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Welcome to the ICBS Discovery e-NewsBrief from the International Chemical Biology Society. This is a free, bi-weekly digest of headlines and news related to the chemical biology field. With a variety of stories selected from media outlets around the world, we hope you will find this publication informative. The e-NewsBrief will arrive in your email inbox every other Thursday.
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FDA allows 1st use of a novel cancer drug
The New York Times
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first of an eagerly awaited new class of cancer drugs that unleashes the body's immune system to fight tumors. The drug, which Merck will sell under the name Keytruda, was approved for patients with advanced melanoma who have exhausted other therapies.
Neural compensation found in people with Alzheimer's related protein
The human brain is capable of a neural workaround that compensates for the buildup of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley researchers. The findings, published Sept. 14 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could help explain how some older adults with beta-amyloid deposits in their brain retain normal cognitive function while others develop dementia.
New blood test could be 1st to detect clinical depression
Depression is not just difficult to treat, it can also be difficult to diagnose in the first place. Scientists are continually looking for better ways to detect this serious mental illness in patients who may not want to talk about it. Now a new study suggests that a simple blood test could soon allow doctors to diagnose clinical depression as easily as they check cholesterol.
New drugs to boost fight against superbugs
Antibiotic resistance is a challenge in the treatment of diseases today as bacteria continuously mutate and develop resistance against multiple drugs designed to kill them, turning them into superbugs. New ways to enhance the efficacy of drugs used to treat respiratory system infections and antibiotic-resistant superbugs have now been uncovered by researchers.
Chemical biologists find new halogenation enzyme
One of the Holy Grails in chemical science has been to find the late-stage, site-specific incorporation of a halogen atom into a complex natural product by replacing an sp³ C-H bond (one of the most inert chemical bonds known in an organic compound) with a C-X bond (X=halogen). Until work was undertaken in the laboratory of Xinyu Liu at the University of Pittsburgh, there was no reliable synthetic or biological method known to be able to achieve this type of transformation.
What's causing the antibiotic development stagnation?
By Lauren Swan
Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are appearing in headlines more often as time goes by, along with the escalating need for new antibiotics to treat these bacteria. Yet only two new antibiotic treatments have been approved and released onto the market since 2008. There are currently seven new antimicrobial drugs in the FDA pipeline, but none of them will affect the bacteria for which we need them. So where are all the new antibiotics? Why are there so few in the pipeline? It really comes down to three reasons, none of them particularly good.
New glaucoma cause discovered
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a novel cause of glaucoma in an animal model, and related to their findings, are now developing an eye drop aimed at curing the disease. They believe their findings will be important to human glaucoma. A cure for glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., has been elusive because the basis of the disease is poorly understood.
Scientists create therapy-grade stem cells using new cocktail
Researchers have developed a new cocktail that's highly effective at coaxing adult cells to become quality pluripotent stem cells. Using a new combination of reprogramming factors, they produced a higher quality result than the traditional formula. The new mix delivers fewer colonies of iPSCs, but 80 percent of them pass the toughest pluripotency test.
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