Finding What Sticks

by Christopher Gerry Our DNA influences our height, eye color, affinity for sky diving and other extreme thrills, sleep habits, disease risk factors, and more. It’s no surprise, then, that scientists have found another job for our reliable genetic ledger: as a tool to aid the discovery of new medicines. The hope is that these DNA-based tools will enable researchers to find better starting points … Continue reading Finding What Sticks

CRISPR-Scanning Towards New Drugs — drug discovery is difficult, but CRISPR might be able to help

by Michael Vinyard figures by Nicholas Lue Most therapeutic drug candidates that are put through clinical trials fail. Given that most of these fail during early development, the cost of bringing a single drug to market is now over $2.5 billion. If we focus on cancer alone, this high cost of drug development, combined with the fact that cancer is one of the leading killers in … Continue reading CRISPR-Scanning Towards New Drugs — drug discovery is difficult, but CRISPR might be able to help

New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye.  Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

Migraines: Can New Antibody Treatment Help Stop Treatment Resistant Migraines

Approximately 12% of Americans experience migraines. For some people, the attacks are so frequent and painful that episodes can be incapacitating. Historically, doctors have tried a variety of approaches to treating the condition, including drugs that numb nerves, medications that constrict blood flow, and as well as a variety of behavioral approaches. While some patients have found relief using these methods, many are not helped … Continue reading Migraines: Can New Antibody Treatment Help Stop Treatment Resistant Migraines

Risky Business: The far-reaching consequences of slashing the orphan drug tax credit

by Christopher Gerry The routes that lead to a career in biomedicine are as diverse as they are plentiful, but one of my colleagues has taken a particularly unorthodox path. Sonia had just graduated from law school when she learned of a “typo” in her genetic code that will almost certainly induce a fatal and untreatable brain disorder called prion disease. She and her husband, … Continue reading Risky Business: The far-reaching consequences of slashing the orphan drug tax credit

Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease

by Michael Vinyard figures by Jovana Andrejevic and Michael Vinyard Why do we have cures and medicines for some diseases but not others? Surprisingly, it is not because we cannot make the medicines; it is because we do not know enough about the diseases that need new medicines. To span the chasm between understanding the biology of a disease and successfully treating patients, we must foster … Continue reading Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease

MRSA Bacteria

Reversing Resistance: How to teach old antibiotics new tricks

It’s an all-too-common refrain nowadays, but antibiotic resistance remains one of the world’s most severe public health threats.  Bacteria have developed resistance to nearly every antibiotic drug in our arsenal, and the Healthcare Infection Society has estimated that 10 million people will die annually from antibiotic-resistant bacteria by 2050. Hoping to reverse these worrying trends, researchers from Oregon State University and Sarepta Therapeutics have developed … Continue reading Reversing Resistance: How to teach old antibiotics new tricks

Insect Zoopharmacognosy: Finding medicine where you least expect it

by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Krissy Lyon The young, scaly creature bursts from the torso of its doomed host in a mix of guts and blood and stares blinkingly at its new environment. For most people the sentence above describes a famous scene from Ridley Scott’s Alien, but for many insects it’s a daily reality. The inspiration for H.R. Giger’s nightmarish alien comes from one … Continue reading Insect Zoopharmacognosy: Finding medicine where you least expect it