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Unraveling The Controversy Over The CRISPR Mutations Study – Fast Company

By Ian Haydon 3 minute Read

A new research paper is stirring up controversy among scientists interested in using DNA editing to treat disease.

In a two-page article published in the journal Nature Methods on May 30, a group of six scientists report an alarming number of so-called off-target mutations in mice that underwent an experimental gene repair therapy.

CRISPR, the hot new gene-editing technique thats taken biology by storm, is no stranger to headlines. What is unusual, however, is a scientific article so clearly describing a potentially fatal shortcoming of this promising technology.

The research community is digesting this newswith many experts suggesting flaws with the experiment, not the revolutionary technique.

The research team sought to repair a genetic mutation known to cause a form of blindness in mice. This could be accomplished, they showed, by changing just one DNA letter in the mouse genome.

They were able to successfully correct the targeted mutation in each of the two mice they treated. But they also observed an alarming number of additional DNA changesmore than 1,600 per mousein areas of the genome they did not intend to modify.

The authors attribute these unintended mutations to the experimental CRISPR-based gene-editing therapy they used.

Cas9, the CRISPR enzyme that snips DNA, in contact with its target. [Graph: via rcsb.org]A central promise of CRISPR-based gene editing is its ability to pinpoint particular genes. But if this technology produces dangerous side effects by creating unexpected and unwanted mutations across the genome, that could hamper or even derail many of its applications.Several previous research articles have reported off-target effects of CRISPR, but far fewer than this group found.

The publicly traded biotech companies seeking to commercialize CRISPR-based gene therapiesEditas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics, and Crispr Therapeuticsall took immediate stock market hits based on the news.

Experts in the field quickly responded.

Either the enzyme is acting at near optimal efficiency or something fishy is going on here, tweeted Matthew Taliaferro, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT who studies gene expression and genetic disease.

The Cas9 enzyme in the CRISPR system is what actually cuts DNA, leading to genetic changes. Unusually high levels of enzyme activity could account for the observed off-target mutationsmore cutting equals more chances for the cell to mutate its DNA. Different labs use slightly different methods to try to ensure the right amount of cuts happen only where intended.

Gatan Burgio, whose laboratory at the Australian National University is working to understand the role that cellular context plays on CRISPR efficiency, believes the papers central claim that CRISPR caused such an alarming number of off-target mutations is not substantiated.

Burgio says there could be a range of reasons for seeing so many unexpected changes in the mice, including problems with accurately detecting DNA variation, the extremely small number of mice used, random events happening after Cas9 acted, or, he concedes, problems with CRISPR itself.

Burgio has been editing the DNA of mice using CRISPR since 2014 and has never seen a comparable level of off-target mutation. He says hes confident that additional research will refute these recent findings.

Although the news of this two-mouse experiment fired up the science-focused parts of the Twittersphere, the issue it raises is not new to the field.

Researchers have known for a few years now that off-target mutations are likely given certain CRISPR protocols. More precise variants of the Cas9 enzyme have been shown to improve targeting in human tissue in the lab.

Researchers have also focused on developing methods to more efficiently locate off-target mutations in the animals they study.

As scientists continue to hone the gene-editing technique, we recognize theres still a way to go before CRISPR will be ready for safe and effective gene therapy in humans.

Ian Haydon is a doctoral student in Biochemistry at the University of Washington. This story originally appeared at The Conversation.

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Unraveling The Controversy Over The CRISPR Mutations Study – Fast Company

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CRISPR stocks sank on news the gene editing tool can veer off target. But that’s hardly news – STAT

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CRISPR stocks sank on news the gene editing tool can veer off target. But that’s hardly news – STAT

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Scientists have used CRISPR to slow the spread of cancer cells … – ScienceAlert

CRISPR-Cas9 is the gene editing tool that promised to change the world.

In the short time since its discovery, it has snipped HIVout of human immune cells, sparked a biomedical race between the US and China to work towardbioengineered humans, and now scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 to slow the spread of cancer.

Every living cell goes through a reproduction cycle, known as the ‘cell cycle’ a sequence of events that result in cell growth and division.

When this cycle gets out of hand, it becomes a serious and life-threatening problem.Once a cell becomes cancerous it will divide without stopping and quickly invade surrounding the tissue.

And trying to stop cancer is no easy feat. Scientists have used a range of approaches to try to stop it from forming and spreading.

A previous study has turned the body’s own immune systemagainst cancer cells, and another team of researchers has created an artificial organthat can pump out cancer-fighting T-cells.

We’ve even worked out a way to cause particularly aggressiveforms of cancer to self-destruct.

In the latest study, scientists from the University of Rochester have interrupted the cell cycle by targeting a protein responsible for preparing the cell for division, called Tudor-SN.

Tudor-SN influences the cell cycle by controlling microRNA, which are the molecules that fine tune the expression of thousands of genes.

“We know that Tudor-SN is more abundant in cancer cells than healthy cells, and our study suggests that targeting this protein could inhibit fast-growing cancer cells,” says lead researcher,Reyad A. Elbarbary.

When Tudor-SN was removed from human cells, using CRISPR-Cas9, the level of microRNAs increases.

With more microRNAs in the mix, it slows down the genes that encourage cell growth. With these genes hindered, the cell transitions slowly to the cell division phase of the cell cycle.

The researchers used this approach to slow the growth of kidney and cervical cancer cells.

“Because cancer cells have a faulty cell cycle, pursuing factors involved in the cell cycle is a promising avenue for cancer treatment,” said Lynne E. Maquat, senior researcher on the paper.

The next step for the research is to work out how Tudor-SN functions in combination with other molecules and proteins. That way, scientists may be able to identify the most appropriate drugs to target it.

While the researchers admit that they have a long way to go before we see this technology being used in humans, any new approach that could provide a cure to the millions ofpeople living with cancer is always welcome.

The findings have been reported in Science.

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Scientists have used CRISPR to slow the spread of cancer cells … – ScienceAlert

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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique – Joplin Globe

A new research paper is stirring up controversy among scientists interested in using DNA editing to treat disease.

In a two-page article published in the journal Nature Methods on May 30, a group of six scientists report an alarming number of so-called off-target mutations in mice that underwent an experimental gene repair therapy.

CRISPR, the hot new gene-editing technique thats taken biology by storm, is no stranger to headlines. What is unusual, however, is a scientific article so clearly describing a potentially fatal shortcoming of this promising technology.

The research community is digesting this news with many experts suggesting flaws with the experiment, not the revolutionary technique.

The research team sought to repair a genetic mutation known to cause a form of blindness in mice. This could be accomplished, they showed, by changing just one DNA letter in the mouse genome.

They were able to successfully correct the targeted mutation in each of the two mice they treated. But they also observed an alarming number of additional DNA changes more than 1,600 per mouse in areas of the genome they did not intend to modify.

The authors attribute these unintended mutations to the experimental CRISPR-based gene editing therapy they used.

A central promise of CRISPR-based gene editing is its ability to pinpoint particular genes. But if this technology produces dangerous side effects by creating unexpected and unwanted mutations across the genome, that could hamper or even derail many of its applications.

Several previous research articles have reported off-target effects of CRISPR, but far fewer than this group found.

The publicly traded biotech companies seeking to commercialize CRISPR-based gene therapies Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics and Crispr Therapeutics all took immediate stock market hits based on the news.

Experts in the field quickly responded.

Either the enzyme is acting at near optimal efficiency or something fishy is going on here, tweeted Matthew Taliaferro, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT who studies gene expression and genetic disease.

The Cas9 enzyme in the CRISPR system is what actually cuts DNA, leading to genetic changes. Unusually high levels of enzyme activity could account for the observed off-target mutations more cutting equals more chances for the cell to mutate its DNA. Different labs use slightly different methods to try to ensure the right amount of cuts happen only where intended.

Unusual methods were used, https://twitter.com/LluisMontoliu/status/869705549453119489″>tweeted Lluis Montoliu, who runs a lab at the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology that specializes in editing mice genes using CRISPR. He believes the authors used suboptimal molecular components in their injected CRISPR therapies specifically a plasmid that causes cells to produce too much Cas9 enzyme likely leading to the off-target effects they observed.

Gatan Burgio, whose laboratory at the Australian National University is working to understand the role that cellular context plays on CRISPR efficiency, believes the papers central claim that CRISPR caused such an alarming number of off-target mutations is not substantiated.

Burgio says there could be a range of reasons for seeing so many unexpected changes in the mice, including problems with accurately detecting DNA variation, the extremely small number of mice used, random events happening after Cas9 acted or, he concedes, problems with CRISPR itself.

