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Dems defeat anti-choice bills – Pueblo Chieftain

In a House committee meeting that went past midnight Thursday, Democrats defeated three Republican-sponsored abortion bills, one of which would have criminalized abortion in most cases.

Democrats in the House Health, Insurance, & Environment Committee shot down the three bills, with Pueblo state Rep. Daneya Esgar, a Democrat asking two sponsors of the bills, Do either one of you believe this bill (House Bill 1108) is constitutional?

State Rep. Steve Humphrey answered, according to a Denver Post report, I believe the constitutionality of the Roe v. Wade decision is in big trouble.

Democrats said HB1108 echoes the personhood movement, which Colorado voters have rejected three times in general elections. The bill would have made it a felony for a physician to take an unborn life, defined as beginning at conception. It contains exceptions for cases in which a pregnant womans life is in danger.

Another rejected bill, HB1086, would have required abortion doctors to tell patients about a hormone-boosting pill that backers say can reverse an abortion in progress, as long as its taken before misoprostol, the second drug taken in the course of a chemically induced abortion.

Another measure, HB1085, would have imposed new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to file detailed annual reports with the state and submit to regular inspections. It also would have required that clinics have certain advanced medical equipment on hand, such as ultrasounds and resuscitation and life-support machines for infants.

In a press release, Republicans wrote, The outcome of todays votes is out of touch with the shifting public attitudes towards abortion, and in the four decades since the Roe v. Wade decision, scientific research has wholly disproved the long-held medical justifications for abortion.

Compiled by Peter Strescino from newspaper, wire and email sources.

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Colorado House panel rejects three GOP abortion bills – The Denver Post

Colorado House Democrats on Thursday beat backthree Republican-sponsoredabortion bills, the most restrictive of whichwould have made it a crime for a physician to perform anabortion in most cases.

The hearing stretched past midnight before the final bill was killed, with emotional testimony from dozens of people, including medical experts, activists on both sides and women who had had abortions and later regretted it.

The measures to impose new restrictions on abortion were debated a week after the Democrat-controlled House passed a resolution reaffirming its support for abortion rights in the state. None of the bills had much chance of passing, something abortion-rights advocatesreiteratedoften leading up to the vote.

These three bills are more of the old, tired attempts to interfere with womens health care, said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, a spokeswoman atPlanned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in a statement.

The first to be rejected, House Bill 1086, would have required abortion doctors to tell patients about a hormone-boosting pill that backers say can reverse an abortion in progress, as long as its taken before misoprostol, the second drug taken in the course of a chemically induced abortion.

In a 2012 case study involving six women, four reportedly gave birth after using the drug. But several medical experts who testified at the hearing likened the bill tothe state endorsingbogus science, sayingthere are no peer-reviewed scientific studies backing the drug, and a number of medical groupsdispute its effectiveness.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologistsdoesnt recommend its use, saying that simply not taking misoprostol is just as effective at preserving a pregnancy as the reversal drug.

Supporters of the billsaid it was vital that women considering an abortion were presented with all their options, while opponents decried what they called agovernment intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.

This is an information measure it allows (a woman who has an abortion) to understand that after the first pill, theres still a chance that the pregnancy is viable, said state Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, one of the measures sponsors. This is simply informing her of the potential options no more, no less.

Why would we legislate the care a doctor provides a patient? countered Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. politicians should stay out of the doctors office.

Another defeated measure, House Bill 1085, would have imposed new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to file detailed annual reports with the state and submit to regular inspections. It also would have required that clinics have certain advancedmedical equipment on hand, such as ultrasounds and resuscitation and life-supportmachines for infants.

Opponents likened it to a Texas law that was struck down by the Supreme Court for being too burdensome, forcing many abortion providers to close. Supporters disputed the comparison.

The third measure, House Bill 1108, echoes the personhood movement, which Colorado voters have rejected three timesat the ballot box.The bill would havemade it a felony for a physician to take an unborn life, defined as beginning at conception. It contains exceptions for cases in which a pregnant womanslife is in danger.

Democrats pointedly questioned the measures constitutionality, suggesting that passing the bill would subject the state to a costly legal challenge that it was likely to lose.

Do either one of you believe this bill is constitutional?State Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, at one point asked the bills two sponsors, Republican state Reps. Kim Ransom and Steve Humphrey.

Humphrey deflected the question, citing potential changes to the makeup of the Supreme Court: I believe the constitutionality of the Roe v. Wade decision is in big trouble.

If Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is confirmed, conservatives would likely still need at least another seat to hope for a reversal of the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. He would replace conservative Antonin Scalia, restoring the ideological split from much of the Obama era.

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Shed pounds to lower the risk – Times of India

Obesity is a serious problem across the world, with increasing risk of diabetes. Recently, there is change in the name of disease by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), as ABCD- adiposity-based chronic disease. This indicates harmful effects of fatty tissues in the body, and its chronicity.

Previous two decades had seen tripling of obesity in developing countries, those who adopted western lifestyle. Population of the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, India, and China are facing the greatest risk. As a result, the number of diabetic people in these countries are likely to increase from 84 million in 2000 to 228 million by 2030. Hence, in order to prevent the incidences of diabetes and other chronic diseases it is necessary to control obesity.

Modification of food, action in exercise, and reduction of at least 5% body weight decreases risk of diabetes by nearly 60%, following the same changes for around seven years decreases this risk by 40%. Benefits of weight loss in diabetes for glucose control are better in early diabetes stages than later. Thus, weight loss is essential and crucial step in managing diabetes. Although weight poses a burden on tissues, maintaining lost weight, bundled up with glucose levels, activity levels, will benefit in the long run.

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Nationwide Planned Parenthood protests energize patients, opponents – SFGate

Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

Heather Jacoby plays the piano with her 7-year-old daughter, Billie. Jacoby, who received lifesaving treatment at a Planned Parenthood facility, is upset by efforts to end federal funding for the organization.

Heather Jacoby plays the piano with her 7-year-old daughter, Billie. Jacoby, who received lifesaving treatment at a Planned Parenthood facility, is upset by efforts to end federal funding for the organization.

Heather Jacoby of Vacaville, shown with daughter Billie and dog Jazzie, says she was referred to Planned Parenthood by an emergency room doctor.

Heather Jacoby of Vacaville, shown with daughter Billie and dog Jazzie, says she was referred to Planned Parenthood by an emergency room doctor.

Nationwide Planned Parenthood protests energize patients, opponents

Damien Cox didnt have health insurance for most of his life. So when the transgender man began transitioning 11 years ago, he went to a Planned Parenthood clinic for hormone treatments.

Planned Parenthood isnt just a womans thing, said Cox, a 40-year-old Sunnyvale resident. Its a queer health issue and a trans health issue. It affects everybody.

Cox is among those voicing support for the nonprofit reproductive health organization at what could be a critical moment in its history. President Trump and his administration have threatened to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, because the services provided by the clinics include abortions.

On Saturday, the debate will crest with nationwide rallies including at clinics in San Francisco, Redwood City and Napa calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The whole issue would go away if they just didnt offer abortion services, said Monica Migliorino Miller, a Michigan resident who is part of a coalition of antiabortion groups that organized the demonstrations.

Supporters are planning counter-protests, arguing that a loss of funding would hurt an array of patients, and in particular low-income and minority communities. Planned Parenthoods services include prenatal care, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer and diabetes screenings and vaccinations.

In the fiscal year that ended in June 2015, Planned Parenthood received $553.7 million in Medicaid reimbursements and federal grant money, according to the groups latest annual report 43 percent of its total budget.

Under federal law, none of that money went toward abortion services, which make up 3 percent of all services provided, barring situations where a womans life was in danger or cases of incest and rape, said Gilda Gonzales, the interim chief executive of the organizations Northern California affiliate.

If the group was defunded, Gonzales said, 60 percent of Planned Parenthoods clientele would lose care provided under Medicaid and the Title X family planning program. The vast majority of patients in Northern California range from ages 20 to 35, are people of color and live below the poverty line, she said.

But opponents of abortion believe stripping all federal funding will help their cause. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27, said ending taxpayer abortions was a priority for the new administration.

At a GOP debate in Houston in February 2016, Trump pointed out that millions and millions of women cervical cancer, breast cancer are helped by Planned Parenthood. But he said, I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I dont know what percentage it is. They say its 3 percent. But I would defund it, because Im pro-life.

Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to introduce measures to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which Trump has pledged to sign.

While supporters of the group say the right to a safe abortion is critical, they are also working to bring more awareness to Planned Parenthoods other services. They include Nique Eagen, a 41-year-old Campbell resident, who will be among an expected 3,000 counter-protesters in San Jose.

For years, Eagen said she suffered through intense pain and nausea during her menstrual cycles, but didnt understand why.

I would get really, really sick, Eagen said. I was getting dehydrated. Id black out because I was losing too much blood.

After she lost her job in 2010, she sought care from Planned Parenthood and learned that the cause of her pain was ovarian cysts a problem that was solved by taking birth control, which keeps the cysts from growing, she said.

Heather Jacoby, a 31-year-old Vacaville resident, said she turned to Planned Parenthood when she ran out of other options.

Last summer, she was thrilled when she found out she was pregnant. But within weeks, she wound up in the emergency room due to severe pain, vomiting and blacking out. She had lost the baby and gone into septic shock.

I was carrying a dead fetus inside me for over six weeks. I felt hopeless, Jacoby said.

