Eureka recently asked members of the Charles River scientific community what brewing scientific innovations and trends to look for in 2014. Here’s one example.   

Synthetic biology—the application of engineering principles to the construction of molecular circuits made from genetic material—will continue to expand its reach in the development of novel therapeutics. Synthetic biology approaches have already led to the construction of novel metabolic pathways to simplify drug synthesis and the construction of nanomachines that selectively target cancer cells or infectious agents. Look out for synthetic biology-designed novel gene therapies which are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. These gene therapies are novel because their expression is controlled by the oral administration of an activator molecule; this dual drug combination is designed to provide better control of the therapeutic dose and limit toxicity.  — Mary McElroy, Principal Scientist, In Vivo Discovery Services at Charles River Laboratories in Edinburgh, Scotland