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Foundation Fighting Blindness Celebrates Historic FDA …

Foundations early investment in LUXTURNA boosts vision-restoring treatment for people with RPE65 mutations and will help advance other gene therapies currently in development.

(Columbia, MD) Todays U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of voretigene neparvovec, to be marketed as LUXTURNA, will be life-changing for patients with vision loss due to mutations in the RPE65 gene and a watershed moment for the inherited retinal disease field, says the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The Foundation was an important early investor in LUXTURNA, providing $10 million in critical seed funding for the therapy.

The groundbreaking treatment is the first gene therapy for the eye and for any inherited disease to be approved by the FDA. The treatment restores vision by delivering working copies of the RPE65 gene directly into the retina, thereby compensating for the nonfunctional, mutated genes.

We are thrilled for the patients whose lives will change dramatically because of this treatment, says David Brint, Foundation Fighting Blindness chairman. We are also pleased to have this concrete example of the strength of the Foundations strategy of identifying and investing early in promising treatments. Doing so helps attract industry investment that can usher promising treatments through clinical trials and ultimately FDA approval.

LUXTURNA is the result of more than two decades of research and development at the University of Florida, the University of Pennsylvania, Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, and Spark Therapeutics. The Foundation Fighting Blindness seed investment allowed researchers to take the therapy through the early investigational stages critical to any treatment development.

LUXTURNA will be life-changing for people with an inherited retinal disease caused by RPE65 mutations. For them, the treatment means a life of independence. Also important is the momentum this approval provides to other gene-based therapies for the eye and other diseases now in the clinic, says Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, Foundation CEO.

Twenty-four-year-old Katelyn Corey participated in the clinical trial that led to LUXTURNAs FDA approval. Before the trial, failing vision was causing her to consider giving up her lifelong dream of completing college and working in science. But, in December 2013, she received the RPE65 gene therapy in Sparks Phase 3 clinical trial, and her education and science career got quickly back on track.

Within days, I could see vibrant colors. I could even see the Philadelphia City Hall clock tower at night, she says. Also, now, I can go to a restaurant and see everything by candlelight, and I can see stars in the night sky. Corey recently earned a masters degree in epidemiology and now works as a research analyst for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

An additional noteworthy milestone is the demonstrated value of a new clinical endpoint devised by the Spark Therapeutics team to measure LUXTURNAs impact. The new measure, a multi-luminance mobility test (informally called the maze), measured the impact of the treatment beyond the traditional visual acuity measure the eye chart. This new clinical endpoint moves vision measures beyond the eye chart, which is particularly significant for people with low or no vision.

Spark Therapeutics, which holds the biologics license for LUXTURNA and conducted the clinical trials that showed its safety and efficacy, will also manage the treatment rollout. Spark has announced that in order to ensure the treatment is safely administered, it will only be available through a small number of centers of clinical excellence across the country. Spark has also expressed its commitment to educating third-party payers about the value of LUXTURNA and to working to help ensure treatment access to all eligible patients.

Anyone in need of more information about LUXTURNA should contact Spark Therapeutics at 1-833-SPARK-PS (833-772-7577). Another resource for information is Sparks website: http://www.Sparktx.com.

# # #

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the worlds leading private funder of research on potential treatments and cures for inherited retinal degenerative diseases and currently funds 77 research projects overseen by 65 investigators at 67 universities, hospitals, and affiliated eye institutes worldwide. The Foundation was established in 1971 and has since raised more than $725 million toward its mission to prevent, treat, and cure blindness caused by inherited retinal diseases. In excess of 10 million Americans, and millions more worldwide, experience vision loss due to retinal degenerations. Through its support of focused and innovative science, the Foundation drives the research that has and will continue to provide treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, LCA, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and other retinal diseases.

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Foundation Fighting Blindness Celebrates Historic FDA …

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Gene Therapy Clinical Trials Databases

Wiley database on Gene Therapy Trials WorldwideThe Journal of Gene Medicine clinical trial site presenting charts and tables showing the number of approved, ongoing or completed clinical trials worldwide. Data is available for: Continents and countries where trials are being performed; Indications addressed; Vectors used; Gene types transferred; Phases of clinical trials; Number of trial approved/initiated 1989-2007.A searchable database is also present with detailed information on individual trials. The data are compiled and are regularly updated from official agency sources (RAC, GTAC etc..), the published literature, presentations at conferences and from information kindly provided by investigators or trial sponsors themselves. Beware that information on some trials is incomplete as some countries regulatory agencies simply do not disclose any information.See also: Gene therapy clinical trials worldwide to 2012 – an update. J. Gene Med. 2013 Feb;15(2):65-77.ClinicalTrials.gov database on clinical trials performed in the US and worldwideThe U.S. National Institutes of Health, through its National Library of Medicine, has developed ClinicalTrials.gov to provide patients, family members and members of the public current information about clinical research studies. The database is a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. ClinicalTrials.gov gives you information about a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.>> Overview of gene therapy trials recently received in the last 30 days. International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number RegisterThe ISRCTN Register is a register containing a basic set of data items on clinical trials that have been assigned an ISRCTN. Records are never removed from the ISRCTN Register (except in cases of duplications), which ensures that basic information about trials registered with an ISRCTN will always be available. The ISRCTN Register complies with requirements set out by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines, and complies with the WHO 20-item Trial Registration Data Set. Selected Gene Transfer and Therapy References databaseThe database is managed by Clinigene. The aim of this webpage is to provide database of selected references in the field of Gene Transfer and Therapy, addressing technological issues, applications, ethics and regulation from four main databases: Quality/Efficacy; Safety (pre-clinical); Adverse events (clinical); Important clinical trials. The database is open to the public and it is by no means intended to be either complete or comprehensive. Published Human Gene Therapy Clinical Trials database The database is maintained by Clinigene. The aim of this website is to provide a complete database of all published clinical gene therapy trials carried out worldwide. At this point in time the database is nearing completion and is open to the public.

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Gene Therapy Clinical Trials Databases

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STEM CELLS – Issue – Wiley Online Library

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Video abstract from Drs. Banerjee, Surendran, Bharti, Morishita, Varshney, and Pal on their recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, “Long non-coding RNA RP11-380D23.2 drives distal-proximal patterning of the lung by regulating PITX2 expression.” Read the paper here.

Video abstract from Drs. Sayed, Ospino, Himmati, Lee, Chanda, Mocarski, and Cooke on their recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, “Retinoic Acid Inducible Gene 1 Protein (RIG1)-like Receptor Pathway is Required for Efficient Nuclear Reprogramming.” Read the paper here.

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STEM CELLS – Issue – Wiley Online Library

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Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cardiovascular …

Nearly 500,000 people in the US die of sudden cardiac death each year, and long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a major form of sudden cardiac death. LQTS can be triggered by drug exposure or stresses. Drug-induced LQTS is the single most common reason for drugs to be withdrawn from clinical trials, causing major setbacks to drug discovery efforts and exposing people to dangerous drugs. In most cases, the mechanism of drug-induced LQTS is unknown. However, there are genetic forms of LQTS that should allow us to make iPS cellderived heart cells that have the key features of LQTS. Our objective is to produce a cell-based test for LQTS with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology, which allows adult cells to be reprogrammed to be stem celllike cells.Despite the critical need, current tests for drug-induced LQTS are far from perfect. As a result, potentially unsafe drugs enter clinical trials, endangering people and wasting millions of dollars in research funds. When drugs that cause LQTS, such as terfenadine (Seldane), enter the market, millions of people are put at serious risk. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know when a drug will cause LQTS, since most people who develop LQTS have no known genetic risk factors. The standard tests for LQTS use animal models or hamster cells that express human heart genes at high levels. Unfortunately, cardiac physiology in animal models (rabbits and dogs) differs from that in humans, and hamster cells lack many key features of human heart cells. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be differentiated into heart cells, but we do not know the culture conditions that would make the assay most similar to LQTS in a living person. These problems could be solved if we had a method to grow human heart cells from people with genetic LQTS mutations, so that we know the exact test conditions that would reflect the human disease. This test would be much more accurate than currently available tests and would help enable the development of safer human pharmaceuticals.Our long-term goal is to develop a panel of iPS cell lines that better represent the genetic diversity of the human population. Susceptibility to LQTS varies, and most people who have life-threatening LQTS have no known genetic risk factors. We will characterize iPS cells with well-defined mutations that have clinically proven responses to drugs that cause LQTS. These iPS cell lines will be used to refine testing conditions. To validate the iPS cellbased test, the results will be directly compared to the responses in people. These studies will provide the foundation for an expanded panel of iPS cell lines from people with other genetic mutations and from people who have no genetically defined risk factor but still have potentially fatal drug-induced LQTS. This growing panel of iPS cell lines should allow for testing drugs for LQTS more effectively and accurately than any current test.To meet these goals, we made a series of iPS cells that harbor different LQTS mutations. These iPS cells differentiate into beating cardiomyocytes. We are now evaluating these LQTS cell lines in cellular assays. We are hopeful that our studies will meet or exceed all the aims of our original proposal.

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Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cardiovascular …

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Stem Cell Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy …

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common and serious form of muscular dystrophy. One out of every 3500 boys is born with the disorder, and it is invariably fatal. Until recently, there was little hope that the widespread muscle degeneration that accompanies this disease could be combated.

However, stem cell therapy now offers that hope. Like other degenerative disorders, DMD is the result of loss of cells that are needed for correct functioning of the body. In the case of DMD, a vital muscle protein is mutated, and its absence leads to progressive degeneration of essentially all the muscles in the body.

To begin to approach a therapy for this condition, we must provide a new supply of stem cells that carry the missing protein that is lacking in DMD. These cells must be delivered to the body in such a way that they will engraft in the muscles and produce new, healthy muscle tissue on an ongoing basis.

We now possess methods whereby we can generate stem cells that can become muscle cells out of adult cells from skin or fat by a process known as reprogramming. Reprogramming is the addition of genes to a cell that can dial the cell back to becoming a stem cell. By reprogramming adult cells, together with addition to them of a correct copy of the gene that is missing in DMD, we can potentially create stem cells that have the ability to create new, healthy muscle cells in the body of a DMD patient. This is essentially the strategy that we are developing in this proposal.