Jacoby didnt want an abortion but needed one to save her life. She had insurance, but said her primary care provider didnt immediately schedule the procedure. When she ended up in the emergency room, a doctor referred her to Planned Parenthood in Walnut Creek, she said.

I still remember the day because two of my good friends gave birth that day, Jacoby said. Before it started, I just started crying because this is the culmination of six weeks and I was so exhausted and I just remember the nurse (at Planned Parenthood) grabbed my hand and looked in my eyes and said, I got you.

Sarah Ravani is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @SarRavani

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Amphetamine use may ‘speed up’ heart aging – Medical News Today

Amphetamine abuse is increasing internationally. While common sides effects of the drug include increased heart rate, headache, stomach pain, and mood changes, little is known about the drug’s effect on the heart. Now, new research published in Heart Asia reports that using amphetamines recreationally may accelerate aging of the heart.

Recreational amphetamine, commonly known as “ice,” “speed,” and ecstasy, is a central nervous system stimulant. Amphetamine sends the part of the nervous system that functions to accelerate heart rate, constrict blood vessels, raise blood pressure, and produce the “fight or flight” hormone adrenaline, into overdrive.

Given the effect of amphetamine on heart rate, blood vessels, and blood pressure, the abuse of stimulants is likely to have a stressful effect on the cardiovascular system over time. However, there have previously been few studies that explore these processes.

It is known that prolonged stimulant use causes premature aging of the skin. Following on from this knowledge, researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) aimed to find out whether amphetamine use prematurely ages the heart.

Albert Stuart Reece, associate professor of medicine at UWA, and collaborators measured levels of blood flow through the brachial artery in the upper arm, as well as the radial artery in the forearm, of 713 study participants.

Arteries harden as the body ages, and so the researchers aimed to assess the degree of artery stiffening in order to determine how the heart was aging in this population. The participants were in their 30s and 40s and attending a clinic for substance misuse.

The team used a standard blood pressure cuff on the upper arm of participants and a noninvasive monitoring system, called SphygmoCor, on the forearm to gather data.

SphygmoCor uses software that can calculate the biological vascular age of a person by matching the age, sex, and height of an individual with the extent of arterial stiffening.

The participants were divided into four groups depending on their drug use. There were 483 people who did not smoke, 107 people who did, 68 individuals who used the heroin substitute methadone, and 55 users of amphetamine.

Of the 66 times that the amphetamine group was monitored with the SphygmoCor, 94 percent of individuals had used the drug within the previous week, and almost half of the people in the group had used it the day before.

Findings indicated that compared with the people who smoked and used methadone, the cardiovascular system of the amphetamine users appeared to be aging at a much quicker rate.

These results remained significant when other known cardiovascular risk factors – such as weight, cholesterol levels, and the inflammation indicator C-reactive protein – were taken into consideration.

As exposure to amphetamine is often repetitive and prolonged, the heart is exposed to the effects of the stimulant on a behavioral, chronic, and long-term basis. “It is, therefore, conceivable that stimulant abusers do physiological and cardiovascular harm,” says the team. They note that it is not clear to what extent the damage might be reversible.

The authors say that the results confirm their concerns that amphetamine abuse increases heart age. However, as the study is observational, no firm conclusion can be drawn regarding cause and effect.

The aging process suggests a power function over time, as many physiological processes begin to fail over the course of a lifespan progressively. However, the new findings suggest that stimulant abuse may accelerate the degeneration of the physiological systems. The authors write:

“If, as has been demonstrated, the damage from stimulant abuse is actually a power function of time, then this, in turn, implies that the gathering global stimulant epidemic carries a further message of urgency which has largely not been appreciated.”

The team point to other research for a possible explanation for their findings. The research showed that amphetamine use interferes with stem cell functioning and normal cell division. Hence, amphetamines may both impede tissue repair and increase tissue injury, the authors conclude.

Learn how synthetic marijuana may have a variety of adverse health effects.

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Stem cell registry drive at SAU Feb. 14-15 – SAU

When three Southern Arkansas University nursing students started organizing next weeks stem cell registry drive more than three months ago, they were not aware that a member of the Mulerider family is one of more than 1,400 whose life could be saved.

The stem cell/bone marrow registry drive is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on February 14-15 both in the Reynolds Center Rotunda and the SAU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. For more information, contact Dr. Becky Parnell at (870)235-4365 or at

The SAU BSN students initially behind the project are Renee Langley, Tabitha Elliott and Courtney Owens. Parnell explained that while attending the Arkansas Student Nurses Association annual meeting in Little Rock, the students were introduced to the need for bone marrow donors. They even registered to be possible donors themselves. She said they realized this project was a perfect example of how nurses can impact the care of people outside the normal hospitalized patient.

They recognized how many people this could potentially impact and wanted to recruit more people (to register), said Parnell. I have seen the bone marrow process it is truly a life-saving intervention for many people that are devastated by leukemia.

When Parnell began promoting the registry event on campus, it was brought to her attention that the daughter of Magnolia native, 1984 SAU alum and Board of Governors Chair Beth Galway, Sydney, is suffering with acute myeloid leukemia and in dire need of a bone marrow transplant.

When Sydney was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, the doctors told us that Sydneys only cure would come from a bone marrow transplant. The doctors were, and are, confident of the success of her treatment due to the fact that she has a high chance to find a perfect bone marrow donor, said Galway.

Her increased chance of finding a match, Galway explained, is simply because she is a Caucasian female which has one of the highest bone marrow donor rates. She has a 97% chance to find a donor.

Of course, the first donor they looked at was her sister. A sibling has only a 25% chance to be a match; a parent even less. Sydneys sister was not a match, said Galway.

Donor matches are generally based on race. With todays diverse community, the need for bone marrow donors from minority and mixed race groups is high. An African American patient has only a 66% chance to find a match.

The doctors and nurses that I have talked to indicate that the need is huge for African Americans as well as donors from India, said Galway.

She said that the treatment for Sydney, who is a sophomore in college, is now in phase 3. Her next step is a bone marrow transplant.

We hope to have a perfect match for her and pray that the donor will be willing to do all that is necessary for providing the blood or bone marrow needed for the transplant, said Galway.

The drive is being sponsored by SAUs Department of Nursing and University Health Services. Junior and senior BSN students will also be assisting in the bone marrow drive as a professional development activity.

Becoming a member of a stem cell/bone marrow registry only requires that you provide a swab of the cells inside your cheek. To register is a painless and fast way to possibly save a life.

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Genetic profiling can guide stem cell transplantation for patients with … – Science Daily

Genetic profiling can guide stem cell transplantation for patients with …
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A single blood test and basic information about a patient's medical status can indicate which patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are likely to benefit …

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OCASCR scientists make progress in TSET-funded adult stem cell research –

OCASCR scientist Lin Liu at work. Photo provided.

Working together, scientists from Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are advancing adult stem cell research to treat some of todays most devastating diseases.

Under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research (OCASCR), created with funding from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these scientists have amassed groundbreaking findings in one of the fastest growing areas of medical research.

We have made exciting progress, said OCASCR scientist Lin Liu, director of the Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases and director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Regenerative Medicine at Oklahoma State University.

We can convert adult stem cells into lung cells using our engineering process in petri dishes, which offers the possibility to repair damaged lung tissues in lung diseases, said Liu, whose research primarily focuses on lung and respiratory biology and diseases.

Using our engineered cells, we can also reverse some pathological features. These studies give us hope for an eventual application of these cells in humans.

Adult stem cells in the body are capable of renewing themselves and becoming various types of cells.

Until recently, stem cell treatments were largely restricted to blood diseases. However, new studies suggest many other types of adult stem cells can be used for medical treatment, and the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research was created to promote this branch of research.

OCASCR scientist Lin Liu and his team discussing their work. Photo provided.

Liu said the discipline provides hope for many ailments.

What most fascinated me in stem cell research is the hope that we may be able to use stem cells from our own body; for example, bone marrow or fat tissues to cure lung diseases, Liu said.

It is impossible to know exactly which diseases will respond to treatments.However, results of early experiments suggest many diseases should benefit from this type of research, including lung, heart, Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases, as well as cancer, diabetes and spinal cord injuries. The field is often referred to as regenerative medicine, because of the potential to create good cells in place of bad ones.

While the application of stem cells can be broad, Liu hopes that his TSET-funded work will help develop treatments for diseases caused by tobacco use.

The goal of my research team is to find cures for lung diseases, Liu said. One such disease is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country and cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD.

Cigarette smoking is also a risk factor for another fatal lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which has a mean life expectancy of 3 to 5 years after diagnosis, he added.

There is no cure for COPD or IPF. The current treatments of COPD and IPF only reduce symptoms or slow the disease progression.

Using OCASCR/TSET funding, my team is researching the possibility to engineer adult stem cells using small RNA molecules existing in the body to cure COPD, IPF and other lung diseases such as pneumonia caused by flu, Liu said.

This is vital research, considering that more than11 million peoplehave been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it, according to the American Lung Association.

Despite declining smoking rates and increased smokefree environments, tobacco use continues to cause widespread health challenges and scientists will continue working to develop treatments to deal with the consequences of smoking.

We need to educate the public more regarding the harms of cigarette smoking, Liu said. My research may offer future medicines for lung diseases caused by cigarette smoking.

