The Lab Notebook

4 Cool Science Discoveries in 2016

Posted by Bindi M. Doshi, PhD on Dec 29, 2016 2:38:31 PM

As 2016 draws to a close, let’s look back on some significant advances made in science.

1) Therapeutic uses for CRISPR.  China used CRISPER technology to help a lung cancer patient who had an aggressive form of the disease.  They knocked out a targeted gene and reintroduced the modified cells into the patient.  Will this method help clear all cancer cells from this patient permanently?  This is significant and promising for the personalized medicine field.

2) "3 parent" baby.  This story is quite controversial for ethical reasons.  The scientific possibility is astonishing.   A healthy baby boy was born in April using the DNA from its mother, father, and mitochondria from a donor.  Chromosomes from the mom’s eggs were transferred to a donor egg that was emptied of its chromosomes.  In this manner, mitochondrial diseases should not be passed onto the male offspring.  The baby will be closely monitored to make sure he stays healthy.  The world will be watching this little boy!

3) Aducanumab.  Might be a difficult word to say but this drug is targeted for Alzheimer’s treatment.  It works to clear amyloid-beta protein- the presumed culprit for this disease.  A small trial shows promising results.  With further investigation, this could be a game changer for Alzheimer treatment.

4)  Gravitational waves.  Einstein talked about these 100 years ago.  Scientists finally proved their existence!  What will come next?  Whatever it is- it’s sure to be exciting!

Kudos to all the amazing research and discoveries made in 2016.  Best of luck for all the advances of 2017!

DNA helix