Think a trip to the pharmacy is overwhelming? Try this: One million billion billion billion billion billion billion. That’s a 1 with 60 zeroes after it. That’s the number of potential new medicines that could still be made, according to a new study. It may be more than the number of stars in the universe.
Big news on the pharma front today: for the first time the U.S. Federal Drug Administration has approved a drug for humans that was produced in a genetically engineered plant cell. The approval could open the door to a range of biologic drugs that are generated in plant cells and then transferred to human patients.
In the future, implantable computerized dispensaries will replace trips to the pharmacy or doctor’s office, automatically leaching drugs into the blood from medical devices embedded in our bodies. These small wireless chips promise to reduce pain and inconvenience, and they’ll ensure that patients get exactly the amount of drugs they need, all at the push of a button.
A team at the University of Texas has created a fat-burning drug that doesn't so much burn fat as it seeks and destroys it. Instead of suppressing appetite or increasing metabolism, this drug systematically destroys the blood supply to fat tissue--and in a recent study, obese rhesus monkeys lost 11 percent of their body weight when treated with the drug.
A new database developed by Spanish biologists is giving pharmaceutical quick access to protein structure data that could lead to more rapid development of important biologic drugs. The database, known as MoDEL, contains protein motion data for more than 1,700 different human proteins, making it the largest such database of proteins in the world.
Pills that only contain medicine are so very 20th century. Swiss pharma house Novartis thinks pills needn't merely deliver medicine to the bloodstream, but could also monitor its effects and transmit data to physicians. As such, the firm plans to bring a chip-in-a-pill technology before European regulators within 18 months that can both deliver drugs and transmit information from inside a patient’s body to a patch worn on the patient’s skin.
We don't mean to alarm you, but your home could be infested with effective, life-saving antibiotics. Research coming out of the University of Nottingham over the weekend suggests that brain tissues extracted from certain insects like cockroaches and locusts have a powerful antibiotic quality, killing more than 90 percent of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli without doing harm to human cells in lab tests.
By Bjorn Carey
Posted 08.20.2010 at 1:58 pm 8 Comments
Let’s ask Betsy Dresser, the senior vice president of research at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, who has raised several litters of small African wildcat clones. “Oh yes, the clones are very much wild animals with wild instincts,” she says. “They bite and scratch. You can’t handle them without gloves and nets.”
The Pentagon wants a U.S. fighting force with global reach, ready to deploy anywhere at any time and operate at full capacity. But while keeping our troops in shape and our powder dry are relatively easy tasks, environmental variables are out of our fighting force’s hands. As such, DARPA has awarded $4.7 million to researchers to come up with inhalable drugs that eliminate the negative impacts of high altitude on soldiers by helping their bodies to rapidly acclimate.
A molecule-mapping method developed by IBM researchers has unveiled the structure of a deep-sea compound, and the process could lead to faster drug development, according to a new study.
Using atomic force microscopy, researchers in Scotland and Switzerland were able to see the molecular structure of a marine compound recovered from the Mariana Trench, whose chemical composition was unknown. And it took only a week to figure it out.
By Katharine Gammon
Posted 07.29.2010 at 5:32 pm 0 Comments
Farms have always provided a steady supply of milk, cheese and meat. Now add medicine to the list. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first medication produced in genetically modified livestock—ATryn, an anticoagulant grown in goats—and now several drug companies have launched their own animal-made medications. The drugs work as well as the ones synthesized in labs; only the process of making them is different. Scientists insert a human gene for a medically useful protein into an animal embryo’s DNA and place the embryo in a surrogate mother.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.