Research

Hepatitis Drug Could Help Delay Progress of ALS

Telbivudine, a drug currently in use for treating patients with hepatitis, could be of use in significantly slowing the progression of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), scientists from the University of Alberta have announced.

Most Orphan Drugs Performing Poorly, Report Finds

The latest annual report from Trinity Partners has found that orphan disease drugs often perform poorly at launch and continue to underachieve after three years of sales. At the other end of the spectrum, the most successful drugs on the market were for non-orphan diseases such as cancer and HIV.

No-Incision CRISPR Reduces Genetic Obesity in Mice

A modified version of CRISPR has been used to reverse genetic obesity in two different mouse models without editing any genes. The technique uses the guidance system in CRISPR to target certain genetic sequences and amplifies existing gene activity to ramp up protein production.

International Study Finds 11 New Epilepsy Genes

Eleven new genes associated with epilepsy have been discovered by an international team of scientists, advancing knowledge of the underlying causes of the condition and potentially helping in the development of new treatments.

Reprogrammed Skin Cells Shrink Mouse Tumours

Personalised tumour-detecting cells from adult skin cells have been used to shrink brain tumours in mice by up to 5%, scientists have revealed. While the strategy has not yet been fully tested in people, it could in the future give doctors the ability to develop a custom treatment for certain cancer types.

Amgen and Entera Collaborate on Serious Illness Treatment Program

Amgen and Entera Bio are partnering up to develop new treatments for inflammatory disease and certain other serious illnesses using the Entera drug discovery program. The platform will be used to develop oral formulations for one preclinical large molecule program which Amgen has selected. Entera’s CEO said the collaboration would be an important validation test of the platform technology.

CRISPR Babies Could Face Unintended Consequences of Editing

The CCR5 gene has been researched by scientists since the 1990s, and has a number of roles which have not yet properly been uncovered. Loss of the gene’s function is known, however, to increase the risk of potentially fatal reactions to some diseases, and has shown an ability to enhance learning in mice.

Genetic Heart Test Used to Identify Risk of Severe Cardiomyopathy

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have created a test using gene-editing tools such as CRISPR to identify a gene variant responsible for severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (SHC). SHC is an often-familial disease which thickens heart walls and is linked to a variant in the TNNT2 gene.

CRUK and AstraZeneca to Launch New Genomics Centre in UK

AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) have announced that they will work together to open a new research centre in the UK, applying CRISPR and other functional genomics technologies to develop new cancer drugs. Specifically, the centre will study how genes and proteins interact with each other in cancer cells, and create disease models using genome-altering technologies based on this.

Role of PIF1 Repair Protein Explored in New Study

Researchers in Spain have specified the role that the protein PIF1, which can undo different structures in these molecules, plays in the human body. The study found that PIF1 contains the material to allow cells to function properly, and that improperly-repaired damage to the protein can cause problems for health.

UCB to Invest £1 Billion in UK R&D

Multinational biopharmaceutical company UCB has agreed to invest £1 billion in UK research and development (R&D), the government has announced in its latest Life Sciences Sector Deal. In the deal, £75 million will be invested into the development of new AI driven diagnostic tests while £50 million will be invested in digital pathology programmes and £37.5 million into regional digital innovation hubs.