We start with mice that have a mutation in the same gene that is affected in DMD, so they have a disease similar to DMD. We reprogram some of their adult cells, add the correct gene, and grow the cells in incubators in a manner that will produce muscle stem cells. The muscle stem cells can be identified and purified by using an instrument that detects characteristic proteins that muscles make.

The corrected muscle stem cells are transplanted into mice with DMD, and the ability of the cells to generate healthy new muscle tissue is evaluated. Using the mouse results as a guide, a similar strategy will then be pursued with human cells, utilizing cells from patients with DMD. The cells will be reprogrammed, the correct gene added, and the cells grown into muscle stem cells. The ability of these cells to make healthy muscle will be tested by injection into mice with DMD that are immune-deficient, so they will accept a graft of human cells.

In order to make this process into something that could be used in the clinic, we will develop standard procedures for making and testing the cells, to ensure that they are effective and safe. In this way, this project could lead to a new stem cell therapy that could improve the clinical condition of DMD patients. If we have success with DMD, similar methods could be used to treat other degenerative disorders, and perhaps even some of the degeneration that occurs during normal aging

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Stem Cell Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy …

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Adult Stem Cells and Gene Therapy Save a Young Boy With …

When people talk about something that saved their skin, they usually mean that it helped them out of a difficult situation. But a young boy in Germany has literally had his skinand his lifesaved through the use of genetically-engineered adult stem cells.

The boy suffered from a condition called junctional epidermolysis bullosa, a severe and often lethal disease in which a mutation leaves the skin cells unable to interconnect and maintain epidermal integrity. The skin blisters and falls off, and the slightest touch or abrasion can leave a patch of skin gone and a painful, difficult-to-heal wound behind. There is no cure for the disease and little other than palliative care available for sufferers of the most severe forms.

Now researchers have combined use of adult stem cells with genetic engineering to successfully treat the young boys life-threatening condition. The boys doctors in Germany called on Dr. Michele De Luca at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy to use a technique he has developed to correct the genetic problem and grow new skin.

Over many years, Dr. De Luca has developed a method to grow skin from a patients own epidermal adult stem cells, correct the genetic mutation in the laboratory, and use the genetically-engineered adult stem cells to grow healthy new skin. Dr. De Luca and his team took a tiny patch of skin from the boy, isolated the epidermal stem cells and corrected the genetic problem in stem cell culture. Then they grew sheets of genetically-corrected skin and transplanted them onto the boy.

Reports called the boys recovery stunning, with successful replacement of 80 percent of his skin. Before the procedure, the boys doctors tried several treatments to no avail. One doctor even said, We had a lot of problems in the first days keeping this kid alive. Yet within six months of starting the process, the boy was back in school.

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His skin has remained healthy and completely blister-free. According to the published reports now 21 months after the boys transplant, he loves to show off his new skin and is enjoying school, playing soccer, and being a normal kid. The research has also taught scientists much about the possibilities of using adult stem cells in combination with gene therapy for treatment of diseases.

LifeNews Note: File photo.

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Adult Stem Cells and Gene Therapy Save a Young Boy With …

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Development of 3D Bioprinting Techniques using Human …

In this project, we aim to develop a 3D bioprinting technology to create functional cardiac tissues via encapsulation of cardiomyocytes derived from hESCs. To further improve their viability and cardiac functionality, we are developing a new vascularization technique to enhance the cardiac tissue model through the incorporation of functional vasculature using 3D bioprinting. In Specific Aim 1, we have successfully developed and optimized a rapid 3D bioprinting technique to create biomimetic 3D micro-architectures using hyaluronic acid (HA)-based biomaterials and hESC-derived cardiomyocytes. A protocol for the synthesis of the photopolymeriable hydrogel biomaterial (hyaluronic acid-glycidyl methacrylate (HA-GM)) proposed for use with the 3D bioprinting platform has been created and refined. HA-GM chemical synthesis efficiency was evaluated. H7 human embryonic stem cells (hESC) were used. These hESC derived cardiomyoctes (hESC-CMs) were shown to be well differentiated based on examining surface markers (Nkx2.5 & cardiac troponin T) and mRNA expression (Nkx2.5, ISL1, MYL2, and MYL7). These cells have been encapsulated within a 3D vasculature pattern of photopolymerized HA-GM hydrogel biomaterial. Digital images derived from a 3D model of the heart have been printed and the direct printing of biomaterials and cell-laden materials has been successfully achieved. Fluorescent staining showed encapsulated cell survival of this structure after 2-weeks of incubation. We have successfully measured the physiological function of cells embedded within the hydrogel constructs. We assessed changes in the cell viability, alignment and function of cells within hydrogel constructs. We successfully characterized electrical function of cardiomyocytes by optical mapping of Spontaneous Beats in unpatterned and patterned tissue constructs. We further measured mechanical function in the tissue constructs by cantilever displacement. We have also measured calcium transients in our 3D printed tissue constructs by live confocal imaging at varying frequencies. In Specific Aim 2, we have created an advanced vascularization technique for 3D pre-vascularized cardiac tissues with precise control of spatial organization. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were encapsulated within a mesh of hexagonal channels and cardiomyocytes were encapsulated within islands between these channels to demonstrate the capability of spatially printing distinct cell populations into a simple prevascularized co-culture model. Cells in this bioprinted configuration showed proliferation and viability. To investigate the formation of the endothelial network, we performed immunofluorescence staining on the prevascularized tissues after 1-week culture in vitro. Human-specific CD31 staining (green) in confocal microscopy shows the conjunctive network formation of HUVECs at different patterned channel widths.

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Lung Institute | Stem Cell Research Study for Lung Disease

The Problem with Chronic Pulmonary Diseases

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disorder that often occurs as a result of prolonged cigarette smoking, second-hand smoke, and polluted air or working conditions. COPD is the most prevalent form of chronic lung disease. The physiological symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath (dyspnea), cough, and sputum production, exercise intolerance and reduced Quality of Life (QOL). These signs and symptoms are brought about by chronic inflammation of the airways, which restricts breathing. When fibrotic tissues contract, the lumen is narrowed, compromising lung function. As histological studies confirm, airway fibrosis and luminal narrowing are major features that lead to airflow limitation in COPD1-3.

Today, COPD is a serious global health issue, with a prevalence of 9-10% of adults aged 40 and older4. And the prevalence of the disease is only expected to rise. Currently COPD accounts for 27% of tobacco related deaths and is anticipated to become the fourth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030 5. Today, COPD affects approximately 600 million individualsroughly 5% of the worlds population 6. Despite modern medicine and technological advancements, there is no known cure for COPD.

The difficulty in treating COPD and other lung diseases rests in the trouble of stimulating alveolar wall formation15. Until recently, treatment has been limited by two things: a lack of understanding of the pathophysiology of these disease processes on a molecular level and a lack of pharmaceutical development that would affect these molecular mechanisms. This results in treatment focused primarily in addressing the symptoms of the disease rather than healing or slowing the progression of the disease itself.

The result is that there are few options available outside of bronchodilators and corticosteroids7. Although lung transplants are performed as an alternative option, there is currently a severe shortage of donor lungs, leaving many patients to die on waiting lists prior to transplantation. Lung transplantation is also a very invasive form of treatment, commonly offering poor results, a poor quality of life with a 5-year mortality rate of approximately 50%, and a litany of health problems associated with lifelong immunosuppression13.

However, it has been shown that undifferentiated multipotent endogenous tissue stem cells (cells that have been identified in nearly all tissues) may contribute to tissue maintenance and repair due to their inherent anti-inflammatory properties. Human mesenchymal stromal cells have been shown to produce large quantities of bioactive factors including cytokines and various growth factors which provide molecular cueing for regenerative pathways. This affects the status of responding cells intrinsic in the tissue 18. These bioactive factors have the ability to influence multiple immune effector functions including cell development, maturation, and allo-reactive T-cell responses 19. Although research on the use of autologous stem cells (both hematopoietic and mesenchymal) in regenerative stem cell therapy is still in the early stages of implementation, it has shown substantive progress in treating patients with few if any adverse effects.

The Lung Institute (LI) provided treatment by harvesting autologous stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells) by withdrawing adipose tissue (fat), bone marrow or peripheral blood. These harvested cells are isolated and concentrated, and along with platelet-rich plasma, are then reintroduced into the body and enter the pulmonary vasculature (vessels of the lungs) where cells are trapped in the microcirculation (the pulmonary trap). Alternatively, nebulized stem cells are reintroduced through the airways in patients who have undergone an adipose (fat tissue) treatment.

Individuals diagnosed with COPD were tracked by the Lung Institute to measure the effects of treatment via either the venous protocol or adipose protocol on both their pulmonary function as well as their Quality of Life.

All PFTs were performed according to national practice guideline standards for repeatability and acceptability8-10. On PFTs, pre-treatment data was collected through on-site testing or through previous medical examinations by the patients primary physician (if done within two weeks). The test was then repeated by their primary physician 6 months after treatment.*

* Due to the examination information required from primary physicians, only 25 out of 100 patients are reflected in the PFT data.

Patients with progressive COPD will typically experience a steady decrease in their Quality of Life. Given this development, a patients Quality of Life score is frequently used to define additional therapeutic effects, with regulatory authorities frequently encouraging their use as primary or secondary outcomes17.

On quality of life testing, data was collected through the implementation of the Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ) based survey17. The survey measured the patients self-assessed quality of life on a 0-6 scale, with adverse Quality of Life correlated in ascending numerical order. It was implemented in three stages: pre-treatment, 3-months post-treatment, and 6-months post-treatment. The survey measured two distinct outcomes: the QLS score, which measured the patients self-assessed quality of life score, and the QIS, a percentage-based measurement determining the proportion of patients within the sample that experienced QLS score improvements.

Over the duration of six months, the results of 100 patients treated for COPD through venous and adipose based therapies were tracked by the Lung Institute in order to measure changes in pulmonary function and any improvement in Quality of Life.

Of the 100 patients treated by the Lung Institute, 64 were male (64%) and 36 were female (36%). Ages of those treated range from 55-88 years old with an average age of 71. Throughout the study, 82 (82%) were treated with venous derived stem cells, while 18 (18%) were treated from stem cells derived from adipose tissue.

