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Regenerating the Body With Stem Cells Hype or Hope? – Labiotech.eu (blog)

When the Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka managed to reprogram adult cells into an embryonic-like state to yield induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), this was supposed to herald a revolution in regenerative medicine. But 10 years after their discovery, a therapeutic breakthrough is still outstanding.

The overall stem cell therapy field has failed today to show a very clear cut clinical benefit, told me Georges Rawadi, VP for Business Development at Celyad. The field now needs some significant success to attract attention.

Even though investors prefer placing their bets on the hot T cell therapies these days, some stem cell technologies such as iPSCs are starting to get traction as big industry players are exploring the territory. Last year, Bayer and Versant threw $225M into the pot to launch BlueRock Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company that plans to develop iPSC-based therapies. A year before, Fujifilm spent $307M to acquire the iPSC company Cellular Dynamics.

Although a big success story is still lagging behind, recent advances in the field argue that stem cells indeed have the potential to translate into effective therapies for currently intractable diseases. Heres an overview of what biotechs stem cells are up to!

Stem cell treatment is not a new concept hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) were described as early as the 1960s and bone marrow transplants have been used to treat blood cancer for decades.

The reason that we get excited about stem cell therapies comes from our experience with the hematopoietic stem cells. If you want to see what a mature stem cell therapy is like, you only need to look at bone marrow transplantation explained James Peyer, Managing Partner at Apollo Ventures, who has a Ph.D. in stem cell biology.

According to Peyer, the hematopoietic stem cell field is one of the most active areas in the stem cell world right now, mainly fueled by our advances in the gene editing space. Tools like CRISPR and TALEN allow for the genetic modification of a patients own bone marrow stem cells, which can then be expanded and returned to the patient for the correction of a genetic defect.

Last year, regulators gave green light to one of the first therapies of this kind. Strimvelis, developed by GSK, consists of an ex vivo stem cell gene therapy to treat patients with the very rare type of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). Using the patients own cells avoids the risk of graft versus host disease (GvHD), which still affects around 30% of people receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Small wonder that the CRISPR companies, CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas, and Intellia are all active in this field, with preclinical programs in a number hematological diseases.

To date, the most prominent stem cells in the clinic are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are moving through more than 300 registered clinical trials for a wide array of diseases. These cells are able to form a variety of tissues including bone, cartilage, muscle or fat, and can be readily harvested from patients or donors for use in autologous or allogeneic therapies.

While MSCs have deluded the biotech scene with good safety profiles in clinical trials, their actual regenerative potential remains controversial, and there have been a great number of clinical failures, which many blame on a lack of demonstrated mechanisms of action.

As Peyer explained, The problem here is that, as opposed to other adult stem cells, the MSC has been unclearly defined. We know roughly what it does but we dont fully understand the molecular mechanisms driving these cells. On top of being unclearly defined, the regenerative powers of MSCs have been massively over-claimed in the past.

Another reason for the lack of clinical benefit has also been attributed to the use of undifferentiated MSCs, as Rawadi explained to me. The Belgian biotech Celyad, which has been pioneering cell therapy in the cardiovascular space, is using bone-marrow derived autologous MSCs and differentiates them into cardiomyocyte precursors to produce new heart muscle in patients with heart failure.

Although the company missed its primary endpoint in a phase III trial last year, Celyad has staked out a patient subpopulation that showed significant improvement. Its technology still has the confidence of the FDA, which just handed out a Fast Track designation and Celyad is now planning a refined Phase III trial.

One of Celyads major competitors, Australian Mesoblast, is forging ahead using allogeneic MSCs with Phase III programs in heart failure, chronic low back pain (CLBP) due to disc degeneration, as well as a range of inflammatory conditions including GvHD and rheumatoid arthritis.

Although the ability of MSCs to regenerate tissues remains questionable, the Mesoblasts approach hinges on a body of evidence showing that MSCs can suppress inflammation and mobilize endogenous repair mechanisms through indirect effects on immune cells.

Indeed, the first-ever approved stem cell therapy, Prochymal, also depends on this mechanism. Prochymal was developed by US-based Osiris Therapeutics and in 2012 received Canadian approval to treat acute GvHD. But after Sanofi opted to shelve its partnership with Osiris prior to FDA approval, the biotech sold out its off-the-shelf stem cell platform to Mesoblast in a $100M deal.

In Belgium, companies like TiGenix and Promethera are also banking on the immunomodulatory properties of MSCs. The companies are developing treatments for patients with Crohns disease and liver diseases, respectively.

The ultimate hope for stem cell therapies has been to regenerate damaged or diseased tissues as found in diabetes, heart failure or blindness. Holostem Terapie Avanzate, a spin-off from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia was the first company to move towards this goal.

Building on 20 long years of research, the biotech has developed Holoclar, the first and only autologous stem cell therapy (apart from bone marrow transplants) to enter the European market. Holoclar is based on limbal stem cells, located in a part of the eye called the limbus, which can be used to restore eyesight in patients that have lost sight due to burn injuries.

Meanwhile, UK-based Reneuron is developing off-the-shelf therapies that aim to restore the cognitive function of patients following a stroke. Backed by no other than Neil Woodford, the company recently raised an impressive 100M to advance its lead therapy to the market.

The biotechs fetal-derived neural stem cell line CTX was able to significantly reduce the disability of post-stroke patients in a Phase II trial and ReNeuron is now planning to push its candidate into pivotal trials.

A major question in the space a decade ago was safety. Today, theres been a lot of trials done that show that safety is not an issue. I think safety is kind of off the table but efficacy is still a question mark. And thats what were trying to deliver now, Olav Helleb, CEO of ReNeuron, told me.

While neural stem cells and other tissue-specific stem cells are able to regenerate the cells of a particular tissue, Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) and their engineered counterparts, iPSCs, are capable of making every cell type in the body, a property known as pluripotency. Pluripotent stem cells can also expand indefinitely in culture and their identification unlocked massive expectations for these cells to transform the regenerative medicine field.

Yet, these cells come with significant challenges associated with the safety of the final preparation. Apart from ethical issues surrounding ESCs, today, a lot of companies have been cautious about using these cells for therapy, because undifferentiated pluripotent cells can drive tumor formation, explained Rawadi. Since ESCs can, in principle, form every cell type, they can lead to the formation of teratomas.

A major reason for the fairly slow progress in the field is based on the difficulties of directing a pluripotent cell to exactly the cell type that is needed for cell therapy. We can readily drive the cells from the undifferentiated state to the differentiated state. However, getting those cells to pause anywhere in the middle of this continuum to yield progenitor cells is incredibly challenging, Peyer explained. Another challenge, he says, is to engraft the cells in the right place to enable them to become fully integrated.

Besides initial hurdles, companies like US-based Asterias or ViaCyte are now running the first Phase I/II trials with ESC-derived cells to treat patients with spinal cord injuries and to restore the beta cells in type I diabetes. So far, the eye has been the the dominant organ for many of the first human clinical trials with pluripotent stem cells, where the cells are assessed in diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to restore the loss of the retinal epithelium.

Deriving retinal epithelium from pluripotent cells is relatively easy and in fact, researchers in Japan are now running the very first clinical trial using donor-derived iPSCs to treat patients with AMD. For reasons of safety and standardization, the trial is based on an allogeneic approach. However, since this doesnt offer an exact genetic match, allogeneic therapies raise the prospect of immune rejection, an issue that has been plaguing the use of ESCs.

But the scientists in Japan have contended that iPSC banks could potentially solve this problem. The team in Japan is currently establishing an iPSC bank, consisting of HLA-characterized cell lines from 5-10 different donors, which should match 3050% of Japans population.

Such haplobanks have the benefits of allogeneic cell therapy, namely cost-effectiveness and standardization, but you still have matching immune systems, Peyer agrees.

For now, this remains a vision for the future, but the potential seems enormous. As Julian Howell, CMO of ReNeuron, told me, iPSCs have still got an awful long way to go. For the iPSC program running in Japan, they recently acknowledged that it took about $1.5M and 6 months to treat each patient. Its a great idea but its still got some way to go before it reaches the scale that could get into the clinic.

Images via nobeastsofierce,Natali_ Mis,vchal/ Shutterstock

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Regenerating the Body With Stem Cells Hype or Hope? – Labiotech.eu (blog)

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Regenerative Medicine: The Future of Medicine is Here Miami’s … – Miami’s Community Newspapers

Regenerative medicine is a revolutionary approach to treating many degenerative conditions and includes a variety of different techniques including stem cell therapy. This field joins nearly all disciplines of science and holds the realistic promise of repairing damaged tissue by harnessing the bodys ability to heal itself.

Adult stem cells are found in every part of the body and their primary role is to heal and maintain the tissue in which they reside. Stem cells are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves by cell division. In addition, they have the ability to differentiate into specialized cell types. Adult stem cells can be harvested from a patients own tissue, such as adipose (fat) tissue, muscle, teeth, skin or bone marrow.

One of the most plentiful sources of stem cells in the body is the fat tissue. In fact, approximately 500 times more stem cells can be obtained from fat than bone marrow. Stem cells derived from a patients own fat are referred to as adipose-derived stem cells. The mixed population of cells that can be obtained from fat is called a stromal vascular fraction (SVF). The SVF can easily be isolated from fat tissue in approximately 30-90 minutes in a clinic setting (under local anesthesia) using a mini-lipoaspirate technique. The SVF contains a mixture of cells including adipose-derived stem cells or ADSCs and growth factors and has been depleted of the adipocyte (fat cell) population.

ADSCs are multi-potential and can differentiate into a variety of different types of tissue including but not limited to bone, cartilage, muscle, ligament, tendon and fat. These cells have also been shown to express a variety of different growth factors and signaling molecules (cytokines), which recruit other stem cells to facilitate repair and healing of the affected tissue. ADSCs are very angiogenic in nature and can promote the growth of new blood vessels.

Based on research performed in our FDA registered facilities, stem cell quality and functionality can vary greatly depending on the methods utilized to obtain the cells. It is important to utilize a product that has undergone full characterization to include safety, identity, purity and potency. We have developed a method for harvesting and isolating stem cells from fat for therapeutic use. The use of a cell population that retains the ability to function in vivo will lead to more consistent patient results with long term success.

Adipose stem cells can be obtained from the patient easily, abundantly, and with minimal patient discomfort. Clinical applications for patients can be performed in an office setting safely, legally, and ethically using autologous ADSCs. Current applications include orthopedic conditions (tendon/ligament injuries, osteoarthritis, etc.), degenerative conditions (COPD, diabetes), neurological (MS, Parkinsons, spinal cord injuries, TBI, etc.) and auto-immune (RA, Crohns, colitis, lupus).

Stem cells possess enormous regenerative potential. The potential applications are virtually limitless. Patients can receive cutting edge treatments that are safe, compliant, and effective. Our team has successfully treated over 7000 patients with very few safety concerns reported. One day, stem cell treatments will be the gold standard of care for the treatment of most degenerative diseases. We are extremely encouraged by the positive patient results we are seeing from our physician-based treatments. Our hope is that stem cell therapy will provide relief and an improved quality of life for many patients. The future of medicine is here!

For additional information on our South Miami clinic, visit http://www.stemcellcoe.com.

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Regenerative Medicine: The Future of Medicine is Here Miami’s … – Miami’s Community Newspapers

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Growth Opportunities in Cell Harvesting Systems Market: New Research Report – LANews By Abhishek Budholiya (press release) (blog)

Cell harvesting is a technique of collecting stem cells for regenerate, transplant or repair the damaged organ with healthy functioning ones. Cell harvesting is considered as an important step in biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry that can directly affect the product quality and related downstream processes. Stem cells harvesting helps in treating with diseases namely cancers, blood disorders, immune deficiency diseases and various injuries. This therapy is also beneficial for burn victims which help them in grafting new skin cells as a replacement for damaged ones. Many companies are focusing on regeneration of myocardial tissue by injection of cell graft consist of adult stem cells from the patients for manufacturing regenerating medicines. For the treatment of eye diseases new healthy cells are also be grown. For harvesting bone marrow a companies are manufacturing devices with passive flexible drilling unit and suction mechanism which will help in reducing the invasiveness of bone marrow transplantation. Cell harvesting system helps in reducing the invasiveness of bone marrow aspiration from the iliac bone with less punctures. Moreover, helps in reducing procedure time and contamination by T-cells.

