The Gut Microbiome and its Role in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Recently, the microbiome and its role in disease, particularly Inflammatory Bowel Disease has been the focus of much global attention. As our knowledge expands, could this plethora of research be harnessed to help understand the host response to medications? Manipulation of the host's gut microbiome could provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of IBD, whilst sequencing the genome of the organisms colonising these niche environments may open up new drug development avenues for pharma.

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    The Big Data Dilemma

    A database linking medical history and tissue compound response has direct relevance to future drug discovery projects and healthcare stratification. By making this data available to point-of-care centers, it could transform medication management approaches and improve individual patient care[1]. As the concept of integrating Big Data with healthcare is on the rise, it is increasingly appropriate to have reliable information at your fingertips.

    REPROCELL has initiated a research and development project where historical data regarding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has been collated. Tissue samples were donated by patients for whom conservative treatment had failed and subsequently required surgical intervention. This data collection project is in its infancy, but it already includes the anonymized medical history of over 250 different donors.

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    5 ways SNIPER can enhance your CRISPR gene editing

    Most biologists are familiar with the precision gene editing system CRISPR. But what about SNIPER? SNIPER is a digital PCR (dPCR) and culture-based screening technology that has the power to enhance CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, enabling multiplex gene modification, biallelic gene insertions and increased screening efficiency. Read on to find out more about how SNIPER can enhance your precision gene editing protocols and save you time, money and effort.

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    How to determine CRISPR gene editing success in 2 weeks

    Imagine CRISPR – but more efficient, reliable and flexible. SNIPER works in synergy with the CRISPR-Cas9 system to fulfill even the most challenging gene editing projects – including biallelic modifications, single base-pair changes and large DNA insertions. Read on to discover four examples of CRISPR-SNIPER in action.

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    Headaches could have impaired the success of potential cancer drug AMG 337; human tissue studies rescued it

    It is not uncommon that at a late-stage of drug development (especially during the clinical testing) unforeseen toxicities and/or poor efficacy are observed. This is often, but not only, due to the limitations of the off-target screening used by pharma (the so-called secondary pharmacology). Although still useful for quickly screening a relatively high number of potential off-target hits, these screening studies, often used by pharmaceutical companies, are in the form of a proprietary set of in vitro methods biased and/or tailored for the specific molecule background of the drug candidate. Often, this does not allow evaluation in a clinical context and can contribute to the high rate of drug failures (attrition rate) at a later stage of the drug discovery process. This is a costly “Achilles heel” for the pharmaceutical industry[1].

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    Machine Learning and Big Data in Precision Medicine

    Healthcare data is predicted to expand by 43 percent by 2020, to an incomprehensible level of 2.3 zettabytes. The size of the data is also not the only inevitable issue, it’s the type of data. Eighty percent of it is completely unstructured and mostly unlabelled, meaning organizations will find it increasingly difficult to extract any value or outcomes from the datasets [1].

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    Pluripotent Potential for Clinical Application

    Since their development in the mid-2000s, the versatile nature of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) has unlocked the potential of curative approaches instead of symptom-reactive treatments. In particular, fields which deal with genetic disorders and regenerative therapies would benefit from this. The advancement of iPSC technology compliments the advent of personalized medicine, allowing for a future where individuals could be treated using autologous iPSCs.

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    An Improved Model for IBD Drug Discovery

    Animal models have been used for years to provide proof of concept for new therapies, however there are major flaws which need to be addressed. Studies using mouse models cannot accurately predict patient response to a new compound. Translatability requires a suitable model which will reduce attrition rates in phase II and III clinical trials which are proving to be of detriment to R&D productivity[1].

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    On the right path to a cure for IBD

    Advances in diagnostics, treatments, and frontiers of research

    In light of World Digestive Disease Day, which is celebrated every year on the 29th of May[1], we will explore the different facets of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and highlight recent advances on the diagnostics, treatments, and the frontiers of research that will one day hopefully provide a cure.

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    Application of Pharmacogenomics and Bioinformatics to Exemplify the Utility of Human ex vivo Organoculture Models in the Field of Precision Medicine

    It is well recognised that one size does not fit all when it comes to the treatment of many diseases. Getting the right drug to the right patient at the right dose has become the focus of precision medicine, which provides hope that patients may receive the most appropriate treatment sooner, improving their quality of life and reducing the support required from health care systems and wider society[1]. Health economists are recognising the potential of precision medicine and are beginning to apply the concept to their research[2].

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