Scientists weigh Zika vaccine challenge study after case count plummets
September 18, 2018
By Neozene

Zika captured the world’s attention when microcephaly cases started popping up in Brazil back in 2015, and in a fast response, governments and industry quickly committed resources for vaccine research. But after the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases pushed a vaccine into phase 2 testing, the outbreak has subsided, making it harder to test for efficacy, Science reports. In response to those challenges, scientists are now considering pressing ahead with a human challenge study in which investigators would infect study participants with the virus to test vaccine efficacy.

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Needed vaccines unlikely to launch at current funding levels
September 11, 2018
By Neozene

Despite hundreds of pipeline programs in testing and billions of dollars spent annually, the world isn’t doing enough to support research into infectious disease and meet global health goals, according to a new study funded by the Gates Foundation. As of Aug. 31, 2017, researchers identified more than 500 infectious disease candidates in development. Ushering them all through development would yield 128 launches by 2030—mostly in diagnostics—and cost $16.3 billion, according to the study authors. But given the current funding situation, researchers said the world is unlikely to see new

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Unraveling the mysteries of drug resistance in melanoma
August 28, 2018
By Neozene

About half of melanoma patients have mutations in BRAF genes, which can be addressed with drugs like Roche’s Zelboraf. But many patients eventually grow resistant to BRAF inhibitors, for reasons that researchers have struggled to determine. A team of researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York used the gene editing system CRISPR-Cas9 to discover a biological signature of drug resistance in melanoma—a biomarker that may provide a target for new treatments. It’s a gene called IGFBP2, which touches off an epigenetic process leading to resistance. They published

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