Cell Harvesting Systems Market are witnessing maximum growth owing to increase bone marrow transplantation procedures attributed to high prevalence of blood cancer and anemia. Moreover, improving healthcare expenditure, survival rate after treatment, increasing investment in logistic services, expansion bone marrow transplant registry for heart along with neuronal disorders and growing per capita healthcare expenditure. However, high cost of cumbersome treatment, lack of reimbursement policies, immunological rejection, viable cell density, and identification of stem cells in adult tissues, and complications during cell harvesting and inadequate number of HSCs cells for transplantation is a major barrier to the cell harvesting systems market.

The cell harvesting systems market has been classified on the basis of techniques, application and end user.Based on techniques, the cell harvesting systems market is segmented into the following: Altered Nuclear Transfer, Blastomere Extraction; Based on application, the cell harvesting systems market is segmented into the following: Bone Marrow, Peripheral Blood, Umbilical Cord Blood, Adipose Tissue; Based on end-user, the cell harvesting systems market is segmented into the following: Research Centers, Academics Institutes, Diagnostic Labs, Hospitals

Cell harvesting systems market witnessed substantial growth owing to equipment efficacy and accuracy during stem cells harvest. By application type, bone marrow aspiration is anticipated to hold the major share in the cell harvesting systems market owing to less process error, safe and simple procedure and less side effects. People suffering from Leukemia eligible for bone marrow transplant, is expected to contribute highest share in the global cell harvesting systems market. Cell harvesting systems helps in enhancing proper pigmentation in scar reconstruction which encourage companies for continuous technology advancement in both cell isolation techniques and downstream purification processes.

Depending on geographic region, cell harvesting systems marketis segmented into seven key regions: North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominates the cell harvesting systems marketfollowed by Europe, Japan and North America owing to high concentration of bone marrow stem cells harvesting centers and registries along with skilled doctors for the process of harvesting stem cells in these regions. Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa hold huge potential and shows substantial growth in terms of wide acceptance of new technologyowing to awareness among population, increasing healthcare expenditure along with high number of potential candidate for the procedure.

Key players of cell harvesting systems market are PerkinElmer Inc.Tomtec, Bertin Technologies, TERUMO BCT, INC., hynoDent AG, Avita Medical, Argos Technologies, Inc., SP Scienceware, Teleflex Incorporated., Arthrex, Inc., Thomas Scientific, BRAND GMBH

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Growth Opportunities in Cell Harvesting Systems Market: New Research Report – LANews By Abhishek Budholiya (press release) (blog)

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New NUH study to test stem cells as treatment for liver disease – TODAYonline

SINGAPORE The use of stem cell treatment to repair liver cirrhosis, or hardening of the liver, will be tested in a clinical trial here involving 46 patients and costing S$2.6 million.

The four-year study, which was launched yesterday, came amid a growing waiting list in Singapore for a liver transplant, which is currently the only cure for patients with end-stage liver cirrhosis.

Conducted by a multi-centre team from several restructured hospitals here, the study is led by the National University Hospital (NUH).

Liver failure is one of the top 20 causes of death in Singapore, but many patients are not suitable for a transplant due to factors such as age and surgical fitness.

Out of every five patients doctors see with end-stage liver disease, only one qualifies for a liver transplant, said Dr Dan Yock Young, principal investigator of the clinical trial and senior consultant at NUHs division of gastroenterology and hepatology.

(A liver transplant) is curative, but it is a complex procedure, and many patients are not suitable for it. For these patients, treatment is limited, but morbidity and mortality rates are high as high as 50 per cent in one year and this is probably worse than many (of the) other terminal illnesses we talk about today, he said.

Animal studies conducted over the last five years have shown that stem cells can reconstruct the micro-environment of a normal liver.

Like how branches are of critical importance in supporting the leaves and fruits of a tree, the endothelial (stem) cells contribute to supporting a nutritious environment for the hepatocyte (liver) cells, Dr Dan explained.

While similar stem-cell studies have been conducted in other centres in Asia, there has been no definitive evidence of the benefits of the treatment for liver patients.

The study will recruit 46 patients aged between 40 and 70 years old, and who are at the terminal stages of chronic liver disease, over three years. It is funded by the National Medical Research Council.

During the clinical trial, patients will be divided into a therapeutic group and a control group.

All patients will receive an injection to stimulate their bone marrow cells as part of the supportive treatment for their liver cirrhosis. However, only patients in the study group will have the stem cells from the bone marrow extracted and deposited directly into their liver for more targeted repair.

Using ones own stem cells will avoid the problem of cell rejection.

The liver tissue will be examined three months later, and an investigation to compare pre- and post-transplant results will be conducted after a year.

Since invasive surgery is not required for stem-cell therapy, the fatality risk is significantly lowered for the patient. However, other risks such as severe bleeding and infections still remain, given the patients weakened condition.

NUH also noted that the stem-cell therapy does not replace liver transplants, and the latter remains the best available treatment for liver cirrhosis.

It is very painful to turn patients away when we cannot offer them a liver transplant, said Dr Dan, adding that this stem cell therapy will serve as an alternative option.

We hope that this is a stepping stone to trials for stem cell candidates, he added.

MORE WAITING FOR A LIVER

The number of people on the waiting list for a liver transplant has been growing in recent years. In June last year, it was reported that there were 54 people on the list, more than double the 24 patients in 2011.

Chronic Hepatitis B remains the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which refers to a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little to no alcohol. However, obesity has become a contributing factor to the illness as well.

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New NUH study to test stem cells as treatment for liver disease – TODAYonline

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The CI Advantage | Cryonics Institute

Why choose CI?

The Cryonics Institute offers the public cryonic suspensions of the highest quality at the lowest reasonable cost. This has been our mission since 1976, when CI was founded by Robert C.W. Ettinger, the scientist who founded the cryonics movement. Our goal is to preserve life at liquid nitrogen temperatures until the day when medical technologies mature to the point where our patients can be successfully revived to new life, health and even renewed youth.

Cryonics offers a second chance at life. Not surprisingly, the Cryonics Institute is not the sole organization advancing this revolutionary concept.

However, as the stewards of Robert Ettingers legacy, we believe the Cryonics Institute is the organization most vested in advancing cryonics, and as such, offers significant advantages over other cryonic suspension providers.

Our prices are lower than any other organization in fact, the most affordable prices anywhere in the world. We set our prices low because we exist only to benefit our members – we dont want to overcharge ourselves.

Our minimum whole-body suspension fee is $28,000. (For members at a distance, transportation costs and local help will be additional.) Our $28,000 fee is a one-time only payment, with no subsequent charges. It’s easily funded by life insurance or other investments subject to CI verification. One competitors cost is $200,000 for similar cryopreservation procedures and perpetual storage services. (* See more below on mandatory remote standby and how it can increase costs.)

Does our lower cost mean lower quality patient care or services? Absolutely not. Specific methods and research differ only slightly, and we believe our procedures and policies offer the best possible chance for patient survival.

While we certainly encourage our members to overfund and donate to help offset operational costs, we do not force people to pay beyond what we have determined is an adequate sum to fund our process.

The Cryonics Institutes state-of-the-art cryonic suspensions are performed by our team of experienced and trained cryonics professionals, using what we consider to be the best scientifically tested and proven procedures, equipment and vitrification formula available.

Vitrification is a key element in ensuring an optimal suspension. Our vitrification formula has been specifically formulated to minimize ice crystal formation and structural tissue damage associated with the freezing process, resulting in superior suspensions. CI made a significant research investment to arrive at this scientifically tested formula and we share the results openly. Our open source formula is freely available so that anyone who needs it can replicate it for local standby procedures, or to conduct their own independent quality tests.

Since 1976, we have successfully cryopreserved over 100 patients, all of whom are still in perfect cryostasis today. Our long proven track record of successful suspensions makes us one of the most reliable and respected cryonics organization around.

Robert C.W. Ettinger himself was cryopreserved by CI in 2011. A close examination of the late Mr. Ettingers own cryonics case report proves that a superior suspension need not involve expensive remote standby services. Solid planning utilizing local resources is a lower cost, and often superior, solution.

One might ask if the founder of cryonics chose CI (the very organization he founded) for his own cryopreservation, then why would anyone choose a different, more expensive provider? We agree CI is the best choice and hope you will too.

We have a unique, proven track record of financial security and stability, as well as price stability. CI is the only cryonics organization with no debt, no stockholders, and no landlords. We own our patient care facilities outright, and all of our member officers and directors donate their services voluntarily. We’re one of the oldest cryonics organizations in existence — and the only such organization that has never raised its prices, even in high-inflation times like the late 70s and early 80s. Adjusting for inflation, our prices have actually steadily declined.

This is a critical distinction, because as members ourselves, each and every one of us has a vested interest in the long-term viability of our organization – our facilities, cryostats and finances are built to last into the future we’re striving toward.

Importantly, CI has kept its paid staff to a minimum to avoid high labor costs of excess labor. CI has never had a case of embezzlement, employee corruption or, of course, any patients lost. Through due diligence and careful examination of our personnel and procedures, CI has avoided the negative PR and lawsuits that have plagued other organizations.

Our volunteer leadership is an importan asset. It includes very talented people with successful careers in key areas – law, acounting, investment, emergency medical technology and company CEOs – all factors critical to running a successful cryonics organization. These leaders provide their high-priced talent to CI at no cost – because they believe in the promise of cryonics for themselves and their families.

We anticipate greater growth and stability through increased membership and by helping people from all socioeconomic groups. All of CIs directors and officers are directly elected by and from our membership, giving our members institutional oversight and ownership. Many CI members volunteer time and resources, receiving no pay other than the pride and satisfaction of helping one another. All decisions are made by our members, for the benefit of our members. We have no bureacracy, and no decision-maker has any financial interest except to benefit the organization.

While some organizations make centralized remote standby mandatory, CI offers this as an option available through Suspended Animation, Inc., the same organization that serves other providers. CI does not believe in a one size fits all standby solution. Instead, we encourage members to plan and set up their own decentralized local resources. We think that the ultimate responsibility for standby relies to a certain degree with the individual member, since each member can assess his or her own individual circumstances.

Spending large sums of money for remote standby services, unfortunately does not guarantee a successful suspension. Members must take an active role in planning and not be lulled into a false sense of security. By such arrangements, Robert Ettinger himself illustrated this point through the common sense cooperation between his family and friends. He didnt need to spend an extra $170,000 to receive an optimum suspension.

For those who do choose a remote standby option, CI offers its members the identical SA remote standby option as other cryonics providers, but at a much lower cost. For some people, especially those who live close enough to remote standby resources, this option can make sense based on proximity and experience.

However, when evaluating remote standby it is wise to consider the question of time and distance from the remote standby team and the cryonics service provider. Indeed, this is recognized in many life-saving situations. While it would benefit a cardiac arrest patient to have a team of medical professionals on call to perform CPR when needed, it wouldnt help this patient if that team was two hours away and arrived too late. In contrast, a simple network of laypeople five minutes away with the capability to perform CPR would have a much better chance of saving the patient. Similarly, a vast network of volunteers is the gold standard for most of the worlds rural fire and emergency medical services. In the case of cryonics, almost every city has funeral directors willing to provide quick cool down and transport to CI.

We believe that human life comes before profit. We follow fair business practices and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.

We welcome you to shop around and ask questions. When you consider the alternatives, were confident that you will agree we are the best, most affordable and most trustworthy cryonics organization available.

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The CI Advantage | Cryonics Institute

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Lights, Cameras, CRISPR: Biologists Use Gene Editing to Store Movies in DNA – Scientific American

Internet users have a variety of format options in which to store their movies, and biologists have now joined the party. Researchers have usedthe microbial immune system CRISPRCasto encode a movie into the genome of the bacteriumEscherichia coli.

The technical achievement, reported on July 12 inNature, is a step towards creating cellular recording systems that are capable of encoding a series of events, says Seth Shipman, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. While studying brain development, Shipman became frustrated by the lack of a technique to capture how cells in the brain take on distinct identities. This inspired him to explore the possibility of making cellular recorders.

