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Old blood can be made young again and it might fight ageing | New … – New Scientist

Fresh young cells

Dennis Kunkle Microscopy/Science Photo Library

By Jessica Hamzelou

BLOOD from the young seems to have healing powers, but how can we harness them without relying on donors? The discovery of a protein that keeps blood stem cells youthful might help.

The rejuvenating properties of young blood came to light in macabre experiments that stitched young and old mice together to share a circulatory system. The health of the older mice improved, while that of the younger ones deteriorated. Other animal studies have since shown that injections of young or old blood have similar effects.

This may work in people too. Young blood is being trialled as a treatment for conditions like Alzheimers, and aged mice that received injections of blood from human teenagers showed improved cognition, memory and physical activity levels.

We think the drug will improve signs of ageing and boost the immune systems of older people

But these studies rely on young people donating their blood: if this became the go-to therapy for age-related disease it would be difficult to get enough donations to fulfil demand.

The stem cells in our blood could provide an alternative approach. Our red and white blood cells are made by stem cells that themselves come from mother stem cells in bone marrow. But as we age, the number of these mother stem cells declines. One of the worlds longest-lived women seemed to only have two left in her blood when she died at age 115.

The decline in mother stem cells causes people to have fewer red blood cells, and white blood cells called B and T lymphocytes. These declines can cause anaemia and weaken the immune system. Usually the immune system in the elderly is not prepared to fight infections very hard, says Hartmut Geiger at the University of Ulm in Germany.

When Geigers team examined the bone marrow in mice, they found that older animals have much lower levels of a protein called osteopontin. To see if this protein has an effect on blood stem cells, the team injected stem cells into mice that lacked osteopontin and found that the cells rapidly aged.

But when older stem cells were mixed in a dish with osteopontin and a protein that activates it, they began to produce white blood cells just as young stem cells do. This suggests osteopontin makes stem cells behave more youthfully (EMBO Journal, doi.org/b4jp). If we can translate this into a treatment, we can make old blood young again, Geiger says.

Its exciting, says Hanadie Yousef at Stanford University in California. But longer term studies are needed to see whether this approach can rejuvenate the whole blood system, she says.

Until now, most efforts to use blood as a rejuvenation agent have focused on plasma, the liquid component, as some believe it carries dissolved factors that help maintain youth. But Geiger thinks the cells in blood might play a key role, because they are better able to move into the bodys tissues.

Both soluble factors and blood cells are likely to be important, says Yousef. While injections of young plasma rejuvenate older animals, the treatment doesnt have as strong an effect as when young and old animals share a circulatory system, she says.

Geigers team is developing a drug containing osteopontin and the activating protein to encourage blood stem cells to behave more youthfully. It should boost the immune system of elderly people, he says.

Such a drug might have benefits beyond fighting infection and alleviating anaemia. The team also think the protein will boost levels of mother stem cells. Having only a small number of such cells has been linked to heart disease, so Geiger says there is a chance that boosting them may help prevent this.

Osteopontin might also be useful for treating age-linked blood disorders, such as myelodysplasias that involve dysfunctional cells, says Martin Pera of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. It is possible that rejuvenating bone marrow stem cells could help with these conditions, he says.

This study provides more evidence that cells can be rejuvenated, says Ioakim Spyridopoulos at Newcastle University, UK. They have made old blood look young again, although whether it acts young or not will have to be shown in clinical trials.

This article appeared in print under the headline Old blood made young again

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Old blood can be made young again and it might fight ageing | New … – New Scientist

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‘Butterfly boy’ Jonathan Pitre cleared for second stem cell transplant – Ottawa Citizen

Jonathan Pitre readies for his second stem cell transplant, which will take place April 13th at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Tina Boileau / –

Fully recovered from a series of infections, Jonathan Pitre has received medical clearance to undergo a second stem cell transplant.

Pitre, 16, will check into hospital on the last day of March to begin eight days of high-dose chemotherapy and one day of radiation. His stem cell transplant what doctors call Day Zero is scheduled forApril 13 at the University of Minnesota Masonic Childrens Hospital.

The night before he goes into hospital, Pitre will attend the Ottawa Senators game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Centre in Saint Paul. It will be a good night of fun before it all starts again, said Pitres mother, Tina Boileau.

She shared the latest news on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

After many weeks of tests, procedures and appointments at the hospital, Jonathan got the green light to proceed with the second transplant, she said. He has completely recovered from his infections and his body is as strong as can be This time it will work!

Last September, Pitre suffered nausea, hair loss, fevers and exhaustion in the aftermath of his first transplant, which ultimately failed when his own stem cells recolonized his bone marrow.His second transplant has been delayed because of lung and blood infections.

In an interview earlier this month, Pitre told the Citizen hes staying positive even though he understands the physical test that he faces in hospital.

Its mostly thinking about sticking together with the people you care about, your family, he said . You have to stick to them very, very tightly and tell each other that, Its going to be OK, and that Were stronger than this. Were going through this together, not just alone.

Pitre suffers from a rare, painful and deadly form of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a blistering skin disease.

Hes the first Canadian to take part in a clinical trial operated by the University of Minnesotas Dr. Jakub Tolar, a pediatric transplant specialist who has adapted stem-cell therapy as a treatment for the most severe forms of EB.Although the procedure comes with the potential for life-threatening complications, it has produced dramatic improvements in two-thirds of those EB patients who have survived the transplant: tougher skin, reduced blistering and better wound healing.

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Plasma and stem cells: The future of regenerative medicine | WEAR – WEAR

Plasma and stem cells: The future of regenerative medicine

Blood platelet injections and stem cell treatments may sound like the future, but physicians at the Andrews Institute are already practicing these forms of regenerative medicine.

Weight lifting mixed with normal wear and tear left Howie Webber in constant pain.

“I probably felt it about four months ago,” said Howie. “I did some stretching, thinking I could make it go away, but it just continued to get worse.”

That’s when Howie went to the doctor and found out he had two options: surgery or regenerative medicine; he picked the latter.

“I just added up the amount of time I’d be out of work and the cost of surgery, plus the copay and this whole thing just seemed like it would be a little faster and a little easier, and it ended up being just that,” said Howie.

Physicians at the Andrew’s Institute currently offer two different types of regenerative medicine, platelet rich plasma, or PRP and bone marrow aspirate concentrate, or BMAC.

With PRP, physicians take the patient’s blood, separate the platelets and inject those platelets back into the patient at the site of injury. The idea is that platelets carry growth factors and molecules to stimulate the healing process.

BMAC utilizes platelets too, but also the patient’s bone marrow harvested from the pelvis.

Both regenerative medicine methods have benefits, perhaps the biggest according to Dr. Brett Kindle, is avoiding invasive surgeries.

“If we need surgery, we need surgery, and that’s what it is, but if we can avoid it, that often times is very beneficial from a financial standpoint, missing less work, etc.,” said Dr. Kindle. “Also from a quality of life, to be able to get back to doing activities in a more timely manner.”

The main difference between the two is price and neither are covered by insurance. BMAC costs upwards of $3,000, while PRP costs anywhere from $600 to $800. Howie opted for PRP.

“It hurt for about three days, then within a week I was pain free,” said Howie. “Maybe a little discomfort that you would expect, but it wasn’t near as bad as it was before.”

Howie’s issue was with his hamstrings, but Dr. Kindle said both PRP and BMAC can be used to treat a variety of aches and pains.

“Anything in the limbs,” said Dr. Kindle. “Shoulders, elbows, hands, wrists, hips, knees, foot, ankle, all of those areas.”

Recovery for both PRP and BMAC procedures is typically one to two weeks. Full effects of the injections don’t usually kick in until six to eight weeks later. For more information about regenerative medicine or to schedule a consultation with an Andrews Institute physician, call (850) 916-8700.

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Skin cells provide a new weapon against brain tumors – Blasting News

Scientists claim that #Stem Cells obtained from skin provide a new weapon against brain tumors. Jedd Wolchok, a cancer immunotherapy expert at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says that nanoparticles are thinner than a human hair, and help to fight tumors. Previously, doctors used stem cells to target breast cancer tumors. Latest clinical trials show that the new therapy is useful for patients with brain tumors. According to a study published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine,” the treatment shrinks the tumors and extends the survival of victims.

Researcher says that it’s time to forget about drugs that spur the immune system to fight tumors. Stem cells will be used on a large scale to treat patients. Every year, pharmaceutical companies develop a number of antibodies and proteins that block the overexpressed molecules, enabling the immune system to target tumors. All these medicines are harmful to the nervous system. In contrast, the stem cells directly target a tumor without damaging the neurons. Jedd Wolchok believes that the current anti-cancer drugs work in only 10% to 40% of patients. There is no use of drugs that target only several cells of a tumor and fail to completely destroy it. Stem cells destroy a tumor within a few minutes. However, the process is very complicated and only experienced neurosurgeons should perform an operation. Once a patient receives radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, his immune system mounts an aggressive response that wipes out both the tumors and metastases throughout the body.

