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Gene patents may hamper innovations in patient care

Wed, December 12 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

The impact of gene patents on fostering innovation is a highly debated topic. Several compelling arguments have been put forward to support the notion that gene patents will promote innovation and banning gene patents will hamper current and future investments that may affect the development of future patient care products ((1). Further, the long-term effects of gene patents in innovation and research have been considered as myths (2). On the contrary, we believe granting patent rights to any naturally occurring biomolecules, such as genes, proteins or metabolites or nucleic acids (like miRNA), that are relevant to biomedical applications may hamper future innovations in developing cost-effective patient care products and services.

Categories: Biomarkers      0 comments      Post a comment

Cancer Biomarker Strategy to Develop Companion Diagnostics for Predicting Prescription Drug Induced Tumors - Analysis using pioglitazone (Actos) and bladder cancer

Mon, November 19 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Cancer biomarkers can be used for developing assays for clinical diagnosis, identifying patients response to a particular drug, optimizing personalized drug treatment regimen (drug dose, drug treatment schedule etc.), monitoring the efficacy of treatment (disease stage, tumor progression, tumor recurrence etc.) and in cancer theranostics (1).With the growing trend towards the advancement of personalized medicine concept, companion diagnostic tools may play a significant role in patient stratification by identifying patients with positive clinical response to an existing or novel treatment method. However, current limitations in identifying life-threatening side effects of therapeutic drugs may have negative impact on developing efficient drug therapy strategies, often difficult to identify short or long term side effects of drugs during clinical trials. Therefore, there is a need for developing predictive methods and assays for identifying secondary disease causing side effects of drugs.

Categories: Biomarkers      0 comments      Post a comment

Metabolon vs. Stemina - Are Biomarker Patents can be Considered as "True Inventions"?

Tue, October 16 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

The term patent usually refers to "the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years" (1). The definition of invention can be according to U.S. Patent Law .a new, useful process, machine, improvement, etc., that did not exist previously and that is recognized as the product of some unique intuition or genius, as distinguished from ordinary mechanical skill or craftsmanship.(2). According to legal precedents, laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas are not eligible for patenting (3). Based on the above mentioned definitions, it is tempting to speculate that numerous biomarker patents that have been granted may not be considered as "true inventions".

Categories: Biomarkers      0 comments      Post a comment

How to Identify Clinically Successful Biomarkers?

Sat, September 29 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

"New developments in research mean that many more biomarkers are now being discovered than ever before. However, there is currently no well-defined pathway linking biomarker research to health services research. The result is that while new biomarkers are constantly being identified, for many diseases there are not enough biomarkers that are of proven usefulness in patient care today" (source UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)(1). This may be largely true due to the fact that the discovery, selection and validation of biomarkers for clinical diagnostics applications may be more complex and challenging than we ever thought.

Categories: Biomarkers      1 comments      Post a comment

Strategies for Rational and Personalized Cancer Biomarker Discovery

Thu, September 20 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

"A biological marker or biomarker is defined as a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or biological responses to a therapeutic intervention". A biomarker can be a physiologic, pathologic, or anatomic characteristic or measurement that is thought to relate to some aspect of normal or abnormal biologic function or process. (Source: US FDA (1). Ironically, most of the reported studies, knowingly or unknowingly, undermine this definition. For example, more than 8000 biomolecules overexpressed in pancreatic cancers, based on the data collected from published literature, are included in the compendium of potential biomarkers of pancreatic cancer (2). Moreover, this data does not include biomarkers that are reported in patents or patent applications, which may not be published in scientific journals that are indexed by PubMed or similar databases. Probably, more than ten thousand biomolecules can be considered as potential pancreatic cancer biomarkers, which may or may not be functionally related to pancreas or may not be even associated with pancreatic cancer. Likewise, more than 100 serum biomarkrers have been reported for lung cancer in never smokers from a single report (3).

Categories: Biomarkers      2 comments      Post a comment

Potential Use of Drug Response-Efficacy Biomarkers for Predicting Life-Threatening Disease Causing Side Effects of Therapeutic Drugs

Mon, September 03 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

This scientific blog analyzes potential applications of drug response-efficacy biomarkers for predicting future onset of drug therapy induced life-threatening diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. Enabling applications of drug response-efficacy biomarkers for predicting drug-induced side effects may lead to the development of smart biomarkers, which can reduce morbidity and mortality in patients, and can revolutionize personalized medicine approaches. In order to achieve this goal, we proposed a model for the discovery of drug response-efficacy biomarkers and the translational utilization of these biomarkers for personalized therapies. In an exploratory analysis, anti-TNF therapy response markers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were analyzed, by intelligent data mining and data analysis, to demonstrate that these biomarkers may be potentially used for predicting the risk in developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), like atherosclerosis, in RA patients.

Categories: Biomarkers      1 comments      Post a comment

Companion Diagnostics or Theransotics Products in the Market

Tue, February 14 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

This blog reviews the companion diagnostics or theranostics products that are currently available in the market.

