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Hospital to boost genetic testing for newborn babies – ITV News

One of the UK’s largest women’s hospitals is to increase its ability to genetically test newborn babies 12-fold.

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust will be able to screen all infants for inherited conditions or illnesses and plan for early treatment as part of a major new IT project.

It will also contribute to a major population health programme in Liverpool analysing genetic information by location, identifying and enabling work to prevent localised health issues.

IT firm Novosco will introduce the computing system.

Novosco managing director Patrick McAliskey said: “We are delighted to secure this contract which will enable the trust to take genetic testing to the next level and play an important role in the identification and prevention of conditions and illnesses in new-born babies and the wider population.”

This role of genetics in healthcare is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of development for Liverpool Women’s.

It provides a regional clinical genetics service based at Alder Hey Hospital, covering a population of around 2.8 million people from across Merseyside, Cheshire and the Isle of Man, chief executive Kathryn Thomson posted on the trust’s website.

She added: “To discover that you or any child you have or plan to have may be at risk of a genetic disorder which could cause disability or a rare condition is traumatic.

“People are sometimes shocked and anxious and wonder what the future might hold.

“They need as much information and support as possible to help them cope.

“That is why the often unsung work of our clinical genetics team is so important, providing diagnosis and supporting families when they need it most.”

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust specialises in the health of women and their babies – both within the hospital and in the community. It is one of only two such specialist trusts in the UK – and the largest women’s hospital of its kind.

Novosco is an IT infrastructure and managed cloud computing company and employs over 150 people. It has its headquarters in Belfast, with offices in Manchester, Dublin, and Cork.

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Hospital to boost genetic testing for newborn babies – ITV News

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Ipswich resident Talia Duff’s fight for life continues, family hopes to raise funds for research – Wicked Local Ipswich

By Bryan Sater

The urgent race to cure a rare disease that attacks the muscular system does not happen overnight.

Researchers have made significant progress toward saving 11-year-old Talia Duffs life. Duff suffers from CMT4J, a degenerative genetic disease similar to ALS. But plenty of work remains.

While the Duff family pushes the science of gene therapy to save Talia, fundraising efforts in the community continue and local teens have a plan to help Talia with the challenges of her daily life.

Working toward a cure

The potential cure for Talia exists in the form of gene therapy, where a healthy gene replaces the mutated gene (FIG4), which causes CMT4J.

Scientists at Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor, Maine, have harvested a benign virus, like the common cold, stripped some of its DNA, and attached it to a healthy copy of the FIG4 gene.

Called a vector, this manipulated virus delivers the healthy FIG4 gene into the body by infecting cells in a targeted location, such as motor neurons in the spinal cord.

Theoretically, gene therapy not only stops the disease, but could allow peripheral nerves to heal and give Talia back some of her lost strength.

The gene therapy that could save Talias life could also have a wide-reaching effect on how rare disease are treated throughout the world. Potentially, others who suffer from a one-gene mutation defect could benefit by replicating the same sort of find and replace method that gene therapy proscribes.

Currently, research on mice genetically-altered to have CMT4J is being conducted at Jackson Labs. The mice have received the viral vector and are being studied for their response. Results of the experiment have not yet been published, but the Duffs scientific team expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks regarding the status of the test-subject mice.

Fundraising

While gene therapy has been identified as the potential cure for CMT4J, paying for the process is still a major obstacle. The money raised so far covered the cost of the viral vector creation, but as CMT4J advances its assault on Talias respiratory system, the Duffs continue to face increasing urgency in their fundraising efforts.

Pharmaceutical companies are not inclined to pipeline drugs for a disease that affects less than two dozen people worldwide. And normal scientific channels could take more than a decade, time which Talia does not have.

The Duffs did get some help from Jackson Labs, as the facility allocated money it received from a National Institute of Health grant toward some of the pre-clinical trial expenses.

However, the Duffs still need to raise between $1 million and $2 million in the coming year in order to fund a clinical trial in humans. They have raised nearly $300,000 so far and fundraising efforts are ongoing.

On Oct. 20, the Dare to Be Rare Gala will be Cure CMT4Js biggest fundraiser yet. Between sponsorship, ticket sales and live and silent auctions, the organization hopes to raise nearly $100,000.

Local fundraisers continue to chip away as well, including last weeks Tidbits for Talia at the Mayflower restaurant, flower sales at Ipswich Flowers, ongoing sales of brightly-colored shoelaces in the community, and outreach to major donors for significant gifts.

The amazing Ipswich community has contributed so much to our cause both financially and emotionally, said Talias mother, Jocelyn. Their support means so much to our family. It also lends tremendous credibility as we continue to pursue corporate and private donors beyond Ipswich. We hope they will feel compelled to give once they learn of Ipswich’s generosity and the incredible work being done by our scientists in the lab.”

Robotic arm

A group of high school students is doing what they can to help improve Talias quality of life. As CMT4J has progressed, Talia has lost most use of her extremities, including her arms and legs, compromising her ability to do simple things, such as lift a fork to her mouth or hold a book to read.

Enter the Ipswich High School Robotics Team. The students have established a four-phase plan to develop a robotic arm to help Talia with some of these regular tasks. They have secured a $10,000 Payne Grant to fund the project and have put together an initial prototype for the robotic arm that Talia will be able to use.

The team intends to accomplish two things with this project, said Rick Gadbois, team mentor, who met Jocelyn Duff at a rare disease conference last fall. Students will invent a device that helps Talia with daily activities, and will also publicize the effort to bring attention to CMT4J, to get funding for clinical research, for treatment and for a cure.

Talias health

While CMT4J weakened her limbs to the point where she depends entirely on a wheelchair, it has now begun to attack Talias respiratory system as well. The involuntary muscles that precipitate breathing are weakening, preventing her from coughing or taking deep breaths.

Three times per day, Talia must submit to a cough-assist machine, which, said Jocelyn Duff, forces air down her lungs and then vacuums it right back out in order to clear out any secretions in the lungs.

In addition, Talia now sleeps with a BIPAP machine, which delivers focused pressure to her lungs while she sleeps. The purpose is to maintain the oxygen saturation in her body at night, thus helping her sleep better and providing her more energy during the day.

Throughout it all, Talia continues to fight, and according to her mother, She is still her amazing, resilient, brave self.

Talias summer

Despite her condition, Talia was still able to enjoy summer as much as any 11-year-old. Her family vacationed in Maine, where she got to kayak, one of her favorite activities.

She took in a Red Sox game with a fellow CMT4J patient who visited from Seattle. The pair went onto the field at Fenway for batting practice and met Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland, who chatted with them.

Talia also began preparing for the start of sixth grade next week by going to locker night at the middle school and gathering her back-to-school supplies.

I think she is excited about school starting again this year, seeing her old friends and making some new ones, said Jocelyn Duff.

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Ipswich resident Talia Duff’s fight for life continues, family hopes to raise funds for research – Wicked Local Ipswich

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$91M Deal: CSL Acquires California Stem Cell Gene Therapy Developer – NBC 10 Philadelphia

CSL Behring, a Montgomery County-based global developer of biotherapeutic products, has entered into a deal to buy Calimmune Inc. for $91 million.

The deal also includes the potential for Calimmune to earn additional performance based milestone payments of up to $325 million over a period currently anticipated to be around eight years or more following the closing of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close within the next two weeks.

Calimmune, a biotechnology company specializing in hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy, has research and development facilities in Pasadena, Calif., and Sydney, Australia. [Hematopoietic stem cells are responsible for the production of all cellular blood components.]

The acquisition provides CSL Behring of King of Prussia, Pa., with Calimmunes pre-clinical asset, CAL-H, an experimental gene therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. Officials at CSL Behring, a division of CSL Ltd. of Australia, said CAL-H complements CSL Behrings current product portfolio and its “deep expertise” in hematology.

To read the full story, click here.

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.

Published at 9:28 PM EDT on Aug 28, 2017

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$91M Deal: CSL Acquires California Stem Cell Gene Therapy Developer – NBC 10 Philadelphia

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Global Cartilage Repair Market 2017-2021 – Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy is the latest Market Trend Making … – Business Wire (press release)

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “Global Cartilage Repair Market 2017-2021” report has been added to Research and Markets’ offering.

The global cartilage repair market to grow at a CAGR of 11.59 % during the period 2017-2021.

The treatment of articular cartilage has evolved tremendously in the past decade. Reparative and restorative methods have been developed to address the significant source of morbidity in the young and active patients. Articular cartilage injury can be focal, which is localized or systemic. Procedures are being developed not only to alleviate the symptoms associated with articular cartilage defects but also to limit the progression of cartilage damages into degenerative diseases.

According to the report, one of the major drivers for this market is Rising incidence of accidental injuries. Globally, the road traffic injuries are increasing, with post complicated symptoms such as weakening of tendons, cartilage tear, and orthopedic issues.

The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is Gene therapy and stem cell therapy. Gene therapy is one of the promising fields in the cartilage repair. Many clinical studies have been performed for cartilage repair. The researchers are trying to develop gene therapy for cartilage repair and currently been investigated for clinical application.

Further, the report states that one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is Product side effects. Surgeons use cartilage repair products such as tissue scaffold to improve the recovery. These products once grafted in the body may cause serious complications, resulting in their increased scrutiny for safety and efficacy. In many autologous chondrocyte implantation, there were common complications such as graft rejection, symptomatic hypertrophy, disturbed fusion and delamination.

Key vendors

Other prominent vendors

Key Topics Covered:

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/rjx284/global_cartilage

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Global Cartilage Repair Market 2017-2021 – Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy is the latest Market Trend Making … – Business Wire (press release)

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FDA steps up scrutiny of stem cell therapies – Reuters

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up efforts to better regulate an emerging field of medicine that holds significant promise for curing some of the most troubling diseases by using the body’s own cells.

A small number of “unscrupulous actors” have seized on the promise of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies to mislead patients based on unproven, and in some cases, dangerously dubious products, the FDA said on Monday. (bit.ly/2iB4Xls)

Regenerative medicine makes use of human cells or tissues that are engineered or taken from donors. Health regulators have approved some types of stem cell transplants that mainly use blood and skin stem cells after clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burn victims.

But many potential therapies are still in the earliest stages of development. These therapies are sometimes advertised with the promise of a cure, but they often have scant evidence backing their efficacy or safety.

The FDA said it had taken steps to tackle the problem of some “troubling products” being marketed in Florida and California.

Federal officials on Friday seized from San Diego-based StemImmune Inc vials containing hundreds of doses of a vaccine reserved only for people at high risk for smallpox, the FDA said. (bit.ly/2wC1DMU)

The seizure followed recent FDA inspections that confirmed the vaccine was used to create an unapproved stem cell product, which was then given to cancer patients, the agency added.

The FDA also sent a warning letter to a Sunrise, Florida-based clinic for marketing stem cell products without regulatory approval and for major deviations from current good manufacturing practices. (bit.ly/2giGlx9)

The health regulator will present a new policy framework this fall that will more clearly detail the “rules of the road” for regenerative medicine, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, a cancer survivor, said in a statement.

Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Tamara Mathias; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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Chinese hair and personal care distributor acquires Cicabel – CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com

Grand Fan Group, a supplier of hair, body wash and care brands, has bought the Cicabel brand from French pharmaceutical producer, Santinov.

The deal

The Chinese distributor held a press conference and officially announced the acquisition on 27th August 2017.

Grand Fan Group acquired both the Cicabel brand and all of the medical products maker’stechnologies. To kickstart its position within the Chinese marketplace, Grand Fan Group will also introduce its first peptide-based Cicabel face mask to consumers in September 2017.

This arrangement is the Chinese distributors first move into the skin care sector and is part of its wider strategic plan to improve its brands for Chinas make up and skin care industries, along with advancing its three existing hair and personal care names.

Stem cell R&D

French medical products manufacturer, Santinov, first brought its Cicabel name to the beauty-loving market 130 years ago with its facial masks. The label conducted extensive research and development and used stem cells to create skin care masks.

In today’s market, biotechnology is having a considerable influence over cosmetic product launches. As a result, medical standards are a core component of facial mask production as Cicabel is using biomedical technologies to launch new innovations.

Medical skin care move

In recent years, consumers have sought high-tech skin care therapies with high-achieving performance. To combine both medical and beauty developments, Cicabelssoon-to-be-launched mask concentrates on skin care and rejuvenation using advanced technologies.

The brands facial mask contains purified ingredients that provide energy to the skin stem cells. These selected elements also protect and activate the cells and promote the proliferation of skin epidermal cells and the anagenesis of skin fibrosis, the company stated in a recent press release.

As facial rejuvenation becomes a key interest in skin care, the brand hopes that its proprietary technologies can propel it into high-tech medical skin care.

Made for high-end consumption

As Chinese consumers favour luxury products, the brands first release following the acquisition aims to reach premium product status.

With our strong confidence in high-tech approaches when it comes to improving one’s appearance, we decided to take over Cicabel, an executive at Grand Fan Group stated.

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Chinese hair and personal care distributor acquires Cicabel – CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com

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Young cardiac cells rejuvenate hearts, in animal study – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Cardiac predecessor cells appear to rejuvenate the hearts of older animals, according to a recent study from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute that may lead to tests in humans.

Signs of rejuvenation in rats included a 20 percent increase in exercise capacity, faster regrowth of hair, and lengthening of the protective caps of chromosomes.

The study used cardiosphere-derived cells, or CDCs, which are like stem cells, but can only develop into heart cells. These cells are already being used in a human clinical trial to repair damage from heart attacks. The trial is being conducted by Beverly Hills-based Capricor in several hospitals, including Scripps La Jolla.

Since these cells have already been found to be safe, it should be fairly straightforward to extend testing from repairing heart damage in people to rejuvenation, said study leader Dr. Eduardo Marbn. Hes director of the Los Angeles Institute, part of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Marbn is also a co-founder of Capricor, publicly traded on Nasdaq.

However, a researcher not involved in the study said that while it was well done, the history of stem cell treatments indicates that proving efficacy in people promises to be far more difficult.

The study used cells taken from newborn rats, injected into the hearts of older, senescent rats. It was published Aug. 14 in the European Heart Journal.

The study is exceptional in both its scope and breadth, said Dr. Richard Schatz, a Scripps Clinic cardiologist involved in the Capricor trial at Scripps La Jolla.

It examines an extraordinary number of variables rarely seen in such studies to ask the question of the impact of CDC (specialized stem cells) on cardiac aging in rats, Schatz said by email. Every parameter of how aging might be studied moved in the right direction, meaning there might be a biologic effect of their cells throughout the body.

Schatz cautioned that scientific excellence doesnt equal clinical success.

The technologys muscle-improving effectiveness could also help patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Marbn said. That use is in clinical testing by Capricor. Early results in patients have been promising enough that more studies are planned.

Capricor clinical trial information is available at http://capricor.com/clinical-trials.

Marbn said the study adds to growing evidence that progenitor cells exert their healing power by secreting chemicals that stimulate repair, not by permanently incorporating themselves into the body. The chemicals are enclosed in tiny vesicles called exosomes that the cells shed.

Until fairly recently, exosomes were dismissed as cellular debris, but are now being appreciated for their role in cell signaling, Marbn said.

There’s a staggering number, something like 100 billion to a trillion exosomes per drop of blood, per drop of cerebrospinal fluid, Marbn said. They are plentiful in breast milk. The only thing we know right now is that there is a complex signaling system.

These exosomes travel far beyond the heart to reach skeletal muscle, which is weakened in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he said.

Schatz said the study provides evidence that the cells exert many different effects beyond those in a single target organ, through the exosomes, seen in humans as well.

This is very good news if you are a rat, but the obvious limitation is how will this play out in humans, Schatz said.

Previous clinical trials of stem cells have been successful in Phase 1 and 2, Schatz said, but fail in Phase 3. So the researchers face a daunting road ahead to demonstrate usefulness in people.

This does not take away from the brilliant science behind this exceptional group of investigators, Schatz said. They should be congratulated for a very thoughtful and expansive look at a fascinating subject, the clinical relevance of which remains to be seen.

The rejuvenation effects to some degree resemble cells created when adult cells are reprogrammed back to being stem cells, Marbn said.

Certain factors are turned on that regress the cells to act like embryonic stem cells. These are called induced pluripotent stem cells, because they can become nearly any cell in the body, a property called pluripotency.

Something like this might be happening through exosome-mediated reprogramming.

We have a suspicion that even though we didn’t go about trying to activate those factors, some of them may in fact be turned on by the therapy, Marbn said.

Understanding precisely what is going on will take much more work to sort out, he said. For example, lengthening the protective caps of chromosomes, or telomeres, is presumably caused by production of telomerase, an enzyme that makes them longer. But how?

Knowing the exosomes are involved doesnt narrow it down very much, he said.

We think that there’s thousands and thousands of different bioactive molecules within exosomes. And so I can’t right now point to, let’s say, these five RNAs and say, they’re the ones that we think are doing the trick, Marbn said. But somewhere in the genetic instructions in the exosomes are signals that cause telomerase to be activated and elongation of the telomeres.

Even without understanding the precise mechanism, the demonstrated results have been promising enough for Capricor to continue clinical testing in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Marbn said, even though its outside the companys initial focus on heart disease.

The heart attack research gave mixed messages, he said. Capricor isnt abandoning it, but has given priority to the muscular dystrophy program.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients and their parents are more interested in increasing skeletal muscle function than heart function, he said. The disease virtually exclusively affects males, and they often die when quite young.

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Young cardiac cells rejuvenate hearts, in animal study – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Providing Leading-edge Cardiovascular Care – The Lane Report

SPECIAL ADVERTISING REPORT

HOWEVER, THERE ARE OTHER components of KentuckyOne Health Heart and Vascular Care that make it the critical statewide resource it is today. Research, community outreach and support of advocacy organizations are all important aspects of our mission to be the states leader in cardiovascular care.

Innovative Care

KentuckyOne provides patients with a full spectrum of cardiovascular care, with treatments for common problems as well as complex cardiovascular conditions. Our surgeons, nursing staff and other health care professionals utilize the latest diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to treat any type of patient with any type of condition.

Whether youre in need of heart attack care; heart rhythm care for cardiac arrhythmia; transplant (Louisville only) or mechanical device care for advanced heart failure; minimally invasive treatment for a disease like aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation; vascular care for an aneurysm or artery disease; cardiac rehabilitation at one of our Healthy Lifestyle Centers; or some other type of heart and vascular service, KentuckyOne Health is the place to go.

Having access to the best equipment and newest treatments is only part of the equation, said Nezar Falluji, MD, MPH, interventional cardiologist with KentuckyOne Health Cardiology Associates and director of cardiovascular services for the KentuckyOne Health Lexington market at Saint Joseph Hospital. The teamwork and collaboration between cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staff and physicians is what sets us apart.

Groundbreaking Research

Through a partnership with the University of Louisville and its physicians, KentuckyOne Health, and specifically Jewish Hospital and University of Louisville Hospital, is the site for groundbreaking research across many disciplines. Jewish Hospital is the primary site in Louisville for cardiovascular research.

The University of Louisville offers access to academic research and innovation that may be effectively applied in clinical settings, said Mark Slaughter, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Louisville and executive director of cardiovascular services for the KentuckyOne Health Louisville market. Through this research component, Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health are leading the way in developing next-generation cardiovascular therapies.

Roberto Bolli, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Louisville, is a renowned researcher whose stem cell therapy work has garnered worldwide attention.

Dr. Bolli has become a world leader in using patients own stem cells, growing them in tissue culture and then infusing them back into the injured heart, as a way to repopulate the heart with cardiac cells that will grow and heal. He is doing truly leading-edge cardiac stem cell work right here in Kentucky.

Many of the vascular diseases are silent and often go unnoticed until they eventually lead to major problems, said Stephen Self, MD, vascular surgeon at KentuckyOne Health Vascular Surgery Associates. Its crucial that people are aware of the risk factors and become proactive about their health.

Knowing the Risk Factors

Despite the sly nature of many vascular diseases, there are some controllable and uncontrollable risk factors you should know about, including:

Age People 50 and older are at greatest risk.

Smoking Smoke inhalation increases vascular damage.

Lack of exercise Contributes to fat storage, muscle loss and low energy.

Obesity A common sign of poor vascular health

Unhealthy diet Poor diets can increase bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

Genetics Your family medical history can help define your risk.

Protecting Yourself

I recommend people with increased risk of vascular disease, such as those who smoke or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and anyone over the age of 50, get vascular screenings, said Steve Lin, MD, who specializes in vein care at KentuckyOne Health Cardiology Associates. They are completely painless, inexpensive and can ultimately save your life.

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Providing Leading-edge Cardiovascular Care – The Lane Report

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FDA moves to curb dangerous stem cell clinics – Philly.com

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced a crackdown on deceptive and dangerous stem cell clinics, starting with actions against a California company accused of giving smallpox vaccine to cancer patients, and a Florida company that ruined the eyesight of three women.

Our actions today should also be a warning to others who may be doing similar harm, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, urging consumers and health-care providers to report rogue clinics and injuries.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

The California company, San Diego-based StemImmune Inc., was combining the vaccine with stem cells derived from fat, then giving it intravenously or injecting it into tumors of cancer patients at clinics in Rancho Mirage and Beverly Hills, Calif., the FDA said.

U.S. marshals on Friday seized five vials of smallpox vaccine, including one that was partially used. The agency is investigating how the company obtained the vaccine, which has been stockpiled by the government in case of a bioterrorist attack.

The vaccine is made with live vaccinia virus, a poxvirus similar to but less harmful than smallpox. The vaccine could cause life-threatening problems in immune-compromised cancer patients, and alsoin certain unvaccinated people who might be accidentally infected by the patients, the FDA explained.

Speaking as a cancer survivor, Gottlieb said in a statement, I know all too well the fear and anxiety the diagnosis of cancer can have and how tempting it can be to believe the hollow claims made by these kinds of unscrupulous clinics. The FDA will not allow deceitful actors to take advantage of vulnerable patients.

In a separate enforcement action, the FDA sent a warning letter last week to U.S. Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Fla., saying it could face product seizure or an injunction. Agency inspectors found that the clinic was processing fat-derived stem cells and claiming to treat a raft of conditions, including Parkinsons disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart failure.

In March, U.S. Stem Cell made headlines when an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that three women with age-related macular degeneration suffered severe and permanent vision damage one was blinded after stem cells were injected into their eyeballs at the clinic. The article was written by doctors unconnected with the clinic who treated the women for the disastrous results.

Critics of unapproved stem cell treatments have called for tougher oversight by the FDA, as well as by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising, and by state medical boards, which oversee the practice of medicine.

The regulatory moves come as so-called regenerative medicine is exploding, spawning an industry built on unproven treatments using stem cells from bone marrow or fat. In recent months, networks of chiropractors have run big-budget ads for such treatments in newspaper across the country, including the Inquirer. Those ads, however, focus on addressing orthopedic problems such as degenerative discs and arthriticknees.

The only FDA-approved stem cell therapies involve using cells from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood to treat blood cancers and certain immune disorders. In general, biologic tissues that are processed and marketed as therapies are supposed to go through the FDAs drug approval process, which involves years of costly clinical testing in humans.

However, the FDA has tried to find a middle ground, recognizing the potential promise of stem cells in tissue repair and regeneration. The FDA has published, but has not finalized, draft guidance for stem cell products, saying they can be exempted from the drug approval process under certain scenarios. Among other criteria, the cells must be minimally manipulated and used in a homologous way, meaning for the same function they perform naturally in the body.

In a policy statement issued Monday, Gottlieb promised that this fall, the agency will advance a comprehensive policy framework that will more clearly describe the rules of the road for this new field. It will enable responsible product developers to gain FDAapproval with minimal burdens and costs.

We want to facilitate innovation, he wrote.

Published: August 28, 2017 4:42 PM EDT

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FDA moves to curb dangerous stem cell clinics – Philly.com

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Why Doug Baldwin went to England for stem-cell therapy – The News Tribune (blog)

RENTON Turns out, Doug Baldwin started this current Seahawks fad of traveling outside the teams normal medical coverage to get far-flung treatment using body cells.

The Seahawks No. 1 wide receiver told me Monday he went overseas before this season — to England, to be exact — for pre-emptive, preventative treatment to maintain healthy knees.

I had mine in the offseason. I did stem-cell, Baldwin said, drenched in sweat in the hallway outside the teams locker room just after completing Mondays practice.

I mean, I dont have any ailments. Im trying to find every edge I can get.

Baldwin, Seattles $46 million receiver, tied Bobby Engrams 2007 franchise record with 94 receptions last season. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection. In 2015, the season that led to his contract extension, he co-led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches.

He said hed been looking into stem-cell therapy for years.

Transplanting or using bone marrow is the most widely used stem-cell therapy to treat or prevent a condition or disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration further explains stem cells may also help repair the body by dividing to replenish cells that are damaged by disease, injury, or normal wear.

So why London for Baldwin?

The FDA, as stated on its website, has not approved any stem cell-based products for use in this country other than using human umbilical cord blood forming stem cells for certain diseases.

There was a company wed be speaking to, Baldwin said of the London place he got treatment, without wanting to disclose many details. Did my research. Took my two years to finally decide.

In the last two weeks, seven Seahawks have gone away and outside the teams regular medical treatment to get a debated blood-re-injection process called regenokine to treat aching joints and/or aid in recovery from surgery. The treatment was founded in Germany, where its known as orthokine.

K.J. Wright returned last week from regenokine treatment, the re-injection of ones blood after it is heated and spun in a centrifuge to enhance its anti-inflammatory properties. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker played in Seattles exhibition last Friday against Kansas City.

D.J. Alexander the Pro Bowl special-teams player the Seahawks acquired this summer in a trade with Kansas City, went for regenokine treatment last week.

On Monday, coach Pete Carroll said wide receiver and kick returner Tyler Lockett, Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, starting left guard Luke Joeckel and starting outside linebacker Michael Wilhoite are away from the team getting the same treatment Wright and Alexander had. Carroll said the team expects all those players to be ready for the opening game Sept. 10 at Green Bay.

That process reportedly costs $10,000. That doesnt count the travel and hotel costs of flying to get the therapy, of course. The FDA has yet to approve regenokine for use in the U.S., largely because its still unproven and reportedly because the agency has issues with the heating of the blood.

That is probably why Carroll said this on Thursday: Ive never had the OK that I can talk about it; I dont even know if I can talk about it. I was always afraid I wouldnt pronounce it right. But what I know its called is regenokine.

Dr. Peter Wehling in Germany, the man who founded the procedure known there as orthokine, was said in 2013 to have treated 30 to 40 NFL players with it. At that time the treatment process took four days, which could explain why Wright and his Seahawks successor have been missing a week of practices and games this month for it.

LifeSpan Medicine, clinic in Santa Monica, California, with offices also in New York and Dallas, lists regenokine as one the regenerative therapies it practices — again, without FDA approval for use in this country.

Carroll said this on Monday:

Baldwin turns 29 next month. The opening at the Packers will begin the second season of the four-year, $46 million extension he signed in the summer of 2016. He looked ready for the 2017 season in Seattles most recent preseason game, Friday against Kansas City. He had two catches for 45 yards in 2 1/2 quarters, racing across the field and away from Chiefs defenders.

Hes only missed two games in his six-year career. Those absences were in his second season, 2012, after Seattle signed him as one of the leagues most successful undrafted free agents of the last decade.

Now, hes one of the trend-setters among eight Seahawks whove received alternative therapy.

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Why Doug Baldwin went to England for stem-cell therapy – The News Tribune (blog)

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How your own stem cells could relieve your chronic pain – Good4Utah

Dr. Khan from Wasatch Pain Solutions gave us insight to Regenexx, the world’s most advanced stem cell and blood platelet procedures.

On what makesRegenexx treatments better than any other, Dr. Khan explained that a network of doctors and researchers have performed more stem cell related procedures than any other group in the United States; over 51,000 procedures. Which he says has lead them to producing over 50% of all available orthopedic stem cell research in the world.

Dr. Khan explained they only use a persons own living stem cells from their bone marrow along with their own blood platelets during their patented 3-step process. Studies show that bone marrow stem cells are vastly superior for orthopedic applications like helping to regenerate cartilage and heal tissue damage. The outcome that their process produces can help patients avoid surgery and maintain a very active lifestyle without severe pain.

For more information visit wasatchpainsolutions.com or call (801) 302-2690.

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How your own stem cells could relieve your chronic pain – Good4Utah

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MS sufferer gets pioneering stem cell treatment – Gloucestershire Live

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Roy Palmer is about to embark on the next phase of his pioneering treatment.

But it comes with risks he is prepared to take in the hope it will cure the debilitating condition.

The 43-year-old father of two from Quedgeley is determined it will work. He was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS but now has the secondary progressive form of the disease, which means it gets steadily worse.

He said: I fought for a year to get hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and many people told me I didnt fit the criteria but I didnt let that stop me.

Mr Palmer had a week of injections to draw the stem cells from his bone marrow.

He and his wife Helen travelled to Hammersmith Hospital in London where he was given a day of chemotherapy.

Mr Palmer lost his hair as a result and was left feeling sick and tired.

The stem cells have been frozen and will be reintroduced to his body after another aggressive course of chemotherapy.

It will be fed directly into a main artery in his chest before Mr Palmer spends the next four weeks in isolation.

He will start the treatment on September 18 his 24th wedding anniversary.

Mr Palmer said: Im not someone to sit around and feel sorry for myself.

If the treatment works then, oh my God, I couldnt begin to describe what it would mean to me.

He added: To be able to walk out of my front door would mean the world.

I know Im lucky to be able to get the treatment. Im worried, my immune system will be obliterated, but I have to give this everything. Im a fighter and determined to make this work.

Mr Palmers family back his decision to undergo HSCT treatment, although they worry about the effect it will have.

His 45-year-old wife said: When they give the chemotherapy it brings the body back down to zero.

It will stop any immune system and take some time for the body to start getting back to normal.

When Roys levels are up they will start to reintroduce the stem cells.

The MS Society website says HSCT aims to reset the immune system to stop it attacking the central nervous system.

It uses chemotherapy to remove the harmful immune cells and then rebuilds the immune system using haematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow.

They can produce all the different cells in the blood.

Mrs Palmer said: Im happy for Roy to take that risk and to support him but it is a lethal dose of chemo.

The treatment can be done abroad and costs around 60,000. In the past we were considering that option but there is no aftercare.

The couples daughter Abi, 12, said: I feel a little scared for dad but okay. I cant remember him walking.

And 20-year-old son Jack said: Dad has been in a chair for about 10 years and to see him walk again would mean everything.

Just standing next to each other would mean the world.

Once the stem cells are back in Mr Palmers body the hope is he will make a full recovery and be free of MS,

He said: It will be great to not have to ask people to do things for me.

I do what I can but I dont like to hang around waiting.

I want people to know there is treatment and it can be a fight but Ive got to do this now.

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MS sufferer gets pioneering stem cell treatment – Gloucestershire Live

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Kamagra gold 100mg review – Laughlin Entertainer

When an experiment turns into a tradition in Laughlin, it means there was a show worth taking a chance on at one timethen consistently that same show proved itself time after time to be one audiences didnt want to miss. The Memorial Day Comedy Festival at the Riverside Resort was that show. Experiencing comedy served up as a variety show with veteran comedian Gabe Lopez as the shows producer, performer and emcee was like discovering a hidden gem on the entertainment landscapemore along the lines of one of those underground clubs in Vegas, known only to a lucky few. But now the word is out and the Comedy Festival is coming back to the Riverside Resort over the Labor Day weekend this time.

If you are a local, or a regular visitor to Laughlinespecially if your visits are on holiday weekendsyou are aware that the Avi Resort & Casino doesnt simply wait for the Fourth of July to set off a major fireworks display. Nope. Beginning in 1996, and continuing every year since, they have been filling the skies above the Colorado River with the amped-up creations of Zambelli Internationale Fireworks on Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.

The Colorado Belle is home to a multitude of outdoor festivals that embrace particular themes and for the Labor Day Riverwalk Festival, its a celebration of the end of summer and the cooler temperatures just starting to take hold of the Colorado River regionthink of it as one big neighborhood block party.

Theres a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time, but could Air Supplys long-time success be the result or a chance meeting or was the cosmos working overtime on a little something called destiny? Maybe, but one thing is for surenone of it would have been possible at all without their hard work and tenacity to make it happen.The two Russells, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, happened to be cast in the same Sydney, Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1975, and everything changed after that.

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I Have a 50/50 Chance of Developing Huntington’s Disease – SELF

I dont remember the exact moment I found out my dad had Huntingtons disease, or how I found out it was genetic. What I do remember is showing off, in high school biology, that I knew the Huntington’s gene was dominant in males. My reasoning was that my dad, his dad, and his granddad all had Huntingtons. I knew my two sisters and I still had a chance at getting it, but it wasnt as likely. This, of course, is not true.

Looking back, I clearly wanted to believe it was more common in men. I used that explanation as a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that, as a 14-year-old, not only was my dad dying, but he was dying from something my sisters and I might die from, too.

For those of you who dont know what Huntingtons disease is, its a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain,” according to the Huntingtons Disease Society of America (HDSA). “It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure.” The HDSA Web site even notes that many describe the symptoms as a combination of having Parkinsons, Alzheimers and ALS all at once. Those symptoms can include mood swings, depression, and personality changes; slurred speech; the inability to think clearly; involuntary movements called chorea; and eventually the inability to walk, talk, and swallow.

The typical HD patient begins showing symptoms between the ages of 30 to 50, according to the HDSA, which worsen over a 10- to 25-year span. My dad was diagnosed in his forties and passed away two days before his 58th birthday. People with Huntingtons often die from infections, aspiration pneumonia, or even complications from falling. My dads cause of death was cardiorespiratory failure, brought on by all the health issues surrounding his disease.

Although there are only about 30,000 symptomatic Americans currently living with HD, there are more than 200,000 who are at risk. To me, this at-risk reality is like being forced to live in no mans land. The whole 50/50 thing is so definitely not definite. Its unsettling knowing what my exact odds are and that they dont lean one way or another. The odds arent against me, but they arent in my favor either.

The uncertainty can be put to rest by a not-so-simple genetic test. Jill Goldman, genetic counselor at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF that there is an international protocol which includes a DNA component that can reveal whether an individual will develop the disease. First, the person at risk will call an HD or movement disorder clinic to get information such as what the protocol entails, what the risks are, and what it costs.

Next comes a meeting with a genetic counselor who further educates the individual on the genetics of the disease and provides guidance on the potential impact of dealing with the DNA result. Its having the person think about everything that theyre going to have to deal with after getting the test results, says Goldman. Talking about what they would do with a positive result, could they cope with that? What about a negative result, because for some people that can be just as devastating.

If the person wishes to continue, he or she often moves on to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Here they will explore different coping mechanisms and ways to handle the diagnosis. Theyre also going to explore if the person is coming in with anxiety or depression,” says Goldman. If there are any concerns or a person isn’t psychologically prepared for what lies ahead, then therapy will be recommended.

The last step in the protocol is the actual neurological exam and the DNA test. Here, the at-risk person usually has a choice about whether they want to hear what the neurologist finds or not, explains Goldman. It’s obviously an extremely personal decision to do this. Less than 20 percent of people at risk come for testing, and many of them will actually stop the process, she says. Even after having their blood drawn, there are people who dont come for their results.

I thought there was no way I could live without knowing. I figured if I tested negative, it would lift this huge weight off my shoulders. If I tested positive, at least I could deal with it head on.

I have since grown out of this mentality and decided its best I dont 100 percent know what my fate with HD is. It wasnt until I was 17 or 18 years old that I realized I didnt actually want to know my results. If Im being honest with myself, its probably because I got scared. The idea of feeling mortal at a time in your life when youre supposed to feel invincible was way too frightening for my mind to grasp at the time. It still is at age 24. I already lost a lot of my youth through a divorce and a sick parent. I didnt need to push myself into another form of maturity over another life issue most people dont have to deal with until theyve lived another 50 years or more.

To me, not knowing seems like my best option if I want to live a normal life. Most people dont know what health issues theyll have to deal with in the future; why would I need to know? If I decide to start a family, Ill probably get tested. But until then, Id rather live with my 50/50 chance.

Even though I dont want to know my results, I still accept and recognize that HD is a part of my life. Huntingtons tends to be one of those diseases that some people choose to ignore or keep a secret, which I get; HD is a daunting reality and people should handle it however they feel is safest and healthiest for them. For me, I have found it best to fully embrace my at-risk status. By acknowledging and owning it, I feel I am able to gain more control in an uncontrollable situation. By sharing my status and having HD in my life now, it wont be as earth-shattering if it comes later. By being up front, I am able to (somewhat) avoid pity. Its hard to pity someone who isnt hiding or ashamed.

Most importantly, sharing my reality helps spread awareness of the disease. Whether Im writing about it to a wide audience like this or sharing my story with friends who share it with more friends, I truly believe that its through awareness that we will bring an end to this disease.

Theres no one clear way I can describe how it feels to have a 50/50 chance of Huntingtons. Honesty, it depends on if Im having a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of a day. Sometimes I feel jealous that other people dont have to deal with a life-changing decision, other times I feel grateful for how its motivated and shaped me as a person. My feelings are full of these types of contradictories thanks to the uncertainty a 50/50 chance like mine leaves you with.

Overall, though, I feel sad. Even though Ive come to terms with my 50/50 reality, I still feel sad picturing my life coming to end because of HD. I dont mean a dying end eitherwere all going to die. I mean the life that I know as a loving friend, partner, daughter, and writer ending. Because inevitably, if I do have HD, thats the reality I face. And since this reality is the only experience Ive had with HD, its hard for me to imagine living on the right half of 50 percent.

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I Have a 50/50 Chance of Developing Huntington’s Disease – SELF

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Blast off into eternity: Russian company to send the dead into space – Russia Beyond the Headlines

The dead bodies of cryogenically frozen people and pets, DNA samples, and even organs, such as brains, might soon be sent to space. Russia’s first and only cryonics company,KrioRus, announced an agreement with Space Technologies, a new science and tech consortium.

Satellites with cryo-capsules will be launched into orbit by Russian rockets, said Yulia Arkhipova, general director ofSpace Technologies.

Cryogenics facilities exist only in the U.S. and Russia. Since 2005,KrioRushas frozen the bodies and brains of 54 people, eight dogs, nine cats,three birds, and even one pet chinchilla. According to the company, many frozen individuals once had the aspiration to go to space.

Arkhipova didnt provide details on whether her company has partnerships with established Russian space organizations. Space Technologies was registered in 2016 and it doesnt have its own rocket fleet or launch vehicles. The company hasnt yet implemented a single space project but already announced ambitious plans, such as the creation ofRussia’sfirst private cosmodrome and a new orbital station,MIR-2.

The cryo-capsules wont be just hanging about in orbit, Arkipova promised. The company is planning to develop satellites for in-orbit repairs but, once again, Arkhipova didnt provide any details. The leading Russian space companies are developing these satellites, the technologies are unique and its classified information, Arkipova said.

The names of these leading space companies are classified, as well as the names of the organization’s founders. Space Technologies declined to respond to these questions.

Freezing bodies and cryogenic experiments might be necessary for the future development of space travel to distant planets or galaxies.

Cryogenic freezing is the process of preserving a dead body with liquid nitrogen. Currently, it can only happen at the moment when someone has just been declared dead. The freezing process must begin as soon as the patient dies in order to preventbraindamage.

First, the body is cooled in an ice bath to gradually reduce its temperature, and then doctors drain the blood and replace it with an anti-freeze fluid to stop harmful ice crystals forming.

People who make the decision to freeze their bodies believe scientists will one day in the future figure out how to warm up the body and bring them back to life. Hopefully by that time doctors will be able to cure cancer and other illness.

According to KrioRus, the cost of preserving a body in space starts from $250,000. Space Technologies didnt clarify the costs of launching a body into orbit.

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Blast off into eternity: Russian company to send the dead into space – Russia Beyond the Headlines

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Life Extension Archives – NutraPlanet

Sale!Life Extension 5-Lox Inhibitor with ApresFlex VCaps 100 mg Vitamins & Minerals.

Description For Longer Life Next Generation Boswellia Extract Dietary Supplement Normal aging results in higher-than-desired levels of 5-LOX. The typical American diet adds to the danger. Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids like red meat poultry eggs and dairy products along with high-glycemic carbohydrates trigger overproduction of arachidonic acid. In response to high levels of []

Description For Longer Life Natural Metabolite of DHEA Dietary Supplement 7-Keto DHEA is a natural metabolite of DHEA that has been shown to safely increase thermogenesis improve fat loss and help maintain healthy body weight when combined with a diet and exercise program. A clinical study indicated that 7-Keto DHEA increases the resting metabolic rate []

Description Foundation for Longer Life With AdipoStat and Integra-Lean African Mango Irvingia Weight Management Support Dietary Supplement Certified Authentic Irvingia This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary. Advanced Anti-Adipocyte Formula with AdipoStat and Integra-Lean African Mango Irvingia AdipoStat targets the mechanisms by which fat-storing []

Description For Longer Life Advanced Oral Hygiene Advanced Oral Hygiene is an oral probiotic that provides the beneficial bacteria that can help block harmful bacteria that first develop in the mouth. This sophisticated oral probiotic therapy allows the healthy and naturally occurring organisms found in the body to out-compete the harmful bacteria. Advanced Oral Hygiene []

Description Clinical Strength Ingredients Convenient Dose Dietary Supplements As you grow older age-related stiffness and discomfort in the joints becomes a fact of life. Activities once routine become a challenge as limited mobility hampers your every move. You now have a more potent option to provide broad-spectrum support for aging joints. ArthroMax Advanced with UC-II []

Description For Longer Life Helps Maintain Healthy Liver Function Dietary Supplement Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants with HepatoProtection Complex Consuming alcoholic beverages results in the generation of free radicals. People who drink a lot of alcohol often suffer because of massive free radical-induced cellular damage. Alcohol-induced free radical assault can wreak short-term havoc throughout the body and these []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Apple-A-Day Antioxidant Dietary Supplement The benefits of plant polyphenols are well known to health enthusiasts. These natural plant constituents block oxidative damage that leads to inflammation and accelerated biological aging of tissues. Recent studies by three separate laboratories have concluded that polyphenols extracted from apples extend life span in laboratory []

Description For Longer Life “High-ORAC Complex” Dietary Supplement One capsule provides the antioxidant equivalent of more than 2 1/2 servings of fruits and vegetables based upon yearly ORAC analysis done by the USDA. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. Suggested Use Take one (1) capsule daily with or without food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. []

Description Promotes Intestinal Health Dietary Supplement Probiotics literally means for life. Traditional diets (like the Mediterranean Diet) with foods that contain probiotics have been shown to promote health and longevity. Probiotics are thought to facilitate healthy GI and perform many other important functions. For example researchers have discovered that probiotics help decrease nuclear factor kappa []

Description For Longer Life Natural Mood and Sleep Support Dietary Supplement Bioactive Milk Peptides (Lactium) are a cutting-edge nutrient complex consisting of patented bioactive peptides found naturally in milk. Used widely in Europe to promote sustained and restful sleep patterns published studies reveal that these bioactive milk peptides also promote relaxation help with stress and []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Modulates Key Regulators of Inflammation Dietary Supplement Black Cumin Seed Oil As we age a balanced immune and inflammatory response becomes critical to guarding our health. Research has shown Black Cumin Seed Oil to be particularly effective. Scientists have determined that black cumin seeds contain a broad spectrum of active []

Description For Longer Life Natures Antioxidant Dietary Supplement Blueberry Extract Capsules The two most active constituents found in blueberries are anthocyanins and pterostilbene. Blueberry anthocyanins are considered one of natures most potent antioxidants. Pterostilbene is the other blueberry constituent that helps maintain healthy lipid and glucose levels that are already within healthy ranges. Through its []

Description For Longer Life (Free Form) Hepatoprotection Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. To be used by adults 18 years and older. Take four (4) capsules daily with or without food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Other Ingredients Vegetable cellulose (capsule) rice flour. []

Description For Longer Life Sterile Lubricant Eye Drops For use as a lubricant to prevent further irritation or to relieve dryness of the eye. Suggested Use Please read enclosed product insert for important safety information and instructions on opening containers. Instill 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) as needed. Other Ingredients Other Ingredients: []

Description For Longer Life Enteric Coated for Optimal Absorption Dietary Supplement Specially-Coated Bromelain is enteric coated to protect the bromelain from becoming active in the stomach and act as a digestive enzyme for food. Specially-Coated Bromelain Bromelain, a mixture of proteases extracted from the stem of the pineapple, has been used by Europeans for many []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Cellular Support For Heart Muscle Dietary Supplement Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna Cardiotonics have traditionally been used to improve heart function and vitality. Formulated for optimum heart muscle health Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna provides dual cardiotonic support. Extensive research demonstrates that the botanical extracts Hawthorn []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Silymarin-Silibinins-Isosilybin A & B Supports a Healthy Liver and Prostate Dietary Supplement Certified European Milk Thistle (Silymarin-Silibinins-Isosilybin A & B) The liver is a large glandular organ, whose functions include decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, hormone production, secretion of bile, and conversion of sugars into glycogen, which []

Description For Longer Life Supports Healthy DNA Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) capsule three times daily with food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Other Ingredients Microcrystalline cellulose vegetable cellulose (capsule) silica vegetable stearate. Warnings Store tightly closed in a []

Description Foundation For Longer Life Helps Maintain Healthy Glucose for those already within Normal Range Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) capsule 20-30 minutes before each meal not exceeding three (3) capsules daily or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Best results []

Description Sealed for Your Protection For Longer Life Supports Weight Management and Metabolic Wellness† Certified Authentic Irvingia Dietary Supplement Chrominex †This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary. Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) []

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Life Extension Archives – NutraPlanet

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Master Gardeners have scheduled presentations – Athens Daily Review

There will be a Master Gardener presentation by Keith Hanson on Growing Azaleas Thursday, Aug. 31, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 507 N. Broad St., Chandler.

Former Agri-Life Extension Agent Keith Hanson will speak on growing azaleas. Hanson was an Extension agent for 29 years. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Horticulture at Texas A & M University and continued his study in Plant Physiology at the University of California at Davis. This presentation is sponsored by the Henderson County Master Gardeners Association and is free to the public. For more information, call 903-675-6130, email hendersonCMGA@gmail.com or visit http://www.henderson-co-tx-mg.org.

Master Gardener Judy Haldeman will present Wild about Wildflowers Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library 121 S. Prairieville, Athens.

Come learn the basics of gardening with wildflowers. Site preparation and seed sowing will be explained, and the types of wildflowers that grow best in East Texas will be revealed. Learn how to enjoy a sequence of blooms, from the bluebonnets that bloom in spring, to the yarrow that blooms in fall, with native wildflowers that are beautiful, tough and beneficial to the local wildlife.

This is part of the Henderson County Master Gardeners Association (HCMGA) Learn at the Library Series. The series are free educational presentations are held on the third Tuesday of each month. For additional information please call 903-675-6130, e-mail hendersonCMGA@gmail.com, or visit http://www.henderson-co-tx-mg.org.

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Debunking Hollywood’s Portrayals of Human Hibernation – The Atlantic

Nothing says interstellar travel like a hibernation pod. The heroes of the 2016 holiday blockbuster Passengers, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, embark on a century-long journey to a planet outside our solar system. Hibernation pods extend their lifespans for the long trip, but they wake from torpor 90 years earlier than scheduled. Then they set about trying to fix the ship and trying to put themselves back to sleep.

First of all, lets talk about this waking from hibernation business. Hibernation may involve lying down with ones eyes closed, but theres no sleeping going on; in fact, a long stretch of it leaves the body sleep-deprived. If this movie were true to life, the first thing that would happen when Jennifer Lawrence opened her long-lashed eyes in the hibernation pod would not be her listening to the ship computers crew update. It would be her closing those long lashes again and descending straight into sleep.

Thats because sleep is one of the bodily functions that cant be done properly in hibernation. During the periodic arousal states that punctuate hibernation, animals warm their bodies and go straight into a long, deep sleep. Oxford neuroscientist Vlad Vyazovskiy did his masters work at the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine at Kharkov National University in Ukraine, where he studied ground squirrels in torpor.

Originally hibernation was considered a continuation of sleep, but physiologically it is very different because your metabolism is totally suspended, although it is still regulated, says Vyazovskiy. Torpor, this extreme metabolic challenge, seems to do something to the brain or body which necessitates sleep, which in turn provides some type of restoration.

Suspended animation in deep-space flight has been a movie trope since the dawn of science fiction, and for just as long NASA has been working to make it real. John Bradford of SpaceWorks Enterprises has been contracted by NASA to develop just such a technology. Inspired by the unique physiologies of animal hibernators, he is working on overriding the bodys steady 37-degree-Celsius core temperature in a technique called targeted temperature management. Metabolism slows by about 7 percent for every degree of cooling. Though uncontrolled hypothermia can be fatal, a constant 32-degree body temperature still allows for normal nerve functions that are critical for breathing and heartbeats.

Humans cant hibernate, but we can mimic how animals hibernate, he says. Earlier in our evolutionary history we did hibernate, but now its turned off.

Did I mention hes an engineer? Am I the only one who gets worried when engineers are hired to do doctorish things? For one thing, in true hibernators, platelets and white blood cells are sequestered in lymph nodes away from the blood vessels during dormancy. This prevents the blood clots that can form with inactivity and avoids the inflammation that causes kidney damage upon rewarming. There will be a lot of research necessary before humans can safely hit the pause button on their metabolisms. Luckily, Bradford hasnt been permitted any real live human subjects yet.

Then again, doctors have been pursuing this capability for years in the field of emergency medicine. When a severely injured patient arrives at a hospital, minutes count. A rapid cooling of the body saves tissues that are cut off from blood supplya slower metabolism consumes less oxygenso cooling patients for surgery is now a routine procedure. A low dose of narcotics prevents the patient from shivering to warm themselves up. In China, experiments with therapeutic hypothermia put patients into a deep chill for up to two weeks before successfully reviving them.

It really would be great if we could make it happen. The advantages of crew hibernation could mean the difference between a successful Mars colonization and an Earth-bound humanity. Mars is only six months journey from Earth, so life extension is not the primary issue at play, but hibernation pods would cut down the required habitat size and food needs. They could even provide solutions to some of spaceflights most long-standing health issues. Spinal fluid rising into the skull in low gravity causes pressure that diminishes most astronauts eyesight in flight, but the hibernation state should help to clear up that issue.

When humans live without the strain of gravity, muscle atrophy and bone loss also become a problem. Those on the International Space Station have to put in two full hours of exercise per day just to maintain their skeletons. But with hibernation, muscles and bone can be maintained using neuromuscular stimulation, which is unpleasant while conscious but not an issue for a deep-sleeping crew member.

We can exercise you all day long! says Bradford.

Cancer risk from the accumulated exposure to cosmic rays is NASAs primary health concern for astronauts on long-haul space flights, and there is some debate as to whether a slowed metabolism is more vulnerableunable to fend off damage to DNA by repairing itor more immune, because errors in that repair process often trigger the tumors.

In either case, hibernation may be the answer, because it restricts the astronauts range of motion. Magnetic shielding could protect a spacecrafts inhabitants from ionizing radiation, but the shield for a whole habitat would be far too heavy to be feasible. If shields could be produced for a small cot, however, and the astronauts prone body could be protected for the voyage within it, the shield option could be back on the table.

In the future, human hibernation could take even more radical paths. A research group supported by the U.S. Army is experimenting with a technique that cools patients rapidly by replacing their blood with ice-cold saline solution. The total metabolic suspension leaves a body with no heartbeat, no breathing and no discernible brain activity, but when dogs have undergone the treatment, they have been successfully resuscitated after three hours in the frozen state.

Perhaps those dogs will want to be the first interstellar passengers, to take them far away from a planet where their lot in life is to have their blood replaced by ice.

This post appears courtesy of The Last Word On Nothing.

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Debunking Hollywood’s Portrayals of Human Hibernation – The Atlantic

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B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule – Los Alamos Monitor

B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule

The Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Air Force completed two qualification flight tests of B61-12 gravity bombs Aug. 8 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, the NNSA announced Monday.

The non-nuclear test assemblies, which were dropped from an F-15E based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, evaluated the weapons non-nuclear functions and the aircrafts capability to deliver the weapon, NNSA officials said.

These tests are part of a series over the next three years to qualify the B61-12 for service.

The first qualification flight test occurred in March.

The B61 was designed and engineered by Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1963 and is the oldest type of nuclear weapon in the stockpile. The weapon is undergoing a life extension program at Los Alamos to convert four versions of the warhead into a single modification with a new tail kit for added accuracy, the B61-12.

If testing is successful, new version is scheduled to be produced in 2020.

The B61-12 life extension program is progressing on schedule to meet national security requirements, said Phil Calbos, acting NNSA deputy administrator for Defense Programs. These realistic flight qualification tests validate the design of the B61-12 when it comes to system performance.

The flight test included hardware designed by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, manufactured by the Nuclear Security Enterprise plants, and mated to the tail-kit assembly section, designed by the Boeing Company under contract with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

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Eliminating the need for bone marrow donors – The Hippocratic Post (blog)

Researchers are looking for ways eliminate the need for bone marrow donors altogether and instead use different types of cells derived from the patient in need of a transplant, says Dr Vladislav Sandler.

At the moment, people who develop leukaemia, lymphoma and otherblood diseases often need to undergo a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This is because initial treatment of the disease (front-line therapy) often fails and the disease comes back.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are vital because they constantly regenerate the blood system giving rise (differentiating) into all types of blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Sometimes,patients get cells for the HSCT from close relatives (related allogeneic transplantation), who happen to be a match or by using donor data bases that can match them with strangers (unrelated allogeneic transplantation). The patients own HSC are wiped out with chemotherapy and replaced with donated blood-forming steam cells which create healthy new blood cells free from disease.

The patients own HSC are wiped out with chemotherapy and replaced with the donated blood-forming stem cells which createhealthy new blood cellsfree from disease.

Often, there is not a perfect match between a donor and a patient but physicians try and find the closest one possible. When a match is not perfect, a risk of rejection of the newly transplanted cells significantly grows. There are several teams of researchers trying to find a way to eliminate the need for bone marrow donors altogether and instead use different types of cells derived from the patient in need of a transplant.

This work, to directly reprogram the patients own cells to create hematopoietic stem cells, (from which all cellular blood components are derived) has been going on for some time and has had some success[1][2][3]. However, it is a very long and cumbersome process to produce HSC cells from a patients own cells and it looks like this may never be a practicable solution to the problem. We simply cant seem to be able to get the newly formed HSC cells to replicate into the sufficient number of cells needed to form a viable HSCT.

What I discovered when I was at Cornell University was that there is a small subset of postnatal hemogenic endothelial cells (Hu-PHEC) which survive in the liver and blood vessels of the umbilical cord and placenta into adulthood. It has been known for quite a while that in the fetus, similar cells produce first definitive HSC. It was accepted as a dogma that they either lose their ability to do this after birth or simply disappear. However, as it often happens in science, this was not entirely correct. Hu-PHEC can be isolated from postnatal tissues and made to generate HSCde-novo.

In animal experiments, we took purified and stimulated Hu-PHEC and transplanted them into immunocompromised mice.

What we found was that the transplanted cells did engraft and created a healthy new human blood system in the recipient mice. What seemed to happen was that by putting them back into circulation within the body reactivated their ability to produce HSC cells as they doin utero.

We dont yet understand the mechanism but we are working on this and we need to work out a way to get enough cells for human transplantation.

Development of Hu-PHEC technology would create an opportunity to get rid of bone marrow/HSC donations. We would no longer have to go to a donor or a family member, but simply harvest some of these special post-natal hemogenic endothelial cells from the patients own body.

Another area of our research has been to develop a conditioning product which helps eliminate the patients diseased HSC with minimal collateral damage to the rest of the body. At the moment, patients undergo a rather terrible process of preparation for a HSCT. It involves chemotherapy and radiation and can seriously harm various unrelated healthy cells. In some cases, patients do not survive the conditioning process. We have developed a type of immune therapy which is a bi-specific antibody that redirects patients own immune cells to only attack and kill HSC. It leaves other cells alone, so does not damage reproductive system. This should mean that men and women undergoing conditioning in advance of a bone marrow transplantion would not need to undergo fertility saving treatment (no need to freeze sperm or eggs). This bi-specific antibody, which is filed for a world-wide patent, is much less dangerous and detrimental to health than current treatment options. We have proved its effectiveness in animal trials, but we are now hoping to move on to Phase 1 clinical trials within the next two years.

[1]Sandler, V. M. et al. Reprogramming human endothelial cells to hematopoietic cells requires vascular induction. Nature 511, 312-318, doi:10.1038/nature13547 (2014).Validated in: Lis, R. et.al. Conversion of adult endothelium to immunocompetent hematopoietic stem cells. Nature Published online 17 May 2017, doi:10.1038/nature22326 (2017).

[2]Sandler V.M et al.Reprogramming of Embryonic Human Fibroblasts into Fetal Hematopoietic Progenitors by Fusion with Human Fetal Liver CD34+ Cells. PLoS ONE 6(4) 2011.

[3] Pereira C.F. et al. Induction of a hemogenic program in mouse fibroblasts. Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Aug 1;13(2):205-18.

Vladislav Sandler is the co-founder of HemoGenyx LLC, a US preclinical stage biotechnology company launching innovative new treatments for blood diseases using blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cell transplantation (HSCT) techniques.

Link:
Eliminating the need for bone marrow donors – The Hippocratic Post (blog)

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Mandi Schwartz memorial run doubles as stem cell, marrow donor drive in Saskatoon – CBC.ca

It has been six years sinceSaskatchewan hockey playerMandi Schwartz died from acute myeloid leukemia, but her legacy lives on in anannual fundraising run in Saskatoon.

The Run for Mandistarts at 1 p.m. CST at River Landing on Sunday, and proceeds from the event go towards a foundation set up in Schwartz’s name.

Her father, Rick Schwartz, said the event means a lot to thefamily.

“It’s very special to know that your daughter has touched so many people’s lives and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Schwartz told CBC Radio’s Saskatchewan Weekend.

“But more importantly we’re going to try save people’s lives today and have a little bit of fun at the same time.”

A new addition to this year’s event will be the presence of the OneMatch stem cell and marrow network, which will be encouraging run participants to register as potential donors.

Mandi Schwartz was a star player with Yale University’s women’s hockey team. (Yale University)

A number of bone marrow recipients, including Regina boy Lincoln Honoway, will also be present at the event.

Schwartzsaid he wishesthere had been a way to save the life of his daughter, who was a starhockey playerat Yale University in the U.S.

He said he hopes Sunday’s event will help encourage more people in Saskatchewanto sign up to the donor network.

“I’ve talked to people who have been donors,” said Schwartz.

“There’s no special gift or special feeling in their life as knowing that they’ve saved someone’s life.”

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Mandi Schwartz memorial run doubles as stem cell, marrow donor drive in Saskatoon – CBC.ca

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CRISPR gene editing eliminates HIV infection in mice …

Have researchers taken a step closer to developing an eventual cure for HIV? A Temple University-led team hopes so, by using a gene editing technique to successfully remove HIV infection from lab mice. The gene-editing tool calledCRISPR which allows scientists to basically cut out and insert specific portions of DNA was used to excise HIV DNA from the mice.

This was the first time CRISPR has been used to shut down HIV replication and eliminate the virus from animal cells. Think of CRISPR as working somewhat like microscopic scissors that snip out an unwanted piece of DNA and then replace that with a new piece. The research, published in the journal Molecular Therapy, involved three animal models, including a “humanized” model where human immune cells infected with the virus were transplanted in lab mice.

“Over our years of research, all of this was frankly a big surprise. This research, so far, has yielded all pleasant surprises, frankly. I never thought that this CRISPR system was going to be working out so beautifully with such efficiency and precision when it first came onto the scene,” Kamel Khalili, director of Temple’s center for neurovirology, told CBS News.

Khalili led the study along with Wenhui Hu, associate professor in Temple University School of Medicine’s Center for Metabolic Disease Research and the Department of Pathology, and Won-Bin Young, who was at that time an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

This work builds off the team’s previously published research last year in which they introduced the HIV-1 DNA into the tissue of rat and mice subjects, and then removed these fragments using CRISPR. This new study is the first time this has been done in three animal models.

While the work signals progress, the medical community still sees years of work ahead before there’s a reliable cure for HIV. According to the World Health Organization, 36.7 million people were reported to be living with HIV globally by the end of 2015. Since the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with the virus that has resulted in 35 million deaths.

The stakes are high, and the Temple team is one of many trying to find a cure for the virus, which has proven exceptionally difficult to eliminate from the body. While current drug treatments can reduce the virus to virtually undetectable levels enabling many patients to live longer, healthier lives HIV continues to lurk in hidden reservoirs and comes roaring back if treatment stops. In late 2015, theamfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research set the ambitious goal of developing a basis for cure for HIV by the end of 2020.

“The basic science community in HIV research is now very focused on finding a cure,” Paul Volberding, head of the institute, wrote in an email to CBS News. “It still feels a long way off but the tools we now have definitely including the gene editing used in this report is accelerating our work and raising optimism. The cure field is in very close contact and collaborations are active world wide. It’s really quite exciting!”

Volberding is also the director of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute and has a place in history for founding the first inpatient ward for people with AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital in 1983. How promising does he view this new research out of Temple?

“Gene editing is a potent and still rather new tool in HIV research and many other areas as well,” he wrote. “It faces a challenge in scalability getting the technology simplified and inexpensive but is certainly worth following.”

Since first being developed a mere five years ago, CRISPR has generated excitement and controversy in equal measures. While it was named “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2015 by Science magazine, ethical debate has swirled around CRISPR over how it could be used for good or ill to make changes to our DNA down the line.

Ellen Jorgensen, a molecular biologist and science communicator whose latest project is the yet-to-launch Biotech Without Borders, said she thinks it’s important to focus on the potential of CRISPR, rather than feed into the “hysteria” that can surround such life-altering scientific technologies.

“I think CRISPR is an example of why the general public should embrace the chance to learn more about this sort of technology that will be more and more relevant to everyone’s daily life as time goes on,” Jorgensen told CBS News. “We are in an age of biotechnology as opposed to the last century, which was the ‘age of physics.’ There is an equal potential here to disrupt technologies, but it also creates ethical questions that the general public has to weigh in on. My thing is, I want them to weigh in on them, but have the understanding that this technology is something that is powerful and that can spur a lot of change moving forward.”

In the case of this latest HIV research advance, Jorgensen, who cofounded Genspace, a nonprofit devoted to fostering better science literacy, said she believes there is “great potential” in finding a cure for something like HIV through gene editing technology.

Moving forward, Khalili and his team plan to try their technique on primate subjects, whose DNA is obviously closer to humans. He said they are working on securing more funding to move on to primate clinical trials.

Volberding added that “primates are a very good model for human trials,” and that research like this is promising in the continued fight against HIV.

“I think that CRISPR and tools like it are revolutionizing the medical field and will bring about new ways for the treatment and cure for a broad range of diseases,” Khalili said. “When it comes to treating HIV or cancer or other genetic diseases, I think there are a lot of good things that will come out of this.”

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CRISPR gene editing eliminates HIV infection in mice …

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CRISPR-Cas9 corrects hypertrophic cardiomyopathy gene mutation in human preimplantation embryos [PreClinical] – 2 Minute Medicine

1. The gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 was used to correct a mutant paternal MYBPC3 allele in human preimplantation embryos.

2. No off-target effects were detected.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Study Rundown: A dominant mutation in the gene MYBPC3 causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common cause of sudden death in otherwise healthy young athletes. While most current therapies focus on relieving symptoms of HCM, researchers in this study aimed to prevent transmission of the causative gene mutation by correcting it in preimplantation embryos.

Healthy donor eggs were injected with sperm that were heterozygous for the MYBPC3 mutation. After fertilization, recombinant Cas9 protein and single guide RNA that targeted MYBPC3 were microinjected into the zygotes. A majority of treated embryos survived and lost the mutation in this gene, without other genes being impaired. CRISPR-Cas9 targeting of MYBPC3 was found to be highly specific in the treated embryos.

This study was the first to use CRISPR-Cas9 to correct a harmful mutation without causing significant off-target effects. Although this genome editing technique is still far from clinical use and requires full discussion from a bioethics perspective, this research suggests the potential clinical efficacy of this therapy for in vitro fertilization and the correction of fatal mutations.

Click to read the study in Nature

Relevant Reading: Genome engineering through CRISPR/Cas9 technology in the human germline and pluripotent stem cells

In-Depth [in vitro study]: Human zygotes were produced by fertilizing 70 oocytes without MYBPC3 mutations with sperm from an HCM patient with a heterozygous mutation in MYBPC3. Eighteen days after fertilization, recombinant Cas9 protein, short guide RNA, and single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotideswere microinjected into the cytoplasm of the zygotes. A majority of zygotes survived this procedure, with a survival rate of 97.1%. Three days after injection of the Cas9 protein, 54 injected embryos were sequenced and 66.7% were found to be homozygous for the wild-type (WT) allele of MYBPC3. Almost half of the blastomeres from mosaic embryos were also found to be homozygous for the WT allele of this gene, demonstrating that the heterozygous mutation was repaired through homology-directed repair. These analyses demonstrated the efficient targeting by CRISPR-Cas9 in human embryos.

To improve the efficacy of gene correction, CRISPR-Cas9 was mixed with sperm and injected into 75 oocytes in metaphase II. This method resulted in an increase in WT embryos, with 72.4% successfully removing the mutation. Additionally, a majority of these oocytes developed into the eight-cell stage and then blastocysts, demonstrating no significant effect on embryonic development due to this therapy.

Finally, off-target effects were assessed through whole genome sequencing, digested genome sequencing, and whole exome sequencing. No insertions or deletions were detected in the WT blastomeres at 23 off-target loci, demonstrating the high targeting efficacy and potential safety of this treatment.

Image: PD

2017 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. All rights reserved. No works may be reproduced without expressed written consent from 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. Inquire about licensing here. No article should be construed as medical advice and is not intended as such by the authors or by 2 Minute Medicine, Inc.

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CRISPR-Cas9 corrects hypertrophic cardiomyopathy gene mutation in human preimplantation embryos [PreClinical] – 2 Minute Medicine

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Wasteful spending on medical public works – The Japan Times

Social security expenditures keep rising endlessly as the aging of Japans population accelerates with the low birthrate. Yet, little is known about the way huge sums of taxpayer money are being poured into wasteful projects tied to vested interests in the name of saving human lives.

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created with much fanfare in 2015 as a counterpart to the U.S. National Institute of Health, has an annual budget in excess of 140 billion. But the National Cancer Center (NCC), which is supposed to be a major recipient of the AMED fund, is in trouble because excessive sums have been spent on construction of buildings and facilities in the name of life science research.

A glance at the NCCs financial statements shows that its retained earnings plummeted from 5.6 billion in fiscal 2010 to 762 million in 2015. The steep fall in the retained earnings is not due to cuts in grants from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, as a high-ranking NCC official claims. The NCC earned 31.4 billion from medical services and 4.3 billion from research projects in fiscal 2010, and these earnings rose by 41 percent to 44.4 billion and 14 percent to 9.2 billion, respectively, unequivocally showing that the rise in earnings far exceeded the cut in government grants.

Then why have its retained earnings fallen so rapidly? The answer is that excessive investments in construction of new facilities have eaten into its funds. For example, it cost 5.4 billion to build a new research center on next-generation surgery and endoscopy, which was completed in May, and another 16.7 billion to build a new research laboratory that began operating in July. The question here is not the sheer sum spent on these projects, but their balance with the institutes earnings. During the 2010-16 period, money spent on such construction projects exceeded the NCCs operating income by 44.3 billion. It seems clear that the NCC is investing beyond its means even as construction costs surge ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Cases of advanced medicine becoming an arena for big spending like public works projects are also found in the field of heavy particle therapy. Japan has five institutions specializing in this field, the pioneer among them being the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba Prefecture. The number in Japan represents nearly half of the 11 such facilities now operating worldwide.

The five heavy particle therapy facilities are located in Chiba, Hyogo, Gunma, Saga and Kanagawa prefectures, with one more being planned in Yamagata. And oddly enough, though, the NCC supposedly the control tower of cancer therapy in Japan has no such institute. That is said to be because those institutes were located in facilities with close links to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry which took the lead in the development of heavy particle therapy instead of the health ministry.

One reason why Gunma University has one of those institutes is not because the university excelled in cancer treatment but, according to a source familiar with the decision, because of the influence of former education minister Hirofumi Nakasone, an Upper House member elected from the Gunma constituency and a powerful member of the Liberal Democratic Partys education lobby. Gunma Prefecture was eager to have the facility established there because that involved heavy initial investments about 7 billion each for the buildings and radiation equipment providing huge economic benefits to local construction and other related industries.

Haphazard ways in which money is being spent on advanced medical research are also found in the projects for biobanks, institutions that collect and preserve biospecimens of people such as blood, urine and DNA samples. Through followup research on the registered people and linking with their clinical information, their activities are expected to contribute to identifying the causes of illnesses and developing new medicines.

Of a number of biobanks set up in Japan, the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization at Tohoku University is by far the largest. It started operating in fiscal 2011 as part of a series of government projects for recontruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that hit the regions Pacific coast. In its initial year of operation, more than 10 billion from the government budget was poured into the Tohoku Medical Megabank. A total of 5.1 billion was spent on the construction and design of a seven-story complex and another 7.5 billion on its facilities and equipment in the years through fiscal 2013. While spending was scaled back in subsequent years, 4.5 billion has been set aside for the project in fiscal 2017 a sum equivalent to the funding allocated to Kyoto University for its research on iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells.

Tohoku Medical Megabank is staffed with 32 professors, 10 associate professors and 25 instructors. However, some of the staff are deemed not necessarily fit for the types of work assigned to the institute, leading some students to comment sarcastically that those who have failed to be promoted to full professorship at Tohoku University have been given new jobs at the biobank. Moreover, the quality of some of the work performed by the institute has been called into question.

The value of biobank is determined by the quality of the data obtained by its research. If the quality is poor, such an institute would not be trusted by researchers in pharmaceutical companies or other institutes. Six years after its creation, Tohoku Medical Megabanks achievement remains poor in terms of significant research that would have lured pharmaceutical firms and others to collaborate with the institute. The head of the biobank is not deterred, however, as he says his institutes research projects take time before tangible results can be produced, and the institute keeps asking for more funding from the AMED.

As funding for Tohoku Medical Megabank gets prioritized, budgetary allocations for the more prestigious BioBank Japan, which has been jointly established by the government-affiliated Riken research institute and the University of Tokyos Institute of Medical Science, has been significantly reduced. The budget cut by AMED is about to deal a fatal blow to the institute that has played a leading role in genome research in Japan.

Given Japans dire fiscal conditions, government funding on scientific research cannot be an exception to budget cuts. Time will come sooner or later for the generous funding for Tohoku Medical Megabank to be curtailed. Today, however, huge sums of taxpayer money are being poured on the institute despite its poor records of significant achievements in the name of the reconstruction of the areas ravaged by the 2011 disasters. Along with the spending of taxpayer money, new positions are being created for post-retirement jobs for government bureaucrats.

The circumstances surrounding those advanced medical research institutes look similar to those involving the governments public works projects: Securing funding from taxpayer money becomes more important than the outcome of projects. Unless the structure is fixed, there will be no hope of medical science becoming a core of the governments growth strategy.

This is an abridged translation of an article from the August issue of Sentaku, a monthly magazine covering political, social and economic scenes. More English articles can be read at http://www.sentaku-en.com

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Wasteful spending on medical public works – The Japan Times

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Royan Intl. Research Award to honor Iranian, foreign researchers – Tehran Times

TEHRAN The Royan International Research Award will appreciate ten Iranian and foreign researchers for their achievements during a ceremony which is scheduled to be held in Tehran on August 30.

Iranian researchers along with foreign researchers from around the world will accept awards on behalf of their scientific achievements concurrent with Royan International Twin Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine and Stem Cells Biology and Technology (August 30-September 1).

According to the Royan congress official website the event is a unique scientific event in its own fields in Iran and the Middle East. The congress is a joint of two separate congresses with different themes held by Royan Research Institute Reproductive Biomedicine and Stem Cells Research Center. Speakers from the UK, Europe and the U.S deliver speeches at the event annually.

Thank you for all of exceptional assistance in arranging my most interesting visit to the Royan institute and Iran. It was the best congress I have ever been at, everyone was extremely conscious, kind and helpful, said Stuart Howards, Professor of University of Virginia Charlottesville, U.S., about the event published among the views on the event in Royan congress website.

Elsewhere Professor Jorge Ferrer, Chair in Genetics and Medicine, Section Head, Genomics and Genetics Theme Leader, Imperial College London, UK said thank you for your note and most importantly thank you for all of exceptional assistance in arranging my most interesting visit to the Royan institute and Iran.

Professor Maarten van Lohuizen, Researcher at Netherlands Cancer Institute and invited speaker of 15th Royan Congress also said best of luck with your work, I am very impressed with the achievements you make at the Royan stem cell Institute and sincerely hope that the restrictions will be soon lifted to aid your scientific work.

Each year the prominent researches with outstanding help in solving problems in reproduction and stem cell fields, are announced, appreciated and rewarded. This annual award is a prize given to prominent research projects in the field of reproductive biomedicine, stem cell biology and technology and other related subjects.

Royan annual award is extending into a higher quality event every year, increasing the scientific level and number of the submitted papers. The submitted research articles are categorized according to nine scientific groups: female infertility, reproductive genetics, epidemiology, ethics, embryology, andrology, reproductive imaging, stem cell biology and technology and biotechnology.

This years winners are comprising of 5 Iranian and 5 foreign researchers.

Thomas Braun from Germany for his research on compaction of chromatin seals quiescence of muscle stem cells, Riccardo Fodde from the Netherlands for his research titled diet, inflammation, and stem cells: trading off regenerative response with cancer risk, and David Greening from Australia for his research entitled exosomes: a new paradigm in embryo-maternal cross-talk for successful implantation.

Two Japanese researchers will accept the award: Kaei Nasu for his research called roles of aberrantly expressed microRNAs in endometriosis, and Khaleque KHAN for his research on Mmolecular detection of intrauterine microbial colonization in women with endometriosis are the five winners of the award.

Moreover, Iranian researchers including Mahnaz Ashrafi for her research titled assisted reproductive outcomes in women with different polycystic ovary syndrome phenotypes: the predictive value of anti-Mllerian hormone, Mahdi Sheikh for his research focusing on granulocyte colony stimulating factor in repeated IVF failure, a randomized trial, and Hossein Ghanbarian for his research examining RNA-directed programming of embryonic stem cell.

Additionally, Fereshteh Esfandiari for her research entitled in vitro generation of meiosis-competent germ cells from embryonic stem cells by engineering the delivery of BMP4, and lastly Kambiz Gilany for his research called untargeted metabolomic profiling of seminal plasma in Non-obstructive azoospermia men: a non-invasive detection of spermatogenesis are announced as the winners of the annual award.

Royan International Research Award was founded by the late director of Royan Institute, Dr. Saeed Kazemi Ashtiani, with the aim of encouraging the researchers and appreciation of their efforts. This annual award is extending into a higher quality event every year, increasing the scientific level and number of the submitted papers. The research papers are evaluated through an intense jury procedure by Awards national and international Jury board.

Royan Institute is a public non-profitable organization which is affiliated to Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) and was established in 1991 by the late Dr. Kazemi Ashtiani as a research institute for reproductive biomedicine and infertility treatments. In 1998 this institute was approved by Ministry of Health as Cell Based Research Center. Now this institute acts as leader of stem cell research and also one of the best clinics for infertility treatment.

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Royan Intl. Research Award to honor Iranian, foreign researchers – Tehran Times

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