offers an efficient way to use raw materials while minimizing waste. This approach has been successfully scaled for commercial processes in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries, largely thanks to the use of automation to screen, optimize and produce suitable enzymes. Roal Oy in Rajamäki, Finland – a leading producer of industrial enzymes – has automated large parts of its enzyme discovery and screening activities to accelerate product development and optimization.
The human gut microbiome has been found to affect metabolic health and nutrient absorption, and preliminary research also suggests that it contributes to the development of the immune response, food allergies and intolerances, obesity, and a wide range of other conditions. This field is the focus of Ortho-Analytic, an integrative medicine laboratory based in Wallisellen, Switzerland, that identifies bacterial, fungal and parasite DNA found in stool samples. The company uses molecular genetic analyses to build a detailed picture of a patient’s gut microbiome, aiding practitioners in formulating specific treatment plans.
Work to characterize and further understand the molecular pathology of SARSCoV- 2 became a focus for many virology departments following the identification of the novel virus responsible for COVID-19. Drs Marek Widera, Alexander Wilhelm and colleagues at University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany, turned their attention to developing an in vitro cell culture model that could realistically mimic the viral replication cycle, to decipher the mechanism of COVID-19 infection.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an important reminder that pathogens are not only transmitted via air and contact with other humans, but also from animals and through food. This highlights the need for effective diagnostic tools that offer fast testing of animal and environmental samples to help monitor livestock and aquaculture. Qualyse is a French company that does exactly this, using advanced laboratory automation to provide immunoserology and molecular diagnostic testing for up to 12,000 samples a day.
Antimicrobial resistance is a growing issue preventing the effective treatment of numerous parasitic diseases in both humans and animals. The lack of effective antimicrobials for the treatment of a growing number of diseases represents a serious threat to global public health, making it imperative that governments and societies around the world take action to tackle this issue. Scientists at the University of Murdoch in Australia are studying antimicrobial resistance in livestock – which can potentially spread to humans – using a statistical approach of surveillance to monitor the situation more closely.
Mitosis plays an essential role in growth and cellular replacement, and is often dysregulated in cancers, making the process of therapeutic interest. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) are developing novel cell imaging tools to help them classify key components of mitosis and identify new therapeutic targets.
Continuous emission monitoring systems that detect gases or particulate matter concentrations are important in various industrial settings, where they are used to ensure that potential sources of pollutants comply with environmental regulations. Inspire Analytical Systems (IAS) is a German manufacturer of calibration gas generators for analyzers and sensors that offer highly precise and continuous monitoring of gas emissions.
Paramit Corporation is the latest company to join the Tecan Group, bringing with it a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a fresh perspective to engineering and manufacturing, that will resonate throughout the whole organization. Paramit was acquired in August 2021, heralding a unique opportunity to combine the expertise of both companies and provide high quality solutions to the life sciences, in vitro diagnostics and medical device markets.