Cellular Dynamics International: Top Innovative Company in Biomedicine

Cellular Dynamics International is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012 [1].

Cellular Dynamics International

The Politics, Public Health and Environmental Concerns of Genetically Engineered Salmon

So-called “Frankenfood” — genetically-modified organisms meant for human consumption or use as animal feed — has been making headlines again. This time, the buzz is over the FDA’s recent completion of their evaluation of the first genetically-engineered (GE) salmon meant for human consumption, the AquAdvantage salmon. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is now reviewing the evaluation, which puts the AquAdvantage salmon one critical step closer to finding its way into farms and onto plates. While the GE salmon would be the first genetically-modified animal approved for human consumption, it’s not the first genetically-modified organism (GMO) used for food; data from 2009 indicate that 93% of soy and cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO [1]. There are a number of other common GMO crops, and GMO rice will likely become available soon.

Alaskan King Salmon

New ALS Model is Based on Human Cells from Autopsied Tissue

By isolating cells from patients’ spinal tissue within a few days after death, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new model of the paralyzing disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They found that during the disease, cells called astrocytes become toxic to nerve cells — a result previously found in animal models but not in humans. The new model could be used to investigate many more questions about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.


Avastin, the FDA and Breast Cancer Patient Survival

The impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will be front and center later this week when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decides whether to revoke marketing clearance of the cancer drug Avastin for breast malignancies.

On one side, you have critics of the FDA accusing them of rationing healthcare while on the other side, you have comparative effectiveness research showing that there’s no statistically meaningful difference in the survival of patients receiving Avastin plus chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone.