November 2016

Viewing posts from November , 2016

Precision Medicine and Clinical Trials

Scientists as well as patients pin much hope on clinical trials that use a precision medicine approach, one in which biomarkers, not simply diagnoses, guide enrollment.

“The reason this is so hot right now is that all the technologies and science have come together to accelerate what’s already being done,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said. “I don’t tend to see this as revolutionary, but more evolutionary.”
See the whole article here

Conserving Biopsies

In the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths and its impact extends throughout the world. A number of therapies have been approved or are in development to treat specific mutations. However, determining the optimal treatment for each patient is complicated by the difficult process of acquiring tumor samples, along with the time it takes to generate results.

Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine Universal Dx test for NSCLC aims to replace sequential testing with a single, NGS-based assay. The company announced today that it had filed the final module of a premarket approval (PMA) application for the panel, which screens 47 genes and has the potential to add more.

Get more information here.

The Power and Potential of mRNA

One of nature’s core building blocks, mRNA is responsible for translating our genetic code into functional proteins, providing the blueprint for each cell within our body. By engineering mRNA to carry the right information, it is possible to deliver messages to cells to produce everything from disease-fighting proteins to functional antibodies.

mRNA stands out as a truly “disruptive technology” in that it is an active substance administered to the body that is not functional in itself, but provides the information needed by the body to manufacture its own medication. In other words, mRNA is a disease-eradicating platform that transforms each person’s body into its own therapeutic or vaccine factory. Even in this age of recombinant proteins, this idea is truly revolutionary and has the potential to transform medicine as we know it.

Get more info at GEN

One Brain, Many Genomes

Scientists believe that single-cell genomics combined with single-cell epigenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics will ultimately revolutionize our understanding of brain development and function.

“Every cell in an individual actually has a unique genome, an imperfect copy of its cellular ancestor differentiated by inevitable somatic mutations arising from errors in DNA replication and other mutagenic forces.”

Check the whole article by Gilad Evrony in Science

Making the microbiome part of precision medicine

A growing body of research shows the microbiome–the community of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms living in the body, mostly in the digestive tract–plays a crucial role in human health and disease. Because of its influence on disease states and response to treatments, write Thomas Kuntz, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, and Jack Gilbert, PhD, Faculty Director of the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago, the microbiome should play a crucial role in the field of personalized medicine, which has been dominated thus far by genetics.

“Ultimately, the microbiome must become an integral part of precision medicine as a whole, since so much of human functioning and metabolism is dependent upon it.”

See the whole article here.

Future of Precision Medicine

Imagine waging a war in which you were required to craft uniquely tailored weapons to attack each individual soldier of the opposition. According to Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, this scenario parallels the efforts currently being undertaken by researchers to combat cancer using precision medicine.

“It is beyond a doubt that cancer is a disease like no other, challenging each generation of scientists to push the boundaries of knowledge and devise novel strategies to combat this emperor of all maladies.”

See the entire article on Dr. Mukherjee’s presentation here.