• Why aren’t natural products used to treat diseases?

    Why aren’t natural products used to treat diseases?

    Any person with an internet connection has heard stories about cancer-curing or fat-cutting natural products and extracts that pharmaceutical companies/doctors/etc. don’t want you to know about. While these ads are targeted at mostly vulnerable readers, there is a surprising truth behind this flood of clickbait.  Consider this: Nearly 75% of all approved cancer drugs were discovered from natural products. The majority of […]

    Read more
  • Biotech Beat: Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX)

    Biotech Beat: Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX)

    Biotech stocks have had a rough break since the Turing fiasco in late 2015. While this negative publicity reflects a moderate amount of risk to large pharmaceutical companies with broad drug portfolios, it has created myriad investment opportunities in early stage companies. Here we discuss Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CLDX), a stock whose current drug pipeline shows tremendous and imminent […]

    Read more
  • Home-brewed Heroin? Q and A with a synthetic biologist.

    Home-brewed Heroin? Q and A with a synthetic biologist.

    Researchers are reporting that they have made significant strides in engineering yeast to efficiently produce Opioids (a drug class that includes morphine and heroin). Interestingly, these yeast strains are quite similar to those frequently used by individuals to brew beer or make pizza dough –raising concerns as to whether or not this biotechnology can one day be misused to […]

    Read more
  • Who’s afraid of stem cells?

    Who’s afraid of stem cells?

    The battle over stem cell research has a rich political history – one that revolves around ideals and morals rather than science. Among those most vehemently opposed to embryonic stem cell research are scientific illiterates  such as George W. Bush and conservative religious groups; individuals lacking the knowledge to make an objective decision. But beyond these misguided arguments […]

    Read more
  • Can bioengineers produce plants that absorb more carbon dioxide?

    Can bioengineers produce plants that absorb more carbon dioxide?

     With dire health consequences predicted to follow global climate change,  scientists are rushing to invent new solutions to the problem rather than rely on a global political system that seems unlikely to budge. At the root of this drama is carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas so stable that it is nearly impossible to pull out of […]

    Read more
  • Weighing in on heavy metals in biology and human health

    Weighing in on heavy metals in biology and human health

    It’s hard to miss the latest addition to the New York City skyline. The Freedom Tower, which opened earlier this year, stands almost 1,800 feet tall and weighs over 40,000 metric tons. The construction of this magnificent edifice would be impossible if not for the unique properties of the heavy metal alloys which account for […]

    Read more
  • Rapid firing X-ray lasers illuminate the mystery of proteins

    Rapid firing X-ray lasers illuminate the mystery of proteins

    While microscopes have been used to view countless wonders of the biological world, any object that is shorter than a wave of light, such as an atom, is physically impossible to see with light. For decades, those interested in protein structure have solved this issue by growing protein crystals and shooting x-rays at them. This technique, […]

    Read more
  • New biotechnology puts scientists on the road to CRISPR discoveries

    New biotechnology puts scientists on the road to CRISPR discoveries

    A new biotechnology has set the scientific world on fire. Five papers, all published within one month of each other, describe a set of genetic elements isolated from bacteria. These elements have come to be known as the CRISPR system. CRISPR, through gentle manipulation, gives scientists unprecedented control over the genome. This level of control will bring […]

    Read more
  • Cancer’s unique weapon: the ability to write its own DNA

    Cancer’s unique weapon: the ability to write its own DNA

    Cancer is normally caused when multiple oncogenic mutations occur within the same cell – these are often minor mutations, affecting one or two pieces of a protein that is responsible for growth, DNA repair, or self-destruction. In other cases, cancer results when a much more disruptive mutation occurs – the genetic recombination of two different […]

    Read more
  • Zykadia (Ceritinib) granted accelerated approval by the FDA for patients with non-small cell lung cancer

    Zykadia (Ceritinib) granted accelerated approval by the FDA for patients with non-small cell lung cancer

    A major issue with first-round therapeutics in the treatment of cancer is the ability of cancer cells to mutate and develop resistance.  Lung cancer is the number 1 killer of cancer patients in the United States. Of lung cancers, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most prevalent type at 90% of all cases. Within patients harboring […]

    Read more