Jedd Wolchok will find out whether it is possible to use nontoxic nanoparticles to sensitize the immune system or not. He requires more time and further research before he publishes his findings. He says that it is not easy to pass the nanoparticles through the tumors as the particles are bigger than macrophages. However, specific blood proteins can be used to coat the nanoparticles, facilitating their uptake. Once these particles reach the brain tumor, they act as tumor killers. Jedd and his team will carry out an experiment on mice with breast cancer. Wolchok builds his study on an earlier discovery that brain stem cells have a weird affinity for cancers. #Beat The Clock

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Sun Exposure Is No Joke. You Need to Get Your Skin Checked ASAP – Reader’s Digest

Elena-Rudakova/Shutterstock

Twice a year, I strip down to my underwear, don a paper gown and subject myself to a full-body examination at the dermatologists office. These are done twice as often as most other patientsand for good reason. Not only am I freckly and fair-skinned, Ive had an unhealthy relationship with the sun, which makes me more susceptible to skin cancer.

During my teens and 20s, when I was a lifeguard and camp counselor, I spent the majority of my summers outdoors. Like my peers, Id wanted to achieve the perfect tan. Id worn sunscreen, but it was SPF 4barely any protection, compared with what doctors recommend today.

Now, Im paying the price. This past decade, Ive had a handful of suspicious-looking moles removed. Recently, my dermatologist sent me to a medical photographer for a full-body photo session to document my moles, in case they change.

wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

My situation isnt unique. Countless people worldwide didnt protect themselves adequately from the suns ultraviolet rays during their youth. Decades ago, doctors didnt preach about sun protection, and researchers didnt realize that the suns ultraviolet rays could cause skin changes that can lead to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The most important reason for the increase in melanomas is thought to be due to increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sun and artificial tanning sources, says John J. DiGiovanna, staff clinician in the dermatology branch of the National Cancer Institutes Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland.

Melanoma is only the ninth most commonly diagnosed cancer across Europe, but its rates have been rising sharply since the 1980s, six-fold among some groups.

Every year, 100,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Europe, says John Haanen, head of medical oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Caucasians are at greatest risk, especially those with fair skin, red hair and freckles. Risk rises after age 40especially sun worshippers. Many experts refer to the increased prevalence as an epidemic.

I would not call it a melanoma epidemic but a skin cancer epidemic, says Reinhard Dummer, director of the Skin Cancer Centre at University Hospital Zrich. We expect in Switzerland that one out of five persons will develop skin cancers once in their lives.

Cultural changes over several decades are likely to blame. Bathing suits have gotten skimpier, and seaside vacations have become more common, exposing pale office workers to intense sunlight for short periods.

In Europe, low-cost air travel has increased the ability for people to travel to sunny, warmer climates for a week here and there, says Alex Menzies, medical oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia, the country with the highest melanoma rates in the world. Intermittent exposure to the sun with burning is a major risk for melanoma.

Even if youve endured decades worth of sun exposure, there is hope.

The earlier you notice melanoma, the greater your chances are of being cured. Surgery is the primary treatment. If you picked up an early-changing mole, you could have a virtually normal life expectancy, says Girish Patel, lead investigator for the Skin Cancer Stem Cell Research Program at Cardiff University.

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Regular skin checks and meaningful lifestyle changes to limit further damage from the sun help improve the odds. Since Imogen Cheese, 37, of Gloucestershire, England, was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in 2013, shes screened by her medical team every three months. I cover up to avoid the midday sun, says Imogen. I wear high factor SPF, I am active and eat a healthy balanced diet. So far, her cancer has not progressed.

Researchers have made great strides in the treatment of advanced melanoma. One option: Targeted therapy, which can be given to stage IV patients with specific genetic mutations.

Melanoma researchers in Australia have been involved with targeted therapy research since the beginning, about seven years ago. We do testing on their tumors to look if there are any mutations in certain genes in the tumor, says Menzies. We have targeted therapy that can attack the BRAF mutation, which is found in about 50 percent of tumors from patients. If we give tablets for BRAF-mutant melanoma, almost every patient will have shrinkage of the tumor. On average, it will keep things under control for one year, and the one-year survival rate has improved to 70 percent, from 30 percent five years ago.

Five years after John Ambrose, 67, of New South Wales, Australia, had a grade IV skin melanoma removed he began coughing up blood. His disease had spread to both lungs and his prognosis was poor. He joined a targeted therapy clinical trial in 2013, and within three months, his tumors shrank by 70 percent. After 18 months, he had clear scans. Today, John travels, plays golf and spends time with his grandchildren.

My situation has not stopped me living a normal life, he says.

Texas native Jesse Thomas, 57, also benefited from targeted therapy after being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma in 2013, with tumors on his neck, liver and spine. Genomic testing revealed Jesse had an uncommon V600K BRAF mutation, and his oncologist was able to pinpoint a targeted therapy for him.

They expected the cancer to stop growing, but it actually shrank, Jesse says. Theres no way to cure it, but I am controllable.

Targeted therapy is only for stage IV patients, but researchers are studying its effects on stage III patients. We should know within a couple of years whether these treatments are beneficial, says John Haanen.

Researchers have been able to stimulate the T-cells in some melanoma patients immune systems to fight cancer, with astounding results.

T-cells kill off viruses and other things, Menzies says, but with cancer, theyre sitting there around the tumor, asleep. They know that the tumor is foreign, but the tumor has turned them off, stopping them from killing it. Immunology drugs turn on the T-cells and they kill the tumor.

Melanoma researchers consider immunology the biggest breakthrough in decades.

This is our penicillin moment in oncology, Menzies says. Melanoma can be turned into a chronic disease, and many people will not die from it in the near future if we continue to go the way were going.

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Immunotherapy doesnt work for everyone, but it can be quite effective. Cardiff Universitys Patel says, In the 45 or so percent of people who respond, they can respond for very long periods of time.

In 2013, Cardiff resident Vicky Brown, 62, was shocked to learn that a lump in her breast was actually melanoma, not breast cancer. Shed had early-stage melanoma in 2006, which returned in her breast and lungs.

Through a clinical trial, Brown received intravenous doses of two immunotherapy drugs. Within weeks, her tumors shrank. She discontinued the drugs due to side effects, but it kept the melanoma in check for a year. In 2015, after new lung tumors appeared, she received more immunology treatments. The drugs again shrank her tumors.

I am hoping this couple of doses will give me more time again, Vicky says. My grandson is now nine months old. I want to be able to make memories for him, as well as my four-year-old granddaughter.

Researchers are working to get more patients to have a positive response to the treatment. The notion is that clearly, if we can do it in a few, we should be able to do it in the majority, says Patel.

For years, researchers tried creating a melanoma vaccine, to no avail. Now, researchers are combining the success of immunotherapy with the concept of vaccines, leading to personalized melanoma treatments.

As we better understand how the immune system recognizes the melanoma cells, we are developing so-called personalized vaccines, Haanen says. We are starting now in metastatic patients and if this concept works well move to earlier stages.

Hein Jambroers, 50, of Roermond, Netherlands, has benefited from a personalized treatment called adoptive cell therapy (ACT). He was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in 2009, but a year later, he had stage IV disease, with tumors on his right leg and liver, and was told that he had less than six months to live.

After getting some short-term benefit from targeted therapy, Hein was referred to an ACT clinical trial in 2011. Doctors at the Netherlands Cancer Institute harvested some of his white blood cells, then monitored them in a laboratory to identify the healthiest T-cells to fight melanoma. They were replicated in large numbers. Hein received chemotherapy to kill his existing T-cells, then got an infusion of the laboratory-created T-cells, which basically gave him a new immune system that shrank his tumors within three months.

Hes what doctors call a complete responder. Hes had clean scans ever since; no trace of melanoma.

Complete responders have an excellent prognosis, says Haanen, who treated Hein. Cure is always difficult to say, but very long-term remissions which could be cureare seen in the majority of complete responders and in some partial responders.

Hein, who expected to die, is cautiously optimistic. Im very positive about my future, but Im always on a state of alert, he says. I sit in the shade. I cream up with sunscreen. I even do it for my child and my wife. I dont want to tempt the fates.

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Soon, doctors may defeat cancer by attacking stem cells.

Skin stem cells make thousands of healthy skin cells. Melanoma stem cells work similarly, except they make thousands of malignant melanoma cells. Researchers are targeting melanoma stem cells to stop tumors from spreading.

Its like killing off the queen bee, Patel says. The whole hive then dies away, because youve gotten to the cell thats giving rise to everything.

This is vastly different from chemotherapy, which aims to kill as much cancer as possible. Stem cells make up only one to three per cent of some skin cancers.

If you got rid of the cancer stem cell population, the whole tumor could not proliferate, Patel says. If you take the bulk of a tumor and regrow it in a mouse without stem cells, it cant form. But if you take a small part of the cancer stem cell population, it grows back fully.

Researchers have begun clinical trials, and treatments could be available in a decade.

Despite sun damage that I endured during my youth, Im optimistic that Im doing everything that I can to stay ahead of any problems that may crop up. Ive got photos of all of my moles and freckles now, which I use for monthly self-exams. Ill bring them to my dermatologist for my next full-body examination. Ive also been raising my children with 21st century values for sun exposureplenty of high-SPF sunscreen, hats and time in the shadeso hopefully the next generation wont have the melanoma worries that my generation does.

