Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Paralysed patient able to walk after his spinal cord was treated with olifactory ensheathing cells, specialist cells that aid the sense of smell, taken from his nose. The treatment was developed by Geoff Raisman and colleagues at University College London's Institute of Neurology together with Pawel Tabakow at Wroclaw Medical University. The research was supported by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation and the UK Stem Cell Foundation. 2014-10-21T00:00:00+0000The drug, a monoclonal antibody, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with melanoma. 2014-12-22T00:00:00+0000The application was submitted by Sangamo BioSciences. The therapy is based on a platform that uses zinc finger nucleases to replace a defective gene that causes haemophilia.2015-01-01T00:00:00+0000W Feng, Y Dai, L Mou, D Cooper, D Shi, Z Cai, 'The potential of the combination of CRISPR/Cas9 and pluripotent stem cells to provide human organs from chimaeric pigs', International Journal of Molecular Science, 16/3 (2015): 6545-56. Human organs produced in pigs have the potential to make up for the shortfall in human donors. They are also less likely to provoke immune responses in patients and thereby rejection. 2015-03-23T00:00:00+0000One of the scientists calling for the moratorium was Fydor Urnov who had helped develop the first genome editing technology known as zinc-finger nucleases. The scientists were concerned that genetic modifications to human reproductive could pose serious risks to future generations and the therapeutic benefits were tenuous. E Lanphier, F Urnov, S E Haecker, M Werner, J Smolenski, 'Don't edit the human germ line', Nature, 519 (2015): 410-11.2015-03-26T00:00:00+00002015-04-01T00:00:00+0000More than 82 per cent of the patients went into remission. 2015-04-01T00:00:00+0000NIH issued its ban after researchers in China announced experiments altering the gene in non-viable zygotes. 2015-04-15T00:00:00+00002015-04-22T00:00:00+0000The work was carried out by a team of scientists led by Junjiu Huang at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. The team used CRISRPR-Cas to modify a gene responsible for a blood disorder in spare embryos from fertility clinics that could not progress to a live birth. They published their results in P Liang , Y Xu , X Zhang et al, 'CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes', Protein and Cell, 6/5 (2015): 363-72. 2015-05-01T00:00:00+0000Rose shared the 2004 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for contributing to understandings about how cells break down proteins. 2015-06-03T00:00:00+0000Results presented to American Society for Clinical Conference from trials involving monoclonal antibody drugs for lung and skin cancer. The drugs block a protein known as PD-1, which functions as an immune checkpoint, being responsible for preventing the activation of T-cells.2015-06-05T00:00:00+0000Launched by Isis Pharmaceuticals in partnership with Roche, the trial aims to study the first therapy designed to silence the Huntingdon's disease gene and reduce the production of a protein responsible for the disease. 2015-07-21T00:00:00+0000K.B. Chiappinelli, P.L. Strissel, A. Desrichard, et al, 'Inhibiting DNA methylation causes an interferon response in cancer via dsRNA including endogenous retroviruses', Cell, 162 (2015), 974-86.2015-08-27T00:00:00+00002015-09-02T00:00:00+0000The group is made up of academic scientists, funders and regulators with an interest in embryo and stem cell research. It calls for the establishment of a roadmap for the management of the use of CRISPR in any human reproductive applications.2015-09-11T00:00:00+0000The group is made up of academic scientists, funders and regulators with an interest in embryo and stem cell research. It calls for the establishment of a roadmap for the management of the use of CRISPR in any human reproductive applications.2015-09-11T00:00:00+00002015-09-15T00:00:00+0000Team of scientists led by Kathy Niakan based at Francis Crick Institute in London applied for sought permission from UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to use gene editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas on embryos less than 2 weeks old. Research designed to understand why some women lose their babies before term. 2015-09-18T00:00:00+0000The pigs, a small breed known as Bama, have had some genes disabled. They are being used for studying stem cells, gut microbiota, and Laron syndome, a type of dwarfism caused by a mutation in the human GHR gene. 2015-09-23T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Oct 2014Stem cells taken from nose demonstrated to repair spinal cord injury Raisman, TabakowUniversity College London, Wroclaw Medical UniversityStem cells
22 Dec 2014First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting PD-1 (nivolumab, Opdivo®) approved in US Honko, Freeman, LonbergMedarex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
1 Jan 2015US FDA cleared Investigative Drug Application for clinical trial of gene therapy for haemophila B. The therapy was the first in vivo genome editing application to enter the clinicEwing, ZaiaSangamo Biosciences, City of Hope National Medical CenterGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
Mar 2015Scientists suggest CRISPR/Cas9 used with stem cells could provide human organs from transgenic pigsFeng, Dai, Mou, Cooper, Shi, Cai Shenzhen University, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Guangxi UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
26 Mar 2015US scientists call for a voluntary worldwide moratorium on the use of genome editing tools to modify human reproductive cellsLamphier, Urnov CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
Apr 2015Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma  Epigenetics, Oncology
Apr 2015 - Aug 2016Adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T therapy) trial conducted with 63 leukaemia patients in 11 countriesJuneNovartisCancer immunotherapy, Onoclogy, Adoptive cell therapy
15 Apr 2015National Institutes of Health declared it will not fund any use of genome editing technologies in human embryos  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Reproduction
22 Apr 2015UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics launched a new working group to look into institutional, national and international policies and provisions relevant to genome editing  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
1 May 2015First report of genes edited in human embryos ignited global ethical debate about gene edting technologyHuang, Liang, Xu, ZhangSun Yat-sen UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
3 Jun 2015Irwin Rose diedRoseUniversity of California IrvineBiochemistry, Cell
5 Jun 2015Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system   Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
Jul 2015Phase 1 clinical trial launched with RNAi treatment for Huntingdon's disease  RNA interference
27 Aug 2015Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy  Cancer immunotherapy, Epigenetics, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology
Sep 2015UK Medical Research Council and other leading UK research councils declared support for using CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome editing techniques in preclinical research  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
11 Sep 2015Hinxton Group issues a statement indicating that most of the ethical and moral questions raised about CRISPR and gene editing have been debated before  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
11 Sep 2015Hinxton Group issues a statement indicating that most of the ethical and moral questions raised about CRISPR and gene editing have been debated before  CRISPR-Cas9
15 Sep 2015UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics held its first workshop to identify and define ethical questions relating to developments in genome editing research  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
18 Sep 2015UK scientists sought license to genetically modify human embryos to study the role played by genes in the first few days of human fertilisationNaikanCrick InstituteCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
23 Sep 2015Beijing Genomics Institute announced the sale of the first micropigs created with the help of the TALENs gene-editing technique at Shenzhen International Biotech Leaders Summit Beijing Genomics InstituteGene editing, TALENS, Transgenic animals

