News & Events

Myxoma's viral leap into Iberian hares sheds light on how viruses swap genetic material

November 6, 2019

Viruses are all around us – they are present in most environments, lying in wait for the optimal host, and they even reside within our bodies, whether we know it or not. While hopping from species to species, these viruses can swap genetic material with each other and sometimes even with the host. In fact, over the course of millions of years, viral DNA has been integrated into human chromosomes. It is estimated that about 100,000 pieces of viral DNA have merged with human DNA, making up...

Biodesign startup OncoMyx Therapeutics, Inc. receives Fast Lane Award from AZBio

October 15, 2019

The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) named OncoMyx Therapeutics, Inc.,  an Arizona State University Biodesign Institute startup, as a Fast Lane Company for 2019. Other Arizona companies to receive the distinction during Arizona Biosciences Week this year were Biosensing Instrument, Tempe, Arizona, and Gt Medical Technologies, Mesa, Arizona. The annual award recognizes Arizona bioscience companies that have arrived at significant milestones during the past 18 months. Impact...

Origins of world’s first cure for Ebola had roots at ASU

August 22, 2019

High-risk, creative plant-based therapeutic program led to discovery of Ebola antidote Recently, dramatic news came out of Africa concerning Ebola, one of the world’s deadliest and most feared diseases. New drugs can overcome the virus and save lives. Health officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that four antidotes — including one first developed by Arizona State University and its commercial partners — had been tested...

Cancer without end? Discovery yields fresh insights

August 1, 2019

If there is any consolation to be found in cancer, it may be that the devastating disease dies with the individual carrying it. Or so it had long been assumed. Recent research however has uncovered some forms of cancer that are transmissible, jumping from one host to another. Indeed, one such contagious cancer, known as canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), has managed to persist in dogs for thousands of years. In a new commentary appearing in the August 2nd issue of the journal...

Master of the immune system: Myxoma virus could solve long-standing medical conundrums

June 25, 2019

Virus: friend or foe? Viruses are likely the most abundant biological entities on Earth – they inhabit every ecosystem, and thus have shaped the evolution of most species. But we have been conditioned to believe that viruses only pose a threat to life. Until recently, viruses were only thought to be infectious agents that exist and replicate within the cells of a host organism, often causing life-threatening illnesses. Although this is true and much of modern healthcare is aimed at...

Wellbeing Commons symposium highlights the work of the state’s most prominent researchers in virology, immunology, microbiology and infectious disease

June 11, 2019

Arizona State University prides itself on an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to solving some of the world’s most prominent problems. Led by Joshua LaBaer, the executive director of the Biodesign Institute and center director for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, Arizona Wellbeing Commons (AWC) similarly emphasizes the importance of collaboration by bringing together scientists, doctors, and other partners to better human health. The key to...

OncoMyx Therapeutics invests in bringing cancer treatments to market

June 6, 2019

OncoMyx Therapeutics, the latest biotech spinout company from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, announced today it has raised $25 million in new funding to help commercialize an innovative, viral-based therapy for the treatment of cancer. The announcement marks a major business development milestone for OncoMyx founder, research advisor, and ASU Biodesign scientist Grant McFadden, a pioneer in a new field called oncolytic virotherapy that can successfully program a virus...

Biodesign researchers offer new approach to small-cell lung cancer treatment with oncolytic virotherapy

April 30, 2019

Intensive investigations into the nature of cancer have given rise to innovative and unorthodox approaches to this deadly affliction. A recent and exciting avenue of cancer treatment involves targeting malignant cells with specialized viruses that can kill cancer cells while ignoring healthy tissue, a technique known as “oncolytic virotherapy.” The process involves administering an oncolytic virus, which infects and breaks down cancer cells but does not harm healthy self-cells. This...

New plant-based vaccine at the forefront of more efficient, affordable HPV prevention

March 12, 2019

The Gardasil vaccine advertisement flashes across the screen – you change the channel. Maybe you are a male and don’t think you are at risk of acquiring cancer from HPV, maybe you aren’t sexually active, or maybe you don’t have the resources to get the vaccine. But research shows that in addition to causing cervical cancer in women, certain strains have been linked to head and neck cancers in men. The Gardasil-9 vaccine protects against nine of the most cancer-associated strains of...

Conducting research: Exploring charge flow through proteins

March 4, 2019

Among the zoo of biomolecules essential to life, proteins are the most startlingly varied and versatile. These complex structures, generated from the DNA code and built from some 20 amino acids play a central role in innumerable life processes. In the form of antibodies, proteins defend organisms from infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. As enzymes, protein molecules speed up chemical reactions necessary to sustain life.  Proteins also act as messengers that coordinate disparate...