Bioscience is being used to help war veterans in America cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cohen Veterans Bioscience, Exaptive Inc. and Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing have announced a new initiative to improve access to research for scientists. About  eight million adults in the US alone – both civilian and military populations—will experience PTSD in a given year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. According to a 2013 World Health Organization report, an estimated 3.6% of the world’s population had suffered from PTSD in the previous year.

Despite a number of groups actively investigating PTSD, there is currently no easy way for researchers, policymakers and others to know what areas of study are most active, who is working on what, and where funding is or should be going. The PTSD KnowledgeMap will bring together research on clinical symptoms, biomarkers, genetic variation, epidemiological studies and many other factors deemed relevant for PTSD. I Magali Haas, MD, PhD, CEO & President of Cohen Veterans Bioscience, the lead funder of the initiative, said: “There has been and will continue to be a wealth of PTSD studies conducted around the globe yet there is no main repository to catalogue the valuable findings that will result.

“Many research endeavors overlap. Our goal is to centralise information and produce a blueprint for global PTSD research.” Dave King, Founder and CEO of Exaptive, said: “Despite popular opinion, just amassing data will not by itself lead to insight. Without the ability to quickly and easily navigate data, the information remains largely unusable.” Martin Hofmann-Apitius, PhD, Head of the Department of Bioinformatics at Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing,  said: “The consortium brings together world-class expertise in the area of PTSD and computational neurology, the competency for visualisation of complex processes and relationships and the expertise in the area of information retrieval and disease modelling.

Company is acquired

US-based Twist Bioscience Corporation, a company which develops DNA synthesis systems, has acquired Genome Compiler Corporation, an Israeli-based company providing software for genetic engineers, molecular and synthetic biologists. Twist Bioscience says it will use Genome Compiler’s technology and expertise to develop a digital products portfolio to help researchers with design and build synthetic DNA projects.

Funding for projects

A $1 million Connecticut Innovations programme in the United States is to fund projects including work on artificial salivary gland and a light imaging system that detects ovarian cancer faster. The BioScience Pipeline Program is a joint venture between Connecticut Innovations, UConn, Yale and Quinnipiac University to encourage the creation of biomedical devices from Connecticut universities and colleges.

Cleaning up

A promising new drug-making technique designed to reduce serious allergic reactions and other side effects from anti-cancer medicine, testosterone and other drugs administered with a needle has been unveiled. Developed by University at Buffalo researchers in New York, the method removes potentially harmful additives — primarily soapy substances known as surfactants — from common injectable drugs.