Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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The move by the FDA brought biotechnology drugs into mainsteam drug regulation. 1995-11-10T00:00:00+00001996-01-01T00:00:00+0000The belief that adult stem cells, especially the blood stem cell, can give rise to cells such as brain, liver and cardiac gives rise to notion that adult stem cells could be used like embryonic counterparts for regenerative therapies, helping in degenerative diseases of the brain and heart. This marks a paradigm shift as it goes against dogma from decades of research and clinical success with the blood stem cell. 1996-01-01T00:00:00+0000Mostafa Ronaghi and Pal Nyren at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm develop pyrosequencing which allows for shotgun sequencing without cloning in E coli or any host cell. The marchinery and reagents involved in the method was first commercialised by Pyrosequencing AB.1996-01-01T00:00:00+0000Research conducted by KA Smale et al at Queen's University (Canada), Y. Li et al at University College London, T Imaizumi et al at Yale Univbersity School of Medicine, Guntinas-Lichius et al at the University of Cologne, H H Nash et al the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, M J Ruitenberg et al at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research.1996-01-01T00:00:00+0000Study revealed senior MIT faculty women tended to feel more marginalised than junior faculty and that women with children felt family demands were potential obstacle to career advancement. Evidence showed that percentage of women faculty in School of Science had not increased for at least a decade. 1996-01-01T00:00:00+0000Dolly the sheep was born as a result of the cloning of an adult cell. This was achieved by transferring the nucleus of an adult sheep's cell to the nucleus of an unfertilised egg cell. It took 277 attempts to achieve success. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned.1996-01-07T00:00:00+0000The new restriction enzymes are called Zinc finger nucleases (originally called chimeric restriction enzymes). They are produced as part of an effort to generate restriction-modification enzymes with longer recognition sites without having to screen bacteria and microorganisms. Kim, Y G, Cha, J, Chandrasegaran, S, 'Hybrid restriction enzymes: Zinc finger fusions to Fok I cleavage domain', PNAS USA 93 (1996): 1156–60. 1996-02-01T00:00:00+0000DR Leach, MF Krummel, JP Allison, 'Enchancement of antitumor immunity by CTLA-4 blockade', Science, 271/5256 (1996), 1734-36. The discovery laid the foundation for the development immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs to unleash the immune system's destruction of cancer. 1996-03-22T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1996-06-06T00:00:00+0000Mazia was an American cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral research he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle. 1996-06-09T00:00:00+0000Dolly the sheep was created by cloning an adult cell. This was done by transferring the nucleus of an adult sheep's cell to the nucleus of an unfertilised egg cell. It took 277 attempts to achieve success.1996-07-05T00:00:00+0000Reichstein was a chemist who shared the 1950 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries concerning the 'hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects'.1996-08-01T00:00:00+0000B Bogen, 'Peripheral T cell tolerance as a tumor escape mechanism', European Journal Immunology, 26 (1996), 2671-79.1996-11-01T00:00:00+0000Ritxuan (rituiximab) is approved for the treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The drug arose out of Ronald Levy's research for three decades to find a way of harnessing the power of the body's own immune system to fight cancer. 1997-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lord Todd won the 1957 Nobel Prize for Chemistry 'for work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes.'1997-01-10T00:00:00+0000Huggins shared the 1966 Nobel Prize for discoveries relating to hormonal treatment of prostrate cancer.1997-01-12T00:00:00+0000Sterne pioneered a vaccine against anthrax in 1935 which effectively wiped out the disease. He used Pasteur's methods to develop the vaccine while based at Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute, north of Pretoria, in South Africa. His method remains the mainstay for the production of anthrax vaccines for livestock today. In addition to the vaccine he developed bacterial culture methods for both anthrax and botulism and his work laid the foundation for a number of highly successful veterinary and animal vaccines. 1997-02-26T00:00:00+0000M Serrano et al, 'Oncogenic ras provokes premature cell senescence associated with accumulation of p53 and p16INK4a', Cell, 88 (1997), 593–602.1997-03-01T00:00:00+0000A geneticist by training, Sager enjoyed two careers. She first made her mark in the 1950s and 1950s when she discovered the transmission of genetic traits through chloroplast DNA. This was the first example of genetics not involving the cell nucleus. Later on she became a major pioneer in cancer genetics in the early 1970s and was one of the first to propose and investigate the function of tumour suppressor genes. 1997-03-29T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Nov 1995FDA lifted special restrictions on biotechnology drugs   
1996Complete genome sequence of the first eukaryotic organism, the yeast S. cerevisiae, is published   DNA Sequencing, Genomics
1996First reports that blood stem cell might be able to give rise to cells other than those of the blood systemBlau, Lagasse, Lemischka, Morrison, Thiese, Krause, Gussoni, Bjornson Stem cells
1996Pyrosequencing is introduced for DNA sequencingRonaghi, NyrenRoyal Institute of TechnologyDNA Sequencing, Genomics
1996 - 2002Experiments with rats conducted by different research teams around the world confirm olifactory ensheathing cells help repair spinal cordSmale, Li, Imaizumi, Guntinas-Lichius, Nash, RuitenbergQueen's University, University College London, Yale University, University of Cologne, University of the Health Sciences, Netherlands Institute for Brain ResearchStem cells
Jan 1996MIT Committee on Women issues first report on study of treatment of women faculty in School of Science  Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Jan 1996Dolly the sheep was cloned by Professor Ian Wilmut's team at the Roslin Institute in EdinburghWilmutRoslin InstituteStem cells, Cloning, Transgenic animals
Feb 1996Scientists genetically engineer the first restriction-modification enzymes with tailor-made sequence specifities capable of editing a genome. Kim, Cha, ChandrasegaranJohns Hopkins UniversityGene editing, Zinc fingers, Restriction enzymes
22 Mar 1996Mice experiments published demonstrating that blocking the CTLA-4 molecule on immune cells can cure cancerLeach, Krummel, AllisonUniversity California BerkeleyImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
6 Jun 1996George D Snell diedSnellJackson LaboratoryGenetics, Immunology, Transplantation
9 Jun 1996Daniel Mazia diedMaziaUniversity of California BerkeleyCell, Genetics, Reproduction
5 Jul 1996Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, was bornWilmutRoslin InstituteStem cells, Cloning, Transgenic animals
1 Aug 1996Tadeus Reichstein diedReichsteinBasel UniversityBiochemistry, Endocrinology
Nov 1996Experiments demostrate antigen-specific CD4+ and T cells become tolerant during tumour growth in test tubes  Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
1997FDA approved the first monoclonal antibody cancer drug for the American marketLevy, RastetterStanford University Medical School, Idec PharmaceuticalsCancer immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies
10 Jan 1997Alexander R Todd diedToddUniversity of ManchesterDNA
12 Jan 1997Charles Brenton Huggins diedHugginsUniversity of ChicagoOncology, Endocrinology
26 Feb 1997Max Sterne diedSterneOnderstepoort Veterinary Research InstituteVaccine
Mar 1997p53 shown to be linked to senescence, biological agingSerrano , Lin, McCurrach, Beach, Lowe Cold Spring Harbor LaboratoryOncology, p53
29 Mar 1997Ruth Sager diedSagerRockefeller UniversityGenetics, Oncology

