Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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The technique involved splitting the Cas9 based gene drive system into two physically separate parts. It was published in J E DiCarlo, A Chavez, S L Dietz, K M Esvelt, G M Church, 'Safeguarding CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives in yeast', Nature Biotechnology, doi:10.1038/nbt.3412.2015-11-16T00:00:00+0000The work was published in V M Gantz, N Jasinskiene, O Tatarenkova, A Fazekas, V M Macias, E Bier, A A James, 'Highly efficient Cas9-mediated gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi', PNAS Early edition (2015), doi/10.1073/pnas 15210771122015-11-23T00:00:00+0000Research conducted by team led by immunologist Laurence Zitvogel. M. Vetizou et al, 'Anticancer immunotherapy by CTLA-4 blockade relies on the gut microbiota', Science, 350/6264, (2015), 1079-84. doi: 10.1126/science.aad1329.2015-11-27T00:00:00+0000Summit recommended the continuation of basic and clinical research of the applications gene editing in somatic cells, but stressed it would be 'irresponsible to proceed with any clinical use of germline editing' until the technology's safety and efficacy issues were better understood. 2015-12-01T00:00:00+0000The results suggest 'adenoviral delivery of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) to T-cells may be uniquely immune-stimulatory for both acute control of infection, and importantly, HIV reservoir reduction'. Sangamo Biosciences, Press release.2015-12-11T00:00:00+0000Gilman was an American pharmacologist and biochemist who shared the 1994 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering G-proteins and their role in signal transduction within cells. This was based on seminal research he conducted with mutant cells at the University of Virginia in the 1970s. G-Proteins were named as such because they become activated when bound to a molecule called guanosine tripsphate.2015-12-23T00:00:00+0000The work laid a pathway for using CRISPR to correct genetic mutatiuons in affected tissues of sick patients. It was published in CE Nelson, CH Hakim, DG Ousterout, PI Thakore 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+0000SUSTAIN was launched by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society and Royal College of Physicians. It was set up to help overcome the problem of not enough women securing leadership positions. SUSTAIN is a year-long programme that offers 20 participants skills training, career development and workshops and mentoring. The programme is open to biomedical researchers (both clinical and non-clinical) from different backgrounds. 2016-01-01T00:00:00+00002016-01-01T00:00:00+00002016-01-01T00:00:00+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 (HEFA) gave the go ahead to a team at the Crick institute, led by Kathy Nikan, to edit human embyos to understand the genetic cause of miscarriage. It was the first time HEFA gave permission for the use of gene editing in human embryos. Nikan's team proposed to use embryos left over from patients' fertility treatment and donated by patients. The aim of the work was to introduce the Cas9 protein and guide RNA into human embryos at the one-cell stage to inactivate genes that could be important for early development and investigate their role. All the CRISP-targeted embryos would have their development stopped within seven days of fertilisation and analysed for any DNA changes. 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+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
16 Nov 2015US scientists published a technique for overwriting changes made by CRISPR/Cas 9DiCarlo, Chavez, Dietz, Esvelt, ChurchHarvard University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
23 Nov 2015US scientists genetically modified mosquitos using CRISPR/Cas9 to prevent them carrying malaria parasiteGantz, Jasinskiene, Tatarenkova, Fazekas, Macias, Bier, JamesUniversity California San Diego, University of California IrvineCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
27 Nov 2015Experiments in mice indicate that a tumour's response to cancer immunotherapy using CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor can be improved by changing the gut microbiome Zitvogel, Veitzou, Institut Gustave RoussyCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome
1 Dec 2015International Summit on Human Gene Editing met to discuss the scientific, medical, ethical, and governance issues associated with recent advances in human gene-editing researchBaltimore, Doudna, Church, ZhangUS National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, US National Academy of Medicine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Royal SocietyCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
11 Dec 2015Preliminary results presented for phase 2 trial using Zinc finger nuclease modified CD4 and CD8 cells to treat HIV patients  Sangamo BiosciencesGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
23 Dec 2015Alfred G Gilman diedGilmanUniversity of VirginiaCell
31 Dec 2015Gene editiing tool, CRISPR, successfully used to improve muscle function in mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophyNelson, Gersbach, Hakim, Ousterout, ThakoreDuke University, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing, Gene therapy
2016UK pilot programme, SUSTAIN, created to help biomedical women researchers progress into leadership roles   
2016Davies helps secure historic UN declaration on antimicrobial resistanceDavies  
2016Sharma received the Emil Frei Award for Excellence in Translational ResearchSharmaMD Anderson Cancer Center 
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

16 Nov 2015

US scientists published a technique for overwriting changes made by CRISPR/Cas 9

23 Nov 2015

US scientists genetically modified mosquitos using CRISPR/Cas9 to prevent them carrying malaria parasite

27 Nov 2015

Experiments in mice indicate that a tumour's response to cancer immunotherapy using CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor can be improved by changing the gut microbiome

1 Dec 2015

International Summit on Human Gene Editing met to discuss the scientific, medical, ethical, and governance issues associated with recent advances in human gene-editing research

11 Dec 2015

Preliminary results presented for phase 2 trial using Zinc finger nuclease modified CD4 and CD8 cells to treat HIV patients

23 Dec 2015

Alfred G Gilman died

31 Dec 2015

Gene editiing tool, CRISPR, successfully used to improve muscle function in mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy

2016

UK pilot programme, SUSTAIN, created to help biomedical women researchers progress into leadership roles

2016

Davies helps secure historic UN declaration on antimicrobial resistance

2016

Sharma received the Emil Frei Award for Excellence in Translational Research

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