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And Now for Something Completely Different


A company called RadioRx is trying something completely new in the development of compounds for oncology, says In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe. The company is creating a molecule for use as a radiotherapy sensitizer, designed to release reactive free radicals and "intensify the cell-killing effects of ionizing radiation," Lowe says. But the kick is that the molecule — RRx-001, RadioRx's first lead candidate — is being adapted "from an energetic solid rocket propellant," the company says. They plan to have it in phase I clinical studies in the next few months. "I truly have to salute these guys for going forward with such an out-there structure," Lowe says. "It's easy to look at something like this and mutter 'Only in oncology', but at the same time, it takes some nerve and imagination to go forward with compounds this odd. I hope that they work." Commenters on Lowe's blog had plenty to say about the new compound. "Wonder how 'energetic' it is?" quips BFS. Anon adds,"We'll have to see if this thing holds up. I, like many other I suspect, have my doubts this compound will survive the process. ... If it does, making metric tons will be fun for the process group."

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

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Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.