If youve been diagnosed with advanced melanoma, heres what patient advocates recommend:

See a specialist

Seek a facility where doctors specialize in melanoma. Our recommendation for patients is to get into a melanoma center of excellence, says Bettina Ryll, founder of Melanoma Patient Network Europe in Uppsala, Sweden. The new immunotherapies have very different side effects from anything weve ever had before, so you dont want to have a physician who has never seen this.

Consider a clinical trial

Availability of immunotherapy and targeted therapy varies in Europe. Cost is a factor in many countries. Many patients enter clinical trials to receive these drugs. A promising clinical trial may be farther from home than youd prefer, but the extra drive could be worth it. Rory Bernard, 47, of Clermont-Ferrand, France, travels four hours to Paris for targeted therapy treatments, which have shrunk his tumors and extended his life. The dermatologist said, If you stay here, youre dead in six months, says Rorys wife, Gilly Spurrier-Bernard, founder of Melanoma France. My aim is to inform patients that if they want to get the best treatment, they may need to move around. Translation translation transl translation translation transl translation translation.

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A two-step method to make microglia – Nature.com

A two-step method to make microglia
Nature.com
Microglia have been reported in some disease models to have beneficial effects; however, research into their potential as a cell therapy is limited by the lack of means to produce readily grafted, autologous microglial cells. Now, in Nature

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Ageing is a disease. Gene therapy could be the ‘cure’ – Wired.co.uk

Leon Csernohlavek

In September 2015, Elizabeth Parrish flew from Seattle to Colombia to receive an experimental treatment.

She had spent more than two years studying literature, talking to experts, and had decided to undergo gene therapy a treatment for genetic disorders that adds genes into cells to replace those that are faulty or absent. She ordered the therapeutic cells months in advance and arranged for a technician to administer the therapy in a clean room within a short distance of a hospital, in case she suffered a bad immune response. The gene therapy was shipped in a closed container and administered via an IV over approximately five hours. Parrish remained under observation for a few days and then flew home.

Was I anxious afterwards? Yes, Parrish says. I was definitely looking for indications that anything was wrong with my body. I was acutely aware of every ache and pain. She had become the first person to subject herself to gene therapy for the disease that affected her. Her condition? Ageing.

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In January 2013, Liz Parrish son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Every few days, he would have some devastatingly low blood sugar levels, Parrish says. I was continually reminded that we as humans spend a lot of time trying to pretend as if our death is not eminent. She remembers being told that her son was lucky because diabetes was treatable. I was really hit hard by the time I spent in children’s’ hospitals, Parrish says. She had read about the promises of modern medicine, in particular, gene therapy. I began trying to figure out why nothing was translating to hospitals where kids were dying.

Parrish began attending medical conferences on her own. I found this conference in Cambridge that looked to be about genetics, Parrish says. It turned out to be about longevity. There she learned how gene modifications had already extended the normal lifespan of worms up to 11 times and of mice by five times. It made me realise that if ageing was a disease and everyone was suffering from an illness, the fastest way to fund this research would be to essentially educate the world that was the case and get them to put money behind finding a cure, Parrish says.

At that point, Parrish, who up until then had been working part-time for software companies, started her own company, BioViva, to expedite therapeutics and give access to patients. Why did so many patients have to wait, suffer and die? Parrish asks. We became so risk adverse that patients die waiting for treatment. We have to change that drastically. We have millions of terminally ill patients on the planet right now. These patients should have access to the most promising therapeutics that don’t have a myriad of off-target effects. There is no artificial intelligence or meta analysis of these therapies that is going to replace what happens in the human body. And we let people die because we’re so concerned that a therapy might kill them. This is lawyering at its absolute worst.

Parrish then made another decision: she was going to try the first therapy on herself. I believed it was the most responsible and ethical thing to do. I believed the company should take its own medicine first before moving onto patients.

Parrish tried two therapies. One was a myostatin inhibitor, a drug designed to increase muscle mass, and the second was telomerase therapy, which lengthens the telomeres, a part of the chromosomes that protect genetic material from damage and allows the replication of DNA. Lengthening the telomeres can, at least in theory, extend cellular lifespan and make cells more resilient to damage.

The telomerase therapy had reversed ageing and extended lifespan in mice, Parrish says. I assumed this was the most promising therapy ever, and it was just sitting in research and wasn’t moving forward as a viable option due to what appeared to be patenting issues and a lot of academics sitting on the fence bickering. We will never know unless we get it in humans. It’s almost a moot point to try to continue to argue whether it works or not if we never use it. Its just like lemmings walking off the cliff, waiting for someone else to solve the problems.

A few weeks after the treatment, Parrish undertook follow-up exams, conducted by independent third parties. Her telomeres in her white blood cells had lengthened by more than 600 base pairs which, according to Parrish, implies they had extended by the equivalent of 20 years. A full-body MRI imaging revealed an increase in muscle mass and reduction in intramuscular fat. Other tests indicate Parrish now has improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation levels.

The company was built essentially to prove these therapies work or not, Parrish says. Remember BioViva is not a research organisation. We are taking things like gene therapies and using them like technology. We would like to create an open market where people have access to acquiring these technologies, much like you would acquire a cellphone or a computer.

Further tests are being conducted at George Churchs lab in Harvard. Parrish and her team are currently working with other hospital clinics around the world to conduct more safety and feasibility studies in human subjects. I had already put things into perspective that without medicine, my son would be dead and he really was the meaning of my life, Parrish says. I was a person who quite honestly felt I had not really contributed that much to society and this was my opportunity to do so.

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Gene therapy: What personalized medicine means for you – CNET – CNET

Thuy Truong thought her aching back was just a pulled muscle from working out. But then came a high fever that wouldn’t go away during a visit to Vietnam. When a friend insisted Truong, 30, go to an emergency room, doctors told her the last thing she expected to hear: She had lung cancer. Back in Los Angeles, Truong learned the cancer was at stage 4 and she had about eight months to live.

“My whole world was flipped upside down,” says Truong, who had been splitting her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Asia for a new project after selling her startup. “I’ve been a successful entrepreneur, but I’m not married. I don’t have kids yet. [The diagnosis] was devastating.”

Doctors at the University of Southern California took a blood sample for genetic testing. The “liquid biopsy” was able to detect tumor cells in her blood, sparing her the risky procedure of collecting cells in her lungs.

Genetic sequencing allowed the lab to isolate the mutation that caused her cancer to produce too much of the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) protein, triggering cancer cells to grow and proliferate. Fortunately, her type of mutation responds to EGFR-targeting drugs, such as Tarceva or Iressa, slowing tumor growth.

Personalized medicine uses genetic information to design treatments targeted to individual patients.

Unlike chemotherapy, which blasts all fast-growing cells in its wake, targeted treatments go after specific molecules. That makes them more effective at fighting particular types of cancers, including breast, colorectal and lung cancers. Now the approach is being expanded to fight an even broader range of cancers. It’s all part of a new wave in health care called personalized, or precision, medicine.

“This is the future of medicine,” says Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli, associate director for translational research and precision medicine at Northwestern University. “There is no turning back. The technology is available and there are already so many targeted therapies.”

Most medical treatments have been designed for the average patient, leading to a one-size-fits-all approach. But with vast amounts of data at their disposal, researchers now can analyze information about our genes, our family histories and other health conditions to better understand which types of treatments work best for which segments of the population.

This is a big deal. But it requires the know-how of geneticists, biologists, experts in artificial intelligence and computer scientists who understand big-data analytics. Several startups have already begun this work.

Deep Genomics, founded by researchers at the University of Toronto, uses AI to predict how genetic mutations will change our cells and the impact those changes will have on the human body. Epinomics, co-founded by scientists and physicians from Stanford University, is building a map of what turns our genes on and off, giving physicians a guide they could use to craft personalized therapies. And Vitagene, a small San Francisco startup, provides personalized advice on nutrition and wellness based on your DNA.

Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli

Just like Facebook learns to automatically recognize Aunt Martha in your family photos, Deep Genomics finds and categorizes patterns in genetic data. Once it’s found those patterns, the company’s deep learning system can infer if and how changes to your DNA affect your body.

That’s a big step forward compared with current genetic tests. Most can only give a probability of, say, getting breast cancer based on data from an entire population. Other tests can’t even tell you if the genetic changes they’ve detected mean anything.

The work is personal for Brendan Frey, CEO and co-founder of Deep Genomics and a professor at the University of Toronto. Fourteen years ago, he and his wife discovered their unborn baby had a genetic condition.

“We knew there was a genetic problem, but our counselor couldn’t tell us if it was serious or if it was going to turn out to be nothing,” Frey says. “We were plunged into this very difficult, emotional situation.”

The experience made Frey want to bridge the divide between identifying genetic anomalies and understanding what they mean.

Deep learning or machine learning — when computers teach themselves as they see more data — can also help doctors know which drugs will most effectively treat a patient’s illness and whether that person is more likely to experience side effects.

It can also help predict how cancer cells will mutate. And that can help drug companies come up with new treatments as tumor cells change and patients no longer respond to the drugs that worked.

That could help turn a disease like cancer into a manageable chronic ailment, says Cristofanilli.

Where Deep Genomics analyzes patterns in genetic data to predict when mutations will make you sick, Epinomics looks at epigenomics, or the study of what turns our genes on and off.

The company describes it like this: If your genome, which shows what genes we have, is the hardware of our bodies, then the epigenome is its software programming. Epinomics aims to decode that programming.