Nov 1995

FDA lifted special restrictions on biotechnology drugs

1996

Complete genome sequence of the first eukaryotic organism, the yeast S. cerevisiae, is published

1996

First reports that blood stem cell might be able to give rise to cells other than those of the blood system

1996

Pyrosequencing is introduced for DNA sequencing

1996 - 2002

Experiments with rats conducted by different research teams around the world confirm olifactory ensheathing cells help repair spinal cord

Jan 1996

MIT Committee on Women issues first report on study of treatment of women faculty in School of Science

Jan 1996

Dolly the sheep was cloned by Professor Ian Wilmut's team at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh

Feb 1996

Scientists genetically engineer the first restriction-modification enzymes with tailor-made sequence specifities capable of editing a genome.

22 Mar 1996

Mice experiments published demonstrating that blocking the CTLA-4 molecule on immune cells can cure cancer

6 Jun 1996

George D Snell died

9 Jun 1996

Daniel Mazia died

5 Jul 1996

Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, was born

1 Aug 1996

Tadeus Reichstein died

Nov 1996

Experiments demostrate antigen-specific CD4+ and T cells become tolerant during tumour growth in test tubes

1997

FDA approved the first monoclonal antibody cancer drug for the American market

10 Jan 1997

Alexander R Todd died

12 Jan 1997

Charles Brenton Huggins died

26 Feb 1997

Max Sterne died

Mar 1997

p53 shown to be linked to senescence, biological aging

29 Mar 1997

Ruth Sager died