Articles

Cancer and Precision Medicine

Cancer and Precision Medicine

Cancer is a deadly disease with a high mortality rate. Cancer refers to the abnormal growth of cells, which can grow to be either benign (non-invasive) or malignant (invasive). There are many options available for cancer treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, patients may not respond in the same way to fully benefit from these treatments. With the increasing wealth of genomic knowledge, more strategies can be explored to improve treatment outcomes, and one of them is precision medicine.

The Importance of Surfactants in Atmospheric Aerosols

The Importance of Surfactants in Atmospheric Aerosols

Surface-active agent or “surfactants” is a substance that, when present at low concentration in a system, has the property of adsorbing onto surfaces or interfaces of the system.

Event Report on the 13th UN Convention on Biological Diversity 2016 – “Synthetic Biology, Meet Traditional Knowledge”

Event Report on the 13th UN Convention on Biological Diversity 2016 – “Synthetic Biology, Meet Traditional Knowledge”

Megadiverse countries are worried that commercially valuable DNA sequences stored digitally would allow access to anyone without needing physical access to the genetic resources. This could lead to biopiracy, where such information could be exploited without any benefits flowing back into the source country. The greatest fear, perhaps, is how these products could be commercialised, patented, then sold back to the original countries as food, drugs, or other necessities.

Microscale Chemistry: Small tools, big fun!

Microscale Chemistry: Small tools, big fun!

Microscale Chemistry was first introduced by Egerton Grey in 1928. However, this approach only started to gain interest 20 years ago.

Current Progress on Malaria Vaccines

Current Progress on Malaria Vaccines

Non-vaccine approaches for tackling malaria have made an impact in reducing the number of malaria cases and deaths but a vaccine would help tremendously towards malaria elimination. New sources of funding such as those from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pharmaceutical companies and oil companies in the last decade has enabled rapid advances in malaria vaccine development. We are likely to see the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine to be licensed for use in the next few years despite its low efficacy.

Teaching Your Immune System to Fight Cancer

Teaching Your Immune System to Fight Cancer

by Litt-Yee Hiew Our immune system is naturally gifted with remarkable specificity, potency and memory. So far, no pharmacological treatment for any diseases could possibly provide comparable level of safety, efficacy and lasting effects as the human immune response. In the treatment of cancer, after […]

Snake antivenoms: science, values and challenges

Snake antivenoms: science, values and challenges

Bites from venomous snakes can lead to snakebite envenomation (not poisoning), and antivenom is the only definitive therapy to date. Antivenoms used in current clinical practices are derived from antibodies of animals (e.g. horses) that have been immunised with one or a mix of snake venoms. However, the production of these biologics is highly costly, and there is no universal antivenom, as the effectiveness is limited by the different snake species and their geographical locality. The production and use of antivenoms can be optimised by unravelling the complexity of venoms, especially their immunogenicity and the dynamics-kinetics of venom-antivenom interplay.

A ‘Trp’ to the land of Kyns

A ‘Trp’ to the land of Kyns

Breakdown of the amino acid tryptophan through the kynurenine pathway impacts a plethora of immunological processes, ranging from the starvation of invading bacteria to the induction of immunotolerance and the modulation of neurological diseases.