Idera Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Dr. Paul Zamecnik dies at 96; scientist made two major discoveries

Most scientists are fortunate if they can make one major discovery in their lifetime. Dr. Paul Zamecnik made two, each of which should have won him a Nobel Prize. Working with Dr. Mahlon Hoagland, he discovered transfer RNA, a crucial molecule in the synthesis of proteins in the cell. Later, he invented the idea of antisense therapy, in which strands of DNA or RNA are used to block the activity of genes -- a concept that is now being turned into a new class of drugs for cancer, HIV and a host of other diseases. Zamecnik died of cancer Oct. 27 at his home in Boston. He was 96. Although he was nominated repeatedly for the Nobel and rumors circulated each year that he would finally...