Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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2010-01-01T00:00:00+00002010-01-01T00:00:00+0000Nirenberg was a biochemist and geneticist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for interpreting the genetic code and its function of protein synthesis. The Prize was given on the back of some experiments Nirenberg conducted in 1960 and 1961 which identified particular codons (3 chemical units of DNA) that specified each of the 20 amino acids that make up protein molecules.2010-01-15T00:00:00+0000Black was a Scottish physician and pharmacologist. He is best known for pioneering methods to develop purposefully built drug molecules instead of being synthesised and then investigated for their therapeutic effects. He invented the first modern blood-pressure drug and first modern ulcer drug, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988. 2010-03-22T00:00:00+0000Klinman was an American immunologist who developed the splenic focus assay, a tool that allowed analysis of antibody production derived from single clones of B cells. He used the tool to analyse immune tolerance and immune responses to influenza. In additon he invented the splenic fragment system, a technique that helped generate some of earliest monoclonal antibodies against viral antigens and cancer.2010-05-04T00:00:00+0000TALENs are restriction enzymes secreted by Xanthomonas bacteria when they infect plants. They can be engineered to cut out specific sequences of DNA. The genome editing method was published in M Christian, T Cermak, E L Doyle, et al, 'Targeting DNA double-strand breaks with TAL effector nucleases', Genetics, 186 (2010), 757-761.2010-07-26T00:00:00+0000Sends shockwaves through RNAi drug development community.2010-11-01T00:00:00+0000Fenn shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the development of mass spectrometric (MS) methods to analyse proteins and other large biological molecules. In the late 1980s he developed a technique, known as electrospray ionisation, which involves the injection of a liquid solution of the sample to be analysed into an electric field. This disperses the sample into a spray of charged droplets. Once the droplets shrink, through evaporation on the electric field, it is possible to separate individual molecules the droplets thereby providing free ions for analysis by MS. Fenn's technique is highly versatile and and provides a quick means to get accurate information about the mass of a large molecule, even when it is in a mixture with other molecules. It is used in the development of pharmaceuticals and to analyse harmful substances in food. 2010-12-10T00:00:00+00002011-01-01T00:00:00+00002011-01-01T00:00:00+0000Campath-1H shown to help lower the amount of immunosuppressant drugs taken by organ transplant patients. 2011-01-01T00:00:00+0000Gene therapy directed at liver cells2011-01-01T00:00:00+00002011-01-01T00:00:00+0000The policy was initiated by Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England and director of the National Institute of Medical research. Under the new policy medical schools could only obtain research funding if they had a 'silver' Athena SWAN award. This award is given based on an institution demonstrating equality between staff, in particular in the area of gender. 2011-01-01T00:00:00+00002011-01-01T00:00:00+0000Zhang, F, Cong, L, Lodato, Kosuri, S, Church, G, Arlotta, P, 'Efficient construction of sequence-specific TAL effectors for modulating mammalian transcription', Nature Biotechnology, 29 (2011), 149–53. 2011-01-19T00:00:00+0000Martin JHinek and Michael Hauser also joined the investigation. 2011-03-01T00:00:00+0000Allers, K, Hutter, G, Hofmann, J, Loddenkemper, C, Rieger, K, Thiel, E, et al,'Evidence for the cure of HIV infection by CCR5?32/?32 stem cell transplantation', Blood, 117/10, (2011): 2791–99.2011-03-10T00:00:00+0000The drug was approved for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma. The drug uses a monoclonal that blocks CTLA-4 so as to activate an immune response against the cancer.2011-03-25T00:00:00+0000US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia lifted a lower-court injunction, opening the way to resume federal funding of research on embryonic stem cells.2011-04-29T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
2010Davies appointed interim Chief Medical Officer of EnglandDavies  
2010Davies elected fellow of the Academy of Medical SciencesDavies  
15 Jan 2010Marshall W Nirenberg diedNirenbergNational Institutes of HealthGenetics
22 Mar 2010James W Black diedBlackKing's College LondonPharmacology
4 May 2010Norman Klinman died in San Diego, California, USAKlinmanWistar Institute, University of PennsylvaniaAntibodies, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology
26 Jul 2010Genome editing technique using transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) publishedChristian, Cermak, Doyle, Schmidt, Zhang, Hummel, Bogdanove, VoytasUniversity of Minnesota, Iowa State UniversityGene editing, TALENs
Nov 2010Disappointment follows Roche's decision to pull out of RNAi therapeutics  RNA interference
10 Dec 2010John B Fenn diedFennVirginia Commonwealth University, Yale UniversityAnalytical chemistry
2011Isolation of multipotent human blood stem cells capable of forming all cells in the blood system   Stem cells
Jan 2011DNA sequencing proves useful to documenting the rapid evolution of Streptococcus penumoniae in response to the application of vaccines Wellcome Trust Sanger InstituteDNA Sequencing
2011Positive results from trials using Campath-1H for organ transplant patientsWaldmann, CalneCambridge UniversityCampath
2011Gene therapy reduces symptoms in six patients with haemophilia B  Gene therapy
2011Classification of the CRISPR-Cas system is proposed  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
2011Policy implemented insisting UK medical schools demonstrate good employment practices for women to be short-listed for funding from National Institute for Health ResearchDavies  
2011Davies appointed permanent Chief Medicial Officer of EnglandDavies  
19 Jan 2011US scientists publish a technique for genetically engineering transcription activator-like effectors customised to recognise specific DNA-binding sites which they show is an effective tool for editing mammalian genomesZhang, Cong, Lodato, Kosuri, Church, ArlottaHarvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gene editing, TALENs
Mar 2011Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna joined forces to investigate Cas9 enzymeDoudna, Charpentier, Hinek, HauserUniversity of California Berkeley, Umea UniversityCRISPR-Cas9
10 Mar 2011Patient suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia is cured of HIV-1 after receiving bone marrow stem cells transplanted from donor with mutated CCR5 gene. This awakens interest in developing HIV treatment that renders a patient's cells resistant to HIV-1Allers, Hutter, Hofmann, Loddenkemper, RiegerCharite-University Medicine BerlinGene therapy, Gene editing, Stem cells
25 Mar 2011First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting CTLA4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®), approved by the FDAAllisonMedarex, University of California BerkleyImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
Apr 2011US funding of embryonic stem cell research permitted  Stem cells