Categories: Biomarkers      2 comments      Post a comment

Cell Based Reporter Assays vs. Animal Studies in Drug Discovery- Potential Limitations, Risks and Liabilities

Sun, January 15 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

This blog critically analyzes the potential scientific limitations, risks and liabilities of cell based reporter assays, including non-natural protein based reporter assays (e.g. circularly permuted firefly luciferase or GFP based reporter assays) and stem cell based assays, in drug discovery and development. Scientific arguments have been put forward to suggest that current format of cell based reporter assays may not be ideal for replacing animal studies. This blog also analyzes the potential negative impact of patents and intellectual property (IP) rights in fostering innovations in cell based assays. Finally, this blog warrants imposing accountability, tighter regulations and demanding higher standards in cell based assays that are used in drug discovery and development.

Categories: Drug Discovery      9 comments      Post a comment

Cancer Theranostics - Potential Applications of Cancer Biomarker Database

Sun, January 08 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Availability of a comprehensive cancer biomarker database may opens up scientific and technical opportunities in developing innovative oncologic theranostics (Rx/Dx), a diagnostic therapy process that leads to the development of successful personalized medicine strategies in cancer treatment.

Categories: Biomarkers      6 comments      Post a comment

"Idea stealing"- does it affect scientific innovation and creativity?

Thu, August 18 2011, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

It is very interesting to note that "stealing others idea" is a widely accepted common practice in research, both in academic and industrial laboratories. In a society where stealing, even petty things, is considered as a punishable crime, people steal ideas openly, without any hesitation, in academic and industrial organizations. Stealing expressions or ideas from other's speech or articles (plagiarism) is considered wrong and can be punishable too. So many people have lost their reputation and career as a result of our harsh approach on preventing plagiarism. Conversely, people get away with stealing others ideas in a research set-up for making money or for attaining power or position. We all agree that this is wrong and unethical; however, most of the researchers may feel helpless and do not how to address this issue without jeopardizing their current and future job security. In this blog, we will discuss the direct scientific and socio-economic impact of "idea stealing" in a scientific research environment, particularly in industrial R&D laboratories.

Categories: Open Innovation      23 comments      Post a comment

Is it too early to brand biomarker discovery as a "Hype"?

Mon, August 01 2011, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

It is very interesting to read some of the recent studies and discussions in various scientific publications which revealed the negative aspects of biomarkers. Question is whether these reports or views really conveying the true message or simply trying to create a "negative hype" that the biomarker discoveries are a failure: a conclusion based on discouraging results from a particular technology area? We would like address two different aspects in this blog, first "biomarker hype" and second the current limitations of proteomics technology that may have created this "biomarker hype".

Categories: Biomarkers      4 comments      Post a comment

Are stem cells ready as a next generation drug discovery tool?

Mon, December 20 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

In recent years, there is a considerable push in adopting stem cell based assays as a drug discovery tool. The major argument behind this initiative is stem cells can differentiate into specific cell types, which can be used for targeted drug screening. Major pharmaceutical companies and public funded academic institutes have been started investing significant amount of effort and money on stem cell based drug discovery with the hope that this approach will ultimately provide real breakthroughs in drug discovery research as well as significant cost savings. There is no doubt that stem cells may offer unique opportunities in drug discovery, but the scientific data to support this notion may not yet well established to the extent that is applicable to drug discovery screening. A most popular application of stem cells is the use of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes as a screening tool for testing cardiac toxicity of drugs. One can argue that there is enough scientific evidence to prove that stem cell differentiated cells are genetically similar to corresponding normal cells and can be used as a drug screening tool. This may or may not be true based on answers to following questions. a) can stem cells be a better tool in drug screening assays than currently used cell/animal based assays? b) are stem cell derived cell/tissue types are genetically and physiologically identical to the desired natural cell types, for example cardiomyocytes? c) are these proposed stem cell based assays will provide better tools to reduce or eliminate fatal side effects of drugs, e.g. cardiotoxicity? It is important to note that current use of cell based assays (non-stem cell based) failed to reduce or prevent fatal side effects of drugs. Based on this, it is hard to argue that currently proposed stem cell based assays provide any better solution to current problems. We need to understand genetic and physiological make up of stem cell derived cell types before we adopt this technology for making life saving decisions. In any means, our opinion does not imply that stem cell based products are not suitable for developing drug discovery assays. Our goal is to critically analyze the scientific rational behind current approaches.

Categories: Stem Cells      4 comments      Post a comment

Cell based reporter assays: misleading approach in drug discovery?

Mon, October 25 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Cell based reporter and in vitro homogeneous assays that are used in drug/drug target screening are considered to be powerful and convenient tools in primary screening of compounds or drug molecules. Research reagent and pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies are heavily involved in developing new technologies and methods for primary screening using homogeneous or cell based reporter assays. We are skeptical about the actual benefits of currently used cell based reporter or homogeneous assays that are vulnerable to false drug/drug target identification. The logical reasons for our skepticism are explained in following paragraphs.

