straZeneca said on Thursday it had struck four research agreements in the hot area of genome editing as it bets on a new "genetic scissors" technology to deliver better and more precise drugs for a range of diseases.
The academic and commercial tie-ups will allow British-based AstraZeneca to use so-called CRISPR technology across its entire drug discovery platform in areas such as oncology, cardiovascular, respiratory and immune system medicine.
CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, allows scientists to edit the genes of selected cells accurately and efficiently. It has created excitement since emerging two years ago and is already being tipped for a Nobel Prize. read more
Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission. Now, there's a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles. Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection -- what's known as herd immunity. But Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., a county with the dubious honor of having the highest rate of "personal belief exemptions" in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of children in Marin have a personal belief exemption, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more. read more
The Supreme Court cast doubt Monday on the future of old union contracts that had promised lifetime health benefits for retired workers and their families. In a case seen as a victory for corporate America, the justices ruled these promises should not be treated as "vested rights" unless they are spelled out in the contract. "When a contract is silent as to the duration of retiree benefits, a court may not infer that the parties intended those benefits to vest for life," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas. read more
Veronica Partridge is causing quite a stir online due to her blog post about why she no longer wears leggings. The Christian blogger states that when women wear leggings, "it creates a stronger attraction for a man to look at a woman's body and may cause them to think lustful thoughts."
In a new study, scientists at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, quantified the different metals in sewage sludge and estimated what it all might be worth. They took sludge samples gathered from around the country and measured the metal content using a mass spectrometer that can discern different elements as they are ionized in a superhot plasma. The upshot: There's as much as $13 million worth of metals in the sludge produced every year by a million-person city, including $2.6 million in gold and silver read more