A Killer(-T) Nobel Prize In Medicine

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immunology, Immunotherapy

A Killer(-T) Nobel Prize In Medicine On October 1, James Allison, now at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Tasuku Honjo, now at Kyoto University, won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The two scientists discovered the basis for today’s hugely successful immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies. Let’s look at their discoveries and how they have revolutionized cancer treatment. Keeping The Immune System … Read More

Autophagy: The Incredible, Edible Cell?

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, The WEEKLY

Autophagy: The Incredible, Edible Cell? True, weird fact: our cells are cannibals. Right now, these itty-bitty sacs of vital fluids inside your body are eating themselves. This phenomenon is called autophagy, or “self-eating.” Autophagy Is Awesome This seemingly odd phenomenon is old news to biologists. They already know that autophagy is really about cellular cleanup and recycling, not cannibalism. It’s a … Read More

Attack Of The Tregs!!

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immunology, Immunotherapy, Inflammation

Attack Of The Tregs!! No matter what it sounds like, this subset of helper T-cells aren’t invaders from another planet. Nope, Tregs, or regulatory T-cells, come from New Jersey (don’t say it!) and elsewhere.  They suppress the immune system. These newcomers to the drug discovery and development scene intrigue the men and women seeking new approaches to diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. … Read More

Hacking The Fountain Of Youth

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Longevity

Hacking The Fountain Of Youth Last week, we began to delve into longevity research — the area of biotech which seeks to understand the biomolecular changes that occur with aging and possibly underlie many of the dubious gifts of old age: heart disease, Alzheimer’s and more. The work aims to lengthen life span of course, but more importantly to extend health … Read More

Fountains of Healthy Old Age?

Emily BurkeEdited by Sarah Van Tiem, Longevity, The WEEKLY

Fountains Of Healthy Old Age? Plenty of famous people have uttered (or supposedly uttered) lots of pithy comments about aging. A couple gems: “Age is mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it don’t matter,” said Satchel Paige.  “We are always the same age inside,” Gertrude Stein wrote — she lived in Paris; how could she help but feel amazing? … Read More

Breath Biopsies

Emily BurkeDiagnostics, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem

A Breath Of Fresh Air For Diagnostics In the scary world of serious illness, early detection is crucial.  The sooner someone knows he has cancer or rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the sooner they can get moving with treatment.  Early detection means a greater likelihood of a good outcome, saved time and money and maybe even less heartache. Sadly, diagnosing disease … Read More

Amazing Antibodies Part 2: Enlightened & Nano

Emily BurkeEdited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

What Can’t These Little Dudes Do? When last we met, we discussed the fundamentals of monoclonal (mAb) therapies and looked at two recent advances: antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies. This week continues our adventure in antibody innovation by introducing antibody-based photoimmunotherapy and nanobodies. Lightening Cancer Patient’s Prospects Photoimmunotherapy was conceived of at the National Institutes of Health and is being developed by Aspyrian Therapeutics (San Diego, … Read More

Amazing Antibodies Part One: Bispecifics & Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Emily BurkeBiologics, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immune System, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

Attack Of The Mono- & Polyclonals Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics burst onto the healthcare scene twenty years ago. They remain one of the most versatile and effective therapies available for a whole range of diseases including different types of cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and most recently, even high cholesterol. Tried and true mAbs, such as Herceptin and Rituxan, remain in … Read More

The Immune System: Friend & Sometimes Foe

Emily BurkeAuthor Emily Burke PhD, Biotech Basics, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immune System, Immunotherapy

The Immune System: Friend & Sometimes Foe The immune system. Yes, everybody has one. It’s pretty important to our health. But what the heck is it? In short, the immune system is a complicated network of organs, cells, and signaling molecules. Without this guardian, we fall prey to dangerous pathogens and toxic substances in the environment. The immune system can … Read More

Gluten: Protein of Doom

Emily Burkeceliac, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, gluten sensitivity

Celiac Disease Imagine the tantalizing scent of freshly baked bread. Now, think about even a single scrumptious slice wreaking havoc on you: stomach pain, bloating and other digestive consequences. Welcome to Planet Celiac—home to the millions of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease. Today’s WEEKLY looks at this autoimmune disorder and how biotech companies are working to make life a lot … Read More

Red Blood Cells: Ready For Double-Duty?

Emily BurkeDrug Delivery, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, The WEEKLY

RED BLOOD CELLS: READY FOR DOUBLE-DUTY? Biotech Primer WEEKLY talks a lot about white blood cells, with good reason. These powerful immune cells defend us against pathogens and have recently been adapted to fight cancer as CAR-T cells. What about the body’s other major type of blood cell–red blood cells (RBCs)? Although they receive less media attention, scientists have long … Read More

Rare Disease Focus: PKU

Emily BurkeDrug Approvals, Drug Development, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs

Biopharma To The Rescue: PKU The ubiquitous soda can. Who hasn’t seen one? Ever look on the back, at the disturbingly long paragraph of ingredients? The list of ingredients on the back of a can of diet soda are perhaps even more unsettling. Underneath it, there’s a warning in bold: “Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.” Phenylalanine doesn’t harm most people. But what’s … Read More

Groundbreaking Migraine Drug Explained

Emily BurkeAuthor Emily Burke PhD, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Drug Targets, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Migraine

FIRST IN CLASS MIGRAINE APPROVAL Last month the FDA approved Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA) new migraine drug Aimovig, the first drug shown to prevent the onset of migraines. The drug significantly reduces the number of migraine days in difficult-to-treat (those that have failed 2 to 4 prior treatments) patient populations. In some patients dubbed “super responders”, migraines occurrence went from several times/month to no occurrence for 6 … Read More