Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Kleinstiver, 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 to regenerate healthy lenses in their eyes 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, tried out in clinical trials, involved the injection of modified human, adult stem cells from bone marrow directly taken from two donors into the brains of 18 chronic stroke patients. The trials were led by Gary Steinberg at Stanford University School of Medicine. The 18 patients were selected for treatment from 379 patients. Most had suffered a stroke a year before treatment, and had damage to their motor function. Twelve of the patients were treated at Stanford the remaining six were treated at the University of Pittsburgh. A number of the patients previously confined to wheelchairs were able to walk after receiving the treatment. Many of the patients sustained their improvements for more than one year and some for two years. 2016-06-02T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a leading expert on viruses that cause cancer. She was the first woman appointed to Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital. In 1980 she completed the sequence of the poliovirus, the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced at that time. She devoted her life to understanding the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer. 2016-06-13T00:00:00+0000The trial was proposed by Carl June at University of Pennsylvannia to treat patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma and sarcoma. The study was approved by the US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. It approved the use of CRISPR/Cas 9 to genetically modify immune cells to attack cancer in 18 patients. The trial was designed to test whether CRISPR is safe for use in humans. 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+0000The call was made in a paper published by NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre which highlighted the under-representation of women among both researchers and research participants. The authors recommended research funders to make sure gender equity is considered in relation to research design and research institutions make a commitment to reducing biases and increasing equality and analyse the impact of gender-based teams. P V Ovseiko, et al, Health Research Policy and Systems 14/50 (2016), 1-12, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-016-0126-z2016-07-19T00:00:00+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
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 therapyZhangUniversity 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, Immune checkpoint inhibitors
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 strokeSteinbergStanford UniversityStem cells
13 Jun 2016Beverly Griffin diedGriffinImperial CollegeDNA sequencing, genetics
21 Jun 20162016: NIH gives green light for first clinical trial using gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas 9 to treat patientsJuneUniversity 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
19 Jul 2016Global call for action to include gender in biomedical research impact assessments Ovseiko, Greenhalgh  
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

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

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

2016: NIH gives green light for first clinical trial using gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas 9 to treat patients

23 Jun 2016

FDA approved first clinical trial for zika virus vaccine

19 Jul 2016

Global call for action to include gender in biomedical research impact assessments

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.