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Researchers deliver road map of lung development

RICHLAND, Wash.—Researchers have compiled the most comprehensive road map of the protein composition of human lungs, providing a clearer picture of the healthy development of this essential organ that made terrestrial life possible. Credit: Illustration..

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RICHLAND, Wash.—Researchers have compiled the most comprehensive road map of the protein composition of human lungs, providing a clearer picture of the healthy development of this essential organ that made terrestrial life possible.

Credit: Illustration by Stephanie King and Geremy Clair | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

RICHLAND, Wash.—Researchers have compiled the most comprehensive road map of the protein composition of human lungs, providing a clearer picture of the healthy development of this essential organ that made terrestrial life possible.

 

The study, led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, describes how thousands of molecules are modulated in a coordinated fashion during the formation of pulmonary tissue. The findings are expected to provide a gateway for further study of human lung formation and function.

 

The study was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

 

The findings lay the groundwork for progress on a host of diseases that affect more than 35 million Americans, according to the American Lung Association. The study’s authors say the molecular road map of the lung’s proteins will help physicians understand lung development. This should help guide strategies to help premature infants and lead to new ways to explore tissue regeneration in adults. Common lung diseases include asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and COVID-19.

 

“We examined proteins in early development stages and we looked at how they are changing during the development of the organ,” said PNNL research scientist Geremy Clair, the study’s lead author. “The idea was to learn things about development that we have not seen with previous biomedical studies. Those studies—mostly derived from animals—painted part of the picture, but the data we have generated provide insights on previously unknown details.”

 

Protein power

The lungs are a complex organ with around 40 cell types, and proteins are the engines powering the bulk of their cellular processes. Researchers analyzed the protein composition and molecular maturation in pulmonary tissue from nearly 50 donors, from birth to 8 years. Scientists identified and measured 8,938 proteins.

 

The team found that the immune system in the lungs continues to develop for years after birth. While scientists know that the immune system develops throughout our lives, the extent of change in the lungs in childhood surprised researchers. It’s a welcome phenomenon because the lungs are one of the main gateways for pathogens to enter the body throughout our lifetime.

 

“The take-home message is that this is a first-of-its-kind analysis of how the protein building blocks of the lung change as a child grows from birth to mid-childhood,” said Dr. Gloria Pryhuber, a study coauthor and professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “This study provides a reference map for future investigators to work on certain subsets of the changing proteins, whether they be enzymes or structural proteins.”

 

Lung development, normal and abnormal

The research provides greater clarity about lung development. For example, while it’s been known that lung development continues after birth, the study showed more precisely when to expect further stages of development.

 

“The lung is not completely developed when a baby is born,” Clair said. “There is a little sac at the end of the airways—the major passages of the lungs—that has to divide into grape shapes called alveoli. Our study helps us better understand how this process works. Sometimes that development does not take place as expected. Our findings will help provide answers for that unfortunate circumstance, too.”

 

Medical professionals will be able to use the protein map to help diagnose a variety of lung ailments as well as assess lung malfunction and disease in adults, Clair said. The data of the study are publicly available on Lungmap.net.

 

“This study will be a resource in understanding developmental biology,” Clair said. “It has relevance for lung transplants, for cystic fibrosis in children, for pulmonary fibrosis, as well as for idiopathic fibrosis.”

 

Pryhuber concurred that the study will have practical benefits for patient care.

 

“But that won’t happen overnight,” Pryhuber said. “Much work remains to be done. Now that it is known that these nearly 9,000 proteins are there and change with age, some may be studied as biomarkers of health or disease and others as potential targets for therapies.”

 

Lungs of the future

Clair also said the study could play a role in COVID treatment. “That may not happen right away,” Clair said. “But so many of the patients who survive COVID have experienced difficulties in breathing. We don’t know the long-term implications for those patients in years to come. But this study—along with others—will provide information that likely will assist in the development of therapeutic strategies.”

 

Ultimately, Clair said the lung protein data could provide some of the pieces to create artificial lungs.

“Right now, there is a shortage of donor lungs for people who need transplants,” he said. “We need to find ways to regenerate lungs, or potentially make new lungs from cells of existing lungs. Technology today is much better than it was 20 years ago. We may have better technology 20 years from now. This study is part of the data that may make this possible.”

