Focus |

Therapeutics

Ross Cloney: synthetic biology and genome engineering. 

Francesco Conti: musculoskeletal biology and gene therapy.

Sonja Schmid: therapeutics for infectious diseases. 

Aishwarya Sundaram: cancer metastasis, models, drug discovery and nanotherapy.

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage on therapeutics. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the area of therapeutics at Nature Communications.

Make sure to check the Editors' Highlights page each month for new featured articles.

Fibroblast hyper-activation and proliferation is a major feature in arthritis, yet scarcely addressed for anti-arthritic therapies. Here, the authors show that activation of the MC1 receptor induces fibroblast senescence associated with a reparative phenotype, ultimately regulating experimental inflammatory arthritis.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Neovascular age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are currently treated with repeated intravitreous injections of VEGF neutralizing proteins. Here the authors develop a microparticle-loaded tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy, which is effective for six months after a single injection in preclinical models.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal lung disease and adult lung spheroid cells have been shown to promote regeneration in animal models of IPF. Here the authors show that the secretome and exosomes of lung spheroid cells is effective as inhalation treatment in rodent models of lung injury and fibrosis and superior to the counterparts derived from mesenchymal stem cells.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Reconstructive microsurgery is limited by the precision that human hands can achieve. Here, the authors demonstrate in a randomized clinical pilot trial the feasibility of robot-assisted supermicrosurgery using a dedicated microsurgical robot for the completion of lymphatico-venous anastomosis in the treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

DNA based ionophores can mediate efficient ion transport and are crucial to understand the biological role of their natural counterparts. Here authors engineer a telomeric DNA G-quadruplex based ionophore which transports K+ in a stimuli responsive manner.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Exercise improves metabolic health and physical condition, particularly important for health in aged individuals. Here, the authors identify that Sestrins, proteins induced by exercise, are key mediators of the metabolic adaptation to exercise and increase endurance through the AKT and PGC1a axes.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Senolytic compounds have the ability to eliminate senescent cells from tissues and have been shown to be beneficial in various animal models of age-related diseases. Here the authors show that cardiac glycosides commonly used for heart diseases have senolytic properties in humanized mouse models of tumorigenesis and lung fibrosis.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Vectors used in gene therapy for hemoglobin disorders carry globin in a reverse-orientation to prevent the loss of key regulatory elements by RNA splicing, but this limits their efficiency. Here, the authors develop a vector carrying β-globin in a forward orientation and show that it has improved titers and transduction efficiency in humanized mice and nonhuman primates.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

MR-focused ultrasound can be used to transiently open the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Here, the authors report the results of a first-in-human trial on four patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), showing that the procedure reversibly permeabilised the BBB in the motor cortex without complications, and suggest that the procedure could in the future be used to increase drug delivery in ALS patients.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications