February 24, 2015 – 10:31 am
Very young children who have shown reactivity to peanuts had a high rate of "sustained unresponsiveness" after stopping oral immunotherapy, researchers reported here. A total of 29 out of 30 patients were able to consume 5 g peanut protein in a food challenge 4 weeks after stopping oral immunotherapy, which had been given for at least 1 year, said Brian P. Vickery, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a press conference at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting. Sustained unresponsiveness is a term that has been introduced to describe an individual's ability to undergo a food challenge without becoming symptomatic and then have the food introduced into the diet ad libitum.
February 18, 2015 – 10:58 am
Bioengineers at The University of Texas at Dallas have created a novel gene-delivery system that shuttles a gene into a cell, but only for a temporary stay, providing a potential new gene-therapy strategy for treating disease. The approach offers distinct advantages over other types of gene therapies currently under investigation, said Richard Taplin Moore MS'11, a doctoral student in bioengineering at UT Dallas. He is lead author of a study describing the new technique in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal Nucleic Acids Research.
February 13, 2015 – 2:06 pm
Dendreon may be on its last legs, but former CEO Mitchell Gold is happily entrenched in other projects: He’s launching a next-generation immunotherapy startup called Alpine Immune Sciences, seeding about $1.3 million into the company through his investment firm, Alpine BioVentures. It’ll be a recombinant protein-based therapeutic, Gold told MedCity News – and unrelated to the platform used by Dendreon. Beyond that, he’s keeping mum about the venture and will for a while, he said.
February 10, 2015 – 4:29 pm
Nanoparticles have been used to successfully deliver a new therapy to cancer cells in the brains of rats, prolonging their lives, scientists report. Previous research on mice found that nanoparticles carrying genes can be taken up by brain cancer cells, and the genes can then be turned on. However, this is the first time these biodegradable nanoparticles have effectively killed brain cancer cells and extended survival in animals.
February 5, 2015 – 10:08 am
The United Kingdom’s House of Commons voted overwhelmingly today to allow British researchers to pursue a new fertility treatment that could prevent certain kinds of genetic diseases. The technique, called mitochondrial DNA replacement therapy, could allow women who carry disease-causing mutations in their mitochondrial genes to give birth to genetically related children free of mitochondrial disease. The measure, which passed 382 to 128, has been controversial, especially because it would alter the DNA of an embryo in a way that could be passed on to future generations. Some scientists and nongovernmental organizations have argued that not enough is known about possible side effects of the technique to go forward in human patients. “We believe the House of Commons has made a serious mistake, which we hope does not have dire consequences,” said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, California, in a statement.
January 30, 2015 – 11:10 am
Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), in collaboration with other colleagues of the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC), have identified a gene that is associated with lung cancer. The findings are published in American Journal of Human Genetics. Through whole exome sequencing, researchers identified a link between a mutation in PARK2, a gene associated with early-onset Parkinson's disease, and familial lung cancer.
January 26, 2015 – 11:10 am
Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Dengue and chikungunya are growing threats in the U.S., but some people are more frightened at the thought of being bitten by a genetically modified organism. More than 130,000 people signed a Change.org petition against the experiment. Even potential boosters say those responsible must do more to show that benefits outweigh the risks of breeding modified insects that could bite people.
January 22, 2015 – 2:30 pm
Immunotherapy could have a place in the treatment of substance abuse in the future. A specific antibody can reduce the acute effects of heroin, according to a new experimental study at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Researchers investigated whether a monoclonal antibody can block heroin's effects. It is known that heroin itself has a minor intoxicant effect but it is the conversion products that are formed when heroin is metabolized by the body that cause the intoxicant effect.
George Yancopoulos, Regeneron, to Give Plenary Keynote Presentation at Cytokines & Inflammation Conference
January 20, 2015 – 12:45 pm
George Yancopoulos is the company’s Founding Scientist, and currently serves as President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. Dr. Yancopoulos has helped invent all three of the company’s FDA-approved drugs and all of the company’s foundation technologies. His success has made him the top-paid executive in biotech.
Regeneron currently has several late-stage candidates. Dupilumab, an IL-4 and IL-13 antibody being developed in collaboration with Sanofi for asthma, atopic dermatitis, and chronic sinusitis, recently showed positive results in its Phase 2b study in patients with asthma. Dr. Yancopoulos will share updates on the company’s work and research, and provide insight on novel approaches in the immunotherapeutics field along with fellow plenary speakers Francisco Leon (Janssen) and Shane Crotty (La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology).
January 20, 2015 – 11:07 am
Today Spark Therapeutics announced the start of the first U.S. Human Clinical Trials to treat Choroideremia ("CHM"), an inherited and currently incurable genetic condition that progressively leads to blindness by damaging the retina of impacted individuals. Were it not for the persistent efforts of a determined few in the patient community, like Jeff, this day might never have come. "Spark's groundbreaking announcement today brings real hope of a treatment for blindness caused by Choroideremia, and further paves the way for treatments of other retinal diseases impacting people around the world," said Dr. Chris Moen, President of the Choroideremia Research Foundation (curechm.org), the leading advocacy and fundraising organization focused on finding a treatment for CHM. "The Choroideremia Research Foundation is proud to have provided key preclinical funding to Jean Bennett, MD, PhD and her team at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, that has helped bring us to the gene therapy human clinical trials being announced today."