Novosti iz biotehnologije

Researchers Improve Gene Therapy Technique for Children with Immune Disorder

Researchers enhance gene therapy approach for children with adenosine deaminase (ADA)-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) using chemotherapy as conditioning regimen. For the first time, investigators test two different viral vectors to transport normal genes into the young patients' bone marrow stem cells and two different treatment plans in preparation for receiving gene therapy and compare outcomes. 

Shape matters in DNA nanoparticle therapy

Researchers from The Johns Hopkins University and Northwestern University have discovered how to control the shape of nanoparticles that move DNA through the body and have shown that the shapes of these carriers may make a big difference in how well they work in treating cancer and other diseases. The results of this study, which were published in the journal Advanced Materials ("Plasmid-TemplatedShape Control of Condensed DNA–Block Copolymer Nanoparticles"), are also noteworthy because this gene therapy technique does not use a virus to carry DNA into cells. “These nanoparticles could become a safer and more effective delivery vehicle for gene therapy targeting cancer and other illnesses than can be treated with gene medicine,” said Hai-Quan Mao, of Johns Hopkins, who, together with Erik Luijten of Northwestern, led this research.

T-Cell Therapy for ALL Shows Benefit

Researchers reported encouraging but preliminary results of gene-based immune therapy in two children with relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Both children achieved a remission after they were given T cells modified to attack B cells bearing the surface protein CD19, according to Stephan A. Grupp, MD, PhD, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues.

Horizon 2020: Biotechnology to play a major role in meeting European ‘Grand Challenges’

Today the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 launch named biotechnology as one of the six enabling technologies that can boost the European economy, ensuring that the EU remains sustainable, globally competitive and a centre for excellence in science. Horizon 2020 - the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation- also outlines the most prevalent Grand Challenges that EU research and Innovation policy should tackle.

Under Horizon 2020, funding will focus on the EU’s grand challenges including sustainable agriculture, food security, resource efficiency and the bio-economy, as well as health and well-being for an aging population. Biotechnology is central to tackling these challenges through its many applications for industry, agriculture and healthcare. The Commission’s identification of research and innovation funding for biotechnology is also central to achieving the objectives of a new economic model for Europe of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in line with the Commission EU 2020 Flagship initiatives on the Innovation Union, Resource Efficiency and Industrial Policy for the Global Era. Key to achieving these objectives is that an effective research and innovation funding policy such as Horizon 2020 be matched by a coherent and workable regulatory framework that ensures that the ideas and products invented in Europe are also put on the market in Europe to the benefit of our citizens and of our economy.

EuropaBio also welcomes the emphasis under Horizon 2020 on the significant role played by industry driven research, both as co-sponsor of public-private partnerships and participant in programmes as evaluators and contributors. The Commission has also made progress in addressing the issue of SME involvement by simplifying administrative procedures and establishing specific SME incentives with a view to increasing participation of SMEs, which constitute a significant source of growth, job creation and innovation in the European economy. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated at the launch today that she expects €8 billion euro to be invested in SMEs under Horizon 2020.

The biotechnology industry and bio-based products can play a crucial role in helping to achieve healthcare, climate, energy, environmental and employment goals in Europe. However, to reach these goals, it is crucial that the appropriate levels of funding are allocated so that Europe can attain the return on investment it urgently needs in terms of innovation, growth and job creation. EuropaBio strongly supports the budget proposed by the European Commission and calls on the EU Parliament and Council to back the proposal. This commitment must then be reinforced by appropriate support by Member States at national level.

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio welcomed the new Framework Programme launched today stating: “We are delighted to see that the Commission’s proposal includes many of the recommendations that EuropaBio outlined earlier this year during the stakeholder consultations for a Consolidated Strategic Framework Programme. To stay at the forefront of global competition and to meet the societal challenges of healthy ageing, sustainable agriculture and the bio-based economy, the Commission has listed biotechnology as one of the six key areas that research and innovation funding should focus on. Research and innovation coupled with coherent and workable legislation will ensure Europe and its innovative industries such as biotechnology strive for the enhancement of quality of life, knowledge, innovation, job creation and productivity that we so clearly need. We hope that the European Parliament and the European Council will back the Commission’s proposal so as to help Europe’s realise its potential as a world leader in excellence in science and innovation.”

European Innovation Convention: New Commission initiatives acknowledge the essential role of biotechnology in overcoming economic crisis in Europe

EuropaBio welcomes three major announcements that were made this week during the European Commission’s first ever Innovation Convention launched by President Barroso and convened by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn with the aim of “bridging the gap between good ideas and bringing products to market”.

One of the highlights of the Convention was the EU Women Innovators Prize, which saw first and second place awarded to founders of biotechnology companies. Dr Fabienne Hermitte, co-founder of IPSOGEN received second prize for her work as a pioneer in personalised healthcare diagnostics, which allow more individualises treatments for cancer patients. Dr Gitte Neubauer, co-founder of CELLZOME was awarded the first prize for her ground-breaking research into chemo-proteomics and targeted medicine against inflammatory diseases and cancer.
During the event, the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government, Professor Anne Glover, was named as the first ever European Chief Scientific Advisor. She will provide independent scientific advice to President Barroso throughout all stages of policy development in Europe. Professor Glover holds a Personal Chair of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Aberdeen, and has honorary positions at the Rowett and Macaulay Institutes. This important appointment is additional proof of the Commission's commitment to ensure that responsible science and innovation dominate Europe's quest to kick start growth and respond to our most pressing societal challenges. Life science and biotechnology will continue to play a central role in ensuring that research, education and innovation lead to processes and products that are beneficial to our society and our economy now and in the future.

Moreover, the opening of the Convention was marked by the significant agreement between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to launch a new guarantee facility for innovative SMEs, building on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) launched in 2007. In signing the agreement, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated: “Investing in research and innovation carried out by SMEs means that we will have more growth, sustainability and competitiveness in Europe”. The Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) will be managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and is expected to unlock a further €6 billion in loans until 2013. EuropaBio believes that it is essential that the commission continues to recognise the importance of capital intensive innovative biotech SMEs in driving economic growth by clearly differentiating between innovative and non-innovative SMEs.

Talking about the event Andrea Rappagliosi, Chair of EuropaBio’s Board Innovation Task Force stated: “As President Barroso and Commissioners Geoghegan-Quinn and Tajani clearly stressed, innovation is central to creating jobs and sustaining economic growth. Today, we are pleased to see that the strategic role of biotechnology as a key enabler for implementing the European Growth Agenda has been confirmed by the Commission awarding two biotech researchers with the top prizes for the Women Innovators Award and by the appointment of the first ever Chief Science Advisor who has a strong background in life sciences.”