Our Microbiomes Might Shape Our Social Lives

It is early morning on a wide plain in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. With a small Dixie cup and a wooden tongue depressor, Susan Alberts picks up a fecal sample left by a female baboon named Yoruba. Alberts is an eminent primatologist. She is both the chair of the department of evolutionary anthropology and a member of the biology department at Duke University, and the co-director of the Amboseli Baboon Research Project. But this morning, she has the less-than-glamorous job of preparing Yoruba’s poop. Alberts carries the cup to her makeshift field laboratory — the hood of a mud-spattered 4×4 — and divides the sample among several cups, marking each with identifying details. She then treats each sample with specific chemicals according to how it will be used. “That’s for Beth,” Alberts says, as she adds some formalin to one of the Dixie cups. Beth Archie is a biologist at the University of Notre Dame and an associate director at Amboseli who heads the project’s microbiome research.

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Sengkang Health

Sengkang Health forms a vital part of Singapore’s master plan in providing innovative, quality and accessible healthcare to our vibrant island nation of over five million people. Nestled in the northeast heartland, it will offer cutting-edge general hospital competencies with community-based care. As a member of SingHealth, Singapore’s largest academic healthcare cluster, Sengkang General and Community Hospitals will augment SingHealth’s infrastructure in delivering a full spectrum of care to meet our population’s growing healthcare needs. With a strong community focus, Sengkang Health envisions building an ecosystem of healthy living for the benefit of residents in northeast Singapore.

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MedTech

Immunology: A New Frontier in Medical Science

Article | July 12, 2022

Introduction Recent developments in the bioengineering of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized the treatment of numerous rheumatic and immunological disorders. Currently, several immunological disorders are successfully being targeted and treated using innovative medical techniques such as immunotherapy. Leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities to expand the usage and application of immunology for the treatment of various infectious diseases, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, lupus, and psoriasis, leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities. Today, the efforts of researchers in immunology, with a long history of study and research, have borne fruit, as bioengineered mAbs are now being employed in clinical practices. Accelerating Investments: Paving the Way for Immunology The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases, cancer, and immune-mediated inflammatory disorders (IMIDs) is raising the need for more precise classification and an in-depth understanding of the pathology underlying these ailments. Numerous leaders in the biotechnology domain are thus focusing on undertaking numerous strategies, such as new facility launches and collaborations, to address the need by finding deeper inroads into immunology and its use in disease treatments. For instance, in 2022, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced the launch of a visionary research and innovation hub, the James P. Allison Institute, to find new roads in immunotherapy, develop new treatments, and foster groundbreaking science. These developments will result in better diagnosis through the use of selective biomarkers, and early detection of fatal diseases and their treatment, which will prevent complications from happening. Also, the identification of high-risk populations through a deeper understanding of genetic and environmental factors can assist in the prevention of disease through immunotherapy. The Way Forward Immunology has led to the development of biotechnology, making it possible to develop novel drugs and vaccines, as well as diagnostic tests, that can be used to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide range of autoimmune, infectious, and cancerous diseases. With the rapid advancement in technology and the integration of artificial intelligence, immunology is finding its way into an array of domains and industries, encompassing several research areas including medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and space. Today, not only researchers but also leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies have recognized that conventional therapies with pharmaceutical and chemical products are being replaced by products derived from immunology. This is because they work well for health problems, are environmentally friendly, and are also emerging as a wealth-generating business in the medical field.

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Research

How to Choose a Reliable Biotech Clinical Trial Management System?

