Timeline of key events in biotechnology

Mouseover the event title for a more detailed description of the event (if available). To search for particular terms in the description of the event enter the term in the box below 'Event' on the table and press 'enter'. Alternatively use the dropdown lists to filter by Person, Place or Science. Click here to clear the filter.

Nelson, C E, Hakim, C H, Ousterout, D G, Thakore, P I, et al, 'In vivo genome editing improves muscle function in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy', Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad51432015-12-31T00:00:00+0000Kleinstiver, B P, Pattanayak, V, Prew, M S, Tsai, S Q, Nguyen, N T, Zheng, Z, Joung, K, 'High-fidelity CRISPR–Cas9 nucleases with no detectable genome-wide off-target effects', Nature, doi:10.1038.2016-01-06T00:00:00+0000The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority give the go ahead to a team at the Crick institute, led by Kathy Nikan, to edit human embyos to undestand the genetic cause of miscarriage. 2016-02-01T00:00:00+0000The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Warwick who studied tissue samples donated by 183 patients at the Imlantation Research Clinic in Coventry. The finding opened up new possibilities for developing stem cell based treatments for the prevention of miscarriage. E. S. Lucas et al, 'Loss of endometrial plasticity in recurrent pregnancy loss', Stem Cells, 34/2 (2016), 346-56. 2016-03-08T00:00:00+0000The infants received the therapy as part of a small scale trial carried out by Kang Zhang and his team at the Shiley Institute of the University of California in San Diego, together with colleagues in China. The study was published in H. Lin et al, 'Lens regeneration using endogenous stem cells with gain of visual function', Nature, 531 (2016), 323-28.2016-03-09T00:00:00+0000The cells proved capable of differentiating into many cell types, such as nerve, heart, and pancreatic cells, while retaining a single set of chromosomes. It is hoped the cells could help reduce the compexity of identifying genetic abnormalities. The work was done by Dieter Egli of Columbia University, New York, and Nissim Benvenisty, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. It was published in I. Sagi et al, 'Derivation and differentiation of haploid human embryonic stem cells', Nature (2016), doi:10.1038/nature17408.2016-03-17T00:00:00+0000The Karolinksa Institute sacked Paolo Macchiarini for continuing to use his new method in operations even though it showed little or no sign of working. 2016-03-23T00:00:00+0000Based on the analysis of data from hundreds of patients, scientists found markers on tumour cells flagging up very early mutations of the disease. The advantage is these appear on all tumour cells, thereby providing a good target for treatment. N. McGranahan, et al, 'Clonal neoantigens elicit T cell immunoreactivity and sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade', Science, 351/6280 (2016), 1463-69. 2016-03-25T00:00:00+0000UK scientists show how the TALENs gene editing tool can be used to switch on the immune system to stop cancer. L. Menger, et al, 'TALEN-Mediated Inactivation of PD-1 in Tumor-Reactive Lymphocytes Promotes Intratumoral T-cell Persistence and Rejection of Established Tumors', Cancer Research, 2016, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-3352. 2016-04-15T00:00:00+0000The drug was developed by Genetech/Roche2016-05-01T00:00:00+0000A.C. Komor, Y.B. Kim, M.S. Packer, J.A. Zuris, D.R. Liu, 'Programmable editing of a target base in genomic DNA without double-stranded DNA cleavage', Nature, 533/7603 (2016), 420–24.2016-05-16T00:00:00+0000The procedure, undertaken in clinical trials led by Gary Steinberg at Stanford University School of Medicine, involved the injection of modified human, adult stem cells from bone marrow directly into the brains of 18 chronic stroke patients. 2016-06-02T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a major pioneer in the DNA sequencing field and research into the Epstein-Barr virus2016-06-13T00:00:00+0000Work led by Carl June at University of Pennsylvannia to treat patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma and sarcoma.2016-06-21T00:00:00+0000Vaccine developed by David Weiner together with collaborators at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., GeneOne Life Science, Inc., National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the University of Pennsylvania.2016-06-23T00:00:00+0000Stem cells injected into 11 patients undergoing bypass surgery shown to reduce the size of scarred tissue by 40 per cent. K Anatasiadis, et al, Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research, 9/3 (June 2016), 202-13.2016-07-24T00:00:00+0000Research carried out by a team led by Dimitry I Gabriolvich. 2016-08-05T00:00:00+0000J. Sevigny et al, 'The antibody aducanumab reduces A-beta plaques in Alzheimer’s disease', 'Nature', 37 (2016), 50-56.2016-09-01T00:00:00+00002016-10-03T00:00:00+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+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
31 Dec 2015CRISPR successfully used to improve muscle function in mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, opening way to use CRISPR to correct genetic mutatiuons in affected tissues of sick patientsNelson, Gersbach, Hakim, Ousterout, ThakoreDuke University, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Gene therapy
6 Jan 2016US scientists published improved version of CRISPR/Cas 9 with less risk of off-target DNA breaksKleinstiver, Pattanayak, Prew, Tsai, Nguyen, Zheng, JoungHarvard UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
1 Feb 2016UK scientists authorised to genetically modify human embryos using CRISPR-Cas 9NiakanCrick InstituteCRISPR-Cas9
8 Mar 2016UK scientists link repeated miscarriages to a reduction of stem cells in lining of the wombBrosens, QuenbyUniversity of WarwickStem Cells
9 Mar 2016A dozen infants born with cataracts reported to regain sight after receiving new stem cell therapy to regenerate healthy lenses in their eyes. ZhangUniversity of California San DiegoStem Cells
17 Mar 2016Scientists announce the first generation of an embryonic stem cell that carries a single copy of the human genome rather than the usual twoEgli, Benvinsty, Sagi, Chia, Golan-Lev, Peretz, Weissbein, Sui, Sauer, YanukkaColumbia UniversityStem cells
23 Mar 2016Surgeon involved in world's first trachea transplant made from patient's own stem cells sacked for scientific misconductMacchiariniKarolinska InstituteStem cells
25 Mar 2016Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapyMcGranahan, Furness, Rosenthal, Ramskov, Lyngaa, Saini, Jamal-Hanjani, Wilson, Birkbak, Hiley, Watkins, Shafi, Murugaesu, Mitter, Akarca, Linares, Marafioti, Henry, Van Allen, Miao, Schilling, Schadendorf, Garraway, Makarov, Rizvi,m Snyder, Hellman, MerghUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, Francis Crick Insitute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Broad Institute, University Duisburg-Essen, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia Univertsity, Weill Cornell Medical College, Harvard Medical SImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
15 Apr 2016Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancerQuezada, Johnson, Menger, Sledzinska, Bergerhoff, Vargas, Smith, Poirot, Pule, Hererro, PeggsUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, CellectisImmunology, Oncology, TALENs, Gene editing, Cancer immunotherapy
1 May 2016FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeted at PD1, for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer Genentech, RocheImmune checkpoint inhibitor, Immuotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
16 May 2016US scientists publish new base editing technique offering means to alter genome without needing to cleave double-stranded DNA or for a donor DNA templateKomor, Kim, Packer, Zuris, LiuHarvard UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
2 Jun 2016Stem cells reported to provide substantial recovery in patients disabled by stroke Stanford UniversityStem cells
13 Jun 2016Beverly Griffin diedGriffinImperial College 
21 Jun 2016US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved first study in 15 patients using CRISPR/Cas 9 to genetically modify immune cells to attack cancerJuneUniversity of PennsylvaniaCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Gene Cancer immunotherapy
23 Jun 2016FDA approved first clinical trial for zika virus vaccineWeinerWistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, GeneOne Life Science, Public Health Agency of CanadaVaccines, Virology
24 Jul 2016Small-scale case study showed power of stem cells to repair damaged scar tissue caused by heart attacksAnastasiadis, Antonitsis, Westaby, Reginald, Sultan, Doumas, Efthimiadis, EvansAHEPA University Hospital, Oxford University, Cardiff UniversityStem cells
Aug 2016Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatments Wistar InstituteImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
1 Sep 2016Monoclonal antibody drug for Alzheimer's Disease shown to be promising in phase II clinical trialsSevigny, Chiao, Bussiere, WeinrebBiogen, Neuimmune, Butler Hospital, University of ZurchMonoclonal antibodies, Neuroscience
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

