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  • Hard Thinking About Protein Degradation and Bifunctional Molecules

    This paper (open access) is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but the people who are working in its area – and there’s an ever-increasing number of them – will want to read it closely. It’s a close look at the red-hot fields of targeted protein degradation and “molecular glues”, and for those who aren&# Read More
  • Cancer

    Novobiocin Returns? But Not as an Antibiotic.

    Here’s some interesting work from Dana-Farber (earlier BioRxiv version here) that may turn into a rare example of repurposing an old drug, if it works out. The team was studying an enzyme called DNA polymerase theta (also known by its corresponding gene name, POLQ), which is one of the lesser-known members of that functional family. Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    CureVac Comes Up Short

    I wasn’t planning on having this turn into Coronavirus Vaccine Week again around here, but we do have some news. Yesterday afternoon CureVac, the German mRNA vaccine company, reported results of their Phase III trial in 40,000 patients around the world. They weren’t good. And the data that have come out today don’t make things… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Chose Your Controls Wisely

    I’ve been meaning to write about this paper (open access) on some problems with chemical probes, and now’s a good time. There was a well-known article a few years ago about “The Promise and Peril of Chemical Probes”, and this is a deliberate follow-up, starting with its title. Even if you don’t give much of… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    The Novavax Vaccine Data, and Spike Proteins in General

    1. Novavax Clinical Data Word came yesterday that Novavax had very good safety and efficacy in the trial of their recombinant protein vaccine. This is good news. By this point, the vaccine is much less needed here in the US, but it could be a very important part of getting many other countries vaccinated, due to… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    Days Off

    I’ll be taking a few days off here (nothing to do with the aducanumab approval – this has been planned for a while!) So barring some truly mighty developments, I’ll see everyone here on Monday. Who knows what we’ll be talking about by then! Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    The Aducanumab Approval

    As the world knows, the FDA approved Biogen’s anti-amyloid antibody today, surely the first marketed drug whose Phase III trial was stopped for futility. I think this is one of the worst FDA decisions I have ever seen, because – like the advisory committee that reviewed the application, and like the FDA’s own statisticians – Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Ivermectin As a COVID-19 Therapy

    I last wrote about ivermectin here, but I’m getting so many question about it that I need to revisit the topic. Although (I’ve said this before), I believe that I will regret doing it, because I expect the signal/noise in the comments section to degenerate to mid-pandemic levels in response. The mechanistic story here has… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    A Brief Note About Aducanumab

    There’s a big FDA decision coming up in the next few days: whether or not to approve the Biogen antibody for Alzheimer’s (aducanumab). I’ve had several people ask me what I think about this, and I can only refer them to what I said in 2019 and what I said late last year as well. Given… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Machine Learning Deserves Better Than This

    This is an excellent overview at Stat on the current problems with machine learning in healthcare. It’s a very hot topic indeed, and has been for some time. There has especially been a flood of manuscripts during the pandemic, applying ML/AI techniques to all sorts of coronavirus-related issues. Some of these have been pretty far-fetched… Read More