Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Julian helped pioneer pharmacological synthesis. He was the first African-American granted a doctoral degree in chemistry and the first to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. 1975-04-19T00:00:00+0000GT Stevenson, F K Stevenson, 'Antibody to a molecularly defined antigen confined to a tumour cell surface', Nature, 254 (1975), 714-16.1975-04-24T00:00:00+0000The idotype marker was found by Freda and George Stevenson at the Tenovus Research Laboratory, Southampton University during their investigations of leukaemia in guinea-pigs. The marker was only present on cancer cells. This enabled the very precise targeting of cancer with antibodies.1975-04-25T00:00:00+0000Cesar Milstein, with the help of Tony Vickers, submits the monoclonal antibody technique to the British National Development Corporation for patenting,1975-08-07T00:00:00+0000G. Kohler, C. Milstein, 'Continuous cultures of fused cells secreting antibody of predefined specificity', Nature 256 (1975), 495-7. Article highlighted that monoclonal antibodies could be invaluable for medical and industrial purposes. By 1993 the paper had been cited in more than 6,905 publications.1975-08-07T00:00:00+0000EA Carswell, LJ Old, RL Kassel, S Green, N Fiore, B Williamson, 'An endotoxin-induced serum factor that causes necrosis of tumors', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 72/9 (1975), 3666-70.1975-09-01T00:00:00+0000Tatum shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how genes regulate biochemical events in cells. 1975-11-05T00:00:00+0000The experiments use antibodies generated by in sheep with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells taken from humans. The research is carried out by Freda and George Stevenson at the Tenovus Research Laboratory, Southampton University.1976-01-01T00:00:00+0000Robert Swanson, venture capitalist and Herbert Boyer, American biochemist, establish Genentech in San Francisco. It is the first biotechnology company established specifically dedicated to commercialising recombinant DNA. Its founding marks the start of what is to become a burgeoning biotechnology industry. 1976-04-01T00:00:00+0000Dam shared the 1943 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of vitamin K, which he established was important for blood-clotting.1976-04-17T00:00:00+0000Monod shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.'1976-05-31T00:00:00+0000T. Maniathis, S. GekKee, A. Efstratiadis, F.C.Kafatos, ‘Amplification and characterization of a beta\r\n-globin gene synthesized in vitro’, Cell, 8/2 (June 1976), 163-82.1976-06-01T00:00:00+0000Koprowski uses myeloma cells from Milstein's laboratory to generate monoclonal antibodies against tumour antigens. This work forms the basis of the first patent later awarded for monoclonal antibodies.1976-09-01T00:00:00+0000DA Morgan, FW Ruscetti, RC. Gallo, 'Selective in vitro growth of T lymphocytes from normal human bone marrows', Science, 193 (1976), 1007-08. 1976-09-10T00:00:00+0000The British National Research Development Corporation executives indicate that they will not pursue a patent the technique for producing monoclonal antibodies because they cannot see what diagnostic application it can be used for or any industrial end-products.1976-10-01T00:00:00+0000A Russian biologist, Lysenko rejected the priniciples of Mendelian genetics based on Lemark's theory which sees inheritance as governed by the environment. His leadership of Soviet agriculture and biology under Stalin set back Russian biology by decades. 1976-11-20T00:00:00+0000Wigler, A, Silverstein, S, Lee, L, Cheng, Y, Axel, R, 'Transfer of purified Herpes Virus thymidine kinase gene to cultured mouse cells', Cell, 11 (1977), 223-32.1976-12-01T00:00:00+0000Genetically engineered bacteria are used to synthesize human growth protein.1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000American geneticist and biochemist, Leonard Herzenberg and Argentinian biochemist, Cesar Milstein, devise monoclonal antibodies for use on an automatic fluorescence-activated cell sorter, FACS. This improves the reliability of the FACS allowing the instrument to go on to become a major tool not only for cell sorting and cellular biology but the diagnosis of disease. The work is done in collaboration with the American geneticist and immunologist Leonore Herzenberg and Vernon Oi, then a graduate student in genetics at Stanford University. 1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000First long-term clinical study of bone marrow transplants in over 100 terminally ill acute leukaemia patients in whom chemotherapy was of no further use reports the survival of thirteen patients. This marks a breakthrough in leukaemia therapy, and sets the scene for the use of bone marrow transplants as a routine therapeutic option for some patients with some forms of acute leukaemia.1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
19 Apr 1975Percy Lavon Julian diedJulianHarvard UniversityPharmacology
24 Apr 1975Discovery of unique molecular marker, idiotype, on blood cancer cells, opening new avenue for cancer diagnosis and therapyStevensonTenovus Research LaboratoryImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
Apr 1975Unique marker, known as an idiotypic determinant, discovered on the surface of proteins in cancer cells, providing a new target for treating cancerStevensonSouthampton UniversityAntibodies
Aug 1975First step taken to patent Kohler and Milstein's monoclonal antibodiesMilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
7 Aug 1975Cesar Milstein and Georges Kohler published their paper outlining a technique for producing limitless monoclonal antibodiesKohler, MilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
Sep 1975Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) was discovered. It was the first immune molecule shown to kill cancer cellsCarswell, Old, Kassel, Green, Fiore, WilliamsonMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
5 Nov 1975Edward Lawrie Tatum diedTatumRockefeller UniversityGenetics
Jan 1976Experiment in guinea-pigs with anti-idiotype antibodies shown to slow down leukaemiaStevensonSouthampton UniversityAntibodies
Apr 1976Genentech foundedSwanson, BoyerGenentech IncRecombinant DNA
17 Apr 1976Carl P H Dam diedDam  
31 May 1976Jacques Monod diedMonodPasteur InstituteGenetics
Jun 1976First human disease gene, beta-globin, clonedManiatis, GekKee, Efstratiadis, Kafatos Gene therapy
Sep 1976Cesar Milstein supplies myeloma cells to Hilary Koprowski at the Wistar Institute for producing monoclonal antibodiesKoprowski, MilsteinLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Wistar InstituteMonoclonal antibodies
10 Sep 1976Discovery of first T cell growth factor, later named Interleukin-2 (IL-2)Morgan, Ruscetti, GalloLitton Bioethics Research Laboratories, National Cancer InstituteImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
Oct 1976British government declines to patent monoclonal antibodiesMilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
20 Nov 1976Trofim Denisovich Lysenko diedLysenko Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural SciencesEvolution, Genetics
1976Technique published for introducing DNA into cultured cellsWigler, Silverstein, Lee, Pellicer, Cheng, AxelColumbia UniversityGene editing
1977Human growth hormone genetically engineered  Recombinant DNA
1977Monoclonal antibodies developed for automatic fluorescence-activated cell sorter Milstein, Herzenberg, OiLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Stanford University Medical School, University of TorontoMonoclonal antibodies
1977Bone marrow transplants is clinically provenDonnallFred Hutchinson, Seattle, New YorkStem cells

