Since the 1986 approval of Muromonab, the first therapeutic monoclonal antibody (mAb), used to treat steroid-resistant transplant patients, mAbs have rapidly evolved and gained clinical ground become the largest class of biopharmaceuticals. During this period, mAbs have garnered a reputation for safety, favourable PKPD, and high levels of specificity that have made them a preferred drug modality in many therapeutic applications.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is on the rise. By 2050, AMR may be killing more people than cancer does now. Already, the mortality rates and economic impact are alarming. According to the Centre for Disease Control the total cost of AMR in the USA is estimated at $55bn and results in over 35,000 deaths each year. The worldwide death toll is ticking over 700,000.
Little more than 10 years ago, the prospects for gene therapy were bleak. Early clinical trials had served to highlight the risks. In particular, the 1999 death of Jesse Gelsinger proved a turning point, and clinical progress stalled for years. The risks are now better understood and controlled, and in recent years so much has changed. The FDA's 2017 approval of the first human gene therapy drug, Luxurna, heralded a new era with a further twenty gene therapies approved by 2019 with 1000 more in clinical trials.
Each year, 1.27 million deaths are caused by drug-resistant microbes. These bugs are currently developing resistance at a faster rate than new drugs are developed. In 30 yearsâ€™ time, if this innovation gap continues, 10 million people are forecast to die each year from infections that were once treatable. Such a toll would surpass even cancer as a cause of mortality. With such a grave threat to human health, why isnâ€™t more being done? Why arenâ€™t more antibiotics being developed?
Naked mole rats possess many characteristics and adaptations that have made them exciting model species for the study of aging, aging-related diseases, and cancer resistance.
Tissue remodeling and homeostasis are the processes that modulate and maintain the size and shape of tissues. Phagocytosis plays an important role in these processes. A recent publication in PNAS provides evidence that a mutation that reduces the efficiency of phagocytosis may lead to abnormalities in brain development that are associated with enlarged brains seen in some instances of autism.
Cochlear implants can help restore hearing, but without functional sensory ganglion neurons to integrate the implant with the brain, their performance is limited. At present, there are no approved medications specifically targeting sensory recovery.
It is accepted wisdom that the visual sense is the dominant of the five senses for us humans. A notion that also has translated into sensory research. Or as the author of a paper in 2019 asked â€œWhy Is There So Much More Research on Vision Than on Any Other Sensory Modality?â€ in which he observed that more textbook and journal article inches are spent on vision than on any other sensory modality across multiple disciplines ranging from biomedical sciences to perception and cognitive psychology.
Chemotherapy, using chemicals that are particularly toxic to rapidly dividing cancer cells, is the most commonly used cancer treatment, often in combination with surgery and/or radiotherapy. However, the side effects of chemotherapy are severe. Exosomes may offer a way of better targeting chemotherapy to cancer cells.
Biological discovery and crisis can both give rise to entirely new fields of study. In this article, we assess the impact of Covid on research output in 2020 and the rise of technologies such as CRISPR and cell reprogramming that have shaped the last 20 years.