Article | July 11, 2022

Introduction The medical and life-science industries are experiencing a robust transformation with the increasing prevalence of various types of diseases, including infectious diseases, chronic disorders, and acute conditions around the world. As a result, a significant rise in demand for more effective therapeutic drugs and bionics is being witnessed, leading to a swift increase in the number of clinical trials. For a successful trial, it is important for biotech companies to ensure the data submitted to regulatory bodies regarding clinical trials is accurate, reliable, and definitive from an ethical point of view. A reliable clinical trial management system plays a vital role in collecting, monitoring, and managing clinical data. The availability of high-quality clinical data also helps clinical research institutions make efficient treatment decisions and provide proper patient care. Hence, a number of biotech companies and research organizations are focusing on leveraging innovative clinical trial management solutions to handle a large amount of data, particularly in multi-center trials, and generate reliable, high-quality, and statistically sound data from clinical trials. However, selecting the most appropriate and reliable clinical trial management system is vital for the clinical trial's success. Let's see some of the steps that will assist these firms in choosing the right CTMS. Key Steps for Selecting Right Biotech Clinical Trial Management System Prioritize Study Needs Considering and prioritizing study needs is a crucial step in choosing the most reliable clinical trial management system for biotech companies. Prioritizing helps them to identify a solution that improves the study's quality and removes uncertainty for researchers when faced with difficult choices. Hence, biotech and life-science organizations should choose a clinical trial system that is simple to use, well-organized, and suitably designed to minimize the number of clicks required to complete a task. Select CTMS with Multiple Integrations Integrated clinical trial management systems provide the best value for the companies’ funds as they guarantee the smooth functioning of research protocols. In addition, integrations are necessary to fully understand the importance and advantages of clinical trial management software for ensuring smooth transitions between site management and data collection. Biotech and clinical research should look for CTMS platforms that can integrate with electronic medical record (EMR) platforms and clinical research process content (CRPC) billing grids. This will allow them to use the same billing designations and ensure compliance while minimizing the need for duplicate processes. Ensure System Compliance and Security Clinical research organizations need to adhere to a plethora of complex regulations in order to ensure compliance with one of the most challenging environments of principles, which is information security and privacy. Security and system compliance are vital aspects of choosing the right CTMS solutions for biotech firms as they assist in building trust and form a part of the system’s duties. While selecting CTMS systems, it is essential for companies engaged in clinical research to ensure that these platforms are able to configure both, group and individual permissions, along with having a data backup and recovery plan for hosted systems. This will allow companies to assess the privacy and security implications of research and anticipate complications that may arise in each phase of the project. Assess the Scalability Choosing a scalable CTMS that can accommodate various types of fluctuations and expansions enables biotech and clinical firms to quickly adapt to fast-changing trends and demand spikes while reducing maintenance costs and enhancing user agility. As scalability also means secure and expanded data storage, these businesses should instead use SaaS solutions than manually manage an ever-growing collection of hard drives. The right CTMS ensures accommodating the firm’s availability requirements without incurring the capital costs associated with expanding a physical infrastructure. The Closing Thought A well-executed and successful clinical trial involves multiple stages and processes. Several quality controls and stringent adherence to regulations are essential for the steps, along with efficient cross-departmental processes and procedures. Incorporating the right CTMS paves the way for paperless data collection, regulatory filing, and fiscal management tools for biotech researchers and administrative personnel.

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MedTech

Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | July 11, 2022

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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MedTech