Burgio has been editing the DNA of mice using CRISPR since 2014 and has never seen a comparable level of off-target mutation. He says hes confident that additional research will refute these recent findings.

Although the news of this two-mouse experiment fired up the science-focused parts of the Twittersphere, the issue it raises is not new to the field.

Researchers have known for a few years now that off-target mutations are likely given certain CRISPR protocols. More precise variants of the Cas9 enzyme have been shown to improve targeting in human tissue the lab.

Researchers have also focused on developing methods to more efficiently locate off-target mutations in the animals they study.

As scientists continue to hone the gene-editing technique, we recognize theres still a way to go before CRISPR will be ready for safe and effective gene therapy in humans.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Ian Haydon does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique – Joplin Globe

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Increasing Wheat Yields with CRISPR – Technology Networks

Associate biology and microbiology professor Wanlong Li assesses the growth of two-week-old wheat seedlings. Credit: South Dakota State University

Larger, heavier wheat kernelsthats how associate professor Wanlong Li of the SDSU Department of Biology and Microbiology seeks to increase wheat production. Through a three-year, $930,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, Li is collaborating with Bing Yang, an associate professor in genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State, to increase wheat grain size and weight using a precise gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9.

South Dakota State is one of seven universities nationwide to receive funding to develop new wheat varieties as part of the National Institute of Food and Agricultures International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) Program. The program supports the G20s Wheat Initiative, which seeks to enhance the genetics related to yield and develop varieties adapted to different regions and environmental conditions.

The goal of IWYP, which was formed in 2014, is to increase wheat yields by 50 percent in 20 years. Currently, the yearly yield gain is less than1 percent, but to meet the IWYP goal wheat yields must increase 1.7 percent per year. Its a quantum leap, he said. We need a lot of work to reach this.

Humans consume more than 500 million tons of wheat per year, according to Li. However, United States wheat production is decreasing, because farmers can make more money growing other crops. He hopes that increasing the yield potential will make wheat more profitable.

First, the researchers will identify genes that control grain size and weight in bread wheat using the rice genome as a model.

The CRISPR editing tool allows the researchers to knockout each negatively regulating gene and thus study its function, according to Li. CRISPR is both fast and precise, he added. It can produce very accurate mutations.

This technique will be used to create 30 constructs that target 20 genes that negatively impact wheat grain size and weight. From these, the University of California Davis Plant Transformation Facility, through a service contract, will produce 150 first-generation transgenic plants and the SDSU researchers will then identify which ones yield larger seeds. One graduate student and a research assistant will work on the project.

The end products are not genetically modified organisms, Li emphasized. When we transfer one of the CRISPR genes to wheat, its transgenic. That then produces a mutation in a different genomic region. When the plants are then self-pollinated or backcrossed, the transgene and the mutation are separated.

The researchers then screen the plants to select those that carry the desired mutations. This is null transgenic, Li said, noting USDA has approved this process in other organisms. Yang used this technique to develop bacterial blight-resistant rice.

As part of the project, the researchers will also transfer the mutations into durum wheat. Ultimately, these yield-increasing mutations, along with the markers to identify the traits, can be transferred to spring and winter wheat.

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

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Increasing Wheat Yields with CRISPR – Technology Networks

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To Be a Machine, book review: Disrupting life itself – ZDNet

To Be a Machine: Adventures among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death Mark O’Connell Granta 242 pages ISBN: 978-1-78378-196-6 12.99

“We built ingenious devices and we destroyed things.” These words are easy to imagine carved on the tombstone of the human race. In To Be a Machine, where these words appear after an alarming session with people working on artificial intelligence, they’re just one of the many possible futures that Dublin journalist Mark O’Connell visits. None seem to appeal to him much.

A friend once observed that anyone who had ever watched a baby could see how limited AI really is. Here, O’Connell’s new baby son helpfully provides him with a grounding biological balance as he ponders the work of people who, in one way or another, all want to transcend biology.

Many of the ideas O’Connell explores, and some of the people he interviews, will be familiar to those who who’ve read prior efforts, beginning with Ed Regis’s Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition. It’s probably a mark of some kind of social change that Regis, writing 26 years ago, couldn’t avoid — or rather, embraced — a certain, “Oh, my God, are these people nuts or what?” tone, while O’Connell, writing now, can be more soberly reflective. The Singularity, mind uploading, cryonics, whole-brain emulation, real-life ‘cyborgs’, and escaping the surly bonds of Earth to colonise distant planets and save the future of humanity may be no closer to reality than they were in 1991, but the ideas are more familiar: twenty-five years of Wired magazine and Silicon Valley hegemony have had their effect.

Today, when Nick Bostrom predicts (in his book Superintelligence) that an AI might turn all the Earth’s resources to making paper clips he may still seem crazy — but he’s an Oxford University professor and director of the Future of Humanity Institute. Colonizing space to save the human race may be a fringe notion — but it’s also been embraced by the physicist Stephen Hawking.

To embrace biology, O’Connell is told during his study of cryonics, is to buy into “deathist ideology”. I sympathize here: visiting the leading cryonics company, Alcor, and learning the details of cryopreservation can make death seem almost cuddly. Cryonicists themselves admit that revival is a very long shot — but it’s the only non-zero option.

The one overtly comic section of To Be a Machine, therefore, is the one that’s most embodied: O’Connell watches as robots try to complete DARPA’s 2015 challenge — there’s a collection of the best pratfalls at Popular Mechanics. The hardest things to automate are the things humans learn earliest: the 2015 state of the art, after millions of dollars and millions of hours of human engineering, couldn’t climb stairs or open doors as well as a two-year-old. So in that area, at least, we can feel smug.

Given that the technology industry famously loves disruption, it should be no surprise that it attracts people who favour disrupting life itself. In the end, however, O’Connell favours blood and bone.

Read more book reviews

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To Be a Machine, book review: Disrupting life itself – ZDNet

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Vail Daily column: Thyroid issues in the elderly often difficult to diagnosis – Vail Daily News

Aging is a normal process the body goes through, but not all of the symptoms that are frequently attributed to the normal aging process should be directly connected to aging some may be associated with other illnesses such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone, in the elderly is often difficult to diagnosis. While multiple symptoms may be present in a younger population, the elderly may only present with one or two symptoms. According to the Cleveland Clinic, in the elderly population, “typical symptoms (such as weight loss, fatigue, tremors, palpitations, atrial fibrillation, anxiety, depression, shortness of breath, heat intolerance, eye symptoms and anemia) may be absent or attributed to aging or another chronic illness.” As such, subtle signs should be looked for.

symptoms

Symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism may include weight gain, sleepiness, dry skin and constipation; however, a lack of these symptoms does not negate a diagnosis. To make a diagnosis in the elderly patient, doctors often need a high index of suspicion.

When attempting to diagnosis hypothyroidism in the elderly, doctors often look at a person’s family history of thyroid disease, past treatment for hyperthyroidism or a history of extensive surgery and/or radiotherapy to the neck.

Due to the high incidence and prevalence of irregular heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, weight loss, nervousness and muscle weakness in our elderly, it is wise to carefully review with a physician the possibility of such illness being related to hypothyroidism.

Knowledge is the key. Tests, such as T4 and T3U (or T3 Uptake), can be performed to help evaluate the presence of either hyper or hypothyroidism. Replacement hormone therapy (L-T4) is effective in hypothyroidism, whereas in hyperthyroidism (the over production of thyroid hormone) an antithyroid medication is often prescribed to reduce production of the thyroid hormone with sedatives and beta-blockers utilized to treat the associated rapid heart rate and nervousness.

talk to your doctor

The issue here is that many seniors are never diagnosed properly as having hyper or hypothyroidism but, rather, are told their symptoms are typical of anyone in their stage of the aging process. It requires both the family and the physician of the elder to carefully review the mishmash of symptoms that plague us as we age, sort out what is “normal” in the aging process and what might be associated with some other diagnosis (such as hypothyroidism).

Simple tests can determine if the suspicions are valid. Treatment is relatively benign and, in the case of hyperthyroidism, can often be normalized in three to six months with subsequent medication therapy less aggressive in nature.

Bottom line: Don’t simply assume that when a physician proclaims that you have an issue (i.e., high cholesterol) that you should begin to receive medication therapy to help reduce those cholesterol levels (given that diet and exercise did not lower the levels significantly); ask why the cholesterol is high to begin with you may find it’s high due to hypothyroidism. Remember, knowledge is power.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. Contact him at 970-328-5526 or visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns.