19 Apr 1975

Percy Lavon Julian died

24 Apr 1975

Discovery of unique molecular marker, idiotype, on blood cancer cells, opening new avenue for cancer diagnosis and therapy

Apr 1975

Unique marker, known as an idiotypic determinant, discovered on the surface of proteins in cancer cells, providing a new target for treating cancer

Aug 1975

First step taken to patent Kohler and Milstein's monoclonal antibodies

7 Aug 1975

Cesar Milstein and Georges Kohler published their paper outlining a technique for producing limitless monoclonal antibodies

Sep 1975

Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) was discovered. It was the first immune molecule shown to kill cancer cells

5 Nov 1975

Edward Lawrie Tatum died

Jan 1976

Experiment in guinea-pigs with anti-idiotype antibodies shown to slow down leukaemia

Apr 1976

Genentech founded

17 Apr 1976

Carl P H Dam died

31 May 1976

Jacques Monod died

Jun 1976

First human disease gene, beta-globin, cloned

Sep 1976

Cesar Milstein supplies myeloma cells to Hilary Koprowski at the Wistar Institute for producing monoclonal antibodies

10 Sep 1976

Discovery of first T cell growth factor, later named Interleukin-2 (IL-2)

Oct 1976

British government declines to patent monoclonal antibodies

20 Nov 1976

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko died

1976

Technique published for introducing DNA into cultured cells

1977

Human growth hormone genetically engineered

1977

Monoclonal antibodies developed for automatic fluorescence-activated cell sorter

1977

Bone marrow transplants is clinically proven