Why the Michael J. Fox Foundation Advocates for Cannabis Research

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), which was established by and is named after the actor who has the disease, continues to advocate for cannabis research. As reported by Marijuana Moment, the group is currently pushing Congress to pass three bills relating to cannabis research and medical marijuana; the Medical Cannabis Research Act, VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act and Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act.  “Our role on the public policy team is to work with Congress and the administration to ensure there is access and funding for research and care initiatives that can benefit people living with Parkinson’s and, right now, that includes access to medical cannabis for research,” Ted Thompson, the foundation’s senior vice president of public policy, said. According to the MJFF site, the public policy team is currently tracking these bills and aims to inform members of Congress and their staff as to why the bills matter to the Parkinson’s community.

Spotlight

Population Genetics

PGT is now focusing its business on licensing its compelling intellectual properties to leading companies in the infectious disease molecular diagnostic and broader sequencing and life science tools sectors that have the capabilities and resources to bring our technologies to market and through, where needed, the required regulatory approval. To complement this focus, PGT is developing collaborations with high profile research groups, primarily in academia and non-profit institutions to provide further validation and application of the core PGT intellectual property (and thus enhancing its value).

OTHER ARTICLES
Medical

Making Predictions by Digitizing Bioprocessing

Article | August 16, 2022

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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Medical

Biotech in 2022

Article | July 14, 2022

The robust global channel of more than, 800 gene and cell curatives presently in trials will produce clinical readouts in 2022, revealing what lies ahead for advanced curatives. The impact will be felt in 2022, no matter how you slice it. Eventually, how well industry and non-supervisory bodies unite to produce new frameworks for advanced therapies will shape the year 2022 and further. Pacific Northwest talent will continue to contribute to the advancement of gene and cell curatives in both the short and long term, thanks to its deep pool of ground-breaking scientific developers, entrepreneurial directorial leadership, largely skilled translational scientists, and endured bio manufacturing technicians. We may see continued on-life science fund withdrawal from biotech in 2021, but this can be anticipated as a strong comeback in 2022 by biotech industry, backed by deep-pocketed life science investors who are committed to this sector. A similar investment, combined with pharma's cash-heavy coffers, can result in increased junction and acquisition activity, which will be a challenge for some but an occasion for others. Over the last five years, investment interest in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest has grown exponentially, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Oregon. The region's explosive portfolio of new biotech companies, innovated out of academic centres, demonstrates the region's growing recognition of scientific invention. This created a belief that continued, especially because Seattle's start-ups and biotech enterprises are delivering on their pledge of clinical and patient impact. Talent and staffing will continue to be difficult to find. It's a CEO's market, but many of these funds' return, and are not rising in proportion to the exorbitant prices they're paying to enter deals. This schism has become particularly pronounced in 2021. Hence, everyone in biotech is concerned about reclamation and retention.

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MedTech

Immunology: A New Frontier in Medical Science

Article | July 20, 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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MedTech

How to Choose a Reliable Biotech Clinical Trial Management System?

Article | October 7, 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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Spotlight

Population Genetics

PGT is now focusing its business on licensing its compelling intellectual properties to leading companies in the infectious disease molecular diagnostic and broader sequencing and life science tools sectors that have the capabilities and resources to bring our technologies to market and through, where needed, the required regulatory approval. To complement this focus, PGT is developing collaborations with high profile research groups, primarily in academia and non-profit institutions to provide further validation and application of the core PGT intellectual property (and thus enhancing its value).

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The Power of Cannabis Hairs Revealed With Microscopy, Genetic Testing

LabRoots | November 01, 2019

A recent study from the University of British Columbia, published in The Plant Journal examined the hairs, or glandular trichomes, of cannabis plants. The structures and chemical outputs of various hairs were studied through microscopy and chemical profiling. The plant sample used was a quick-flowering variety of hemp Cannabis sativa known as “Finola.” The largest and mushroom-shaped “stalked” plant hairs were discovered to be the most potent; they produced the most THC- and CBD-forming metabolites and scent-producing terpenes. This fact has been previously suspected but unproven within the cannabis community. Earlier studies categorized the cannabis plant hairs as either bulbous, sessile or stalked, based on how they looked. But how they actually affected the strength of the plant’s effects was unknown. A gene expression analysis and UV light examinations helped the researchers to better understand the hairs’ properties. "We saw that stalked glandular trichomes have expanded ‘cellular factories’ to make more cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes. We also found that they grow from sessile-like precursors and undergo a dramatic shift during development that can be visualized using new microscopy tools,” co-lead author and Botany Ph.D. candidate Sam Livingston said.

