August 16, 2016 – 8:30 am
(Fargo, ND) August 16, 2016 – Today, at the State of Technology Conference with Senator Hoeven and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, Aldevron announces completing the production of a DNA-based vaccine to combat malaria under a contract with the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC). Aldevron, a leading contract manufacturer of plasmid DNA, proteins, and antibodies, produced three plasmid DNA constructs that have been delivered to NMRC in preparation for a phase I/II challenge study. “Malaria is a difficult problem from medical and socioeconomic perspectives. It is a great privilege to be a part of this project,” states Michael Chambers, CEO of Aldevron. As part of the contract, Aldevron manufactured gram quantities of plasmid DNA under cGMP conditions using the Company’s proprietary large-scale DNA production technology.
August 9, 2016 – 10:57 am
Dr. Jim Wilson, geneticist, University of Pennsylvania, talks about the recovery of the biotech field in regards to gene therapy. He discusses his history in the field, major moments through its development including setbacks, and future plans. To read the condensed version of his interview, please click below.
August 5, 2016 – 10:38 am
In 2002, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Protection turned to a pair of NDSU graduates when the West Nile virus threatened to wipe out the world’s 200 remaining California condors. Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne created a DNA-based vaccine in less than two months. It was the first ever used outside a trial setting. This vaccine is an example of their specialty. Their company, Aldevron, has created specialized genetic material used in DNA-based vaccines and many gene therapy and gene editing treatments since it opened in 1998. The company has grown to include three locations in Fargo, North Dakota, Madison, Wisconsin, and Freiburg, Germany. But it got its start in Fargo, specifically, at NDSU. Aldevron’s international recognition can seem surreal at times, considering its humble start. After graduation, Chambers wanted to start a research company and eventually teamed up with Ballantyne. They were unable to secure financial backing from investors to build a laboratory and decided to finance the venture themselves. NDSU provided a solution, allowing the entrepreneurs to rent laboratory space and equipment in Hultz Hall.
July 13, 2016 – 12:26 pm
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine say they have manipulated a novel target in the brain using gene therapy that could lead to new treatments for depression. The investigators showed decreasing hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channel proteins reduced depression-like behavior in mice. If replicated in humans, the findings could inform fresh therapies for millions of patients who do not respond to existing treatments for depression. "Drugs currently available for treating depression help most patients, but they stop working for some patients and don't work from the get-go for others," said senior author Dane Chetkovich, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology and physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine neurologist. "There is a real need for new therapies to help patients desperate for alternatives to the available therapeutic options."
July 7, 2016 – 10:00 am
Researchers have developed a new strategy using lung-targeted gene therapy that may lead to improved treatments for inherited diseases including emphysema. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is the most common genetic cause of emphysema, a chronic lung disease that leads to significant morbidity and mortality. AATD, which affects up to 100,000 Americans, is caused by inheritance of a single gene mutation. The current treatment for patients affected by AATD involves weekly intravenous infusion of the normal AAT protein -- an inconvenient, invasive and expensive option. Delivery of a normal copy of the gene, known as gene therapy, is an experimental approach to treating some genetic conditions including AATD. Because patients with AATD have low levels of AAT protein in their lungs, researchers at the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) of Boston University and Boston Medical Center have focused their recent efforts on evaluating whether targeting gene therapy directly to the lungs may have promise as a treatment for AATD.
June 29, 2016 – 11:04 am
SMi Group is thrilled to present the 5th annual Cancer Vaccines conference, taking place on 21st & 22nd September 2016 in Central London, UK. Aimed at an audience of senior scientists and oncology specialists involved in targeted vaccines and drug research, Cancer Vaccines 2016 will provide a perfect platform to discuss pioneering clinical developments and the next generation of cancer immunotherapy. The 5th annual show will capture expert insight by honing in on new pathways with novel vaccines and immunotherapies, drug formulations, personalised treatment, immune check-point inhibitors, plus more. Join us this September for strategic direction on vaccine commercialisation and arm yourself with the key requirements and tools for successful vaccine development through informed guidance delivered by a top panel of speakers.
June 23, 2016 – 11:51 am
Scientists around the world have been long trying to design a vaccine that could help control the menace spread of the Zika virus. The efforts made have been particularly substantial after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika outbreak as the public health emergency in February. So far, the researchers have been able to decode the structure of the virus and actually figure out how Zika infected the fetus of the Zika-infected pregnant mother. Now, for the first time, a Zika vaccine has been finally approved for human trials. According to reports, South Korea's GeneOne Life Sciences and Pennsylvania-based vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals have received approval from the regulatory agency in the United States to test their DNA vaccine on humans.
June 20, 2016 – 11:57 am
Maurits has hemophilia B, which means his body doesn’t produce enough factor IX, a protein that clots blood. He’s at risk for bleeding and his joints are damaged from all the bruises. Since he was 10, he’s depended on injections of “ridiculously expensive” replacement protein. Lately, his left ankle has been killing him. In April Maurits, an engineering designer, joined a study in which he was dosed with viruses packed with a correct version of the gene that codes for factor IX. Today at the European Hematology Association’s meeting in Copenhagen, the Philadelphia company that ran the gene-therapy study, Spark Therapeutics, is presenting results on four patients, him included. In all four, factor IX activity has reached about 30 percent of average. That’s enough to prevent bleeding when you get hit by a baseball or twist your ankle. It’s also been enough to let Maurits go without factor IX replacements since April. “There’s no other explanation than ‘It worked,’” says Maurits.
June 8, 2016 – 4:50 pm
Researchers who want to treat diseases by ferrying a gene into cells often face the hurdle of safely introducing the DNA into enough of them to make a difference. Now, scientists have come up with a novel way to make gene-modified cells in the liver take over much of that organ: They cripple the unmodified cells. This seemingly risky strategy, which relies on the liver’s exceptional regenerative skills, has passed its first test in mice. If equally successful in people, it could be a boon for treating many inherited diseases involving the liver. “This is very much proof of concept. The authors [of the new study] would be first to admit it still has a way to go, but it’s a very exciting step in my view,” says Ian Alexander of the University of Sydney in Australia, who works on gene therapy for childhood liver diseases. “This is very much proof of concept. The authors [of the new study] would be first to admit it still has a way to go, but it’s a very exciting step in my view,” says Ian Alexander of the University of Sydney in Australia, who works on gene therapy for childhood liver diseases.