Tools & Techniques

Lurie winner and incoming Genentech R&D chief Aviv Regev looks to gene programs to untangle complex diseases

Single cell pioneer Aviv Regev thinks the gene networks revealed by the technology are on the verge of delivering new ways to attack disease biology. Her emphasis is on the idea that uncovering how genes...

A plasma tau marker gains support for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease

Two studies published this week advance the search for blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s not yet clear how transformative the plasma markers will be. Both studies came to the same conclusion: one form...

Data Bytes: the evolving CRISPR landscape

CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna is adding a Cas protein to the toolbox with features that could make it a good gene editing tool. In a Science paper published on Thursday, the University of California Berkeley...

Precise base editing of mitochondrial DNA

David Liu and colleagues at the Broad Institute and University of Washington have achieved single-base editing of mitochondrial DNA for the first time, overcoming a limitation of CRISPR-based technologies and opening up new avenues for...

Tapping astrocytes to replace lost neurons in Parkinson’s

In the latest example of a regenerative medicine approach that involves transforming one cell type in the body into another, a University of California San Diego team has shown it can replace lost dopamine neurons...

AI tools against COVID-19: a view from where the rubber hits the road

Making machine learning an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19 requires broad access to data, scrupulous checks for bias, and strategies to balance speed and accuracy, according to researchers with AI-based diagnostics and literature-mining...

Spark’s approach to the problem of redosing AAV gene therapies

Spark aims to solve one of the big problems plaguing gene therapy -- immune responses against viral vectors -- by adapting a strategy Hansa has been developing for transplant rejection. Past infections with adenoviruses or...

Denali offers rare peek into the science behind its CNS delivery platform

Denali is lifting the veil on the delivery technology it’s using to transport large molecules into the CNS, detailing a differentiated strategy for hijacking the transferrin receptor. The company revealed features of its large molecule...

Octant emerges with $30M to untangle, exploit pathways hit by dirty drugs

With a $30 million series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Octant is using genetic bar codes to sort out the pathways behind the therapeutic effects of dirty GPCR modulators, and developing new agents with...

Biopharma must step up for those on the front lines of COVID-19

While not every biotech can develop countermeasures for COVID-19, nearly all can contribute by providing urgently needed resources to protect the clinicians and other essential workers holding the line against catastrophe, and by making their...

NCI takes lead on serological test validation as cancer center joins COVID-19 fight

Deploying its HPV serology testing lab to validate COVID-19 assays is one of three ways NIH’s National Cancer Institute is retooling cancer research activities to take on the pandemic. In a virtual advisory committee meeting...

U.K. consortium to map COVID-19 spread with genome sequencing

To inform public health measures to control the novel coronavirus outbreak, the U.K. has launched the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium to track viral spread and evolution via genome sequencing of COVID-19 samples. The group, with...

COVID-19 crisis brings CRISPR-Cas13 research into the spotlight

It makes sense that CRISPR-Cas13 would enter the limelight during the COVID-19 crisis, given that the SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, and this Cas enzyme targets RNA. With diagnostics one of the most critical components...

How to feed the machine: lessons from an AI antibiotics study

The recent AI-based discovery of broad-spectrum antibiotic candidates highlights the potential of new machine learning methods to find compounds humans might otherwise miss, but ups the ante on the quality and diversity of input data...

NCATS, FDA meeting shines light on AAV manufacturing innovation

Technologies highlighted at a NCATS-FDA AAV manufacturing workshop could ramp up the production and durability of gene therapies, but questions remain about who will test drive these innovations and where the next wave of them...