Originally posted here:
Vail Daily column: Thyroid issues in the elderly often difficult to diagnosis – Vail Daily News

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A doctor is helping Silicon Valley execs live their best life for $40k a year – Quartz

Silicon Valley thinks our bodies need a reboot. PayPal founder and Donald Trump booster Peter Thiel, who plans to live for 120 years, has publicly discussed taking human-growth hormone (and expressed interest in blood transplants from young people). Google spun off Calico in 2013 to defeat the inevitability of aging. Software engineers fast for days and order custom stacks of nootropics, or brain-enhancing substances, to gain a cognitive edge. One venture capitalist, requesting anonymity, said at a dinner he recently attended several people opened up boxes to pop nootropic pills before the first course.

Theres no end to the experimentation people will undertake in pursuit of productivity, even if most treatments and supplements dont yet have strong evidence or FDA approval. That hasnt phased the patients that Dr. Molly Maloof sees in her Silicon Valley practice. This is a place where people dont give a flying fuck what they do with their minds and bodies, she said.

The general practitioner wants to see real medical rigor behind people trying to hack their health. Her concierge medicine practice in San Francisco serves a small number of patients for anywhere from $5,000 for an initial assessment to upwards of $40,000 per year for comprehensive care (every patient has a second, primary care physician as well). Her clients are often engineers and executives looking to hit peak performance, or recover from an over-stressed work-life. Maloof, who earned her medical degree from the University in Illinois in 2011, sees part of her work as ensuring they they are doing it safely, backed up by the maximum amount of evidence.

Too often, she says, executives and entrepreneurs place performance above health. All these people are not stupid but what used to be domain expertise is now everyone claiming to be the expert, she says.

Maloofs data-heavy approach begins with a battery of testsmeasuring thousands of biomarkers in allto understand her patients at the cellular level. By analyzing the results, she can prescribe food and lifestyle tailored to every individual, alongside standard western therapies. Only then does she consider pharmaceutical-grade supplements. If needed, she helps patients practice harm reduction with performance-enhancing substances from nootropics to micro-dosing LSD. Her philosophy, she says, is to do more than cure sickness, but to enhance health.

Investors are betting this approachoptimizing ones health through deep analysis of their genetics, physiology, and psychologybecomes the standard of care. Technology, they argue, will ultimately bring down prices so its affordable for almost everyone. Today, Maloof estimates less the 1% of private medical practices take this approach, but companies like Color Genomics, Forward, Nootrobox, Arivale, Metabolic Code, Habit, and Viome are already aiming to go mainstream.

Maloof is surprised at the cavalier acceptance of DIY health at the intersection of technology and personalized medicine. People will spend months researching which computer they will buy and then two minutes researching the nootropic brand theyre about to put into their body, she says.

Maloof sat down with Quartz to talk about her work and the future of personalized medicine. The interview was condensed and edited for clarity.

Can you describe your practice?

My practice has basically been an emergent phenomena: What if a doctor decided to optimize health instead of just fixing illness? The first thing Ive done differently is Ive positioned myself as a doctor who is aiming to improve the human condition rather than just get you from sick to not-sick.

Theres this spectrum of disease. Most people are in the sick-to-average part of that spectrum. The athletes and movie stars of the world are at the opposite end at the optimal part of the spectrum.

Theres this space between average and optimal that is a very grey area. Its been sort of commandeered by the wellness industry: the people who perpetuate mindfulness, fitness, and nutrition, but maybe dont have any rigorous medical training. And, as such, havent actually learned the basic science of the human body and how biology, physics, and chemistry works.

How did your practice begin?

I thought, if I was in a perfect world, What would I want my health experience to look like? I basically decided I would want a doctor to listen to me, and listen for a long time. In an ideal situation, it takes about two hours to ask all the questions I would want.

In a perfect world, your body is like the airplane and Im the co-pilot

The second thing is that, typically when you get blood drawn from a doctor, you might get 10 biomarkers or lab [tests]. Thats just not very much information. And they dont usually tell you theres something wrong with you unless its really wrong. In my practice, Im looking at 170 chemical biomarkers. Instead of normal or abnormal, Im looking at a range of whats good.

Instead of just looking at blood, Im looking at blood, urine, stool and saliva. Instead of just chemistry markers, Im looking at chemistry, metabolomics (chemical fingerprints of cellular processes), genomics, microbiome (microorganisms), hormone tests, and Im starting to look at immunology markers.

Thats a very different experience. In a perfect world, your body is like the airplane and Im the co-pilot and were using all these tools to identify if there are issues going wrong with the engine.

How does your typical day go? How would a patients visit to your office be different?

A typical patient is first going to have a meeting with me to go through all these questions, Ill gather all the data and then send a phlebotomist to their house [to draw blood].

I get all the information back and then I sit back down with the patient and we will go over all of the report together. And that will take up to an hour and a half.

At the end of that, we edit the decision together. So we decide what we we want to do. I come up with a summary, a one- to two-page summary, and then create a schedule for all their supplements and their nutrition, and then basically hand off the recommendations to any staff they have to help implement it, or just to them.

Then Ill check in with them in a couple weeks via text or via email or the phone and then well repeat the process. Well take some of the labs that we did and then well repeat that on a quarterly basis. And then well go over the changes we see over time.

Q: How long would a typical patient be with you?

The real benefit comes after working for a year. Six months to a year is the minimum amount of time that we should be working together. And the patients who tend to go off the program, they come back to me eventually and theyre like, Yeah, I fell off the wagon and I want to jump back on. But it takes some commitment because you want to optimize health.

The patients that dont do the best are the ones that think that everything is about the supplements, and everything is about the right supplements. Supplements are like the last mile of optimization.

The first and foremost thing you need to do is recognize that this is not an overnight fix. Youre not just going to feel amazing overnight. Its actually about building these changes over time, and it makes a lot of difference if you recognize its like compounding interest.

And the thing about it is that its not rocket science, but a lot of it is actually knowing what is right for your body and your lifestyle. And thats going to be different for different people.

Q: Thats tough what youre describing. How many stick with it?

I work with mostly entrepreneurs, investors, and executives. So I tend to work with people who, when I first evaluate whether or not theyre a fit for my practice, I can assess how willing are they to do the things that Im asking them to do? If theyre a six out of 10, then Im not going to ask them to do that.

The patients that dont do the best are the ones that think that everything is about the supplements, and everything is about the right supplements. Supplements are like the last mile of optimization. They can make a really big difference. But fundamentally, if your lifestyle is a disaster, for those people its about actually showing them whats happening in their lifestyle and showing them how food is affecting them, giving them continuous glucose monitors, getting them heart-rate variability monitors, so they can glean some real insight around whats happening day-to-day.

Q: What are some of the more dangerous things patients come in doing?

A big problem I see people buying everything they read on Bulletproof Coffee. Im just like, Guys, [Bulletproofs founder] Dave Asprey has not figured everything out. First and foremost hes a salesman and a marketer. And secondly he is a bio-hacker, and so lets get real.

Everything hes recommending! Bulletproof Coffee [which has as much as 4 tablespoons of fat or oil per cup) is probably the worst idea that a person can do in terms of their health. The problem is theres a large number of people that will have much higher rates of cholesterol, and some people will be fine on it. And people do it wrong: they add sugar to it, or eat sugary things, or dont have the right genetics for that level of fat consumption.

Ive seen three patients now with really, really high cholesterol levels. Way, way above normal. Im like, What are you drinking in the morning? What does your routine look like? They say, You know, I start my day with Bulletproof Coffee And Im like, Are you? Oh no.

Is what youre doing scalable?

What Im doing right now is not scalable at all. Ive been doing this practice in order to figure out what does scale. Because if you look at all this information, youll start to see things that make sense for larger populations of people, and I think this is where medicine could go if we had more convenience.

Can this become a standard of care for most people, or will it be concierge medicine forever?

Here are few things that have to happen.

The health care system needs to recognize that what they are doing isnt working for chronic disease, first and foremost. Second of all, we need large-scale studies on this kind of medicine.

Im looking at interventions from the perspective of what is the most sound, evidence-based recommendation I can make for this individual. If it doesnt have evidence, why doesnt it. Chinese medicine may not have much evidence in the western model but it has thousand of years of people using it. The question is, Is it totally bullshit? Well, probably not. Theres probably some truth in it.

Then we need doctors who want to learn how to do this. We have to be able to train them how to do this. When I was in med school, I thought there was a lot missing from my education: what about lifestyle, what about what happens after the patient goes home after the visit to the hospital?

The kitchen is no longer the medicine cabinet. The kitchen is now the place of ultra-toxicity and disease.