Under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research (OCASCR), created with funding from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these scientists have amassed groundbreaking findings in one of the fastest growing areas of medical research. Photo provided.

Liu has been conducting research in the field of lung biology and diseases for more than two decades.

However, his interests in adult stem cell therapy began in 2010 when OCASCR was established through a grant with TSET, which provided funding to Oklahoma researchers for stem cell research.

I probably would have never gotten my feet into stem cell research without OCASCR funding support, he said. OCASCR funding also facilitated the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Program in Regenerative Medicine at OSU.

These days, Liu finds himself fully immersed in the exciting world of adult stem cell research and collaborating with some of Oklahomas best scientific minds.

Dr. Liu and his colleagues are really thriving. It was clear seven years ago that regenerative medicine was a hot topic and we already had excellent scientists in the Oklahoma, said Dr. Paul Kincade, founding scientific director of OCASCR. All they needed was some resources to re-direct and support their efforts. OSU investigators are using instruments and research grants supplied by OCASCR to compete with groups worldwide. TSET can point to their achievements with pride.

The Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research represents collaboration between scientists all across the state, aiming to promote studies by Oklahoma scientists who are working with stem cells present in adult tissues.

The center opened in 2010 and has enhanced adult stem cell research by providing grant funding for researchers, encouraging recruitment of scientists and providing education to the people of Oklahoma.

We are fortunate that the collaboration at the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research is yielding such positive results, said John Woods, TSET executive director. This research is leading to ground breaking discoveries and attracting new researchers to the field. TSET is proud to fund that investments for Oklahomans.

Funding research is a major focus for TSET and it comes with benefits reaching beyond the lab. For every $1 TSET has invested at OCASCR, scientists have been able to attract an additional $4 for research at Oklahoma institutions, TSET officials said.

TSET also supports medical research conducted by the Stephenson Cancer Center and the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center.

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Scientists discover an unexpected influence on dividing stem cells … – Science Daily

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Scientists discover an unexpected influence on dividing stem cells …
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When it divides, a stem cell has a choice: produce more stem cells or turn into the specific types of cells that compose skin, muscle, brain, or other tissue.

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Induced pluripotent stem cells don’t increase genetic mutations – Science Daily

Induced pluripotent stem cells don't increase genetic mutations
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Using skin cells from the same donor, they created genetically identical copies of the cells using both the iPSC and the subcloning techniques. They then sequenced the DNA of the skin cells as well as the iPSCs and the subcloned cells and determined

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Vectors in gene therapy – Wikipedia

Gene therapy utilizes the delivery of DNA into cells, which can be accomplished by several methods, summarized below. The two major classes of methods are those that use recombinant viruses (sometimes called biological nanoparticles or viral vectors) and those that use naked DNA or DNA complexes (non-viral methods).

All viruses bind to their hosts and introduce their genetic material into the host cell as part of their replication cycle. This genetic material contains basic ‘instructions’ of how to produce more copies of these viruses, hacking the body’s normal production machinery to serve the needs of the virus. The host cell will carry out these instructions and produce additional copies of the virus, leading to more and more cells becoming infected. Some types of viruses insert their genome into the host’s cytoplasm, but do not actually enter the cell. Others penetrate the cell membrane disguised as protein molecules and enter the cell.

There are two main types of virus infection: lytic and lysogenic. Shortly after inserting its DNA, viruses of the lytic cycle quickly produce more viruses, burst from the cell and infect more cells. Lysogenic viruses integrate their DNA into the DNA of the host cell and may live in the body for many years before responding to a trigger. The virus reproduces as the cell does and does not inflict bodily harm until it is triggered. The trigger releases the DNA from that of the host and employs it to create new viruses.

The genetic material in retroviruses is in the form of RNA molecules, while the genetic material of their hosts is in the form of DNA. When a retrovirus infects a host cell, it will introduce its RNA together with some enzymes, namely reverse transcriptase and integrase, into the cell. This RNA molecule from the retrovirus must produce a DNA copy from its RNA molecule before it can be integrated into the genetic material of the host cell. The process of producing a DNA copy from an RNA molecule is termed reverse transcription. It is carried out by one of the enzymes carried in the virus, called reverse transcriptase. After this DNA copy is produced and is free in the nucleus of the host cell, it must be incorporated into the genome of the host cell. That is, it must be inserted into the large DNA molecules in the cell (the chromosomes). This process is done by another enzyme carried in the virus called integrase.

Now that the genetic material of the virus has been inserted, it can be said that the host cell has been modified to contain new genes. If this host cell divides later, its descendants will all contain the new genes. Sometimes the genes of the retrovirus do not express their information immediately.

One of the problems of gene therapy using retroviruses is that the integrase enzyme can insert the genetic material of the virus into any arbitrary position in the genome of the host; it randomly inserts the genetic material into a chromosome. If genetic material happens to be inserted in the middle of one of the original genes of the host cell, this gene will be disrupted (insertional mutagenesis). If the gene happens to be one regulating cell division, uncontrolled cell division (i.e., cancer) can occur. This problem has recently begun to be addressed by utilizing zinc finger nucleases[1] or by including certain sequences such as the beta-globin locus control region to direct the site of integration to specific chromosomal sites.

Gene therapy trials using retroviral vectors to treat X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID) represent the most successful application of gene therapy to date. More than twenty patients have been treated in France and Britain, with a high rate of immune system reconstitution observed. Similar trials were restricted or halted in the USA when leukemia was reported in patients treated in the French X-SCID gene therapy trial.[citation needed] To date, four children in the French trial and one in the British trial have developed leukemia as a result of insertional mutagenesis by the retroviral vector. All but one of these children responded well to conventional anti-leukemia treatment. Gene therapy trials to treat SCID due to deficiency of the Adenosine Deaminase (ADA) enzyme (one form of SCID)[2] continue with relative success in the USA, Britain, Ireland, Italy and Japan.

Adenoviruses are viruses that carry their genetic material in the form of double-stranded DNA. They cause respiratory, intestinal, and eye infections in humans (especially the common cold). When these viruses infect a host cell, they introduce their DNA molecule into the host. The genetic material of the adenoviruses is not incorporated (transient) into the host cell’s genetic material. The DNA molecule is left free in the nucleus of the host cell, and the instructions in this extra DNA molecule are transcribed just like any other gene. The only difference is that these extra genes are not replicated when the cell is about to undergo cell division so the descendants of that cell will not have the extra gene. As a result, treatment with the adenovirus will require readministration in a growing cell population although the absence of integration into the host cell’s genome should prevent the type of cancer seen in the SCID trials. This vector system has been promoted for treating cancer and indeed the first gene therapy product to be licensed to treat cancer, Gendicine, is an adenovirus. Gendicine, an adenoviral p53-based gene therapy was approved by the Chinese food and drug regulators in 2003 for treatment of head and neck cancer. Advexin, a similar gene therapy approach from Introgen, was turned down by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008.

Concerns about the safety of adenovirus vectors were raised after the 1999 death of Jesse Gelsinger while participating in a gene therapy trial. Since then, work using adenovirus vectors has focused on genetically crippled versions of the virus.

The viral vectors described above have natural host cell populations that they infect most efficiently. Retroviruses have limited natural host cell ranges, and although adenovirus and adeno-associated virus are able to infect a relatively broader range of cells efficiently, some cell types are refractory to infection by these viruses as well. Attachment to and entry into a susceptible cell is mediated by the protein envelope on the surface of a virus. Retroviruses and adeno-associated viruses have a single protein coating their membrane, while adenoviruses are coated with both an envelope protein and fibers that extend away from the surface of the virus. The envelope proteins on each of these viruses bind to cell-surface molecules such as heparin sulfate, which localizes them upon the surface of the potential host, as well as with the specific protein receptor that either induces entry-promoting structural changes in the viral protein, or localizes the virus in endosomes wherein acidification of the lumen induces this refolding of the viral coat. In either case, entry into potential host cells requires a favorable interaction between a protein on the surface of the virus and a protein on the surface of the cell. For the purposes of gene therapy, one might either want to limit or expand the range of cells susceptible to transduction by a gene therapy vector. To this end, many vectors have been developed in which the endogenous viral envelope proteins have been replaced by either envelope proteins from other viruses, or by chimeric proteins. Such chimera would consist of those parts of the viral protein necessary for incorporation into the virion as well as sequences meant to interact with specific host cell proteins. Viruses in which the envelope proteins have been replaced as described are referred to as pseudotyped viruses. For example, the most popular retroviral vector for use in gene therapy trials has been the lentivirus Simian immunodeficiency virus coated with the envelope proteins, G-protein, from Vesicular stomatitis virus. This vector is referred to as VSV G-pseudotyped lentivirus, and infects an almost universal set of cells. This tropism is characteristic of the VSV G-protein with which this vector is coated. Many attempts have been made to limit the tropism of viral vectors to one or a few host cell populations. This advance would allow for the systemic administration of a relatively small amount of vector. The potential for off-target cell modification would be limited, and many concerns from the medical community would be alleviated. Most attempts to limit tropism have used chimeric envelope proteins bearing antibody fragments. These vectors show great promise for the development of “magic bullet” gene therapies.

A replication-competent vector called ONYX-015 is used in replicating tumor cells. It was found that in the absence of the E1B-55Kd viral protein, adenovirus caused very rapid apoptosis of infected, p53(+) cells, and this results in dramatically reduced virus progeny and no subsequent spread. Apoptosis was mainly the result of the ability of EIA to inactivate p300. In p53(-) cells, deletion of E1B 55kd has no consequence in terms of apoptosis, and viral replication is similar to that of wild-type virus, resulting in massive killing of cells.