Categories: Drug Discovery      1 comments      Post a comment

Are large protein fusion tag based technologies, including protein arrays, truly useful in functional proteomics or systems biology or drug discovery research?

Tue, October 05 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

There are several technologies developed for studying protein-protein interactions and several products available in the market using some of these technologies. These technologies include tandem affinity purification and protein microarray based methods/kits for functional proteomics and system biology applications. These technologies look very promising and elegant. However, careful scientific analysis of these technologies raises some concerns and questions. These concerns and questions can be debatable, but, these are important issues to be discussed.

Categories: Proteomics      15 comments      Post a comment

Stem Cell Research Reagents: Future Perspectives

Sun, June 20 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Currently, there are hundreds of stem cell research reagents or kits available in the market. The research reagent need for stem cell research is very dynamic in nature since the research trends, focus and approaches evolve very rapidly. The research reagent market has to evolve quickly to adapt these challenges and develop innovative tools to accelerate research accomplishments in this area.

Categories: Stem Cells      1 comments      Post a comment

Are current cell-based assays truly reliable for drug screening?

Sun, December 06 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Drug discovery is an expensive and a long term process. Though, the technology for drug screening is evolving everyday but only very limited number of drug candidates qualify for the final screening and get approved by FDA. We can see a drastic decline in new drug candidates in the past few years. This is mainly due to the low efficacy and toxicity of the drug on human system.

Categories: Drug Discovery      1 comments      Post a comment

Is Cancer Stem Cell the "Messiah of Cancer Cure"?

Sun, October 18 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

The existence of cancer stem cells have started as a hypothesis and followed by enormous number of experimental evidences. Still, a large number of scientists in stem cell areas and other research areas are very skeptical about the existence of cancer stem cells. We can believe the existence of cancer stem cells and its role in cancer from all the reported studies on the isolation/characterization of cancer stem cells in various cancers such as leukemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer etc from past and ongoing research on cancer stem cell. The PubMed searches on cancer stem cells showed more than 5000 articles as of October 2009 and this data indicates that the first research article on cancer stem was published on 1976 (see the box to see all the PubMEd search results). It is evident that the concept of cancer stem is known to us for more than 23 years. If the scientist would have accepted the existence of cancer stem cells a decade ago, possibly we would have been in a better position in finding a cure for cancer or may be closer to achieve this goal? May be the concept of stem cells were not established at that time?

Categories: Stem Cells      4 comments      Post a comment

Absolute quantitation of peptides and proteins using mass spectrometry: Is it a Fact or a Fiction?

Thu, October 15 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

Considerable efforts have been made to develop tools for the absolute quantitation of peptide/protein using mass spectrometry (MS). Proteomics researchers are so fascinated with the concept of absolute quantiatation and they are spending enormous amount of time for developing tools or optimizing methods for the absolute quantitation of proteins in a cell or tissue or organ. These experiments and technology development efforts not only take lot of time but also involve huge capital investment. The question is, whether it is worth spending so much money in these efforts? The arguments for justifying such studies are that it is necessary to understand the absolute quantity of a protein for quantitative proteomics. This will enable us to quantitate exact amount of toxins in food/environment, biomarker proteins and drug target proteins and so on. It looks very reasonable to measure the exact quantity of a disease biomarker or Staphylococcal enterotoxins in various foods.

Categories: Proteomics      4 comments      Post a comment

Is the term for current "open Innovation" misleading?

Tue, October 13 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips in Wordpress

In recent years open innovation has become a buzz word for big and small business enterprises, and in course of time several open innovation service companies have evolved to help with open innovation for big companies. The term "open innovation" is coined by Henry Chebrough1 and he defined it as "open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology".

Categories: Open Innovation      0 comments      Post a comment

p53 - A guardian angel in regulating normal and cancer stem cell states

Sun, October 04 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted By: Sciclips

The p53 is a tumor suppressing proteins that activates DNA repair proteins and apoptosis pathways in response to DNA damages that are not irreparable. Mutations in p53, which affects its activity, are responsible for developing various cancers; 83% of tumors have alterations or defect in p53 (1). The p53 plays crucial role in embryonic stem (ES) cells. p53 represses the expression of Nanog, a transcription that is critical for the self-renewal of ES cells (2). Loss of p53 reduces spontaneous differentiation and apoptosis in human embryonic stem cells (3). It has been proposed that breast cancer tumors can originate from cancer stem cells or cancer cells become stem cells due to p53 deficiency, which favors the expansion of cancer stem cells (4). Recent reports (shown below in boxes) have shown the importance of p53 in various stem cell states. Independent studies from five laboratories have shown that loss ofp53 is needed for the induction of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from adult cells (see thumbnails). The role of p53 in cancer stem cells has been shown by a recent study . This study has shown that loss of p53 induces symmetric cell division in breast cancer stem cells and this favors breast cancer tumor growth (see thumbnails).

Categories: Stem Cells      1 comments      Post a comment
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