* The survey measured the patients self-assessed quality of life on a 0-6 scale, with adverse Quality of Life correlated in ascending numerical order.

Over the course of the study, the patient group averaged an increase of 35.5% to their Quality of Life (QLS) score within three months of treatment. While in the QIS, 84% of all patients found that their Quality of Life score had improved within three months of treatment (figure 1.3).

Within the PFT results, 48% of patients tested saw an increase of over 10% to their original pulmonary function with an average increase of 16%. During the three to six month period after treatment, patients saw a small decline in their progress, with QLS scores dropping from 35.5% to 32%, and the QIS from 84% to 77%.Fletcher and Petos work shows that patient survival rate can be improved through appropriate or positive intervention14 (figure 1.4). It remains to be seen if better quality of life will translate to longevity, but if one examines what factors allow for improved quality of life such as improvement in oxygen use, exercise tolerance, medication use, visits to the hospital and reduction in disease flare ups then one can see that quality of life improves in association with clinical improvement.

Currently the most utilized options for treating COPD are bronchodilator inhalers with or without corticosteroids and lung transplant each has downsides. Inhalers are often used incorrectly11, are expensive over time, and can only provide temporary relief of symptoms. Corticosteroids, though useful, have risk of serious adverse side effects such as infections, blood sugar imbalance, and weight gain to name a few 16. Lung transplants are expensive, have an adverse impact on quality of life and have a high probability of rejection by the body the treatment of which creates a new set of problems for patients. In contrast, initial studies of stem cells treatments show efficacy, lack of adverse side effects and may be used safely in conjunction with other treatments.

Through the data collected by the Lung Institute, developing methodologies for this form of treatment are quickly taking place as other entities of the medical community follow suit. In a recent study of regenerative stem cell therapy done by the University of Utah, patients exhibited improvement in PFTs and oxygen requirement compared to the control group with no acute adverse events12. Through the infusion of stem cells derived from the patients own body, stem cell therapy minimizes the chance of rejection to the highest degree, promotes healing and can improve the patients pulmonary function and quality of life with no adverse side effects.

Although more studies using a greater number of patients is needed to further examine objective parameters such as PFTs, exercise tests, oxygen, medication use and hospital visits, larger sample sizes will also help determine if one protocol is more beneficial than others. With deeper research, utilizing economic analysis along with longer-term follow up will answer questions on patient selection, the benefits of repeated treatments, and a possible reduction in healthcare costs for COPD treatment.

The field of Cellular Therapy and Regenerative Medicine is rapidly advancing and providing effective treatments for diseases in many areas of medicine.The Lung Institutes strives to provide the latest in safe, effective therapy for chronic lung disease and maintain a leadership role in the clinical application of these technologies.

In a landscape of scarce options and rising costs, the Lung Institute believes that stem cell therapy is the future of treatment for those suffering from COPD and other lung diseases. Although data is limited at this stage, we are proud to champion this form of treatment while sharing our findings.

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Lung Institute | Stem Cell Research Study for Lung Disease

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Crispr gene editing ready for testing in humans – ft.com

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Ever since scientists began decoding the human genome in 1990, doctors have dreamt of a new era of medicine where illness could be treated or even cured by fxing flaws in a persons DNA. Rather than using medicine to fight disease, they would be able to hack biology to combat sickness at its source.

The dream started to become a reality in 2013, when researchers demonstrated how a gene editing technique, known as Crispr-Cas9, could be used to edit living human cells, raising the possibility that a persons DNA could be altered much as text is changed by a word-processor.

Now, two biotech companies say they plan to start testing the technology in humans as early as this year.

Crispr Therapeutics has already applied for permission from European regulators to test its most advanced product, code-named CTX001, in patients suffering from beta-thalassaemia, an inherited blood disease where the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells. Patients with the most severe form of the illness would die without frequent transfusions.

The Switzerland-based company says it also plans to seek a greenlight from the US Food and Drug Administration this year so it can trial CTX001 in people with sickle cell disease, another inherited blood disorder.

Editas Medicine, Crisprs US-based rival, says it plans to apply for permission from the FDA in the middle of the year so it can test one of its one of its own Crispr gene-editing products in patients with a rare form of congenital blindness that causes severe vision loss at birth. If the FDA agrees, it should be able to commence trials within 30 days of the application.

If those trials are successful, Crispr, Editas and a third company, Intellia Therapeutics, say they plan to study the technique in humans with a range of diseases including cancer, cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

In China, where regulators have taken a more lenient approach to human trials, several studies are already under way, although they have yet to produce any conclusive data.

Crispr-Cas9 is best thought of as two technologies that make gene editing possible: Cas9 acts as a pair of molecular scissors that can snip strands of DNA, removing faulty genetic material and creating space for functioning genes to be inserted. Crispr is a kind of genetic GPS that guides those scissors to the precise location.

Katrine Bosley, chief executive of Editas, says the field of gene editing is moving at lightning speed, but that the technique will at first be limited to illnesses where there are not other good options.

That is because, as with any new technology, scientists and regulators are not fully aware of the safety risks involved. We want it to be as safe as it can, but of course there is this newness, says Ms Bosley.

Francisco Mojica at the University of Alicante, Spain becomes the first researcher to discover Crispr sequences

Alexander Bolotin at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research observes Cas9 genes in the bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus

Scientists at Danone study how Crispr techniques can help Streptococcus thermophilus, widely used in commercial yoghurt making, ward off viral attacks

Biochemists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentiere show that Crispr can be used to edit DNA in test tubes

Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute reports using Crispr to edit DNA in human cells, opening the door for the tool to be used in medicine

Crispr is used to edit the genomes of everything from flies to mice

British scientists use Talen gene editing to treat a childs leukaemia

Still, Ms Bosley points out that of the more than 6,000 genetic disorders, which are the most obvious candidates for gene editing, roughly 95 per cent are untreatable. This provides plenty of areas for companies like hers to explore.

Although Crispr-Cas9 has not yet been trialled in humans in Europe or the US, the technology has already benefited medical research greatly by speeding up laboratory work. It used to take scientists several years to create a genetically modified mouse for their experiments, but with Crispr-Cas9 these transgenic mice can be produced in a few weeks.

Cellectis, a French biotech group, has used an older gene-editing technique known as Talen, to create a pioneering blood cancer treatment known as chimeric antigen receptor therapy or Car-T, which is currently being tested in humans.

Car-T products are already on the market, but rely on an expensive and laborious process that involves extracting a persons white blood cells, transporting them by aeroplane to a lab where they are re-engineered to attack cancer, before returning them and inserting them into the patient.

Cellectis hopes its approach of using gene editing to alter the cells will cut out this lengthy re-engineering process.

Some proponents of Crispr-Cas9 dismiss the Talen technique as old, slow and expensive, but Andr Choulika, Cellectis chief executive, disagrees.

We asked readers, researchers and FT journalists to submit ideas with the potential to change the world. A panel of judges selected the 50 ideas worth looking at in more detail. This fourth tranche of 30 ideas (listed below) is about the latest advances in healthcare. The fifth and final chapter, looking at Earth and the universe, will be published on March 29, 2018.

Were not talking about iPhones here, he says. Maybe [Crispr] is a new technology, its easy to design and its cheap, but who cares? This is not what the patient needs. The patient needs a super-active, super-precise product.

Amid the excitement, the nascent field of gene editing has been hampered by several setbacks. Editas had hoped to start human trials earlier, but was forced to move the date back after it encountered manufacturing delays. Crispr has lost several key executives in recent months, while Cellectis had to suspend its first trial briefly last year after a patient died.

Meanwhile, a bitter patent dispute over which academic institution discovered Crispr-Cas9, and therefore which biotech company has the rights to the patents, has cast a pall over gene editing.

The field is in its infancy and progress in any new area of science is never smooth. If gene editing lives up to its promise, it could one day save or dramatically change the lives of tens of millions of patients with hitherto untreatable diseases.

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Crispr gene editing ready for testing in humans – ft.com

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Advanced Hormone Solutions

I went in to premature menopause in 2008 and I was 38 years old at that time. My OB/GYN put me on HRT but after one year and a half, I started having palpitations and dizziness. After so medical tests, my doctors decided not to give me their HRT any longer. My OB/GYN strongly suggested to me not to take any oral hormones and I follow that recommendation for 8 years until I realized that my marriage was suffering because my libido was inexistent and having intercourse was extremely painful. That was not a good combination and I decided to start looking for getting help. I had other symptoms but after 8 years in menopause, those were manageable. So, I did some research and found Dr. Matos. Now, after two pellet therapies and a 4-week booster, I feel like a teenager. Sounds funny but it is true. Dryness is gone for good and my libido is back. I am sleeping at least 7 hours every day, I am gaining more energy, and my memory is getting stronger. Last week, I got my second pellet therapy and I have never been so excited to go to a doctors appointment in my entire live.This treatment works perfectly fine and I am encouraging my husband to give it a try.Thank you, Dr. Matos.

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Advanced Hormone Solutions

Recommendation and review posted by sam

CRISPR – YouTube

Designer babies, the end of diseases, genetically modified humans that never age. Outrageous things that used to be science fiction are suddenly becoming reality. The only thing we know for sure is that things will change irreversibly.

Support us on Patreon so we can make more videos (and get cool stuff in return): https://www.patreon.com/Kurzgesagt?ty=h

Kurzgesagt merch here: http://bit.ly/1P1hQIH

Get the music of the video here:

soundcloud: http://bit.ly/2aRxNZdbandcamp: http://bit.ly/2berrSWhttp://www.epic-mountain.com

Thanks to Volker Henn, James Gurney and (prefers anonymity) for help with this video!

