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Dafna Bar-Sagi (Sasha Nialla, NYU Langone Health)

How pan­cre­at­ic RAS tu­mors pro­tect them­selves. Re­searchers point to a new pro­tein — and maybe a new treat­ment

A couple years back, some cardiovascular specialists at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital stumbled across a surprising result.

Novartis had tasked them with carrying out the long-range Phase III trial for canakinumab, an experimental anti-inflammatory drug the company was trying to market for cardiovascular disease. The main results were mixed — modest reductions in fatal cardiovascular events, clear side effects — but an additional, exploratory analysis, turned heads over in oncology: Across 10,061 patients, those who had received canakinumab were less likely to develop lung cancer; 33% less likely for the highest dosage.

Jeannie Lee explains her epigenetic research after she was selected as the 2016 winner of the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences. (Foundation for the National Institutes of Health via YouTube)

HH­MI dis­crim­i­nat­ed against two Asian Amer­i­can women in­ves­ti­ga­tors, law­suits al­lege

Howard Hughes Medical Institute — the noted nonprofit known for doling out generous investigator awards to researchers all around the US — is facing lawsuits by two Asian American biologists who allege they were unfairly denied renewal of grants because of their sex, age, national origin or disability.

Meredith Wadman of Science first reported the lawsuits, which according to legal experts and several other Asian American women who were discontinued as HHMI investigators reflect a pattern of prejudice at the organization. They also come amid a general increase in awareness about the obstacles women in life sciences face in their careers. Earlier this year, the Salk Institute in San Diego came under fire after in which female faculty members claim an “old boys’ club” of seniors restricted their access to funds, resources and networks.

Alan List. Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital

NIH-di­rect­ed purge of re­searchers with Chi­na ties sweeps up Mof­fitt CEO Alan List, col­leagues

In an escalation of the already heightened sentiments around threats of academic espionage, Moffitt Cancer Center said Alan List, its president and CEO, and center director Thomas Sellers have resigned for violating conflict of interest rules through their work in China.

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Pfiz­er's re­tired NASH drug shown to re­duce liv­er fat, in­spir­ing new faith in the DGAT2 path­way

Nearly two years ago, Pfizer sent a NASH drug to the freezer because it didn’t appear viable long-term. Now, scientists for the pharma giant say the drug reduces liver fat, and a different version of that therapy may yet see daylight as part of a partnership with Novartis.

In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, Pfizer scientists reported that PF-06427878, a DGAT2 inhibitor, reduced fat and lipogenic gene expression in mouse and rat studies. That triggered small clinical trials, where volunteers in the drug arm saw a 31.5% reduction in liver fat after 14 days and minimal adverse effects.

Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili. Mass General Research Institute via Twitter

Mass Gen­er­al team presents mouse da­ta to back the case for us­ing re­for­mu­lat­ed asth­ma drug to treat ALS

Can a reformulation of an old drug on the market for asthma, allergy and mastocytosis protect against liver disease, Alzheimer’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital is making a case for the latter two. Having recently found an injection of cromolyn sodium effective in inhibiting amyloid beta (Aβ) aggregation in vitro and in mouse models, researchers set out to investigate whether the same compound can achieve the same in ALS.

Nematode. Andy Murray

Com­pound nes­tled in par­a­sitic worm of­fers promise as an­tibi­ot­ic against ob­sti­nate su­per­bugs

A compound domiciled inside the gut of a soil-dwelling parasitic worm could be the chief ingredient for a potent human antibiotic designed to fight a class of stubborn superbugs, new research suggests.

The tsunami of antibiotic resistance is an acute global threat. In the United States, at least 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection each year, and more than 35,000 people die, according to a recent report by the CDC.

Burt Adelman. Novo Ventures

Here's a $25M seed fund aimed at back­ing some brash new drug ideas out of the Broad

As a former academic and a seasoned drug developer, Burt Adelman knew when he was recruited as a senior advisor to Novo Ventures in 2017 that one of his key priorities needs to be introducing the fund to the network he was so deeply embedded in.

“I was thinking long and hard on how can I, as a Boston insider, help Novo really get inside the ecosystem of Boston biotech?” he recalled in an interview with Endpoints News.

Div­ing deep in­to AMD, Yale re­searchers pin­point cell types drug de­vel­op­ers should pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to

The wild successes of drugs like Eylea and Lucentis sometimes overshadow the fact that there still isn’t a cure for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among the elderly, especially the earlier-stage disease known as dry AMD. While around three dozen genes tied to the disease have been identified — giving rise to experimental gene therapies — some scientists believe a closer look is needed to figure out where exactly these genetic alterations are taking place.

Can CBD tem­per Parkin­son's-re­lat­ed psy­chosis? UK re­searchers will look for an­swers in PhII study

Cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant, has been tried and tested in patients with rare forms of epilepsy, inspiring the approval of GW Pharma’s $GWPH landmark plant-derived Epidiolex. Its resurgence in research — and its ubiquitous presence in oils, creams, and gummy bears — is on the basis that it is not addictive, like its intoxicating cousin THC, and retains the therapeutic potential for a plant that was once touted as a cure-all in India. Researchers at King’s College London have been studying the effect of CBD on psychosis, and on Monday signaled they are prepping to begin a large-scale Phase II trial in patients with Parkinson’s-related psychosis, characterized by hallucinations and delusions.

William Kaelin. HHMI

What does No­bel-qual­i­ty re­search look like in ac­tion? Re­searchers re­count the Bill Kaelin ex­per­i­ment

There’s a question banded about at Tango Therapeutics, the biotech William Kaelin co-founded a few years back. It’s the adult scientist equivalent of a math teacher asking if you checked your work, subtracted back the sums and multiplied the quotients: Have you done the Bill Kaelin experiment?

“He holds it almost as a principle,” Tango CSO Alan Huang told Endpoints News. “And he won’t let go.”

Gregg Semenza

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