No. 75

April 2011

Headline News Innovation and Development

Applied Technology

Basic Science Cooperation between CAS and Local Authorities
Bioscience International Cooperation Brief News Geoscience


New Achievement in Cancer Targeting Gene-Viro-Therapy

A team of researchers, led by Liu Xinyuan at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS, developed a novel therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment named ¡®Cancer Targeting Gene-Viro-Therapy¡¯ (CTGVT). Cao Xin and his colleagues, based on an E1B-55K-deleted construct, ZD55, replaced the native viral E1A promoter with the simian virus 40 (SV40) enhanced ¦Á-fetoprotein (AFP) promoter as enAFP and constructed a dual-regulated oncolytic adenoviral vector designated Ad?AFP?E1A?E1B (¦¤55) (briefly Ad?AFP?D55). Ad?AFP?D55 showed specific replication and cytotoxicity in AFP-positive hepatoma cells. It also demonstrated enhanced safety in normal cells when compared to the mono-regulated vector ZD55. To improve the anti-hepatoma activities of the virus, the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) gene was introduced into Ad?AFP?D55. Ad?AFP?D55-TRAIL exhibited remarkable anti-tumor activities in vitro and in vivo. Treatment with Ad?AFP?D55-TRAIL can induce both autophagy due to the Ad?AFP?D55 vector and caspase-dependent apoptosis due to the TRAIL protein. The CTGVT has excellent antitumor effects due to that the oncolytic virus can target and replicate in cancer cells with several hundred to several thousand folds, thus the inserted genes can also be amplified at the same magnitude, then the resulting CTGVT virus show much better excellent antitumor effect not only in vitro but also in vivo than that of either gene therapy alone or virotherapy alone. Therefore, CTGVT has been considered as a new trend in both gene therapy and virotherapy for cancer therapy. This study entitled ¡®Cancer Targeting Gene-Viro-Therapy of Liver Carcinoma by Dual-regulated Oncolytic Adenovirus Armed with TRAIL Gene¡¯ was published online in Gene Therapy on March 17th, 2011.

Breakthrough in Algorithm for Predicting piRNAs with High Accuracy

The second-generation sequencing technology is also known as deep sequencing technology and it is collectively called as RNA-seq or RNA sequencing when it is applied to RNA, which has become an important means in studying gene expression and analyzing genome. Zhang Yi, et al. from Dr. Kang Le¡¯s group of the Institute of Zoology, CAS, published a paper entitled as¡°A k-mer scheme to predict piRNAs and characterize locust piRNAs¡±, in which they gave a high-accuracy algorithm for predicting the largest ncRNA set, i.e. piRNA. The paper has been published in an international peer reviewed journal in the bioinformatics research field, bioinformatics (IF=4.926). The algorithm has improtant theoretical significance and broad applications, because it can identify piRNAs for non-model species without the genome sequence information. Recently, the online software piRNApredictor ( has been used to predict piRNAs in the pig genome by a foreign research organization. The novel findings are also an inspiring breakthrough in predicting the non-conservative ncRNAs. Due to the generality of theory, the algorithm can not only predict piRNAs for other species, but also predict other ncRNAs by changing drill sets. Moreover, the piRNAs predicted with high accuracy by the online software, has important theoretical significance and broad application value in epigenetics, regulatory networks and piRNA function study.

Hope for a Slim Body

Nature China has highlighted a research discovery entitled ¡°Fat has a new enemy¡± on Feb.2, 2011. This discovery was made by the research group headed by Prof. Wang Mingwei from the National Center for Drug Screening, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, CAS in collaboration with scientists of the Scripps Institute in USA. The researchers have discovered a compound that restores glucose homeostasis, reduces appetite and decreases body weight in obese mice. They previously discovered a novel compound called Boc5 that reduces blood glucose, stimulates insulin secretion and elevates insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice. They have now tested Boc5 on obese mice and found that the compound also reduces body weight and fat. The researchers fed Boc5 to diet-induced obese mice three times a week for 12 weeks. They found that after treatment, the obese mice had significantly reduced their body weight, body mass index, food intake and fat mass. In addition, insulin, leptin, fatty acid and cholesterol levels in obese mice all returned to normal. The findings suggest that Boc5 restores a wide range of metabolic disorders through multiple synergistic mechanisms and offers an attractive tool for therapeutic intervention of obesity and diabetes.

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