Cells have this privileged access to all sorts of information, he says. I would like to have these molecular recordings functioning in the developing nervous system and recording information.

To develop such a system, however, his team would need to establish a method for recording hundreds of events in a cell. Shipman and his colleagues, including Harvard geneticist George Church, harnessed the CRISPRCas immune system best known for enabling researchers to alter genomes with relative ease and accuracy.

Shipmans team exploited the ability tocapture snippets of DNA from invading virusesand store them in an organized array in the host genome. In nature, those snippets then target an enzyme to slice up the invaders DNA. (It is typically this targeted DNA cutting that geneticists harness for gene editing.)

The team designed its system so that these snippets corresponded to pixels in an image. The researchers encoded the shading of each pixelalong with a barcode that indicated its position in the imageinto 33 DNA letters. Each frame of the movie consisted of 104 of these DNA fragments.

The movie that the researchers selected consisted of five frames adapted from British photographer Eadweard MuybridgesHuman and Animal Locomotionseries. The photos show a mare named Annie G. galloping in 1887.

The team introduced the DNA intoE. coliat a rate of one frame per day for five days. The researchers then sequenced the CRISPR regions in a population of bacteria to recover the image. Because the CRISPR system adds DNA snippets sequentially, the position of each snippet in the array could be used to determine the original frame to which the snippet belonged.

The system is a long way from becoming the recorder of which Shipman dreamt while studying the brain. Substantial technological advances are needed to reach that point, notes bioengineer Randall Platt at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in Basel. Because no single cell takes up more than one DNA snippet from each frame, the information for the movie is stored across populations of cells. And no one has yet transferred the CRISPR arrays into mammalian cells. Its full of limitations, but this is pioneering work that theyre doing, he says. Its elegant.

Other CRISPRCas systems can convert RNA into DNA that is then inserted into the CRISPR array[2]. This could open up the door to using the arrays to track gene expression without cracking cells open to remove their RNA, Platt notes.

Victor Zhirnov, chief scientist at the Semiconductor Research Corporation in Durham, North Carolina, calls the work revolutionary, and hopes to start tinkering with the technique at his research foundation. Its like this is the first aeroplane flown in 1903: it was just a curiosity, says Zhirnov. But ten years from that, we had aeroplanes almost like what we have today.

This article is reproduced with permission and wasfirst publishedon July 12, 2017.

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Novel cancer treatment wins endorsement of FDA advisers – Washington Post

Food and Drug Administration advisers on Wednesday enthusiastically endorsed a first-of-its-kind cancer treatment that uses patients’ revved-up immune cells to fight the disease, concluding that the therapy’s benefits for desperately ill children far outweigh its potentially dangerous side effects.

The unanimous recommendation from theOncologic Drugs Advisory Committeemeans the treatment could be approved by the FDA by the end of September, forging a new path in the immunotherapy frontier.

8-year-old Ava Christiansen has been battling cancer for half her life. Now a new specialized cancer treatment may be able to keep her in remission. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

Timothy Cripe, a panel member who is an oncologist with Nationwide Children’s Hospitalin Columbus, Ohio, called the treatment the “most exciting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Novartis, the drugmaker behind the CAR T-cell therapy, is seeking approval to use it for children and young adults whose leukemia doesn’t respond to traditional treatments a group that numbers 600 or so patientsa year in this country. But the approach also is being tested for a range of diseases from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma to solid tumors.

If cleared by the FDA, it would be the first gene therapy approved in the United States. But unlike traditional gene therapy, the new treatment doesn’t replace disease-causing genes with healthy ones. Instead, it uses technology to reprogram immune cells called T cells to target and attack malignancies.

When a patient is treated under the Novartis process, T cells are extracted from a patient’s blood, frozen and sent to the company’s plant in Morris Plains, N.J. There, the cells are genetically modified to attack the cancer, expanded in number, refrozen and shipped back to the patient for infusion.

Once inside the body, the cells multiply exponentially and go hunting for the CD19 protein, which appears on a kind of white blood cell that can give rise to diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma.The turnaround time for manufacturing the therapy, called vein-to-vein time, will be an estimated 22 days, Novartis officials told the committee Wednesday.

From the start of Wednesday’smeeting, committee members made clear that they were not concerned about the treatment’s efficacy, which has been well established 83 percent of patients went into remission in the pivotal Novartis trial. Rather, the panel homed in onhow to best to handle possible shot-term toxicities, as well as long-term safety risks and manufacturing quality.

Most patients in the Novartis study experienced something called cytokine release syndrome, which causes fever and flulike symptoms that can range from mild to extremely severe, said Stephan Grupp, an oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who led the Novartis trial. Some patients in that study also had neurological problems, including seizures and delirium. But there were no cases of fatal brain swelling, as occurred in another company’s trial, Grupp said.

To try to ensure safety, Novartis is limiting the therapy’s availability to 30 to 35 medical centers where personnel have had extensive training with the treatment. The company also plans to post Novartis employees at hospitals using the therapy and to follow patients for up to 15 years.

During the committee meeting, hundreds of people packed the hearing room at FDA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., including prominent scientists, such as Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania, who developed the treatment. Though the FDA isn’t required to follow the guidance of its advisory committees, it usually does.

David Maloney, medical director for cellular immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said he was elated that the field is moving forward. It represents a paradigm shift in treating cancers, said Maloney, who is extensively involved in CAR T-cell research but not in the Novartis product.

One of the big issues in CAR-T cell therapy the cost, which analysts say could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasn’t discussed because that is beyond the FDA’s purview. Novartis hasn’t released pricing information.

During the public comment portion of the hearing, Amy Kappen, whose 5-year-old daughter underwent CAR T-cell therapy in Philadelphia, called for approval. The treatment beat back her daughter’s cancer and brought back the sparkle in her eyes. And while she died three months later, our children deserve this chance, Kappen said.

For other parents, there were happier outcomes. Don McMahon, whose son Connor was treated at Duke Children’s Hospital in North Carolina, said the therapy was far less debilitating than what he endured on standard chemotherapy during two relapses. The boy, an avid hockey player, is doing well now.

Thomas Whitehead, whose daughter was the first pediatric patient to receive the treatment, choked up while telling panel members about Emily’s experience. She got CAR T-cell therapy when she was 6 and close to death from leukemia. The treatment almost killed her, but she recovered and today is cancer free.

“If you want to see what a cure looks like for relapsed ALL [acute lymphoblastic leukemia], shes standing right beside me,” said Whitehead, his voice cracking.

Read more:

First gene therapy ‘a true living drug ‘ on the cusp of FDA approval

Cancer drug prices are so high that doctors will test cutting doses

Limited coverage, subsidies for some in Senate GOP’s proposed health-care overhaul

This cancer doctor is running for Congress. Here’s why

‘This is not the end’: Using immunotherapy and a genetic glitch to give cancer patients hope

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Novel cancer treatment wins endorsement of FDA advisers – Washington Post

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Baby Charlie remains on life support as parents fight doctors for experimental treatment – CBC.ca

He can’t cry, kick his legsor breathe unassisted. His body is growing;his brain is not.

Baby Charlie Gard, threeweeks shy of his first birthday, suffers from a rare degenerative disorder. There is no cure. He’s being kept alive on a ventilator at a renowned children’s hospital in London,where doctors want to take him off life support to allow him to “die with dignity.”

But Charlie’s parents are in a bitter legal fight to try one last experimental treatment in the U.S. that they know won’t say his life but which they say might at least improve it.

“He wakes up, he enjoys his tickles, we lie next to him,”said his mother, Connie Yates.

“If he was suffering, I couldn’t do it.I promise you.”

Charlie has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which saps his muscles and organs of energy. He has brain damage and cannot move or cry. The disease is considered fatal. (Charlie Gard Facebook)

But whether or not he’s suffering is one of the many disputed facts in this case. Doctors say prolonging his life is causing sufferingand thatno existing treatment can save him.

The Pope, U.S. President Donald Trump and a variety of lawyers, ethicists and doctors have all weighed in on the British baby’s fate. As Charlie lies mute inhospital, an impassioned debate swirls around what rights parents have to control their children’s medical care.

Kaylom Hoppe, 5, leads chants to ‘save Charlie Gard’ outside London’s Court of Justice, which is hearing evidence in the Gard case Thursday. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

Two previous courts have ruled with the doctors at London’s Great Ormond Hospital. The case is now being heard at Britain’s Supreme Court.Under British law, in the rare case when a dispute arises over a child’s treatment, a hospital can take it to the courts to decide.

Justice Nicholas Francis was expected to rule on the caseThursday morning but delayed the decision until the courtcan hear from the U.S. doctor who would administer the experimental treatment the family is seeking, called nucleoside bypass therapy.

The doctor is expected to testify via videolater this morning.

On Monday, in an emotional, high-spirited hearing before the court, Francisruled the parents had until Wednesday to deliver new evidence of treatment they believe could benefit their son.

“I’m still fighting for the same thing that I’ve been fighting for since November 2016,”said Charlie’s mother.

Even a 10-per-centchance of improvement, at best, is “a good enough chance to take oral medication with no major side effects,” she says.

A health-care facility in the U.S. hasagreed to care for the baby and administer the experimental treatment. It is not curative, but the family’s lawyers argue it could slightly improve the baby’s underlying condition.

Charlie’s father determined to get his baby to the U.S. for an experimental treatment called nucleoside bypass therapy that won’t save his life but that the parents think could improve his condition. (Charlie Gard Facebook )

Born healthy, Charlie’s muscles began to fail around sixmonths. Doctors discovered he had inherited the faulty RRM2B gene thatinhibitscells from making energy and hadmitochondrial depletion syndrome. His current care team says subsequent seizures in January caused irreparable brain damage. His parentsdisagree.

“I’ve yet to see something that tells me my son’s got irreversible structural brain damage,” said Yates.

She told the BBC thatother children with Charlie’s condition are currently on the experimental medication.

“They all have mitochondrial depletion syndrome as well as Charlie, but theirs is caused by a slightly different gene. They’re all getting stronger.”

“This isn’t about the parent’s right to control what happens to their child,” saidPenney Lewis, co-director of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at Kings College London.

Protesters stand outside a London court to show support for Charlie and his parents. (Reuters)

“Parents don’t have that right, [but] they do have a responsibility to take care of their child as best they can.

“I think one of the things that seems so heartbreaking is that the parents really believe that he could be saved, that he could have a much improved quality of life, and that doesn’t appear to be what the evidence suggests.”

Yates and Charlie’s father, Chris Gard, have used social media to their advantage to spread the word and to crowdfund enough money on GoFundMefor them to travel to the U.S. for treatment. More than 400,000 people have signed a petition calling on doctors to allow the baby to travel to the U.S. AFacebook page has been chartingthe legal steps in the case, and an American Christian group protesting euthanasia has arrived in London promoting#IamCharlieGard on Twitter.

The world’s most high-profile tweeter, U.S. President Trump, interjected his opinion on Monday:”If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

Then on Wednesday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence used the case to make a political point in the U.S. health-care debate. Speaking to Rush Limbaugh on radio, Pence said the baby Gard case is evidence the “single payer”system of medicine doesn’t work.

“The mother and father should be able to choose the lifesaving treatment that’s available … instead of submitting to a government program, which says, ‘No,we’re going to remove the life support from your precious 11-month-old child.'”

But the experimental treatment will not save Charlie’s life, argue many top physicians in the U.K. If it would, doctors at Great Ormond wouldn’t hesitate to administer it.

“I think it is disturbing to watch,” Lewis said in an interview with CBC News. “I think sometimes, one loses sight of a very very unwell child. Because it becomes a kind ofpolitical circus in some sense.”

Britain’s top pediatrician,Neena Modi, wrote in an open letter,”Charlie’s situation is heartbreaking for his parents, and difficult for everyone, including the doctors and nurses looking after him.”

She said the interventions from high-profile figures are “unhelpful.”

But as Charlie lies in his tiny hospital cot, with round-the-clock care, his parents believe all the international attention has “saved his life so far.”

“We’re not strong people, but what is strong is the love for our little boy,”said Chris Gard.”He’s kept us going through all of this.”