I saw this giant problem in my education, and I actually designed a course called, Physician Heal Thyself, Evidence-based lifestyle. I brought in all these doctors who are experts in sleep medicine, sleep, fitness nutrition, food as medicine, functional medicine, integrative medicine, osteopathy and acupuncture. I got them all in a room and said I want you to teach students what were missing. We need to make this medical school education and have to implement this into the board certification programs as well as board exams. If its not required, its not going to be taught.

Finally, we need to be able to prescribe these things. We need food companies to do the research to show their food has outcomes that can improve human health. If we believe its medicine, then we need to study food as medicine. And we have to put it through the same rigor that we put drugs through. Thats going to happen. Were not that far way, but one of the biggest things that needs to happen is a culture shift.

Where do you think a practice like yours will be in five years?

The way to explain this question is actually to look to the past. When I was trying to figure out if what I was doing was special, I started doing some research on doctors in antiquity. I found an interesting pattern.

Most people in Greek and Roman times considered their kitchen to be their medicine cabinet. The women of the world were responsible for managing a lot of illness through food. So food as medicine was fairly widespread, but the wealthy and the gladiators and the kings, all of these people had special doctors.

Theres always been doctors working with the elite and working with the athletes of the world. But the difference between now and then, is that the kitchen is no longer the medicine cabinet. The kitchen is now the place of ultra-toxicity and disease.

I think in five years, Im going to be, hopefully, speaking to the entire country through media and through public health campaigns (Im going to build a platform around this) trying to bring back what we knew for thousands of years about how food can treat our disease and how plants are a source of healing and how the way that we are living our lives in modern times is antithetical to optimal health.

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A doctor is helping Silicon Valley execs live their best life for $40k a year – Quartz

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Sex super for women of any age: Implanted testosterone pellets ooze into your now-hot bod? – MyNewsLA.com

according to the doctors statement, the procedure is quick, painless, and doesnt require stitches. The pellets are inserted under the skin just above the hip, and will last three to four months.

The doctors office statement said that Forbes magazine recently reported on several studies regarding the effects of adding testosterone pellets to conventional hormone replacement therapy.

Researchers found that women taking testosterone have reduced incidences of breast cancer, and that testosterone can suppress breast cell proliferation and improve the common symptoms of menopause.

One patient, 44, had surgically induced menopause through a hysterectomy when she was 35.

I would say truthfully I felt a little dead inside, the doctors statement quoted her as saying.Nothing seemed fun anymore. I slept a lot. I had spurts of memory loss. I was just miserable.

That patient has been receiving both testosterone and estrogen pellets for nearly six years, and said its changed her life.

After the pellets are inserted, within 48 hours, I will wake up, and I will know my system has taken it in, she said. My brain fog is gone. I sleep better. You dont have the dips that come with oral medications. Its a more consistent release. The pellets have helped me with anxiety, weight loss, libido, mental clarity. Its like night and day.

Without hormone replacement therapy, Savage said, women are increasingly at risk for serious health consequences that also include osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimers and diabetes. The doctors statement came with the usual disclaimers making no promises and providing appropriate warnings.

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Sex super for women of any age: Implanted testosterone pellets ooze into your now-hot bod? – MyNewsLA.com

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The Unexpected and Unwanted Side Effect of Hormone Therapy – SheKnows.com

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A new research study out of Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, found a possible connection between hormones and hearing loss among menopausal women.

The study, which will be published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, focused on data collected from 80,972 postmenopausal women. The self-reported study indicated that menopausal women who undergo hormone therapy for extended periods of time are at a greater risk for hearing loss.

More: Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?

Previously, it was believed that hormone therapy would actually improve hearing loss in menopausal women.

The finding from this observational study that women who underwent menopause at a later age and used oral hormone therapy had greater hearing loss was unexpected but should lead to more testing in a randomized, clinical trial,says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS.

Menopause usually occurs in women over the age of 45 and brings with it symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes and mood swings.

While the Brigham and Womens Hospital-led study does present a comprehensive set of facts supporting hearing loss among women who use HRT, the overall benefits and risks of undergoing hormone replacement therapy should be discussed with a physician.

More: It’s Super-Common to Miss These Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

In an effort to make the conversation about menopause a more exhaustive one, the JAMA network published a one-sheet that can help women when speaking to their physicians.

By Vivian Nunez

Originally published on HelloFlo

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The Unexpected and Unwanted Side Effect of Hormone Therapy – SheKnows.com

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Women of color less likely to have breast cancer test – CT Post

By Cara Rosner, Conn. Health I-Team Writer

A genetic test that helps doctors determine how best to treat breast cancer and whether chemotherapy is likely to help is significantly more likely to be administered to white women than blacks or Hispanics, a Yale University study has found.

The test, called Oncotype Dx, uses gene expression to gauge how early-stage breast cancer is affecting patients gene activity. It uses the information to determine how likely cancer recurrence would be, and physicians and their patients can use that knowledge to decide how to proceed with treatment.

Yale researchers analyzed a group of more than 8,000 Connecticut women who were diagnosed with hormone receptor positive breast cancer between 2011 and 2013, and found significant racial and ethnic disparities in use of this new gene test, said study leader Dr. Cary Gross, a member of Yale Cancer Center and professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine.

It reinforces that, at the same time we are investing in developing new treatments and new testing strategies and were promoting them with great excitement, we really need to double-down our efforts to eliminate disparity, Gross said.

Breast test disparity

Here are some key statistics from a Yale University study about Oncotype Dx, a genetic test for breast cancer patients.

The study from that, among the Connecticut women for whom the test was recommended under national guidelines:

51.4 percent of white women received it

44.6 percent of black women received it and

47.7 percent of Hispanic women received it.

Among women for whom national guidelines did not recommend the test:

21.2 percent of white women received it

9 percent of black women received it and

9.7 percent of Hispanic women received it.

Among the Connecticut women for whom the test was recommended, Yale researchers found 51.4 percent of white women received it, compared with 44.6 percent of black women or 47.7 percent of Hispanic women.

One local doctor said the findings are disconcerting, but not surprising. Its long been known that women of color have lower rates of breast cancer screening, and are less likely to have mastectomies or breast reconstruction surgery, typically because they dont have access to or cant afford the services, said Dr. Denise Barajas, medical director of Griffin Hospitals Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness in Derby.

Research has also shown that minority women also are more likely to die from breast cancer.

This is just another area where were unfortunately seeing that certain groups dont have the same access, Barajas said.

Disparities found

The study also found disparity among women for whom national guidelines did not recommend the test. In that group, 21.2 percent of white women, 9 percent of black women and 9.7 percent of Hispanic women received it.

The findings were unsurprising not just to Barajas, but also to Dr. K. M. Steve Lo, a hematology oncologist and breast cancer expert at Stamford Hospitals Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center.

Its part of the overall problem with our health care system, Lo said. Minority women are less insured, underinsured, and have more out-of-pocket expenses to put out in one way or another. As a result, there will be less use of technology across the board. It needs to change but, unfortunately, I dont see a movement toward that in the near future. Its a systemic problem, and its a problem that we as a society need to address.

Barajas said that one of the most upsetting things about the Yale study, is that its first breast cancer-related disparity shes aware of involving a physician-led treatment. Mostly, Barajas said, its patients who opt not to have the treatment.

This test is offered by oncologists, for the most part,” she said. Youd like to think that an oncologist would treat all women the same.

The only reason Barajas could think of for a woman who is eligible for the test not being offered it is that shes said she isnt interested in chemotherapy.

Removing guesswork

Having access to Oncotype Dx can greatly impact womens outcomes, Gross said. Even after a biopsy or tumor removal, he said, its still difficult to know which patients are at higher risk for their cancer coming back again. There are many, many subtypes of breast cancer. (The test) takes some of the guesswork out of it.

The test has become the standard of care for certain types of early-stage cancer, Lo said.

It helps physicians narrow down those women who really do benefit from treatments like chemotherapy, he said. That is crucial, he added, because it means many women who would not benefit from chemotherapy no longer are subjected to the process, the expense and the side effects.

Oncotype Dx is most frequently used on women who have stage 1 cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes, Lo said, but its likely it will be used on women whose cancer has attached to lymph nodes.

In light of the studys findings, Gross team plans to examine data from a broader group of women to see why the disparities exist. Researchers will look at whether women are more or less likely to get the test depending on which hospital treats them, or whether there are disparities within hospitals.

Gross also said research should be done to determine if the tests $4,000 price tag though covered by many insurance companies is a barrier to some patients, and more breast cancer patients should be educated about national guidelines and recommendations.

