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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and SciLifeLab describe in a study published in Science how they have improved the ability of a protein to repair oxidative DNA damage and created a new protein function. Their innovative technique can lead to improved drugs for diseases involving oxidative stress, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and lung diseases, but the researchers believe it has even greater potential.
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The repurposing of FDA-approved drugs for alternative diseases is a faster way of bringing new treatments into the clinic. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have repurposed a cancer drug for treatment of neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis. A novel drug carrier was also developed to facilitate drug delivery to target myeloid cells. These pre-clinical findings are described in a paper in the journal EMBO Reports.
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Mechanisms associated with a particular diabetes drug can also help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and published in Neurology reports. The results indicate that the drug’s target protein can be an interesting candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Six predictors could help determine the amount of lithium needed to treat patients with bipolar disorder, according to a large study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The study, published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, also pinpoints genetic markers that seem to influence how quickly the body eliminates lithium from its system.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified key signalling pathways that when blocked by existing drug candidates limit reproduction of the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus. The findings, published in the journal eLife, offer hope for patients affected by this potentially deadly disease.
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High blood glucose is responsible for several complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified a new antidiabetic substance that preserves the activity of insulin-producing beta cells and prevents high blood glucose in mice. The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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Sexual and gender-based harassment in the workplace can contribute to the development of mental ill-health requiring treatment with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports.
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WHO experts are now recommending using the drug baricitinib to treat severe COVID-19 infection. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet were involved in the early analysis of the drug’s efficacy against the disease: “I myself would’ve benefited from it when I got COVID-19,” says adjunct professor Ali Mirazimi.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Umeå University, and the University of Bonn have identified a new group of molecules that have an antibacterial effect against many antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Since the properties of the molecules can easily be altered chemically, the hope is to develop new, effective antibiotics with few side effects. The findings have been published in the scientific journal PNAS.
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The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewards Benjamin List and David MacMillan for a new and ingenious tool for building molecules, asymmetric organocatalysis, which has contributed to more environmentally friendly chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Here, KI researcher Per I Arvidsson, Head of the Drug Discovery and Development Platform at SciLifeLab, comments on the discovery. He was one of those who introduced organocatalysis in Sweden and believes that the prize was expected.
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Only a minority of Swedes with alcohol use disorders are prescribed alcohol medication, a situation that has remained largely unchanged in the country since the mid-2000. That is according to a study at Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Prescriptions of alcohol medication are also unevenly distributed in the society, the study found.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet publish new findings in the journal Cancer Discovery showing how pharmacological activation of the protein p53 boosts the immune response against tumours. The results can be of significance to the development of new combination therapies that will give more cancer patients access to immunotherapy.
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Thanks to many years of translational research, some children with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma may now be cured. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers at among others Karolinska Institutet and University of Gothenburg write that so-called ALK inhibitors should be tried to treat children with high-risk neuroblastoma. That is after an analysis showed that children with mutations in the ALK gene have poorer prognosis.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have investigated the use of low dose venetoclax, an experimental drug, for the treatment of the heterogeneous cancer disease multiple myeloma in patients who had relapsed on standard therapies. The findings are published in the American Journal of Hematology and provide new hope for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

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MRSA skin infections are often treated with intravenous injection of antibiotics, which can cause significant side effects and promote the development of resistant bacterial strains. To solve these problems, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden are developing a microneedle patch that delivers antibiotics directly into the affected skin area. New results published in Advanced Materials Technologies show that the microneedle patch effectively reduces MRSA bacteria in the skin.
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Cholinesterase inhibitors are a group of drugs recommended for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, but their effects on cognition have been debated and few studies have investigated their long-term effects. A new study involving researchers from Karolinska Institutet and published in the journal Neurology shows persisting cognitive benefits and reduced mortality for up to five years after diagnosis.
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An international consortium that includes researchers at Karolinska Institutet has developed a ‘double antibody’ that targets two different sites of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby preventing the virus from mutating to resist the therapy. A study published in the scientific journal Nature shows that the antibody potently neutralises SARS-CoV-2 and its variants and protects against COVID-19 in mice.
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Men with stable coronary artery disease who are on Viagra due to impotence seem to live longer and have a lower risk of experiencing a new heart attack, a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports.
