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Eli Lilly will use the platform of Avidity Biosciences to develop new treatments in immunology—the pharma giant’s third immunology collaboration announced in the past four months—and other unspecified “select indications,” through a partnership that could generate up to $440 million-plus for the six-year-old startup, the companies said today. Based in La Jolla, CA, Avidity specializes in developing drugs using its...
CRISPR
A concern that has plagued CRISPR-Cas9 technology from the beginning is the possibility, and unknown effect, of off-target effects—DNA mutations that result from CRISPR-Cas9 editing that are not in the targeted area. In order to understand the effect of off-target changes, they must first be detected. A new universally applicable approach for unbiased off-target identification has been developed. Named DISCOVER-Seq...
Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Cancer Center have uncovered an unexpected link between the essential amino acid leucine and tamoxifen resistance in estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, which hint that patients may benefit from reducing how much animal protein they eat. Their findings demonstrate that decreasing leucine levels suppresses proliferation of tumor cells, whereas increasing leucine enhances it.
schematic representation of the selective binding of testosterone
Scientists at Tokyo Tech's Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science report that they have designed and developed a capsule-shaped synthetic receptor that can distinguish between male and female steroid hormones. Namely, the receptor displays unusual high binding affinity toward androgenic male hormones in water. The researchers envision that their synthetic receptor will be used for the development of practical, ultrasensitive...
Tablets on dollar bills
The first cancer drug to reach “blockbuster” status with sales of more than $1 billion was paclitaxel in 1997. Twenty years later, the median annual cost of a new cancer drug launched in 2017 exceeded $150,000, compared to $79,000 for the new cancer drugs launched in 2013, according to a report issued last year by IQVIA™ Institute for Human...
Electronic gizmos and living cells alike can process signals, turning inputs into outputs—even recognizing when gray-area signaling is dark enough, or light enough, to justify decisions that are, well, black and white. In cells, this kind of signal processing is at the root of processes such as differentiation and development. Imagine if one could hack such processes! One could...
Pfizer and Eli Lilly said they will study the mixed Phase III results generated by their non-opioid chronic pain candidate tanezumab before deciding whether to continue developing the nerve growth factor (NGF) inhibitor. The phama giants have released topline results from the Phase III trial, designed to compare the long-term safety and efficacy of two tanezumab dosages, 2.5 mg and...
The ginkgo tree is a living fossil, dating back at least 270 million years. So, it’s no surprise to find uses for the plant show up in various texts and writings of antiquity. For instance, traditional Chinese medicine is riddled with concoctions and tinctures that blend herbal elements together and often have some real medicinal value. The antimalarial artemisinin...
Researchers from the lab of Bart Deplancke, PhD, at the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) Institute of Bioengineering say they have developed a new method called Bulk RNA Barcoding and sequencing (BRB-seq) which is 25 times less expensive than conventional commercial RNA sequencing technology. Among its many advantages, BRB-seq is quick and preserves strand-specificity, the scientists noted. As such, BRB-seq offers a...
In a first for patients born with the deadly X-SCID immunodeficiency disease, in which immune cells do not develop or function normally, a safe and effective gene therapy has provided a cure. The eight babies involved in the study have functioning immune systems, normal growth, and are busy toddlers able to explore their surroundings.

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