THANKS A LOT TO OUR LOVELY PATRONS FOR SUPPORTING US:

Jeffrey Schneider, Konstantin Kaganovich, Tom Leiser, Archie Castillo, Russell Eishard, Ben Kershaw, Marius Stollen, Henry Bowman, Ben Johns, Bogdan Radu, Sam Toland, Pierre Thalamy, Christopher Morgan, Rocks Arent People, Ross Devereux, Pascal Michaud, Derek DuBreuil, Sofia Quintero, Robert Swiniarski, Merkt Kzlrmak, Michelle Rowley, Andy Dong, Saphir Patel, Harris Rotto, Thomas Huzij, Ryan James Burke, NTRX, Chaz Lewis, Amir Resali, The War on Stupid, John Pestana, Lucien Delbert, iaDRM, Jacob Edwards, Lauritz Klaus, Jason Hunt, Marcus : ), Taylor Lau, Rhett H Eisenberg, Mr.Z, Jeremy Dumet, Fatman13, Kasturi Raghavan, Kousora, Rich Sekmistrz, Mozart Peter, Gaby Germanos, Andreas Hertle, Alena Vlachova, Zdravko aek

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:

The best book we read about the topic: GMO Sapiens

https://goo.gl/NxFmk8

(affiliate link, we get a cut if buy the book!)

Good Overview by Wired:http://bit.ly/1DuM4zq

timeline of computer development:http://bit.ly/1VtiJ0N

Selective breeding: http://bit.ly/29GaPVS

DNA:http://bit.ly/1rQs8Yk

Radiation research:http://bit.ly/2ad6wT1

inserting DNA snippets into organisms:http://bit.ly/2apyqbj

First genetically modified animal:http://bit.ly/2abkfYO

First GM patent:http://bit.ly/2a5cCox

chemicals produced by GMOs:http://bit.ly/29UvTbhhttp://bit.ly/2abeHwUhttp://bit.ly/2a86sBy

Flavr Savr Tomato:http://bit.ly/29YPVwN

First Human Engineering:http://bit.ly/29ZTfsf

glowing fish:http://bit.ly/29UwuJU

CRISPR:http://go.nature.com/24Nhykm

HIV cut from cells and rats with CRISPR:http://go.nature.com/1RwR1xIhttp://ti.me/1TlADSi

first human CRISPR trials fighting cancer:http://go.nature.com/28PW40r

first human CRISPR trial approved by Chinese for August 2016:http://go.nature.com/29RYNnK

genetic diseases:http://go.nature.com/2a8f7ny

pregnancies with Down Syndrome terminated:http://bit.ly/2acVyvg( 1999 European study)

CRISPR and aging:http://bit.ly/2a3NYAVhttp://bit.ly/SuomTyhttp://go.nature.com/29WpDj1http://ti.me/1R7Vus9

Help us caption & translate this video!

http://www.youtube.com/timedtext_cs_p…

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CRISPR – YouTube

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Hypogonadism Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations …

In prepubertal patients with hypogonadism, treatment is directed at initiating pubertal development at the appropriate age. Age of therapy initiation takes into account the patient’s psychosocial needs, current growth, and growth potential. Treatment entails hormonal replacement therapy with sex steroids, ie,estrogen for females and testosterone for males.

Introduction of sex steroids in such cases startswith the use ofsmall, escalating doses over a period of a couple of years. In females, introduction of puberty can begin with administration of small doses of estrogen given either orally or transdermally. One traditional regimen uses conjugated estrogen startingat doses as low as 0.15 mg daily and titrating upwards in 6-12 month intervals to typically 0.625 mg daily, at which point menses can be induced with the introduction of a progestin. Alternatively, transdermal 17-estradiol (0.08 to 0.12 mcg estradiol/kg) can be used.

In boys, introduction of puberty is achieved with the use of testosterone, administered intramuscularly or transdermally (in the form of a patch or gel). A typical regimen involves testosterone enanthate injections 50 mg monthly, titrating up to 200-250 mg every 2 weeks, which is a typical adult replacement dose. Adult testosterone dose can be adjusted to maintain serum testosterone concentrations in the normal adult range.

Therapy with sexsteroid replacement ensures development of secondary sexual characteristics and maintenance of normal sexual function. In patients with hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, fertility is not possible. However, patients with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism have fertilitypotential,although therapy with sex steroids does not confer fertility or stimulate testicular growth in men.An alternative for men with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism has been treatment with pulsatile LHRH or hCG, either of which can stimulate testicular growth and spermatogenesis.

Because such treatment is more complex than testosterone replacement, and because treatment with testosterone does not interfere with later therapy to induce fertility, most male patients with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism prefer to initiate and maintain virilization with testosterone.At a time when fertility is desired, it may be induced with either pulsatile LHRH or (more commonly) with a schedule of injections of hCG and FSH. Similarly, fertility can be achieved in females with pulsatile LHRH or exogenous gonadotropin. Such therapy results in ovulation in 95% of women.

A phase III, multicenter, open-label, single-arm trial by Nieschlag et al indicated that corifollitropin-alfa therapy combined with hCG treatment can significantly increase testicular volume and induce spermatogenesis in adult males with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism whose azoospermia could not be cured by hCG treatment alone. Patients in the study who remained azoospermic, though with normalized testosterone levels, after 16 weeks of hCG treatment underwent 52 weeks of twice-weekly hCG therapy along with every-other-week corifollitropin-alfa treatment (150 g). Mean testicular volume in these patients rose from 8.6 mL to 17.8 mL, while spermatogenesis was induced in more than 75% of subjects. [10]

The use of oral testosterone preparations, such as 17-alkylated androgens (eg, methyltestosterone), is discouraged because of liver toxicity. However, oral testosterone undecanoate is available in some countriesand is now approved in the United States. Intramuscular testosterone is available as testosterone enanthate or cypionate. Transdermal testosterone can be administered either in the form of a patch or gel. A nasal testosterone replacement therapy has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adult males with conditions such as primary hypogonadism (congenital or acquired) and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (congenital or acquired) resulting from a deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone. [11] The recommended dosage is 33 mg/day in three divided doses. The drug has not been approved for males younger than 18 years.

For older men with testosterone deficiency, a review by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found that the evidence concerning the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from the use of testosterone in men with hypogonadism was inconsistent. [12, 13] The PRAC determined that the benefits of testosterone outweigh its risks but stressed that testosterone-containing medicines should be used only when lack of testosterone has been confirmed by signs and symptoms, as well as by laboratory tests. However,a literature review by Albert and Morley indicated that testosterone supplementation in males aged 65 years or older may increase the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly during the first year of treatment, althoughintramuscular testosterone seemed to carry less risk than other forms. [14]

On the other hand,a study by Traish et al suggested that long-term testosterone therapy in men with hypogonadism significantly reduces cardiovascular diseaserelated mortality. Patients in the studys testosterone-treated group (n=360) underwent therapy for up to 10 years, with median follow-up being 7 years. The investigators found no cardiovascular eventrelated deaths in the treated patients, compared with 19 such deaths in the group that received no testosterone therapy (n=296). According to the study, mortality in the testosterone-treated patients was reduced by an estimated 66-92%. [15]

A literature review by Corona et al indicated that testosterone replacement therapy is safe for age- or comorbidity-related (functional) male hypogonadism, not just for the organic variety. The investigators reported that the safety of testosterone replacement therapy in functional cases, with regard to cardiovascular and venous thromboembolism risk, as well as prostate concerns, is high enough to allow for the treatment. [16]

The latest Endocrine Society clinical practice guidelines suggest testosterone therapy for men receiving high doses of glucocorticoids who also have low testosterone levels, to promote bone health. The guidelines also suggest such therapy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)infected men with low testosterone levels, to maintain lean bone mass and muscle strength.

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Hypogonadism Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations …

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Generalized Hypopituitarism – Endocrine and Metabolic …

Generalized hypopituitarism refers to endocrine deficiency syndromes due to partial or complete loss of anterior lobe pituitary function. Various clinical features occur depending on the specific hormones that are deficient. Diagnosis involves imaging tests and measurement of pituitary hormone levels basally and after various provocative stimuli. Treatment depends on cause but generally includes removal of any tumor and administration of replacement hormones.

Hypopituitarism is divided into

Primary: Caused by disorders that affect the pituitary gland

Secondary: Caused by disorders of the hypothalamus

The different causes of primary and secondary hypopituitarism are listed in the table below (see Table: Causes of Hypopituitarism).

Causes primarily affecting the pituitary gland (primary hypopituitarism)

Infarction or ischemic necrosis

Hemorrhagic infarction (pituitary apoplexy)

Vascular thrombosis or aneurysm, especially of the internal carotid artery

Meningitis (tubercular, other bacterial, fungal, malarial)

Idiopathic isolated or multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies

Drugs (eg hypophysitis due to antimelanoma monoclonal antibodies)

Causes primarily affecting the hypothalamus (secondary hypopituitarism)

Neurohormone deficiencies of the hypothalamus

Surgical transection of the pituitary stalk

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Generalized Hypopituitarism – Endocrine and Metabolic …

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Hypopituitarism – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Hypopituitarism is a rare disorder in which your pituitary gland either fails to produce one or more of its hormones or doesn’t produce enough of them.

The pituitary gland is a small bean-shaped gland situated at the base of your brain, behind your nose and between your ears. Despite its size, this gland secretes hormones that influence nearly every part of your body.

In hypopituitarism, you have a short supply of one or more of these pituitary hormones. This deficiency can affect any number of your body’s routine functions, such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction.

You’ll likely need medications for the rest of your life to treat hypopituitarism, but your symptoms can be controlled.

Hypopituitarism is often progressive. Although the signs and symptoms can occur suddenly, they more often develop gradually. They are sometimes subtle and may be overlooked for months or even years.

Signs and symptoms of hypopituitarism vary, depending on which pituitary hormones are deficient and how severe the deficiency is. They may include:

See your doctor if you develop signs and symptoms associated with hypopituitarism.

Contact your doctor immediately if certain signs or symptoms of hypopituitarism develop suddenly or are associated with a severe headache, visual disturbances, confusion or a drop in blood pressure. Such signs and symptoms could represent sudden bleeding into the pituitary gland (pituitary apoplexy), which requires prompt medical attention.

Hypopituitarism may be the result of inherited disorders, but more often it’s acquired. Hypopituitarism frequently is triggered by a tumor of the pituitary gland. As a pituitary tumor increases in size, it can compress and damage pituitary tissue, interfering with hormone production. A tumor can also compress the optic nerves, causing visual disturbances.

