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Going After the Impossible

There are myriad targets that have been deemed undruggable and they "have rankled even the best-funded laboratories over the years," The Scientist says. However, some biotechs are game for taking those impossible targets on — and they appear to be seeing some success. The Scientist notes that one of those companies, Anchor Therapeutics, is working on targeting membrane receptors for Novartis and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Anchor has been able to target G-protein coupled receptors by using pepducins to change the shape of the receptor and one of its possible drugs is a pepducin that targets CXCR4, a G-protein coupled receptor found on cells of the immune system. "Our job is not to produce the same old stuff," says NeurAxon's John Andrews, whose company is also pursuing undruggables. "Our job is to make things [that] improve people's lives ... and these high-hanging fruit are some of the best ways to do that."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.