Pharma giant Biogen and its Japanese partner Eisai have made the decision to halt two phase 3 trials of aducanumab, a drug created to slow Alzheimer’s by targeting brain-destroying beta-amyloid fragments. An independent monitoring committee decided that the drug was unlikely to benefit patients compared with a placebo.
Microsoft has created the first ever “DNA drive”, a program which can encode digital information into DNA and vice versa. The prototype managed to store and hold only the word “hello”, taking 21 hours to complete the process due to the slow chemical reactions which writing DNA involves.
For the first time, CRISPR-Cas9 has been combined with electronic graphene transistors to create a new handheld device which can detect specific mutations in the genome within minutes. The device can be used to quickly diagnose genetic disorders and diseases or determine the accuracy of gene-editing techniques.
Scientists from the University of California have announced a possible alternative option to electronic eye implants for those who have lost their sight: gene therapy. Virus-delivered genes for green opsin gave blind mice sight enough to determine patterns on an iPad, they found, with the therapy possibly ready for clinical trials in three years’ time.
The scientists of seven nations have called for a halt to gene-editing experiments seeking to alter heritable traits in human babies.
Oxford Nanopore has made its Flongle starter packs available to purchase, following an early-access testing programme. The Flongle machine allows for smaller, on-demand DNA sequence testing at low cost.
Commercial DNA-analysing company 23andMe is looking to launch a new DNA assessment to help individuals discover their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Several million customers will receive the information over the coming weeks.
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have created a list of genetic “usual suspects” from a computational analysis of 635 datasets across around 27,000 genetic samples.
Biogen has announced it will acquire Nightstar Therapeutics for around $800m, providing the pharma giant with a pipeline of gene therapy candidates for ophthalmology.
The eLife online journal has published its first “computationally reproducible” article, where figures are integrated with the software, data and computational environment required to produce them.
Twins born in Australia have become the second-ever-identified pair of “semi-identical” twins, and the first to be detected before they were born. Such cases come about when twins receive 100% identical genes from their mother, but not from their father.
In September 2019, Anglia Ruskin University’s (ARU’s) Cambridge campus will begin the first year of its new – and currently unique in the UK – Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship for the bioinformatics profession. Ahead of this, ARU and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have set up a “Lunch and Learn” panel event for hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists, looking at how they can best recruit and support top apprentices.
A neuron-optimised CRISPR-Cas9 activation system has been used by scientists to regulate genes in a rat brain for the first time. This technique could lead to researchers being able to probe genetic influences on brain health and disease in model organisms which more closely resemble humans.
New information from China has suggested that the twins recently created using CRISPR gene-editing technology to make them HIV-resistance could also develop genetically-enhanced brains.