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Curing the Disease, Not the Symptom

Mutations that encode for nonsense codons result in truncated proteins that don’t function properly, leading to many different diseases. PTC Therapeutics, a startup in South Plainfield, NJ, has developed a new drug that allows the cell to skip over these nonsense codons to produce functional proteins, thereby treating the disease's cause, not just symptoms. "Since the drug treats the underlying gene-expression problem, it is applicable to a few thousand diseases," says cofounder Allan Jacobson in a story in Tech Review. Early clinical tests on Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis have been successful, and larger trials are on the horizon.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.