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Baby Charlie remains on life support as parents fight doctors for experimental treatment – CBC.ca

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Don’t Blame Your Mom’s Dad for Male Pattern Baldness – Inverse

One day, a guys got a full head of tousleable, luscious hair. The next, that same guy looks into a mirror and sees a reflection of himself with a receding hairline, skin creeping out where hair used to grow wild.

Its male pattern baldness, and while a dude might be tempted to blame his maternal grandfather for the curse of his receding mop, the genetic truth is way murkier.

Balding is actually the result of a very complicated mix of biological and environmental factors. This makes it hard to predict who will go bald, let alone how to turn back the clock on Americas follicles. Thanks to scientific breakthroughs, however, were getting closer than ever to unlocking the mysteries of The Rocks seductive scalp and your own, much less attractive skull.

That hasnt stopped scientists and hardcore hairdressers from capitalizing on hair loss, officially known as alopecia, with the male pattern baldness industry ringing in $3.6 billion dollar industry dedicated to fighting it with wigs, transplants, chemical treatments, and lots and lots of prayer.

An old adage states that you can predict your own fate based on your moms dad and his hair, but new research is showing this to be overly simplistic. Yes, genes related to hair loss are in fact on the X sex chromosome, and therefore passed down to you by your mother but there are a bunch of other factors at play.

In some cases, hair loss can be brought on by stress or poor diet, autoimmune diseases, and pharmaceuticals. But these are all rare. The majority of hair loss is tied to male pattern baldness, a quasi-hereditary trait responsible for the majority of hair loss in men. Part of it is your moms X chromosome, but numerous other genes, hormones, even your immune system functions are involved.

Lets start with testosterone. While everyone has it coursing through their body, men have a lot more testosterone than women. The sex hormone is important for many reasons, including encouraging the development of male genitals, heart health, and the like. But in human hair follicles, testosterone can be all-too-easily transformed into dihydrotestosterone, which shrinks the follicle and stops hair from growing. Thats part of why more more men experience hair loss than women, who have less testosterone at work in their bodies and on their scalps.

Our immune system may also be a key player when it comes to hirsutism. In May, researchers published a report in the journal Cell that showed T cells can change how follicles work for the worse. Apparently, T cells have a tight pact with the stem cells that allow for hair regeneration. When the T cells living in the skin on your head are disrupted, so is hair growth. While the results were most clearly tied to a variety of hair loss known to result from autoimmune disorders, the researchers think T cells could shape male pattern baldness, too.

Still, genetics are probably the single most crucial components of male patterned baldness but no one understands exactly how. One of the most comprehensive studies on this factor, published in Nature Communications in March, looked at data compromising more than 10,000 men with early-onset hair loss and an equal number of controls. They found a whopping 63 different spots scattered throughout human DNA that can contribute to male pattern baldness. Thats a lot of different genes working together far too many to allow for an easy genetic solution to thinning hair.

All of this goes to say: Hair loss is a lot more complicated than whatevers going on with your grandpas noggin. But its also extremely common: In fact, as many at 85 percent of men go on to experience some hair loss over the course of their lives, with increased prevalence among Caucasian men.

It also has to be said that, though people may spend small fortunes trying to combat it for aesthetic purposes, theres nothing wrong with being bald. In fact, some evolutionary biologists theorize that in the distant past, premature baldness made men stand out to potential mates. Baldness is sometimes associated with age and wisdom, so a 20 year old losing his hair may have looked distinguished instead of decrepit. So as these theorists and Tooth Fairys Dwayne The Rock Johnson can attest, there might be something to be said for wholeheartedly embracing that smooth-shaven life.

So skip the Rogaine and stay confident, baldy buddy.

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Don’t Blame Your Mom’s Dad for Male Pattern Baldness – Inverse

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

DNA Diagnostics Center brings four genetic testing options to retail – Drug Store News

FAIRFIELD, Ohio DNA Diagnostics Center on Tuesday announced the launch of its new product line called HomeDNA, a targeted selection of at-home genetic tests for skin care, healthy weight, ancestry and paternity that helps consumers make better health and wellness choices, and provides answers about family relationships both past and present.

Beginning in July, HomeDNA from DDC will be the first suite of home DNA testing products in retail stores nationwide, according to the company.

“For the first time ever, consumers can choose from an assortment of DNA tests that interest them and buy the kits at their local drug store,” stated Connie Hallquist, DDC CEO. “It’s exciting that cutting-edge science is so accessible and the process is so easy. Consumers collect their DNA at home with a simple cheek swab, send to our lab for processing then receive their custom report online.”

The HomeDNA selection currently includes four products: Skin Care, Healthy Weight, Ancestry and Paternity.

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DNA Diagnostics Center brings four genetic testing options to retail – Drug Store News

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Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing Can Be a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole – Newswise (press release)

Newswise Genetics isnt just for geneticists anymore. With the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies like 23andMe, anyone can rifle through their genotypes at hundreds of thousands of positions throughout their DNA. Beyond lighthearted factoids about ear wax type and Neanderthal vestiges, anyone can learn much harder facts, such as whether they carry any of dozens of mutations known to cause Alzheimers, frontotemporal dementia, and other fatal neurodegenerative diseases.

Alzforum explores this genetic Wild West, reporting on what kind of information curious customers can find in their data files, how the FDA views direct-to-consumer genetic data disclosure, and how the role of genetic counseling is changing in the wake of the public rush to obtain genetic data from a spit sample. The story also raises hope that the movement toward personalized genetic data sharing could be harnessed toward a common good, e.g., by referring carriers of pathogenic mutations to prevention trials that could avert Alzheimers or related diseases.

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Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing Can Be a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole – Newswise (press release)

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Genetic Testing Underutilized in Early Breast Cancer – MedPage Today

Action Points

Patients with early-stage breast cancer often undergo definitive surgery without genetic testing, or before BRCA1/2 testing has been performed, and the results frequently aren’t explained to them, a survey of surgeons and patients found.

Approximately one-third of surgeons said they rarely referred patients for genetic counseling, and only 73% of high-volume surgeons and 35% of lower-volume surgeons said they were confident in discussing genetic test results with their patients, reported Allison Kurian, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues.

And 27% of patients who turned out to have high-risk variants of the BRCA1/2 genes, and one-third of patients at average risk, weren’t tested until after surgery. In fact, 17% of high-volume surgeons and 38% of lower-volume surgeons said that they never delayed surgery for genetic test results, Kurian’s group wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Furthermore, half of lower-volume surgeons and one-quarter of high-volume surgeons said they managed patients with known high-risk mutations of BRCA1/2 the same way as they managed patients with genetic variants that were of uncertain significance, which often turn out to be benign, Kurian and colleagues said.

“This study offers a unique window into a transformative period for precision medicine and the challenge of implementing advances in genomic technology into breast cancer treatment,” Kurian and colleagues wrote. “Effective genetic testing requires clinicians to assess pretest risk, counsel patients on testing implications, order an appropriate test, communicate results, and develop an appropriate management plan.

“Furthermore, there is urgency for a patient with newly diagnosed breast cancer; genetic tests are often desired to inform surgical decision making, yet patients may fear that the 3-week testing process will dangerously postpone treatment,” they noted. “Although some patients may prefer to defer testing until after the hectic period of initial decision making, for others, this delay may represent suboptimal care. In addition, it is concerning that a substantial proportion of surgeons, particularly those who saw the fewest patients with breast cancer, never postponed surgery until test results were available.”

In an accompanying editorial, Soojin Ahn, MD, and Elisa Port, MD, both breast cancer surgeons at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, echoed the study authors’ concerns. “Although many patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer are eager to undergo surgery as soon as possible, the physician should explain and advise about the benefits of waiting for the genetic test results in certain situations … ” they said. “Also important is that patients are reassured that a delay of surgery for a few weeks will in no way affect survival or risk of recurrence.

“Even more alarming was the number of surgeons who admitted to managing patients with a variant of uncertain significance (VUS) the same way as BRCA mutation carriers, which likely led to 51% of average-risk patients with a VUS who underwent bilateral mastectomy,” they said. “Because most VUSs are ultimately reclassified as benign, the management of an individual who carries a VUS should be based on personal and family history and not on the presence or absence of the variant itself.

“Our job as breast surgeons is to provide appropriate and accurate information in concert with our genetic counselors to convey that more-extensive surgery is no better than lumpectomy with respect to overall breast cancer survival and systemic recurrence and that a VUS has the potential to be reclassified as benign. Then it is our patients’ decision,” Ahn and Port advised.

Kurian and colleagues surveyed 2,502 women diagnosed with stage 0-II breast cancer in 2014-2015. These women were part of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program registries of the state of Georgia and Los Angeles County. Surveys were mailed approximately 2 months after the women underwent surgery. Most women (98%) reported their surgeon’s name, and these doctors were surveyed as well. Surgeons were classified as high-volume if they treated more than 50 patients with breast cancer in the past year.

More than half of women surveyed (1,535, or 61%) reported no genetic testing and were excluded. Approximately 300 women were excluded for other reasons, leaving a final sample of 666 women who underwent genetic testing. Of these, 72% said no mutation was found, 9% said a variation of uncertain significance was found, and 7% reported a high-risk mutation in BRCA1/2 or other risk-associated gene.

Of note, the study found that type of insurance was a factor associated with delay of genetic testing. Compared to patients with private insurance, patients were more likely to be tested after their surgery if they had Medicare (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.6-4.2), Medicaid (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1-4.5), or no insurance (OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.5-4.3).

Limitations of the study included its reliance on patient self-reports, which can be inaccurate, and the potential for selection bias, Kurian and colleagues noted. However, their analysis was weighted for survey non-response to address this bias, they said.

“Our findings reinforce the need to address challenges in personalized communication about genetic testing,” Kurian’s group concluded. “Clinicians’ skill in communicating about precision medicine technologies will determine whether these advances translate into better care and outcomes.”

Ahn and Port added that, “Genetic testing represents one of the most significant advances in personalizing breast cancer treatment and individualizing care. Optimization of testing implementation and accurate interpretation should be paramount to the surgeon who cares for women with breast cancer. As Kurian et al. demonstrate, on this front, there is much room for improvement.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Kurian reported research funding from Invitae, Myriad Genetics, Ambry Genetics, GenDx, and Genomic Health.

Ahn and Port reported no financial relationships.

2017-07-10T15:00:00-0400

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Genetic Testing Underutilized in Early Breast Cancer – MedPage Today

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Genomic Testing in Oncology: From Single Genes to Whole Genomes – Labiotech.eu (blog)

Personalized medicine would be nothing without genomic testing tools.Heres an overview of how the field has rapidly evolved in the past years.

BRCA (BReast CAncer) is one of the most famous gene variants for breast cancer testing. But aside from being a game-changer from a scientific perspective, it also changed the laws of genomic testing.

The legal case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics challenged the validity of gene patents in the United States, specifically patents owned by Myriad Genetics that covered human DNA sequences, including BRCA.Since then, the U.S. Patent Office no longer accepts patents on isolated DNA sequences. Myriads patents have also been challenged in Europe by a coalition led by the Institut Curie.

In 2013, BRCA was again at the center of attention whenAngelina Jolieannounced that she had undergone a double mastectomy because of family history of breast cancer and the presence of the BRCA 1 mutation. Following this decision, thousands of women worldwide requested similar surgery to their practitioner.

In Europe, such approach is less common but may be proposed to patients with aspecific profile. As BRCA is a somatic mutation, if a patient tests positive the chances are high that a member of its family does too. In France, if a patient tests positive for this mutation, he has the legal obligation to inform their family that they should test themselves.

More surprisingly,The Washington Postreported this March that employers in the US could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a proposed bill is passed.

Though it is quite easy to interpret a single mutation such as BRCA, there are far more variables to account for in theoncology field. A study of more than 1,000 colorectal cancer patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has revealed that about 10% in total show mutations in genes thought to increase the susceptibility to cancers.

Thanks to new improvements, we are now able to consider dozens of genes at the same time. But this comes with a challenge. Results of genetic testing are increasingly complex and difficult for those without genetics expertise to interpret correctly, Dr. Allison Kurian from Stanford University toldReuters Health.

Companies are trying to overcome these difficulties by developing automated analysis, such as the famous IBM Watson for Genomics that analyzes genetic variants based on the whole scientific literature available, though so far such an approach has not reached a sufficient clinical level of evidence to be used in routine practice.Sophia Genetics is also building on the promise of data-driven medicine that began with DNA sequencing by helping clinicians adopt the most advanced genomic data analysis to better diagnose and treat patients.