Every cell in the body carries the same genetic code. But cells in the heart, brain, bone and skin function differently based on this programming. It happens because chemical markers attach to DNA to activate or silence genes. These markers, known as the epigenome, vary from one cell type to another and are affected by both nature (inheritance) and nurture, which can include the air we breathe and the food we eat.

Researchers think a disruption to the epigenome can cause illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes or cancer. Understanding it could give physicians a guide to the best options for each patient, like having a GPS for treatments at the molecular level.

“We are focusing on what is happening at the programming level of each cell,” says Epinomics co-founder Fergus Chan. “Once we understand how genes are being turned on and off, we’ll be able to better predict which treatments will work or whether changes to lifestyle will have an impact on health.”

When Vitagene co-founder and CEO Mehdi Maghsoodnia asked a doctor what vitamins he should be taking, he was handed a bottle of pills and told to hope for the best.

Fergus Chan

That was the beginning of Vitagene, which uses genetic data and other health information culled from a detailed questionnaire to deliver a personalized nutritional supplement plan that lists which vitamins you need and in what doses, as well as what to avoid.

Maghsoodnia offers an alternative to the one-size-fits-all $27 billion US dietary supplement industry. Customers pay $99 to have their DNA tested and blood analyzed. And for $69 a month, Vitagene will package and ship supplements in dosages tailored to your individual needs.

The Food and Drug Administration estimates there are more than 85,000 dietary supplements on the US market, most of which are unregulated. Nearly all are “promising everything from anti-aging to weight loss, and no science behind it to tell you what works for you,” says Maghsoodnia. “We help filter through the noise.”

Vitagene’s algorithm has been tested on patients who’ve had bariatric surgery for weight loss, which often leaves them deprived of key nutrients. Vitagene helped develop a supplement regimen to get these patients the nutrition they need after surgery.

Precision medicine is in its early days.

This is especially true for psychiatry and its exploration of how the brain responds to the environment, stress and genetic disorders. Now several companies are selling tests to help psychiatrists select drug treatments by looking at patients’ DNA mutations and their metabolizing rate.

See more from CNET Magazine.

But critics caution that these genetic tests may be overselling their capabilities.

“Precision medicine has been very promising in oncology,” says Jose de Leon, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Kentucky who specializes in psychopharmacology. “But we know a lot more about cancer and how it works. In psychiatry, it’s much harder because we don’t know enough about how the brain works.”

Yes, precision medicine holds enormous promise.

Even so, Northwestern’s Cristofanilli cautions clinicians to stay grounded in reality. “It can be difficult to understand where reality becomes imagination,” he says. “We want to make sure we are protecting patients from claims that we may not deliver.”

For her part, Truong is grateful to benefit from the work that’s already been done. “I’m an engineer,” she says.

“I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in science.”

This story appears in the spring 2017 edition of CNET Magazine. For other magazine stories, click here.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech stuff is cool.

Life, disrupted: In Europe, millions of refugees are still searching for a safe place to settle. Tech should be part of the solution. But is it? CNET investigates.

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Deepak Chopra speculates about Trump’s brain – USA TODAY

President Trump’s behavior has medical professionals, including Deepak Chopra, concerned about his mental health. USA TODAY

Deepak Chopra tweeted that President Donald Trump should be tested for psychiatric and neurological disorders.(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images)

Does the nation need to know more about President Trumps brain?

Alternative medicine promotor Deepak Chopra is the latest medical professional to suggest we do.In a series of tweets late Monday theday FBI director James Comey shot down the presidents unfounded but continuing claims about wiretapping at Trump Tower Chopra asked Trumpto please submit to a psychiatric and neurological evaluation to restore our confidence.

Chopra, who trained as an endocrinologist (a hormone specialist), not a psychiatrist or neurologist, also suggested that a form of dementia, a brain disease that affects behavior and thinking, should be ruled in or ruled out, for the safety of the world.

For the record, Trumps longtime personal physician Harold Bornstein recently told the health news site Statthat while Trump carries some extra pounds, theres nothing seriously wrong with him. In two letters issued during the campaign, Bornstein also said Trump, 70, was in fine physical health. Bornstein also told The New York Times he probably would not screen Trump for dementia if he became White House physician (so far, he has not).

That has not stopped speculation, especially about Trumps mental health. Suchspeculation, at least by psychiatrists, has been officially discouraged by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Earlier this month, the group updated its longstanding ethics policy against opiningonthe mental health of politicians or other public figures. The policy is called the Goldwater Rule, after 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and was created after manypsychiatrists participated in a magazine survey about Goldwaters mentalfitness.

The rule is based partly on the belief that psychiatrists should not diagnose unconsenting people they have not examined. But it also reflects concerns that equating mental healthwith fitness for certain jobs stigmatizes people with mental illness, said Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and consultant to the APAs ethics committee.

The public doesnt really need psychiatrists to reach conclusions, about whether politicians should stay in office, she added.

Despite the policy, 35 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers signed a letter to the Timesin February saying Trumps speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. They said this grave emotional instability made him incapable of serving safely as president. The letter did not suggest any diagnosis for Trump.

In a separate letter to the Times, Allen Frances, apsychiatry professor emeritusat Duke University School of Medicine, took a different view. He wrote that Trump may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesnt make him mentally ill. Francis said that associating Trump’s behavior with mental illness is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill.

As to whether Trump should undergo the kind of testing Chopra suggests, some experts think all modern presidents should. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told NPR: “I think we’re about 50 years overdue for having some sort of annual physical for the president and vice president, the results of which should be reported publicly. Part of this should be psychiatric and cognitive testing.”

But thats different from suggesting that public concerns generated by a presidents TV appearances and social media posts should trigger psychiatric testing, Weintraub Brendel said. That, she said, would be a political misuse of psychiatry.

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Dr. Art Mollen: Finding a silver bullet for weight loss – AZCentral.com

Dr. Art Mollen, Special for The Republic | azcentral.com 5:04 a.m. MT March 21, 2017

Dr. Art Mollen started tje 3TV Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon 40 years ago. In 2011 he created the Arizona Runners Hall of Fame to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to running in Arizona.(Photo: Richard Buchbinder)

Many people are looking for the silver bullet to weight loss.In fact, for some people, it may be a good idea. However, most doctors only prescribe themif your body mass index is above 30 or at least 27 and you also have diabetes or high blood pressure.

The most common prescription weight loss drugs include Orlistat, Contrave, Belviq, Saxenda and Qsymia. In the past the most common prescription weight loss drugs were amphetamines, which had the potential for addiction and abuse.

The most important consideration before taking medications for weight loss is to evaluate your medical history for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and a compromised immune system, all of which could be affected. Even natural or herbal weight loss products can cause significant problems.

Orlistat also called Xenical, blocks your body from absorbing the fat that you consume and may cause side effects, including abdominal cramping and excess gas.

Contrave is a combination of naltrexone and wellbutrin. Naltrexone is also approved to treat alcohol and drug dependence. Wellbutrin is also approved to treat depression. Contrave works on the brains thermostat, which controls appetite, temperature and how the body burns energy signaling the brain to reduce food intake.

Belviq works by suppressing your appetite. However, some common side effects, include headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

Saxenda is the same drug as Victoza used to treat diabetes. It helps diabetics by mimicking a hormone in the intestines and tells the brain that the stomach is full. The side effects include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Phentermine is an amphetamine and combined with Topamax, an anticonvulsant drug in a medication called Qysmia. It makes you feel full, suppresses appetite and speeds metabolism, however, it can raise blood pressure, cause heart palpitations and insomnia. It is a controlled substance and potentially addictive.

All of these medications have a caveat which is, if you do not lose at least 5 percentof your body weight after 12 weeks of taking it, you should discontinue the medication.

These weight loss drugs must be monitored by a physician and are indicated to be taken in conjunction with exercise and fewer calories.If the medication galvanizes you to exercise and eat differently, that may be a good idea.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out that the best prescription weight loss drug is the one that works for you.Qsymia and Contrave were able to create about a 5 percentloss of body weight, which is 11-12 pounds and is considered to be the most effective.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to weight loss drugs as some people will simply respond to one drug better than another.At the end of the day there is no silver bullet to weight loss simply exercise, diet changes and lifestyle.

One last note as a practicing physician, I seldom prescribe these medications for my patients, not because they are ineffective, but because they are the antithesis of my personal philosophy for long-term weight control.

Dr. Art Mollen is an osteopathic family physician and a health, fitness and preventive medicine expert. Reach him at 480-656-0016 or askdrartmollen@gmail.com.

Dr. Art Mollen: All you need is love with a little bit of chocolate

Dr. Art Mollen: Peanut allergic reactions are serious

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Doctors Say Some May Be Suffering From ‘Male Menopause’ – CBS Pittsburgh / KDKA

March 20, 2017 6:30 PM

PITTSBURGH(CBS) It is the one thing that none of us can stop. Time marches on, even if our bodies dont quite keep up.

You know when youre not as alert, not as focused, not concentrating like you used to be, Paul Kozlicki, an former toy company executive who lives in Minnesota, said.

In his mid-60s, Kozlicki said he and his wife felt that clock ticking.

I wasnt as active, getting lazy, a little less productivity. Not getting things done, Kozlicki said.

