Opinions

The First Targeted Gene Therapy Approved in North America: Luxturna

The First Targeted Gene Therapy Approved in North America: Luxturna

RPE65-mediated inherited retinal dystrophy leads to severe deterioration of vision and complete blindness in early adulthood. A small subgroup of patients, approximately 1000 people in the United States, have mutations in both paternal and maternal copies of the RPE65 gene that encodes retinoid isomerohydrolase.

Building Resilience in Graduate School

Building Resilience in Graduate School

When I started graduate school at UBC in 2012, I thought I was prepared. I had excellent marks, publications from research done as an undergraduate student, and even an NSERC award.

The Box

The Box

At the Centre for Blood Research, my research typically embraces out-of-the-box thinking, addressing biological problems from an open-minded standpoint to gain novel insights. However, recently, I was forced to focus on what’s inside the box, namely the Canadian Blood Services box for transporting human blood products.

The Work of a Bloodsmith: Progress in the Quest for Complete Blood Substitutes

The Work of a Bloodsmith: Progress in the Quest for Complete Blood Substitutes

There is an increasing global effort to reduce the demand for blood donations through the development of blood substitutes – synthetically derived molecules and materials which can recapitulate the functional role of blood. These substitutes, however, cannot recapitulate the full array of physiologic functions carried out by whole blood.

Hope Beyond the Hype: The Pursuit of Longevity in Cell Therapies

Hope Beyond the Hype: The Pursuit of Longevity in Cell Therapies

After years of intensive research and development, cell therapies are finally having their moment. In the past year, the FDA has approved two cell therapies, with stem cell treatments in hot pursuit as they enter late-stage clinical trials. While regulatory body recognition is an important milestone, great challenges in long-term industry sustainability remain.

Permanence and Promise in Germline Engineering – Part 2

Permanence and Promise in Germline Engineering – Part 2

Part 2 of a series: The rise of genetic engineering has long provoked contentious debate within the scientific community. Stances in the scientific community on genetic engineering have become increasingly charged, as evidenced by a call for a moratorium on germline engineering research published in Nature Comments in March 2015.

Figure 1: Gene editing without double stranded breaks. Base editing system using a Cas9-cytidine deaminase fusion protein mediates guide-RNA directed C  U conversion in the target genomic sequence (from AC Komor et al. Nature. 2016, 533, 420 doi:10.1038/nature17946)

Permanence and Promise in Germline Engineering – Part1

As research in germline editing reaches new and exciting frontiers, society is prompted to decide how science can act synergistically with policy to evaluate ethical implications and advance our knowledge of genetic engineering. The following article is part one of a two part series on the science and ethics of germline engineering.

Notes from Conway’s Chair – March 2018

Notes from Conway’s Chair – March 2018

CBR research teams have been flourishing in the lab and the clinic. This is measured not only by the number and value of prestigious grants and awards received by our senior investigators and their trainees, but by the number and quality of the clinically relevant scientific advances that they have made.

When Evidence is Not Enough: Pro-Vaccination Strategies

When Evidence is Not Enough: Pro-Vaccination Strategies

Despite overwhelming evidence in favour of vaccination, immunization rates have fallen, in some areas below the thresholds necessary to protect against outbreaks of diseases. Why do people reject vaccination, and what can be done?

CIHR Fiasco… What Now?

CIHR Fiasco… What Now?

In order to reduce costs, safeguard from potential reviewer bias and guarantee a larger number of reviewers per grant, Dr. Beaudet, the current CIHR president, eliminated the face-to-face peer review and replaced it with an anonymous online system.