Multigene diagnostics are now reaching the stage of industrial scale-up, making these tests more reliable, sensitive, sensible and highly reproducible. Thanks to multi-gene testing, physicians can now predict the risk of recurrence or adapt treatments for a higher response rate and lower toxicity. For example, thegold standard treatment for patients with HER2+ breast cancer is Roches blockbuster Herceptin (trastuzumab), the third of thebest-seller drugs of 2016.

Another example is Genomic Health, in the US, whoseOncotypeDXanalyzes the activity of a group of genes that can affect how a cancer is likely to behave and respond to treatment. Having been on the market since 2004, it has amassed a hefty evidence base with over 700,000 users.

In Europe, this and other tests likeNanostrings ProsignaorMyriads Endopredictare performed either by private or public institutions and cost around 2,000, withdifferent quotations in each country based on their individual health insurance systems.

Startups, such as the BelgianOncoDNA,which combines an innovative test and data analysis, could offer solutions to reduce the price. The team at US-basedColor Genomicswants, in the words of the CEO, Elad Gil, to democratize access to genetic testing. The company plans to charge 230 ($249) for an analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2, plus 17 other cancer risk genes. That is one tenth the price of many tests now on the market. The recent expansion of high-throughput technology platforms including low-cost sequencing of circulating and tumor-derived DNA and RNA and rapid quantification of microRNA offers further opportunities to build extended pattern across multiplatform data.

The recent expansion of high-throughput technology platforms, including low-cost sequencing of tumor-derived DNA and RNA in the blood and rapid quantification of microRNA offers further opportunities to build extended pattern across multiplatform data.

On the other hand, while more genetic changes can be identified with whole exome and whole genome sequencing than with select gene sequencing, the significance of much of this information is still unknown. Because not all genetic changes affect health, it is difficult to know whether identified variants are involved in the condition of interest. I dont doubt genetic testing in oncology has a promising future trying to solve these challenges.

Images via BlueRingMedia, ktsdesign / Shutterstock;Myriad Genetics

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Genomic Testing in Oncology: From Single Genes to Whole Genomes – Labiotech.eu (blog)

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Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS will be Honorably Mentioned in The … – PR NewsChannel (press release)

The International Association of HealthCare Professionals is pleased to welcome Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS, a prominent Cardiothoracic Surgeon to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World. Dr. Khalpey is a highly trained and qualified surgeon with a vast expertise in all facets of his work and an international reputation for his work with Artificial Hearts remodeling scars in hearts with laser therapy, stem cells and liquid matrices to build a program for heart recovery and regenerative medicine, using precision medicine, but more specifically metabolomics with new artificial intelligence platforms in cardiac surgery to change outcomes for the better. Dr. Khalpey is currently serving as an Associate Professor of surgery, medical imaging, physiological sciences, biomedical engineering, cell & molecular medicine, regenerative & translational medicine, and pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. He also serves as Co-Director of the Heart Transplant and Perfusion Science Programs, Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support and Artificial Heart Programs, and Director of Robotic Mitral Valve Program in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Banner University Medical Center. Furthermore, Dr. Khalpey is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.

Dr. Khalpey was educated at the University of London, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Medical Degree in 1998. He then gained his PhD in cardiothoracic surgery, bioenergetics, and cardiac transplantation from Imperial College London. Dr. Khalpey completed extensive postgraduate training in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United Kingdom, Dr. Khalpey was awarded a very prestigious Winston Churchill Medal for his research as well as a highly prestigious lifetime Hunterian Professorship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, where he remains a member. His research training to end his PhD was completed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard in Boston. He then went on to finish his clinical general surgery residency and cardiothoracic heart surgery fellowship at the Brigham and Womens Hospital, also at Harvard in Boston. He went on to New York where he completed a Super-Fellowship in Heart Transplants and Mechanical Circulatory Support Therapies for Advanced Heart Failure, at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University. He is certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and has earned the coveted title of Fellow of the European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Khalpey is a distinguished member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Academy of Regenerative Medicine and the Board of Regenerative Medicine. For his extensive expertise and important work, he has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Medical Sciences in Europe Award. Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program in Europe are viewed as among the most prestigious accolades in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Dr Khalpey holds the coveted Endowed Tony S. Marnell Sr. Chair in Cardiovascular Research at the University of Arizona for his metabolic and stem cell research within the surgical tissue and stem cell biobank he created. Furthermore, Dr. Khalpey is the surgical director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator Program, which is the only mobile ECMO service in the state of Arizona. Alongside his exceptional operative team of perfusionists and clinical fellows, Dr. Khalpey helped save NHL hockey player, Tucson Roadrunners Captain, Craig Cunninghams life after sudden cardiac arrest. Dr. Khalpey is the only person on the west coast who is routinely placing left ventricular assist devices (LVADS) through minimally invasive incisions, without the use of a bypass machine, and also strives to revolutionize organ transplantation. Dr. Khalpeys passion for what he does is unparalleled. He is renowned for his innovative and groundbreaking work, and has dedicated his life to providing the best solutions for his patients and community.

View Dr. Zain Khalpeys Profile Here:

https://www.findatopdoc.com/doctor/8137416-Zain-Khalpey-Cardiac-Surgeon-85755

Learn more about Dr. Khalpey here:

https://profiles.arizona.edu/person/zkhalpey and be sure to read his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World.

About FindaTopDoc.com

FindaTopDoc.com is a hub for all things medicine, featuring detailed descriptions of medical professionals across all areas of expertise, and information on thousands of healthcare topics. Each month, millions of patients use FindaTopDoc to find a doctor nearby and instantly book an appointment online or create a review. FindaTopDoc.com features each doctors full professional biography highlighting their achievements, experience, patient reviews and areas of expertise. A leading provider of valuable health information that helps empower patient and doctor alike, FindaTopDoc enables readers to live a happier and healthier life. For more information about FindaTopDoc, visit: http://www.findatopdoc.com

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Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS will be Honorably Mentioned in The … – PR NewsChannel (press release)

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Eternity 2.0 – North Bay Bohemian

At 11am on a Sunday morning, I slip into a row of seats in front of a podium with flower bouquets on each side. I’m here to listen to an aging white man talk about the afterlife. A woman in a fancy hat arranges a potluck lunch on a back table. Other attendees, mostly gray-haired, pass around a wicker basket and toss in $20 bills and personal checks.

We aren’t in church. This is godless Silicon Valley.

The Humanist Society has welcomed Ralph Merkle, a Livermore native, to explain cryonicsthe process of freezing a recently dead body in “liquid goo,” like Austin Powersto the weekly Sunday Forum. We all want to know about being re-awoken, or reborn, in the future.

Merkle, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford and invented what’s called “public key cryptology” in the ’70s, makes his pitch to the audience: hand over $80,000, plus yearly dues, to Alcor, and the Scottsdale, Arizonabased company will freeze your brain, encased in its skull, so that you and your memories can wait out the years until medical nanotechnology is advanced enough to both bring you back from a frozen state as well as fix the ills that brought on your death in the first place.

“You get to make a decision if you want to join the experimental group or the control group,” Merkle says. “The outcome for the control group is known.”

Alcor gained infamy in 2002, when the body of baseball legend Ted Williams was flown to the company’s Arizona headquarters, where his head was then severed, frozen and, according to some reports, mistreated.

The Humanist Society is an ideal audience for Merkle’s presentation, as its congregants aren’t held back by the tricky business of believing in a soul. Debbie Allen, the perfectly coiffed executive director and secretary of the national board of the American Humanist Association, considers cryonics a practical tool. “Religion has directed the conversation for thousands of years,” she says. Allen prefers to focus on ethics, and whether cryonics “advances the well-being of the individual or the community.”

“Science-fiction,” someone whispers behind me, as Merkle talks about nanorobots of the future. He also notes how respirocytes and microbivores can be “programmed to run around inside a cell and do medically useful things like make you healthy.”

As one might expect in a room full of humanists, skepticism runs high during the Q&A portion of the meeting. People are wondering exactly what kind of animals the scientists have used to test the cryonics process (answer: nematodes); when Alcor freezes bodies (after one’s heart stops, if a DNR, or do not resuscitate, order is requested); whether a frozen brain is any good if the rest of the body deteriorates (“Toss it,” Merkle says. “Replacement of everything will be feasible.”); and what happens if Alcor goes bankrupt.

“We take that very seriously,” the doctor says.

Lunch is served.

“Why would he want to preserve somebody like Adolf Trump?” asks Bob Wallace, 93, who ate salad and cubed cheese with his partner, Marge Ottenberg, 91, whom he met at a Humanist Society event.

“Obviously, the worst possible people are most likely to want to live forever,” says Arthur Jackson, 86, a retired junior high school teacher.

Ottenberg seems more open to the idea of coming back from the dead than her golden-year counterparts. “Whatever works,” she says.

Silicon Valley is the sort of place where people dream about nanorobots fixing our medical disorders. It’s the sort of place where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent chasing that dream.

The last five years have seen an investment boom in what’s called “life extension” research. Some of it is straight-up science, such as the Stanford lab researching blood transfusions in mice to cure Alzheimer’s. Scientists are in a race against time to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. They’re battling a disease that saw an 89 percent increase in diagnoses between 2000 and 2014; and Alzheimer’s or other dementia is currently the sixth leading cause of death. There are also nontraditional sources of cash flowing into biotech, which was once considered a risky investment.

But death itself is the biggest social ill Silicon Valley is trying to solve.

We can build apps to keep track of diabetics’ blood glucose levels, to measure how soundly we’re sleeping and to access medical records in an instant, but none of this stops the body from wearing out. Alongside the scientists laying the medical foundation to get us to the nanorobots envisioned by Merkle, techie utopians are looking at other ways to cheat death. A cluster of tech companies are attracting far more funding from Silicon Valley than academia, shifting the research landscape with infusions of cash.

Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur who sold his online payment company to PayPal for $800 million, was the first investor in Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Inc., which aims to create a database of a million human genome sequences, including people who are over 100 years old, by 2020. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who once said “Death makes me very angry” and is one of the oldest of the life-extension investors at 72, has also invested in Human Longevity. Johnson infused even more cash into the biotech field, investing another $100 million of his own money into the OS Fund in 2014, to “support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life.”

Such projects are examples of Silicon Valley’s extreme confidence in its own ability to improve the world. In an email, Johnson describes his work in grandly optimistic terms.

“Humanity’s greatest masterpieces have happened when anchored in hope and aspiration, not drowning in fear,” he says.

It takes some serious chutzpah to say you’ll extend the human lifespan, and for Johnson, he and his colleagues are venturing where no one has gone before.

“Building good technology is an act of exploration, and that it is very difficult for us to imagine the good that might come from any new technology,” Johnson says. “We proceed, as explorers, nonetheless.”

Johnson’s lofty goals are similar in scale to other giant anti-aging investments in Silicon Valley. In 2013, Google created an anti-aging lab called Calico (for “California Life Company”), hiring top scientist Cynthia Kenyon, known for altering DNA in worms to make them live twice as long as they usually do. Calico is not your local university research lab; it has $1.5 billion in the bank and has remained close-lipped about its progress, like a Manhattan Project for life extension.

For Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 43, Calico may be another way to attack a more personal health concern: Brin carries a gene that increases his likelihood of contracting Parkinson’s disease and has already invested $50 million in genetic Parkinson’s research, conducted by his ex-wife’s company, 23andMe. Brin said in 2009 that he hoped medicine could “catch up” to cure Parkinson’s before he’s old enough to develop it.

That hope is a common thread among health-obsessed tech investors like PayPal founder Peter Thiel, 49. A libertarian and Trump adviser, Thiel is trying to avoid both death and taxes. His foundation hired a medical director, Jason Camm, whose professional goals include increasing his clients’ “prospects for Optimal Health and significant Lifespan Extension.” Like Brin, who swims and drinks green tea to prevent Parkinson’s, Thiel has changed his daily habits to live longer. He’s aiming for 120, so he avoids refined sugar, follows the Paleo diet, drinks red wine and takes human growth hormone, which he believes will keep bones strong and prevent arthritis.