31 Dec 2015

CRISPR successfully used to improve muscle function in mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, opening way to use CRISPR to correct genetic mutatiuons in affected tissues of sick patients

6 Jan 2016

US scientists published improved version of CRISPR/Cas 9 with less risk of off-target DNA breaks

1 Feb 2016

UK scientists authorised to genetically modify human embryos using CRISPR-Cas 9

8 Mar 2016

UK scientists link repeated miscarriages to a reduction of stem cells in lining of the womb

9 Mar 2016

A dozen infants born with cataracts reported to regain sight after receiving new stem cell therapy to regenerate healthy lenses in their eyes.

17 Mar 2016

Scientists announce the first generation of an embryonic stem cell that carries a single copy of the human genome rather than the usual two

23 Mar 2016

Surgeon involved in world's first trachea transplant made from patient's own stem cells sacked for scientific misconduct

25 Mar 2016

Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapy

15 Apr 2016

Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancer

1 May 2016

FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeted at PD1, for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer

16 May 2016

US scientists publish new base editing technique offering means to alter genome without needing to cleave double-stranded DNA or for a donor DNA template

2 Jun 2016

Stem cells reported to provide substantial recovery in patients disabled by stroke

13 Jun 2016

Beverly Griffin died

21 Jun 2016

US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved first study in 15 patients using CRISPR/Cas 9 to genetically modify immune cells to attack cancer

23 Jun 2016

FDA approved first clinical trial for zika virus vaccine

24 Jul 2016

Small-scale case study showed power of stem cells to repair damaged scar tissue caused by heart attacks

Aug 2016

Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatments

1 Sep 2016

Monoclonal antibody drug for Alzheimer's Disease shown to be promising in phase II clinical trials

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.