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  • Analytical Chemistry

    Sitting There For Five Hundred Million Years

    This paper is really a tour de force of analytical chemistry, because it does something that I didn’t think was possible. The team is looking at a rather ancient creature, Dickinsonia. In fact, you could argue that it’s the ancient creature, since it’s one of the Ediacaran organisms that are part of the first explosion… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Reporting Clinical Trials

    In 2015, a study looked at drug-industry sponsored clinical trials versus those funded by the NIH, and concluded that about 20% of industry trials did not report results when required to do so, while the figure for NIH-sponsored research was about 50% (and even more for trials funded by other institutions). At the time, I… Read More
  • Cancer

    A Run of Contrary Results

    From the outside, medical progress looks a lot easier than it really is. Well, I realize that’s true of a lot of things, but it’s especially true in progress against disease, and that’s especially especially true (as I’ve said here before) when you’re talking about dietary influences and what can be learned from them.… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Write a Paper. Write a Paper. Write Another Paper.

    Time is short for blogging today, but I wanted to take a moment to point out people for whom time for writing things up is (apparently) never, ever short. This is a study on prolific authorship, and the high end of that cohort is pretty terrifying. At least 9,000 authors have been on 72 papers… Read More
  • Cancer

    The BRCA1 Gene: Trouble, Quantified

    Add this to the (increasingly long) list of papers whose basic research plans would once have gotten a net dropped over your head. It’s looking at variations in the BRCA1 gene, the one that is famously associated with breast cancer risk. There is no doubt at all that there are mutations in this gene that raise… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    A New Antibiotic? Yes, Please

    New antibiotics against resistant Gram-negative bacteria make me happy, so I’m very glad to see this report from Genentech. They’ve been doing a lot of work on an antibiotic scaffold (arylomycins, Update: on a program that came in whey they bought RQx) which had not thus far really found much practical use, and it looks… Read More
  • Drug Prices

    A “Moral Imperative”

    Unfortunately, we have another example of “price of ancient generic drug shoots through roof”. Whenever this happens, the first thing to look at is the regulatory environment. After that you can go on about the greed of the company and its executives, the stupidity of the insurance companies, all the usual stuff, and you won’t… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Digging Into the Genetics of Drug Targets

    Rare diseases – remember years ago, back when those were a case of market failure? When companies were reluctant to work on them because the market size was guaranteed to be small and you’d have to charge, like, a hundred thousand or more a year to make the whole idea financially viable? Which wasn’t going… Read More
  • Biological News

    Switching On Innate Immunity

    Cells couldn’t have a hope of working if they weren’t tightly spatially organized. The nucleus vs. the cytosol (and the cell membrane itself) are the two most obvious partitions, and then you have specialized organelles like the mitochondria, et very much cetera, dividing things further. Life itself is organized around things being diff… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    The Dark Side of a Wonderful Investment Story

    Biopharma investing has been a constantly erupting geyser of cash these last few years, and wherever there is that amount of money flying around, you will find people ready to help make it disappear. And you’ll find people who are willing to stretch the truth in any way that they find necessary to get in… Read More
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