Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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A.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+00002016-11-09T00:00:00+0000The company's shares fell from a high of $6.18 on November 8, 2016, to an $1.20 on December 21, 2016. 2016-11-09T00:00:00+00002017-01-01T00:00:00+0000Smithies was a British-born American geneticist and physical biochemist. He first made his mark in 1955 through his invention of starch gel electrophoresis, a technique used to study human protein variation. Later on, in the 1980s he developed a method for targeted gene replacement in mice, now known as gene targeting, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007. His method paved the way to the creation of thousands of lines of mice carrying desired genetic mutations. Such mice are now widely used to investigate the role of many different genes in human health and disease. 2017-01-10T00:00:00+0000LD Landegger et al, 'A synthetic AAV vector enables safe and efficient gene transfer to the mammalian inner ear', Nature Biotechnology, 6 Feb 2017, doi:10.1038/nbt.37812017-02-06T00:00:00+0000Mansfield was an English physicist who was the inventor and principal architect of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the body scanning technology that revolutionised diagnostic medicine. Originally Mansfield devised the technology to study crystal structure but it did not generate enough gradients so he turned to biological samples. The first live demonstration of the technology on human anatomy was carried out in 1976 on the finger of Mansfield's PhD student. Mansfield was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2003.2017-02-09T00:00:00+0000PA Muraro, M Pasquini, HL Atkins, et al, 'Long-term Outcomes After Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Sclerosis', JAMA Neurolology, 20 Feb 2018, doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.58672017-02-20T00:00:00+0000While granting permission the Academies urged caution. NAS and NAM, Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics and Governance, February 20172017-02-24T00:00:00+0000Announcement based on study of 221 patients with metastatic melanoma, approximately half of whom were treated with a PD1 checkpoint inhibitor drug. The research was conducted by researchers led by Jennifer Wargo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. V. Gopalakrishnan et al, ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium. Abstract 02. Presented February 24, 2017. 2017-02-24T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
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, oncology, virology
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 therapy, 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
9 Nov 2016FDA halted phase II trials with RNA interference drug, ARC-520, due to multiple deaths of non-human primates treated with high doses Arrowhead PharmaceuticalsRNA interference
9 Nov 2016 - 21 Dec 2016Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals shares fell following hold on clinical trials with RNAi drug to treat hepatitis B Arrowhead PharmaceuticalsRNA interference
1 Jan 2017Human Microbiome Project completed National Institutes of HealthMicrobiome
10 Jan 2017Oliver Smithies diedSmithiesUniversity of Washington, University of North CarolinaGenetics, Transgenic animals
6 Feb 2017Gene therapy shown to restore hearing in deaf miceLandegger, Pan, Askew, Wassmer, Gluck, Galvin, Taylor, Forge, Sankovic, Holt, VandenbergheEaton Peabody Laboratories, Harvard Medical School, Medical University of Vienna, UCL, Boston's Children's Hospital, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, University of North Carolina, Grousbeck Gene Therapy CenterGene therapy
9 Feb 2017Peter Mansfield diedMansfieldNottingham UniversityDiagnostic imaging
20 Feb 2017Data published from 25 centres in 13 countries for 281 patients indicated autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can halt the progression of MS disabilityMuraro, Pasquini, AtkinsImperial CollegeStem cells
Feb 2017US National Academies of Science and Medicinegrant grant green light to proceed with CRISPR in germ-line experiments  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
24 Feb 2017Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapyWargo, GopalakrishnanMD Anderson Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology, Microbiome

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.

9 Nov 2016

FDA halted phase II trials with RNA interference drug, ARC-520, due to multiple deaths of non-human primates treated with high doses

9 Nov 2016 - 21 Dec 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals shares fell following hold on clinical trials with RNAi drug to treat hepatitis B

1 Jan 2017

Human Microbiome Project completed

10 Jan 2017

Oliver Smithies died

6 Feb 2017

Gene therapy shown to restore hearing in deaf mice

9 Feb 2017

Peter Mansfield died

20 Feb 2017

Data published from 25 centres in 13 countries for 281 patients indicated autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can halt the progression of MS disability

Feb 2017

US National Academies of Science and Medicinegrant grant green light to proceed with CRISPR in germ-line experiments

24 Feb 2017

Researchers report patients with greater diversity of gut bacteria have better response to cancer immunotherapy