How stem cells self-organize in the developing embryo

Phys.org | January 16, 2019

Embryonic development is a process of profound physical transformation, one that has challenged researchers for centuries. How do genes and molecules control forces and tissue stiffness to orchestrate the emergence of form in the developing embryo? How are the precise mechanics underlying emergence of the complexity of our organs and tissues encoded in our DNA?
Nandan Nerurkar, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, is working to answer these questions. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Nerurkar focused on one particular aspect of embryonic development: how a group of stem cells—the endoderm—moves from the surface of the developing embryo to the center, and in doing so transforms from a flat sheet to a hollow tube. This structure, known as the gut tube, then forms the lining of the entire respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

Spotlight

All campers will spend the week learning laboratory techniques and performing experiments related to the human genome project, forensic biology, microbiology, and biotechnology. The experience takes campers beyond the traditional classroom experience to learn in a more lab intensive manner, no lectures.

Spotlight

All campers will spend the week learning laboratory techniques and performing experiments related to the human genome project, forensic biology, microbiology, and biotechnology. The experience takes campers beyond the traditional classroom experience to learn in a more lab intensive manner, no lectures.

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DIAGNOSTICS

GRAIL Announces Strategic Collaboration With AstraZeneca to Develop Companion Diagnostic Tests to Enable the Treatment of Early-Stage Cancer

GRAIL | June 06, 2022

GRAIL, LLC, a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured, today announced a broad strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) to develop and commercialize companion diagnostic (CDx) assays for use with AstraZeneca’s therapies. The collaboration will initially focus on developing companion diagnostic tests to identify patients with high-risk, early-stage disease, with plans to embark on numerous studies across multiple indications over the next several years. The parties are additionally planning to use GRAIL’s technology to enable recruitment of patients with early-stage cancer for AstraZeneca’s clinical studies. GRAIL has developed a novel approach to detect cancer signals in blood, regardless of whether or not the patient has clinical symptoms. We are excited to embark on this work with AstraZeneca to transform cancer outcomes through a broad, strategic collaboration, Through our collaboration, we hope to provide critical information to improve the identification of patients who may be eligible for clinical trials and change clinical paradigms for the treatment of early-stage cancers." Sir Harpal Kumar, President, Biopharma Business and Europe at GRAIL. Across the projects within this collaboration, GRAIL will use its methylation platform to perform testing for patients enrolled in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials. GRAIL will seek regulatory approval in key markets for the liquid biopsy companion diagnostics. Identifying and treating cancer early is at the heart of this strategic collaboration. Combining GRAIL’s innovative blood-based methylation profiling platform with AstraZeneca’s leadership in Oncology, we hope to accelerate the adoption of circulating tumor DNA across clinical trials and make our cancer medicines available at an earlier stage of disease when there is greater potential to transform patient outcomes, and even cure.” Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President of Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca. GRAIL is developing its proprietary methylation platform for use in multiple post-diagnostic settings to identify patients at high risk of future cancer recurrence, detect the presence or absence of residual disease, and to inform treatment decisions, including identifying patients with cancer who may be eligible for neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy. GRAIL’s technology platform is designed to optimize circulating tumor DNA testing to enable detection of early stage disease and minimal residual disease (MRD). About GRAIL GRAIL is a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. GRAIL is focused on alleviating the global burden of cancer by developing pioneering technology to detect and identify multiple deadly cancer types early. The company is using the power of next-generation sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology, and to develop its multi-cancer early detection blood test. GRAIL is headquartered in Menlo Park, CA with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom. GRAIL, LLC, is a subsidiary of Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) currently held separate from Illumina Inc. under the terms of the Interim Measures Order of the European Commission dated 29 October 2021.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Ultima Genomics and Olink collaborate to develop solution for high-throughput proteomics