Oct 2014

Stem cells taken from nose demonstrated to repair spinal cord injury

22 Dec 2014

First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting PD-1 (nivolumab, Opdivo®) approved in US

1 Jan 2015

US FDA cleared Investigative Drug Application for clinical trial of gene therapy for haemophila B. The therapy was the first in vivo genome editing application to enter the clinic

Mar 2015

Scientists suggest CRISPR/Cas9 used with stem cells could provide human organs from transgenic pigs

26 Mar 2015

US scientists call for a voluntary worldwide moratorium on the use of genome editing tools to modify human reproductive cells

Apr 2015

Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma

Apr 2015 - Aug 2016

Adoptive cell therapy (CAR-T therapy) trial conducted with 63 leukaemia patients in 11 countries

15 Apr 2015

National Institutes of Health declared it will not fund any use of genome editing technologies in human embryos

22 Apr 2015

UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics launched a new working group to look into institutional, national and international policies and provisions relevant to genome editing

1 May 2015

First report of genes edited in human embryos ignited global ethical debate about gene edting technology

3 Jun 2015

Irwin Rose died

5 Jun 2015

Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system

5 Jun 2015

Phase 1 clinical trial launched with RNAi treatment for Huntingdon's disease

27 Aug 2015

Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy

Sep 2015

UK Medical Research Council and other leading UK research councils declared support for using CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome editing techniques in preclinical research

11 Sep 2015

Hinxton Group issues a statement indicating that most of the ethical and moral questions raised about CRISPR and gene editing have been debated before

11 Sep 2015

Hinxton Group issues a statement indicating that most of the ethical and moral questions raised about CRISPR and gene editing have been debated before

15 Sep 2015

UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics held its first workshop to identify and define ethical questions relating to developments in genome editing research

18 Sep 2015

UK scientists sought license to genetically modify human embryos to study the role played by genes in the first few days of human fertilisation

23 Sep 2015

Beijing Genomics Institute announced the sale of the first micropigs created with the help of the TALENs gene-editing technique at Shenzhen International Biotech Leaders Summit