In this week's Science, an international team of academic and industry scientists reports a new method of modifying a therapeutic in order to visualize its activity in vitro and in vivo. The researchers demonstrated their approach on a bromodomain (BET) inhibitor — an epigenetic drug under development for leukemia. Using click-proteomics and click-sequencing, they found that the chromatin binding pattern of the BET inhibitor was different at responsive versus nonresponsive genes. In a mouse model, they discovered that the drug accumulated much more quickly in the spleen than in the bone marrow. The findings, the authors says, establish a "potential framework for the preclinical assessment of a wide range of drugs."
Also in Science, a trio of British and American scientists discusses the use of ancient DNA to understand human history and culture in a perspectives piece. While the ability to recover whole genomes from ancient remains is a "powerful tool for understanding the human past," the researchers call for a "deeper and more sustained collaboration between geneticists and archaeologists." They argue that there is far more to human history than just biology, particularly over the past 100,000 when culture has played an increasingly dominant role in human evolution, and say that while ancient DNA is a valuable tool for studying past human societies, such research cannot be done in analytical isolation or inductively.