For many men, its just part of getting older. Some doctors call it andropause or male menopause. With a woman, its clear when menopause begins. For men, its less clear. Its generally thought to be when testosterone levels gradually drop.

Isnt this just part of getting older?

It could be. But if theres a solution out there, why wouldnt you want to find it? Kozlicki said.

Dr. Mark Erhard is a cardiologist. He and his wife run a clinic in Wayzata specializing in bio-identical hormone replacement, treating men with what they consider to be abnormally low testosterone.

This is so under-diagnosed, Dr. Mark Erhard said, pointing to research suggesting that two in five men in their 60s have low testosterone.

Dr. Lisa Erhard is an OB/GYN who was doing hormone replacement on menopausal women. She said women would then ask her if she could do anything to help their husbands, who had become grumpier old men.

To have a patient come back and say, I feel like myself again, thats wonderful, she said.

Theres no debate that as men turn 40, testosterone levels start to fall. The question is whether lower levels of testosterone affect things other than sexual desire and activity.

Drug companies like the makers of AndroGel and Axiron argue that testosterone can solve a lot of problems. Perhaps youve seen commercials for topical sprays or gels to fight Low T.

Kozlickis search for answers led him to the Erhards Wayzata clinic. He was given a male hormone health questionnaire with 30 questions, including: Is sex less satisfying? Are you easily annoyed? Is your thinking not as sharp?

Patients with enough yes answers are given blood tests, and Kozlicki tested with what Mark Erhard considered to be a low level of testosterone.

Below the range I should be in for my age group, Kozlicki said, characterizing his level.

Kozlicki had six of tiny bio-identical testosterone pellets implanted beneath the skin near his behind, which he said he didnt feel at all. But he felt the results within a week.

It changes their lives, Mark Erhard said. Ive warned some guys. Are you ready for the change? Youll have energy youve not felt in 25 years. Youll see life differently.

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Kozlicki said his quality of life was good before testosterone therapy and great after.

I literally had a great night sleep. Im jumping out of bed in the morning, he said.

Test results confirmed the pellets had more than tripled his testosterone levels.

But testosterone therapy is relatively new, and the data on whether it works on more than just low libido is mixed. The possible upside is big for men looking to keep their edge, maybe even a larger upside financially for drug makers.

This is an area of interest, absolutely. Its a huge question, Dr. Bruce Redmon, an endocrinologist at the University of Minnesota who specializes in male reproductive and sexual function, said. I think a lot of the better science would question how many of those benefits are real.

The University of Minnesota is part of a large new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 50,000men older than 65 were screened for low testosterone, but only 800 tested low enough to be included.

Of the 700 who completed the year in the study, the half put on testosterone gels had better sexual desire and activity, they reported walking more strongly too.

Men who received testosterone reported better sexual function, including activity, desire, and erectile function, than those who received placebo, researchers said.

But testosterone did not improve focus, change sleep, or lead to walking longer distances.

However, testosterone was associated with small but significant benefits with respect to mood and depressive symptoms. Men in the testosterone group were also more likely than those in the placebo group to report that their energy was better, researchers reported.

Because only men older than 65 were tested, and for just one year, researchers recommended larger and longer trials. The only large study so far is from the Kansas City VA Medical Center, looking at medical records of tens of thousands of veterans. It found a strong relationship between treating low testosterone and a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, [heart attack], and stroke.

Which begs the question: Why are people so happy with their results after paying for treatment?

There may be a placebo effect in some cases, Redmon said.

On the other hand, Mark Erhard says he sees the results in his patients.

You optimize a testosterone level, you dont see a placebo. Thats why more than 90 percent who start this therapy stay with this therapy, he said.

Kozlicki says he, without a doubt, is a believer. He says taking testosterone pellets has turned back the clock.

I used to walk one mile a day, now Im walking six. I found myself more active, more alert, focused. And just getting more things done, he said. It works. I feel like Im 30. Everything improved. My whole life improved dramatically.

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5 Myths About Egg Freezing – Health.com

Three former BachelorcontestantsKaitlyn Bristowe, Carly Waddell, and Andi Dorfmanreunited in Chicago last week to promote boutique egg-freezing clinic Ova, where pal (and Bachelor winner)Whitney Bischoff works as a nurse.Waddell froze her eggs one year ago at Ova, and Bristoweis going through the process now.

Both women have talked about their experience on social media, and the sense of relief it has brought. In a post on Instagram,Waddell called egg-freezing “the best backup plan.”And BachelorettestarBristowe wrote on Twitter that it has put her mind at ease: “I’m taking control of my future!”

But the decision to freeze your eggsisn’tas simple as it mightseem. To learn more, we spoke withBrooke Hodes-Wertz, MD,assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. She walked us through some of the common misconceptions about the procedure, and what women need to know before they call a fertility clinic.

It’sactually best to freeze your eggs before you turn 35, says Dr. Hodes-Wertz. Fertility rates gradually decline as we get older, she explains, so you have a higher chance of success if you freeze your eggs at a younger age.Some women in their 20sarent really thinking about when they want to have kids, so it tends to be most beneficial for women in their early 30s,” she says.”Maybe they havent settled down yet, but theyre thinking about it and their eggs are still good.

This is one of the biggest myths about egg freezing.”Its not as easy or straightforward as people make it out to be, says Dr. Hodes-Wertz. “It’s very time consuming.”

First, youll meet with a physician to go over your medical history. You’ll also geta blood test and abaseline ultrasound. You may need to go off birth control a month before the process begins.

Then you will give yourself hormone injectionstwo to three times a day. At least every other day, you’ll return to your doctor’s office for more ultrasounds. After about two weeks, depending on your body’s response to the hormones, you will undergothe egg retrieval process. While you’re sedated, your doctor will insert a long needle into yourvagina to pull out the eggs.

At Dr. Hodes-Wertz’s clinic, about 20% of patients end up doing a second round of egg retrieval, since a greater number of eggs raises the chances of getting pregnant.

RELATED: 9 Things Every Woman Must Know About Her Fertility

The week after can be really uncomfortable, says Dr. Hodes-Wertz. The ovaries are very swollen, and you can feel really bloated and full. Most doctors recommend avoiding exercise during this time,she adds, sincethe swollen ovaries cantwist and cutoff their own blood supply.

Its not typical for most insurance providers to cover any part of egg freezing. And it can be pretty expensive. Dr. Hodes-Wertz says to expect a bill somewhere between $9,000 and $15,000 for the injectionsand procedure, plusabout $1,000 per year to keep the eggs frozen. Some centers do this exclusively and they offer much more economical rates, but its still expensive, she adds.

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At most clinics, about40% of procedures result in a live birth, says Dr. Hodes-Wertz.A lot of steps can go wrong,”she explains. “Not all the eggs are going to survive the thaw. Not all of them will be healthy eggs, take fertilization, or grow in culture.

And not all clinics are created equal. Dr. Hodes-Wertz encourages women to research a clinic’ssuccess ratebefore they move forward with the procedure.Some clinics are more experienced than others, and you want to make sure you pick a place that has a lot of experience with thawing [eggs]out, she says.

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Thyroid cancer: treatment and prognosis – Medical Xpress

March 21, 2017 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

Dear Mayo Clinic: How is thyroid cancer treated? Does it always require taking out the thyroid? When is iodine treatment used, and how does that work?

A: Treatment for thyroid cancer usually involves removing all or part of the thyroid gland. In cases where thyroid cancer is advanced or aggressive, radioactive iodine treatment may be recommended after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that couldn’t be removed during surgery. For very small papillary thyroid cancers (less than 1 centimeter in diameter and completely confined to the thyroid on ultrasound examination), it may be reasonable to avoid surgery and monitor them periodically without treatment. This is termed “surveillance” and requires annual imaging of the thyroid with high-quality ultrasound. These small thyroid cancers are low risk for progression, especially in persons over 60.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the midline of your neck, about halfway between your Adam’s apple and your breastbone. Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine, or T4, and triiodothyronine, or T3.

Thyroid hormones impact many cells within your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, affect the working of your nervous system, and influence your heart rate. Your thyroid gland also produces calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood.

Thyroid cancer is not common in the U.S. When it is found, though, most cases can be cured. Surgery to remove all or most of the thyroid – a procedure called a thyroidectomy – is often the first step in treatment.

Thyroidectomy typically involves making an incision in the center of the neck to access the thyroid gland directly. In addition to removing the thyroid, the surgeon may remove lymph nodes near the thyroid gland if the cancer is known or suspected to be spreading outside the thyroid. Then, those lymph nodes will be checked for cancer cells. An ultrasound exam of the neck before surgery can help doctors determine if lymph node removal is necessary.

When thyroid cancer is found in its earliest stage, and the cancer is very small, it may only be necessary to remove one side, or lobe, of the thyroid, and leave the rest in place. In that situation, the thyroid still can function and produce hormones.

When the entire thyroid is removed, lifelong thyroid hormone therapy is required to replace the thyroid’s natural hormones and regulate the body’s metabolism. In addition to supplying the missing hormone the thyroid normally makes, this medication also suppresses the pituitary gland’s production of thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH. That’s useful, because there’s a possibility that high TSH levels could foster the growth of any remaining cancer cells.

If thyroid cancer is found in its later stages, if it’s a more aggressive form of cancer, or if it is cancer that has come back after earlier treatment, then radioactive iodine therapy may be recommended after the thyroid has been removed.

