September 29, 2017

Bring Back an Extinct Species and Medical Breakthroughs

By Human Progress Team
New Antibody Attacks 99 Percent of HIV Strains 

A team of scientists from the U.S. National Institute of Health and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, have recently engineered an antibody that attacks 99% of all HIV strains. Currently the best antibody that occurs naturally can only target 90% of the HIV. Made from combining three different antibodies, the study, published in the journal Science, called it a “tri-specific antibody.” The antibody was tested on 24 monkeys with 100% success rate, as a result human trials will start in 2018. The International AIDS Society has called it an “exciting breakthrough.”  

Bringing Back an Extinct Species 

A team of scientists plan on restoring a species of Galapagos tortoise previously thought to be extinct. The Chelonoidis elephantopus lived on the Floreana Island and was hunted to extinction in the 1800s. By using blood samples from a related species of tortoise with genetic traces of the extinct species, the Galapagos Conservancy and the Galapagos National Park will try to restore the lost species. Although the species won’t be genetically identical to the one from Floreana, the new population will have “many of the same genes.” The Ecuadorean Minister for the Environment notes; “we can tell the world it is possible to reverse negatives effects on the environment. We are going to recover an extinct species.”  

FDA approves first 'living drug' for tough childhood leukemia

For the first time in its history the FDA has approved a gene therapy treatment, a “living drug,” which aims to combat childhood leukemia. The CAR-T treatment is developed by Novartis and genetically engineers the patients’ T-blood cells to recognize and attack cancer. The FDA noted the “historic” approval is the start of a “new frontier in medical innovation.” For now the treatment is only aimed at those diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia (a disease that affects 3,000 children and young adults every year.) If the CAR-T treatment continues to be a success it is likely the therapy will be available to combat more types of cancers soon.