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Posts tagged with "Biological News"

  • Biological News

    CRISPR: The Latest Edition

    There’s a rather large breakthrough in CRISPR gene editing – yeah, another one – that has downstream implications for drug discovery. A group at the Salk Institute reports in Cell that they’ve found a way to do both loss- and gain-of-function without double-stranded DNA breaking. That’s quite different from the various… Read More
  • Biological News

    Small Proteins: Into the Gap

    We medicinal chemists are used to thinking about small molecule drugs – it’s what we do. And we’re also comfortable with having a category in our worldview that we assign to “biologics” – proteins, mostly, many of them antibodies, which can also be extremely therapeutically effective under the right conditions. B… Read More
  • Biological News

    Bad Cells. So Many Bad Cells.

    Let’s file this one under “We’ve seen this before, and I’ll bet we’ll see it again”. Anyone who’s worked for some years in cell culture (or with people who have) should appreciate the dangers of cell line contamination. You can get mycoplasma, you can get other cell lines entirely (particularly others that… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    A Nobel for Cryo-EM

    The Chemistry Nobel committee seems to have taken everyone by surprise today with their award for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). That’s not because it isn’t Nobel-worthy, though – it certainly is. But they tend to take their time before recognizing discoveries (ask 95-year-old John Goodenough, a key inventor of the lithium ba… Read More
  • Biological News

    A Nobel for Circadian Rhythm

    How many people had their bets down on circadian rhythm for the Medicine/Physiology Nobel this year? Not many, I’d think, and that includes one of the actual laureates. The three winners are Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall of Brandeis (a university that I can literally see outside the window of my train as I write… Read More
  • Biological News

    The Blind Watchmaker’s Workshop

    Did it have to be this way? I mean all of it – biochemistry, the molecules of life. More specifically, as proteins evolve and change, how many paths could they have taken that would have taken them to the same sorts of function? That’s a pretty hard question to answer, since we’re looking at a… Read More
  • Biological News

    Good Craziness and Bad Craziness

    It’s fair to say that there’s a high level of excitement these days in biopharma (and the associated academic disciplines) due to the tools we have at our disposal these days. CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies, new looks at RNA, chromatin, and epigenetics, all sorts of unusual modes for altering cells and whole-animal phenotype… Read More
  • Biological News

    Those Compounds Aren’t What You Think They Are

    There’s a lot of work in the literature on the TrkB receptor, which responds to brain-derived neutrotrophic factor (BDNF). That name certainly makes the ligand protein sound like a pretty big deal, and so it is: BDNF is involved in a lot of neural development pathways, injuries to nerve tissue, and the like, and given… Read More
  • Biological News

    Type 2 Diabetes May Be a Protein Misfolding Disease

    Here’s a paper that will not calm anyone down about the possibility of prion-like diseases. Those, as many will know, are spread by misfolded proteins that, on contact, template others to follow their example. I last wrote about this field a couple of years ago, when examples appeared of transmissable amyloid pathology in humans, spread… Read More
  • Biological News

    Hemophilia: A Proving Ground For Genetic Disease

    There’s very good news for Alnylam (and their partner Sanofi) this morning. They’ve been working on an RNAi approach to hemophilia (fitusiran), targeting expression of antithrombin, a protein which as the name implies which keeps blood from clotting by several different mechanisms. The clinical data that have just come out look very en… Read More