Radioactive iodine comes in a capsule or liquid that’s swallowed. The therapy works because thyroid cells naturally absorb iodine. So when the medicine is taken up by any remaining thyroid cells or thyroid cancer, the radioactivity destroys those cells. Because the thyroid is the primary site where iodine is absorbed by the body, there’s a low risk of harming other cells with this treatment. Afterward, the radioactive iodine leaves the body through urine.

If thyroid cancer is not cured with a combination of surgery and radioactive iodine therapy, then chemotherapy, external radiation therapy or other treatment may be necessary. Fortunately, surgery cures most cases of thyroid cancer, and the long-term outlook after the procedure is usually excellent.

Explore further: ATA guidelines available as pocket cards, mobile apps

2017 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(HealthDay)Two additional quick-reference tools, which offer guidance on management of various thyroid disorders, have been launched by the American Thyroid Association.

Thyroid problems are five to eight times more likely to impact women than men. However, Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Ruchi Gaba cautions that any person, regardless of gender or age, can be affected by thyroid issues.

Dear Mayo Clinic: I have hypothyroidism and take medication for it. When researching online, I read that I should avoid kale and spinach. Is this true? I enjoy a kale or spinach smoothie almost daily and don’t want to give …

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists and doctors are embarking on the first-ever clinical trial to determine if a genetic test they pioneered could successfully spare patients with nonaggressive thyroid …

Levels of thyroid hormone in babies influence insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas, according to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology.

The incidence of thyroid cancer has tripled in the past three decades, yet the reason for this is not clear. Dr. David Goldenberg, chief of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical …

Discovery of the BRCA genetic mutation in the mid-90s represented a breakthrough in breast and ovarian cancer prevention. About 5-10% of breast cancer cases and 10-18% of ovarian cancer cases can be attributed to two BRCA …

Faced with the negative quality-of-life effects from surgery and radiation treatments for prostate cancer, low risk patients may instead want to consider active surveillance with their physician, according to a study released …

A large, new study of adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) correlates 80 cancer-related gene mutations with five subtypes of AML, which are defined by the presence of specific chromosomal abnormalities. The findings might …

Scientists identify two signaling proteins in cancer cells that make them resistant to chemotherapy, and show that blocking the proteins along with chemotherapy eliminate human leukemia in mouse models.

Genetic mutations that cause cancer also weaken cancer cells, creating an opportunity for researchers to develop drugs that will selectively kill them, while sparing normal cells. This concept is called “synthetic lethality” …

Combining single-cell genomics and computational techniques, a research team including Paul Robson, Ph.D., director of single-cell biology at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), has defined cell-type composition of cancerous cells …

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‘Beating’ Heart Created from Stem Cells – Technology Networks

Scientists at The University of Queensland have taken a significant step forward in cardiac disease research by creating a functional beating human heart muscle from stem cells.

Dr James Hudson and Dr Enzo Porrello from the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences collaborated with German researchers to create models of human heart tissue in the laboratory so they can study cardiac biology and diseases in a dish.

The patented technology enables us to now perform experiments on human heart tissue in the lab, Dr Hudson said.

This provides scientists with viable, functioning human heart muscle to work on, to model disease, screen new drugs and investigate heart repair.

The UQ Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory co-leaders have also extended this research and shown that the immature tissues have the capacity to regenerate following injury.

In the laboratory we used dry ice to kill part of the tissue while leaving the surrounding muscle healthy and viable, Dr Hudson said.

We found those tissues fully recovered because they were immature and the cells could regenerate in contrast to what happens normally in the adult heart where you get a dead patch.

Our goal is to use this model to potentially find new therapeutic targets to enhance or induce cardiac regeneration in people with heart failure.

Studying regeneration of these damaged, immature cells will enable us to figure out the biochemical events behind this process.

Hopefully we can determine how to replicate this process in adult hearts for cardiovascular patients.

Each year, about 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack, with an average of about 23 deaths every day.

The UQ research has been supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the National Heart Foundation.

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO Stephen Vines said the charity was excited to fund such an important research project.

Heart attack survivors who have had permanent damage to their heart tissue are essentially trying to live on half an engine, Mr Vines said.

The research by Dr Hudson and Dr Porello will help unlock the key to regenerating damaged heart tissue, which will have a huge impact on the quality of life for heart attack survivors.

Dr Hudson and Dr Porello are deserved recipients of our highest national research accolade the Future Leader Fellowship Award.

Reference:

Tiburcy, M., Hudson, J. E., Balfanz, P., Schlick, S. F., Meyer, T., Liao, M. C., . . . Zimmermann, W. (2017). Defined Engineered Human Myocardium with Advanced Maturation for Applications in Heart Failure Modelling and Repair. Circulation. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.116.024145

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

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Stem Cells Seem Speedier in Space – Space Daily

Growing significant numbers of human stem cells in a short time could lead to new treatments for stroke and other health issues. Scientists are sending stem cells to the International Space Station to test whether these cells proliferate faster in microgravity without suffering any side effects.

Therapeutic uses require hundreds of millions of stem cells and currently no efficient way exists to produce such quantities. Previous research suggests that microgravity could help, and the space station is home to the nation’s only national lab in microgravity.

Some types of stem cells grow faster in simulated microgravity, according to Abba Zubair, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Zubair is principal investigator for the Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation, which is cultivating human stem cells aboard the space station for use in clinical trials back on Earth. He holds a doctor of medicine degree in transfusion medicine and cell therapy and a doctorate of philosophy in tumor immunology.

Human stem cells are cells that have not yet specialized in function and can divide into a spectrum of cell types, rejuvenating and repairing tissue throughout a person’s lifetime. Stem cells in every organ of the body, including skin and bones, maintain those organs and repair tissue by dividing and differentiating into specialized cells.

Harvesting a person’s stem cells and growing enough of them for use in therapies has proven difficult, though. Researchers have successfully grown mesenchymal stem cells, found in bone marrow, but growing sufficient quantities takes weeks. That could be too late for treatment of some conditions.

“Stem cells are inherently designed to remain at a constant number,” Zubair explains. “We need to grow them faster, but without changing their characteristics.”

The first phase of the investigation, he adds, is answering the question: “Do stem cells grow faster in space and can we grow them in such a manner that they are safe to use in patients?”

Investigators will examine the space-grown cells in an effort to understand the mechanism behind microgravity’s effects on them. The long-term goal is to learn how to mimic those effects and develop a safe and reliable way to produce stem cells in the quantities needed.

The second phase will involve testing clinical application of the cells in patients. Zubair has been studying treatment of stroke patients with lab-grown stem cells and plans to compare those results with use of the space-grown stem cells.

“What is unique about this investigation is that we are not only looking at the biology of the cells and how they grow, but focusing on application, how we can use them to treat patients,” he says.

The investigation expands existing knowledge of how microgravity affects stem cell growth and differentiation as well as advances future studies on how to produce large numbers of stem cells for treating stroke and other conditions.

The faster that happens, the better for those who could benefit from stem cell therapies.

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76 Javakhk Armenians Join ABMDR as Bone Marrow Donors … – Asbarez Armenian News

LOS ANGELESIn the course of March 3-4, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) held unprecedented community-outreach and donor-recruitment events throughout Javakhk, in Western Georgia, led by an ABMDR team from Yerevan.

The historic recruitment campaign, which took place in Armenian communities in Akhaltskha, Akhalkalak, and Ninotsminda, was organized with the assistance of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Javakhk, and the invaluable logistical support of Karine Tadevosyan, chairperson of the ARS Javakhk Region, and other local ARS members.

Throughout the recruitment and outreach events, ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan and Medical Director Mihran Nazaretyan delivered lectures and made presentations with regard to ABMDRs life-saving mission, to the great enthusiasm of hundreds of local Armenian-community members. Also addressing the community gatherings were Tadevosyan and other executive members of ARS Javakhk. By the conclusion of the recruitment campaign, 76 local Armenians had joined the ranks of ABMDR as potential bone marrow donors.

Words cannot describe our joy as we marvel at the support, excitement, and spirit of activism which our recruitment campaign was met with, in every single Javakhk community where we held events, said Dr. Frieda Jordan, President of ABMDR, and added, We convey our heartfelt gratitude to Karine Tadevosyan, all of her gracious ARS colleagues, other local community leaders, and the Armenian people of Javakhk as a whole, for joining our global family of bone marrow donors, toward our shared quest of saving lives.