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Is There Really a Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

labroots | April 26, 2019

The idea that there are different strains, (Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa), has almost become cannabis dogma. They look different, indicas are typically shorter and more scrub-like while sativas are taller. They came from different regions, indicas from Afghanistan and India and sativas from central America. They even are thought to have different effects. Indicas are thought to induce a sense of deep body relaxation, while sativas tend to produce an energizing experience. But is there any science to these claims? The idea that these strains are different species comes from the famous biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck, known primarily being wrong about how species evolve. Lamark classified these strains as different species based primarily in the manner that we do today. According to an essay published by Jacob L. Erkelens and Arno Hazekamp in the journal Cannabinoids, Lamark distinguished the plant C. sativa, which was cultivated at the time, from a new variant of cannabis that grew wild in India, was thought to be a new species. In honor of the country that it came from, Lamarck called it C.indica (for India).

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CanniMed Inks Canada’s First Pharmacy Cannabis Distribution Deal

biotech | March 02, 2017

This industry-leading collaboration will see CanniMed responsible for producing and delivering accredited pharmacy education programs to PharmaChoice pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across Canada. In addition, CanniMed and PharmaChoice intend to enter a definitive agreement for distribution of medical cannabis through PharmaChoice pharmacists in Canada upon completion of the first provincial legislation change that allows such distribution

Read More

The Power of Cannabis Hairs Revealed With Microscopy, Genetic Testing

LabRoots | November 01, 2019

A recent study from the University of British Columbia, published in The Plant Journal examined the hairs, or glandular trichomes, of cannabis plants. The structures and chemical outputs of various hairs were studied through microscopy and chemical profiling. The plant sample used was a quick-flowering variety of hemp Cannabis sativa known as “Finola.” The largest and mushroom-shaped “stalked” plant hairs were discovered to be the most potent; they produced the most THC- and CBD-forming metabolites and scent-producing terpenes. This fact has been previously suspected but unproven within the cannabis community. Earlier studies categorized the cannabis plant hairs as either bulbous, sessile or stalked, based on how they looked. But how they actually affected the strength of the plant’s effects was unknown. A gene expression analysis and UV light examinations helped the researchers to better understand the hairs’ properties. "We saw that stalked glandular trichomes have expanded ‘cellular factories’ to make more cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes. We also found that they grow from sessile-like precursors and undergo a dramatic shift during development that can be visualized using new microscopy tools,” co-lead author and Botany Ph.D. candidate Sam Livingston said.

Read More

Is There Really a Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

labroots | April 26, 2019

The idea that there are different strains, (Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa), has almost become cannabis dogma. They look different, indicas are typically shorter and more scrub-like while sativas are taller. They came from different regions, indicas from Afghanistan and India and sativas from central America. They even are thought to have different effects. Indicas are thought to induce a sense of deep body relaxation, while sativas tend to produce an energizing experience. But is there any science to these claims? The idea that these strains are different species comes from the famous biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck, known primarily being wrong about how species evolve. Lamark classified these strains as different species based primarily in the manner that we do today. According to an essay published by Jacob L. Erkelens and Arno Hazekamp in the journal Cannabinoids, Lamark distinguished the plant C. sativa, which was cultivated at the time, from a new variant of cannabis that grew wild in India, was thought to be a new species. In honor of the country that it came from, Lamarck called it C.indica (for India).

Read More

CanniMed Inks Canada’s First Pharmacy Cannabis Distribution Deal

biotech | March 02, 2017

This industry-leading collaboration will see CanniMed responsible for producing and delivering accredited pharmacy education programs to PharmaChoice pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across Canada. In addition, CanniMed and PharmaChoice intend to enter a definitive agreement for distribution of medical cannabis through PharmaChoice pharmacists in Canada upon completion of the first provincial legislation change that allows such distribution

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