When a drug fails late on in clinical trials it’s a major setback for launching new medicines. It can cost millions, even billions, of research and development funds. Now, an ‘adaptive’ approach to clinical trials and a genetic tool for predicting success are increasing the odds of picking a winner.
Nanotechnology is creating new opportunities for fighting disease – from delivering drugs in smart packaging to nanobots powered by the world’s tiniest engines.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have designed antibodies that target the protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and stop their production.
Trevor Lawley and Gordon Dougan are bug hunters, albeit not the conventional kind. The bugs they collect are invisible to the naked eye. And even though we’re teeming with them, researchers are only beginning to discover how they keep us healthy – and how we could use these bugs as drugs.
The stirrings of a revolution are starting to ripple through hundreds of laboratories. It’s a revolution that aims to result in new medicines – faster and with fewer failures – and it’s being led by three UK universities and three global pharmaceutical companies.
It is almost impossible for an injured heart to fully mend itself. Within minutes of being deprived of oxygen – as happens during a heart attack when arteries to the heart are blocked – the heart’s muscle cells start to die. Sanjay Sinha wants to mend these hearts so that they work again.
Cambridge-based start-up company Bicycle Therapeutics has recently raised £40 million from a range of investors to bring its cancer drug candidates to clinical trials.
Researchers are working with pharmaceutical companies to make improvements across the whole supply chain, from how a pill is made to the moment it is swallowed by the patient.
How will precision medicine define 21st-century therapeutics? What will future healthcare look like? And what actually lies ‘beyond the pill’? Professor Chris Lowe, inaugural Director of the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences, takes the long view on the future of therapeutics.
Why do we age when we get older? Epigenetics may hold the answer – but could it one day help us turn back the clock? Professor Wolf Reik from the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and Dr Oliver Stegle from the European Bioinformatics Institute look at the ‘epigenetic clock’ in The Conversation.