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry

Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the registry has recruited over 28,000 donors in 42 countries across four continents, identified over 4,200 patients, and facilitated 27 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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Blinded by science: Women go blind after stem-cell treatment at Florida clinic – Palm Beach Post (blog)


Palm Beach Post (blog)
Blinded by science: Women go blind after stemcell treatment at Florida clinic
Palm Beach Post (blog)
In 2010, for example, a woman with the autoimmune disease lupus died after her own bone marrow cells were injected into her kidneys at a clinic in Thailand. In 2013, the Florida Department of Health revoked the medical license of Zannos Grekos over the …
Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow stem cellsMadison.com
Study shows stem cell therapy is safe for stroke patients; may aid …Medical Xpress
The Worst 'Healthcare': 'Stem Cell' Clinics Wrought with Red Flags, Insincerity and BlindnessAmerican Council on Science and Health
Medgadget (blog) –The Republic of East Vancouver
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Blinded by science: Women go blind after stem-cell treatment at Florida clinic – Palm Beach Post (blog)

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First patient cured of rare blood disorder – Science Daily


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First patient cured of rare blood disorder
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The transplant technique is unique, because it allows a donor's cells to gradually take over a patient's bone marrow without using toxic agents to eliminate a patient's cells prior to the transplant. … treatment options have been limited because they
Doctors cure first patient with rare blood disorderIANS

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First patient cured of rare blood disorder – Science Daily

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Barrow man inspired by Ulverston teen potentially saves a life – NW Evening Mail

THE story of Alice Pyne, the Ulverston teenager whose life-threatening blood cancer prompted a search for a bone marrow donor back in 2011, touched the lives of many people in Furness.

One such person was Josh Cain. Then a 17-year-old, he was one of thousands of people who signed up to the register run by the charity Anthony Nolan in the hope that he would be the match which might save her life.

Even when Alice was told that her Hodgkins lymphoma had become terminal, meaning no further treatment would help her, she continued to campaign to get more people to sign up to be bone marrow, or stem cell, donors.

And it is a testament to her inspiring spirit that, four years after Alices death, Josh, of Meadowlands Avenue, Barrow, has potentially saved the life of another person.

I saw on Facebook that Alice was looking for a donor, and then it was on her bucket list. I wanted to help, so I went and did it online, says Josh, 25, a BAE Systems worker.

When his “spit kit” arrived, Josh completed it, popped the prepaid envelope in the postbox and didnt hear anything until an email from Anthony Nolan landed in his inbox around one year ago.

It said that I was a potential match for someone and asked me to do a blood test, he adds.

When a total of 10 vials arrived, Josh might have been forgiven for feeling a little daunted. Far from it, says the modest young lad, who maintains that his overriding emotion has been “excited” since day one.

After sending off his blood, however, Anthony Nolan informed him that the procedure had been put off because his match was not healthy enough. Theyd be back in touch if he was needed. Josh carried on, waiting and wondering about the fate of the patient.

Three weeks ago, everything changed. Josh received a call to say the procedure was going ahead, triggering a rapid sequence of events.

Anthony Nolan sent me everything I needed to know, and all my expenses were covered by the charity, he explains.

As Josh learned, there are two procedures which donors can complete – a bone marrow donation, which involves an operation, or through peripheral blood stem cell donation. In around 90 per cent of cases, including Josh, its the latter.

Before a person can receive a donation of blood stem cells from a suitable donor, they will be given high dosages of chemotherapy, and possibly radiation therapy in order to completely destroy all the diseased cells in their body. They can often be an hour away from death; the reason that, once the go-ahead is given, everything is done at an accelerated pace.

First came a medical in London. A few days later, Josh was put on a course of four growth hormones which involved a nurse visiting his house and administering injections designed to create an excess of stem cells which multiply into the bloodstream.

Days later he was in the London Clinic hospital where the stem cells were extracted from one arm, and his blood returned to the other.

He spent four hours in a bed with his proud girlfriend Claudia Little, 20, at his side. An overnight stay to ensure the hospital had enough cells followed.

They warn you about all the side effects and they are always asking if youre OK, they want to prepare you as much as possible, said Josh.

I wasnt really fazed by any of it, Im not squeamish at all and I was just excited that I could be helping someone. I feel proud to have done it.

As for side effects, he says, they have been few and far between.

Ive felt a bit of fatigue but not a lot other than that, says Josh, who has been supported by BAE Systems throughout the process.

All the charity will say at this stage is that the recipient is an adult male and he can send a card anonymously through the charity. In two years’ time, he can find out whether the procedure worked – and the recipient can choose to get in touch.

You only know a rough age and gender. I decided I wanted to know if it is a success, but I want to send a card either way, said Josh.

Witnessing the work of Anthony Nolan first hand has inspired Josh to raise awareness and funds for the charity. The only criteria for donors is that theyre healthy, and aged between 16 and 30.

It is particularly keen to get healthy young men like Josh on the list. At the moment, they only make up 15 per cent of those signed up, and last year a YouGov survey found that 34 per cent of young men who wouldnt sign up as a stem cell donor were just too scared that the experience would be painful.

Which is why Josh is starting by sharing his own experience. And his message to those who arent on the register?

He said: Definitely do it, even if youre a bit scared of needles.

Whatever you have to do when youre donating, its absolutely nothing compared to what people with blood cancer are going through.

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Barrow man inspired by Ulverston teen potentially saves a life – NW Evening Mail

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Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – La Crosse Tribune

To grow clusters of human stem cells that mimic organs in the lab and might be used someday in tissue implants, Bill Murphy, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, creates tiny scaffolds made of plastic or rubber.

The three-dimensional scaffolds must support the cells and feed them, help them organize and allow them to communicate.

One spring day in 2014, Murphy looked out his office window near UW Hospital, onto the universitys Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and saw a structure that does those very things naturally: plants specifically, cellulose, the main component of the cell walls of green plants.

Now, Murphy and Gianluca Fontana, a UW-Madison post-doctoral fellow with help from Olbrich Botanical Gardens have grown skin, brain, bone marrow and blood vessel cells on cellulose from plants such as parsley, spinach, vanilla and bamboo.

Plants could be an alternative to artificial scaffolds for growing stem cells, the researchers reported Monday in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Rather than having to manufacture these devices using high-tech approaches, we could literally pick them off of a tree, said Murphy, co-director of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center.

The strength, porosity and large surface area of plants could prove superior to making scaffolds using current methods, such as 3-D printing and injection molding, Murphy said.

Plants have a huge capacity to grow cell populations, he said. They can deliver fluids very efficiently to their leaves … At the microscale, theyre very well organized.

In addition, there are many plants to chose from. After Murphys inspirational gaze out the window, he and Fontana tested plants as scaffolds for stem cells using varieties they could easily obtain: parsley, spinach, jewelweed, water horsetail, summer lilac and, from the UW Arboretum, softstem bulrush.

Then Fontana asked John Wirth, Olbrichs conservatory curator, about other species that might work. Wirth invited Fontana to walk through the tropical greenhouse and take samples back to his lab.

I had never had a request like this before; it made me look at plant material in a different way, Wirth said. I think its a fantastic way of using these pieces of living tissue, to grow human tissue.

Olbrich plants that proved useful include vanilla, bamboo, wasabi, elephant ear, zebra plant and various orchids.

To use plants as scaffolds, the scientists strip away all of the cells, leaving husks of cellulose. Since human cells have no affinity for plants, they add peptides as biological fasteners.

Theyre like grappling hooks for the cells to attach to the plant, Murphy said.

To determine if plant scaffolds could really replace those made of plastic or rubber, the researchers hope to test the cellulose models in animal studies this year.

A major goal of tissue engineering is to develop implants that could regenerate tissue in people to repair bone or muscle damage after traumatic injuries, for example.

It is likely the human body wouldnt reject tissue implants formed on plant scaffolds because the plant cells would be removed, Murphy said.

Were crossing kingdoms, he said. But were optimistic that these materials would be well-tolerated.

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Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – La Crosse Tribune

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Disruptive innovations – The News International

Neuroscientists at the Wisconsin-based Wicab Inc have developed a device called BrainPort that helps blind people see with their tongues. According to the late co-founder of the company, neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita, we see with our brains and not with our eyes, so it should be possible to develop devices that allow the blind to see.

BrainPort involves collecting visual data using a small digital camera that the blind person wears on a pair of sunglasses. The digital optical signals are then converted by a central processing unit (CPU) about the size of a cell phone that the blind person carries in his/her pocket into electrical signals, simulating and replacing the function of the retina. The CPU then sends the signals to sensors on the surface of a lollipop-like device that the blind person carries in the mouth. The nerves on the tongue receive these signals and transmit them to the brain, thereby creating the images of the object being viewed. With a little learning, the user can distinguish between a knife and a fork on the dining table and read letters and numbers and decipher them on the buttons in an elevator.

The device originally announced in 2009 has been tested extensively at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centres UPMC Eye Centre and is now commercially available. In a subsequent development, the images can be transferred to the brain by an arm band through the nervous system in the arms. This avoids the use of lollipop devices.

Another way to restore vision for the blind has been developed by Prof. Michael Beauchamp at the University of Texas. He is exploring the possibility of electrically stimulating the visual cortex of the brain by means of electrical implants. He also believes that we see not with our eyes but with our brains and if electrical images generated from the visual objects can be transferred to the correct region of the brain, vision can be restored. About 10 percent of the blind people experience vivid hallucinations. This is attributed to the hyperactivity of the visual cortex of the brain and the images produced can be seen in exquisite detail. It is envisaged that a webcam fitted on the glasses of the blind person could be connected to an implant in the brain to restore vision.

The ability to record brain activity while seeing an image, and then play it back to reconstruct that image has been a matter of pure science fiction until now. Scientists working at the University of California, Berkeley, have succeeded in reconstructing visual images after recording the brain activity of people watching movie trailers. The scientists were able to see what peoples brains were seeing. They used a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner to record the flow of blood in certain parts of the brain. Using powerful computing techniques, it was possible to correlate the visual images with corresponding brain activities. This allowed the images to be reconstructed. The researchers hope to eventually read the thoughts of patients in a coma or those suffering from a paralysis after a stroke. They can even apply these techniques on spies who are trying to hide information. Researchers have now also succeeded in reconstructing words by detecting peoples corresponding brain activity.

