Gene Therapy Cures

Emily BurkeBiologics, Gene Therapy, Genetics, Term of the Week

The Promise of Gene Therapy Unfolds In many ways, 2017 was the year of gene therapy in the United States. Patients and pharmaceutical companies celebrated the approval of not one, but three treatments for otherwise untreatable health conditions. Researchers have been working on developing safe, effective gene therapies for three decades. Early trials were plagued with safety issues. Consequently, the … Read More

Picturing Disease

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Diagnostics, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

USING MEDICAL IMAGING TO INVESTIGATE DISEASE Medical imaging — using various modalities to take a snapshot of the body’s interior structure — has been around since 1895, with the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation (more on that later!) that are able to pass through soft tissues such as skin, fat, and muscle … Read More

A Skin Cell With Stem Cell Diversity?

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

INDUCED PLURIPOTENT STEM CELLS SHOW PROMISE Imagine being able to reprogram one of your own skin cells to produce a functioning nerve cell or section of cardiac tissue. This may sound like science fiction — but the groundwork for this to become a reality is already in the works as researchers expand their ability to create and manipulate induced pluripotent stem … Read More

Phage — More Than Just A Phase

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Old Way Of Fighting Bacteria Renewed One of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century is antibiotic resistance, which occurs when a few bacteria in a given population develop a genetic mutation that enables them to survive — even in the presence of antibiotics. How do bacteria become drug resistant? Suppose a particular antibiotic inhibits an enzyme required for bacterial replication. … Read More

Decoding Your Genes

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Diagnostics, Drug Approvals, Easily Confused, FDA, Genetics, Genomics, Orphan Disease, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

The Skinny On DNA Testing 23andMe (Mountain View, CA) recently found itself back in the limelight after the disease risk section of its mail-in DNA kit received an OK from the FDA. The Silicon Valley biotech had to halt sales of its direct-to-consumer genetics testing back in 2013 after regulatory officials grew concerned over marketing claims and the possibility of consumers misinterpreting the test results. 23andMe rebooted a limited part of … Read More

The Intrigue Of HIF

Emily BurkeCancer, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

The Versatility Of HIFs Quite a few headlines touting a term called “HIF compound” or “hypoxia-inducible factor compound” have intrigued us here at WEEKLY headquarters. GlaxoSmithKline (London, England), Akebia Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA) and more have HIF-inducing drugs in the pipeline which may prove to be attractive alternatives to Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA) injectable Epogen currently on the market. In earlier stages of research, HIFs are being studied for their connection to tumor … Read More

Unwiring The Biology Of Fibrosis

Emily BurkeAntisense, Biologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Fibrotic Disease Innovations Fibrotic diseases — organ and tissue disorders that occur as a result of the buildup of excessive scar tissue — are sounding the alarm in the biotech sector. A silent epidemic creeping up on the Western world involves non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), or liver fibrosis associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, NASH can lead to liver failure. Currently, … Read More

The Molecular Cause Of Obesity

Emily BurkeClinical Trials, Diabetes, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week

Targeting Fat Obesity is considered one of the most pressing public health issues of the day. According to the Center for Disease Control, 37% of adults and 17% of children in the U.S. are obese. The latest drug interventions work by attempting to suppress food intake, which has proven beneficial for some. However, there is still a large unmet need … Read More

Cancer Vaccines & Game Changers

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week

The Elusive Cancer Vaccine The promise of cancer vaccines have proven to be elusive. A new crop of biotechs are hoping to change that by taking advantage of the latest advances in genomics. Scientists are working overtime trying to develop cancer vaccines that train the immune system to recognize and fight an established tumor. In this WEEKLY, we’ll break down the science … Read More

The Long And Short Of AMD

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genetics, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

A Spotlight On One Of The Most Prevalent Eye Diseases It’s easy to take our ability to see for granted. On a day-to-day basis, we rely on vision to process information and to navigate the world without giving it a second thought. For the millions of people affected by eye disease, vision loss, and blindness, impaired vision is a daily reality … Read More

Vaccines: Schooling The Herd

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Vaccination Nation Back to school means shopping for new school supplies, adjusting to a new schedule and making sure all required vaccinations are up to date. Every state requires school-age children to be vaccinated against certain infectious diseases including tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and chicken pox. Vaccination policies are highly effective at eliminating many … Read More

Two Monoclonal Antibodies Walk Into The Market

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Easily Confused, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Attacking Asthma & Pushing Out Psoriasis Two new monoclonal antibodies debuted on the market thanks to FDA approvals last month. Both treat chronic inflammatory conditions: Lilly’s (Indianapolis, IN) Taltz for psoriasis and Teva’s (Petah Tikva, Israel) drug Cinqair for severe asthma. Interestingly enough, having psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma according to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology. While these two conditions … Read More

On The Hunt

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genetics, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

The Hurdles Of Huntington’s The nervous system is an incredibly complex piece of human machinery, stretching to the far reaches of the body while controlling and receiving the nuances of life from a central command station. Just like any part of the human body, the central nervous system (CNS) is affected by various diseases that are sometimes not entirely understood. After … Read More

The Emerging Proteomics Market

Emily BurkeBusiness of Biotech, Cancer, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Diabetes, Diagnostics, Drug Targets, Genomics, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Picking Apart The Protein Genomics continues to be all the rage in biotech circles—with special kudos to Illumina’s (San Diego, CA) recent ability to obtain an entire human genome sequence in 24-hours for a mere thousand dollars. Our overall understanding of human DNA combined with our ability to determine individual genomes leads to better disease insight, more powerful diagnostics, and a … Read More

Biotech Battles Zika

Emily BurkeDeoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Genetics, GMO, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Latest Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreak The buzz around the Zika virus isn’t going to die down anytime soon. The global health threat is dominating the news while the Brazilian outbreak threatens to spread to the rest of the Americas. As the ramifications of the virus emerge every passing day, we here at Biotech Primer WEEKLY wonder: what is biotech doing to fight Zika? In this issue, … Read More

Finding Footprints

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Diagnostics, Genetics, Monoclonal Antibodies, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

New Player In Cancer Biomarker Detection Catching a tumor’s first footprints is the holy grail of cancer research. The ability to detect and treat cancer early would put the collective mind of humanity at ease. Our best bet yet is the liquid biopsy—a minimally invasive test to detect and monitor cancer, which happens to be all the rage in cancer diagnostics. Liquid biopsies … Read More