This week in science: collaboration employs artificial intelligence to find anti-aging drugs; study seeks to uncover genetic components of complex neurological disorders; acquisition will allow mining of genomic databases with machine learning; researchers use the skin to deliver treatments for diseases such as Diabetes.
A biotechnology company designing treatments with gene edits and transfers using benign viruses is raising $83.5 million in its second venture funding round. With today’s announcement, Homology Medicines Inc. in Bedford, Massachusetts, a one year-old developer of genetic therapies for rare diseases, raised a total of $127 million since its founding.
A research study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense is investigating genetic alterations of plant viruses for delivery of genes to quickly protect corn crops against threats like pests and drought. The four-year project brings in researchers from four institutions, funded by a $10.3 million award from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared for marketing a diagnostics system aided by machine learning algorithms to help radiologists detect breast cancer. The system, known as QuantX, is developed by Quantitative Insights Inc., a spin-off enterprise from University of Chicago. The company says QuantX is the first computer-aided diagnostics system that uses machine learning to evaluate breast abnormalities.
A consortium of companies and university in the U.K. and U.S. are developing an automated desktop genome editing system using the emerging Crispr technique. The system is expected to be based on a single-cell analysis device made by Sphere Fluidics Ltd. in Cambridge, England, and financed by a $1.25 million grant from InnovateUK, a government research and development funding agency.
A new enterprise is being formed to apply artificial intelligence to connect drugs in development to treatments for rare diseases and other unmet medical needs. The company, Qrative — pronounced CURE-a-tive — in Cambridge, Massachusetts is starting off with $8.3 million raised in its first venture funding round.
The discovery that ammonium induces sexual reproduction among diatoms could shed light on evolutionary mechanisms and help explain algal bloom dynamics. It could also point to new genetic modification strategies, potentially advancing molecular ecology interventions, biofuel applications, and nanotechnology-informed development of novel drug delivery vehicles.
Changes in genome organization that accompany shifts in chromosomal conformation during the cell cycle may have epigenetic significance, report scientists who have tracked the movements of DNA loops by combining single-cell Hi-C technology and statistical analyses.
An assessment by Dutch health authorities concludes mosquitoes genetically engineered to produce offspring that die before adulthood pose few health or environmental risks to humans. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment released its report today evaluating a line of genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by Oxitec Ltd., to control local mosquito populations on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba.
A pilot study among individuals with a form of skin cancer shows a vaccine aiming at proteins specific to a person’s tumor is safe and can generate a complex immune response attacking the tumor. Results of the study, conducted at Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, testing treatments developed by Neon Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, appear in today’s issue of the journal Nature (paid subscription required).
Codons is a network that aims to connect genomic data and medical information collected from diagnostic devices and health monitoring sensors with machine learning algorithms in the fog (Internet of Everything).