Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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A team of scientists led by George Q Daley at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute reported the creation of stem cells for 10 genetic disorders that will enable researchers to watch diseases develop in a lab dish. The researchers used ordinary skin cells and bone marrow from people with a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Down syndrome to produce the stem cells. They published their results in I H Park, et al, 'Disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells', Cell, 134/5 (2008), 877-86.2008-09-05T00:00:00+0000Palade helped determine cell function and organization. He and colleagues demonstrated that all plant cells and some animal and bacteria cells have a vacuole, an enclosed compartment in the cell membrane, which contains enzymes essential to maintaining the cell's health. 2008-10-07T00:00:00+0000The woman received the world's first tailor-made transplanted trachea, grown by seeding a donor organ with her own stem cells to prevent her body rejecting it. The doctors used tissue grown from the woman's bone marrow. The procedure opened the possibility for transplanting other organs without the use of anti-rejection drugs that suppress the immune system.2008-11-18T00:00:00+0000Drug, MSX-1106, to be assessed for malignant melanoma, renal cell cancer, castrate-resistant prostate cancer and non-small cell lung carcinoma2008-11-24T00:00:00+0000J Carte, R Wang, H Li, R M and M P Terns, 'Cas6 is an endoribonuclease that generates guide RNAs for invader defense in prokaryotes', Genes Development, 22/24 (2008): 3489–96.2008-12-01T00:00:00+0000An American physician and virologist, Gajdusek helped discover the origins and dissemination of infectious diseases. He also investigated kuru, a neurological disease later determined to be the first human prion disease. 2008-12-12T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Drug poor at preventing vision loss.2009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Corey Haas, receives gene therapy to replace a retinal pigment protein.2009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+00002009-01-01T00:00:00+0000Study published in the journal Stem Cells reports that transplanting stem cells from the lining of the spinal cord reverses paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in animal tests. The transplanted cells regenerated 10 times faster in animals with spinal cord injuries than in healthy animals. V. Moreno-Manzano et al, 'Activated Spinal Cord Ependymal Stem Cells Rescue Neurological Function', Stem Cells, 27 (2008), 733-43, DOI: 10.1002/stem.242009-01-28T00:00:00+0000Kolff was a Dutch-American physician who invented the first kidney dialysis machine.2009-02-11T00:00:00+0000Canadian researchers report in Nature the generation of embryonic-like stem cells from adult human tissue, arguing the process could eventually cure diseases like spinal cord injuries and Parkinson's.2009-03-01T00:00:00+0000Obama's order cleared the way for federal funding of research using embryonic stem cells. This expanded the number of stem cell lines available to researchers from 20 to about 700.2009-03-09T00:00:00+0000Furchgott was an American biochemist. He is best known for having shown the signalling function of nitric oxide in the cardiovascular system. In 1966 he noticed a substance in cells on the interior surface of blood vessels were capable of relaxing the blood vessels. He called the substance endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). By 1986 he had worked out the function and mechanism of action of EDRF and found out that it was a nitric oxide. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998 on the back of this work, Furchgott's discoveries helped explained a wide variety of neuronal, cardiovascular and other physiological processes important to human health and disease. 2009-05-19T00:00:00+0000Dausset was a French immunologist. In 1952 he noticed that white blood cells taken from patients who had received blood transfusions agglutinated when mixed with antibodies. He realised this was due to the genetic differences between donors and recipients. Eight years later he discovered the first leukocyte antigen, an important marker found on the surface of cells that helps the immune system recognise foreign substances. He subsequently worked out the complex relationship between tissue compatibility and graft survival. In 1980 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on tissue typing which is essential to the success of transplants. 2009-06-06T00:00:00+0000Meta-analysis of prospective trials with 6007 patients showed stem cell transplants improved the survival rates of people with acute myeloid leukaemia (the most common form of acute leukaemia) and advocated the use of stem cell transplants become a standard treatment for some patients. J. Koreth et al, 'Allogeneic stem cell transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia in first complete remission: systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective clinical trials', JAMA, 301/22 (2009), 349-61. 2009-06-10T00:00:00+00002009-11-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
5 Sep 2008Scientists created stem cells for 10 disordersDaley, Park, Arora, Huo, Maherall, Ahfedt, Shimamura, Lensch, Cowan, HochedlingerHarvard Stem Cell InstituteStem cells
7 Oct 2008George Emil Palade diedPaladeRockefeller UniversityCell
Nov 2008First woman given trachea transplant made from the patient's own stem cellsMacchiariniKarolinska InstituteStem cells
24 Nov 2008First anti-PD-1 antibody entered phase 1 clinical trial for cancer Medarex, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies
Dec 2008Scientists published the RNA gene silencing pathway involved in the CRISPR-Cas mechanism  University of Georgia, Florida State UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
12 Dec 2008Daniel C Gajdusek diedGajdusek National Institutes of Health 
2009Lasker Prize awarded to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for discoveries in nuclear reprogramming. Yamanaka is also awarded the Gairdner PrizeGurdon, YamanakaCambridge University, Kyoto UniversityStem cells
2009Induced pluripotent stem cells created with minimal residual genomic alteration   Stem cells
2009Phase III clinical trials for RNAi treatment (Cand5) for wet age-related macular degeneration halted  RNA interference
2009Almost blind child with rare inherited eye disease gains normal vision following gene therapy  Gene therapy
2009Gene therapy halts progression of degenerative disease adrenoleukodystrophy in two boys  Gene therapy
2009Davies made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to medicineDavies  
Jan 2009First animal tests suggest stem cells may reverse paralysisMoreno-Manzano, Rodríguez-Jiménez, García-Roselló, Laínez, Erceg, Calvo, Ronaghi, Lloret, Planells-Cases,Sánchez-Puelles, Stojkovic,University of ValenciaStem cells
11 Feb 2009Willem J Kolff diedKolff Transplantation
Mar 2009Embryonic like stem cells generated from adult human tissueNagy, WhiteMount Sinai Hospital, TorontoStem cells
9 Mar 2009U.S. President Barack Obama reversed restrictions on stem cell research imposed by former President George W. Bush  Stem cells
19 May 2009Robert F Furchgott diedFurchgottState University of New YorkPharmacology, Cardiovascular
6 Jun 2009Jean Dausset diedDaussetUniversity of ParisImmunology, Transplantation
10 Jun 2009Stem cell transplants reported to improve survival for leukaemia patientsKoreth, Schlen, Kopecky, Honda, Sierra, Djulbegovic, Wadleigh, DeAngelo, Stone, Sakamaki Appelbaum, Dohner, Antin, Soiffer, CutlerDana Farber Cancer InstituteStem cells, Oncology
Nov 2009FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma   Epigenetics, Oncology