The research was performed through the LungMAP project, which includes investigators from around the world working together to develop a molecular atlas of the developing human lung. In addition to researchers from PNNL and the University of Rochester, scientists from the University of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the University of Washington and the University of Texas contributed to this project.

 

The protein analyses were done at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility at PNNL.

 

Authors from PNNL, in addition to Clair, include Lisa M. Bramer, Song Feng, Vincent G. Danna, Harsh Bhotika and Joshua N. Adkins, as well as former PNNL scientist Charles Ansong, now at NIH. The work was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grants U01HL148860, U01HL134745 and U01HL148856).

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Economics

FT-IGM US Macroeconomists Survey for December

The FT-IGM US Macroeconomists survey is out (it was conducted over the weekend). The results are summarized here, and an FT article here (gated). Here’s some of the results. For GDP, assuming Q4 is as predicted in the November Survey of Professional…

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The FT-IGM US Macroeconomists survey is out (it was conducted over the weekend). The results are summarized here, and an FT article here (gated). Here’s some of the results.

For GDP, assuming Q4 is as predicted in the November Survey of Professional Forecasters, we have the following picture.

Figure 1: GDP (black), potential GDP (gray), November Survey of Professional Forecasters (red), November SPF subtracting 1.5ppts in Q1, 05ppts in Q2 (blue), FT-IGM December survey (sky blue squares), all on log scale. FT-IGM GDP level assumes 2021Q4 growth rate equals SPF November forecast. NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BEA 2021Q3 2nd release, Philadelphia Fed November SPF, FT-IGM December survey, and author’s calculations.

In the figure above, I’ve used the SPF forecast of 4.6% SAAR in 2021Q4; the Atlanta Fed’s nowcast as of yesterday (12/7) was 8.6% SAAR. A new nowcast comes out tomorrow.

Interestingly, q4/q4 median forecasted growth equals that implied by the Survey of Professional Forecasters November survey (which was taken nearly a month before news of the omicron variant came out).

The q4/q4 forecast distribution for 2022 is skewed, with the 90th percentile at 5% growth, the 10th percentile at 2.5%, and median at 3.5%. I show the corresponding implied levels of GDP (once again assuming 2021Q4 growth equals the SPF ).

Figure 2: GDP (black), November Survey of Professional Forecasters (red), FT-IGM December survey (sky blue squares), 90th percentile and 10th percentile implied levels (light blue +), my median forecast (green triangle), all on log scale. FT-IGM GDP level assumes 2021Q4 growth rate equals SPF November forecast. NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BEA 2021Q3 2nd release, Philadelphia Fed November SPF, FT-IGM December survey, and author’s calculations.

On unemployment, the median forecast is for a deceleration in recovery,

Figure 3: Unemployment rate (black), November Survey of Professional Forecasters (red), FT-IGM December survey (sky blue square), 90th percentile and 10th percentile implied levels (light blue +), my median forecast (green triangle). NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BEA 2021Q3 2nd release, Philadelphia Fed November SPF, FT-IGM December survey, and author’s calculations.

The survey respondents also think that the participation rate will take a long time to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Source: FT-IGM, December 2021 survey.

On inflation, the median is higher than the November SPF mean estimate for 2022 of 2.3% (and Goldman Sachs’ current estimate).

Source: FT-IGM, December 2021 survey.

The entire survey results are here.

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Government

Over 170 companies delisted from major U.S. stock exchanges in 12 months

  Over the years, United States-based exchanges have remained an attractive destination for most companies aiming to go public. With businesses jostling to join the trading platforms, the exchanges have also delisted a significant number of companies….

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Over the years, United States-based exchanges have remained an attractive destination for most companies aiming to go public. With businesses jostling to join the trading platforms, the exchanges have also delisted a significant number of companies.

According to data acquired by Finbold, a total of 179 companies have been delisted from the major United States exchanges between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, the number of companies on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 6,000, dropping 2.89% from last year’s figure of 6,179. In 2019, the listed companies stood at 5,454.

NYSE recorded the highest delisting with companies on the platform, dropping 15.28% year-over-year from 2,873 to 2,434. Elsewhere, Nasdaq listed companies grew 7.86% from 3,306 to 3,566. Data on the number of listed companies on NASDAQ and NYSE is provided by The World Federation of Exchanges.

The delisting of the companies is potentially guided by basic factors such as violating listing regulations and failing to meet minimum financial standards like the inability to maintain a minimum share price, financial ratios, and sales levels. Additionally, some companies might opt for voluntary delisting motivated by the desire to trade on other exchanges.

Furthermore, the delisting on U.S. major exchanges might be due to the emergence of new alternative markets, especially in Asia. China and Hong Kong markets have become more appealing, with regulators making local listings more attractive. Over the years, exchanges in the region have strived to emerge as key players amid dominance by U.S. equity markets. As per a previous report, the U.S. controls 56% of the global stock market value.

A significant portion of the delisted companies also stems from the regulatory perspective pitting U.S. agencies and their Chinese counterparts. For instance, China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom, and China Telecom Corp announced their delisting from NYSE, citing investment restrictions dating from 2020.

Worth noting is that the delisting of firms was initiated due to strict measures put in place by the Trump administration. The current administration has left the regulations in place while proposing additional regulations. For instance, a recent regulation update by the Securities Exchange Commission requiring US-listed Chinese companies to disclose their ownership structure has led to the exit of cab-hailing company Didi from the NYSE.

Impact of pandemic on the listing of companies

The delisting also comes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in economic turmoil. With the shutdown of the economy, most companies entered into bankruptcies as the stock market crashed to historical lows.

Lower stock prices translate to less wealth for businesses, pension funds, and individual investors, and listed companies could not get the much-needed funding for their normal operations.

At the same time, the focus on more companies going public over the last year can be highlighted by firms on the Nasdaq exchange. Worth noting is that in 2020, there was tremendous growth in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), mainly driven by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With the uncertainty of raising money through the traditional means, SPACs found a perfect role to inject more funds into capital-starving companies to go public.

From the data, foreign companies listing in the United States have grown steadily, with the business aiming to leverage the benefits of operating in the country. Notably, listing on U.S. exchanges guarantees companies liquidity and high potential to raise capital. Furthermore, listing on either NYSE or Nasdaq comes with the needed credibility to attract more investors. The companies are generally viewed as a home for established, respected, and successful global companies.

In general, over the past year, factors like the pandemic have altered the face of stock exchanges to some point threatening the continued dominance of major U.S. exchanges. Tensions between the US and China are contributing to the crisis which will eventually impact the number of listed companies.

 

Courtesy of Finbold.

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Economics

Stock futures open flat as Omicron concerns ease

Dow futures edged up 0.02%, while contracts on the Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.10%…
The post Stock futures open flat as Omicron concerns ease first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Dow futures edged up 0.02%, while contracts on the Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.10%

Stock futures opened relatively flat on Wednesday evening, though sustaining gains posted by a three-day recovery rally that was led by cooled investor concerns around the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Dow futures edged up 0.02%, while contracts on the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.10%. All major indexes closed up, with the S&P 500 adding 14.46 points to end the session at 4,701.21, just 0.5% short of the trading session on Nov. 24, a day before the latest COVID-19 variant was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The moves were supported by eased virus fears after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech reported that early lab studies show a third dose of their coronavirus vaccine mitigates the Omicron variant.

The vaccine makers had indicated the initial two doses may not be enough to protect against infection from Omicron. Shares of Pfizer (PFE) traded 0.62% lower on Wednesday, closing at $51.40.

With virus concerns diminishing, investors are pivoting their attention back to economic data, awaiting Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures on Friday to assess the extent inflationary pressures will persist.

If the Omicron variant was to lead to a resurgence in goods spending at the expense of services or to further complicate supply disruptions, there could be a clear inflationary impact, too, HSBC economist James Pomeroy wrote earlier this week in a research note to clients.

He stated: The inflation news in the past few weeks has been decidedly mixed — with upside surprises in both the U.S. and eurozone being offset by the possibility of some of the supply chain issues starting to alleviate, while energy prices have fallen sharply in recent days.

The post Stock futures open flat as Omicron concerns ease first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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