news 2020



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Health - Life Sciences - 22.12.2020
Our 10 most-read science news stories of 2020
From stars in another galaxy to a microscopic virus that has taken hold of the entire Earth: in this overview we present the most-read news items about research at KU Leuven in 2020. Bioscience engineers and economists from KU Leuven mapped out how wood could replace petroleum in the chemical industry.

Health - Pharmacology - 01.12.2020
Update: KU Leuven Covid-19 vaccine study published in Nature
Update: KU Leuven Covid-19 vaccine study published in Nature
Today, virologists at the KU Leuven Rega Institute published the results of their pre-clinical study into a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in  Nature . Their paper builds on a preprint that the team shared on bioRxiv earlier this year, and that  we reported on. The vaccine candidate is based on the yellow fever vaccine and thus also protects against yellow fever.

Research Management - Health - 18.11.2020
25 Ghent University researchers are ’Highly Cited Researcher 2020’
This year, Ghent University has no less than 25 researchers with Highly Cited status. This is another fine recognition of the quality of its publications and their scientific impact.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.11.2020
Existing antidepressant helps to inhibit growth of cancer cells in lab animals
New research has shown that the antidepressant sertraline helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The substance acts on a metabolic addiction that allows different types of cancer to grow. This is shown by a study on cell cultures and lab animals performed by various research labs of KU Leuven.

Health - Pharmacology - 26.10.2020
’Preventive malaria treatment improves children’s performance at school’
UAntwerp involved in large-scale international research to be published in The Lancet. School-aged children who are given anti-malaria drugs preventively are only half as likely to catch the disease. And that's not all: their risk of anaemia decreases by 15%, and their school performance improves. All this has been demonstrated by international research in which the University of Antwerp was also involved.

Health - Pharmacology - 09.10.2020
Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, but a high dose of favipiravir does
Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, but a high dose of favipiravir does
Virologists at the Rega Institute have shown that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not limit SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus replication in hamsters. A high dose of the anti-flu drug favipiravir, by contrast, has an antiviral effect in the hamsters. The team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) .

Health - Life Sciences - 06.10.2020
Targeting our second brain to fight diabetes
In brief: Patrice Cani (UCLouvain) and Claude Knauf (INSERM) have discovered a 'jammer' that blocks communication between the gut and the brain, thus preventing proper regulation of sugar and causing insulin resistance in people with diabetes They also discovered that a lipid produced by our body helps prevent this dysfunction and regulate sugar level, thus mitigating diabetes and intestinal inflammation.

Health - 06.10.2020
New study sheds light on COVID-19 outcomes in patients with rare inborn immune disorders
An international consortium led by Isabelle Meyts (KU Leuven) and Stuart Tangye (Garvan Institute) has published its findings on COVID-19 outcomes in individuals with rare inherited immune disorders known as PIDs. Compared to the general population, these patients had similar disease outcomes, but they were more likely to need intensive care and their average age was lower.

Health - 25.09.2020
Cause of mysterious nodding disease
River blindness is the root cause, and nodding disease can easily be controlled by administering an anti-parasitic drug and exterminating the blackfly. For several years now, researchers from the University of Antwerp have been collaborating with African scientists to investigate the causes of 'nodding disease', a mysterious form of epilepsy that only affects children on the African continent.

Health - 11.09.2020
New immunotherapy to beat cancer
In brief: Sophie Lucas (UCLouvain de Duve Institute) and her team succeeded in neutralising a molecule that blocks the immune system against cancer UCLouvain scientists discovered that this new immunotherapy increases the action of another well-known but not always effective immunotherapy, and that it makes tumour regression possible This very promising discovery in the fight against cancer is published in the prestigious scientific journal Natu

