Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Pirie was a virus physiologist and biochemist. He helped determine that the genetic component of viruses was RNA. Before this viruses were thought to be made up completely of proteins. During World War II he explored the possibility of extracting edible proteins from leaves, research that he carried on into the 1970s. His experiments were directed towards solving the food problem posed by the growing world population. He hoped to replace the inefficient method of feeding animals to secure protein for the diet.1997-03-29T00:00:00+0000LeukoSite is granted the license by BTG to develop Campath-1H for CLL and other disease indications.1997-04-01T00:00:00+0000Wald was an American biologist renowned for his research on how the eye passes images to the brain. He first made his mark in the early 1930s when he discovered that vitamin A was an important component in rhodopsin, a light-sensitive biological pigment found in the rods of the retina. Over the next 30 years he conducted a series of experiments which showed when exposed to light rhodopsin changes its form which triggers signals in a complicated network of optic nerve cells which eventually convert into visual impressions in the brain. In 1967 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye.'1997-04-12T00:00:00+0000The two companies enter a drug development partnership. 1997-05-01T00:00:00+0000Eccles was an neurophysiologist whose discoveries relating to peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane in the early 1950s won him the 1963 Nobel Prize for Medicine. He and colleagues also conducted experiments that proved chemical synaptic transmission and uncovered the role of acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter in the brain.1997-05-02T00:00:00+0000Porter was a Canadian biologist. He is renowned for having developed many of the techniques and experimental approaches that underpinned the founding of cellular biology as a new discipline in biomedical research. Critically he developed the first electron microscope techniques to get high resolution images of cells and tissues. In 1945 he published the first electron microgragh of a complete animal cell. His other major contributions to the field was his development a roller-flask for culturing cells and helping to invent an instrument for getting ultra-thin slices of tissue for microscopy. 1997-05-02T00:00:00+0000Hershey was an American bacteriologist and geneticist. He is best known for a series of experiments with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, that helped confirm that DNA rather than proteins carried genetic material. These he performed with Martha Chase in 1952. Hershey shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.' 1997-05-22T00:00:00+0000Analysis undertaken by Christine Wenneras and Agnes Wold revealed inherent discrimination in peer review process against women applications in biomedical field. They published their results as 'Nepotism and sexism in peer-review', Nature, 387 (1997) 341-3. 1997-05-22T00:00:00+0000Leukosite raises US$17 million.1997-08-01T00:00:00+0000Kendrew was an English biochemist and crystallogapher. He is best known for having elucidated the structure of myoglobin, a protein that stores oxygen in muscle cells, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1963 he helped found the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and later was its director. For many years he was also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Molecular Biology,1997-08-23T00:00:00+0000Daclizumab was approved by the FDA for the prevention of acute rejection of kidney transplants. The monoclonal antibody was developed by Protein Design Labs using a humanising method devised by Cary Queen and marketed together with F. Hoffmann-La Roche. 1997-12-01T00:00:00+0000This overturns the long-held belief that the brain is unable to generate new neurons.1998-01-01T00:00:00+0000Analysis of 29 MS patients given MS indicate Campath-1H might be more effective if given earlier in the course of the disease.1998-01-01T00:00:00+0000The drug is a monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells that overproduce the HER2/neu oncoprotein1998-01-01T00:00:00+0000German Council of Science recommends the State and universities and research organisations provide adequate child care services and make appointment procedures gender-neutral to improve number of women in higher positions within science1998-01-01T00:00:00+00001998-01-01T00:00:00+00001998-01-01T00:00:00+0000Introduction of RNA into cells is shown to silence genes in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This led to the coining of the rerm 'RNA interference'. A Fire, S Xu, M K Montgomery, S A Kostas, S E Driver, C C Mello, 'Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans', Nature 391 (1998), 806–11.1998-02-01T00:00:00+0000Hitchings was an American physician who helped develop new methods to design drugs that took advantage of the biochemical differences between normal human cells and pathogens (disease-causing agents). The aim was to create a drug capable of killing or inhibiting the reproduction of pathogens without harming healthy cells. Numerous drugs were developed on the back of the method, including for leukaemia, malaria, and antiviral drugs for herpes infections and AIDS. He shared the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.'1998-02-27T00:00:00+0000Higher education institutions required to present plans of action for equality and collect data on distribution of scientific personnel by gender. Includes giving child rearing allowance for young women and men.1998-03-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
29 Mar 1997Death of Norman Wingate (Bill) PiriePirieRothamsted Experimental StationRNA, Virology
Apr 1997Christopher Mirabelli, Chief Executive Officer of LeukoSite, agrees to take over the commercial development of Campath-1H.MirabelliLeukoSiteCampath
12 Apr 1997George Wald diedWaldHarvard University, Occular physiology
May 1997LeukoSite partners with Ilex Oncology. LeukoSite, Ilex OncologyCampath
2 May 1997John C Eccles diedEcclesAustralian National UniversityNeuroscience
2 May 1997Keith Roberts Porter diedPorterHarvard University, University of ColoradoCell
22 May 1997Alfred D Hershey diedHersheyCarnegie Institution of WashingtonGenetics, Virology
22 May 1997Wake-up call for many life sciences funding agencies of inherent discrimination against women applicants as result of analysis of Swedish Medical Research Council's grant selection scheme Wenneras, Wold  
Aug 1997Leukosite makes its first initial public offering. LeukositeCampath
23 Aug 1997John C Kendrew diedKendrewLaboratory of Molecular BiologyBiochemistry
Dec 1997First humanised monoclonal antibody approved for marketQueenProtein Design Labs, RocheMonoclonal antibodies, Recombinant DNA
1998Human brain demonstrated to contain cells with stem-like propertiesEriksson, GageSahlgrenska University Hospital, Salk InstituteStem cells
1998Analysis of 29 MS patients given MS indicate Campath-1H might be more effective if given earlier in the course of the disease.Compston, Coles, Waldmann, HaleCambridge UniversityCampath
1998FDA approved Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer   Monoclonal antibodies, Oncology
1998Amendments made to German Higher Education Framework Act to promote gender equality in universities and provide greater support for young scientists   
1998European Commission Research Directorate General set up an expert group to prepare a report on women-and-science policy in the European Union   
Jan 1998Sharma's second daughter was bornSharma  
Feb 1998Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genesFire, Mello, Xu, Montgomery, Kostas, Driver, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, University of Massachusetts Cancer CenterRNA interference, Genetics
27 Feb 1998George H Hitchings diedHitchingsWellcome Research LaboratoriesPharmacology
Mar 1998Academy of Finland set up working group to investigate career opportunities for women and ways to eliminate obstacles preventing equality in academic scientific community   

