Technology

New “Allelic” Gene Drive Replaces Faulty Genes with Preferred Versions

Scientists at the University of California San Diego have created a new version of a gene drive which could lead to spreading specific, favourably genetic variants through a population. This “allelic drive” uses a guide RNA to direct CRISPR to cut undesired gene variants and replace them with better versions of the gene.

“Shredder” CRISPR Technique Goes Beyond Normal Snipping Mechanism

An international team of scientists has developed a new gene editing tool which goes beyond the usual mechanisms of CRISPR, acting instead as a “shredder” which can delete large stretches of DNA with programmable targeting. The technology was also shown to work in human cells for the first time.

Two Studies Find Reasons for IO Drug Resistance

Two separate studies have uncovered insights into why checkpoint-inhibiting immune-oncology (IO) drugs only work for a minority of patients, even when combined with other treatments. The first study uncovered a resistance mechanism within the gut microbiome, while the other relates to cancer cell-produced vesicles.

Amazon Alexa Now HIPAA-Compliant Thanks to Tool Kits

Amazon has announced that new software for its Alexa virtual assistant will allow healthcare companies to build tools which can safely send private information to patients. The announcement was accompanied by the launch of six voice programs created by health companies including Boston Children’s Hospital and digital health company Livongo.

New Sequencing Test for Huntington’s Could Cut Short Results Waiting Time by Weeks

A collaboration between Viapath, NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre has created the world’s first nanopore-based genetic sequencing test for Huntington’s disease, now available at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. If successful, the test could cut waiting time for complicated Huntington’s cases, and could have big ramifications for other disorders in the future.

nQ Medical Wins “Most Innovative Breakthrough” Prize at D4 Conference

Out of a whole host of engaging and enjoyable moments at Front Line Genomics’ recent Data Driven Drug Development (D4) conference, held in Boston on 20-21 March, one of the most memorable was definitely the triumph of nQ Medical in our innovation showcase, beating out three other contenders for the claim to be “most innovative” of the technologies on display.

More Than 13,000 Genetic Edits Made to Single Cell

Harvard College researchers have announced that more than 13,000 genetic alterations have been made to a single cell using CRISPR technology. This work is designed to edit genomes at a much larger scale than currently possible.

Expanded StrataNGS Test Analyses 500 Genes in Advanced Cancer Patients

Oncology and precision medicine company Strata Oncology has announced the launch of its expanded StrataNGS test 3.0 for patients with advanced cancer. The test analyses 500 genes for three particular immunotherapy biomarkers, microsatellite instability (MSI), tumor mutational  burden (TMB) and PD-L1, to better inform use of precision treatments.

Biogen’s Lead Alzheimer’s Drug Falls Down at Phase Three Trials

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.

Gene Insertion Allows Blind Mice to See Again

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.