Biodegradable Polymers for Drug and Gene Delivery

In participation with Blog Action Day, an event where bloggers from around the world unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment – today’s article discusses recent advances in the use of biodegradable materials for drug and gene delivery.

Of Mice, Men and the Nobel Prize for Medicine

nobel medal in medicineThe 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced this morning. The prize was awarded to three men for a series of discoveries regarding embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals that led to the creation of a technique for manipulating mouse genes called gene targeting. Today, the technology is being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine.

The three men, Mario R. Capecchi, age 70, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Sir Martin J. Evans, age 66, at Cardiff University in Wales and Oliver Smithies, age 82, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, will share the 1.54 million prize.

Consortium to Identify Genetic Markers that Predict Drug-related Serious Adverse Events

The International Serious Adverse Events Consortium (SAEC) officially announced its formation this morning. The new global, non-profit partnership between leading pharmaceutical companies, pharmacogeneticsthe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and academic institutions plans to identify and validate genetic markers that may help predict which individuals are at risk for serious adverse drug events. The goal of the consortium is to publish a set of predictive SNPs for all drug-related serious adverse events (SAEs), reducing significant patient and economic costs as well as improving the flow of safe and effective medical advances by addressing safety issues of new drugs before they reach the market.

Green Chemistry Mimics the Cellular Process of Drug Synthesis

Two studies were published in the September 2007 issue of Nature Chemical Biology demonstrating for the first time that it’s possible to take a complex chain of enzymatic reactions and reconstruct them in vitro (meaning in a test tube) to synthesize a natural product that has therapeutic potential.

Amniotic Stem Cell Lines May Hold a Potential for Therapy

Scientists at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Harvard School of Medicine report in the Journal of Nature Biotechnology that they have isolated stem cells from amniotic fluid [1]. Further, by introducing growth factors, they were able to get the anmiotic fluid-derived stem cells to differentiate (a concept from developmental biology describing the process by which cells acquire a “type”) into muscle, fat, bone, blood vessel, liver and nerve cells.