Why a STEM Education Is an Investment in Your Future

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By: Scott Rhodes

Our future is full of crazy inventions, from robots and virtual reality to driverless cars and drones. This trend is due, in part, to individuals with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, otherwise known as STEM majors. This tech revolution is showing no signs of slowing down, which means there’s a great opportunity for students looking to have a direct impact on the future landscape. Here are three reasons to consider a STEM education: Continue reading

Boston Beats Berkeley: The CRISPR-Cas9 Patent Decision Begins to Shape Gene Editing’s Industrial Use

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By: Charlie Fehl

Last month, the legal future of the jack-of-all-trades gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 took significant shape. First reported as a bacterial defense targeted to specific gene loci by researchers based at University of California, Berkeley (Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.), and Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin (Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D.), CRISPR-Cas9 combines the single gene selectivity of RNAi technologies with a bacterial enzyme—Cas9—able to catalyze double strand DNA (dsDNA) cleavage. Though this sounds disruptive and indeed normally is, dsDNA breaks can alternatively be “filled back in” with exogenous replacement DNA, potentially correcting mutations, inserting or removing harmful sequences, and even appending new domains and fusion proteins. For biotechnological applications, all components can conveniently be delivered on a single viral vector, rendering it useful for therapeutic applications. Continue reading

Risky Risk Assessment

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By Robin Marsden

Risk assessment is undeniably complex. All therapeutic proteins have the potential to develop an unwanted immune reaction similar to the desired immune reaction that vaccines elicit. Understanding how frequent that reaction is and the potential association with safety and efficacy is essential to understanding whether the immunogenic response affects the risk-benefit assessment of the drug. Continue reading

Hitting the BBB

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By Steven W. Louie

The brain retains a nearly impenetrable wall against any potential central nervous system (CNS) therapeutic agents attempting to invade its fortress. Due to the complexity of the brain, developing CNS therapeutic drugs remains a formidable challenge for all pharmaceutical companies. In 2014, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reported that drugs developed between 1999 and 2013 that were designed to target CNS diseases took more than one year longer (12.8 months, 18 percent longer) to develop than non-CNS drugs. Continue reading