5 Sep 2008

Scientists created stem cells for 10 disorders

7 Oct 2008

George Emil Palade died

Nov 2008

First woman given trachea transplant made from the patient's own stem cells

24 Nov 2008

First anti-PD-1 antibody entered phase 1 clinical trial for cancer

Dec 2008

Scientists published the RNA gene silencing pathway involved in the CRISPR-Cas mechanism

12 Dec 2008

Daniel C Gajdusek died

2009

Lasker Prize awarded to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for discoveries in nuclear reprogramming. Yamanaka is also awarded the Gairdner Prize

2009

Induced pluripotent stem cells created with minimal residual genomic alteration

2009

Phase III clinical trials for RNAi treatment (Cand5) for wet age-related macular degeneration halted

2009

Almost blind child with rare inherited eye disease gains normal vision following gene therapy

2009

Gene therapy halts progression of degenerative disease adrenoleukodystrophy in two boys

2009

Davies made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to medicine

Jan 2009

First animal tests suggest stem cells may reverse paralysis

11 Feb 2009

Willem J Kolff died

Mar 2009

Embryonic like stem cells generated from adult human tissue

9 Mar 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama reversed restrictions on stem cell research imposed by former President George W. Bush

19 May 2009

Robert F Furchgott died

6 Jun 2009

Jean Dausset died

10 Jun 2009

Stem cell transplants reported to improve survival for leukaemia patients

Nov 2009

FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma