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Transforming PET imaging with silicon

Several years ago, Anton Toutov was a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, working in the lab of Nobel prize-winning chemist Robert Grubbs. He and a colleague discovered they could make carbon–silicon bonds with a safe and inexpensive potassium catalyst. This ability to make silicon-containing organic molecules without using rare and expensive precious metal catalysts is the basis for a new spin-out company, Fuzionaire Diagnostics, based in California.

The firm’s initial goal is to use potassium catalysis to make positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracers that can diagnose and image a wide variety of diseases, and accelerate drug discovery. Read more.

Virus detectives test whole-body scans in search of HIV’s hiding places

To prevent the virus from rebounding after drug therapy, researchers must first map where it lurks in the body.

Antiretroviral drugs have transformed HIV infection from a death sentence to a chronic condition for many people who carry the virus. But because HIV never truly leaves the body, the virus rebounds rapidly if patients stop taking the drugs for even a short time.

Now scientists are trying to figure out how, and where, HIV hides when blood tests show that a person’s viral load is low or undetectable. The location of this reservoir has long been a mystery, but that could soon change. Read more.

New chemical eyed in fight vs. Alzheimer’s

A Cambridge biotech startup is using a new method to gauge the health of synapses in people’s brains as it prepares to test an experimental medicine to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the great white whale for drug makers. Read more.

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