February 2016 Issue of The Translational Scientist

This month, we’re looking at biomarkers in clinical trials – should we apply a “No Biomarker, No Trial” rule to speed up oncology drug development? It’s a mission not quite so impossible in our feature, highlighting new research in pancreatic cancer. We go in search of HIV’s Achilles’ heel with Profectus, whose new HIV vaccine is just entering clinical trials. Plus, our “In Perspective” section reflects on the importance of asking the right question. Finally, we’re “Sitting Down With” Julian Solway, who started out in electrical engineering before finding his calling as a doctor and translational scientist.

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Articles featured in this issue

Outside the Lab Infectious diseases

Video: Inside The Translational Scientist

| Charlotte Barker

Want a lightning-fast tour of the latest issue? Take a look at our new video sneak preview.

Disease Area Public health

Only Half the Battle

| Charlotte Barker

The true mission of translational science is to take new medicines and diagnostics from bench to bedside – and beyond

Research Field Cancer

Chemotherapy All Wrapped Up

| William Aryitey

Could exosome encapsulation be the secret to delivering higher potency in chemotherapy?

Research Field Cancer

Decoding Cancer Cross-Talk

| William Aryitey

Intercepting communication between cancer cells and endothelium uncovers clues to metastasis mechanisms

Research Field Cell & molecular biology

Missed Connections

| William Aryitey

A protein critical for synaptic plasticity in baby mice could hold clues to the origins of autism

Tools & Techniques Cancer

PD-1 on the Brain

| William Aryitey

Revolutionary cancer immunotherapies appear to alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice

Tools & Techniques Genetics

Catching the Thermodynamic Express

| David Zhang

A new method could dramatically speed up analysis of nucleic acid thermal behavior

Research Field Cardiovascular

One Man’s Trash…

| William Aryitey

Researchers dive through genetic “junk” to discover a small protein with lots of heart

Disease Area Immunology

Image of the Month

| Charlotte Barker

On each side of the brain stem, a florescent green marker illuminates the two networks of 200 neurons that control the sighing reflex

Research Field Cell & molecular biology

Sugars in the Spotlight

| Cathy Merry

It’s time to recognize that there is a world beyond genes and proteins. Glycobiology should take its rightful place at the center of biomedical research.

Tools & Techniques Public health

Benefits of a Drug You Never Use

| Nicholas W. Papageorge

Raising awareness of the hidden beneficiaries of medical innovation could help boost funding for drug development.

Outside the Lab Professional development

Fresh-(Faced) Funding

| Robin Barr

Making grant application processes tougher can have an unexpected and dramatic effect on the demographics of applicants. Let’s not force young investigators to fall at the first hurdle.

Research Field Cancer

No Biomarker, No Trial?

| James Ritchie, Sidath Katugampola, Paul Jones

The vast majority of experimental cancer drugs fail during the later stages of clinical development

Disease Area Drug discovery

Finding HIV’s Achilles’ Heel

| Timothy Fouts

The human immunodeficiency virus has evaded the best efforts of vaccine developers for over three decades.

Tools & Techniques Cell & gene therapy

Mission: Impossible

| Michael Schubert

Pancreatic cancer is tough to understand, diagnose and treat. Undeterred researchers are on a quest to crack the case.

Tools & Techniques Cancer

(Chemo)resistance Is Futile

| Michael Schubert

The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in pancreatic cancer may play a role in its resistance to treatment – and inhibiting it may improve treatment efficacy

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Breaching Cancer’s Defenses

| Ingunn Stromnes

A new immunotherapy approach shows that engineered T cells are able to penetrate into pancreatic tumors and directly attack the cancer

Tools & Techniques Cancer

An Epigenetic Epiphany

| Michael Schubert

When genetics yielded unsatisfactory answers about pancreatic cancer’s persistent survival, researchers looked beyond the genome – and found telling epigenetic changes

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Building a Better Mousetrap

| Michael Schubert

It’s often difficult to target pancreatic cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue – but a new therapy concept not only makes this possible, but also enhances the potential effectiveness of adjuvant treatments

Research Field Cardiovascular

State-of-the-Heart Tissue Models

| John Ahrens and Joseph C. Wu

A decade after Shinya Yamanaka brought us induced pluripotent stem cells, our ability to generate an endless supply of human heart cells is being put to good use in research and development.

Research Field Cancer

Unlocking Checkpoint Inhibition

| Eric Rubin, David Matthews

Like many drugs today, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was the result of a group effort. Here, we catch up with two scientists who shaped the destiny of the biotherapeutic at very different stages in its development.

Outside the Lab Informatics

Asking the Ultimate Question

| Michael N. Liebman

In today’s highly competitive academic world, are we losing sight of the real goal of biomedical research in our rush to secure funding and embrace the latest technologies?

Disease Area Personalized medicine

Engineering Better Health

| Julian Solway

Sitting Down With… Julian Solway MD, Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor - Medicine and Pediatrics, Director - Institute for Translational Medicine, Dean for Translational Medicine, University of Chicago, USA.

Other issues of 2016