Ultima Genomics | June 09, 2022

Olink Holding AB (publ) ("Olink") (Nasdaq: OLK) and Ultima Genomics ("Ultima") today announced that they have entered into a collaboration to enable the use of the Olink® Explore high-throughput proteomics platform with Ultima's sequencing architecture. Ultima Genomics and Olink are working towards a seamless pairing of the existing Olink® Explore assay and Ultima Genomics' sequencing system, and are collaborating with joint customers to enable larger-scale projects. The companies expect this will be accomplished by offering Ultima-specific library modules, along with an Olink-provided data analysis solution. Initial proof of concept data gathered by the companies shows similar performance to the existing Explore assay, signaling its potential for high-throughput proteomics customers. Additional information will be provided by Ultima during a panel discussion today, June 8, at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) general meeting in Orlando, Florida. With the next-generation sequencing market expected to undergo a significant evolution in the months and years ahead, Olink is committed to enabling broad access to its unique and industry-leading Explore technology, As more labs embrace the promise of proteomics, we believe we are approaching an inflection point; and efforts such as our collaboration with Ultima will be a critical factor in developing the market and reaching as many customers as possible." Jon Heimer, CEO of Olink. This non-exclusive collaborative framework is a continuation of Olink's strategy it has executed in NGS since 2020 and combines the strengths of both companies' technologies. These efforts are in line with Olink's previously communicated operational planning and are intended to provide customers with options in choosing the sequencing platform that is optimal for their needs. About Olink Olink Holding AB (Nasdaq: OLK) is a company dedicated to accelerating proteomics together with the scientific community, across multiple disease areas to enable new discoveries and improve the lives of patients. Olink provides a platform of products and services which are deployed across major biopharmaceutical companies and leading clinical and academic institutions to deepen the understanding of real-time human biology and drive 21st-century healthcare through actionable and impactful science. The Company was founded in 2016 and is well established across Europe, North America, and Asia. Olink is headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden. About Ultima Genomics Ultima Genomics is unleashing the power of genomics at scale. The Company's mission is to continuously drive the scale of genomic information to enable unprecedented advances in biology and improvements in human health. With humanity on the cusp of a biological revolution, there is a virtually endless need for more genomic information to address biology's complexity and dynamic change—and a further need to challenge conventional next-generation sequencing technologies. Ultima's revolutionary new sequencing architecture drives down the costs of sequencing to help overcome the tradeoffs that scientists and clinicians are forced to make between the breadth, depth, and frequency with which they use genomic information. The new sequencing architecture was designed to scale far beyond conventional sequencing technologies, lower the cost of genomic information and catalyze the next phase of genomics in the 21st century.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Anthos Therapeutics Announces that Abelacimab has Received FDA Fast Track Designation for the Treatment of Thrombosis Associated with Cancer