This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org)

Hearst Connecticut Media staff writer Amanda Cuda contributed to this report.

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Women of color less likely to have breast cancer test – CT Post

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As specter of GOP healthcare overhaul looms, Crist tours expanding LGBT clinic in St. Pete – Creative Loafing Tampa

“I thought it was, what’s the right word, ill-conceived, shall we say? And merciless as well. Particularly in the way it treats the poor and the disabled in our society.”

Crist chats with James Keane, Metros fundraising and events manager.Kate BradshawAs we wrote about last year, Metro Wellness is a nonprofit that offers specialized care and advocacy for the region’s LGBT residents everything from HIV tests to hormone replacement therapy for gender transition to counseling for gay and trans youth. It’s headquartered on the western edge of St. Petersburg’s Kenwood neighborhood in an area where new apartment buildings seem to be going up by the month.

They’re in the middle of a massive expansion officials with the organization say will better equip them to meet the needs of the community. And with any luck, event and retail space they plan on renting out will boost their revenue.

July of 2018 their target for cutting the proverbial ribbon is a long way off.

But with the looming (though uncertain) repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and a spike in new HIV cases (largely among gay minority men under 30), demand for what they do will probably go up well before then.

On Wednesday morning, former Governor and current Congressman Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, checked out the facility for the first time.

He did his usual thing introducing himself to the dozens of staff members going about their day, making conversation about sports and hometowns.

Crist speaks to Metro’s CEO, who was home recovering from knee surgery, as Priya Rajkumar looks on.Kate Bradshaw

He was there to show his support for Metro and to find out more about what they do. As a Democrat in Congress, it doesn’t seem likely that Crist could do all that much in D.C. in terms of pulling down federal money.

Metro doesn’t get much in the way of federal funding anyway, beyond grants and savings on medications it doles out via the 340B Prescription Drug Program. Many of the services they provide are free, and they take insurance when it’s applicable.

But if millions of people lose their health care under the Republicans’ Affordable Health Care Act, that could put a huge burden on health nonprofits like Metro.

The health care act is going to be pretty crucial for us in terms of our ability to move forward as an organization, said Priya Rajkumar, Metro’s chief operating officer, as she and her colleagues gave Crist the grand tour.

Needless to say, Crist wasn’t a fan of the GOP plan, either.

I thought it was, what’s the right word, ill-conceived, shall we say? And merciless as well. Particularly in the way it treats the poor and the disabled in our society. I think it’s on its way to nowhere. I hope, he told Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois, who was at home recovering from a knee surgery at the time of the tour, during a phone call in which he congratulated her on Metro’s success.

Notably, the tour took place the day before Pride Month starts. In June, St. Petersburg hosts the biggest Pride festival in the state. Metro has long been something of a hub during the event, as an adjacent parking lot served the parade’s staging area for years. This year, the event’s parade portion will take place in downtown St. Pete and the former staging area now belongs to a developer. There was controversy over the move, especially since Kenwood and the Grand Central District, where the parade has taken place for over a decade, make up the city’s first gay-friendly area.

Perhaps the downtown move is a sign of how mainstream Pride has become, and how welcoming St. Pete is. Even so, given the political climate and the ideological bent that’s helping shape federal and state health care policy, the need for services that cater to the LGBT community like the ones Metro provides isn’t going anywhere.

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As specter of GOP healthcare overhaul looms, Crist tours expanding LGBT clinic in St. Pete – Creative Loafing Tampa

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‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ has gained momentum. Texas shows the effects can go far beyond just clinics – Los Angeles Times

It was Aubrey Reinhardts last year at Texas Tech University. So when things started getting serious with her boyfriend, she decided it was time to look into birth control.

Reinhardt knew that abortion foes had been trying to strip Planned Parenthood of every penny it receives from government sources. But until that moment two years ago, Reinhardt recalled, she didnt appreciate what that could mean for a person like her who just needed somewhere to go for affordable contraception without feeling she was being judged.

Planned Parenthood had to close its two health centers in Lubbock, where Reinhardt was studying, so she turned to the campus clinic. But the doctor there told her she might have a blood clotting problem, and said Reinhardt would need to get approvals from three other doctors and a hormone specialist before she would prescribe contraception.

Reinhardt, now a 22-year-old law student in Dallas, was stunned. None of her previous physicians had suggested she might have such a problem. Could the doctor be using it as an excuse? She could feel herself tearing up.

Why are you crying? she recalled the doctor asking. Are you really in that big of a hurry to become sexually active?

Humiliated, Reinhardt hurried out of the office.

In the annals of the abortion wars, the call to defund Planned Parenthood has become one of the most potent and contentious rallying cries. The organization is the largest single provider of abortions in the country and has used its political clout to protect access to the procedure.

Now with President Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress and statehouses across the nation, those seeking to curtail public funding for Planned Parenthood see opportunities to achieve their long-sought goal and they see Texas as a model to follow. But as Reinhardts experience shows, the effects of a successful defunding campaign can be far more extensive and potentially damaging than intended.

In 2011, Texas lawmakers slashed funding for family planning clinics rather than allow any of the money to go to Planned Parenthood. Because of the cuts, a quarter of the states clinics closed, making it harder for women of limited means to get a range of other basic health services, including contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Lawmakers have since attempted to repair the damage by directing more money to facilities not tied to abortion providers. But there isnt always a facility that can readily fill the void when women are denied access to Planned Parenthood, which serves about 2.4 million patients nationally each year.

Federally funded community health centers, which provide a range of low-cost primary care to poor families, are stretched thin. And family planning is not routinely offered at 40% of these facilities, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights, including abortion.

After Reinhardts upsetting visit to the campus clinic, she called one such center in Lubbock. The soonest she could get an appointment was in April. It was January. She then tried facilities operated by Christian nonprofits. They didnt offer contraception.

So she called what was left of Planned Parenthood. They could see her right away, but their nearest locations were in El Paso and Fort Worth, both four-hour drives away.

Over spring vacation, Reinhardt drove to Fort Worth and received an implant that prevents pregnancies for up to four years. But she wondered, What about the mother that has two children, that works two jobs, that cant take off two days to drive four hours away to a clinic and come back?

It is already illegal to use federal dollars for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mothers life is in danger. And Planned Parenthood says about half of its health centers dont offer the procedure.

But the groups opponents argue that giving Planned Parenthood public funds for non-abortion-related care allows it to spend more of its private funds on abortions. In 2016, the group received $554.6 million from government sources, about 40% of its budget.

The Republican bill to replace Obamacare, which narrowly cleared the House on May 4, would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursements from Medicaid for a year.

That would be a big hit. Medicaid, the federal-state program that insures more than 70 million poor Americans, accounts for the majority of Planned Parenthoods public funding, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. Federal Title X family planning grants make up most of the rest.

The House bill, the American Health Care Act, faces an uncertain future in the Senate. And states have faced pushback from federal officials and the courts when they try to withhold federal money from Planned Parenthood themselves.

Texas, however, has found roundabout ways to chip away at the groups funding.

Texas Republicans scored their first big win in 2011 when the Legislature reduced the two-year budget for the states Family Planning Program to $38 million from $111 million. It also approved a new way to allocate the funds that prioritized community health centers and county health departments over specialized family planning clinics like those affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

The argument was that women would be better served if they had their reproductive health needs addressed at facilities that could provide more comprehensive care; critics contend it was a way to squeeze out Planned Parenthood.

Texas also wanted to exclude Planned Parenthood from a separate Medicaid-funded program that offered family planning coverage for certain women who didnt qualify for full healthcare benefits. But the Obama administration wouldnt allow that because of a federal law guaranteeing Medicaid clients their choice of providers.

The Legislatures solution: Forgo federal funding that had paid for 90% of the program and set up an entirely state-financed version called the Texas Womens Health Program. That effort, launched in 2013, does not contract with clinics affiliated with abortion providers.

Texas actions have provided a road map for other states to follow. In May, Planned Parenthood announced it was closing four of its 12 clinics in Iowa after lawmakers there decided to set up a state-run family planning program that can legally exclude the group.

Planned Parenthood wasnt the only organization hurt by such decisions. By 2013, 82 Texas clinics a third of them Planned Parenthood affiliates had closed or stopped offering family planning services, said Kari White of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which studied the defunding effort. None of the clinics performed abortions.

Of those that remained open, researchers found, many had to reduce hours or begin charging for services previously offered for free.

Even when there were other clinics nearby where women could use their state benefits, White said, women would often find that they did not stock the more expensive, long-acting birth control methods available at Planned Parenthood. So women switched to less effective methods, and a few years later, some had become pregnant.

