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  • Biological News

    Why Are Women and Men So Different in Autoimmune Disease?

    That last post on vaccine reactions mentioned autotimmune disease several times, and that brings up a question that’s been outstanding for many decades now. If you look at the distribution of most autoimmune syndromes in the population, you find many obvious differences between male and female incidence rates. Guillain-Barré (discussed yest… Read More
  • Covid-19

    More on Vaccine Side Effects

    Back last summer, I was writing blog posts about possible side effects of mass vaccination. For readers who’ve shown up more recently and might have me filed as Defender of Vaccines, that might seem surprising, but remember, I’ve been in drug discovery for a long time now. All drugs, all therapies have side effects. It’s… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Temozolomide Is Explosive

    Here’s some surprising information to learn about a drug that’s been around for decades. Temozolomide (TMZ) is a chemotherapy agent, used in several intractable conditions such as glioblastoma. It’s pretty vicious stuff – the mechanism is through alkylation of guanine residues in DNA, a brute-force approach with numerous sid… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    An Update on Anti-Androgen Therapy for the Coronavirus

    I blogged earlier this year about some interesting androgen antagonist results in coronavirus therapy. The idea is that the TMPRSS serine protease needs to be present at the cell membrane for the entire cell-entry pathway of the virus to work, and that androgen antagonists decrease its expression sharply. As the references in that earlier post… Read More
  • Carving Out Nitrogens: Pick Your Conditions

    I wanted to do a follow-up to this post, about a reaction that removes nitrogen atoms from heterocyclic rings. Some readers took issue with the paper in the comments, pointing out that a mechanistically similar transformation had been published in 2017. The group that did the earlier work has a new paper on the subject out… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    The Underside of the Aducanumab Approval

    I would like to recommend this piece at Stat about the details of the Biogen aducanumab approval. It’s behind the paywall, but it’s a deeply reported piece from Adam Feuerstein, Matthew Herper, and Damian Garde about how in 2019 Biogen launched an effort to get their apparently failed drug approved by the FDA anyway. They… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Protein Aggregation Diseases

    If you have occasion to study neurodegeneration, you will be struck by how many terrible high-profile diseases in this area seem to share a common theme. Alzheimer’s, ALS, progressive supranuclear palsy, Parkinson’s, Lewy body dementia, some types of frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s, prion diseases such as BSE and more all fe… Read More
  • Biological News

    What mRNA is Good For, And What It Maybe Isn’t

    The huge success of the mRNA vaccination platform during the pandemic has set a lot of people to thinking about what comes next. Moderna and BioNTech, of course, have been thinking this way for quite some time. But Sanofi now says that they’ll be investing large amounts into the technology, and this previously hadn’t been… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    An Announcement About the Comment Section

    In many parts of the US, things are returning to normal thanks to the steep drop in coronavirus cases, which in itself is very likely due to a combination of vaccination and warmer outdoor weather. I very much hope that we can continue this process on into the fall under the threat of new variant… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Drug Repurposing for Coronaviruses: Be Careful

    Here’s a new paper (open access) from a large multi-center team of authors urging caution on many of the reports of small-molecule repurposing screens against coronavirus activity. The list of drugs that has shown activity in vitro is long, and the list of potential targets is as well. But when you look at those targets… Read More