The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – December 13, 2013

This week’s headlines include, positive oral hepatitis C drug results from AbbVie, hopes for simplification of cancer research, Takeda bowel disease gets panel backing, Gilead gets approval for blockbuster hepatitis C pill, Pfizer tasked with rethinking vaccine development, influenza vaccine development, and stem cell companies racing the clock for funding.

Cell Culture Events:

Don’t Miss the 2013 Annual ASCB Meeting, December 14-18th in New Orleans

While there, please visit our sponsors’ booths:

  • ATCC – booth number 1224
  • GE Healthcare – booth number 517
  • Life Technologies – booth number 807

Life Technologies is hosting a workshop on Monday, Dec 16 from 4-6 pm in Room D3.

The workshop is titled “Interrogating Cell Biology – optimizing the labeling and imaging of live cells” and the speaker is Scott Clarke.

They are also offering a “passport” tour of their booth. Visit 4 of their six areas: Culture, Detect, Analyze, Modify, Social, and Publications and collect 4 passport stamps to redeem a thank you gift.


“Hopes Raised for Simplification of Cancer Research,” Nature

“Cancer biologist Joan Massagué was appointed as head of the research arm of the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York last month. Nature asked him what areas of cancer research excite him, and how the field can pick the most promising drug targets from the overwhelming array of gene mutations that have been linked to cancer.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “A Review of Best Practices For Cell Culture Media Design And Processes

“California’s Stem-Cell Quest Races Time as Money Dwindles,” Bloomberg

“California’s government-run stem-cell research agency, on course to spend $3 billion in taxpayer money to find treatments for some of the world’s most intractable diseases, is pushing to accelerate human testing before its financing runs out. For the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, time is growing short to fund research that demonstrates the potential of stem cells to help treat everything from cancer to heart disease to spinal cord injuries. The agency, created by voters in 2004, has given out more than half of its $3 billion from state bonds and must spend the rest by 2017. The largest U.S. funding source for stem-cell research outside the federal government, it’s under pressure to show results to attract new money from pharmaceutical companies, venture capitalists or even more municipal bonds.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled 3-D Bioprinting – When cells become ink

“For an Influenza Vaccine, are Two Bs Better than One?” The New England Journal of Medicine

Every year, influenza causes epidemic disease. Periodically, antigenic drift and shift enable influenza viruses to evade human immunity from prior seasons, increasing the severity of the associated illnesses. Since the 1918 pandemic, circulating influenza A viruses have had several antigenic shifts, resulting, for example, in the emergence of the A/H2N2 (1957–1958) and A/H3N2 (1968–1969) strains, but influenza more often drifts with modest antigenic changes.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled New Study Compiles Extensive Database that Supports the Importance of Vaccination

“Gilead Wins FDA Approval for Blockbuster Hepatitis C Pill,” Bloomberg

“Gilead Sciences Inc. won U.S. approval for a hepatitis C pill that may generate more than $6 billion in annual sales as it leads a market for drugs that work faster to combat the disease with fewer side effects. The $84,000 treatment is the first all-oral combination for some hepatitis C patients that helps avoid the flu-like symptoms caused by interferon injections, part of the current standard of treatment. The Food and Drug Administration said today it cleared sofosbuvir, which Gilead will call Sovaldi, for use with other drugs depending on the type of illness.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Developability: Smart Ways of Avoiding the “Death of the Brave” During Biotherapeutic Development

“Pentagon Tasks Pfizer with Radically Rethinking Vaccine Development,” Fierce Vaccines

“Vaccines have basically worked the same way for decades. A pathogen antigen is isolated, used as the basis of a vaccine and administered to the patient. The Pentagon thinks there might be a better way of doing things, and it has tasked Pfizer ($PFE) with investigating its hunch. News of the project emerged after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)–the research arm of the Pentagon–awarded Pfizer a three-year, $7.7 million contract. Details of the research are scarce, but what DARPA has revealed implies it wants to cut response times to pandemic or bioterrorism threats by eliminating several of the steps currently needed to confer immunity.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Recombinant Human Transferrin is an Attractive Alternative to Blood-Derived Transferrin in Cell Culture Applications

“U.S. FDA Advisory Panel Backs Takeda Bowel Disease Drug,” Reuters

“An advisory panel of medical experts on Monday voted to recommend that U.S. health regulators approve an experimental drug for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease developed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. The panel voted by wide margins that the benefits outweigh the risks of the biotech drug, vedolizumab, and advised the Food and Drug Administration to approve it for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in patients who have not been helped by prior therapies. The FDA typically follows the recommendations of its expert advisory panels, but is not obligated to do so.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Raising the bar for rocking bioreactors: Introducing the ReadyToProcess WAVE 25 system

“AbbVie Oral Hep C Drugs Cure 96 pct in Late Stage Trials,” Reuters

“AbbVie Inc’s all-oral hepatitis C therapy cured 96 percent of difficult-to-treat patients in a late-stage clinical trial after 12 weeks, keeping the company well placed in a highly competitive race to deliver new treatments for the serious liver disease. The study of 394 patients with the most common Genotype 1 version of the virus tested the AbbVie regimen in people who had failed to be cured by the older standard treatments of pegylated interferon and ribavirin.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Cell Culture, More Science Than Art – A Call For Care in Cell Culture Practices

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