State officials take issue with some of the conclusions because they are based on a study that sampled only patients enrolled in the Texas Womens Health Program expanded and rebranded last year as Healthy Texas Women and not those who received family planning care through other programs.

Now that Trump is in the White House, the state is applying to get its Medicaid funding back for Healthy Texas Women. Since 2013, the Legislature has also committed more than $150 million in additional state funds to rebuilding the network of family planning providers and improving care for poor women more than making up for the clinic closures, according to officials.

Although participation in the states womens health programs plunged from around 359,000 in 2011 to 201,000 two years later, state figures show, the number of clients enrolled has increased since then and in 2015 was approaching 364,000.

“Texas is committed to women’s health, Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, said in an email. The number of providers has tripled, and we are making sure that women throughout the state can access these vital services.”

Kelly Hart, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, acknowledged the states efforts to improve family planning. But she said a question lingers: Can [those efforts] be as good as the citizens of this state deserve if you deny a major player in womens healthcare a seat in your program?

Planned Parenthood has 34 health centers left in Texas, four of which perform abortions.

Community health centers will try to fill the gap, but many will need to hire and train staff, reconfigure space and purchase equipment, said Jose Camacho, who heads an association of such facilities in Texas.

In the meantime, women who rely on publicly funded healthcare are still having trouble finding providers who will accept new patients and can see them in a timely manner, Planned Parenthood clinicians say. That can be critical for some patients.

Four years ago, Dayna Farris-Fisher, a mother of three from Plano, discovered a lump in her breast. She didnt have insurance, because her husband had been laid off. None of the low-cost clinics she tried could see her for at least four months.

In a panic, she called Planned Parenthood. Vivian Bigelow, a nurse practitioner at the groups local health center, saw her the next day.

But if a patient like Farris-Fisher, now 50, walked into her exam room today, Bigelow said, she would have to refer her somewhere else. The breast and cervical cancer screening program that paid for the diagnostic testing no longer accepts claims from Planned Parenthood, another casualty of the states defunding efforts.

That terrifies Farris-Fisher. In the five weeks that it took to confirm a diagnosis and begin treatment, her tumor doubled in size.

If I had had to wait for one of those other clinics, she said, I literally am convinced that I would be dead.

alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

Twitter: @alexzavis

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‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ has gained momentum. Texas shows the effects can go far beyond just clinics – Los Angeles Times

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How American Healthcare Is Failing Transgender Patients – Gizmodo

Dani Castro had developed a UTI, but was afraid to go to the doctor due to her track record of bad experiences. She collapsed and became unresponsive, so a friend drove her to the ER. (Content warning.)

I was hospitalized, and my gender marker was listed as male, she said. I had to push back and say something. They changed it, but before I was discharged the medical provider did a pelvic exam.

During the pelvic exam, the physician moved his fingers around inside of her vagina and told her he was impressed with the results of her surgery. Dani didnt have the energy or resources to file a lawsuit and dealt with the inappropriate, traumatizing eventthrough therapy, family and friends.

Today, Castro is a project director at the University of California, San Francisco Center of Excellence for Transgender Health. The UCSF center serves to offer comprehensive care to the trans community, and offers guidelines and resources for primary care providers treating transgender and gender non-binary people.

Castro says shes spoken to folks who have had disrespectful doctors and traumatizing experiences in the emergency room, and during the far more frequent routine visits. Often, Castro says, physicians just use trans patients to answer questions theyre curious about.

Madeline Deutsch, director of UCSF Transgender Care said that specific exams should only happen if its necessary, relevant and based on evidence. In her professional opinion, asking someone for a genital exam because, oh, well theyre taking hormones, maybe they have testicular cancermaybe first make sure theres evidence. Such a relationship between hormones and cancer has not been shown.

Patients already need to travel all over the country for gender-affirming surgery, and the waiting list could be over a year. Despite broader coverage for transgender services under the Affordable Care Act, some state health insurance plans still exclude them, and who knows what will happen with the outcome of the Affordable Care Act vote. Its no surprise that simply receiving preventative care is an ordeal for trans and gender non-binary folks.

Most of us dont go for prevention, said Castro. We go when its an emergency.

The situation is miserable. In 2015, 28,000 transgender people from all fifty states took the National Center for Transgender Equalitys United States Transgender Survey, the largest of its kind. A third had a discriminatory experience at the doctors office. A quarter of the respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person. A National LGBTQ Task Force survey of 6,450 transgender and gender non-binary people from 2011 documents cases of patients concealing their identities from their doctor, and what appears to be a general lack of sensitivityin the medical fieldwhen dealing with trans issues, including using the incorrect gender pronouns and even mocking patients. Around 20 percent of the participants of that study were flat-out denied care.

Theyre afraid to go to the doctor because of discrimination, and data shows that the fear is justified, said Deutsch. When patients arrive, theyre finding doctors who arent properly trained on how to care for them.

One 2011 survey completed by 132 American and Canadian medical school deans found that undergraduates received a median of just five hours of training in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-related content. Of those schools, 44 had zero hours of LGBT content in their clinical studies.

As a result, trans folks might face what some have dubbed trans broken arm syndrome, where doctors blame whatever health ailment simply on the patient being trans. Malcolm Maune, who works for Trans Lifeline, a hotline staffed by transgender people for struggling transgender people, has lupus and has frequent interactions with doctors he trusts. But hes gone to new doctors whove assumed his troubles simply stem from taking testosterone. They think thats optional, somehow, he said. Theyll just attribute all kinds of things to it that have nothing to do with it.

Sure, a few studies have shown that some men receiving testosterone for other ailments have an increased risk of heart disease. But several studies comparing transgender men with cisgender women specifically havent found an increase in cardiovascular problems. And Maunes doctors ensure he has the same amount of testosterone as any cisgendered manand cisgendered men are more likely to suffer heart attacks younger, regardless! If people assigned male at birth are happy living with that heart disease risk, then Im happy being trans living with that heart disease risk, please and thank you very much.

Not all transgender or gender non-binary folks take hormones, but it is an important way for many trans people to match their physical appearance with their identity. And for them, hormone therapy isnt optional.

Uninformed medical advice could have devastating consequences. Taking someone off of their hormones is a good way to precipitate a suicide attempt, said Maune, adding that somewhere around 40 percent of trans people attempt suicide during their lifetime. This is a matter of life and death.

Somehow, even the endocrinologists who specialize in hormones arent knowledgeable in sex hormone treatment, Joshua Safer, Medical Director of the Transgender Center at Boston University, told me. Given the increasing number of folks who identify as transgender, possibly 1 in 137 teenagers, according to a recent New York Times report, It would be hard to have an endocrine practice without seeing some [trans people], he said. A 2017 study found that of 411 practicing endocrinologists, 80 percent had treated a transgender patient, but 80 percent never received training on how to care for them.

The Endocrine Society has a set of guidelines on treating transgender patients for endocrinologists, said Safer, but theyre not up-to-date. Today, they are literally called Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Patients, transexual being a term no longer considered to be an umbrella term for transgender people. Theyre in serious need of being revised, said Safer. Weve been working at the revisions and are sorry theyve taken us until 2017.

These oversights lead to glaring omissions in even the most basic care, like advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Trans folks already suffer from higher rates of diet pill use and eating disorders than other patients. Hormone therapy can lead to weight gain or weight loss, according to UCSF Transgender Care, which could exacerbate these issues. And yet, the folks undergoing hormone treatment that I talked to have had little dietary or nutrition advice from their doctors.

When my friend Mattie White chose to start taking hormones, she had questions. How should she eat? Should she alter her behavior or lifestyle? I would even ask, Are there any vitamins I should make sure I get enough of, things I should avoid? My doctors would just say, Take whatever you want. I asked my doctor if I should eat less protein so I dont have too much muscle mass. They said, If you want to, you can eat less. I want a more specific answer than that! This ambivalenceseems to be a repeating theme.

Sadly, much of the missing guidance is supplemented through message boards and testimonials shared online, like the common tip to decrease muscle mass by avoiding protein altogether. One person I spoke with, Sarah Garland, told me that she had found this posted on blogs, Reddits r/asktransgender board, or the Susans Place forum. I know that is not healthy, said Garland, but some people do it out of desperation.

Deutsch says its unacceptable that trans folks are not provided the same kind of health advice and basic care that many take for granted. I see fear and hesitation from medical providers on providing gender-affirming care, then walk around the clinic and see the curveballs other patients throw providers, she said. They take care of patients with far more complicated and rare situations that involve more complex and costly treatment that may have more side effects of risk.

