Thwarting the brain’s betrayal

October 26, 2020
If you need a dose of positivity to start your week, listen to the new episode of the I AM BIO Podcast, in which a top neurologist and neuroscientist provides reasons to hope we could see Alzheimer’s therapeutics soon. We also discuss what the election could mean for…
BIO

If you need a dose of positivity to start your week, listen to the new episode of the I AM BIO Podcast, in which a top neurologist and neuroscientist provides reasons to hope we could see Alzheimer’s therapeutics soon. We also discuss what the election could mean for industrial biotech, including renewable fuels and synthetic biology. Here are 800 words, 4 minutes.

 

Thwarting the brain’s betrayal

 
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Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States—but there’s reason to hope we could see therapeutics soon. In today’s episode of the I AM BIO Podcast, BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath speaks with a leading neurologist and neuroscience expert about new developments.   

The trendline for Alzheimer’s mortality is going in the wrong direction. U.S. deaths from Alzheimer’s have more than doubled between 2000-2015, and a new case is diagnosed every 65 seconds.

And there have been more than 150 experimental Alzheimer’s therapies without a breakthrough—but, now, scientists are gaining fresh insights into what causes neurodegeneration. 

For one, we know more about Alzheimer’s biomarkers, says Dr. Carole Ho, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Development at Denali Therapeutics. They can help determine whether someone is high risk and enable scientists to “understand the trajectory of a disease course” and which patients to enroll in clinical trials. 

Technology is helping, too. Smartphones and wearable tech can allow doctors to gather data that could indicate whether someone is progressing towards Alzheimer’s or another neurodegenerative disease, while AI and machine learning allow researchers to better analyze data and understand the disease. 

“The time is right now for us to be successful in developing therapeutics for neurodegeneration,” concludes Dr. Ho. “If we compare this to the 1990s when the genetics and the understanding of mutations in oncology transformed that field, I’m hopeful that this is where we are now in neuroscience—where in the next decade, we’ll start to see therapeutics that are effective, that make a difference in this disease.” 

Listen to the whole thing at www.bio.org/podcast or wherever you get your podcast fix, including AppleGoogle, or Spotify.

 

More Health Care News:

Bloomberg: The drug industry gets behind Fauci
“Writing in a letter published in the medical journal Nature Biotechnology on Thursday, the executives expressed worry that the U.S.'s foremost health agencies had also become political targets.” 

Johnson & Johnson: Johnson & Johnson prepares to resume phase 3 trial of COVID-19 vaccine
“The independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) overseeing the ENSEMBLE study has recommended resuming trial recruitment.” 

The Wall Street Journal: To find a coronavirus vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline is bonding with its biggest competitors
“The British company is jointly developing a COVID-19 antibody drug with a San Francisco upstart, offering rivals a proprietary ingredient that is designed to boost a vaccine’s power and planning to share research study results.”

 
 
 
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What the 2020 election could mean for industrial biotechnology

 
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Election Day is eight days away, and races up and down the ballot could have an impact on the biotechnology industry and our ability to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. Stephanie Batchelor, VP of BIO’s Industrial and Environment Section, takes a closer look.

“How we advance biotechnology to address critical issues facing our country like rebuilding a resilient economy following the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling climate change will depend on the new Congress,” writes BIO’s Stephanie Batchelor in Industrial Biotechnology.

She looks at a few core issues like…

Renewable fuels: The Trump administration’s “manipulation” of the Renewable Fuel Standard “has eroded confidence in the policy,” she says. However, if Democrats take the House and Senate, there could be an opportunity to pass a national low-carbon fuel standard, “a cornerstone” of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis action plan released in June.

Carbon capture: “Considering the bipartisan support that exists for [Growing Climate Solutions Act], a bill that incentivizes carbon capture and sequestration is likely to be pursued in the next Congress,” she explains. “[B]oth the Trump administration and Biden campaign have been adamant in noting that farmers should be a part of the solution.” 

Synthetic biology: “To date, neither presidential candidate has said much specifically on synthetic biology but with bipartisan support, rapid growth in the sector and legislation waiting in Congress, the issue could be an early priority taken up in 2021.” 

Stephanie’s Sage Words: This election will certainly inform BIO’s advocacy roadmap for the foreseeable future. But our efforts to strengthen the bioeconomy transcend party lines. Regardless of the outcome, BIO will be front and center pushing for policies that unleash the power of industrial biotechnology to build a more sustainable, resilient, and healthy world. – Stephanie Batchelor, VP of BIO’s Industrial and Environment Section

Do you still need to get ready for Election Day? Visit Biotech Votes to read up on the issues and candidates and make your voting plan. 

Want to support farmers and climate solutions? Urge your elected officials to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act.   

 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Trump’s Monday: Campaigning in Pennsylvania, with stops in Allentown, Lititz, and Martinburg. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has hit the White House, again, with at least five Pence aides (including his chief of staff) testing positive.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate will vote on whether to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

 
 
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