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The Future of Biotechnology

Just as advances in physics and engineering transformed life in the 20th century, rapid progress in biology is poised to change the world in the decades to come. Amgen R&D leader Sean Harper describes a rapid series of breakthroughs that clearly show that science has entered the Biocentury.

Gene Linked to Heart Attacks

At the start of the Biocentury, our scientists are using massive troves of data about the human genome and heart disease to uncover new paths to lower heart attack risk. A focus on genetics has unearthed a rare mutation that may lead to an entirely new type of heart drug.

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Fighting Alzheimer’s

As medicine extends our longevity deep into the Biocentury, the risk of Alzheimer’s will mount. In the spirit of defeating this horrific affliction, Amgen has partnered with Novartis to target the biological process responsible for the production of the toxic plaque prevalent in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

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Small Molecule Drug Design

The Biocentury will usher in new means of equipping our bodies with the tools to fight cancer using our own immune system. The p53 protein represents the promise of a genome guardian, and our immunotherapy research seeks to develop an MDM2 inhibitor that can free p53 to protect our cells.

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Conquering Pain

The Biocentury may prove to be the era in which we conquer pain. A gene called Nav 1.7 encodes sodium ion channels in our bodies that when mutated can ramp up or eliminate pain entirely. Amgen scientists are exploring the use of unconventional tools to creatively realize the hope of a new, safer drug for pain.

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