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The Danish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, RNA Club, RNA Society, MRC Geneservice, Cytrx, Lorus Therapeutics, CombiMatrix, and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute


The Danish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology includes RNAi in Upcoming Meeting

The Danish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has dedicated a half-day of its 32nd annual meeting on the molecular biology of human diseases to RNAi.

The meeting, being held on Oct. 6-8, is slated to include presentations on genome-wide RNAi screening in C. elegans, applications of RNAi for high-throughput screens and gene function analysis, the use of RNAi for rheumatoid arthritis, dissecting the function of proteoglycans in tumor progression, and the role of siRNAs in histone methylation.

Speakers will include Thomas Rudel from the Max Planck Institute, Jorgen Kjems from Aarhus University, and Roberto Perris from the Univeristy of Parma, Italy.

Details on the meeting can be found at

Local RNA Societies Schedule RNAi Talks

California’s Bay Area RNA Club and the RNA Society of North Carolina have scheduled meetings this month to discuss RNAi.

The Bay Area RNA Club’s meeting will take place on Oct. 9 at the Genentech Auditorium, room 106 in the Genentech Hall, in San Francisco. Speakers will include Dharmacon’s Stephen Scaringe, who will discuss the relationship between siRNA functionality, concentration, and off-target effects; the University of California, San Francisco’s Carla Saleh, who will talk about the use of genome-wide screens to identify genes involved in the RNAi pathway; and Anton McCaffrey from Stanford University, who will present on the inhibition of hepatitis B in mice using RNAi.

Details about this meeting can be found at

The RNA Society of North Carolina has slated its Symposium on RNA Biology V: RNA, Tool and Target for Oct. 17-18 at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park.

Among the speakers will be Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Greg Hannon, and topics will include RNA interference and microRNAs, RNA as a therapeutic tool, and viral RNA as therapeutic targets.

Details on this conference can be found at

MRC Geneservice to Distribute Cyclacel Drosophila RNAi Collection

British biotech firm Cyclacel said this week that it has signed a deal under which its proprietary collection of 13,605 Drosophila genes that have been screened using RNA interference will be distributed worldwide by MRC Geneservice.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Cyclacel, of Dundee, UK, said that its researchers are currently validating the genes as drug targets, which will then be developed in house or outlicensed.

Cytrx Sponsors Mass General Program to use RNAi for Lou Gehrig's Disease

CytRx said that it has signed a sponsored research agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital to develop RNAi-based treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Research under the arrangement will be conducted by Robert Brown, director of the Cecil B. Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research at the hospital and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Announcement of the deal with Mass General comes about four months after CytRx said that it had exclusively licensed RNAi technology from UMMS for the development of ALS treatments.

Lorus to Present Preclinical Antisense Cancer Data at AACR Meeting

Lorus Therapeutics said this week that it will be presenting data from preclinical studies of its antisense drug GTI-2040 for breast cancer at the American Association for Cancer Research Special Conference in Cancer Research: Advances in Breast Cancer Research; Genetics, Biology, and Clinical Implications.

Lorus said it will present the data in an abstract entitled “GTI-2040, An Antisense Oligonucleotide Targeting the R2 Component of Human Ribonucleotide Reductase Displays Cooperative Anti-Tumor Activity when Combined with Standard Chemotherapeutic Drugs in murine Models of Human Breast Cancer”.

The conference is to be held on Oct. 8-12 in Huntington Beach, California.

The drug, said the company, is currently in phase II testing for use in combination with capecitabine against metastatic breast cancer.

Combimatrix, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute Partner on Gene, RNAi Research

Acacia said this week that its CombiMatrix unit has formed a collaboration with non-profit Seattle Biomedical Research Institute to use customized gene expression microarrays to investigate differential gene regulation of the Leishmania parasite lifecycle.

The partners are also using CombiMatrix technology to develop pools of RNAi compounds to silence multiple genes in Trypasonoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Leishmania major.

Additional details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

“We are looking forward to working with CombiMatrix and applying their technologies to our research,” said Peter Myler, principal investigator at SBIR. “The ability to rapidly build microarrays with custom content as well as the ability to generate pools of bioactive RNA compounds will help boost our research activities here at SBRI.”

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.