The Science of Biotech

 

The Microbiome Magnified

You'll Never Walk Alone Ready for a fascinating, “earthy” truth about ourselves? Our every surface and crevice teems with microbes—inside and out. In fact, bacterial cells in and on our body outnumber human cells by about ten to one. Most people...

Articles

Attack Of The Tregs!!

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...

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Pills, Peptides, & Proteins

Promising Peptide Therapies The front runners in the game of drug delivery include small molecule and large molecule drugs, but there is another class that lands right in between: peptides. Several companies, including Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (Boston, MA), Kalos...

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The Immune System: Friend & Sometimes Foe

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...

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Gluten: Protein of Doom

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...

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Taking a Swing at Peanut Allergies

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...

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Meatless Meat: Biotech Burger Ain’t No Bean Patty

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: MEATLESS MEAT? Imagine biting into a juicy cheeseburger: the flavor, the texture, the smell. Now, imagine the cheeseburger meatless. Impossible? No. Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, CA-based company has used biotechnology to create a plant-based...

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Who’s Your Daddy? The Science of DNA Ancestry

Hey—Check Out Those Genes! There’s an old saying, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you can’t know where you’re going.” We used to rely on paper birth certificates, marriage licenses and memory to help discover where we’ve come from; but paper gets damaged,...

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DNA Vaccines Explained

MORE ON THE POWERFUL, ELEGANT SIMPLICITY OF VACCINES Last week, we overviewed vaccine development and manufacture, focusing on those that use whole pathogens to protect us from a disease. This week, we examine subunit and polysaccharide vaccines, which use different...

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Vaccines: Powerful Simplicity

Vaccines: Elegant, Powerful Simplicity Anyone who’s suffered the aches and fever of influenza has good reason to value the simple flu shot. In fact, millions roll up their sleeves and literally take their medicine. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Atlanta,...

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Cell Signaling Explained

UNDERSTANDING THE DISEASE PROCESS Greetings from BIO 2017! It’s been a busy week here at the BIO International Convention here in San Diego, CA. At our convention booth, this year’s giveaway was our book written especially for non-scientists: The Biotech Primer: An...

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Decoding Your Genes

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...

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Therapeutic Antibody Primer

Basics & Innovations Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics burst onto the healthcare scene 20 years ago, and today they remain one of the most versatile and effective therapeutics available. The tried and true mAbs are still in high demand, and we suspect this...

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GMO Apples Hit Marketplace

Coming Soon To A Supermarket Near You Coming soon to a supermarket near you: apples that have been genetically modified to resist browning.  Dubbed Arctic Apples, the plants were approved two years ago by the USDA and will begin appearing on select retailers' shelves...

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Unwiring The Biology Of Fibrosis

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...

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Post-translational Modifications In Biotech

Basic Science Meets Application “Post-translational modification” may not be a term you hear every day, but it is critically important to the biotech industry—from understanding how cancer develops to producing biologics. Breaking the term down, we know that: “post”...

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Two Monoclonal Antibodies Walk Into The Market

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...

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100 Biotech and Drug Development Terms

Antibody: A protein produced by the immune system that binds to a specific antigen. Antibody-Drug Conjugate: An antibody that has a toxic drug, typically a chemotherapeutic agent, attached to it for target delivery to a specific tumor cell. Antigen: A foreign...

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GMO Salmon

GMOs Finally Swim Upstream AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon will make it to your dinner table in less time than it took to toil through the FDA pipeline. Coined AquAdvantage Salmon, it is the first genetically modified animal available for human consumption...

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Et Tu, Immune System?

Autoimmune Disorders: A Story Of Betrayal “Et tu, Brute?” The famous line spoken by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is synonymous with unexpected betrayal by a close friend. A once trusted member of the inner circle, Marcus Brutus joined the coup and turned on Caesar. The...

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Is Genetic Variety The Spice Of Life?

Understanding Basis Of Evolution Take a look at the person closest to you. Compare the color of their eyes, the texture of their hair, even the complexion of their skin to your own. Do you notice a lot of differences? Genetic variation accounts for the dissimilarities...

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Presenting The New Class Of Transcriptional Therapeutics

DNA: Coding Vs. NON-Coding The completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 revealed a big surprise: up to 98% of the DNA making up the human genome does not code for proteins! The notion that parts of the genome were non-coding had been circulating for several...

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The Realm Of Next Generation Sequencing

Breaking Down The Genome A billion dollar budget, a decade of work, and multinational collaboration brought the first human genome sequence—via the Human Genome Project—to the world at the turn of the century. Today, using so-called “next-generation sequencing (NGS),”...

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Gene Chips 101

PERSONAL GENOMICS TURNS HEADS IN BIOTECH 23andMe, the Silicon Valley based personal genomics company named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell, is turning a few heads in the biotechnology industry lately. After a very public and still unresolved...

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Don’t Be DOA. Learn The MOA.

MAJOR MECHANISMS OF ACTION The top selling drugs of 2013 were Abilify (Otsuka Pharmaceuticals; $6.9 billion), Nexium (AstraZeneca; $6.3 billion), and Humira (AbbVie; $5.9 billion). Anyone who follows biopharmaceuticals—and plenty of people who do not—are familiar with...

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