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

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

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

Breaking Bad With SCLC & NSCLC

Emily BurkeALK, Cancer, Drug Development, Drug Targets, The WEEKLY

Breaking Down Lung Cancer  The hit TV series Breaking Bad features anti-hero Walter White, who starts out as a sympathetic character: a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher with a nagging cough that turns out to be lung cancer. Money problems precipitated by costly treatments, poor insurance, and a modest salary push him to start cooking up meth to ensure the financial security of … 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

Taking a Swing at Peanut Allergies

Emily BurkeThe WEEKLY

HOW DO ALLERGIES DEVELOP? Every summer, watching a game at the ballpark and digging into a bag of peanuts is a source of entertainment for many Americans. For the 15 million who suffer from peanut allergies, the idea of being taken out to the ballgame elicits concern — or even anxiety. Food allergies — think tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, … Read More

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Tough Nut To Crack

Emily BurkeAlzheimer's Disease, The WEEKLY

AFFECTING 5.1 MILLION Alzheimer’s disease (AD) ranks as one of the toughest nuts to crack within drug discovery and development. Current treatments merely manage symptoms, so finding a better solution becomes more and more urgent as the aging population grows. Approximately 70 percent of dementia cases are caused by AD. It is a neurodegenerative disorder— neurons progressively lose structure and … Read More

Market Access

Linda LanderDrug Approvals, Market Access, The WEEKLY

Market Access Primer  For the last few weeks we here at Biotech Primer have tracked the progression of a drug candidate from the lab to the marketplace, where only the fittest survive. Winning at clinical trials means earning an official regulatory approval. Congratulations! But as any seasoned drug developer will tell you, the game has only just begun. Ensuring newly-approved … Read More

From Drug Development To Approval: Phase III

Emily BurkeAuthor Emily Burke PhD, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, FDA, The WEEKLY

Phase III Is No Guarantee Our last Biotech Primer WEEKLY explored the riskiest part of the human clinical trials pathway: Phase II. About 70% of drugs that enter Phase II never make it out. Most often, it’s because they fail to demonstrate effectiveness. Even making it to Phase III is no guarantee of success – about 40% of drugs fizzle … Read More

From Drug Development to Approval: Phase I/II

Emily BurkeClinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, FDA, The WEEKLY

Phase I and II Clinical Trials Every drug in clinical use today, from the latest CAR-T treatment to older cholesterol-lowering statins, share one thing in common: they have all successfully navigated the rigorous clinical trials process. This is no small feat, as only ~10% of the drugs that enter Phase I testing successfully emerge as marketed products. Those few drugs … Read More

Plants That Heal

Kevin Curran, PhDThe WEEKLY

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet Where does medicine come from? Before it gets to your medicine chest? Before you purchase it from your neighborhood drugstore? Next time you’re hiking through a forest or gazing at your pretty screensaver of the Olympic Peninsula, think of this: the magic that relieves a throbbing headache or lowers your dad’s blood pressure may well have started … Read More

Bye-Bye Opioids? Introducing Electroceuticals

Emily BurkeThe WEEKLY

MEDICINE-FREE PAIN MANAGEMENT Migraine relief without drugs? No “digestive issues” due to pain meds after surgery? Better still, no worry about addiction after that appendectomy or hip replacement? Sounds a bit science-fictiony, does it not? The news reminds us nearly every day of the profound need for pain management without opioids. As you read last week, alternatives to analgesics such … Read More