Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Huxley was and English physiologist an biophysicist who helped uncover the mechanism of muscle contraction in 1954 through experiments on the giant axon of the Atlantic Squid. His study of muscle fibres was helped by his development of interference microscopy. Huxley shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1963 for 'discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane'. 2012-05-30T00:00:00+0000Sharon Peacock and Julian Parkhill together with other researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute used whole genome sequencing to trace the spread of an outbreak of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Rosie Hospital's special care baby unit. Prospective sequencing then led them to screen staff and identify the potential source of infection. The researchers reported that the cost of DNA sequencing for the infection was half of the 10,000 pounds spent by the hospital to combat the outbreak of MRSA.2012-06-01T00:00:00+0000European Medicines Agency approves alipogene tiparvovec (Glybera) developed by Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics and marketed by UniQure2012-07-01T00:00:00+0000Ledley was an American physiologist and biophysicist who in 1973 pioneered the first whole-body computer tomography (CT) scanner. The machine transformed diagnostic medicine by allowing physicians to see soft tissue in the body that they could not see before. It also provided visual models of internal organs that conventional x-ray machines could not produce. The CT scanner improved the diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, bone disease and other disorders. It also facilitated radiation therapy planning.2012-07-24T00:00:00+0000M Jinek, K Chylinski, I Fonfara, M Hauer, J A Doudna, E Charpentier, 'A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity', Science, 337/6096 (2012): 816-21.2012-08-17T00:00:00+0000Horwitz was an American chemist who is best known for having synthesised the compound zidovudine (commonly called AZT). Originally Horwitz developed the compound to be an anti-cancer drug in 1964, but it failed to show anticancer activity. Other researchers discovered the drug could prolong the life of AIDS patients. Approved for AIDS in 1987 by the US FDA, AZT transformed AIDS from being a fatal condition into a chronic condition. Horwitz also developed didanosine and stauvidine, antiviral drugs that are used to treat HIV/AIDS.2012-09-06T00:00:00+00002012-09-28T00:00:00+0000Thomas was a physician who was a major pioneer of cell and organ transplantation. He is best known for his development of bone marrow transplants, which became a life-saving treatment for blood cancers. Donnall developed the technique on the back of research carried out in the Manhattan Project which showed that 'factors' released by spleen cells stimulated the recovery of irradiated bone marrow. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the basis of this research.2012-10-20T00:00:00+0000Murray was an American plastic surgeon. He performed the first successful kidney transplant between identical twins in 1954. The operation lasted five and half hours and involved the transplantation of a healthy kidney from Robert Herrick into his twin brother, Richard, who was dying of chronic nephritis. Four years later Murray performed the first successful transplant from a non-identical donor and in 1962 the first cadaveric renal transplant. In 1990 Murray shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.' 2012-11-26T00:00:00+0000Undertaken at the University of California's Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, the study involves the sequencing of all the genes of individuals in 118 families with a neurodevelopment problem. 2012-12-01T00:00:00+0000The patent was submitted by Feng Zhang at MIT. It covered for using CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing in eukaryotic cells. 2012-12-12T00:00:00+0000Levi-Montalcini is best known for sharing the Nobel Prize in 1986 for helping to discover and isolate the nerve growth factor which helps regulate the growth, maintenance, proliferation and survival of certian neurons. Banned by Mussolini from working in academia because she was Jewish, Levi-Montalcini conducted much of her early work in a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom. She later became the director of the Research Center of Neurobiology and the Laboratory of Cellular Biology in Washington University and founded the European Brain Research Institute. 2012-12-30T00:00:00+0000Woese was an American microbiologist and biophysicist. He is associated with the RNA world hypothesis, a concept he formulated in 1967. This proposes that self-replicating RNA molecules proliferated before the evolution of DNA and proteins. He went on to pioneer a technique which in 1977 helped uncover a new kind of microbial life which he and his collaborator, George Fox, called archaebacteria (archaea), single cell organisms with no nucleus or other organelles.2012-12-30T00:00:00+00002013-01-01T00:00:00+00002013-01-01T00:00:00+0000Askonas was a leading figure in immunology whose work helped to establish the basic mechanisms and components of immune system. Together with colleagues she developed one of the first systems for the cloning of antibody-forming B cells in vivo, some of the earliest monoclonal antibodies. She was also one of the first scientists to isolate and clone virus specific T lymphocytes, laying the foundation for defining different influenza sub-sets and improving vaccines. 2013-01-09T00:00:00+0000D. Bikard, L A Marrafini, 'Control of gene expression by CRISPR-Cas systems', F1000Prime Rep, 5 (2013) 47. 2013-02-01T00:00:00+0000Study conducted with 41 patients with advanced cancer. Led by Josep Tabernero, Institute of Oncology Department, Vall d'Hebron University together with Alnylam and other cancer research centres.2013-02-11T00:00:00+00002013-03-01T00:00:00+0000Ruddle helped pioneer human gene mapping and established many of the techniques and a framework for setting up the Human Genome Project. He also generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. This heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. Ruddle also discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 2013-03-10T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
30 May 2012Andrew F Huxley diedHuxleyCambridge University, University College LondonCell, Neuroscience
Jun 2012DNA sequencing helps identify the source of an MRSA outbreak in a neornatal intensive care unitPeacock, ParkhillCambridge University, Wellcome Trust Sanger InstituteDNA Sequencing
Jul 2012First gene therapy approved for treatment of patients with familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency Amsterdam Molecular TherapeuticsGene therapy
24 Jul 2012Robert S Ledley diedLedleyGeorgetown UniversityDiagnostics
17 Aug 2012Publication of radically new gene editing method that harnesses the CRISPR-Cas9 system Jinek, Chylinski, Fonfara, Hauer, Doudna, CharpentierUniversity of California BerkeleyCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
6 Sep 2012Jerome P Horwitz diedHorwitzKarmanos InstituteVirology, Biochemistry
2012European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia  Epigenetics, Oncology
20 Oct 2012E Donnall Thomas diedThomasFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterTransplantaion, Immunology
26 Nov 2012Joseph Murray diedJoseph MurrayBrigham and Women's HospitalTransplantation, Immunology
Dec 2012DNA sequencing utilised for identifying neurological disease conditions different from those given in the original diagnosis University of California San DiegoDNA Sequencing
12 Dec 2012Fast track application for CRISPR-Cas 9 technology submitted to US patent office. ZhangBroad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
30 Dec 2012Rita Levi-Montalcini diedLevi-MontalciniInstitute of Cell Biology of the CNRCell, Biochemistry, Neuroscience
30 Dec 2012Carl Richard Woese diedWoeseUniversity of IllinoisMicrobiology
Jan 2013CRISPR-Cas is used in human genome editing  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
Jan 2013CRISPR-Cas is used to edit the genome of a zebrafish  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
9 Jan 2013Brigitte Askonas diedAskonasNational Institute for Medical ResearchImmunology, Monoclonal antibodies
Feb 2013CRISPR-Cas shown to programme repression and activation of gene transcription Bikard, MurrafiniRockefeller UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
11 Feb 2013RNAi treatment shown to be effective cancer treatment in phase I clinical trialsTaberneroVall d'Hebron University RNA interference
Mar 2013CRISPR-Cas is used in genome editing of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast species used in wine making, baking and brewing  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
10 Mar 2013Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, ConnecticutRuddleYale UniversityGenetics, Transgenic animals, Cloning

