Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Ray Wu pioneered the first primer-extension method for DNA sequencing which laid the foundation for the Human Genome Project. He was also instrumental in the application of genetic engineering to agricultural plants to improve their output and resistance to pests, salt and drought. 2008-02-10T00:00:00+0000Reik, A, Zhou, Y, Wagner, J, Hamlett, A, et al, 'Zinc finger nucleases targeting the glucocorticoid receptor allow IL-13 zetakine transgenic CTLs to kill glioblastoma cells in vivo in the presence of immunosuppressing glucocorticoids', Cancer Research, 68 (2008), 25572008-05-01T00:00:00+0000Perez, E E, Wang, J, Miller, J C , Jouvenot, Y, et al, 'Establishment of HIV-1 resistance in CD4+ T cells by genome editing using zinc-finger nucleases', Nature Biotechnology, 26 (2008): 808-16.2008-06-29T00:00:00+0000The drug is also used to treat HIV.2008-08-11T00:00:00+0000S J J Brouns, M J Matthijs, M Lundgren, E R Westra et al, 'Small CRISPR RNAs guide antiviral defense in Prokaryotes', Science, 321/5891 (2008): 960-64.2008-08-15T00:00:00+0000Weller was an American physician and virologist whose development of tissue-culture methods, with John P. Enders and Frederick C. Robbins, in October 1949 opened up the means to study viral diseases. Their work paved the way to the development of the polio vaccine. The virus was grown in cultures of human foreskin and embryonic tissues. Weller shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954 for the 'discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue.'2008-08-23T00:00:00+0000A team of scientists led by George Q Daley at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute reported the creation of stem cells for 10 genetic disorders that will enable researchers to watch diseases develop in a lab dish. The researchers used ordinary skin cells and bone marrow from people with a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Down syndrome to produce the stem cells. They published their results in I H Park, et al, 'Disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells', Cell, 134/5 (2008), 877-86.2008-09-05T00:00:00+0000Palade was a Romanian-American cell biologist who helped determine cell function and organisation. He and his colleagues demonstrated that all plant cells and some animal and bacteria cells have a vacuole, an enclosed compartment in the cell membrane, which contains enzymes essential to maintaining the cell's health. In 1974 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his innovations in electron microscopy and cell fractionation, which laid the foundation for molecular cell biology, and his discovery of the ribosomes of endoplastic reticulum in 1955. 2008-10-07T00:00:00+0000Drug, MSX-1106, to be assessed for malignant melanoma, renal cell cancer, castrate-resistant prostate cancer and non-small cell lung carcinoma2008-11-24T00:00:00+0000Datta was a British microbial geneticist who showed that multi-antibiotic resistance was transferred between bacteria by plasmids. She first made the connection in 1959 after investigating a severe outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium phage-type 27 at Hammersmith Hospital where she worked. This involved an examination of 309 cultures, of which she found 25 were drug resistant, eight of which were resistant to Streptomycin which had been used to treat the patients. She concluded that the antibiotic resistance developed over time because the earlier cultures of the salmonella typhimurium infection (from the start of the outbreak) were not drug resistant. 2008-11-30T00:00:00+0000J Carte, R Wang, H Li, R M and M P Terns, 'Cas6 is an endoribonuclease that generates guide RNAs for invader defense in prokaryotes', Genes Development, 22/24 (2008): 3489–96.2008-12-01T00:00:00+0000An American physician and virologist, Gajdusek won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 for his discovery of transmissible dementias. In particular he showed that diseases like CJD and kuru are infectious in origin and due to a new kind infectious agent, later identified as endogenous proteins called prions.2008-12-12T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Genzyme gains the worldwide rights to Campath-1H from Bayer Schering Pharma.2009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Drug poor at preventing vision loss.2009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Corey Haas, receives gene therapy to replace a retinal pigment protein.2009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+0000PJ Turnbaugh, M Hamady, T Yatsunenko, B L Cantarel, A Duncan, RE Ley, ML Sogin, WJ Jones, BA Roe, JP Affourtit, M Egholm, B Henrissat, AC Heath, R Knight, JI Gordon, 'A core gut microbiome in obese and lean twins', Nature, 457 (2009), 480-84. 2009-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
10 Feb 2008Ray Wu died in Ithaca, USAWuCornell UniversityDNA Sequencing, Recombinant DNA
1 May 2008Zinc finger method explored as means to develop treatment for glioblastoma (brain tumour)Reik, Zhou, Wagner, HamlettSangamo BioSciencesGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
29 Jun 2008Zinc finger method used to make HIV-resistant CD4 cells to develop immunotherapy for HIV Perez, Wang, Miller, JouvenotAbramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Sangamo BioSciences, BayerGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
11 Aug 2008FDA approved tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, an antiviral drug, to treat chronic hepatitis B Gilead Sciences 
Aug 2008Scientists characterised the RNA processing pathway in CRISPR systemWageningen University, University of Sheffield, National Institutes of HealthCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
23 Aug 2008Thomas H Weller diedWellerChildren's Medical Center BostonVirology
5 Sep 2008Scientists created stem cells for 10 disordersDaley, Park, Arora, Huo, Maherall, Ahfedt, Shimamura, Lensch, Cowan, HochedlingerHarvard Stem Cell InstituteStem cells
7 Oct 2008George E Palade diedPaladeRockefeller UniversityCell
24 Nov 2008First anti-PD-1 antibody entered phase 1 clinical trial for cancer Medarex, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies
30 Nov 2008Naomi Datta diedDattaHammersmith HospitalAntimicrobial resistance, Plasmids
Dec 2008Scientists published the RNA gene silencing pathway involved in the CRISPR-Cas mechanism Carte, Wang, Li, TernsUniversity of Georgia, Florida State UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
12 Dec 2008Daniel C Gajdusek diedGajdusek National Institutes of Health 
2009Lasker Prize awarded to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for discoveries in nuclear reprogramming. Yamanaka is also awarded the Gairdner PrizeGurdon, YamanakaCambridge University, Kyoto UniversityStem cells
2009Induced pluripotent stem cells created with minimal residual genomic alteration   Stem cells
2009Genzyme buys rights to Campath-1H. Bayer Schering Pharma, GenzymeCampath
2009Phase III clinical trials for RNAi treatment (Cand5) for wet age-related macular degeneration halted  RNA interference
2009Almost blind child with rare inherited eye disease gains normal vision following gene therapy  Gene therapy
2009Gene therapy halts progression of degenerative disease adrenoleukodystrophy in two boys  Gene therapy
2009Davies made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to medicineDavies  
1 Jan 2009Experiments in germ-free mice reveal role of gut microbiome in obesityTurnbaugh, Hamady, Yatsunenko, Cantarel, Duncan, Ley, Sogin, Jones, Roe, Affourtit, Egholm, Henriss, AC Heath, R Knight, JI Gordon Microbiome