Deutsch commented that yes, there is a lack of research studying transgender people specifically. But many providers are already treating patients who take hormones, and some of the ailments theyre blaming on hormones are just common ailments that people always have that doctors already know how to treat. High blood pressure is high blood pressure and high cholesterol is high cholesterol, said Deutsch.

If medical providers are unsure about how to treat a patient, there are guidelines that can help them not be shitty about it.

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health offers some incredibly detailed guidelines that are readily available for a minimal amount of searching consistent with the degree of searching providers do on a daily basis for other uncommon symptoms, said Deutsch. These include ailments reasonlessly blamed on hormones like cardiovascular disease and testicular cancer.

Possibly most importantly, these guidelines provide instructions on how to perform an appropriate physical exam in a way that wont drive a patient away from seeing a doctor again. Things can get better.

Trans Lifeline is a hotline staffed by and for transgender people, with experts ready to chat to folks in distress or in need of support. Its numbers are (877) 565-8860 for the US and (877) 330-6366 in Canada.

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How American Healthcare Is Failing Transgender Patients – Gizmodo

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Hypogonadism in testicular cancer patients is associated with risk factors of cardiovascular disease and the … – UroToday

More than 95% of testicular cancer are cured but they are at increased long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk of cardiovascular disease and treatment intensity was reported, but it is unknown whether this effect of cancer therapy is direct or indirect, mediated through androgen deficiency. Our aim was, therefore, to evaluate whether testicular cancer patients have increased the prevalence of risk factors of cardiovascular disease and if these risk factors are associated with hypogonadism and/or the cancer treatment given. In 92 testicular cancer patients (mean 9.2years follow-up) and age-matched controls, blood samples were analysed for lipids, total testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), glucose and insulin. An estimate of insulin resistance, HOMAir was calculated. Hypogonadism was defined as total testosterone10IU/L and/or androgen replacement. In testicular cancer men with hypogonadism, compared with eugonadal patients, higher insulin (mean difference: 3.10mIU/L; p=0.002) and HOMAir (mean difference: 0.792; p=0.007) were detected. Hypogonadism group presented with increased risk (OR=4.4; p=0.01) of metabolic syndrome. Most associations between the treatment given and the metabolic parameters became statistically non-significant after adjustment for hypogonadism. In conclusion, testicular cancer patients with signs of hypogonadism presented with significantly increased risk of metabolic syndrome and investigation of endocrine and metabolic parameters is warranted in these patients.

Andrology. 2017 May 23 [Epub ahead of print]

C Bogefors, S Isaksson, J Bobjer, M Kitlinski, I Leijonhufvud, K Link, A Giwercman

Molecular Reproductive Medicine Unit, Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University, Malm, Sweden., Department of Cardiology, Skane University Hospital, Malm, Sweden., Reproductive Medicine Centre, Skane University Hospital, Malm, Sweden.

PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28544654

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Hypogonadism in testicular cancer patients is associated with risk factors of cardiovascular disease and the … – UroToday

Recommendation and review posted by simmons

External Beam Radiotherapy Affects Serum Testosterone in Patients … – UroToday

Previous studies have examined testosterone levels after external beam radiation (EBRT) monotherapy, but since 2002 only sparse contemporary data have been reported.

To examine testosterone kinetics in a large series of contemporary patients after EBRT.

The study was conducted in 425 patients who underwent definitive EBRT for localized prostate cancer from 2002 through 2014. Patients were enrolled in several phase II and III trials. Exclusion criteria were neoadjuvant or adjuvant androgen-deprivation therapy or missing data. Testosterone was recorded at baseline and then according to each study protocol (not mandatory in all protocols). Statistical analyses consisted of means and proportions, Kaplan-Meier plots, and logistic and Cox regression analyses.

Testosterone kinetics after EBRT monotherapy and their influence on biochemical recurrence.

Median follow-up of 248 assessable patients was 72 months. One hundred eighty-six patients (75.0%) showed a decrease in testosterone. Median time to first decrease was 6.4 months. Median percentage of decrease to the nadir was 30% and 112 (45.2%) developed biochemical hypogonadism (serum testosterone

EBRT monotherapy influences testosterone kinetics, and although most patients will recover, approximately 45% will have biochemical hypogonadism.

We report on the largest contemporary series of patients treated with EBRT monotherapy in whom testosterone kinetics were ascertained. Limitations are that testosterone follow-up was not uniform and the study lacked information on health-related quality-of-life data.

Our findings indicate that up to 75% of patients will have a profound testosterone decrease, with up to a 40% increase in rates of biochemical hypogonadism, although the latter events will leave biochemical recurrence unaffected. Pompe RS, Karakrewicz PI, Zaffuto E, etal. External Beam Radiotherapy Affects Serum Testosterone in Patients With Localized Prostate Cancer. J Sex Med 2017;XX:XXX-XXX.

The journal of sexual medicine. 2017 May 22 [Epub ahead of print]

Raisa S Pompe, Pierre I Karakiewicz, Emanuele Zaffuto, Ariane Smith, Marco Bandini, Michele Marchioni, Zhe Tian, Sami-Ramzi Leyh-Bannurah, Jonas Schiffmann, Guila Delouya, Carole Lambert, Jean-Paul Bahary, Marie Claude Beauchemin, Maroie Barkati, Cynthia Mnard, Markus Graefen, Fred Saad, Derya Tilki, Daniel Taussky

Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada; Martini Clinic, Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. Electronic address: ., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada; Department of Urology, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada; Department of Urology and Division of Experimental Oncology, Urological Research Institute, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy., Department of Urology, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada; Department of Urology, SS Annunziata Hospital, G.D. Annunzio University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada; Martini Clinic, Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Department of Urology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany., Department of Urology, Academic Hospital Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany., Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada., Martini Clinic, Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany., Martini Clinic, Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Department of Urology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28546065

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External Beam Radiotherapy Affects Serum Testosterone in Patients … – UroToday

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SpaceX to launch heart, bone health experiments to space station Thursday – CU Boulder Today

A SpaceX rocket is slated to launch two University of Colorado Boulder-built payloads to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida Thursday, including oneto look at changes in cardiovascular stem cells in microgravity that may someday help combat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft

The second payload will be used for rodent studies testing a novel treatment for bone loss in space, which has been documented in both astronauts and mice. The two payloads were developed by BioServe Space Technologies, a research center within the Ann and H.J Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering,

We have a solid relationship with SpaceX and NASA that allows us to regularly fly our flight hardware to the International Space Station, said BioServe Director Louis Stodieck. The low gravity of space provides a unique environment for biomedical experiments that cannot be reproduced on Earth, and our faculty, staff and students are very experienced in designing and building custom payloads for our academic, commercial and government partners.

The experiments will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida and carried to the ISS on the companys Dragon spacecraft. The SpaceX-CRS-11 mission launching Thursday marks BioServes 55th mission to space.

The cardiovascular cell experiments, designed by Associate Professor Mary Kearns-Jonker of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California, will investigate how low gravity affects stem cells, including physical and molecular changes. While spaceflight is known to affect cardiac cell structure and function, the biological basis for such impacts is not clearly understood, said BioServe Associate director Stefanie Countryman.

As part of the study, the researchers will be comparing changes in heart muscle stem cells in space with similar cells simultaneously cultured on Earth, said Countryman. Researchers are hopeful the findings could help lead to stem cell therapies to repair damaged cardiac tissue. The findings also could confirm suspicions by scientists that microgravity speeds up the aging process, Countryman said.

For the heart cell experiments, BioServe is providing high-tech, cell-culture hardware known as BioCells that will be loaded into shoebox-sized habitats on ISS. The experiments will be housed in BioServes Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL), a newly updated smart incubator that will reduce the time astronauts spend manipulating the experiments.

The second experiment, created by Dr. Chia Soo of the UCLA School of Medicine, will test a new drug designed to not only block loss of bone but also to rebuild it.

The mice will ride in a NASA habitat designed for spaceflight to the ISS. Once on board, some mice will undergo injections with the new drug while others will be given a placebo. At the end of the experiments half of the mice will be returned to Earth in SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft and transported to UCLA for further study, said Stodieck, a scientific co-investigator on the experiment.

BioServes Space Automated Byproduct Lab

In addition to the two science experiments, BioServe is launching its third SABL unit to the ISS. Two SABL units are currently onboard ISS supporting multiple research experiments, including three previous stem cell experiments conducted by BioServe in collaboration with Stanford University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The addition of the third SABL unit will expand BioServes capabilities in an era of high-volume science on board the ISS, said Countryman.

