Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt

The Challenges In Small Molecule Drug Development – Part 3 of our Drug Discoveries Series: To Zs and Z’ | Tempo Bioscience

Drug targets may be identified in a number of ways, for example, through studying disease pathophysiology to find disease-relevant pathways, or using genome and transcriptome analysis to identify proteins that are differentially expressed and/or aberrantly translated during disease. The early stages of any drug discovery effort must include extensive target validation, ideally through a broad combination of in vitro and in vivo (animal models), cellular and ‘omics’ approaches.

Genetically Encoded Biosensors for Research and Drug Discovery | Tempo Bioscience

Genetically encoded biosensors (also known as genetically encoded fluorophores) build on fluorescent protein-based approaches to visualize proteins or cellular compartments, such as approaches based on green fluorescent protein (GFP). The biosensors are synthetic proteins with functional and fluorescent domains. They are relatively easily transfected into live cells, tissues, or even whole organisms, thus facilitating the localization and dynamics of proteins of interest through the inherent fluorescence of the FP. Cover Image Credit: Joseph Elsbernd:

Cutting edge patient-specific “tumour-on-a-chip” technologies for personalised cancer treatments

Cancer is a complex and dynamic disease that is often very challenging to treat. Patients with the same cancer type often respond differently to the same chemotherapy regime, and oncologists don’t yet have the tools to predict the optimal treatment for each individual patient. However, with the latest advances in engineered tumour models, patient-specific or personalised cancer treatment is likely to become a reality.

The Challenges In Small Molecule Drug Development – Part 2: Target Identification | Tempo Bioscience

In the world of drug discovery, target can mean something different depending on whom you ask. It may refer to the intended market for the drug (e.g., developing countries), the therapeutic indications (i.e. what condition(s) the drug is expected to treat), the biological pathway or process that the drug modulates, or the molecular recognition site to which it binds.

The Challenges In Small Molecule Drug Development – Part I | Tempo Bioscience

The world of drug discovery is rife with new approaches within immunotherapy, personalized vaccines, microbiome therapies, and CRISPR-based therapies in an attempt to provide novel treatments and cures for a wide range of diseases, most often cancer. Despite progress in these areas, with FDA-approval granted for the first two CAR T-cell therapies in 2017, more than 90 % of the drugs currently available on the worldwide therapeutic market is comprised of small molecules. Image Credit: e-Magine Art (

Can MSCs Become A New Treatment Option for Cancer? | Tempo Bioscience

Mesenchymal cells (MSCs) are rapidly gaining traction in cancer therapy. Although they are not the only stem cells with anti-cancer activity, MSCs are often preferred because of their low immunogenicity and inherent ability to migrate to tumor sites. So far, numerous attempts have been made to load MSCs with therapeutic proteins, oncolytic viruses, chemotherapeutic drugs or nanoparticles bearing anti-cancer drugs, with some very promising results. Let’s take a look at some of the advances in this area to date! Image Credit: londoncalling2001 (

Cancer Organoids – A New Era in Cancer Treatment | Tempo Bioscience

Image Credit: Lung-on-a-chip: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences ( ) Cancer organoids are generated from cells donated by cancer patients. Their major applications lie in their potential to shed light on the processes of cancer development and metastasis, to help us understand heterogeneity within tumors via single cell sequencing, and to direct clinicians towards personalized cancer treatments based on patient-specific drug testing.

Cellular Therapies and Research Models – the Powers of MSCs | Tempo Bioscience

We gave you an introduction to mesenchymal cells (MSCs) in one of our earlier Cell of the Month posts. Staying with the theme of recapitulating in vivo development processes (check out our most recent post on organoids), we wanted to take a closer look at MSCs and their two applications that have attracted most attention to date – cellular therapies and research models. Cover Image:

What’s All the Fuss About Organoids? | Tempo Bioscience

In the modern fast-paced worlds of research and medicine, disease models that take us closer to the real-life situation are highly desirable. While we can’t discredit the power of in vitro cell culture methods to provide important clues about biological processes, mechanisms of disease, and response to drugs, the availability of life-like tissue systems such as organoids provides obvious opportunities to study these aspects of human biology in a much more realistic manner. Image Credit: Yale Rosen (

Cutting-edge epigenetics research reveals new genes linked to metabolic syndrome in humans

In multicellular organisms e.g., humans, other animals, and plants, almost every cell contains identical genetic information. However, not all cell types behave in the same way. For example, white blood cells are distinct from bone cells in appearance and function. Chromatin is a dense complex found in the nucleus of the cell that contains the majority of our DNA, along with RNA and associated proteins. It plays a critical role in establishing and maintaining these intracellular differences (or

Can Genetics Explain Schizophrenia? | Tempo Bioscience

In one of our recent posts, we addressed the types of genetic variability that exist in humans and why a greater understanding of these is critical in diagnostics, for predicting our response to new drugs, and in the development of personalized treatments. Here, we will look at how genetic variability can serve as a tool to expand our understanding of disease susceptibility and mechanisms, using schizophrenia as a case study. Image Credit: Mark Turnauckas

The Many Faces of Phagocytes | Tempo Bioscience

Most of us were introduced to phagocytosis as a cellular event where dead host cells, microbial cells or their components, or other foreign bodies are engulfed and often destroyed by specialized cells known as phagocytes. During my undergraduate studies, phagocytosis was a small topic within immunology and macrophages were the crème de la crème of phagocytes, patrolling the body’s tissues for foreign invaders, much like security guards patrolling their territories.
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