Another area of intense research activity is that of regenerative medicine that involves the growth of human cells and tissues. Indeed stem cell therapy is heralding the advent of a revolution in medicine to repair damaged kidney and heart cells and to treat diabetes and other diseases. Stem cells can be differentiated into different types of specialised cells (heart, kidney, pancreas etc). Adult stem cell therapies have been used for a long time to treat leukaemia and other cancers by bone marrow transplants.

Now a special bandage, seeded with stem cells, has been developed by scientists at the Bristol University in the UK to repair cartilage tears that are otherwise difficult to heal. The bone marrow is extracted from the hip of the patient with a needle. Stem cells are obtained from it and multiplied separately before being embedded into a special membrane/bandage which is inserted into the torn cartilage. The stem cells present on the membrane are expected to help the healing process. The procedure can help repair meniscus tears that are particularly common in athletes.

Ink jet printers are commonly used for printing documents. An astounding breakthrough has been made by doctors at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in the US where a device that resembles an ink jet printer can be used to spray new skin cells on to burn wounds. This method results in rapid healing and can eventually replace the need for having skin grafts. The device resembles a colour ink jet printer and comprises a tank that contains skin cells, stem cells and nutrients. These are sprayed by a computer controlled nozzle directly on to the burnt area. In animal experiments, the wounds in mice were fully healed within two weeks using this technique compared to the five-week period that skin graft procedures took. The ink jet printer method also showed less scarring and better hair regeneration. The technology is being employed by the US army to print-shut bullet wounds and blast damage.

Magicians have been practising the art of making objects disappear for centuries. Now, science can take on that role. In 2006, Prof. John Pendry and his colleagues proposed the design of a cloak that could steer light around an object, making it invisible. Soon thereafter Dr David Smith at Duke University made a cloaking device that used certain metamaterials that had unusual electromagnetic properties. The invisible threads of these metamaterials are made of components smaller than the wavelength of light. This allows them to bend light waves and impart optical properties that are not present in normal substances. Computer models indicate that such threads should not be thicker than a micrometre. When these carpet cloaks are placed over an object, the object becomes invisible.

The technology has applications in defence: it may allow soldiers, weapons, warships and planes to appear invisible. Harry Potters cloak of invisibility is fast becoming a reality. Invisible armies, ships, planes and submarines cloaked by metamaterials seem like a possibility in the near future.

Countries investing in these cutting edge researches are making billions of dollars through such entrepreneurial ventures. If Pakistan is to prosper, we must give the highest national priority to education, science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This requires a visionary government that understands the critical role of a knowledge-based economy in the rapidly changing world of today.

The writer is chairman of UN ESCAP Committee on Science Technology & Innovation and former chairman of the HEC.

Email: [emailprotected]

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Disruptive innovations – The News International

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A Groundbreaking Stem Cell Treatment Just Prevented a Woman From Going Blind – Futurism

In Brief

Macular degeneration affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., and is the most common cause of vision loss. It is caused by the deterioration of the middle of the retina, called the macula. The macula focuses central vision and controls our ability to see objects in fine detail, read, recognize colors and faces, and drive a car. Until now, the disease has been considered incurable.

An octogenarian with the condition is now the first person to receivesuccessful treatmentwith induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The progression of the womans macular degenerationwas arrested by new retinal cells made in the lab.Unlike embryonic stem cells, iPS cells can be created from regular adult cells.In this case, the cells used to repair the damaged retina from macular degeneration came from the womansskin.

The team at Kobe, Japans RIKEN Laboratory for Retinal Regeneration, led by Masayo Takahashi, created iPS cells from the patients skin cells. Then, theyencouraged them to form cells to patch the retinal pigment epithelium. These cells help nourish and support the retina, allowing it to capture the light the eye needs to see.

Once the cells were transformed, the team used them to make a slither measuring 1 by 3 millimeters. This was the patch they used to replace the diseased tissue removed from the patients retina. Their aim was to stop the degeneration and save her sight. The results show that the procedure was technically a success: although her vision did not improve, the degeneration stopped.

A possible concern about this treatment, however, is that creating new tissues from stem cells could cause genetic mutations, which might in turnlead to cancer. While more research in this area and its possible applications is needed, in the case of the patient at RIKEN, therehave been no signs of cancer or any other complications.

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A Groundbreaking Stem Cell Treatment Just Prevented a Woman From Going Blind – Futurism

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Cryonics Experts Want to Freeze Human Blood Into Glass – Inverse

The ability to freeze things is our greatest weapon against the passage of time. To a frozen fish fillet or chicken nugget, physical aging is barely a threat: the cold protects them indefinitely against the hot degradation of bacterial death. Better still, when they are finally thawed, they are practically as good as new. Cryonics, a hypothetical science cited as a human preservation technique in sci-fi movies like Passengers and Austin Powers, is a proposition that our bodies, like meat, will be eternally preserved by turning them into ice.

The problem is, a frozen body isnt so easily defrosted.

Cryonics biggest obstacle is our physical composition. Two-thirds of the human body is water, which means that some 66 percent of the human bodys cells will turn into ice if its not frozen correctly. And ice, as anyone with a freezer knows, takes up more space than water in its liquid form. Theres no way our fragile cell walls and veins could contain waters rapid expansion, driven by the formation of crystal lattices of H2O, once our bodies are dropped into a freezer. If the point of cryonics (thats the process of freezing entire bodies; cryogenics is the study of biology at low temperatures as a whole) is to someday unfreeze a human, maintaining the bodys integrity is key. Thats why cryonics researchers put all of their efforts into perfecting a process that stops our fluids from freezing into ice, turning them instead to glass.

Unlike ice, glass contains no crystals that might fracture or stab the other contents in the liquid. The idea behind vitrification named for the French verb for converting things into glass, vitrifier is that the formation of ice crystals in our cells, which would inevitably puncture or deform the machinery inside them, can be prevented by adding the right types of antifreeze to our bodies. While we associate antifreeze with the blue stuff we put in cars in the winter, it really refers to any molecule that can be mixed into a solution with water to disrupt the crystal-forming process. It is a lot harder for water molecules to find each other and form a solid lattice when other, bigger molecules are getting in their way. In the same way a slushy alcoholic cocktail or a fruit sorbet never form a solid mass of ice because they contain substances other than water, the fluids in a body filled with antifreeze molecules or cryoprotectants will turn much more viscous, but never quite solid.

This phenomenon already happens in nature: certain species of frogs, for example, produce glycerol or glucose tiny, natural sugars that wedge between water molecules, keeping their fluids running, albeit slowly, at subzero temperatures. Scientists trying to make cryonics work have struggled to find substances that can do the same under even colder conditions without killing us. As of right now, options are limited: as a review of cryoprotectants in Rejuvenation Research noted in 2015, our best bets are on molecules like ethylene glycol and propylene glycol literally those used in cars and other known preservatives like methanol, formamide, and butanediol. All of these are pretty toxic, and especially so at high concentrations.

A person that undergoes cryonic preservation begins the vitrification process almost immediately after they are declared brain dead. As the body is rapidly cooled to a temperature just slightly above the freezing point, the heartbeat and respiration are artificially maintained as heparin is injected to prevent coagulation and cryoprotectants are perfused into the body. When vitrification is complete full glassiness occurs at around 196C, according to a 2015 report in the journal Neuroethics the body is then fully submerged in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of 196C.

Then, we wait.

Tests on frozen organs have shown that cryonic freezing with cryoprotectants works to a certain extent, depending on the organ, but damage still results from the toxicity of the antifreeze or from errant ice crystals that manage to form.

Despite these setbacks, cryonics companies like the Cryonics Foundation and the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which just froze its 148th patient in August 2015, are already using techniques like vitrification in the hopes that future researchers will have figured out how to bring bodies back to life. Only time will tell if this experimental technique actually works.

Photos via Passengers

Yasmin is a writer and former biologist living in New York. A Toronto girl at heart, her writing also appears in The Last Magazine and SciArt in America. You might recognize her as a past host of Scientific American’s YouTube series.

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Cryonics Experts Want to Freeze Human Blood Into Glass – Inverse

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Testing the efficacy of new gene therapies more efficiently … – Science Daily

Testing the efficacy of new gene therapies more efficiently …
Science Daily
Using a new cellular model, innovative gene therapy approaches for the hereditary immunodeficiency Chronic Granulomatous Disease can be tested faster and …

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Testing the efficacy of new gene therapies more efficiently … – Science Daily

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Thymomas Trigger Newly Described Autoimmune Endocrine Disease – Oncology Nurse Advisor


Oncology Nurse Advisor
Thymomas Trigger Newly Described Autoimmune Endocrine Disease
Oncology Nurse Advisor
Thymomas, a rare type of cancer in the thymus gland, can result in a newly described autoimmune disease, potentially leading to hypopituitarism, according to a recent study in Scientific Reports. Understanding the underlying mechanisms could improve …

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Thymomas Trigger Newly Described Autoimmune Endocrine Disease – Oncology Nurse Advisor

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