The cause of hypopituitarism can also be other diseases and events that damage the pituitary, such as:

Diseases of the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain situated just above the pituitary, also can cause hypopituitarism. The hypothalamus produces hormones of its own that directly affect the activity of the pituitary.

In some cases, the cause of hypopituitarism is unknown.

Aug. 22, 2017

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Hypopituitarism – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Hypopituitarism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Whatis an underactive pituitary gland?

Your pituitary gland is located on the underside of your brain. It releases eight hormones. Each of these hormones plays a role in how your body function. These functions range from stimulating bone growth to prompting your thyroid gland to release hormones that control your metabolism.

Hormones produced by the pituitary gland include:

Hypopituitarism occurs when your pituitary gland does not release enough of one or more of these hormones.

What causes an underactive pituitary gland?

Trauma may cause your pituitary gland to stop producing enough of one or more of its hormones. For example, if you had brain surgery, a brain infection, or a head injury, may affect your pituitary gland.

Certain tumors can also affect the function of this gland. These include:

Some other possible causes of hypopituitarism include:

There may also be other causes of hypopituitarism. And in some cases hypopituitarism, the cause may be unknown.

What are the symptoms of an underactive pituitary gland?

The symptoms of hypopituitarism depend on which hormones your pituitary gland is not producing enough of. For example, if the pituitary gland does not produce enough growth hormone in a child, they may have a permanently short stature. If it doesnt produce enough follicle-stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone, it might cause problems with sexual function, menstruation, and fertility.

How is an underactive pituitary gland diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks you may have hypopituitarism, they will use a blood test to check your levels of the hormones the pituitary gland produces. They may also check for hormones your pituitary gland stimulates other glands to release.

For example, your doctor may check your T4 levels. Your pituitary gland doesnt produce this hormone, but it releases TSH, which stimulates your thyroid gland to release T4. Having low levels of T4 indicates you may have a problem with your pituitary gland.

Your doctor may prescribe specific medications before doing blood tests. These medications will stimulate your bodys production of specific hormones. Taking them before the test can help your doctor better understand your pituitary gland function.

Once your doctor determines which hormone levels are low, they must check the parts of your body (target organs) those hormones affect. Sometimes, the problem isnt with your pituitary gland, but rather with the target organs.

Your doctor may also perform imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI scan on your brain. These tests can help your doctor figure out if a tumor on your pituitary gland is affecting its function.

How is an underactive pituitary gland treated?

This condition is best managed by an endocrinologist. There is no single course of treatment because this condition may affect a number of hormones. In general, the goal of treatment is to bring all your hormone levels back to normal.

This may involve taking medications to replace the hormones your pituitary gland is not producing properly. In this case, your doctor will need to check your hormone levels regularly. This allows your doctor to adjust the doses of medications youre taking to make sure youre getting the correct dose.

If a tumor is causing your pituitary problems, surgery to remove the tumor may restore your hormone production to normal. In some cases, getting rid of a tumor will also involve radiation therapy.

Read more here:
Hypopituitarism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Genetics | Female Cannabis Seeds

Gibberellic Acid

Sooner or later every grower is going to want to produce marijuana seeds. Developing a new stable strain is beyond the scope of this discussion and requires the ability to grow hundreds or even thousands of breeding plants. However, just about any grower can manage to preserve some genetics by growing f2 seeds where they have crossed a male and female of the same strain, or can produce a simple cross which would be referred to as strain1xstrain2 for instance white widow crossed with ak-47 would be referred to as a WW x AK-47. You can produce some excellent seed and excellent marijuana this way.

To Feminise or not to Feminise

There are numerous myths surrounding feminized seeds. Feminizing seeds is a bit more work than simply crossing two plants naturally. However it will save you a lot of time in the end. If you make fem seeds properly then there is no increased chance of hermaphrodites and all seeds will be female. This means no wasted time and effort growing males and it means that all your viable seeds produce useful plants, since roughly half of normal seeds are male this effectively doubles the number of seeds you have.

Other times you will have no choice but to produce feminized seed because it will be a female plants genetics that you want to preserve and you wont have any males. Perhaps you received these genetics via clone or didnt keep males.

The new thing on the market for commercial Cannabis cultivation are Autoflowering feminized strains. By crossing of the Cannabisruderalis with Sativa and Indica strains many cultivators have created interesting hybrids which boast benefits from both sides of these families.

Although Sensi Seeds already created the Ruderalis Indica and the Ruderalis Skunk crossing, the first variety to be marketed specifically as Autoflowering cannabis seed was the Lowryder #1. This hybrid was a crossing between a Ruderalis, a Williams Wonder and a Northern Lights #2. This strain was marketed by The Joint Doctor and was honestly speaking not very impressive. The genetics of the ruderalis was still highly present which caused for a very low yield and little psychoactive effect.

Despite these first disappointing results for the grower and user, the interest of the cannabis community was most definitely caught. After the Lowryder #1 the Lowryder #2 was introduced by The Joint Doctor. See also the article:What are autoflowering cannabis seeds about auto-flowering seeds.

Auto-flowering cannabis and the easily distributed seed have opened a whole new market in the world of the online grow-shop, making it easy for home growers with shortage of space to grow rewarding cannabis plants in many different varieties.

Selecting Suitable Parents

There are a number of important characteristics when selecting parents. First are you making fem seeds? If you are then both parents will be female. This makes things easier. If not then the best you can do is select a male with characteristics in common with the females you hope to achieve from the seed.

Obviously potency, yield, and psychoactive effects are critical to the selection process. But some other important traits are size, odor, taste, resistance to mold and contaminants, early finishing and consistency.

Collecting and Storing PollenIn order to collect pollen you simply put down newspaper around the base of the plant. The pollen will fall from the plant onto the newspaper. You can then put this newspaper into a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Pollen will keep for a few months in the refrigerator and can be used on the next crop. The freezer will extend that to up to six months but gives the pollen a lower chance of viability that increases with time.

Pollinating a Plant

To pollinate a plant you can brush the pollen on a flower with a cotton swab or you can take the plastic bag and wrap the flower inside it and shake. In this way you can selectively pollinate plants and even individual buds and branches.

Male Isolation

A male plant or a plant with male flowers will pollinate your entire crop rendering it seedy. You probably dont want THAT many seeds so how can you avoid it? Moving the male to another room might work but if that other room shares an air path via ducting or air conditioning then pollen may still find its way. One technique is to construct a male isolation chamber.

A male isolation chamber is simply a transparent container such as a large plastic storage tub turned on its side (available at your local megamart). Get a good sized PC fan that can be powered with pretty much any 12v wall adapter, by splicing together the + (yellow or red on fan, usually dotted on power adapter) and the wires (black on fan, usually dotted power adapter) just twist with the like wire on the other device and then seal up the connection with electric tape. Then take a filtrate filter and cut out squares that fit the back of the pc fan so that the fan pulls (rather than pushes) air through the filter. Tape several layers of filter to the back of the pc fan so all the air goes through the filter. Now cut a large hole in the top of the plastic container and mount the pc fan over top of it so it pulls air out the box. You can use silicon sealant, latex, whatever youve got that gives a good tight seal.

This can be used as is, or you can cut a small intake in the bottom to improve airflow. Pollen wont be able to escape the intake as long as the fan is moving but you might put filter paper over the intake to protect against fan failures. You can also use grommets to seal holes and run tubing into the chamber in order to water hydroponically from a reservoir outside the chamber. Otherwise you will need to remove the whole chamber to a safe location in order to water the plant or maintain a reservoir kept inside the chamber.

Making Feminised Seed

To make feminized seed you must induce male flowers in a female plant. There is all sorts of information on the Internet about doing this with light stress (light interruptions during flowering) and other forms of stress. The best of the stress techniques is to simply keep the plant in the flowering stage well past ripeness and it will produce a flower.

Stress techniques will work but whatever genetic weakness caused the plants to produce a male flower under stress will be carried on to the seeds. This means the resulting seeds have a known tendency to produce hermaphrodites. Fortunately, environmental stress is not the only way to produce male flowers in a female plant.

The ideal way to produce feminized seed through hormonal alteration of the plant. By adding or inhibiting plant hormones you can cause the plant to produce male flowers. Because you did not select a plant that produces male flowers under stress there is no genetic predisposition to hermaphroditism in the seed vs plants bred between a male and female parent. There are actually a few ways to do this, the easiest I will list here.

Colloidal Silver (CS)

This is the least expensive and most privacy conscious way to produce fem seed. CS has gotten a bad name because there is so much bad information spread around about its production and concentrations. It doesnt help that there are those who believe in drinking low concentration colloidal silver for good health and there is information mixed in about how to produce that low concentration food grade product. Follow the information here and you will consistently produce effective CS and know how to apply it to get consistent results.

Simply construct a generator using a 9-12v power supply (DC output, if it says AC then its no good) that can deliver at least 250ma (most wall wart type power supplies work, batteries are not recommended since their output varies over time). The supply will have a positive and negative lead, attach silver to each lead (contrary to Internet rumors, you arent drinking this is cheap 925 silver is more than pure enough) you can expose the leads by clipping off the round plug at the end and splitting the wires, one will be positive and the other negative just like any old battery. Submerge both leads about 2-3 inches apart in a glass of distilled water (roughly 8oz). Let this run for 8-24hrs (until the liquid reads 12-15ppm) and when you return the liquid will be a purple or silver hue and there may be some precipitate on the bottom.

This liquid is called colloidal silver. It is nothing more or less than fine particles of silver suspended in water so it is a completely natural solution and is safe to handle without any special precautions. The silver inhibits female flowering hormones in cannabis and so the result is that male flowering hormone dominates and male flowers are produced.

To use the silver, spray on a plant or branch three days prior to switching the lights to 12/12 and continue spraying every three days until you see the first male flowers. Repeated applications after the first flowers appear may result in more male flowers and therefore more pollen. As the plant matures it will produce pollen that can be collected and used to pollinate any female flower (including flowers on the same plant).Silver Thiosulfate (STS)

Only mentioned for completeness. Silver Thiosulfate is more difficult to acquire and works on the same principle as CS. Its application is similar to CS and achieves the same results.

