A 'Quick-and-Easy' Recipe for Making Brain Cells

| January 24, 2017

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Growing neurons in a dish just got a lot easier. A new study from researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering provides a quick and easy way to speed up development of cortical neurons, the cells making up the thinking parts of the brain. The improved method uses a combination of six molecules to, in effect, reduce the cells’ cooking time. “Instead of waiting several months, we can make those neurons in about ten days,” says Lorenz Studer, Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at the Sloan Kettering Institute. “That’s a world record.”

Spotlight

Yumanity Therapeutics

Yumanity Therapeutics is transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding. Despite the fact that an estimated 50 million people worldwide suffer from diseases affecting the brain and central nervous system, there are no approved disease-modifying therapies or cures. Yumanity is working to identify and develop new, disease-modifying therapies that address several illnesses with critical unmet medical needs, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The company’s approach concentrates on correcting the cellular pathologies driven by misfolded proteins, the altered biology or phenotypes driving these diseases.

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MEDICAL

Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | August 2, 2021

In the downstream portion of any bioprocess, one must pick through the dross before one can seize the gold the biotherapeutic that the bioprocess was always meant to generate. Unfortunately, the dross is both voluminous and various. And the biotherapeutic gold, unlike real gold, is corruptible. That is, it can suffer structural damage and activity loss. When discarding the dross and collecting the gold, bioprocessors must be efficient and gentle. They must, to the extent possible, eliminate contaminants and organic debris while ensuring that biotherapeutics avoid aggregation-inducing stresses and retain their integrity during purification and recovery. Anything less compromises purity and reduces yield. To purify and recover biotherapeutics efficiently and gently, bioprocessors must avail themselves of the most appropriate tools and techniques. Here, we talk with several experts about which tools and techniques can help bioprocessors overcome persistent challenges. Some of these experts also touch on new approaches that can help bioprocessors address emerging challenges.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Making Predictions by Digitizing Bioprocessing

Article | April 20, 2021

With advances in data analytics and machine learning, the move from descriptive and diagnostic analytics to predictive and prescriptive analytics and controls—allowing us to better forecast and understand what will happen and thus optimize process outcomes—is not only feasible but inevitable, according to Bonnie Shum, principal engineer, pharma technical innovation, technology & manufacturing sciences and technology at Genentech. “Well-trained artificial intelligence systems can help drive better decision making and how data is analyzed from drug discovery to process development and to manufacturing processes,” she says. Those advances, though, only really matter when they improve the lives of patients. That’s exactly what Shum expects. “The convergence of digital transformation and operational/processing changes will be critical for the facilities of the future and meeting the needs of our patients,” she continues. “Digital solutions may one day provide fully automated bioprocessing, eliminating manual intervention and enabling us to anticipate potential process deviations to prevent process failures, leading to real-time release and thus faster access for patients.” To turn Bioprocessing 4.0 into a production line for precision healthcare, real-time release and quickly manufacturing personalized medicines will be critical. Adding digitization and advanced analytics wherever possible will drive those improvements. In fact, many of these improvements, especially moving from descriptive to predictive bioprocessing, depend on more digitization.

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Spotlight

Yumanity Therapeutics

Yumanity Therapeutics is transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding. Despite the fact that an estimated 50 million people worldwide suffer from diseases affecting the brain and central nervous system, there are no approved disease-modifying therapies or cures. Yumanity is working to identify and develop new, disease-modifying therapies that address several illnesses with critical unmet medical needs, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The company’s approach concentrates on correcting the cellular pathologies driven by misfolded proteins, the altered biology or phenotypes driving these diseases.

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