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Biological Chemistry

Deep Background

April 29, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 17

It was a pleasure to read Lisa Jarvis’ article on the Food & Drug Administration’s approval of Isis Pharmaceuticals’ new antisense drug, Kynamro (mipomer­sen) (C&EN, Feb. 18, page 31). Isis has been striving since its founding in 1989 to bring a systemic antisense drug into the U.S. market.

C&EN readers might enjoy reading about antisense developments that preceded the founding of Isis: 1967, N. I. Grineva and colleagues propose antisense inhibition (Tetrahedron Lett., DOI: 10.1016/s0040-4039(01)89794-x); 1978, P. C. Zamecnik and M. L. Stephenson demonstrate antisense inhibition of Rous sarcoma virus in mammalian cells (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1978, 75, 280); 1979, James Summerton describes general application of antisense inhibition to viruses (J. Theor. Biol., DOI: 10.1016/0022-5193(79)90327-8); 1985, Paul S. Miller and colleagues demonstrate antisense inhibition of globin synthesis in blood cells (Biochemistry, DOI: 10.1021/bi00343a016); 1985, W. J. Stec and colleagues synthesize phosphorothioate oligonucleotides (J. Chromatogr., A., DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9673(01)87452-5); 1987, Akira Kaji demonstrates antisense inhibition of herpes simplex virus in baby hamster kidney cells (U.S. Patent 4,689,320); 1988, E. Wickstrom and colleagues demonstrate antisense inhibition of human MYC oncogene in leukemia cells (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1988, 85, 1028); and 1988, A. M. Gewirtz and B. Calabretta demonstrate antisense inhibition of human MYB oncogene in leukemia cells (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.2461588).

All of our achievements depend on the work of our predecessors.

Eric Wickstrom



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