Optogenetics—until now primarily a tool for asking questions in basic research—is starting to spur efforts oriented toward biomedical applications.
Volume 29 Issue 10, October 2011
The current standard of care for asthma leaves large numbers of sufferers at risk for severe exacerbations and even death. But emerging targeted therapies that may provide better treatment options also face obstacles. Sarah Webb reports.
Numerous challenges face any emerging company developing a biopharmaceutical. How you anticipate hurdles, plan for contingencies and communicate with stakeholders will play a big part in determining your success.
The common strategy of evergreening using patents and other exclusivity periods likely contributes to the total incentives that justify a pharmaceutical company's investment in a new drug.
News & Views
New instruments can measure the presence of >30 molecular markers for massive numbers of single cells, but data analysis algorithms have lagged behind. Qiu et al. describe an approach called SPADE for recovering cellular hierarchies from mass or flow cytometry data.
Capturing and sequencing only the coding regions of the human genome leverages resources in the pursuit of rare disease-causing mutations. Clark et al. compare the performance of three leading exome-capture methods and their advantages over whole-genome sequencing.
DNA can be amplified and sequenced from a single cell, but unevenness of the sequence coverage complicates efforts to assemble a high-quality genome. Chitsaz et al. devise an algorithm to address this problem and apply it to assemble a genome draft of an uncultured single-cell marine organism from one lane of Illumina sequence data.
Comparative genomic analysis of the thermophilic biomass-degrading fungi Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris
Thermostable enzymes are used for a range of industrial processes, including biofuel production. Berka et al. report the genome sequences of two thermophilic eukaryotic fungi with enzymes that operate at the elevated temperatures needed to digest biomass and prepare many biochemicals.
Tracking single hematopoietic stem cells in vivo using high-throughput sequencing in conjunction with viral genetic barcoding
Heterogeneity within populations of stem cells, cancer cells or other cell types of interest presents a formidable barrier to analysis. Lu et al. use viral barcoding and high-throughput sequencing to track the differentiation of single hematopoietic stem cells in vivo.
CD140a identifies a population of highly myelinogenic, migration-competent and efficiently engrafting human oligodendrocyte progenitor cells
Oligodendrocyte progenitors capable of myelination in myelin-deficient mice have been isolated from human fetal brain cells, but at low purity. Sim et al. show that sorting based on PDGFRα expression yields a purer population of myelinogenic cells free of neuronal and committed astrocyte cells.
Brakemann et al. present a reversibly photoswitchable fluorescent protein, called Dreiklang, that can be turned on and off at wavelengths distinct from those used for imaging. They show that the protein is advantageous for studying protein dynamics in living cells and for super-resolution imaging.
Careers and Recruitment
Increasing women's participation in leadership of biotech policy making, funding, research and implementation will strengthen the race to solve global problems.