Anthos Therapeutics | July 11, 2022

Anthos Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing innovative therapies for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Fast Track Designation to its investigational Factor XI inhibitor, abelacimab, for the treatment of thrombosis associated with cancer. The company will also be announcing this important milestone today at a session of the ongoing 2022 Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Congress in London, UK. The Fast Track Designation process is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of treatments for serious medical conditions, thereby, addressing unmet medical needs. Drugs that are included in this program may be eligible for more frequent interactions with the FDA to discuss the development path, and if the program criteria are met, eligibility for a potential Rolling Review, Accelerated Approval, and Priority Review. Venous Thromboembolism including both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is the second most prevalent cause of death in patients with cancer, second only to the disease itself.1 However, treatment of Cancer Associated Thrombosis (CAT) can be challenging because the currently available anticoagulants used to treat VTE can have an increased risk of bleeding.2,3 "We believe that abelacimab has the potential to provide patients with cancer associated thrombosis an enhanced safety profile and overall low risk of bleeding, without sacrificing any efficacy of currently available agents. This unmet need is particularly true in patients with gastrointestinal / genitourinary (GI/GU) cancers who are at an even higher risk of bleeding and can be further burdened by the inconvenience of daily injections. Fast track designation by the FDA is a significant milestone for abelacimab and Anthos Therapeutics, but more importantly represents another hopeful step forward for patients. We look forward to working closely with the FDA on our clinical trial program to bring once-monthly abelacimab to patients in need." Dan Bloomfield, Chief Medical Officer at Anthos Therapeutics "Caring for cancer patients is a delicate and complex process, requiring a fine balance between the risks and benefits of their anticoagulant treatments. Managing thrombosis episodes is of the utmost importance for physicians, patients, and their caregivers, as untreated blood clots or bleeding episodes associated with currently available anticoagulants, can have dire consequences," said Jean Marie Connors, M.D., Associate Professor of Hematology at Harvard Medical School. "The hemostasis sparing potential of FXI inhibitors, such as abelacimab, may represent an important treatment advance in how we manage patients moving forward." About the Abelacimab Phase 3 Program in Cancer Associated Thrombosis (CAT) The abelacimab phase 3 CAT program comprises two complementary studies targeting to enroll approximately 2700 patients across 220 sites in more than 20 countries -- the largest program of any anticoagulant performed in Cancer-Associated Thrombosis. ASTER is an international multicenter, randomized, open-label, blinded endpoint evaluation, phase 3 study comparing the effect of abelacimab relative to apixaban on venous thromboembolism recurrence and bleeding in patients with cancer associated VTE in whom DOAC treatment is recommended. Abelacimab 150 mg will be administered intravenously (IV) on Day 1 and subcutaneously (SC) monthly thereafter for up to 6 months; Apixaban 10 mg will be administered orally, twice daily (bid) for the first 7 days, followed by 5 mg bid up to 6 months. Enrollment in this trial began in May 2022. MAGNOLIA is an international multicenter, randomized, open-label, blinded endpoint evaluation, phase 3 study in patients with gastrointestinal (GI) / genitourinary (GU) cancer in whom DOAC treatment is not recommended. The study will compare the effect of abelacimab relative to dalteparin on VTE recurrence and bleeding in patients with cancer associated VTE who are at a high bleeding risk with non-resectable, locally or regionally invasive GI / GU tumors. Abelacimab 150 mg will be administered intravenously (IV) on Day 1 and subcutaneously (SC) monthly thereafter for up to 6 months; dalteparin administered subcutaneously will be given daily, 200 IU/kg/day for the first month, and then 150 IU/kg/day up to 6 months. About the AZALEA-TIMI 71 Phase 2 Trial The AZALEA-TIMI 71 trial is an event-driven, randomized, active-controlled, blinded endpoint, parallel-group study to evaluate the effect of two blinded doses of abelacimab relative to open label rivaroxaban on the rate of major or clinically relevant non-major (CRNM) bleeding events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who are at moderate-to-high risk of stroke. The trial completed enrollment in December 2021, with 1287 patients across 95 global study sites including the U.S., Canada, as well as from parts of Europe, and Asia. About Abelacimab Abelacimab is a novel, highly selective, fully human monoclonal antibody designed to induce effective hemostasis-sparing anticoagulation through Factor XI inhibition. Abelacimab targets the active domain of Factor XI, demonstrating dual inhibitory activity against both Factor XI and its activated form, Factor XIa. Abelacimab can be administered intravenously (IV) to achieve rapid inhibition of Factor XI activity and then used subcutaneously (SC) monthly to maintain nearly complete inhibition in a chronic setting. In a PK/PD study, abelacimab administered IV provided profound suppression of Factor XI within one hour after the start of therapy and maintained near maximal inhibition for up to 30 days. 4,5 In a Phase 2 study whose results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2021, a single intravenous dose of abelacimab after knee surgery reduced the rate of venous thromboembolism by 80%, measured 10 days after surgery, compared to enoxaparin.4 Factor XI inhibition offers the promise of hemostasis-sparing anticoagulation for the prevention and treatment of arterial and venous thromboembolic events.6 Abelacimab is an investigational agent and has not been approved for any indication. About Anthos Therapeutics Anthos Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of genetically and pharmacologically validated innovative therapies to advance care for people living with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Anthos Therapeutics aims to combine the agility of a biotech with the rigor of a large pharmaceutical company.

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