I am a PhD-qualified Cell Biologist who works with new innovation in the biotechnology industry. As a science writer, I am excited by breakthroughs and trends in the fields of regenerative medicine, cell therapies and nanotechnologies. I am also involved in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
Immunotherapies have been heralded as a revolutionary paradigm shift in how cancer is treated, thanks to the exceptional cancer-killing properties of checkpoint inhibitors and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. Today, approved therapies Yescarta™ and Kymriah™, which use rewired T cells, have offered newfound hope for some patients with leukemia and lymphoma.
Innovations in mRNA technology can help fulfill the huge promise of bispecific antibodies as cancer therapies, rising above manufacturing challenges. The cancer immunotherapy revolution has been fed by Nobel Prize-winning research, evolving clinical practices, and new production platforms (1). The result has been the creation of safe, highly-targeted and successful antibody-based drugs.
For most drugs, the path from the Petri dish to pharmacy shelves is paved with uncertainty. It's a decade-long journey, with billions in investment dollars at stake, seemingly countless administrative hoops to jump through, and the risk of complete failure lurking at every bend.
It's hard to ignore the fanfare. CRISPR and other genome-editing technologies are set to redefine the way we treat a vast array of illnesses, from cancer to inherited genetic conditions. Hailed as the biggest biotech discovery of the century, CRISPR is enabling an exciting prospect: the ability to cure disease by directly and permanently modifying the human genome.
Creamy white spheres, roughly the size of peas, immersed in a swirling pink solution. To the untrained eye, cerebral organoids are deceptively unimpressive. However, the immense potential they hold for unlocking the secrets of the human brain is, indeed, nothing to be balked at.
In a dark corner of the nucleus, a mutation lurks, up to no good. It stealthily swaps a DNA base - an A to a T - gleefully awaiting the catastrophic consequences on the encoded protein. A brave CRISPR molecule enters the nucleus and armed with its razor sharp enzyme, Cas9, is determined to rid this genome of unwanted errors.
As more cell-based therapies transition towards the market, hurdles surrounding safety, efficacy, and manufacturing are becoming increasingly apparent. The advancement of gene delivery technologies is fundamental to driving more clinical prospects of cell therapies.
Authorities are caught between dealing with the competing urgencies of abating the COVID-19 health crisis and the looming threat of an economic recession. With an approved drug, or better still, a COVID-19 vaccine still a way off, other solutions are being considered to accelerate communities' return to normalcy.
It's going to take a lot more than a vaccine to ease the COVID-19 crisis. Disease-fighting drugs, testing kits and eliminating bureaucratic stumbling blocks will get us out of the woods. The international scientific and medical communities are scrambling to quell the COVID-19 emergency, searching desperately for vaccines and antiviral treatments.