2010

Davies appointed interim Chief Medical Officer of England

2010

Davies elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

15 Jan 2010

Marshall W Nirenberg died

22 Mar 2010

James W Black died

4 May 2010

Norman Klinman died in San Diego, California, USA

26 Jul 2010

Genome editing technique using transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) published

Nov 2010

Disappointment follows Roche's decision to pull out of RNAi therapeutics

10 Dec 2010

John B Fenn died

2011

Isolation of multipotent human blood stem cells capable of forming all cells in the blood system

Jan 2011

DNA sequencing proves useful to documenting the rapid evolution of Streptococcus penumoniae in response to the application of vaccines

2011

Positive results from trials using Campath-1H for organ transplant patients

2011

Gene therapy reduces symptoms in six patients with haemophilia B

2011

Classification of the CRISPR-Cas system is proposed

2011

Policy implemented insisting UK medical schools demonstrate good employment practices for women to be short-listed for funding from National Institute for Health Research

2011

Davies appointed permanent Chief Medicial Officer of England

19 Jan 2011

US scientists publish a technique for genetically engineering transcription activator-like effectors customised to recognise specific DNA-binding sites which they show is an effective tool for editing mammalian genomes

Mar 2011

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna joined forces to investigate Cas9 enzyme

10 Mar 2011

Patient suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia is cured of HIV-1 after receiving bone marrow stem cells transplanted from donor with mutated CCR5 gene. This awakens interest in developing HIV treatment that renders a patient's cells resistant to HIV-1

25 Mar 2011

First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting CTLA4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®), approved by the FDA

Apr 2011

US funding of embryonic stem cell research permitted