Gibberellic Acid (GA3)

This is probably the most popular way to produce feminized seed. GA3 can be purchased readily in powdered form, a quick search reveals numerous sources on e-bay for as little as $15. Simply add to water to reach 100ppm concentration and spray the plant daily for 10 days during flowering and male flowers will be produced.

Article: Marijuana Cultivation/Producing Seeds http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Marijuana_Cultivation/Producing_Seeds

Tags: auto-flowering, Autoflowering, Breeding, Colloidal Silver, Cross, Crossing, F2, Feminized, Feminized Seeds, Feminizing Seeds, Flowers, Genetics, Gibberellic Acid, Hermaphrodites, Hybrid, Parents, Pollen, Pollinate, Pollination, Potency, Produce Marijuana Seeds, Producing Feminized Seeds, Psychoactive Effects, Seeds, Silver Thiosulfate, Spraying Spray, Yield

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Genetics | Female Cannabis Seeds

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Sandwalk: The Genetics of Eye Color

The genetics of blood type is a relatively simple case of one locus Mendelian geneticsalbeit with three alleles segregating instead of the usual two (Genetics of ABO Blood Types).

Eye color is more complicated because there’s more than one locus that contributes to the color of your eyes. In this posting I’ll describe the basic genetics of eye color based on two different loci. This is a standard explanation of eye color but, as we’ll see later on, it doesn’t explain the whole story. Let’s just think of it as a convenient way to introduce the concept of independent segregation at two loci. Variation in eye color is only significant in people of European descent.

At one locus (site=gene) there are two different alleles segregating: the B allele confers brown eye color and the recessive b allele gives rise to blue eye color. At the other locus (gene) there are also two alleles: G for green or hazel eyes and g for lighter colored eyes.

The B allele will always make brown eyes regardless of what allele is present at the other locus. In other words, B is dominant over G. In order to have true blue eyes your genotype must be bbgg. If you are homozygous for the B alleles, your eyes will be darker than if you are heterozygous and if you are homozygous for the G allele, in the absence of B, then your eyes will be darker (more hazel) that if you have one one G allele.

Here’s the Punnett Square matrix for a cross between two parents who are heterozygous at both alleles. This covers all the possibilities. In two-factor crosses we need to distinguish between the alleles at each locus so I’ve inserted a backslash (/) between the two genes to make the distinction clear. The alleles at each locus are on separate chromosomes so they segregate independently.*

As with the ABO blood groups, the possibilities along the left-hand side and at the top represent the genotypes of sperm and eggs. Each of these gamete cells will carry a single copy of the Bb alleles on one chromosome and a single copy of the Gg alleles on another chromosome.

Since there are four possible genotypes at each locus, there are sixteen possible combinations of alleles at the two loci combined. All possibilities are equally probable. The tricky part is determining the phenotype (eye color) for each of the possibilities.

According to the standard explanation, the BBGG genotype will usually result in very dark brown eyes and the bbgg genotype will usually result in very blue-gray eyes. See the examples in the eye chart at the lower-right and upper-left respectively. The combination bbGG will give rise to very green/hazel eyes. The exact color can vary so that sometimes bbGG individuals may have brown eyes and sometimes their eyes may look quite blue. (Again, this is according to the simple two-factor model.)

The relationship between genotype and phenotype is called penetrance. If the genotype always predicts the exact phenotpye then the penetrance is high. In the case of eye color we see incomplete penetrance because eye color can vary considerably for a given genotype. There are two main causes of incomplete penetrance; genetic and environmental. Both of them are playing a role in eye color. There are other genes that influence the phenotype and the final color also depends on the environment. (Eye color can change during your lifetime.)

One of the most puzzling aspects of eye color genetics is accounting for the birth of brown-eyed children to blue-eyed parents. This is a real phenomenon and not just a case of mistaken fatherhood. Based on the simple two-factor model, we can guess that the parents in this case are probably bbGg with a shift toward the lighter side of a light hazel eye color. The child is bbGG where the presence of two G alleles will confer a brown eye color under some circumstances.

*If the two genes were on the same chromosome this assumption might be invalid because the two alleles on the same chromosome (e.g., B + g) would tend to segregate together. Linked genes don’t obey Mendel’s Laws and this is called linkage disequilibrium.

Continued here:
Sandwalk: The Genetics of Eye Color

Recommendation and review posted by simmons

Researchers advance CRISPR-based tool for diagnosing disease …

The team that first unveiled the rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic tool called SHERLOCK has greatly enhanced the tools power, and has developed a miniature paper test that allows results to be seen with the naked eye without the need for expensive equipment.

The SHERLOCK team developed a simple paper strip to display test results for a single genetic signature, borrowing from the visual cues common in pregnancy tests. After dipping the paper strip into a processed sample, a line appears, indicating whether the target molecule was detected or not.

This new feature helps pave the way for field use, such as during an outbreak. The team has also increased the sensitivity of SHERLOCK and added the capacity to accurately quantify the amount of target in a sample and test for multiple targets at once. All together, these advancements accelerate SHERLOCKs ability to quickly and precisely detect genetic signatures including pathogens and tumor DNA in samples.

Described today in Science, the innovations build on the teams earlier version of SHERLOCK (shorthand for Specific High Sensitivity Reporter unLOCKing) and add to a growing field of research that harnesses CRISPR systems for uses beyond gene editing. The work, led by researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and from MIT, has the potential for a transformative effect on research and global public health.

SHERLOCK provides an inexpensive, easy-to-use, and sensitive diagnostic method for detecting nucleic acid material and that can mean a virus, tumor DNA, and many other targets, said senior author Feng Zhang, a core institute member of the Broad Institute, an investigator at the McGovern Institute, and the James and Patricia Poitras 63 Professor in Neuroscience and associate professor in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT. The SHERLOCK improvements now give us even more diagnostic information and put us closer to a tool that can be deployed in real-world applications.

The researchers previously showcased SHERLOCKs utility for a range of applications. In the new study, the team uses SHERLOCK to detect cell-free tumor DNA in blood samples from lung cancer patients and to detect synthetic Zika and Dengue virus simultaneously, in addition to other demonstrations.

Clear results on a paper strip

The new paper readout for SHERLOCK lets you see whether your target was present in the sample, without instrumentation, said co-first author Jonathan Gootenberg, a Harvard graduate student in Zhangs lab as well as the lab of Broad core institute member Aviv Regev. This moves us much closer to a field-ready diagnostic.

The team envisions a wide range of uses for SHERLOCK, thanks to its versatility in nucleic acid target detection. The technology demonstrates potential for many health care applications, including diagnosing infections in patients and detecting mutations that confer drug resistance or cause cancer, but it can also be used for industrial and agricultural applications where monitoring steps along the supply chain can reduce waste and improve safety, added Zhang.

At the core of SHERLOCKs success is a CRISPR-associated protein called Cas13, which can be programmed to bind to a specific piece of RNA. Cas13s target can be any genetic sequence, including viral genomes, genes that confer antibiotic resistance in bacteria, or mutations that cause cancer. In certain circumstances, once Cas13 locates and cuts its specified target, the enzyme goes into overdrive, indiscriminately cutting other RNA nearby. To create SHERLOCK, the team harnessed this off-target activity and turned it to their advantage, engineering the system to be compatible with both DNA and RNA.

SHERLOCKs diagnostic potential relies on additional strands of synthetic RNA that are used to create a signal after being cleaved. Cas13 will chop up this RNA after it hits its original target, releasing the signaling molecule, which results in a readout that indicates the presence or absence of the target.

Multiple targets and increased sensitivity

The SHERLOCK platform can now be adapted to test for multiple targets. SHERLOCK initially could only detect one nucleic acid sequence at a time, but now one analysis can give fluorescent signals for up to four different targets at once meaning less sample is required to run through diagnostic panels. For example, the new version of SHERLOCK can determine in a single reaction whether a sample contains Zika or dengue virus particles, which both cause similar symptoms in patients. The platform uses Cas13 and Cas12a (previously known as Cpf1) enzymes from different species of bacteria to generate the additional signals.

SHERLOCKs second iteration also uses an additional CRISPR-associated enzyme to amplify its detection signal, making the tool more sensitive than its predecessor. With the original SHERLOCK, we were detecting a single molecule in a microliter, but now we can achieve 100-fold greater sensitivity, explained co-first author Omar Abudayyeh, an MIT graduate student in Zhangs lab at Broad. Thats especially important for applications like detecting cell-free tumor DNA in blood samples, where the concentration of your target might be extremely low. This next generation of features help make SHERLOCK a more precise system.

The authors have made their reagents available to the academic community through Addgene and their software tools can be accessed via the Zhang lab website and GitHub.

This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

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Researchers advance CRISPR-based tool for diagnosing disease …

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Researchers use CRISPR to detect HPV and Zika

The first study comes from the lab of CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna. Her team discovered that a CRISPR system different from the CRISPR-Cas9 one we’re used to hearing about can not only snip away specific bits of double-stranded DNA, but can then also cut single-stranded DNA that’s near it. After they uncovered this ability of CRISPR-Cas12a, they used it to detect two common types of HPV. Once their CRISPR-Cas12a system detected HPV DNA in infected cells, it cleaved a another piece of DNA that then released a fluorescent signal, providing a visual sign of the presence of HPV. The researchers dubbed the system DETECTR and The Verge reports that it takes around an hour to work and costs less than a dollar.

The lab of another CRISPR pioneer, Feng Zhang, has now improved on a previous system it developed last year. SHERLOCK, as it’s called, can detect specific bits of DNA and RNA to determine whether viruses like Zika or dengue are present in a blood sample, identify mutations in tumor DNA and spot the presence of harmful bacteria. In their latest study, the research team describes SHERLOCK version 2.0, which is not only over three times as sensitive as the first version, but can also detect both Zika and dengue in the same sample. Their system uses several CRISPR enzymes, including Cas13 and Csm6, and can be loaded onto a paper strip, making it incredibly easy to use. You can see examples of the strips in the GIF below. Jonathan Gootenberg, one of the authors of the study, told The Verge, “The fact that we can put all these different enzymes into a single tube and have them not only play nice with each other, but also tell us information we couldn’t get otherwise — that is really spectacular and it speaks to a lot of the power of biochemistry.”

