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Dr. Afshin Safavi
Posted by Dr. Afshin Safavi BioAgilytix Insight, Industry Update

A Dose of Pharma and Biotech News: June 28, 2017

A Dose of Pharma and Biotech News: June 28, 2017

BioAgilytix’s team is committed to keeping on the pulse of bioanalytical innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and sharing these insights with you, our valued colleagues and customers. Here are some of the headlines we’ve been most interested in recently:

Blood Biomarker Signals Huntington’s Disease
Bioanalysis Zone, June 7, 2017
Researchers from University College London (UK) recently published a study report on their search for a Huntington’s disease biomarker (HD), which found that amplified levels of neurofilament light chain circulating in the blood were present in both HD patients and carriers of the disease. While neurofilament has been previously linked to other neurodegenerative disorders, this is the first study looking at it specifically for HD.

During the 3-year study, blood neurofilament levels were measured and tracked in 366 volunteers. It was found that HD mutation carriers exhibited a neurofilament blood concentration 2.6x that of control participants, with levels rising throughout the disease course. In fact, levels in patients who were asymptomatic at the start of the study correctly predicted disease onset, with a higher concentration of neurofilament correlating with a higher chance of disease onset within the study period.

While work still needs to be done to understand the possibilities and limitations of such a test, this study confirms the promise that biomarkers hold to understand disease progression and to guide treatment decisions.

More and more companies are relying more on biomarkers to assess the efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action of drugs through the development pipeline. Learn how BioAgilytix supports biomarker studies with best-in-class expertise here.

Blood Biomarker Signals Huntington’s Disease
Gen News Highlights, June 15, 2017
Immunotherapy is changing the way in which physicians treat cancer, but much of the research in this area to date has centered on programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), one of the two ligands for the programmed cell death receptor, alone – until now. In a new study, scientists from Merck Research Laboratory developed a novel assay to detect the level of PD-L2 in human tumors, and assess the relationship of this expression with clinical response to pembrolizumab in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

This study used the assay to analyze 400+ tumor samples across a variety of cancer types, and found that clinical response was related to PD-L2 expression – suggesting that PD-L2 expression may provide additional information, beyond PD-L1 positivity, in predicting clinical response to anti-PD-1 therapies.

Because most published work concerning PD-1 has only looked at the predictive benefits of PD-L1, this study brings exciting promise that PD-L2 can be equally informative when looking to treat cancers in the most effective way.

Tumor diseases are one the most frequent causes of death in Western industrialized countries. Learn how BioAgilytix is supporting new immune oncological approaches are helping to drive new levels of curative cancer treatment here.

Newly Discovered Molecule Impacts Excitatory Synapses
Fierce Biotech, June 20, 2017
Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University have identified a new molecule, LRP4, that plays a role in creating excitatory synapses. Most molecules involved in synapse biology are vital to both excitatory and inhibitory neurons, so discovering this molecule specific to excitatory synapses indicates that there may be a parallel molecule yet to be found that helps form inhibitory ones.

Many neurological conditions are believed to be a result of synaptic imbalances, and the continuation of this line of research may help scientists to better understand the inter-workings of neurological conditions like epilepsy and schizophrenia.

With 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias alone, neurological research is crucial to improving patient lives. Learn how BioAgilytix’s expert large molecule bioanalysis supports innovative CNS drug development here.

Have you seen exciting industry news that you’d like to share with us? We would love to see your articles and hear your perspectives – we will even include them in our next round up! Submit your headlines here.

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