Next-Gen Genetics Cancer Therapies Creating Investment Prospects

Article | July 5, 2022

Genetic therapeutics such as genetic engineering and gene therapy are increasingly emerging as one of the most influential and transformed biotechnological solutions around the globe in recent times. These genetic solutions are being assessed across various medical domains, including cancer treatment, neurology, oncology, and ophthalmology. Citing the trend, the genetics industry is estimated to experience a tsunami of approvals, with over 1,000 cell and gene therapy clinical trials currently underway and over 900 companies worldwide focusing on these cutting-edge therapies. Growing Cancer Encourages Advancements in Genetic Technologies With the surging cases of cancers such as leukemias, carcinomas, lymphomas, and others, patients worldwide are increasing their spending on adopting novel therapeutic solutions for non-recurring treatment of the disease, such as gene therapy, genetic engineering, T-cell therapy, and gene editing. As per a study by the Fight Cancer Organization, spending on the treatment of cancer increased to $200.7 billion, and the amount is anticipated to exceed $245 billion by the end of 2030. Growing revenue prospects are encouraging biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies to develop novel genetic solutions for cancer treatment. For instance, Bristol-Myers Squibb K.K., a Japanese pharmaceutical company, introduced a B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy, Abecma, for the treatment of relapsed or refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma in 2022. Amid a New Market: Genetics Will Attract Massive Investments Despite several developments and technological advancements, genetics is still considered to be in a nascent stage, providing significant prospects for growth to the companies that are already operating in the domain. Genetics solutions such as gene therapies, gene editing, and T-cell immunotherapy are emerging as highly active treatments across various medical fields, resulting in increasing research and development activities across the domain, drawing significant attention from investors. Given the potential of genetic treatments and the focus on finding new ways to treat cancer and other related diseases, it's easy to understand why companies are investing in the domain. For instance, Pfizer has recently announced an investment of around $800 million to construct development facilities supporting gene therapy manufacturing from initial preclinical research through final commercial-scale production. Due to these advancements, cell and gene therapies are forecast to grow from $4 billion annually to more than $45 billion, exhibiting growth at a 63% CAGR. The Future of Genetics Though there is a significant rise in advancement in genetic technologies and developments, the number of approved genetic treatments remains extremely small. However, with gene transfer and CRISPR solutions emerging as new modalities for cancer treatment, the start-up companies will attract a growing amount and proportion of private and public investments. This is expected present a tremendous opportunity for biopharma and biotechnology investors to help fund and benefit from the medical industry's shift from traditional treatments to cutting-edge genetic therapeutics in the coming years.

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Spotlight

Sengkang Health

Sengkang Health forms a vital part of Singapore’s master plan in providing innovative, quality and accessible healthcare to our vibrant island nation of over five million people. Nestled in the northeast heartland, it will offer cutting-edge general hospital competencies with community-based care. As a member of SingHealth, Singapore’s largest academic healthcare cluster, Sengkang General and Community Hospitals will augment SingHealth’s infrastructure in delivering a full spectrum of care to meet our population’s growing healthcare needs. With a strong community focus, Sengkang Health envisions building an ecosystem of healthy living for the benefit of residents in northeast Singapore.

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How Microbiomes Could Save the Planet

Scientific American | September 19, 2019

With antibiotic resistance on the rise, the earth's rivers and water sources suffering from chronic levels of pollution, and industrialized farming damaging ecosystems crucial to the health of humans and the planet, scientists are searching for innovative solutions to the global emergency we are confronted with. Even if many of us are aware that certain types of bacteria are important for human health, it's not so widely known that carefully balanced communities of microorganisms, called microbiomes, are crucial for environmental health and thriving ecosystems. Researchers are only just beginning to grasp the full significance of the microbiome and how it affects humans and the environment. With the right tools, researchers can start to understand these connections to help us make better choices about the products we produce and use and the environmental standards we employ, so that we can create a healthier and more sustainable planet. All of us have microbiome populations, made up of a unique combination of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Our gut, mouth and skin each host their own unique microbiome community vital for maintaining a robust immune system, a healthy gut, a resilient skin barrier and overall good health.

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How Microbiomes Could Save the Planet

Scientific American | September 19, 2019

With antibiotic resistance on the rise, the earth's rivers and water sources suffering from chronic levels of pollution, and industrialized farming damaging ecosystems crucial to the health of humans and the planet, scientists are searching for innovative solutions to the global emergency we are confronted with. Even if many of us are aware that certain types of bacteria are important for human health, it's not so widely known that carefully balanced communities of microorganisms, called microbiomes, are crucial for environmental health and thriving ecosystems. Researchers are only just beginning to grasp the full significance of the microbiome and how it affects humans and the environment. With the right tools, researchers can start to understand these connections to help us make better choices about the products we produce and use and the environmental standards we employ, so that we can create a healthier and more sustainable planet. All of us have microbiome populations, made up of a unique combination of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Our gut, mouth and skin each host their own unique microbiome community vital for maintaining a robust immune system, a healthy gut, a resilient skin barrier and overall good health.

Read More

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