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September 2, 2014 – 12:54 pm | Edit Post

The SDBN is very pleased to host a Town Hall event with 52nd District Congressman Scott Peters September 22nd where we’ll discuss issues important to local life scientists and professionals such as research funding and …

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Breaking San Diego Biotech News

Phase III Clinical Trial to Evaluate Calcium Channel Blocker for Parkinson’s

September 30, 2014 – 10:36 am | Edit Post

Phase III Clinical Trial to Evaluate Calcium Channel Blocker for Parkinson’s

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the drug isradipine, a calcium channel blocker often used to treat high blood pressure, as a potential new treatment for Parkinson disease. The goal of the study is to determine whether the drug can slow the progression of the disease by keeping the brain’s dopamine-producing cells healthier for a longer period of time.

A signature for early-stage heart failure could improve diagnosis and prevent disease progression

September 30, 2014 – 8:53 am | Edit Post

Metabolic signature identifies early heart failure in mice.

ZMapp Ebola Drug Production Set for Texas, Possibly North Carolina

September 30, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post
ZMapp Ebola Drug Production Set for Texas, Possibly North Carolina

A federal initiative to ensure that the United States can respond to biological threats at home will be put to the test in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. A Texas site is preparing to…

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Salk scientists receive $3 million for BRAIN Initiative grant

September 29, 2014 – 5:00 pm | Edit Post

LA JOLLA—Joseph Ecker, a Salk professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and Margarita Behrens, Salk staff scientist, have been named recipients in the 2014 round of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through th…

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Newest San Diego Biotech Jobs

Clinical Laboratory Scientist – BioPhase Solutions – San Diego, CA

October 1, 2014 – 3:59 am | Edit Post

for a Clinical Laboratory Scientist to work for a leading San Diego biotechnology company. Clinical Laboratory Scientist Our client is currently looking for…
From BioPhase Solutions – 01 Oct 2014 10:59:20 GMT
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Security Officer – Biotech at Alliedbarton (San Diego, CA)

September 30, 2014 – 10:50 pm | Edit Post

Overview: ABOUT ALLIEDBARTON SECURITY SERVICES AlliedBarton Security Services is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare,…

Clinical Program Manager – BioPhase Solutions – San Diego, CA

September 30, 2014 – 9:58 pm | Edit Post

looking for a Clinical Program Manager to work for a leading San Diego biotechnology company. Clinical Program Manager Manages clinical project team members…
From BioPhase Solutions – 01 Oct 2014 04:58:51 GMT
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Research Manufacturing Associate – 4002 – R&D Partners – San Diego, CA

September 30, 2014 – 8:36 pm | Edit Post

BS Biology, Chemistry or related with experience in GLP / FDA Regulated biotech Unpacking, inspecting and accessioning saliva samples Extract DNA from saliva…
From R&D Partners – 01 Oct 2014 03:36:48 GMT
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San Diego Biotech Blog Feed

Rare diseases: actually quite common

September 30, 2014 – 10:36 pm | Edit Post

There are a lot of “rare diseases” out there, a complex menagerie of conditions that you probably will never hear about. But every day, people are diagnosed with an unusual, difficult-to-treat and often debilitating and deadly disease. Infections, metabolic disorders, inherited syndromes, cancers; there are all kinds of things that can go wrong with your body. There are so many, in fact, that “rare diseases” as a group account for thousands of deaths each year. They’re hard to treat, but not always impossible. Much of our understanding of biology actually comes from studying these diseases. Identifying the cause of a family’s recurring cancer, for instance, might identify a new pathway that helps us understand both healthy cells and other cancers. And sometimes, basic biological research can throw up a potential solution to an otherwise intractable illness. Our lab studies several rare diseases as models for what happens in healthy cells, with the twin aims of understanding how fundamental processes happen in our bodies, and looking for strategies that might be useful in treating the diseases. I wrote a post about the disease that I’m working on, light chain amyloidosis.

There’s actually been a lot more movement recently from biotech and pharmaceutical companies on these diseases, for two reasons. First, the FDA is more willing to approve drugs for “orphan” diseases that have no other treatment. Second, the cost of caring for patients (especially in the US) is so high that companies can charge astronomical prices for drugs, which are paid for by insurance companies because they nevertheless represent a saving. And there we have a microcosm of the moral ambiguities associated with pharma in the developed world. It’s miserably expensive to develop treatments, and the failure rate is appalling, which means that the patients end up paying a huge overhead. And here in the land of the free, that means that there’s a substantial number of people who can’t access the treatments that they need.

Recently, ultra-rare diseases have gained a bit of attention. These are diseases that affect only a few people worldwide. The rarest of the rare is NGLY1 deficiency, which was the subject of a beautiful feature in the New Yorker by Seth Mnookin. There are only a handful of known patients in the world with this disease, and the fact that we even know about it is a testament to the persistence of the family of Bertrand Might, the young boy in whom the disease was first characterized. The story (you really do need to read Mnookin’s article) is a testament to what can be achieved, but also to how much we still need to do. With a few (rich) backers, NGLY1 deficiency has become a small but significant area of research, but it will be many years and a whole lot more money (it seems terribly mercenary to talk about cuts to medical research budgets here, but I’m going to anyway) before we can think about curing it.

Which makes me wonder: how many less well-connected people are suffering from diseases that we don’t even know about, let alone understand?

“If you think research is expensive, try disease!”

September 30, 2014 – 10:16 pm | Edit Post

“If you think research is expensive, try disease!”

Mary Lasker


The Double Life of FAS – #GeneOTW

September 29, 2014 – 9:16 am | Edit Post

1989 was an important year.  In May of 1989, Yonehara et al. published a report that treatment with an anti-FAS […]

Aged brains rejuvenated by young blood

September 29, 2014 – 12:06 am | Edit Post

A couple of posts ago I talked about a freaky experiment where a young mouse is surgically attached to an old mouse to create Franken-mice. The two Franken-mice share blood and the young blood reverses heart disease in the old mouse. So scientists looked to see what it is in the young blood that can treat […]Aged brains rejuvenated by young blood