Health - Environment - 03.09.2020
Six Young Ghent University Researchers Receive ERC Starting Grant From European Commission
Can network theory help unravel the origin of cardiac arrhythmia? How do plants communicate internally about stress? Can we make thermometers with new nanomaterials that can also administer medication? And can traditional concepts of medical ethics keep up with rapidly succeeding innovations in medicine? These are some of the questions that six young Ghent University researchers will be working on in the coming years.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.08.2020
Mechanisms controlling cellular identity of stem cells identified
Mechanisms controlling cellular identity of stem cells identified
Researchers have identified for the first time the mechanisms by which communication between cells controls the identity of stem cells from the mammary gland and prostate. The mammary gland and prostate are composed of two different cell types: basal cells and luminal cells. These two cell types are maintained by separate basal and luminal stem cells.

Health - 26.08.2020
Belgian COVID-19 patient re-infected only three months after the initial infection
A Belgian patient had COVID-19 twice. She was reinfected 93 days after the first infection and experienced symptoms in both occasions. The virus isolates from her nasal swab test were analysed at KU Leuven. In March 2020, a 51-year-old patient presented to her general physician with a fever, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle pain and a sudden loss of smell and taste.

Health - 05.08.2020
Fewer heart attacks in early lockdown
Fewer heart attacks in early lockdown
During the lockdown, 26% fewer patients were admitted to Belgian hospitals following a heart attack. "Patients were more reluctant to go to the hospital, but on the upside, people got to unwind and relax more, resulting in fewer heart problem", says cardiologist Marc Claeys (UZA/UAntwerp). With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, many physicians sounded the alarm in the media: they feared that people with problems unrelated to COVID-19 would put off going to their doctor or even the emergency room out of fear of becoming infected with the virus.

Health - Pharmacology - 28.07.2020
ExeVir Bio to Accelerate Development of New Treatment Conferring Broad Protection Against Covid-19
ExeVir Bio, a technology platform with potential to generate robust antiviral therapies. ExeVir Bio announces today a first closing of a EUR23 million Series A financing led by Fund+, with the participation of VIB, UCB Ventures, the Belgian Federal Government via SFPI-FPIM, V-Bio Ventures and several Belgian family offices.

Health - 16.07.2020
Covid-19 vs measles: 120 million children at risk
According to UCLouvain research conducted in collaboration with WHO, Stanford University, and Harvard Medical School, measles vaccination is taking a back seat to the fight against Covid-19 120 million children are at risk of not being vaccinated this year in poor countries, where Covid-19 claims far fewer victims than measles The study was published in the prestigious scientific journal Science Article:

Health - Life Sciences - 09.07.2020
Which vaccine types are in the running against COVID-19?
Which vaccine types are in the running against COVID-19?
The world is eagerly awaiting one or more vaccines to protect us against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We will only be able to fully resume our lives when we are immune to the infection.

Pharmacology - Health - 09.07.2020
KU Leuven virologists select vaccine candidate for clinical trials
KU Leuven virologists select vaccine candidate for clinical trials
Virologists at the Rega Institute at KU Leuven (Belgium) have developed a vaccine candidate that protects hamsters from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Theirs is one of the first vaccine candidates that is proven to protect lab animals from infection. The team aims to start clinical trials next Winter.

Pharmacology - Health - 03.07.2020
Popular chemotherapy drug may be less effective in overweight and obese women
Popular chemotherapy drug may be less effective in overweight and obese women
Breast cancer patients who are overweight or obese might benefit less from treatment with docetaxel, a common chemotherapy drug, than lean patients. An international team of researchers based this conclusion on a retrospective analysis of data from a large clinical trial. Their study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology .

Life Sciences - Health - 22.06.2020
Click... Resistant bacteria caught in the act !
Click... Resistant bacteria caught in the act !
As humanity fights against the coronavirus, the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria continues Scientists at UCLouvain have succeeded in capturing unique images of protein soldiers that help bacteria resist drugs. This discovery is published in the prestigious scientific The image recordings will make it possible to develop new attacks on bacteria and thus produce Article: The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is a major health problem.