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Most drugs operate via the membranes that surround the body’s cells. A study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet has now mapped the structure and mechanism of MGST2, a membrane enzyme that, amongst other things, plays a part in chronic inflammation and cancer. The study, which is published in the journal Nature Communications, can make a significant contribution to the development of future drugs.
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Treating severe COVID-19 patients with the anticancer drug bevacizumab may reduce mortality and speed up recovery, according to a small clinical study in Italy and China that was led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden between February and April 2020. On average, blood oxygen levels, body temperature and inflammatory markers significantly improved in patients treated with a single dose of bevacizumab in addition to standard care. The research is published in Nature Communications.
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Nearly 11 percent of people admitted to an intensive care unit in Sweden between 2010 and 2018 received opioid prescriptions on a regular basis for at least six months and up to two years after discharge. That is according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet published in Critical Care Medicine. The findings suggest some may become chronic opioid users despite a lack of evidence of the drugs’ long-term effectiveness and risks linked to increased mortality.
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Researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Gothenburg University have investigated a potential new drug target for the rare genetic disorder Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome that causes accelerated aging in children. The findings in mice are published in the scientific journal eLife and may aid in the development of more effective treatments for this fatal condition.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed, in collaboration with researchers in Germany and the U.S., new small antibodies, also known as nanobodies, which prevent the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from entering human cells. The research study, published in Science, shows that a combined nanobody had a particularly good effect – even if the virus mutated. According to the researchers, the nanobodies have the potential to be developed into a treatment for COVID-19.
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KI researcher Professor Lars Terenius, in collaboration with two US groups, has been awarded a 5-year Prime Project Grant of 2.8 million US dollars from The National Institutes of Health, USA, to study how selected drugs affect the dynamics of opioid systems in Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD).
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Small studies have suggested that a group of medications called RAS inhibitors may be harmful in persons with advanced chronic kidney disease, and physicians therefore often stop the treatment in such patients. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now show that although stopping the treatment is linked to a lower risk of requiring dialysis, it is also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular events and death. The results are published in The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet report in the journal Nature that they have developed novel first-in-class inhibitors that compromise mitochondrial function in cancer cells. Treatment with the inhibitors stopped cancer cells from proliferating and reduced tumour growth in mice, without significantly affecting healthy cells.
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In the search for new ways to treat the incurable eye disease glaucoma, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and St. Erik Eye Hospital have discovered more clues as to its pathogenesis. A new study shows how metabolic disturbance of the neurons coincide with raised pressure in the eye. In animal and cell models, rapamycin and pyruvate treatments were shown to have a protective effect. The study is published in the journal PNAS.
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Concerns have been raised that the use of a common group of medications called RAS inhibitors could facilitate SARS-CoV-2 infection, impact COVID-19 disease severity and worsen prognosis. However, in a new nationwide registry-based study from Karolinska Institutet, including almost 1.4 million patients, use of RAS inhibitors was not associated with increased risk of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19. The study has been published in the European Journal of Heart Failure.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report promising results from an in vitro combination therapy against COVID-19. In a study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, the researchers show that a combination of remdesivir, an approved drug against COVID-19, and hrsACE2, a medicine currently in phase II trials for COVID-19 treatment, reduced the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibited viral replication in cell cultures and organoids.
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The rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib can block viral entry and reduce mortality in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, according to translational research by an international team coordinated by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, support the continuation of ongoing randomized clinical trials.
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A new study has found that a commonly prescribed anti-depressant may halt growth of a type of cancer known as childhood sarcoma, at least in mice and laboratory cell experiments. The findings, from researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas, ignite hope of novel treatment strategies against this disease. The study is published in the journal Cancer Research.
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By screening hundreds of synthetic antibodies, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and EMBL Hamburg in Germany have identified an antibody that may prevent the new coronavirus from infecting human cells. The study, which is published in the journal Nature Communications, also shows how antibodies can be quickly produced in the event of future pandemics.
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Antibiotics use, particularly antibiotics with greater spectrum of microbial coverage, may be associated with an increased risk of new-onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and its subtypes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. That is according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Harvard Medical School in the U.S., published in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The association remained when patients were compared with their siblings.
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The drug tocilizumab, which is used in the treatment of various forms of arthritis, is associated with shorter time on ventilation and shorter hospital stays for patients with severe COVID-19, a new study from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital published in The Journal of Internal Medicine reports.
