The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – October 19, 2012

This week’s headlines include, vaccine updates, new genome interpreter offers sequencing in a small package, proposed trade partnership seeks to protect US intellectual property, new study may provide insight for future cancer treatments, and VCs that stand to gain from biotech IPOs.

Cell Culture Events:

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“The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Expand Innovation Across the Pacific Region,” Forbes

Today, the U.S. accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s biotech R&D. Each year, we test more potential new medicines than the rest of the world combined. We are the undisputed leader in producing biomedical innovations that transform lives. Maintaining that edge requires strong intellectual property protections. Cutting-edge biologic drugs – pharmaceutical products developed from living organisms – receive 12 years of data protection in the U.S., a provision enshrined in law by the Affordable Care Act. This particular provision of the law received strong bipartisan support. Our leaders in Washington understood that tomorrow’s treatments and cures depend on the biopharmaceutical industry discovering and developing innovative medicines. These protections underscored the importance of intellectual property to American innovation and patient health, and its value to the economy.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “FDA Strives to Provide Faster Approval Time for Drugs by Employing “Special Medical Use” Category”


“Which VCs are Poised to Cash in on the Biotech IPOs of 2012,” Xconomy

There’s a story going on in biotech venture capital, and it’s about a slow and painful death. Four years after the start of the Great Recession, and after a decade of too much promising and too little delivering, the majority of biotech VCs are struggling to stay afloat. Firms are shutting their doors, forcing partners out in brutal political battles, or quietly fading away as they fail to raise new funds.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Venture Capital Investment in the Life Science Sector is Down for 2012 – Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel”


“Genome Interpreter Vies for Place in Clinical Market,” Nature

As DNA sequencing gets faster and cheaper, clinicians are clamoring to use it. A test for malfunctioning genes might show how to treat a tumor or help to diagnose the underlying causes of a disease. But sequencing data are too complex for most clinicians to analyze, and medical institutions are wary of transferring patient data to specialists elsewhere for analysis. A genome-interpretation company is now offering its solution: a 1-metre-tall, 275-kilogram black box that carries enough storage and processing power to analyze one genome every day, picking out mutations with potential links to disease — in theory, fast enough to inform treatment. But for some, the most important feature of the US$125,000 unit is that it is a self-contained object. In an era of cloud computing and global networks, a machine that keeps its information stubbornly local has growing appeal. “There is a tremendous worry about privacy with sharing patient data,” says Martin Tolar, chief executive of Knome, the company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that produces the device. “The institutions we approached said, ‘We want to keep the system within our four walls.’”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Is Personalized Medicine the Future? How Genetic Sequencing is Enabling New Treatments”


“Fat Cells May Enhance Cancer Food Supply,” Fierce Biotech

Fat Cells, rather than what obese people eat, may fuel tumor growth, according to a new preclinical study involving mice. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston made the discovery, which suggests an intriguing new target for cancer drug developers down the line.

The finding moves beyond the idea that an obese person’s diet could influence how cancer advances in the body (though they don’t discount diet as one of many possible factors). But it also builds on previous research that painted a connection between some cancers and obesity without identifying what drove the link, the UT scientists note. In this new work, they’ve determined that tumors in mice essentially used the fat cells as food. The tumor cells sent out a signal that draws progenitor cells from white adipose (fat) tissue in mice. Those cells then feed tumors’ blood vessel network, they determined, helping to fuel the cancer’s growth.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Tumor Cell Panels Help Researchers Develop New Cancer Treatments”


“New Vaccine Could Help Women Who Already Have HPV,” Health News Daily

A new vaccine could help women infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) who are at risk for cervical cancer, according to early results from a small study. In the study, the experimental vaccine, which differs from existing HPV vaccines that are given to prevent HPV infections, was given to 18 women with cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition of the cervix caused by a chronic HPV infection.  Along with the vaccine, patients also received a brief, mild electric shock at the injection site, which the researchers say allows their vaccine to work better than those tested in the past by helping to get the vaccine’s DNA into the woman’s cells.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Cultureware – A New Generation of Products Step Up to the Plate”






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