News & Events

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...

Peptides show promise for early detection of pancreatic cancer

May 14, 2019

Cancer is a protean disease, assuming many forms and disguises. Despite enormous strides in research in past decades, some cancers remain persistently lethal. Pancreatic cancer—one of the ten most common cancers for both men and women—is one such affliction.  Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common form of the disease, is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages and has a 5-year survival rate of less than 5 percent. In new research appearing in the...

Good genes: Researchers break down DNA of world’s largest mammals to discover how whales defy the cancer odds

May 9, 2019

Scientists know that age and weight are risk factors in the development of cancer. That should mean that whales, which include some of the largest and longest-lived animals on Earth, have an outsized risk of developing cancer. But they don’t. Instead, they are less likely to develop or die of this enigmatic disease. The same is true of elephants and dinosaurs’ living relatives, birds. Marc Tollis, an assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems at...

Proofreading the book of life: gene editing made safer

April 23, 2019

The advance of science is something like the wandering of an explorer through an uncharted jungle. Often, the dense undergrowth can seem impenetrable, but at certain privileged moments, a clearing opens, and an entirely new landscape emerges.                                    Something like this is occurring in the...

LaBaer start-up selected for Flinn Foundation Entrepreneurship Program

March 19, 2019

Ordinatrix, a startup company launched by Biodesign Institute Executive Director Joshua LaBaer, is one of six bioscience firms from Phoenix and Tucson selected to participate in the Flinn Foundation’s 2019 Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program. Ordinatrix, a Phoenix-based company, will receive $30,000 in funding support and program services through a nonprofit partner. The services include “a professionally developed, yearlong plan specific to the needs of the company, helping them...

ASU researchers address a primary cause of treatment failure for pancreatic cancer

January 10, 2019

As the second leading cause of death worldwide, cancer is a focal point in both clinical research and health care fields, but not all cancers are created equal. While some cancers are now much less deadly due to recent medical advances, other aggressive cancers remain highly resistant to currently available therapies. This therapy resistance is a leading cause of cancer-associated death. Pancreatic cancer is an extreme example of this effect, and therapy resistance is a major reason why only...

Proteomics may have saved my mother's life. And it may yet save mine

December 14, 2018

The New York Times THE SERGEANT WITH the Mount Crested Butte Police Department in Colorado appeared and I was with my wife and our two young children, ages 2 and 7, at Lake Irwin, a remote campsite at 10,200 feet in the Rocky Mountains. When the officer stepped out of his S.U.V. cruiser, its blue and red emergency strobes piercing the darkness, I thought that perhaps a neighboring camper had summoned him to silence my dissonant guitar strumming beside the campfire. “I’m...

National Academy of Inventors announces two ASU researchers as 2018 Fellows

December 11, 2018

Arizona State University researchers Joshua LaBaer and Nathan Newman have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, the organization announced today. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.  “With...

Biodesign Executive Director Joshua LaBaer appears on 'Arizona Horizon'

December 6, 2018

One quarter of all breast cancers are among people with triple negative HER2 breast cancer. The aggressive form of cancer is caused by a mutation in cells. Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute, and his partner are trying to figure out what is causing those mutations and that would lead to better treatments. He discusses his work on a recent episode of Arizona PBS' "Arizona Horizon." Dr. LaBaer is one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the rapidly...

Biodesign symposium hosts researchers from West China

November 19, 2018

Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute, co-hosted a lively and innovative symposium, greeting the international guests in their native language. After enthusiastic applause, the presentations began. The symposium, which hosted representatives from Sichuan University and West China Hospital, in addition to researchers from the Biodesign Institute, focused on exploring strategies for the detection and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. The gathering...