Science

Disruptive science can have a significant impact outside of our own domains of research and into our personal lives. Keeping abreast of these developments can help prepare and inspire.

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.

CEPI Provides $8.4 Million Grant to Fight “Disease X”

A new deal created by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will use $8.4m to facilitate development of a vaccine platform to fight unknown pathogens. Under the deal, Imperial College London will work to create a self-amplifying RNA vaccine platform, which can then be made to rapidly develop anti-pathogen vaccines.

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.

SeraCare Acquired by LGC

Manufacturer of quality control materials SeraCare Life Sciences has been acquired by LGC, an international life sciences measurement and testing company, strengthening its position in the clinical quality control tools market.

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.