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A drug against rheumatoid arthritis called baricitinib could potentially be repurposed to treat patients with COVID-19, according to a study conducted by an international research team including researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The findings, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, represent an example of how artificial intelligence (AI)-algorithms could help identify existing drugs as potential therapies against as new illnesses.
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The anaesthetic drug ketamine has been shown, in low doses, to have a rapid effect on difficult-to-treat depression. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now report that they have identified a key target for the drug: specific serotonin receptors in the brain. Their findings, which are published in Translational Psychiatry, give hope of new, effective antidepressants.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet are coordinating a recently initiated multi-national clinical trial that will evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBO) in severe cases of COVID-19. A total of 200 adults admitted to hospital with moderately severe COVID-19 pneumonia will be recruited. The trial could start as early as next week at a hospital in Region Blekinge, Sweden.
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EU-financed Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has boosted funding for research on diagnostics, medicines and vaccines against the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Ali Mirazimi, researcher at Karolinska Institutet and Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute (SVA), coordinates one of eight projects provisionally selected among 144 applicants.
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Millions of people around the world use acid suppressants called proton pump inhibitors for conditions like heartburn, gastritis and stomach ulcers. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now report how the long-term use of these drugs could increase the risk of developing dementia. Their results are published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
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In severe cases of COVID-19, a massive release of the endogenous protein HMGB1 in the lungs may contribute to pulmonary inflammation and tissue damage, according to a recent review article published in the journal Molecular Medicine. The researchers conclude that the inflammation could hypothetically be treated with an HMGB1 inhibitor.
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Sweden can contribute solid data to Solidarity, a global study run by the WHO to test the efficacy and safety of drugs considered for use in the treatment of COVID-19, says Soo Aleman, docent and consultant, and coordinator of the Swedish arm of the study.
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Use of sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to treat type 2 diabetes may help to lower the risk of serious kidney problems, according to a Scandinavian study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet. The findings, now published in the journal The BMJ, provide support for the use of SGLT2 inhibitors in a broad range of patients with type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.
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A drug that lowers levels of the male hormone testosterone in the body reduces the risk of men with pedophilic disorder sexually abusing children, a study from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry shows.
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Sten Orrenius, Professor Emeritus at Karolinska Institutet, died on April 27, 2020. Dr. Orrenius was an internationally renowned and highly respected toxicologist because of his groundbreaking research in drug metabolism, the role of disruption of calcium homeostasis in cellular toxicity and mechanisms of programmed cell death (apoptosis).
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We have lost our former director, colleague and friend, Professor emeritus Folke Sjöqvist, who passed away peacefully on 30 March at the age of 86 after a protracted illness. He is sorely missed by his wife Margareta and four children and their families, as well as friends and colleagues in Sweden and around the world.
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A drug already tested against lung disease could potentially inhibit COVID-19 by reducing the coronavirus load that enters the lungs and other organs. That is according to a study in human cell cultures and organoids by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada, published in the journal Cell.
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Among adults with chronic viral hepatitis at high risk of liver cancer, those who took low-dose aspirin long-term were less likely to develop liver cancer or to die from liver-related causes. The findings come from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by a team led by investigators at Karolinska Institutet and Örebro University Hospital in Sweden and Massachusetts General Hospital in the U.S.
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Professor Ali Mirazimi at Karolinska Institutet is part of a consortium that has received 1 million Canadian dollars (almost 7 million kronor) to try to develop a drug candidate against COVID-19. Mirazimi will assist with in vitro and in vivo infection models for SARS-CoV-2. The project is a collaboration with Canadian and Chinese researchers.
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The financial burden on health systems would drastically increase if new European expert guidelines for cholesterol-lowering treatment were implemented, according to a new simulation study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, published in the European Heart Journal. The findings highlight an urgent need for cost-effectiveness analysis given the current cost of the proposed treatment for very high-risk patients, the researchers say.
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Researchers worldwide are trying to develop a vaccine and antiviral treatments against the new corona virus spreading in China. At Karolinska Institutet, virus researchers Ali Mirazimi and Matti Sällberg are working to develop a prototype vaccine against the virus. But vaccine development takes time, and it will likely take at least six to nine months before an application for clinical studies can be filed and another two to three years before a vaccine could be ready for the public.
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08-06-2022