The Dish’s Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – February 16, 2018

By on February 16, 2018

This week’s headlines include: Alzheimer’s disease Is Completely Reversed by Removing Just One Enzyme in New Study, Drug copies ready to take next bite out of Roche’s cancer sales, Can Gene Therapy Be Harnessed to Fight the AIDS Virus, Hantavirus vaccine ‘moderately’ effective against hemorrhagic fever, The Flu Vaccine Is Working Better Than Expected, C.D.C. Finds, and Using stem cells to generate an immune attack against cancer.

In Case You Missed It, Recent Articles on Cell Culture Dish and Downstream Column:


Cancer Research – Cell Culture Tools and Troubleshooting

We recently finished our Ask the Expert discussion on “Cancer Research.” During this Ask the Expert session, we covered topics related to innovative tools and methods in cancer research. One of the topics explored was the use of spheroids and organoids and enabling technologies for cancer research. There were also several discussions around the culture of various cancer cell types, including medium and extracellular matrices choices. There was a very interesting question about new tools that are in development to aid in cancer research…

Corning® Nu-Serum™ I/IV Growth Medium Supplements for Reduced-serum Conditions with Fibroblast/Kidney Epithelial Cells

With the movement towards reduced-serum and serum-free conditions for cell culture, defined formulations and low-protein alterna­tives are of increasing value. Fetal bovine serum (FBS) is tradition­ally used as a supplement in media for cell and tissue culture at final concentrations of 5% to 10%. However, it can introduce risk as FBS lot-to-lot variation may negatively impact cellular and molec­ular studies, and can introduce artifacts due to the presence of unknown compounds, proteins, growth factors, and other unde­fined components1. Additionally, the high protein content of serum can introduce complications with protein purification. Corning® Nu-Serum™ growth medium supplements provide more cost-effective, low pro­tein alternatives that can be utilized as a 1:1 direct replacement for FBS in cell culture media…

Video Series – Optimizing Chemically Defined Media in Biomanufacturing – Feed vs. Growth Media

Chemically defined media is used in many biomanufacturing operations. In this week’s Two Minute Tuesday video, Tom Fletcher, Director, Cell Culture R&D, Irvine Scientific is interviewed on the differences between feed and growth Chemically Defined Medias (CDM), as well as the use of other media additives or supplements like hydrolysates…

The Top 15 Cell Culture Dish Cool Tool Features of 2017

I have compiled a list of our most popular Cool Tools Features for 2017. Here are the top 15 in alphabetical order…

The Down Stream Column

Utilizing a Protein A Resin Platform Approach for Purification of Antibody Fragments and Single Domain Antibodies Reduces Process Time

Following the wave of successful commercial monoclonal antibody products, various forms of antibody fragments are now becoming an important class of next-generation therapeutic proteins. This includes Fabs and fusion proteins of the Fab variable domains. From the variable domain of the heavy-chain antibodies of camelids, the VHH sdAbs have been derived. These VHHs represent some of the smallest antigen binding antibody-derived proteins. As such they are more stable than full size mAbs, can be produced in microbial organisms, and offer higher target binding events per gram of product. Due to the lack of an Fc region, these antibody fragments cannot be captured with most engineered Protein A affinity ligands. However, Amsphere™ A3 Protein A ligand exhibits a high affinity for VHH single domain antibodies…

Addressing Challenges in Downstream Biomanufacturing with a platform purification approach

In this podcast and accompanying article, we interviewed Jonathan Royce, Business Leader, Chromatography Resins, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, about the biggest challenges in Downstream biomanufacturing including overcoming bottlenecks, changing antibody structures and bioburden control. Jonathan shared how a purification platform can address some of these issues and discusses purification challenges that still need to be resolved.

The Top 25 Downstream Column Blogs of 2017

I have compiled a list of our most popular 25 blogs, podcasts, and webinars for 2017 listed in alphabetical order…

Protein A Chromatography – A look at where we have been and where we are going

In this podcast and accompanying article, we interviewed Jonathan Royce,  Business Leader, Chromatography Resins, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, about the evolution of Protein A including the latest developments in Protein A chromatography resins. We also discussed what the future holds for this purification mainstay and how it can continue to address the changing needs of biopharma…



Stem Cell Community Day

The second international Stem Cell Community Day will take place on April 24, 2018 in Duesseldorf, Germany. The event brings together experts from industry and academia to discuss recent trends, achievements, and challenges in bioprocessing technologies for stem cell research. The conference is organized by leading life science company Eppendorf AG.

In three sessions, the participants will discuss ways for establishing robust stem cell culture protocols, process strategies for obtaining commercial cell quantities, and challenges related to product purity. Professor Joaquim M. S. Cabral from the University of Lisbon will chair the conference. Dr. Robert Zweigerdt from Hannover Medical School and Karen Coopman, PhD from Loughborough University will present their latest findings in keynote lectures.

For more information, please see


The Process Economics of Continuous Downstream Bioprocessing

New Webinar Available On Demand!

The cost of goods of an Integrated Continuous Bioprocessing (ICB) platform for the manufacturing of a mAb from fed-batch cell harvest has been evaluated using BioSolve Process, a modeling software from BioPharm Services. The costs associated with the ICB platform were compared to those of stainless steel and single-use batch processes. These downstream processes were evaluated across sets of clinical and commercial production scenarios. For both sets of scenarios, 27 different cases were modeled by varying 3 factors: bioreactor titer, volume, and number of batches per year. By taking this approach, the cost-benefits of the ICB platform could be seen across a wide range of manufacturing scales.

In this webinar, participants will learn:

  • The findings of the full-factorial modeling exercise.
  • The cost-benefits of continuous bioprocessing at many scales of manufacturing.


Check out our podcast channel. We have 15 great podcasts covering drug discovery, stem cell culture, upstream and downstream biomanufacturing and more!

Click below to download through iTunes or Google play:

Available on Google PlayAvailable on itunes



“Alzheimer’s Disease Is Completely Reversed by Removing Just One Enzyme in New Study,” Newsweek

“An experimental treatment completely reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice by reducing the levels of a single enzyme in the animals’ brains. The results further bolster the theory that amyloid plaques are at the root of this mysterious brain disease, and that addressing these plaques could lead to an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s. The study, published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that slowly reducing levels of the enzyme BACE1 in mice as they aged either prevented or reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s disease…”

“Drug copies ready to take next bite out of Roche’s cancer sales,” Reuters

“European oncologists will soon get their hands on cut-price copies of breast cancer drug Herceptin, turning the screws on maker Roche and giving another boost to a new breed of companies focused on so-called biosimilars…”

“Can Gene Therapy Be Harnessed to Fight the AIDS Virus?” US News and World Report

“For more than a decade, the strongest AIDS drugs could not fully control Matt Chappell’s HIV infection. Now his body controls it by itself, and researchers are trying to perfect the gene editing that made this possible. Scientists removed some of his blood cells, disabled a gene to help them resist HIV, and returned these “edited” cells to him in 2014. So far, it has given the San Francisco man the next best thing to a cure…”

“Hantavirus vaccine ‘moderately’ effective against hemorrhagic fever,” Healio

“An inactivated Hantavirus vaccine was moderately effective against hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome among South Korean military personnel, according to researchers. The findings are important because they show a degree of protection against the illness (HFRS), which has a high mortality rate and no effective treatment, they wrote in The Journal of Infectious Diseases…”

“The Flu Vaccine Is Working Better Than Expected, C.D.C. Finds,” The New York Times

“The flu vaccine is more effective than expected, federal health officials said on Thursday at a special news conference held to discuss the dangerous flu season, which is expected to kill more than 50,000 Americans. This year’s vaccine is about 25 percent effective against the H3N2 strain of flu that is causing most illnesses and deaths, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…”

“Using stem cells to generate an immune attack against cancer,” FierceBiotech

“Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the power to transform into any cell in the body, making them a prime candidate for regenerative medicine. But can they also teach the immune system to recognize and attack cancer? Scientists at Stanford University believe iPSCs can do just that—and they tested the concept in mouse models of breast cancer. When they injected mice with inactivated IPSCs, the animals’ immune systems launched an attack against cancer and prevented relapse after tumors had been removed, according to a press release from the university. The study was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell…”


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