A replication-defective vector deletes some essential genes. These deleted genes are still necessary in the body so they are replaced with either a helper virus or a DNA molecule.


Replication-defective vectors always contain a transfer construct. The transfer construct carries the gene to be transduced or transgene. The transfer construct also carries the sequences which are necessary for the general functioning of the viral genome: packaging sequence, repeats for replication and, when needed, priming of reverse transcription. These are denominated cis-acting elements, because they need to be on the same piece of DNA as the viral genome and the gene of interest. Trans-acting elements are viral elements, which can be encoded on a different DNA molecule. For example, the viral structural proteins can be expressed from a different genetic element than the viral genome.


The Herpes simplex virus is a human neurotropic virus. This is mostly examined for gene transfer in the nervous system. The wild type HSV-1 virus is able to infect neurons and evade the host immune response, but may still become reactivated and produce a lytic cycle of viral replication. Therefore, it is typical to use mutant strains of HSV-1 that are deficient in their ability to replicate. Though the latent virus is not transcriptionally apparent, it does possess neuron specific promoters that can continue to function normally[further explanation needed]. Antibodies to HSV-1 are common in humans, however complications due to herpes infection are somewhat rare.[4] Caution for rare cases of encephalitis must be taken and this provides some rationale to using HSV-2 as a viral vector as it generally has tropism for neuronal cells innervating the urogenital area of the body and could then spare the host of severe pathology in the brain.

Non-viral methods present certain advantages over viral methods, with simple large scale production and low host immunogenicity being just two. Previously, low levels of transfection and expression of the gene held non-viral methods at a disadvantage; however, recent advances in vector technology have yielded molecules and techniques with transfection efficiencies similar to those of viruses.[5]

This is the simplest method of non-viral transfection. Clinical trials carried out of intramuscular injection of a naked DNA plasmid have occurred with some success; however, the expression has been very low in comparison to other methods of transfection. In addition to trials with plasmids, there have been trials with naked PCR product, which have had similar or greater success. Cellular uptake of naked DNA is generally inefficient. Research efforts focusing on improving the efficiency of naked DNA uptake have yielded several novel methods, such as electroporation, sonoporation, and the use of a “gene gun”, which shoots DNA coated gold particles into the cell using high pressure gas.[6]

Electroporation is a method that uses short pulses of high voltage to carry DNA across the cell membrane. This shock is thought to cause temporary formation of pores in the cell membrane, allowing DNA molecules to pass through. Electroporation is generally efficient and works across a broad range of cell types. However, a high rate of cell death following electroporation has limited its use, including clinical applications.

More recently a newer method of electroporation, termed electron-avalanche transfection, has been used in gene therapy experiments. By using a high-voltage plasma discharge, DNA was efficiently delivered following very short (microsecond) pulses. Compared to electroporation, the technique resulted in greatly increased efficiency and less cellular damage.

The use of particle bombardment, or the gene gun, is another physical method of DNA transfection. In this technique, DNA is coated onto gold particles and loaded into a device which generates a force to achieve penetration of the DNA into the cells, leaving the gold behind on a “stopping” disk.

Sonoporation uses ultrasonic frequencies to deliver DNA into cells. The process of acoustic cavitation is thought to disrupt the cell membrane and allow DNA to move into cells.

In a method termed magnetofection, DNA is complexed to magnetic particles, and a magnet is placed underneath the tissue culture dish to bring DNA complexes into contact with a cell monolayer.

Hydrodynamic delivery involves rapid injection of a high volume of a solution into vasculature (such as into the inferior vena cava, bile duct, or tail vein). The solution contains molecules that are to be inserted into cells, such as DNA plasmids or siRNA, and transfer of these molecules into cells is assisted by the elevated hydrostatic pressure caused by the high volume of injected solution.[7][8][9]d

The use of synthetic oligonucleotides in gene therapy is to deactivate the genes involved in the disease process. There are several methods by which this is achieved. One strategy uses antisense specific to the target gene to disrupt the transcription of the faulty gene. Another uses small molecules of RNA called siRNA to signal the cell to cleave specific unique sequences in the mRNA transcript of the faulty gene, disrupting translation of the faulty mRNA, and therefore expression of the gene. A further strategy uses double stranded oligodeoxynucleotides as a decoy for the transcription factors that are required to activate the transcription of the target gene. The transcription factors bind to the decoys instead of the promoter of the faulty gene, which reduces the transcription of the target gene, lowering expression. Additionally, single stranded DNA oligonucleotides have been used to direct a single base change within a mutant gene. The oligonucleotide is designed to anneal with complementarity to the target gene with the exception of a central base, the target base, which serves as the template base for repair. This technique is referred to as oligonucleotide mediated gene repair, targeted gene repair, or targeted nucleotide alteration.

To improve the delivery of the new DNA into the cell, the DNA must be protected from damage and (positively charged). Initially, anionic and neutral lipids were used for the construction of lipoplexes for synthetic vectors. However, in spite of the facts that there is little toxicity associated with them, that they are compatible with body fluids and that there was a possibility of adapting them to be tissue specific; they are complicated and time consuming to produce so attention was turned to the cationic versions.

Cationic lipids, due to their positive charge, were first used to condense negatively charged DNA molecules so as to facilitate the encapsulation of DNA into liposomes. Later it was found that the use of cationic lipids significantly enhanced the stability of lipoplexes. Also as a result of their charge, cationic liposomes interact with the cell membrane, endocytosis was widely believed as the major route by which cells uptake lipoplexes. Endosomes are formed as the results of endocytosis, however, if genes can not be released into cytoplasm by breaking the membrane of endosome, they will be sent to lysosomes where all DNA will be destroyed before they could achieve their functions. It was also found that although cationic lipids themselves could condense and encapsulate DNA into liposomes, the transfection efficiency is very low due to the lack of ability in terms of endosomal escaping. However, when helper lipids (usually electroneutral lipids, such as DOPE) were added to form lipoplexes, much higher transfection efficiency was observed. Later on, it was figured out that certain lipids have the ability to destabilize endosomal membranes so as to facilitate the escape of DNA from endosome, therefore those lipids are called fusogenic lipids. Although cationic liposomes have been widely used as an alternative for gene delivery vectors, a dose dependent toxicity of cationic lipids were also observed which could limit their therapeutic usages.

The most common use of lipoplexes has been in gene transfer into cancer cells, where the supplied genes have activated tumor suppressor control genes in the cell and decrease the activity of oncogenes. Recent studies have shown lipoplexes to be useful in transfecting respiratory epithelial cells.

Polymersomes are synthetic versions of liposomes (vesicles with a lipid bilayer), made of amphiphilic block copolymers. They can encapsulate either hydrophilic or hydrophobic contents and can be used to deliver cargo such as DNA, proteins, or drugs to cells. Advantages of polymersomes over liposomes include greater stability, mechanical strength, blood circulation time, and storage capacity.[10][11][12]

Complexes of polymers with DNA are called polyplexes. Most polyplexes consist of cationic polymers and their fabrication is based on self-assembly by ionic interactions. One important difference between the methods of action of polyplexes and lipoplexes is that polyplexes cannot directly release their DNA load into the cytoplasm. As a result, co-transfection with endosome-lytic agents such as inactivated adenovirus was required to facilitate nanoparticle escape from the endocytic vesicle made during particle uptake. However, a better understanding of the mechanisms by which DNA can escape from endolysosomal pathway, i.e. proton sponge effect,[13] has triggered new polymer synthesis strategies such as incorporation of protonable residues in polymer backbone and has revitalized research on polycation-based systems.[14]

Due to their low toxicity, high loading capacity, and ease of fabrication, polycationic nanocarriers demonstrate great promise compared to their rivals such as viral vectors which show high immunogenicity and potential carcinogenicity, and lipid-based vectors which cause dose dependence toxicity. Polyethyleneimine[15] and chitosan are among the polymeric carriers that have been extensively studies for development of gene delivery therapeutics. Other polycationic carriers such as poly(beta-amino esters)[16] and polyphosphoramidate[17] are being added to the library of potential gene carriers. In addition to the variety of polymers and copolymers, the ease of controlling the size, shape, surface chemistry of these polymeric nano-carriers gives them an edge in targeting capability and taking advantage of enhanced permeability and retention effect.[18]

A dendrimer is a highly branched macromolecule with a spherical shape. The surface of the particle may be functionalized in many ways and many of the properties of the resulting construct are determined by its surface.

In particular it is possible to construct a cationic dendrimer, i.e. one with a positive surface charge. When in the presence of genetic material such as DNA or RNA, charge complimentarity leads to a temporary association of the nucleic acid with the cationic dendrimer. On reaching its destination the dendrimer-nucleic acid complex is then taken into the cell via endocytosis.

In recent years the benchmark for transfection agents has been cationic lipids. Limitations of these competing reagents have been reported to include: the lack of ability to transfect some cell types, the lack of robust active targeting capabilities, incompatibility with animal models, and toxicity. Dendrimers offer robust covalent construction and extreme control over molecule structure, and therefore size. Together these give compelling advantages compared to existing approaches.

Producing dendrimers has historically been a slow and expensive process consisting of numerous slow reactions, an obstacle that severely curtailed their commercial development. The Michigan-based company Dendritic Nanotechnologies discovered a method to produce dendrimers using kinetically driven chemistry, a process that not only reduced cost by a magnitude of three, but also cut reaction time from over a month to several days. These new “Priostar” dendrimers can be specifically constructed to carry a DNA or RNA payload that transfects cells at a high efficiency with little or no toxicity.[citation needed]

Inorganic nanoparticles, such as gold, silica, iron oxide (ex. magnetofection) and calcium phosphates have been shown to be capable of gene delivery.[19] Some of the benefits of inorganic vectors is in their storage stability, low manufacturing cost and often time, low immunogenicity, and resistance to microbial attack. Nanosized materials less than 100nm have been shown to efficiently trap the DNA or RNA and allows its escape from the endosome without degradation. Inorganics have also been shown to exhibit improved in vitro transfection for attached cell lines due to their increased density and preferential location on the base of the culture dish. Quantum dots have also been used successfully and permits the coupling of gene therapy with a stable fluorescence marker.

Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), also known as peptide transduction domains (PTDs), are short peptides (

CPP cargo can be directed into specific cell organelles by incorporating localization sequences into CPP sequences. For example, nuclear localization sequences are commonly used to guide CPP cargo into the nucleus.[22] For guidance into mitochondria, a mitochondrial targeting sequence can be used; this method is used in protofection (a technique that allows for foreign mitochondrial DNA to be inserted into cells’ mitochondria).[23][24]

Due to every method of gene transfer having shortcomings, there have been some hybrid methods developed that combine two or more techniques. Virosomes are one example; they combine liposomes with an inactivated HIV or influenza virus. This has been shown to have more efficient gene transfer in respiratory epithelial cells than either viral or liposomal methods alone. Other methods involve mixing other viral vectors with cationic lipids or hybridising viruses.

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Gene Therapy Restores Hearing Down To A Whisper, in Mice – (blog) Interview with:

Dr. Gwenaelle Geleoc

Gwenaelle Geleoc, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center Childrens Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, MA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We seek to develop gene therapy to restore auditory and balance function in a mouse model of Usher syndrome. Usher syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which causes deafness, progressive blindness and in some cases balance deficits. We used a novel viral vector developed by Luk Vandenberghe and package gene sequences encoding for Ush1c and applied it to young mice suffering from Usher syndrome. These mice mimic a mutation found in patients of Acadian descent. We assessed recovery of hearing and balance function in young adult mice which had received the treatment. Otherwise deaf and dizzy, we found that the treated mice had recovered hearing down to soft sounds equivalent to a whisper and normal balance function. What should readers take away from your report? Response: This work demonstrates that gene therapy treatments can efficiently restore auditory and balance function. The level of recovery that we have obtained has never been seen before. Having identified a potent vehicle and applying the treatment at the right time was crucial in our study. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need to extend this work to other deafness genes that lead to congenital or progressive deafness. The difficulty will arise when looking at genes that extend beyond the capacity of the vector we used for this study. Any gene over 5kb will not fit in our vector. Other strategies will therefore be required. Is there anything else you would like to add? Response: Our goal is to advance research to develop new treatments for deafness and balance disorders. I welcome collaborations and material sharing with anyone who wish to work with us for this purpose. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Gwenalle S Gloc et al. Gene therapy restores auditory and vestibular function in a mouse model of Usher syndrome type 1c. Nature Biotechnology, February 2017 DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3801

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Why bluebird bio Stock Surged 20.7% Higher in January – Motley Fool

What happened

After updating investors on its wide-ranging gene therapy research program at a key industry conference early in the month,shares ofbluebird bio(NASDAQ:BLUE) surged 20.7% higher in January,according toS&P Global Market Intelligence.

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in early January, Bluebird Bio’s management outlined how it hopes to transform treating rare disease, including cerebral ALD (CALD), transfusion dependent beta thalassemia (TDT), and sickle cell disease.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company provided an outlook for 2022 that includes a goal of having two gene therapies on the market, two other therapies near commercialization, and four or more research programs in clinical studies.

In 2017, Bluebird Bio’s plans include prepping a filing of its TDT therapy, LentiGlobin, for approval in Europe, and developing a pathway to regulatory approval of its CALD therapy, Lenti-D.

The company is also going to continue early stage research into its CAR-T program, including its work on bb2121, a BCMA-targeting therapy that’s being developed with Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) for multiple myeloma.

The potential to significantly reduce, or eliminate, the need for blood transfusions in TDT patients has industry watchers estimating that LentiGlobin could reshape patient treatment. If so, this gene therapy could be a nine-figure (or higher) top-seller. A similar opportunity exists for Lenti-D.

Perhaps most compelling, however, is the potential market opportunity for bb2121. Although a number of new multiple myeloma treatments have been launched over the past few years, the need for new treatment options remains high. Roughly 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with myeloma in the U.S. each year, and sadly, the five-year survival rate is just 48.5%, according to the National Cancer Institute.Clinical trials for bb2121 are early stage studies, so a lot could go wrong from here. But successfully targeting BCMA and improved outcomes without a lot of safety risks could significantly change how doctors treat their patients. If that happens, bb2121 could become a billion-dollar blockbuster someday.

Todd Campbell owns shares of Celgene.His clients may have positions in the companies mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends Bluebird Bio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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DARPA hits snag in GEO satellite service plan – Network World

Layer 8 is written by Michael Cooney, an online news editor with Network World.

DARPA is going to have to contend with an Earth-bound problem if it is to get its plan to service satellites in geosynchronous orbit into space.

The agency this week said it had picked Space Systems Loral (SSL) as its commercial partner to develop technologies under its Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program that would enable cooperative inspection and servicing of satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), more than 20,000 miles above the Earth, and demonstrate those technologies on orbit.

+More on Network World: How to catch a 400lb drone traveling at full speed+

But SSL competitor Orbital ATF promptly filed a lawsuit looking to stop the award.

Inside reported that according to the complaintfiled in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Orbital ATK is seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit further action on DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geospatial Satellites program as well as a judgment that the project violates the National Space Policy and the Administrative Procedure Act. Orbital ATK says in its lawsuit that it has long worked on in-space satellite servicing. It is developing the Mission Extension Vehicle, which it describes as a “satellite life extension service for GEO satellites.

According to the Orbital website the MEV docks with customers existing satellites providing the propulsion and attitude control needed to extend their lives. The MEV is capable of docking with virtually all-geosynchronous satellites with minimal interruption to operations. It will let satellite operators significantly extend satellite mission life, activate new markets, drive asset value and protect their franchises. Orbital subsidiary Space Logistics LLC delivers life extension services that are flexible, scalable, capital-efficient and low-risk.

In a release, today (Feb. 9) DARPA said RSGS will demonstrate a suite of capabilities critical to national security and not currently available or anticipated to be offered commercially in the near term, including ultra-close inspection, repair of mechanical anomalies, and installation of technical packages on the exterior of US satellites, all of which require highly dexterous robotic arms. DARPA has already designed and created the required robotic arms.

Under the RSGS program, a DARPA-developed modular toolkit (the robotic payload), including hardware and software, would be joined to a privately developed spacecraft to create a commercially operated robotic servicing vehicle that could make house calls in space, DARPA stated.

DARPA said its role will be to contribute the robotics technology, expertise, and a government-provided launch while SSL would contribute the satellite to carry the robotic payload, integration of the payload onto it and the RSV to the launch vehicle, and the mission operations center and staff.

Since there are roughly four times as many commercial satellites in GEO as Government satellites, DARPA elected to find a commercial partner capable of servicing both in order to lower the cost of servicing to the Government and commercial entities and collect a broader range of research data. This partnership approach will enable the fastest deployment of RSGS capability, DARPA wrote.

DARPA continued: After a successful on-orbit demonstration of the robotic servicing vehicle, SSL would own and operate the vehicle and make cooperative servicing available to both military and commercial GEO satellite owners on a fee-for-service basis. In exchange for providing government property to SSL, the government will obtain reduced priced servicing of its satellites and access to commercial satellite servicing data throughout the operational life of the RSV.

Government-developed RSGS technologies would not become the exclusive property of DARPAs commercial partner but would be shared with other qualified and interested U.S. space companies. Qualified companies would be able to obtain and license the technology through cooperative research and development agreements.

+More on Network World: DARPA wants to give dead, in-orbit satellites new life+

In December, DARPA proposed consortium of industry players that will research, develop, and publish standards for safe commercial robotic servicing operations in Earths orbit. Specifically, DARPA said it wants to create the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations or CONFERS that looks to establish a forum that would use best practices from government and industry to research, develop and publish non-binding, consensus-derived technical and safety standards for on-orbit servicing operations. In doing so, the program would provide a clear technical basis for definitions and expectations of responsible behavior in outer space. In the end the ultimate goal is to provide the technical foundation to shape safe and responsible commercial space operations to preserve the safety of the global commons of space, DARPA stated.

Recent technological advances have made the longstanding dream of on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites a near-term possibility. The potential advantages of that unprecedented capability are enormous. Instead of designing their satellites to accommodate the harsh reality that, once launched, their investments could never be repaired or upgraded, satellite owners could use robotic vehicles to physically inspect, assist, and modify their on-orbit assets. That could significantly lower construction and deployment costs while dramatically extending satellite utility, resilience, and reliability, DARPA stated. But these efforts all face a major roadblock: the lack of clear, widely accepted technical and safety standards for responsible performance of on-orbit activities involving commercial satellites, including rendezvous and proximity operations that dont involve physical contact with satellites and robotic servicing operations that would. Without these standards, the long-term sustainability of outer space operations is potentially at risk.

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Human Life Could Be Extended Indefinitely, Study Suggests – EconoTimes

Aging Hand.Max Pixel/Max Pixel

Right now, the best that humans could hope for in terms of their lifespan is to reach the age of 100 or perhaps even a few years beyond that. According to the Gompertz mortality law, which is basically a model to calculate the mortality of humans, this only makes sense because death depends on certain factors that cant be changed. A team of researchers at the Gero biotech firm recently published their study, which essentially challenged this misconception.

Putting it simply, Gompertz law uses whats called the Strehler-Mildvan (SM) correlation in order to explain mortality, which is basically the sum of two factors that will inevitably increase on an exponential level as people age, Futurism reports. The team at Gero looked into this correlation and found that it had no factual basis despite the fact that it has practically been accepted for over five decades.

This concept was popularized back in the 60s when it was published in the journal Science. It really put scientists who wanted to extend human life in a bind as well because the SM correlation suggests that trying to prolong life while young will have the effect of actually shortening lifespan. According to the study that the Gero team published, this is simply not the case.

Titled Strehler-Mildvan correlation is a degenerate manifold of Gompertz fit, the study basically argues that the conclusion derived from the SM correlation has no actual basis in biology. In a press release, the teams public face Peter Fedichev noted how this study will impact research into extending human life.

Elimination of SM correlation from theories of aging is good news, because if it was not just negative correlation between Gompertz parameters, but the real dependence, it would have banned optimal anti-aging interventions and limited human possibilities to life extension, Fedichev said.

Basically, scientists are now free to research the ways to increase human lifespan. In fact, they could potentially extend it as much as they want.

Human Life Could Be Extended Indefinitely, Study Suggests

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Human Life Could Be Extended Indefinitely, Study Suggests – EconoTimes

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Human Growth Hormone – Rejuvalife Vitality Institute


Human growth hormone (HGH) is naturally produced by the pituitary gland, and acts as a catalyst for glandular secretions critical to maintaining a healthy body. It also fuels growth during childhood and adolescence, and continues to maintain organs, tissues, muscles, bone, and heart function throughout your life. Human growth hormone injections have been FDA-approved for treating poor growth in children, as well as medical disorders.

As early as the age of 40, HGH production begins declining. This decrease is more dramatic in people who have experienced a minor or traumatic brain injury, radiation, or surgery to the pituitary gland. Adults who have a deficiency of growth hormone, injections may be able to help.

The symptoms of declining HGH levels include:


Mental confusion


Cardiovascular problems

Decreased immunity

Human growth hormone replacement therapy has been shown to improve:

Increased bone density and muscle mass

Decrease in body fat

Improved mood

Improve the hearts ability to contract

Increased capacity to exercise

At Rejuvalife, we can help combat HGH deficiencies through an effective hormone replacement therapy plan. This hormone replacement plan can significantly improve the symptoms the deficiency. HGH therapy is administered by injection, as supplements taken orally will be digested by the stomach before the body can absorb it.

Take a look at our anti-aging procedures videos in our online video gallery.

Dr. Berger is a diplomat of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and world-renowned for his age-defying results. As a leader in anti-aging, wellness and non-surgical cosmetic medicine, he possesses a unique combination of skills that make him a true specialist in his field.His techniques, for rejuvenating your health and appearance, effectively integrate Eastern philosophies with world-class Western medical technologies. With an artistic eye, a keen sense of aesthetics and his knowledge of science, Dr. Berger offers transformative results that will not only help you look great, but also help you feel your absolute best.

We understand that choosing a doctor or facility, for any treatment but especially anti-aging, can be a difficult decision. You can rest assured that with Dr. Berger and Rejuvalife, you are in good hands. He is dedicated to providing his patients with only the safest, most advanced, state-of-the-art treatment options.

Please contact Rejuvalife Vitality Institute using the form at the right side of the page or call (310) 276-4494 today to schedule your HGH consultation. Dr. Andre Berger serves patients in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, California.

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Human Growth Hormone – Rejuvalife Vitality Institute

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Nonbinary students confront surgery challenges – Yale Daily News (blog)

Britton O’Daly Feb 10, 2017

Staff Reporter

Brianna Loo

Though the Yale Health Plan extended insurance coverage to gender-affirming surgeries in 2013 in order to benefit gender-questioning students at Yale, Yale Healths current approval process for these surgeries can undermine care options for students who do not conform to a binary gender, according to two transgender students.

Yale Health follows the standard of care for transgender health and sex reassignment surgery, as defined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. According to WPATH standards, surgeons, prior to performing sex-reassignment surgery, must be confident that the referring mental health professional(s), and if applicable the physician who prescribes hormones, are competent in the assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria. Once gender dysphoria a condition in which ones psychological gender identity differs from ones biological sex has been documented by a mental health professional, the surgeon may then consult with the patient about an operation.

On the Yale Health Plan, Yale Mental Health operates as the gatekeeper between students and the required medical consultations for gender-affirmation surgery. Still, this system has attracted the criticism of Yale students who claim that the process favors students who identify as either trans man or trans woman over those who are gender nonconforming and therefore may not match Yales definition of gender dysphoria.

It was all tremendously emotionally draining, said a Yale alum who was refused a consultation under Yales health plan. I also had the sense that Yale had drawn out the process of rejecting me because I was about to graduate and lose health insurance and had not been forthright with me about how my application would be considered.

The former student, who identifies as trans, said they began their application for a sex-reassignment surgery consultation in spring 2016, but was ultimately rejected by a Yale Health committee that determined their request for surgery to be cosmetic. The committee also justified its rejection by arguing that the student had not been living as the opposite gender.

The alum told the News that Yale Healths decision perpetuates a false belief that only trans men or trans women require surgery and that other trans identities between the male and female binaries, like the anonymous students, are not legitimate. The committee never met the student in person, but grounded their judgment on letters written by the students psychiatrist and therapist.

The Directors Office of Yale Health referred all questions to Yales Office of Public Affairs & Communications, but Yale spokespeople did not respond to questions about the exact process by which Yale Health judges applications for consultation.

Yale, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard and Penn all cover transition-related medical expenses on their student health insurance. Princeton does not cover gender-affirming surgeries, but does offer hormone therapy to students. The fall 2015 Yale College Council Task Force on LGBTQ Resources also noted that Brown and Columbia are the only two Ivy League schools to offer gender-neutral rooming, a detail that trans students interviewed during the report identified as an area for change.

According to Maria Trumpler GRD 92, director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources, the coverage of sex-reassignment surgeries under the Yale Health Plan has significantly improved the lives of many Yale students. Still, she noted that the insurance plan is self-reflective and reviewed periodically by a committee to improve students medical care.

For several years theyve been discussing the issue, which is that there is not a particular gender identity that someone has to have to access hormones or surgery, said Trumpler. You do not have to identify as a transgender male or transgender female.

Still, the anonymous alum said they also ran into difficulties making a case for a consultation because mental health professionals typically assume patients have already decided they want to go through with the surgery prior to their first consultation. However, the alum in question wanted to talk to a medical professional about potential surgery before making an informed decision. Additionally, the former student told the News in an email that the committee member who communicated with them over the phone was unknowledgeable about the nuances of trans* experiences and at times offensive.

Isaac Amend 17, a staff columnist for the News, said that this type of decision from Yale Mental Health prevents gender nonconforming people from receiving much-needed treatment.

The medical establishment is prejudiced against nonbinary people, ignoring the fact that gender fluidity exists, Amend said. Doctors can propagate a notion of not being trans enough, which is toxic to the mental health of patients.

Amend added that there is a community of nonbinary or gender fluid students at Yale, and that he knows of students who have had to tell psychiatrists that they are more trans than they feel, out of a fear that the doctors will withhold treatment if they appear more gender fluid.

Laurence Bashford 18 and Kyle Ranieri 18, the respective 2017 and 2016 coordinators of the Yale LGBTQ Co-Op, said in a joint email to the News that there have been great steps made by the Yale administration to guarantee needed and deserved treatments to trans students within the student community.

We are particularly wary of the fact that many important treatments for instance, laser hair treatment as part of the transitioning process are deemed unimportant or cosmetic and, so, are not available through regular University coverage, Bashford said.

The Yale Health Center was completed in 2010.

Contact Britton ODaly at

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Doctor’s Tip: What is the safest cookware? – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The current issue of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter has a useful article about the pros and cons of various types of cookware. Here are some of the highlights:


Teflon, which prevents sticking, was discovered by a DuPont chemist in 1938. It is a brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and other companies have developed other brands.

Fumes from heating PTFE-coated pots and pans to temperatures over 660 degrees can cause symptoms in humans and death in pet birds.

There is no evidence that ingesting PTFE flakes from old cookware causes cancer. However there are concerns about cancer and hormone disruption from another chemical, called PFOA, which until 2015 was used in the manufacturing of PTFE and which persists in our environment and our bodies.

The replacements for PFOA may not be any safer (we dont know yet). The nonprofit advocacy group Environmental Working Group advises consumers to avoid all nonstick cookware and kitchen utensils.

At the very least, avoid high temperatures with stick-free cookware, and replace it when it starts to deteriorate.


Aluminum cookware can scratch and stain easily and can give acidic food such as tomato sauce a bitter taste because aluminum leaches into the food.

In his book Power Foods For The Brain, Dr. Neal Barnard points out that there is still concern that aluminum ingestion may be linked to Alzheimers.

Ideally you should avoid aluminum cookware because you dont want to risk brain health.

If you do buy it, buy the anodized variety, which has a harder surface. However if labeled nonstick, it may contain PFTE-related compounds.

At the very least, avoid acid foods with aluminum cookware.


To maintain a cast-iron pan you have to rub oil on the surface, and a well-seasoned pan is fairly stick-free.

Iron leaches into acidic food.

Although we need some iron in our diet, we get plenty from what we eat (even if you are plant-based). Too much iron causes free radicals to form, which contribute to aging, cancer, heart disease and other health problems. According to Dr. Barnard, there is a link between high blood iron levels and Alzheimers.

Cast-iron cookware should be dried as soon as it is washed and should not be put in the dishwasher to avoid rusting (i.e. oxidation).


It is non-stick but contains no PTFE or PFOA, is heat-stable and flake-resistant.

It is therefore thought to be free of health and environmental concerns.

However, some products may use nanoparticle coatings, and the long-term health and environmental effects of nanoparticles are unknown.


Copper can leach into food, especially acidic foods such as tomatoes, unless its lined with stainless steel.

We need a small amount of copper in our diet, but too much causes health problems. Dr. Barnard talks in his book about evidence linking copper to Alzheimers, so its best to avoid copper cookware.


Stainless steel cookware does not react with food and doesnt rust.

Some has an inner core of copper or aluminum that helps food cook more uniformly, but this should not be a problem as long as the surface is stainless steel.


Pyrex is the best-known brand and was introduced over a century ago.

Glass is inert, does not react with food, and poses no known health or environmental problems.

So the bottom line is this: Avoid copper, aluminum and iron cookware for optimal health. Ideally use glass and stainless steel for cooking. Ceramic cookware is safe if it is not coated with nanoparticles, which have not been proven yet to be safe for us and for the environment. If sticking is a problem with these safe options, a small amount of oil rubbed on the surface solves that, but as per a previous health tip column, added oils cause several health problems and carcinogens form when oils reach their smoke point. So its better to use vegetable broth, water, wine or soy sauce to prevent sticking.

Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, now has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at

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Doctor’s Tip: What is the safest cookware? – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

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In Transition: Physical transitions can include hormone treatment, surgery – The Baylor Lariat

By Molly Atchison | Opinion Editor

Editors Note: This is the thirdinstallment in a four-part series about gender transition and the issues surrounding it. For the personal safety of some of the individuals mentioned below, last names have been omitted.

Physical health is a multi-faceted issue that transgender people focus on once theyve determined that they want to begin their transition. Many health professionals point to the World Professional Association for Transgender Healths Standards of Care manual to give transitioning individuals a jumping off-point for research into sexual and physical health.

The first step in the transition process is to go through hormone therapy process, and the second step of the process is to commit to the sex-reassignment surgery.

For McLennan County junior Jessica, a transgender student attending Baylor University, beginning these transitions was not an easy decision to make.

I was praying and thinking about this decision for about a year before I began the process at all, Jessica said.

Hormone Treatment:

Jessica began her hormone therapy process almost a year ago. The Standards of Care manual states that hormone therapy is the administration of exogenous endocrine agents to induce feminizing or masculinizing changes.

In Fall of 2015, I began taking steps towards hormone therapy. I worried about the haters and the higher rate of suicide, but I kept pushing on until I got what I set out to achieve, Jessica said.

Testosterone and estrogen are two main hormones in the body. Every human has varying levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies, and the hormones will rise and fall naturally to maintain a healthy physical equilibrium. Both of these are the hormones that are supplemented in the transition process.

According to the Center of Excellence in Transgender Health, in a female-to-male transition, an individual will take testosterone supplements to help introduce general changes such as facial hair growth, deepening of the voice and redistribution of muscle and weight gain. This transformation happens over the course of 12 months, which is the general requirement to be eligible to receive the sex-reassignment surgery.

In contrast, the male-to-female transition can be administered with several different categories of estrogen supplements. According to the Center of Excellence in Transgender Health, these estrogen supplements aid in breast development, vocal shifting and the redistribution of fat and muscle on the body.

The Standards of Care manual says that the physical side effects of these therapies most commonly include decreased auto-immunity, lack of genital functioning and many other symptoms of raised or lowered increased levels of testosterone and estrogen. Other side effects include a higher risk of breast cancer in both types of patients, as well as other forms of cancer and genetic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Sex-Reassignment surgery:

Now that Jessica is nearing the end of her initial hormone treatment, she awaits approval to continue to the sex-reassignment surgery.

The final step in the transition process is the sex-reassignment surgery. According to, sex-reassignment surgeries are Surgical procedures that change ones body to better reflect a persons gender identity.

For male-to-female patients, the Standards of Care manual cites two basic surgeries, the first being breast enhancement, and the second being a series of up to five smaller procedures to replace the existing male genitalia with female genitalia. Different doctors choose to use different techniques of genital conversion in the male-to-female transition.

In the same way, female-to-male patients go through a series of different surgeries, as is stated in the Standards of Care manual. They will undergo a surgery to remove the breasts, called a mastectomy, and then several surgeries that remove the female genitalia, and then phalloplasty that adheres a phallic implant in its place. One of the biggest differences between these surgeries is that with male-to-female transitions it is more common to use existing tissue to create the new genitalia, whereas in the female-to-male, fresh tissue is more commonly implanted.

There are many risks to undergoing such significant surgeries, which can be found online in the Standards of Care manual. I do fear the pain of recovery and the possibility of complications that any surgery could have, even as severe as death, Jessica said.

Health after surgery:

Along with risks during surgery, there are risks in the years following the surgery. However, the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health is one of the leading researchers in transgender health. Their guidelines have detailed lists of general and sexual health problems transgender people may face post-surgery including but not limited to Sexually Transmitted Diseases, blood pressure problems and reproductive health issues.

The Baylor Health Clinic also offers primary care services. Medical Director of Baylor Health Services Sharon Stern, M.D., said As primary care physicians and nurse practitioners, we care for the patients who come into the clinic. That means that we can do any testing and treatment of many infections, including sexually transmitted ones.

Stern acknowledges that the clinic, being a primary care clinic, does not directly identify or prescribe transgender treatments. However, the electronic medical records system the center allows healthcare professionals to make sure that the general medications they may be prescribing to a transgender individual will not counteract the hormone supplements they are taking.

If we had a patient present to us who was thinking of transitioning, we would most likely refer them to a counselor and an endocrine doctor who specializes in the type of specialized hormonal treatment necessary. We want to help all patients and we strive to never be judgmental. We want to help all Baylor students be healthy, she said.

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Four NIH-backed projects aim to advance the artificial pancreas – MobiHealthNews

TheNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health, has given out $41 milion in grants to four studies that will hopefully make the artificial pancreas a long-sought, fully automated, closed-loop system for insulin regulation a reality. Two of the studies are underway and two more are slotted to begin recruiting in the next two years.

Managing type 1 diabetes currently requires a constant juggling act between checking blood glucose levels frequently and delivering just the right amount of insulin while taking into account meals, physical activity, and other aspects of daily life, where a missed or wrong delivery could lead to potential complications, Dr. Andrew Bremer, the NIDDK program official overseeing the studies, said in a statement. Unifying the management of type 1 diabetes into a single, integrated system could lift so much of that burden.

A long-sought dream of diabetes technologists, an artificial pancreas would combine the functionality of an automated insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor, automatically calculating dosages and delivering insulin based on readings from the CGM — in essence replicating the behavior of a normally-functioning human pancreas, which regulates insulin in people without diabetes.

The four studies all vary from previous artificial pancreas studies in a few key ways. For one thing, they will each have 100 or more participants. For another, while previous studies looked at geographically co-located cohorts at summer camps for youth with diabetes or hotels near the study site, these studies will be conducted at multiple sites, remotely, allowing researchers to test the systems in natural, real-life contexts.

The studies will hopefully provide the data the FDA needs to clear a fully closed-loop system. Last year the FDA cleared Medtronic’s artificial pancreas, but that was a hybrid system that still required patients to manually adjust insulin intake at mealtimes.

We wrote about one of the four studies when it began enrollment last year.The International Diabetes Closed Loop trial at the University of Virginia aims to enroll 240 adults with type 1 diabetes. The participants will come from 10 different clinical sites throughout the world including Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Stanford University Hospital and the Mayo Clinic in the United States, as well as medical centers in France, Italy and the Netherlands. A Tandem insulin pump and Dexcom G5 sensor will be included as part of a blood glucose control system that combines the devices with a smartphone running TypeZeros closed loop algorithm app inControl.

The other study that has already begun recruiting isled by Dr. Roman Hovorka of the University of Cambridge in England. The 130-person study of teenagers, which looks at a system called FlorenceM using an Android smartphone and Medtronic devices, will be conducted at sites in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, and two sites in the United Kingdom.

A third study is scheduled to begin recruiting this year. It’s led by researchers from theInternational Diabetes Center in Minneapolis and the Moshe Phillip of Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel and will include 100 youthsat sites in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and Minnesota and abroad in Germany, Israel and Slovenia. It will compare the FDA-cleared hybrid system with a next-generation version of that system from Medtronic.

Finally, the fourth study will kick off in 2018, led by researchers in Boston from Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University.The six-month study is a little different from the others — it looks at a bionic pancreas system, with a dual-chamber pump to deliver both insulin and its counteracting hormone, glucagon, using tested algorithms for automated dual-hormone delivery. The study will include two sites in California and one each in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

For many people with type 1 diabetes, the realization of a successful, fully automated artificial pancreas is a dearly held dream. It signifies a life freer from nightly wake-up calls to check blood glucose or deliver insulin, a life freer from dangerous swings of blood glucose, said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. Nearly 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a successful artificial pancreas would mark another huge step toward better health for people with type 1 diabetes.

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Evaluation of ICD-10 algorithms to identify hypopituitary patients in the Danish National Patient Registry – Dove Medical Press

Agnethe Berglund,1 Morten Olsen,2 Marianne Andersen,3 Eigil Husted Nielsen,4 Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen,5 Caroline Kistorp,6 Claus Hjbjerg Gravholt,1,7 Kirstine Stochhholm1,8

1Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, 3Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, 4Department of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, 5Department of Endocrinology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University,Copenhagen, 6Department of Endocrinology, Herlev Hospital, Herlev, 7Department of Molecular Medicine, 8Department of Pediatrics, Center of Rare Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Objective: Routinely collected health data may be valuable sources for conducting research. This study aimed to evaluate the validity of algorithms detecting hypopituitary patients in the Danish National Patient Registry (DNPR) using medical records as reference standard. Study design and setting: Patients with International Classification of Diseases (10th edition [ICD-10]) diagnoses of hypopituitarism, or other diagnoses of pituitary disorders assumed to be associated with an increased risk of hypopituitarism, recorded in the DNPR during 20002012 were identified. Medical records were reviewed to confirm or disprove hypopituitarism. Results: Hypopituitarism was confirmed in 911 patients. In a candidate population of 1,661, this yielded an overall positive predictive value (PPV) of 54.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 52.457.3). Using algorithms searching for patients recorded at least one, three or five times with a diagnosis of hypopituitarism (E23.0x) and/or at least once with a diagnosis of postprocedural hypopituitarism (E89.3x), PPVs gradually increased from 73.3% (95% CI: 70.675.8) to 83.3% (95% CI: 80.785.7). Completeness for the same algorithms, however, decreased from 90.8% (95% CI: 88.792.6) to 82.9% (95% CI: 80.385.3) respectively. Including data of hormone replacement in the same algorithms PPVs increased from 73.2% (95% CI: 70.675.7) to 82.6% (95% CI: 80.184.9) and completeness decreased from 94.3% (95% CI: 92.695.7) to 89.7% (95% CI: 87.591.6) with increasing records of E23.0x. Conclusion: The DNPR is a valuable data source to identify hypopituitary patients using a search criteria of at least five records of E23.0x and/or at least one record of E89.3x. Completeness is increased when including hormone replacement data in the algorithm. The consequences of misclassification must, however, always be considered.

Keywords: ICD-10 algorithms, registry health data, hypopituitarism

This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

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Low Testosterone Products Litigation – US Recall News (press release)

US Recall News (press release)
Low Testosterone Products Litigation
US Recall News (press release)
Between 3 and 7 percent of the male population in the US develop hypogonadism. One of the symptoms of this condition is a testosterone deficiency. Other symptoms include fatigue and low libido. Testosterone products were the go-to medication for men …

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Low Testosterone Products Litigation – US Recall News (press release)

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Stem Cell Basics VI. |

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem celllike state by being forced to express genes and factors important for maintaining the defining properties of embryonic stem cells. Although these cells meet the defining criteria for pluripotent stem cells, it is not known if iPSCs and embryonic stem cells differ in clinically significant ways. Mouse iPSCs were first reported in 2006, and human iPSCs were first reported in late 2007. Mouse iPSCs demonstrate important characteristics of pluripotent stem cells, including expressing stem cell markers, forming tumors containing cells from all three germ layers, and being able to contribute to many different tissues when injected into mouse embryos at a very early stage in development. Human iPSCs also express stem cell markers and are capable of generating cells characteristic of all three germ layers.

Although additional research is needed, iPSCs are already useful tools for drug development and modeling of diseases, and scientists hope to use them in transplantation medicine. Viruses are currently used to introduce the reprogramming factors into adult cells, and this process must be carefully controlled and tested before the technique can lead to useful treatment for humans. In animal studies, the virus used to introduce the stem cell factors sometimes causes cancers. Researchers are currently investigating non-viral delivery strategies. In any case, this breakthrough discovery has created a powerful new way to “de-differentiate” cells whose developmental fates had been previously assumed to be determined. In addition, tissues derived from iPSCs will be a nearly identical match to the cell donor and thus probably avoid rejection by the immune system. The iPSC strategy creates pluripotent stem cells that, together with studies of other types of pluripotent stem cells, will help researchers learn how to reprogram cells to repair damaged tissues in the human body.

Previous|VI. What are induced pluripotent stem cells?|Next

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Stem Cell Basics VI. |

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Myocardial Stem Cell Patch Developed with 3D Printer – BusinessKorea

Myocardial Stem Cell Patch Developed with 3D Printer
The myocardial patch, which is printed with a 3D printer and attached to the hearts of such patients for blood vessel and tissue regeneration, has a structure in which cardiac extracellular matrices are used as bio ink and cardiac stem cells and

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Bone marrow registration drive planned to honor Salina man – Salina Journal (subscription)

A 45-year-old Salina man who was diagnosed with leukemia in November is being honored by a bone marrow registration drive Saturday being held at his church.

This is open to the whole community we want to stress that, said Linda Ourada, a member of the health ministry committee at St. Mary Queen of the Universe Catholic Church Parish Center, 230 E. Cloud. The drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the parish center.

Its possible that Phong Vos sister is a match for him, said Vos wife, Mary Pham.

More blood work is planned to determine if the match is close enough. In the meanwhile, the effort to sign up possible donors for Vo or anyone else who needs a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell donation is planned.

Pam Welsh, of Salina, said that more than a decade ago, she had her cheek swabbed during a bone marrow registration drive when a Bennington woman needed a match. She said she was called about a year later and told she was one of three people who were a possible match for a patient. She said she went to Salina Regional Health Center to have blood drawn for further testing.

I was given a choice if I wanted to continue in the process, she said. There was never any pressure.

She said that after the blood tests showed she was a good match for the patient, a nurse came to her house to give her shots to boost her stem cell count. Then she and a friend drove to a Wichita hospital, where she underwent an outpatient procedure during which her blood was drawn from one arm and passed through a machine that filtered out blood stem cells before the blood was returned to her other arm. Welsh said the procedure took one day, and then she took the next day off to recover. All expenses were paid by DKMS, an international organization that fights blood cancer and blood disorders, she said.

She said she found out that her blood was given to a 55-year-old man with some form of leukemia. She was told he was still alive when DKMS contacted her for a five-year checkup.

Although she never met him, Welsh said that for her there was a huge reward in knowing that I was able to help this man knowing that I gave him more years.

Its just a good feeling, she said.

Pham said Vo started feeling ill in October and has since undergone chemotherapy at Via Christi Hospital in Wichita and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. However, the leukemia has persisted.

Pham, who works for Schwans, has lived in Salina since her grandparents and an aunt, who had lived here since 1975, acted as her sponsors when she immigrated from Vietnam about 21 years ago. She met Vo, who moved here in the late 1990s, at work, and they were married at St. Marys. They have four sons, ages 11, 11, 10 and 8, who have missed their father during his long hospital stays.

When my husband got sick, I was panicked, and I was like, What do I need to do? I dont know what to do, Pham said. Soon she was told about DKMS, which will attempt to match potential donors who register at the Salina drive with Vo and other patients.

The bone marrow registration process for DKMS is simple, said Linda Ourada, who is helping to organize the event.

Its not like drawing blood, Ourada said. People get this mixed up with a blood drive. Theres no blood involved.

A swab is taken from the inside of the cheek, which is then sent for DNA analysis and entered into a global donor computer registry that already includes information about 7 million potential donors.

Every day in the United States, there are 14,000 people waiting for this blood stem cell donation, and only 30 percent get a family match, so that leaves 70 percent out there looking for a suitable donation from someone like us, Ourada said.

Ourada said that in 2012, more than 250 people registered and nine potential matches were contacted for further testing during a bone marrow drive at the church to honor a St. Louis family with Salina ties who had four boys with a rare form of blood cancer.

There is no cost to register as a donor, although monetary donations are being accepted to cover the approximately $65 in costs associated with registering each possible donor.

Potential donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55, in general good health and be willing to donate should their marrow be matched with a person who needs it. Further details about weight and height requirements or other limiting factors can be found at

The donation process may be accomplished one of two ways, depending on the patients needs. The preferred method is a blood transfusion, but for some patients, an actual bone marrow graft is necessary. The marrow is harvested through a hollow needle from a hip bone in an outpatient surgical procedure.

Bone marrow could be used to treat blood cancers, anemias, genetic disorders and other life-threatening ailments.

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Bone marrow registration drive planned to honor Salina man – Salina Journal (subscription)

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