30 May 2012

Andrew F Huxley died

Jun 2012

DNA sequencing helps identify the source of an MRSA outbreak in a neornatal intensive care unit

Jul 2012

First gene therapy approved for treatment of patients with familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency

24 Jul 2012

Robert S Ledley died

17 Aug 2012

Publication of radically new gene editing method that harnesses the CRISPR-Cas9 system

6 Sep 2012

Jerome P Horwitz died

2012

European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia

20 Oct 2012

E Donnall Thomas died

26 Nov 2012

Joseph Murray died

Dec 2012

DNA sequencing utilised for identifying neurological disease conditions different from those given in the original diagnosis

12 Dec 2012

Fast track application for CRISPR-Cas 9 technology submitted to US patent office.

30 Dec 2012

Rita Levi-Montalcini died

30 Dec 2012

Carl Richard Woese died

Jan 2013

CRISPR-Cas is used in human genome editing

Jan 2013

CRISPR-Cas is used to edit the genome of a zebrafish

9 Jan 2013

Brigitte Askonas died

Feb 2013

CRISPR-Cas shown to programme repression and activation of gene transcription

11 Feb 2013

RNAi treatment shown to be effective cancer treatment in phase I clinical trials

Mar 2013

CRISPR-Cas is used in genome editing of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast species used in wine making, baking and brewing

10 Mar 2013

Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, Connecticut

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