Lastly, Harvard University’s David Liu published a study showing that CRISPR can be used to track certain ongoings in a cell. Seeing what a cell has been exposed to in the past has been a rather hard thing to do, but CRISPR systems provide a way for researchers to do just that. Liu’s team used CRISPR in two different ways to record when a cell was exposed to certain chemicals. In the first, CRISPR was used to snip bits of DNA called plasmids if it came in contact with a particular chemical, such as an antibiotic or a nutrient. By comparing the ratio of the plasmid types that were destroyed by CRISPR to other, similar plasmids that were left alone, the researchers were able to determine just how often the cells were exposed to those chemicals. Another version of the system changed individual letters, or bases, of DNA rather than snipping plasmids and the team was able to determine when cells were exposed to antibiotics, nutrients, viruses and light by examining those changes in the DNA bases.

While all three of these systems need further development before they can be used outside of the lab, they show that CRISPR has quite a lot of uses, beyond just treating disease. The technology is incredibly versatile and we’re sure to see even more applications going forward.

Image: Zhang Lab, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

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Bone marrow | anatomy | Britannica.com

Bone marrow, also called myeloid tissue, soft, gelatinous tissue that fills the cavities of the bones. Bone marrow is either red or yellow, depending upon the preponderance of hematopoietic (red) or fatty (yellow) tissue. In humans the red bone marrow forms all of the blood cells with the exception of the lymphocytes, which are produced in the marrow and reach their mature form in the lymphoid organs. Red bone marrow also contributes, along with the liver and spleen, to the destruction of old red blood cells. Yellow bone marrow serves primarily as a storehouse for fats but may be converted to red marrow under certain conditions, such as severe blood loss or fever. At birth and until about the age of seven, all human marrow is red, as the need for new blood formation is high. Thereafter, fat tissue gradually replaces the red marrow, which in adults is found only in the vertebrae, hips, breastbone, ribs, and skull and at the ends of the long bones of the arm and leg; other cancellous, or spongy, bones and the central cavities of the long bones are filled with yellow marrow.

Red marrow consists of a delicate, highly vascular fibrous tissue containing stem cells, which differentiate into various blood cells. Stem cells first become precursors, or blast cells, of various kinds; normoblasts give rise to the red blood cells (erythrocytes), and myeloblasts become the granulocytes, a type of white blood cell (leukocyte). Platelets, small blood cell fragments involved in clotting, form from giant marrow cells called megakaryocytes. The new blood cells are released into the sinusoids, large thin-walled vessels that drain into the veins of the bone. In mammals, blood formation in adults takes place predominantly in the marrow. In lower vertebrates a number of other tissues may also produce blood cells, including the liver and the spleen.

Because the white blood cells produced in the bone marrow are involved in the bodys immune defenses, marrow transplants have been used to treat certain types of immune deficiency and hematological disorders, especially leukemia. The sensitivity of marrow to damage by radiation therapy and some anticancer drugs accounts for the tendency of these treatments to impair immunity and blood production.

Examination of the bone marrow is helpful in diagnosing certain diseases, especially those related to blood and blood-forming organs, because it provides information on iron stores and blood production. Bone marrow aspiration, the direct removal of a small amount (about 1 ml) of bone marrow, is accomplished by suction through a hollow needle. The needle is usually inserted into the hip or sternum (breastbone) in adults and into the upper part of the tibia (the larger bone of the lower leg) in children. The necessity for a bone marrow aspiration is ordinarily based on previous blood studies and is particularly useful in providing information on various stages of immature blood cells. Disorders in which bone marrow examination is of special diagnostic value include leukemia, multiple myeloma, Gaucher disease, unusual cases of anemia, and other hematological diseases.

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Bone marrow | anatomy | Britannica.com

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Hypogonadism: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology

Morbidity for men and women with hypogonadism includes infertility and an increased risk of osteoporosis; there is no increase in mortality.

Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (see the image below) is one of several types of hypogonadism.

History

Considerations in the evaluation of males with hypogonadism include the following:

For postpubertal males, the rate of beard growth, libido and sexual function, muscle strength, and energy levels

Possible causes of acquired testicular failure (eg, mumps orchitis, trauma, radiation exposure of the head or testes, and chemotherapy)

Drugs that may interrupt testicular function -Including agents that interfere with testosterone synthesis, such as spironolactone andcyproterone.Agents such as cortisol,marijuana, heroin, and methadone may interfere with gonadotropin secretion.

Considerations in the evaluation of females with hypogonadism include the following:

Signs associated with Turner syndrome (eg, lymphedema, cardiac or renal congenital anomalies, and short growth pattern)

Age of menarche

Physical examination

Considerations in the physical examination of males with hypogonadism include the following:

Evaluation of the testes: This is the most important feature of the physical examination; determine whether both testes are palpable, their position in the scrotum, and their consistency; testes size can be quantitated by comparison with testicular models (orchidometer), or their length and width may be measured

Examination of the genitalia for hypospadias

Examination of the scrotum to see if it is completely fused

Evaluation of the extent of virilization

Staging of puberty: Use the Tanner criteria for genitalia, pubic hair, and axillary hair

Examination for signs of Klinefelter syndrome (eg, tall stature, especially if the legs are disproportionately long, gynecomastia, small or soft testes, and a eunuchoid body habitus)

Considerations in the physical examination of females with hypogonadism include the following:

Examination of the genitalia is important

Determination of the extent of androgenization: May be adrenal or ovarian in origin and is demonstrated in pubic and axillary hair

Determination of the extent of estrogenization: As evidenced by breast development and maturation of the vaginal mucosa

Examination for signs of Turner syndrome (eg, short stature, webbing of the neck [such as pterygium colli], a highly arched palate, short fourth metacarpals, widely spaced nipples, or multiple pigmented nevi)

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

The following studies may be indicated in males with hypogonadism:

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels

Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels

Prolactin levels

Testosterone levels

Thyroid function

Seminal fluid examination

Karyotyping

Testicular biopsy

For males after puberty, the Guidelines of the Endocrine Society [2] require that the diagnosis of hypogonadism be based on symptoms and signs of hypogonadism plus the presence of a low testosterone level measured on at least 2 occasions.

The following studies may be indicated in females with hypogonadism:

Additional tests in the evaluation of patients with hypogonadism include the following:

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation testing: In patients in whom a form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia is suspected, adrenal steroid synthesis is best evaluated by performing a cosyntropin (ACTH 1-24) stimulation test

Luteinizing-hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) stimulation testing: To distinguish between true hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and constitutional delay in growth and maturation

Testicular tissue testing: If the testes are not palpable and if it is not certain whether any testicular tissue is present, administering human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and measuring testosterone response may be helpful

See Workup for more detail.

Hormonal replacement

The simplest and most successful treatment for males and females with either hypergonadotropic or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is replacement of sex steroids, but the therapy does not confer fertility or, in men, stimulate testicular growth.

When fertility is desired, an alternative therapy for men with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is administration of pulsatile LHRH or injections of hCG and FSH. (In patients with hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, fertility is not possible.)

In a 6-year European study of men being treated for hypogonadism, long-term transdermal testosterone treatment did not increase prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or influence prostate cancer risk. [3, 4]

Investigators used data from a 5-year, open-label extension of a 1-year trial of a transdermal testosterone patch (Testopatch) in men with hypogonadism. Study subjects wore two 60 cm2 patches, each of which delivered 2.4 mg of testosterone per day. More than 90% of patients had PSA concentrations below 2 ng/mL during the 6-year study, and no prostate cancer was found in patients over the course of the trial.

See Treatment and Medication for more detail.

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Home – STEM CELL SCIENCE

Stem cell can be isolated from the the bone marrow and adipose tissue in the abdomen that are capable of forming new blood vessels and heart muscle cells. The cell number is so small in the tissues that the cells should be grown for several weeks before there is enough for the treatment of patients.

We have conducted three clinical stem cell therapy studies in which patients with coronary artery disease havebeen treated with their own mesenchymal stem cells from either the bone marrow or adipose tissue. Encouraging results are available from two studies and there is ongoing follow-up in the third study. Treatments with stem cells have in all previous studies been without any side effects.

During the course of the SCIENCE study a total of 138 patients with heart failure will be included and treated in a so-called blinded placebo-controlled design. This means that 92 patients will receive stem cells and 46 patients placebo (inactive medication, saline). Choice of treatment will be done by drawing lots. The study is carried out by an international collaboration between cardiac centers in Denmark, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Sloveniaand the industrial partners Terumo BCT and COOK Tegentec.

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Home – STEM CELL SCIENCE

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Slideshow: Hormone Imbalance: Symptoms and Treatment

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Getty Images

2) Amie Brink/WebMD

3) Thinkstock Photos

4) Thinkstock Photos

5) Getty Images

6) Thinkstock Photos

7) Thinkstock Photos

8) Getty Images

9) Getty Images

10) Getty Images

11) Thinkstock Photos

12) Thinkstock Photos

13) Photolibrary.com

SOURCES:

David Adamson, M.D., clinical professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, CEO of ARC Fertility, Saratoga, California.

Alyssa Dweck, M.D., assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City.

Jenna LoGiudice, PhD, CNM, RN, assistant professor, Fairfield Universitys School of Nursing, Fairfield, CT.

American Academy of Dermatology: Hormonal Factors Key to Understanding Acne in Women

Cleveland Clinic: Menstrual Cycle

Gao, Q., Endocrinology and Metabolism, May 2008

Gov.UK: Hormone Headaches

Harvard Medical School: Testosterone Therapy: Is It For Women? Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause, Dealing With Menopause Symptoms

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hormone Imbalance May Be Causing Your Acne

Lopez, M., Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2013

National Cancer Institute: Understanding Breast Changes

National Sleep Foundation: Menopause and Sleep

Soares, C. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, July 2008

The University of Connecticut Health Center: Benign Diseases of the Breast

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine: Hormones and IBS

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Slideshow: Hormone Imbalance: Symptoms and Treatment

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LABOKLIN (UK)| Genetic Diseases | Dogs| Dwarfism …

Dwarfism (Pituitary Dwarfism / Hypopituitarism)

Test number: 8142

DWARFISM

clear

100% clear

clear

carrier

50% clear + 50% carriers

clear

affected

100% carriers

carrier

clear

50% clear + 50% carriers

carrier

carrier

25% clear + 25% affected + 50% carriers

carrier

affected

50% carriers + 50% affected

affected

clear

100% carriers

affected

carrier

50% carriers + 50% affected

affected

affected

100% affected

Clear

Genotype: N / N [ Homozygous normal ]

The dog is noncarrier of the mutant gene.