29 Mar 1997

Death of Norman Wingate (Bill) Pirie

Apr 1997

Christopher Mirabelli, Chief Executive Officer of LeukoSite, agrees to take over the commercial development of Campath-1H.

12 Apr 1997

George Wald died

May 1997

LeukoSite partners with Ilex Oncology.

2 May 1997

John C Eccles died

2 May 1997

Keith Roberts Porter died

22 May 1997

Alfred D Hershey died

22 May 1997

Wake-up call for many life sciences funding agencies of inherent discrimination against women applicants as result of analysis of Swedish Medical Research Council's grant selection scheme

22 May 1997

Leukosite makes its first initial public offering.

23 Aug 1997

John C Kendrew died

Dec 1997

First humanised monoclonal antibody approved for market

1998

Human brain demonstrated to contain cells with stem-like properties

1998

Analysis of 29 MS patients given MS indicate Campath-1H might be more effective if given earlier in the course of the disease.

1998

FDA approved Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer

1998

Amendments made to German Higher Education Framework Act to promote gender equality in universities and provide greater support for young scientists

1998

European Commission Research Directorate General set up an expert group to prepare a report on women-and-science policy in the European Union

Jan 1998

Sharma's second daughter was born

Feb 1998

Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genes

27 Feb 1998

George H Hitchings died

Mar 1998

Academy of Finland set up working group to investigate career opportunities for women and ways to eliminate obstacles preventing equality in academic scientific community