“THERE IS ONLY ONE THING STRONGER THAN ALL THE ARMIES IN THE WORLD,
AND THAT IS AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.” – VICTOR HUGO
In this issue of IMMpress Magazine, we explore innovation and commercialization from various angles. From smart neighbourhood Sidewalk Labs to a whopping $100 million investment for the new Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre at the University of Toronto, we feel that this topic is highly relevant and timely. While novel advancements in science and technology can easily get us excited, our own advancements can be detrimental to us if not met with proper steps and right intentions; some of these potential nightmares are already being addressed with a sprinkle of imagination in the popular Netflix show Black Mirror. With this in mind, we urge our readers to not only appreciate innovative ideas coming to life, but also to practice science in an ethical and responsible manner.
We introduce you to the theme of Innovation and Commercialization by laying out the fundamentals of clinical trials (pg. 8) and the differences between small molecules and biologics (pg. 18) before delving into the use of biomarkers (pg. 14) and social media (pg. 20) in the context of clinical trials. However, in this era of –omics and the copious amounts of data we generate, we can easily become a victim of our own success. As such, we challenge our readers to first reflect on how far we’ve come in this field and then to think about how we can move forward in the right direction (pg. 10). We appreciate that every disease and infection has its own unique set of challenges, and here we shed light on the biomedical, social and economic complexity of some drugs by discussing the tricky business of antibiotics (pg. 13), continuing efforts in addressing HIV prevention methods and stigma (pg. 24) and the role of orphan disease status in drug development (pg. 28). Of course, we are fortunate to be working alongside leading experts in various fields, and so we close the issue by touching upon how our very own city of Toronto is rising as the new hub for biomedical and technological innovations (pg. 26), and by proudly featuring some of our very own immunologists giving excellent talks and receiving awards at this year’s CSI (pg. 30).
As always, we would like to extend our thanks to all our writers, designers and editors who put together yet another great issue. It is also with great sadness and profound gratitude that the IMMpressteam bids farewell to our co-Editor-in-Chief Dario Ferri. Dario’s commitment, positivity and leadership will be missed by our team. In his place, we extend our warmest welcome to Pailin Chiaranunt as our new co-Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. Pailin is an excellent writer and designer, and we are confident that she will make a significant contribution to the success of our team. We hope you enjoy this issue and the last bit of summer!