Thiel has also expressed personal interest in a company called Ambrosia in Monterey, where Dr. Jesse Karmazin is conducting medical trials for a procedure called parabiosis, which gives older people blood plasma transfusions from people between 16 and 25. Karmazin has enrolled more than 70 participants so far, each of whom pays $8,000 for the treatment. Much has been made of Thiel harvesting and receiving injections of young people’s blood, though Karmazin recently denied that Thiel was a client of his.

Karmazin doesn’t call himself a utopian, but he does note that his work requires some faith. “There’s always uncertainty about whether it’s going to stand the test of time, whether it’ll work at all,” he says. “That’s especially true in technology, and you have to believe in it.”

At the same time, the dystopians of Silicon Valley are preparing for the apocalypse. Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn, told the New Yorker that he guesses up to 50 percent of tech executives have property in New Zealand, the hot new hub for the end of the world. Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, bought multiple motorcycles so he can weave through highway traffic if there’s a natural disaster and he needs to escape. He also got laser eye surgery so he wouldn’t have to rely on glasses or contacts in a survival scenario.

Among the dystopians is Elon Musk, whose brand-new Neuralink company is investigating what Musk calls “neural lace,” a digital layer on top of the brain’s cortex that connects us to computers. Such inventions could eventually lead us to what Google director of engineering Ray Kurzweil calls “technological singularity,” or the time when ever more powerful artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, around 2045.

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Eternity 2.0 – North Bay Bohemian

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Breathing in a New Gene Therapy to Treat Pulmonary Hypertension – Newswise (press release)

Breathing in a New Gene Therapy to treat Pulmonary Hypertension

Newswise (New York, NY July 12, 2017) Mount Sinai has partnered with Theragene Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to advance a novel airway-delivered gene therapy for treating pulmonary hypertension (PH), a form of high blood pressure in blood vessels in the lungs that is linked to heart failure. If the therapy succeeds in human clinical trials, it will provide patients for the first time with a way to reverse the damage caused by PH.

This gene therapy technique comes from the research of Roger J. Hajjar, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and has been proven effective in rodent and pig animal models. PH is a deadly disease that disproportionately affects young adults and women; 58 percent of cases are found in young adults and 72 percent are women. There is currently no effective cure for PH, and about 50 percent of people who are diagnosed will die from the disease within five years.

PH is a rare (15-50 cases per million people), rapidly progressing disease that occurs when blood pressure is too high in vessels leading from the heart to the lungs. The high pressure is caused by abnormal remodeling of the lung blood vessels, characterized by a proliferation of smooth muscle cells and a thickening and narrowing of these vessels, and can lead to failure of the right ventricle of the heart and premature death. Abnormalities in calcium cycling within the vascular cells play a key role in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension, along with deficiencies in the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase pump (SERCA2a) protein which regulates intracellular calcium within these vascular cells and prevents them from proliferating within the vessel wall. Downregulation of SERCA2a leads to the proliferative remodeling of the vasculature. This gene therapy, delivered via an inhaled aerosolized spray, aims to increase the expression of SERCA2a protein, and has been shown in rodents and pigs to improve heart and lung function, as well as reduce and even reverse cellular changes caused by PH.

This is a devastating disease, and our work in collaboration with many laboratories across the country has allowed us to identify a specific molecular target and use gene therapy to improve cardiovascular and lung parameters in experimental models of PH. We look forward to starting first-in-human studies using this approach in affected patients, said Dr. Hajjar, the senior author of the studies, highlighting that clinical trials will be underway in the next two years.It may take several years before a product is commercially available for PH patients.

We are excited about the potential for SERCA2a gene therapy as a new modality in treating this serious disease, said Jon Berglin, Chief Executive Officer of Theragene Pharmaceuticals, Inc. We look forward to develop and advance this promising product into the clinic.

This represents another critical advancement in a potentially transformative therapeutic breakthrough by Mount Sinai scientists, demonstrating our commitment to improving health outcomes. We are thrilled to be working with Theragene Pharmaceuticals, and continue to strengthen our expertise in partnering health care innovations with industry, said Erik Lium, PhD, Senior Vice President of Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, the commercialization arm of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

About Mount Sinai Innovation Partners (MSIP)MSIP is responsible for driving the real-world application and commercialization of Mount Sinai discoveries and the development of research partnerships with industry. The aim is to translate these innovations into healthcare products and services that benefit patients and society. MSIP is responsible for the full spectrum of commercialization activities required to bring the Icahn School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Health Systems inventions to life. These activities include evaluating, patenting, marketing and licensing new technologies, engaging commercial and non-profit relationships for sponsored research, material transfer and confidentiality, as well as fostering an ecosystem of entrepreneurship within our research and health system communities. For more information, visit http://www.ip.mountsinai.org.

About Theragene Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Theragene is a biopharmaceutical company developing cutting-edge science for the treatment of debilitating diseases. The Companys diverse portfolio consists of preclinical and clinical oncology and cardiology platforms utilizing next generation gene therapy and immunotherapy methods.

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Breathing in a New Gene Therapy to Treat Pulmonary Hypertension – Newswise (press release)

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First gene therapy on the cusp of FDA approval – Pharmacy Today, American Pharmacists Association, pharmacist.com

An FDA advisory panel will make the call July 12 to recommend for or against agency approval of the first gene therapy. A favorable decision could see the regulator sanction the treatment by early this fall. Drug manufacturer Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania doctors and scientists who tested it are holding out hope for CAR T-cell therapy, which uses patients’ own genetically modified immune cells to fight blood cancers. In a multinational trial of pediatric patients, it achieved remission in 83% of participants67% of whom remained in remission 1 year later. While CAR T-cell therapy initially would be offered to children and young adults not responding to standard leukemia treatment, research has shown it to be effective in adults as well. Substantial concerns about safety and cost, however, could sway the FDA committee away from approval. Analysts’ projections put the price for a one-time infusion at $300,000$600,000, and there also is the risk of serious adverse effectsincluding neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome. Novartis is addressing the safety issue by planning a contained launch of the product, rather than simply unleashing it on the entire market. Under its plan, only 3035 medical centers would be authorized to administer CAR T-cell therapy, most having participated in the clinical trial and all having received extensive training.

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Breakthrough Nanorod Tech Could Deliver Gene Therapy Directly to … – Technology Networks

A new method efficiently transfers genes into cells, then activates them with light. This could lead to gene therapies for cancers

Mineko Kengaku, Tatsuya Murakami, and their colleagues from Kyoto Universitys Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) have developed a new method that modifies the surface of nanorods, making them more efficient in transporting cancer-killing genes into cells.

The method involves coating gold nanorods, which produce heat when exposed to a near-infrared laser, with the lipids oleate and DOTAP. The lipids enhance the nanorods’ ability to interact with and penetrate cells.

The team also developed a gene carrier, known as a plasmid vector, which includes a heat shock protein that is activated in response to heat.

First, the vector was bound to the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene, and then transferred into mammalian cells by the lipid-coated gold nanorods. Exposing cells to near-infrared laser for ten seconds heated up the gold nanorods, turning on the EGFP gene. Surrounding, non-targeted cells showed little to no EGFP expression.

A protein called TRAIL was then added to the plasmid vector. TRAIL induces cell death in cancer cell lines. Infrared illumination of cells transfected by TRAIL-carrying nanorods led to a high cell death rate in surrounding cancer cells.

The lipid-coated gold nanorods could potentially help with molecular cancer therapies.

This new system provides a unique opportunity for site-directed, light-inducible transgene expression in mammalian cells by a near-infrared laser, with minimal phototoxicity, conclude the researchers in their study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

This article has been republished frommaterialsprovided by Kyoto University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference

Nakatsuji, H., Kawabata, G. K., Kurisu, J., Imahori, H., Murakami, T., & Kengaku, M. (2017). Surface chemistry for cytosolic gene delivery and photothermal transgene expression by gold nanorods. Scientific reports, 7(1), 4694.

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Breakthrough Nanorod Tech Could Deliver Gene Therapy Directly to … – Technology Networks

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Male Hypogonadism Market Deep Research Study with Forecast by 2025 – Digital Journal

The report presents an in-depth analysis of the global male hypogonadism market with current trends and future estimates to explain the imminent investment pockets. The quantitative analysis of the market for the forecast period from 2017 to 2025 will enable stakeholders to capitalize on the prevailing growth opportunities.

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

San Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 07/11/2017 — Global Male Hypogonadism Market: Snapshot

Hypogonadism in males refers to a condition in the male body where the testes show a significantly reduced level of functioning than normal. The overall result of male hypogonadism is a reduction in the rate of biosynthesis of male sex hormones. This state is more commonly known as interrupted stage 1 puberty. Hypoandrogenism, or the low androgen or testosterone level in a male can vary in severity from person to person. It is often the cause of partial or complete infertility. There are multiple forms of male hypogonadism and even more ways to classify them. Most endocrinologists commonly classify male hypogonadism on the basis of the level of defectiveness of the male reproductive system.

In many cases, doctors also measure the level of gonadotropins to classify a patient between primary and secondary male hypogonadism. Primary male hypogonadism refers to the cause of the condition being due to defective gonads. There are different types of primary male hypogonadism, including Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome. Secondary male hypogonadism is caused by defects in pituitary or hypothalamic glands. They include Kallmann syndrome and hypopituitarism.

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Global Male Hypogonadism Market: Overview

Male Hypogonadism refers to a clinical condition, wherein the testes fail to produce enough testosterone leading to delayed puberty or incomplete development. The condition is related to impaired development of muscle mass, development of breast tissues, impaired body hair growth, and lack of deepening of the voice.

The male Hypogonadism market can be segmented by therapy, type, drug delivery, and geography.

The report presents an in-depth analysis of the global male hypogonadism market with current trends and future estimates to explain the imminent investment pockets. The quantitative analysis of the market for the forecast period from 2017 to 2025 will enable stakeholders to capitalize on the prevailing growth opportunities.

Request TOC of the Report @ https://www.tmrresearch.com/sample/sample?flag=T&rep_id=1127

Global Male Hypogonadism Market: Trends and Opportunities

The top driver of the male hypogonadism market includes rising prevalence of testosterone deficiency among men, increasing infertility rates, and increasing awareness among individuals about hypogonadism treatment due to awareness drives organized by several governments across the world. Moreover, high risk of hypogonadism among the geriatric population with obesity and diabetes, and increasing prevalence of chronic disorders among the geriatrics are further expected to boost the market’s growth.

However, factors such as high side effects of testosterone products are challenging the growth of testosterone replacement therapy market. Top players in the market are focused on research and development to introduce newer products with fewer or negligible side effects and improved results. For example, LPCN 1111, a product which is under development from Lipocine Inc., is a newer testosterone prodrug that utilizes Lip’ral technology for enhanced systemic absorption and for enhanced solubility of testosterone. Nevertheless, technological advancements are anticipated to extend new opportunities to the market’s growth.

Global Male Hypogonadism Market: Regional Overview

The global male Hypogonadism market can be analyzed with respect to the regional segments of North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. North America held the majority share of the global market in the recent past and is expected to retain its dominant position in the near future. This is mainly due to the rise in the number of individuals suffering from primary and secondary conditions of hypogonadism, and rising awareness among individuals about treatment options for the condition. Moreover, the presence of ultra-modern healthcare infrastructure and increasing popularity of technologically advanced products are expected to offer new opportunities for top players in this market. The region is closely followed by Europe.

Read Comprehensive Overview of Report@ https://www.tmrresearch.com/male-hypogonadism-market

Asia Pacific is expected to offer lucrative opportunities to this market due to the modernization of the healthcare infrastructure in the emerging economies of India and China and the increasing awareness about the treatment for the condition. In Asia Pacific, the increasing prevalence of hypogonadism and infertility rates along with the rising geriatric population base with diabetes and obesity are propelling the growth of this market. China, Taiwan, and Malaysia are some of the countries that display the highest rate of male hypogonadism.

Major Companies Mentioned in Report

Some of the key players in the male Hypogonadism market include AbbVie Inc., Astrazeneca plc, Eli Lilly and Company Ltd., Merck & Co. Inc., SA, Finox Biotech, Laboratories Genevrier, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Allergan plc, Bayer AG, Endo International plc, IBSA Institut Biochimque, and Ferring.

