Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Summit 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+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+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
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
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

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

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