10 Feb 2008

Ray Wu died in Ithaca, USA

1 May 2008

Zinc finger method explored as means to develop treatment for glioblastoma (brain tumour)

29 Jun 2008

Zinc finger method used to make HIV-resistant CD4 cells to develop immunotherapy for HIV

11 Aug 2008

FDA approved tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, an antiviral drug, to treat chronic hepatitis B

Aug 2008

Scientists characterised the RNA processing pathway in CRISPR system

23 Aug 2008

Thomas H Weller died

5 Sep 2008

Scientists created stem cells for 10 disorders

7 Oct 2008

George E Palade died

24 Nov 2008

First anti-PD-1 antibody entered phase 1 clinical trial for cancer

30 Nov 2008

Naomi Datta died

Dec 2008

Scientists published the RNA gene silencing pathway involved in the CRISPR-Cas mechanism

12 Dec 2008

Daniel C Gajdusek died

2009

Lasker Prize awarded to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for discoveries in nuclear reprogramming. Yamanaka is also awarded the Gairdner Prize

2009

Induced pluripotent stem cells created with minimal residual genomic alteration

2009

Genzyme buys rights to Campath-1H.

2009

Phase III clinical trials for RNAi treatment (Cand5) for wet age-related macular degeneration halted

2009

Almost blind child with rare inherited eye disease gains normal vision following gene therapy

2009

Gene therapy halts progression of degenerative disease adrenoleukodystrophy in two boys

2009

Davies made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to medicine

1 Jan 2009

Experiments in germ-free mice reveal role of gut microbiome in obesity

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