Key players are focused on product approval for growth considerations and to cater to the changing demand of the industry. The introduction of innovative and technologically advanced products is also the focus of key players to increase their market share and for serving patients in a better manner.

About TMR Research TMR Research is a premier provider of customized market research and consulting services to business entities keen on succeeding in today’s supercharged economic climate. Armed with an experienced, dedicated, and dynamic team of analysts, we are redefining the way our clients’ conduct business by providing them with authoritative and trusted research studies in tune with the latest methodologies and market trends.

Our savvy custom-built reports span a gamut of industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and metals, food and beverages, and technology and media, among others. With actionable insights uncovered through in-depth research of the market, we try to bring about game-changing success for our clients.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/male-hypogonadism-market/release-831100.htm

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Male Hypogonadism Market Deep Research Study with Forecast by 2025 – Digital Journal

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CRISPR Europe – CRISPR Europe Congress 2017 – Home

HOT TOPICS FOR 2017

The CRISPR/Cas9 community will come together and debate all of aspects including how to measure accuracy and specificity off target affects to improve current and future applications of CRISPR, such as preclinical disease models, screening, bioinformatics to see how these tools have helped predict the outcome of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, developing CRISPR libraries for cell to cell interactions and CRISPR-based therapeutic development , to different techniques of delivering CAS9 to revealing how to control repair pathway.

Our world class speakers will provide you with cutting edge case studies, clinical trials and keynotes to address the latest and future trends and research. With unrivalled networking opportunities in an interactive and immersive environment designed for both scientific and business discussions.

TAKE ACTION NOW Dont miss the opportunity join us to discuss the future of CRISPR, due to this event being highly anticipated, its strictly a first come first come base limited places available. Register here now

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CRISPR Europe – CRISPR Europe Congress 2017 – Home

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Researchers Refute Study That Claims CRISPR Causes Unexpected Mutations – Futurism

In BriefA study published earlier this year warned scientists ofpotential complications with CRISPR/Cas9, but after review byresearchers at another institution, the findings of that study arebeing brought into question. It remains to be seen whether theoriginal study will be corrected or retracted, but this developmenthighlights the importance of peer review in science. Wrongfully Accused?

A study published earlier this year warned scientists of potential complications in their work with CRISPR/Cas9, but after review by researchers at another institution, the findings of that study are being brought into question. The original paper was publishedby a team at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in May of this year in the journal Nature Methods.

In the studys original press release, co-author Stephen Tsang said: We feel its critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single nucleotide mutations and mutations in non-coding regions of the genome. The researchers had sequenced the genomes of mice whose genes had previously been editing using CRISPR in an attempt to cure their blindness. The genomes revealed there were 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations and over 100 larger deletions,= and/or insertions in two of the mice which had been modified using the gene-editing technique.

In their study, the researchers attributed these genetic anomalies to the use of CRISPR but a team of researchers from Harvard University and MIT have reviewed the paper and are challenging that attribution. In a paper published in bioRxiv a pre-print server for biology research which is not a peer reviewed journal the researchers pointed out the CUMC study had several serious problems. The most glaring of which, the Harvard and MIT researchers argue, is that the mutations found in the mice that were attributed to CRISPR were more likely than not already present in those mice before they were exposed to the gene-editing technique.

The third mouse whose genome had been edited with CRISPR did not demonstrate the mutations, and was also not as genetically similar as the two mice who did. The Harvard and MIT research team argue that this supports the theory that the mutations in the pair of mice were not caused by CRISPR. It should be noted that this criticism comes from a small study that was not peer reviewed.

The teams goal in refuting the research is to make sure the rest of the scientific community is reminded of the lasting impact claims that are not well supported by data can have. Given these substantial issues, we urge the authors to revise or re-state the original conclusions of their published work so as to avoid leaving misleading and unsupported statements to persist in the literature, the team explained in their paper.

The peer review process is essential to scientific disciplines other than biology and genetics, of course. Whether researchers are making claims about climate change, artificial intelligence, or medical treatments, rigorous review of their methods, data, and analysis by other scientists who are doing similar work is essential. This process ensures that the research and the way it is presented is accurate, of high quality, and will be useful not only to the scientific community, but to the general public.

For teams who have spent months if not years heavily focused on a single study, trial, or data set, it can be very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Peer review offers research teams the chance to address inconsistencies, data that doesnt add up, and conclusions that make assumptions or inferences that arent supported by the data.

While there have certainly been instances where teams have intentionally fabricated data in order to mislead their peers and the public, most members of the scientific community do not mislead intentionally. But thats why the peer review process is so important. It remains to be seen if the team at CUMC plans to revisit, or possible retract, their paper in light of the response.

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Researchers Refute Study That Claims CRISPR Causes Unexpected Mutations – Futurism

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Why CRISPR Therapeutics AG Jumped 11.7% in June – Madison.com

What happened

Shares ofCRISPR Therapeutics(NASDAQ: CRSP), a leaderin the field ofgenetic engineering, rose more than 11% in June, according to data fromS&P Global Market Intelligence.

Investors can largely thank two news items for the jump. First, CRISPR and MaSTherCell SA announced that they have signed a development and manufacturing agreement related to allogeneic CAR-T therapies. The deal calls forMaSTherCell to handle the development and manufacturing of CRISPR’s compound CTX101 in clinical studies aimed at treating a number of diseases.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Second, the company announced that ithas been awarded a patent for its CRISPR/Cas9 technology in China. The company believes that this patent covers the company’s technology in very broad terms, which should help to protect it from competition down the road.

Given the upbeat news flow, it isn’t hard to figure out why the share price was lifted last month.

It’s great to see that the company continues to partner with others in an effort to move its pipeline forward. CRISPR has already succeeded at landing industry giants like Vertex Pharmaceuticalsand Bayeraspartners, so addingMaSTherCell to the list is certainly a positive. The collaboration deal with Vertex is especiallyexciting since it included a hefty upfront payment, and also required Vertex to make an investment in the company.

On the other hand, CRISPR’sproducts are still highly experimental, so shareholders will have a lot of waiting to do before they learn how these products perform in the clinic. For that reason, potential investors must approach this stock with an ultra long-term mindset if they’re interested in getting in.

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Why CRISPR Therapeutics AG Jumped 11.7% in June – Madison.com

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‘Prehab’ therapy helps cancer patients prepare for treatment – KTBS

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, emotional and traumatic for patients. Usually, there’s so much information given to them at one time that it’s hard to remember all the details about their treatment.

Some doctors want to make sure patients are armed and ready for their cancer journey, and they’re doing it through a new type of therapy dubbed ‘prehab.’ It’s a way for patients to learn about lifestyle changes, exercises and signs of a more serious side effect before they start their treatment.

It was just a few months ago when Deanna Miller got the news that there was something suspicious on her mammogram.

“I thought it was just a cyst. I’m sure the biopsies will come back negative,” she recalled.

But it wasn’t.

“When I got the result, that’s when it hit me. It’s cancer!” said Miller.

Doctors diagnosed Miller with stage 3A Breast Cancer and ordered BRCA testing.

“It wasn’t until I had the BRCA testing that it really kicked in because now I have a genetic problem on top of having cancer,” explained Miller.

Knowing that she carried the gene, Miller used this knowledge as a way to help the future health of her family and to fight.

“I never had the opportunity to cry again,” she said.

Miller’s doctor is Dr. Frankie Holmes, an oncologist affiliated withMemorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. Dr. Holmes recommended Miller visit occupational therapist Emilia Dewi at TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical City.

“Prehab is basically part of a continuing care that starts at diagnosis to the treatment of the disease, whether it be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation,” explained Dewi.

Dewi works primarily with breast cancer patients who often suffer from lymphedema. She measures range of motion and volume in the arms as a baseline.

“I give my patients specific activities and restrictions and exercises post-surgery,” Dewi said. “Patients don’t know what to do post-surgery, and they don’t know what to look for.”

Dewi also explained the warning signs.

“For lymphedema, I tell patients to look for skin wrinkling. We watch for signs of heaviness. Also, if they can’t see their vein anymore,” explained Dewi.

Miller knew how to respond to her symptoms thanks to Dewi.

“The prehab made me aware of the symptoms. They are subtle and they can be confused with the surgery and swelling,” said Miller.

Memorial Hermann also offers prehab for head, neck and throat cancer patients where they can learn swallowing exercises to help them post-surgery. Other patients may receive fitness training to combat the weakness and fatigue of cancer treatment.

As for Miller, she’s still on her journey and doing well. She has a couple more chemo treatments and radiation, and we wish her the best.

Nicole Cross – Evening News Anchor/Health Correspondent

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‘Prehab’ therapy helps cancer patients prepare for treatment – KTBS

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High-tech solutions top the list in the fight against eye disease – Engadget

Cataracts are the single leading cause of blindness worldwide, afflicting roughly 42 percent of the global population, including more than 22 million Americans. The disease, which causes cloudy patches to form on the eye’s normally clear lens, can require surgery if left untreated. That’s why Google’s DeepMind AI division has teamed with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and Moorfields Eye Hospital to train a neural network that will help doctors diagnose early stage cataracts.

The neural network is being trained on a million anonymized optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans (think of a sonogram, but using light instead of sound waves) in the hopes it will eventually be able to supplement human doctors’ analyses, increasing both the efficiency and accuracy of individual diagnoses.

“OCT has totally revolutionized the field of ophthalmology. It’s an imaging system for translucent structures that utilizes coherent light,” Dr. Julie Schallhorn, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at UC San Francisco, said. “It was first described in 1998 and it gives near-cell resolution of the cornea, retina and optic nerve.

“The optic nerve is only about 200 microns thick, but you can see every cell in it. It’s given us a much-improved understanding of the pathogenesis of diseases and also their response to treatments.” The new iteration of OCT also measures the phase-shift of refracted light, allowing doctors to resolve images down to the capillary level and observe the internal structures in unprecedented detail.

“We’re great at correcting refractive errors in the eyes so we can give you good vision far away pretty reliably, or up close pretty reliably,” Schallhorn continued. “But the act of shifting focus from distance to near requires different optical powers inside the eye. The way the eye handles this when you’re young is through a process called ‘accommodation.'” There’s a muscle that contracts and changes the shape of the lens to help you focus on close objects. When you get older, even before you typically develop cataracts, the lens will stiffen and reduce the eye’s ability to change its shape.

“The lenses that we have been putting in during cataract surgery are not able to mimic that [shapeshifting] ability, so people have to wind up wearing reading glasses,” Schallhorn said. There’s a lot of work in the field to find solutions for this issue and help restore the eye’s accommodation.

There are two front-runners for that: Accommodating lenses, which use the same ciliary muscle to shift focus, and multifocal lenses, which work just like your parents’ multifocal reading glasses except that they sit directly on the eye itself. The multifocals have been on the market for about a decade, though their design and construction has been refined over that time.

To ensure the lenses that doctors are implanting are just as accurate as the diseased ones they’re removing, surgeons are beginning to use optiwave refractive analysis. Traditionally, doctors relied on measurements taken before the surgery to know how to shape the replacement lenses and combined those with nomograms to estimate how powerful the new lens should be.

The key word there is “estimate.” “They especially have problems in patients who have already had refractive surgery like LASIK,” Schallhorn explained. The ORA system, however, performs a wavefront measurement of the cornea after the cataract has been removed to help surgeons more accurately pick the right replacement lens for the job.

Corneal inlays are also being used. These devices resemble miniature contact lenses but sit in a pocket on the cornea that’s been etched out with a LASIK laser to mimic the process of accommodation and provide a greater depth of focus. They essentially serve the same function as camera apertures. The Kamra lens from AcuFocus and the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay from Revision Optics are the only inlays approved by the FDA for use in the US.

Glaucoma afflicts more than 70 million people annually. This disease causes fluid pressure within the eye to gradually increase, eventually damaging the optic nerve that carries electrical signals from the eye to the brain. Normally, detecting the early stages of glaucoma requires a comprehensive eye exam by a trained medical professional — folks who are often in short supply in rural and underserved communities. However, the Cambridge Consultants’ Viewi headset allows anyone to diagnose the disease — so long as they have a smartphone and 10 minutes to spare.