Carrier

Genotype: N / DWARFISM [ Heterozygous ]

The dog carries one copy of the mutant gene and one copy of the normal gene.

Carriers should only be bred to clear dogs.

Avoid breeding carrier to carrier because 25% of their offspring is expected to be affected (see table above)

Affected

Genotype: DWARFISM / DWARFISM [ Homozygous mutant ]

The dog carries two copies of the mutant gene and therefore it will pass the mutant gene to its entire offspring.

By DNA testing, the responsible mutation can be shown directly. This method provides a test with a very high accuracy. It offers the possibility to distinguish not only between affected and clear dogs, but also to identify clinically healthy carriers. This is an essential information for controlling the condition in the breed, as carriers are able to spread the disease in the population.

test will be performed at a partner laboratory

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CRISPR Gene Editing And 3 Biotech Companies Blaze New Path To …

Imagine editing one gene and curing a debilitating disease.Three small biotech companies with combined annual sales of less than $50 million Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) and Editas Medicine (EDIT) say that soon could be a reality.

X All three biotech stocks went public in 2016 to bet big on a simple premise: Altering specific genes can create curative medicines.An estimated 5,000 diseases could be cured by changing one targeted gene, says former Intellia Chief Executive Nessan Bermingham.

The World Health Organization has a higher estimate for what are known as monogenic diseases and says it’s actually north of 10,000.

“People have been talking about (personalized medicine) for 20 years and yet we’ve never had a system to allow us to do it before,” Bermingham told Investor’s Business Daily before stepping down from his role on Dec. 31.”And for the first time ever, we actually have a system to do it and that system would be based on your personalized genome.”

That system is known as CRISPR, and it’s where Crispr, Intellia and Editas are putting their chips. It’s a cheaper and faster gene editing method and, according to Bermingham, the key to advancing personalized medicine. Some analysts think CRISPR technology could provide the platform for the next generation of giant biotech companies.

CRISPR the technology not to be confused with Crispr Therapeutics, the company builds on a project that sequenced the human genome. The first map cost $2.7 billion and was completed in 2003.

Since then, the cost to map an individual’s genome has dropped precipitously and could come down to just hundreds of dollars in the next few years, Bermingham says. Large-data analytics also have a part to play in sifting through the genome.

IBD’S TAKE:Biotech companies account for a large share of recent IPO stocks, yet investing in them before they have profits or sales can be risky. Learn to identify the best IPOs and how to trade themfor potential big gains.

When the first human genome was mapped, investigators were “absolutely horrified” to find just 20,000 genes in the human body that code proteins, Bermingham says. That was down from estimates of 100,000. Essentially, these protein-coding genes serve as words in the genetic language.

Investigators also found regions of DNA that were initially thought to have no purpose. These were controversially called “junk DNA” that does not code protein. But, as it turns out, these sequences do have a key purpose in regulating the expression of genes.

All together, the better understanding of the human genome has allowed these biotech companies to utilize CRISPR, an acronym for the technology known asClustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

There is a caveat, however. In January, a paper published by bioRxiv said there may be evidence that human immune systems may fight off the major form of genome editing that uses an enzyme called Cas9, thus rendering the science ineffective. The paper, however, has yet to be peer reviewed.

The process, developed at various universities, essentially uses specialized strands of DNA thatact as molecular “scissors.” Those scissors are capable of editing other DNA at specific points, and allow biotech companies to edit, add or remove faulty genes responsible for diseases.

There are varying types of scissors. Crispr, Intellia and Editas are using the Cas9 CRISPR technology, ARK Invest analyst Manisha Samy told IBD. She estimates Cas9 can reach 70%-80% of the human genome. Developing new scissors can expand the reach into more genes and diseases, she says.

Gene editing isn’t new, she adds. Older techniques called TALENs and zinc finger nucleases have been around for some time. Notably, biotech companyBluebird Bio (BLUE) is using a variation of TALENs, and Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO) is using a method of zinc finger nucleases.

She likens CRISPR technology to a word processor.

“We think CRISPR gene editing is analogous to a DNA word processor with two functions: find and delete,” she said in a January 2017 report. “In addition, scientists are working on a rudimentary paste function, allowing CRISPR to insert appropriate DNA code to repair mutations.”

Older technologies used by biotech companies are more like old-fashioned typewriters, requiring actual cutting and pasting, she says. CRISPR technology is also cheaper and easier to use than TALENs and zinc fingers, says JMP Securities analyst Mike King.

“What’s so powerful about CRISPR is it’s so easy to use,” he told IBD. “High school students are doing experiments in the biology lab to knock out genes. Zinc fingers takes a lot of talent and time. You have to fiddle with them a lot. The systems created under CRISPR are quite robust.”

In January, bioRxiv an online archive and distribution service for unpublished reports in the life sciences field published a paper casting doubt on the durability of CRISPR gene therapy over time, suggesting the body could build an immunity to it. Analysts and biotech companies are not worried, however, saying either this is a nonissue or there’s time for the science to catch up.

Many companies working in CRISPR are doing so using the Cas9 enzyme, short for CRISPR associated protein 9. Cas9 is derived from two bacteria that cause infections in humans at high rates, meaning some immune systems could have developed immunities to them.

Would CRISPR gene editing, using that enzyme, work in those patients?

It depends, Crispr Therapeutics said in a follow-up email to IBD. It’s important to note the lead investigator and writer on the bioRxiv paper wasMatthew Porteus, a scientific founder and advisory board member for Crispr Therapeutics.

When the gene editing is done ex vivo, or outside the body, the Cas9 enzyme is degraded and, therefore, essentially gone by the time the cells are reintroduced to the patient, Crispr told IBD.

For in vivo applications, when gene editing is done inside the body, Crispr Therapeutics says it uses several approaches to ensure transient expression of the Cas9 enzyme. Because of that, “we do not expect pre-existing immunity to Cas9 to cause any issues,” the firm said.

Ark’s Samy also noted that other enzymes are in use. Editas is also using the Cpf1 enzyme. This enzyme is derived from other bacteria and could overcome some of the immunity challenges involving Cas9.

Intellia told IBD in a follow-up email that in clinical testing, its delivery system for treatment in rodents and non-human primates has yet to falter. Further, Intellia notes it’s using an advanced form of Cas9 and none of the donors had a pre-existing immunity in its study.

The data are still early. Editas has done its own work in immune responses to CRISPR genome editing and will present a paper in the future, JMP’s King said in a Jan. 8 note to clients. Management has indicated it found immune responses to be “much lower” than those reported in the other paper.

“Immune responses are not uncommon,” Samy said. “Scientists have worked for decades on evading immune recognition. There are numerous workarounds that can be implemented to reduce any potential side effects with Cas9 and we have proved this in a number of other therapeutic modalities.”

Among the biotech companies, Crispr Therapeutics is ahead of the competition from a regulatory standpoint. On Dec. 7, the firm submitted its first application for a clinical trial testing its gene therapy, known as CTX001, in a blood disorder known as beta thalassemia.

The company is working with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) in beta thalassemia, as well as sickle cell disease. The therapies are part of Crispr’s ex vivo programs, where gene editing is done on cells outside the body before they are reintroduced to the patient. Crispr is also looking at in vivo therapies for the liver, muscles and lungs.

According to a Crispr news release, the trial is set to begin in Europe in 2018 in adult patients. This is expected to be the first in-human trial of a gene editing treatment based on CRISPR technology. Crispr also plans to file an application to begin testing for CTX001 in treating sickle cell disease in the U.S. in 2018.

Intellia also has in vivo and ex vivo programs in gene editing, and also is working in sickle cell disease. It’s furthest along in a partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) for a therapy to treat what’s known as transthyretin amyloidosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of abnormal protein deposits throughout the body.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) also are working separately to treat the disease using different methods called RNA interference and antisense technology, respectively.

Meanwhile, Editas is working on an injected treatment for an inherited eye disease known as Leber congenital amaurosis, which is characterized by severe loss of vision at birth. It is also using gene editing in sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

Intellia and Editas also are expected to start in-human trials in 2018, analysts say, though Intellia has not said when it will begin testing.

Regulators are getting more comfortable with the idea of gene editing, Crispr Therapeutics President Sam Kulkarni told IBD. The benefit of gene editing and potential trouble with it is that it’s meant to be a permanent fix. The biotech companies are working to ensure they hit a bull’s-eye every time out.

“We’ve shown you we can make this edit and it’s done in a precise fashion using (targets the industry calls) molecular ZIP codes,” he said. “We eliminate edits happening outside places you want them to happen. And we manufacture these in a high-quality fashion, understanding the pharmacology.”

Both Kulkarni and Intellia’s Bermingham who was succeeded byJohn Leonard, a former AbbVie (ABBV) executive say there’s room for all three big players in the group.

Sizing the market is a challenge, ARK’s Samy says. No matter how you slice it, the numbers are big and a lot will depend on which diseases companies target and how they set pricing.

If CRISPR is able to address all monogenic diseases diagnosed each year, that’s a $75 billion market globally, she says. Addressing all these diseases for people already living with diagnoses would be a $2 trillion market.

“One product is not going to cure everything,” she said. “Whenever you’re seeing volatility between these three main CRISPR companies, it doesn’t really make sense because there’s room for all of them and more when it comes to CRISPR.”

Kulkarni says it’s unlikely the market will remain at just three publicly traded biotech companies with CRISPR technology in the long run. The technology is just that remarkable.

“Once in a lifetime may be a little bit of a stretch, maybe not,” he said. “But it’s definitely a once in a generation type of advance in the field. The last time this kind of excitement happened in the biotech field was when antibodies were applied as therapeutic modalities. On the basis of that, technology companies like Genentech (now owned byRoche (RHHBY)) were created.”

He added: “Here we have the basis of a CRISPR platform to create the next big biotech giants.”

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