Nearly all of the roughly 64,000 Americans who died from opioid overdoses in 2016 succumbed because their breathing shut down, triggered by the effects of the drugs on important receptors in the brain stem. When they are activated, μ-opioid receptors potently relieve pain. They also control respiration. Now, for the first time, a drug that in binding these receptors causes powerful pain relief with less respiratory suppression is being evaluated for marketing approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Biotech company Trevana’s drug, oliceridine, acts as a μ-opioid receptor to activate a pain-relieving signaling pathway with less triggering of a separate path that leads to depressed breathing. Oliceridine is the first so-called “biased opioid” to emerge from human clinical trials. There will certainly be more: In a paper published in Cell this week, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, have rigorously demonstrated for the first time in mice that the more biased a compound is toward activating the pain-relieving pathway, the less it suppresses breathing.
On 10 July, researchers in Chile will unveil an online public random number service. Later in July, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will launch its Randomness Beacon as a permanent service, upgrading a pilot program that began in 2013. Brazil, too, is planning ... more
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits its 196 nation parties to conserve biological diversity, use its components sustainably, and share fairly and equitably the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. The last of these objectives was further codified in the Conve ... more
Solar windows turn some of the light shining through into electricity. They've been on the market for years. But many of these windows absorb some visible light, leaving them with a reddish or brownish hue, a trait frowned on by architects. Now, new versions are on the way that absorb invis ... more
Merck announced it was ranked fourth among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide by Science magazine, a leading peer-reviewed international scientific publication. This ranking marks the fourth year in a row Merck was named one of the top 20 employers in the healthcare and li ... more
Merck announced it was named number 11 among the top 20 employers in the global biopharmaceutical industry by Science magazine, a leading peer-reviewed international scientific publication. This is the third year in a row that Merck, including EMD Serono in the United States, has been named ... more