The Viewi works much like the Daydream View, wherein the phone provides the processing power for a VR headset shell — except, of course, that instead of watching 360 degree YouTube videos, the screen displays the flashing light patterns used to test for glaucoma. The results are reportedly good enough to share with you eye doctor and take only about five minutes per eye. Best of all, the procedure costs only about $25, which makes it ideal for use in developing nations.

And while there is no known cure for glaucoma, a team of researchers from Stanford University may soon have one. Last July, the team managed to partially restore the vision of mice suffering from a glaucoma-like condition.

Normally, when light hits your eye, specialized cells in the retina convert that light into electrical signals. These signals are then transmitted via retinal ganglion cells, whose long appendages run along the optic nerve and spread out to various parts of the brain’s visual-processing bits. But if the optic nerve or the ganglion cells have been damaged through injury or illness, they stay damaged. They won’t just grow back like your olfactory sensory nerve.

However, the Stanford team found that subjecting mice to a few weeks of high-contrast visual stimulation after giving them drugs to reactivate the mTOR pathway, which has been shown to instigate new growth in ganglion cells, resulted in “substantial numbers” of new axons. The results are promising, though the team will need to further boost the rate and scope of axon growth before the technique can be applied to humans.

Researchers from Japan have recently taken this idea of cajoling the retina into healing itself and applied it to age-related macular degeneration cases. AMD primarily affects people aged 60 and over (hence the name). It slowly kills cells in the macula, the part of the eye that processes sharp detail, and causes the central focal point of their field of vision to deteriorate, leaving only the peripheral.

The research team from Kyoto University and the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology first took a skin sample from a human donor, then converted it into induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells. These IPS cells are effectively blank slates and can be coerced into redeveloping into any kind of cell you need. By injecting these cells into the back of the patient’s eye, they should regrow into retinal cells.

In March of this year, the team implanted a batch of these cells into a Japanese sexagenarian who suffers from AMD in the hope that the stem cells would take hold and halt, if not begin to reverse, the damage to his macula. The team has not yet been able to measure the efficacy of this treatment but, should it work out, the researchers will look into creating a stem-cell bank where patients could immediately obtain IPS cells for their treatment rather than wait months for donor samples to be converted.

And while there isn’t a reliable treatment for dry-AMD, wherein fatty protein deposits damage the Bruchs membrane, a potent solution for wet-AMD, which involves blood leaking into the eyeball, has been discovered in a most unlikely place: cancer medication. “Genentech started developing a new drug when an ophthalmologist in Florida just decided to inject the commercially available drug into patients eyes,” Schallhorn explained.

“Generally this is not a great idea because sometimes things will go terribly wrong,” she continued, “but this worked super-well. It basically stops and reverses the growth of these blood vessels.” The only problem is that the drugs don’t last, requiring patients to receive injections into their eyeballs every four to eight weeks. Genentech and other pharma companies are working to reformulate the drug — or at least develop a mechanical “reservoir” — so it has to be injected only once or twice a year.

Stem-cell treatments like those used in the Kyoto University trial have already proved potentially effective against a wide range of genomic diseases, so why shouldn’t it work on the rare genetic condition known as choroideremia? This disease is caused by a single faulty gene and primarily affects young men. Similar to AMD, choroideremia causes light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye to slowly wither and die, resulting in partial to complete blindness.

In April of 2016, a team of researchers from Oxford University performed an experimental surgery on a 24-year-old man suffering from the disease. They first injected a small amount of liquid into the back of the eye to lift a section of the retina away from the interior cellular wall. The team then injected functional copies of the gene into that same cavity, replacing the faulty copies and not only halting the process of cellular death but actually restoring a bit of the patient’s vision.

Gene therapy may be “surely the most efficient way of treating a disease,” lead author of the study, Oxford professor Robert MacLaren, told BBC News, but its widespread use is still a number of years away. Until then, good old-fashioned gadgetry will have to suffice. Take the Argus II, for example.

The Argus II bionic eye from Second Sight has been in circulation since 2013, when the FDA approved its use in treating retinitis pigmentosa. It has since gotten the go-ahead for use with AMD in 2015. The system leverages a wireless implant which sits on the retina and receives image data from an external camera that’s mounted on a pair of glasses. The implant converts that data into an electrical signal which stimulates the remaining retinal cells to generate a visual image.

The Argus isn’t the only implantable eyepiece. French startup Pixium Vision developed a similar system, the IRIS II, back in 2015 and implanted it in a person last November after receiving clearance from the European Union. The company is already in talks with the FDA to bring its IRIS II successor, a miniaturized wireless subretinal photovoltaic implant called PRIMA, to US clinical trials by the end of this year.

Ultimately, the goal is to be able to replace a damaged or diseased eye entirely, if necessary, using a robotic prosthetic. However, there are still a number of technological hurdles that must be overcome before that happens, as Schallhorn explained.

“The big thing that’s holding us back from a fully functional artificial eye is that we need to find a way to interface with the optic nerve and the brain in a way that we transmit signals,” she said. “That’s the same problem we’re facing with prosthetic limbs right now. But there are a lot of smart people in the field working on that, and I’m sure they’ll come up with something soon.”

Read more:
High-tech solutions top the list in the fight against eye disease – Engadget

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Weekly genetics review: Registrations on the up for most beef breeds – Beef Central

MOST of Australias significant beef breeds are expanding, with increased seedstock registrations despite Australias overall beef herd sitting at a 20-year low at just under 26 million head.

Figures released during last weeks Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association annual general meeting indicated a nine percent lift in registration numbers in 2016 compared with the previous 12 months in primary registers. There was a 6pc lift when primary* and secondary registers* are combined.

In total, 2016 total registrations at 211,781 were second only in number to 1995, when a little over 213,000 primary and secondary registrations were made. (see graph below).

Primary registrations in purple, secondary registrations in red. Click on image to enlarge

Judging by seedstock registrations last year, the growth of the Angus breed continues unabated.

As the graph of the ten largest breeds by registrations published below shows, Angus again topped the list, recording 50,096 registrations back in 2007 and 70,076 in 2016, an increase of 19,980 or 40pc over the past decade. Year-on-year, Angus registrations rose 7pc in 2016.

Angus Australias Andrew Byrne said the breed now had a registered female inventory of more than 100,000 to produce this years figure of 70,000 registrations. A back-of-the-envelope calculation delivers a $2 million return to Angus Australia based on an average female inventory fee of $20 per breeding female per year. Mr Byrne indicated that 30 staff now populate the recently expanded Angus Australia office in Armidale NSW where they have developed many income streams to fund operations.

There was a time 40 years ago when the Murray Grey society had more staff, more members, more registrations and more money than the Angus society. However Murray Greys have increased registrations from 2015 to 2016 and now sit in 11th spot in the breed hierarchy based on registration numbers of 5122 in 2016.

Click on table image for a larger view

As stated previously on Beef Central however, seedstock registrations or numbers of bulls sold at auctions are in fact poor indicators of overall breed popularity across Australia. Its is frequently estimated that up to two-thirds of all Brahman bulls used in Australia, for example, are not registered animals at all, but unregistered herd bulls bought out of the paddock, or bulls in fact bred on the property on which they are used, drawn from internal purebred nucleus herds.

In percentage terms, Wagyu continue to perform strongly in registration numbers, lifting another 21pc over the past 12 months to register 10,261 head. Over the past ten years, the growth in registrations has been meteoric, lifting 178pc more than twice the rate of the next fastest growing breed.

With registered Wagyu seedstock now bringing exceptional prices as the demand for bulls increases, a Wagyu content test has been developed allowing conforming cattle to achieve purebred status (but never fullblood) and enter the primary register.

A grading-up register is also planned for percentage Wagyu. AWAs Carel Teseling indicates hundreds of new cattle being readied for entry in these registers while industry sources suggest these numbers could be in the thousands.

Sitting in second spot behind Angus for registrations this year is Hereford with 25,257 new registrations in 2016. This is an increase of 8pc on the previous year, but down 19pc on 10 years ago when perhaps there were some dual registered (horned and poll) skewing the numbers.

After a time of internal bickering, Herefords Australia has a new president, Bill Kee, some new board members, a new general manager Andrew Donoghue and a leading animal scientist Alex Ball all poised to take the breed forward. Commanding second spot on Australias registration ladder, the breed has a good launching pad. An industry source also claims the large financial losses Herefords Australia was reported carrying are nowhere near as high as earlier indicated.

In the third, fourth and fifth positions for registrations in 2016 are the three major tropical breeds Brahman, Santa Gertrudis and Droughtmaster, all with numbers to continue their significant contributions to the sustainability of the northern industry.

Brahman numbers have not changed much in the past 10 years (down 3pc to 24,449 this year), Santa Gertrudis had a big jump (up 22pc to 17,423), while Droughtmaster declined (down 27pc to 11,386). Worth noting, however, is the difference in approaches in different breeds to registration (more on this below). The Droughtmaster breed, for example, has no secondary register, and has only this year commenced introduction of calf-recording for females. Both have a big impact on registration numbers.

The Brangus breed is the smokey in the 2016 report. With 6675 registrations for the 2016 year, it lifts the breed to eighth place following a 56pc jump in registrations in the past 10 years and 45pc since 2015.

According to the Brangus Associations president Mark Beckman, the breed now has more members registering more cattle with many using the foundation register to bring in top Angus and Brahman genetics while keeping within the 25pc to 75pc range for either parent breed content.

However, most registrations are cattle derived from parents that are registered Brangus. The breed will be on show at the 12th Brangus bull sale at Roma Qld when 164 will step into the sale ring on September 1 (see full list of upcoming spring bull sales for all major breeds here).

The breed continues to attract new members who are registering more cattle and the commercial attributes of the breed are drawing cattle producers towards it, Mr Beckman said.

The Ultrablack, an Angus-heavy Brangus-type, does not appear in the breed lists but some are registered in the Brangus foundation register and some in the Angus Multi-Breed (MBR) register.

For several decades ARCBA has provided registration statistics to assist industry to plan and develop strategies for growth and breed improvement. These reports are made more difficult with several different systems in use in the Australian industry.

Some breeds use the annual female herd inventory system where members peruse their lists annually, deleting females that have died or no longer worthy of retaining in the stud herd, and pay an annual fee averaging around $20 per retained female. Their progeny can be registered in the various herd books.

Other breeds retain the traditional method of registering and paying a fee for a calf once it is born with penalties to register these calves later in their lives.

Some breeds, such as Santa Gertrudis, have a system with physical inspection by an independent breed association employed classifier necessary before herd book registration can be completed.

Since 1998 the ARCBA report has included two levels of registrations, primary and secondary. In general terms, primary registers are the highest level of pedigree authenticity, many are closed herd books while some cover cattle that have been graded up to fourth generation of greater than 95pc breed content.

Secondary registers are for cattle where registrations have lapsed and are being brought back into the system and for cattle involved in the grading-up process from other breeds.

ARCBA describes secondary registers as those which include animals that are bred for seedstock production and recorded by a beef breed society but excluding animals entered in the societys herd book. The Association describes seedstock production as The production of bulls for use in the registered and commercial cattle sectors.

For example the Angus primary register is the Angus Herd Book Register (HBR) and is a closed herd book i.e. both parents must be in the HBR. The Angus secondary register is the Angus Performance Register (APR) which allows members to record pedigree and performance information on non-HBR straight bred Angus cattle.

The inventory fees for HBR and APR females are the same (around $20/female average). Last year 45,117 Angus entered the HBR and 24,959 the APR. There are no accurate figures, but industry sources suggest that commercial bull buyers do not show a preference for HBR over APR animals.

Figures quoted in this article combine primary and secondary registrations.

Over the years breed organisations have threatened to withhold their registration statistics from ARCBA if breed comparisons were made.

Genetics Central believes it is in the interests of the industry to have access to this information to facilitate planning and monitor industry-wide trends.

Maybe a potential new seedstock producer may decide there are too many Angus calves being registered (70,076 in 2016) creating an over-supply perhaps encouraging them to go with a promising smaller breed such as Speckle Park, where only 1053 calves were registered in 2016 but demand is hot.

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Weekly genetics review: Registrations on the up for most beef breeds – Beef Central

Recommendation and review posted by sam


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