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Comment It's a protein drug - delivery is the real issue (Score 1) 414

Disclaimer: I am a biologist, if not working in virology or molecular biology. I actually read the paper.

The findings that the group reports are very interesting - based on the Slashdot headline you wouldn't believe it, but it's actually legit science.

However, there's a big caveat. This drug is a protein, which is a very large molecule. Almost all currently marketed drugs are small molecules, which is a huge difference to the body. You will never be able to administer this drug orally, as to the body it is "food" and will be degraded in the stomach. If you inject it, cells will not take it up and it will not be effective. This is why they attached sequences to the protein that make transduction (crossing of cell membranes into cells) possible. These sequences come from somewhat "dodgy" sources. One of them is actually a part of HIV. It is completely unclear how the body will react to that. The construct might, for example, trigger an intense immune response.

That said, I am delighted to see this kind of work published. Basically, people are reaping the fruits of decades of basic research in molecular biology to design drugs that can be "programmed" to do whatever you want. If the technical limitations can be overcome (that is, once proteins can be delivered to cells very specifically and non-invasively and once the cell killing mechanism can be made super specific), great innovations in medicine will become possible.


Monetizing Free-To-Play Gaming Models 164

eldavojohn writes "Last week, a game consultant named David J Edery gave his two cents on why free-to-play (F2P) game models aren't as prolific in the West as they seem to be in the East. Aside from a few unprovable cultural divides, he makes some interesting claims concerning conversion rates of non-paying players to paying players. Some customers pay hundreds for functional items and only a dollar on aesthetic items while other users might be the complete opposite. He also notes that converting a non-paying newbie into a paying customer is not the same as converting a non-paying salty dog. He defines 'aggressive monetization' to mean how much money will advance you 'unfairly' in the game. He focuses on two classes of items: those that provide performance-neutral aesthetics and those that provide performance enhancing or functional advancements. He claims to have access to ARPPU ('average revenue per paying user' per month) rates among several game developers and states that 'more aggressive monetization model and a loyal, niche userbase can hope to generate $50 per paying user per month, on average,' while 'a F2P game that limits itself to flat subscription revenue and/or non-functional items is generally more likely to fall somewhere between $5 and $10 per paying user per month.' Like any good consultant, he also gives ethics a footnote in an otherwise verbose post on monetizing free to play games. Has anyone here had experience pricing items and content in free-to-play games?"
Data Storage

How Do You Organize Your Experimental Data? 235

digitalderbs writes "As a researcher in the physical sciences, I have generated thousands of experimental datasets that need to be sorted and organized — a problem which many of you have had to deal with as well, no doubt. I've sorted my data with an elaborate system of directories and symbolic links to directories that sort by sample, pH, experimental type, and other qualifiers, but I've found that through the years, I've needed to move, rename, and reorganize these directories and links, which have left me with thousands of dangling links and a heterogeneous naming scheme. What have you done to organize, tag and add metadata to your data, and how have you dealt with redirecting thousands of symbolic links at a time?"

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