Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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2016-10-03T00:00:00+0000It was the first time tyhe FDA approved an immune checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of lung cancer. The drug was developed by Merck & Co.2016-10-24T00:00:00+0000Lindquist was an American molecular biologist whose work on yeast proteins opened up new avenues for understanding gene functioning and degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's as well for drug resistance, cancer and prion biology. Most of her career was devoted to looking at how proteins change shape during cell division to carry out genetic functions. She demonstrated that protein-folding errors can occur in all species and that the biological changes this can cause can be passed from one offspring to the next without the need for RNA or DNA. Linquist was the first demale director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT.2016-10-27T00:00:00+00002016-11-09T00:00:00+0000The company's shares fell from a high of $6.18 on November 8, 2016, to an $1.20 on December 21, 2016. 2016-11-09T00:00:00+0000Cooley was a pioneering American heart surgeon who helped the development of artificial heart valves in 1962, which dramatically reduced the mortality rate for heart valve transplant patients. He also pioneered delicate procedures to correct congenital heart defects in infants and children. In 1969 he became the first heart surgeon to implant a total artificial heart. Made of silicone, the mechanical heart served as a temporary bridge to keep a 47 year old patient, Haskell Karp, alive long enough to find a transplant donor. The artificial heart sustained Karp for 3 days. He subsequently died 32 hours after receiving a donated human heart. Sparking intensive research into the development of artificial hearts, Cooley's work opened up major debates about the harvesting and allocation of organs for transplants, a heated subject that continues to this day. 2016-11-18T00:00:00+00002017-01-01T00:00:00+0000Smithies was a British-born American geneticist and physical biochemist. He first made his mark in 1955 through his invention of starch gel electrophoresis, a technique used to study human protein variation. Later on, in the 1980s he developed a method for targeted gene replacement in mice, now known as gene targeting, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007. His method facilitated the creation of thousands of lines of mice carrying desired genetic mutations. Such mice are now widely used to investigate the role of many different genes in human health and disease. 2017-01-10T00:00:00+0000The drug was developed by Genentech using the antibody drug conjugate technology it licensed from Seattle Genetics. The drug was to be used in combination with bendamustine plus Rituxan for relapsed and refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 2017-02-01T00:00:00+0000LD Landegger et al, 'A synthetic AAV vector enables safe and efficient gene transfer to the mammalian inner ear', Nature Biotechnology, 6 Feb 2017, doi:10.1038/nbt.37812017-02-06T00:00:00+0000Mansfield was an English physicist who was the inventor and principal architect of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the body scanning technology that revolutionised diagnostic medicine. Originally Mansfield devised the technology to study crystal structures but it did not generate enough gradients so he turned to biological samples. The first live demonstration of the technology on human anatomy was carried out in 1976 on the finger of Mansfield's PhD student. Mansfield was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2003.2017-02-09T00:00:00+0000PA Muraro, M Pasquini, HL Atkins, et al, 'Long-term Outcomes After Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Sclerosis', JAMA Neurolology, 20 Feb 2018, doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.58672017-02-20T00:00:00+0000While granting permission the Academies urged caution. NAS and NAM, Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics and Governance, February 20172017-02-24T00:00:00+0000Announcement based on study of 221 patients with metastatic melanoma, approximately half of whom were treated with a PD1 checkpoint inhibitor drug. The research was conducted by researchers led by Jennifer Wargo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. V. Gopalakrishnan et al, ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium. Abstract 02. Presented February 24, 2017. 2017-02-24T00:00:00+0000Patient treated with lentiviral vector-mediated addition of a gene into autologous hematopoietic stem cells. JA Ribell, S Hacien-Bey-Abina, E. OPayen, A. Magnani, et al, 'Gene therapy in a patient with sickle cell disease', NEJM, 376 (2017), 848-55.2017-03-02T00:00:00+0000S. Ellys Harrison, B. Sozen, N. Christodoulou, C. Kyprianou, M. Zernicka-Goetz, 'Assembly of embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells to mimic embryogenesis in vitro', Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1810 2017-03-03T00:00:00+0000M. Mandai et al, 'Autologous Induced Stem-Cell–Derived Retinal Cells for Macular Degeneration', NEJM, 376 (2017), 1038-46.2017-03-16T00:00:00+0000The women went blind as a result of the treatment. A.E. Kuriyan et al, 'Vision Loss after Intravitreal Injection of Autologous “Stem Cells” for AMD', NEJM, 376 (2017), 1047-53. 2017-03-16T00:00:00+0000Evidence collected from randomised, doublice-blind, placebo controled study of 27,000 patients in 49 countries between Feb 2013 and June 2015. MS Sabatine, et al, 'Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease', NEJM, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1615664.2017-03-17T00:00:00+0000Developed by EMD Serono, avelumab was the first FDA approved product to treat metastatic Merckel cell carcinoma. Approval was given on the basis of basis of a clinical trial of 88 patient, 33% of whom experienced a complete or partial shrinkage of their tumours. In patients who responded, 86% had a response that last 6 months, and 45% had a response that lasted more than 12 months. The drug is being developed through an alliance between Merck KGaA and Pfizer. 2017-03-23T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
3 Oct 2016Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for discovering how the body's cells destroy and recyle cellular components, a process known as autophagyOhsumi Tokyo Institute of Technology'Cell
24 Oct 2016FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test. MerckImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
27 Oct 2016Susan Lindquist diedLinquistMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyGenetics, Proteomics
9 Nov 2016FDA halted phase II trials with RNA interference drug, ARC-520, due to multiple deaths of non-human primates treated with high doses Arrowhead PharmaceuticalsRNA interference
9 Nov 2016 - 21 Dec 2016Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals shares fell following hold on clinical trials with RNAi drug to treat hepatitis B Arrowhead PharmaceuticalsRNA interference
18 Nov 2016Denton A Cooley diedCooleyTexas Heart InstituteCardiovascular, Medical Devices
1 Jan 2017Human Microbiome Project completed National Institutes of HealthMicrobiome
10 Jan 2017Oliver Smithies diedSmithiesUniversity of Washington, University of North CarolinaGenetics, Transgenic animals
Feb 2017FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation and Priority Review for polatuzumab vedotin  Seattle Genetics, GenentechMonoclonal antibodies, Oncology
6 Feb 2017Gene therapy shown to restore hearing in deaf miceLandegger, Pan, Askew, Wassmer, Gluck, Galvin, Taylor, Forge, Sankovic, Holt, VandenbergheEaton Peabody Laboratories, Harvard Medical School, Medical University of Vienna, UCL, Boston's Children's Hospital, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, University of North Carolina, Grousbeck Gene Therapy CenterGene therapy
9 Feb 2017Peter Mansfield diedMansfieldNottingham UniversityDiagnostic imaging
20 Feb 2017Data published from 25 centres in 13 countries for 281 patients indicated autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can halt the progression of MS disabilityMuraro, Pasquini, AtkinsImperial CollegeStem cells
Feb 2017US National Academies of Science and Medicine gave green light to proceed with CRISPR in germ-line experiments  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
24 Feb 2017Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapyWargo, GopalakrishnanMD Anderson Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome
2 Mar 2017Gene therapy reported to successfully reverse sickle cell disease in first patientRibell, Hacien-Bey-Abina, Payen, Magnani, LeboulchUniversity of ParisGene therapy, Stem cells
3 Mar 2017Cambridge scientists report the development of an aritificial mouse embryo using stem cells University of CambridgeStem cells, Reproduction
16 Mar 2017Study published showing a personalised treatment using a patient's own stem cells effective for treating macular degeneration, a common blinding diseaseMandaiRIKEN Center for Developmental BiologyStem cells
16 Mar 2017Follow-up of three women given stem cell treatment in 2015 to treat macular degeneration raises concerns KuriyanFlaum Eye InstituteStem cells
17 Mar 2017Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes SabatineMonoclonal antibodies, Cardiovascular
23 Mar 2017FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorderEMD Serono, Merck KGaA, PfizerImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies

3 Oct 2016

Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for discovering how the body's cells destroy and recyle cellular components, a process known as autophagy

24 Oct 2016

FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test.

27 Oct 2016

Susan Lindquist died

9 Nov 2016

FDA halted phase II trials with RNA interference drug, ARC-520, due to multiple deaths of non-human primates treated with high doses

9 Nov 2016 - 21 Dec 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals shares fell following hold on clinical trials with RNAi drug to treat hepatitis B

18 Nov 2016

Denton A Cooley died

1 Jan 2017

Human Microbiome Project completed

10 Jan 2017

Oliver Smithies died

Feb 2017

FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation and Priority Review for polatuzumab vedotin

6 Feb 2017

Gene therapy shown to restore hearing in deaf mice

9 Feb 2017

Peter Mansfield died

20 Feb 2017

Data published from 25 centres in 13 countries for 281 patients indicated autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can halt the progression of MS disability

Feb 2017

US National Academies of Science and Medicine gave green light to proceed with CRISPR in germ-line experiments

24 Feb 2017

Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapy

2 Mar 2017

Gene therapy reported to successfully reverse sickle cell disease in first patient

3 Mar 2017

Cambridge scientists report the development of an aritificial mouse embryo using stem cells

16 Mar 2017

Study published showing a personalised treatment using a patient's own stem cells effective for treating macular degeneration, a common blinding disease

16 Mar 2017

Follow-up of three women given stem cell treatment in 2015 to treat macular degeneration raises concerns

17 Mar 2017

Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes

23 Mar 2017

FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorder

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