Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

JAN15 2018

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Information derived from these annotations, taken together with the clearly defined geno- type, inform what we see in a phenotype. Such epigenetic marks are essential for cells to develop normally. When these marks are attributed improperly, healthy cells can transform into diseased ones. "Global changes in the epigenetic land- scape are a hallmark of cancer," Shikhar Sharma, Ph.D., principal scientist and proj- ect leader at Pfizer, and colleagues wrote in a 2010 Carcinogenesis article. 1 Some of those changes include epigenetic marks that may be added to or removed from histones though the action of enzymes such as histone demethylases (HDMs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs). Researchers have be- gun to home in on these proteins, looking for drugs that inhibit their actions in the cell. At the 15th annual Discovery on Target con- ference held in Boston, MA in September 2017, scientists described developments in designing epigenetic cancer drugs. The talks highlighted a promising trend—epigenetic modification could be the next wave in cancer The newer forms of cell therapy involve delivering other types of cells, such as T cells, to a patient. One notable hurdle in cell therapy is being able to manufacture a consistent product on a large scale, which will increasingly become a concern as new cell therapies enter the clinic and subsequently come to market. In June 2017, leading experts in cell therapy convened in Philadelphia, PA for the Cell Culture & Cell Therapy: Bioprocessing Conference, and one area of focus was the current state of manufacturing cell therapies. Al- though work is still needed, cell therapy manufacturing is trending toward more automated, larger-scale, cost- effective processes. More Automation "Over the last 5 to 10 years, the major change in cell therapy—and the one that you're going to see advancing a little further over the course of the next 2 years—is the focus on the commercialization and the manufacturing process," Scott R. Burger, M.D., principal of Advanced Cell & Gene Therapy, tells GEN. At the conference, he gave a talk on how to properly manufacture cell therapy products. Dr. Burger says that the cell therapy manufacturing process has graduated from largely open, manual, indi- vidual steps to semi-automated steps that are much more robust and reliable. He uses the term semi-automated because the steps still often require operator input. "The commercial cell therapies today are being manu- factured with semi-automated technology for individual process see page 22 see page 14 Ashley Yeager If the genome represents the book of life, and the coding elements are highlighted, bookmarked, or underlined passages that represent a genotype—then perhaps DNA methylation and histone modification are the footnotes that give extra context to the genotype, pointing to what should be read or skipped. Christina Bennett Cell therapy is the delivery of living cells to treat, or potentially cure, a person's disease. The transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells from a donor to a recipient to create bone marrow, for instance, is one well-established form of cell therapy. Epigenetic Drugs: Team Players in Combo Therapies NpmA methyltransferase acts to add methyl groups to DNA via DNA methylation. This can silence and regulate genes without changing the genetic sequence. These enzymes can also act on RNA with NpmA methylating 16S rRNA. NpmA is being studied for its ability to confer antibiotic resistance (specifically resistance to aminoglycosides) in bacteria. I N T H I S I S S U E The Scoop Big Data Is Rapidly Transforming Medicine 6 Vaccine Industry Retools Itself for Speed 18 Global Cannabis Market * 2017 2021 $7.7 billion *The Brightfield Group $31.4 billion (CAGR 60%) Taming the Transcriptome with RNA-Seq 10 T U T O R I A L Next-Gen Microcarrier Advances Cell Therapy 20 January 15, 2018 Cell Therapy Manufacturing: All Signs Point to Commercialization Laguna Design/ Getty Images

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