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Teamwork

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Merck and AstraZeneca, usually rivals in the pharmaceutical world, are teaming up to test two of their cancer drugs as a combination therapy, say Bloomberg's Robert Langreth and Michelle Fay Cortez. And they're spurring a movement — at least eight other drugmakers have joined together to test combination therapies since Merck and AstraZeneca began their partnership in 2009. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche have joined together to collaborate on two skin cancer therapies, and Sanofi and Germany's Merck KGaA are developing two new drugs jointly in order to make them work better together from the start, Langreth and Cortez write. Experts say the new model of cooperation may become more prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry, which, unlike academia, is unused to collaboration. But as researchers are continuing to find, single therapies for cancer are less effective than combinations, and patients can benefit from a therapy regimen that attacks their cancer from multiple angles. And now that pharma has gotten into a collaborative mindset, Langreth and Cortez add, "Drug companies and research hospitals may need to join together in a giant network to test numerous possible drug combinations."

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.