BioServe researchers and students have flown hardware and experiments on missions aboard NASA space shuttles, the ISS and on Russian and Japanese government cargo rockets. BioServe previously has flown payloads on commercial cargo rockets developed by both SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and Orbital ATK, Inc. headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

Since it was founded by NASA in 1987, BioServe has partnered with more than 100 companies and performed dozens of NASA-sponsored investigations. Itspartners include large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and NASA-funded researchers, and investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. CU-Boulder students are involved in all aspects of BioServe research efforts, said Stodieck.

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SpaceX rocket will be carrying CU experiments – 9NEWS.com

One of the experiments involves cardiovascular stem cells, investigating how gravity affects stem cells.

Jaime Berg, KUSA 4:47 PM. MDT May 31, 2017

Source: University of Colorado

KUSA – A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to launch Thursday — and on board will be two payloads built by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The payloads include studies that could be life-changing for people on earth.

One of the experiments involves cardiovascular stem cells. The work is with some researchers in California.

Theyre investigating how gravity affects stem cells, including physical and molecular changes. The information, could help lead to stem cell therapies to repair damaged cardiac tissue.

One of the experiments has to do with rodents.

Mice are actually being sent to the international space station, in a NASA habitat, designed for spaceflight.

The mice will be going through a series of experiments to study bone loss in space.

The experiments will be sent in shoebox sized habitats.

Both undergrad and graduate students at CU are involved in the research efforts.

2017 KUSA-TV

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Scientists Close to Generating Unlimited Blood Supply from Stem Cells – Wall Street Pit

Two separate research teams have succeeded in generating blood stem cells using completely different procedures. One team was led by stem cell biologist Dr. George Q. Daley of Harvard Medical School and Boston Childrens Hospital. The other team was spearheaded by Dr. Shahin Rafii of the Weill Cornell Medicines Ansary Stem Cell Institute in New York.

In both cases, reprogrammed blood stem cells were able to successfully produce blood cells when implanted into mice. And if either or both procedures turn out to be viable for humans, a future where blood donors will no longer be needed may soon be in the horizon because science has provided us with a way to produce unlimited blood supply.

Stem cells are specially programmed cells that are responsible for creating all of the bodys other cells. There are two types of stem cells embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells are located you guessed it in the embryo where they stay before they start to specialise. Adult stem cells are the ones used to repair and replace worn out or old cells.

Those are the natural types. Theres another type, though. Theyre called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells for short). Unlike the first two types, iPS cells arent naturally present. Theyre actually adult stem cells that were converted back to their primitive state, which means they can be coaxed to turn into any type of cell.

Dr. Daley and his team chose to use both embryonic stem cells and iPS cells for their research. Using a combination of proteins, they coaxed the cells to turn into hemogenic endothelium a kind of embryonic tissue that eventually turns into blood stem cells. Next, they tested several transcription factors genes that tell other genes what to do until they came up with the combination (specifically: ERG, HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXA10, LCOR, RUNX1, and SPI1) that pushed the hemogenic endothelium into a blood-forming or blood stem cell state. They then injected those modified cells into the bone marrow of their mice subjects. After several weeks, portions of the mices blood and bone marrow developed different types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and even immune cells.

As Daley described the feat: Were tantalizingly close to generating bona fide human blood stem cells in a dish.

On the other hand, Rafii and his team chose a different route. They didnt make use of iPS cells. Instead, they created true blood stem cells, starting off by extracting stem cells from the blood vessel lining of mature mice. Next, they inserted transcription factors (Fosb, Gfi1, Runx1, and Spi1) into the genomes of the extracted cells, then kept these cells in Petri dishes designed to replicate the environment within human blood vessels.

Over time, the cells turned into blood stem cells and multiplied. They then injected those stem cells into mice treated with radiation (which meant most of their blood and immune cells were gone). The stem cells regenerated not just the blood, but the immune cells too. Consequently, the mice recovered and went on to live for over 1.5 years in the lab.

As described by Rafii, the procedure they used is similar to a direct aeroplane flight, while Daleys is like a flight that took a detour prior to reaching its ultimate destination. Doing away with the iPS part kind of makes Rafiis method slightly better than Daleys because it minimizes the threat of tumors forming or the body rejecting the stem cells, which is a typical reaction that iPS cells might cause. But if Daleys team is able to refine their process to eliminate this risk, then that will level the playing field, so to speak.

Whatever happens from here on, both procedures are nonetheless considered significant breakthroughs. And even though its not yet certain which method will turn out to be the better one for humans, whats clear is that both methods have the potential to be game-changers when it comes to any kind of treatment involving blood infusion and transfusion.

Both studies have been published in the journal Nature, with Daleys under the title Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from human pluripotent stem cells and Rafiis under the title Conversion of adult endothelium to immunocompetent haematopoietic stem cells.

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Unrelated donor transplants to aid thalassemics – The Hindu


The Hindu
Unrelated donor transplants to aid thalassemics
The Hindu
Transplantation of a special kind of stem cells found in the bone marrow has been the only curative option for patients with thalassemia major (genetic inability to produce normal, adult haemoglobin leading to severe anaemia). Since only 30-35% of such …

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Unrelated donor transplants to aid thalassemics – The Hindu

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Patients’ stem cells point to potential treatments for motor | Cosmos – Cosmos

Physicist Stephen Hawking is perhaps the most famous sufferer of motor neuron disease, a crippling degenerative condition that affects an estimated 150,00 people around the world.

Karwai Tang / Getty

In news that may bring hope to Stephen Hawking and hundreds of thousands of others around the world, British scientists have used reprogrammed skin cells to study the development of motor neuron disease.

Its like changing the postcode of a house without actually moving it, explains neuroscientist Rickie Patani, referring to research offering startling new insights into the progress and treatment of the crippling degenerative condition, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Patani, together with colleague Sonia Gandhi, both from the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, in the UK, led a team of researchers investigating how the disease destroys the nerve cells that govern muscle movement.

The results, published in the journal Cell Reports, comprise the most fine-grained work to date on how ALS operates on a molecular level and suggest powerful new treatment methods based on stem cells.

Indeed, so exciting are the implications of the research that Ghandi and Patani are already working with pharmaceutical companies to develop their discoveries.

The neurologists uncovered two key interlinked interactions in the development of motor neuron disease, the first concerning a particular protein, and the second concerning an auxiliary nerve cell type called astrocytes.

To make their findings, the team developed stem cells from the skin of healthy volunteers and a cohort carrying a genetic mutation that leads to ALS. The stem cells were then guided into becoming motor neurons and astrocytes.

We manipulated the cells using insights from developmental biology, so that they closely resembled a specific part of the spinal cord from which motor neurons arise, says Patani.

We were able to create pure, high-quality samples of motor neurons and astrocytes which accurately represent the cells affected in patients with ALS.”

The scientists then closely monitored the two sets of cells healthy and mutated to see how their functioning differed over time.

The first thing they noted was that a particular protein TDP-43 behaved differently. In the patient-derived samples TDP-43 leaked out of the cell nucleus, catalysing a damaging chain of events inside the cell and causing it to die.

The observation provided a powerful insight into the molecular mechanics of motor neuron disease.

Knowing when things go wrong inside a cell, and in what sequence, is a useful approach to define the critical molecular event in disease, says Ghandi.

One therapeutic approach to stop sick motor neurons from dying could be to prevent proteins like TDP-43 from leaving the nucleus, or try to move them back.

The second critical insight was derived from the behaviour of astrocytes, which turned out to function as a kind of nursemaid, supporting motor neuron cells when they began to lose function because of protein leakage.

During the progression of motor neuron disease, however, the astrocytes like nurses during an Ebola outbreak eventually fell ill themselves and died, hastening the death of the neurons.

To test this, the team did a type of mix and match exercise, concocting various combinations of neurons and astrocytes from healthy and diseased tissue.

They discovered that healthy astrocytes could prolong the functional life of ALS-affected motor neurons, but damaged astrocytes struggled to keep even healthy motor neurons functioning.

The research reveals both TDP-43 and astrocytes as key therapeutic targets, raising the possibility that the progress of ALS might be significantly slowed, or perhaps even halted.

Our work, along with other studies of ageing and neurodegeneration, would suggest that the cross-talk between neurons and their supporting cells is crucial in the development and progression of ALS, says Patani.

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Patients’ stem cells point to potential treatments for motor | Cosmos – Cosmos

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IPS Cell Therapy – Page 5423 IPS Cell Therapy

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Stem Cell Research is an amazing field right now, and promises to be a powerful and potent tool to help us live longer and healthier lives. Just last month, for example, Stem Cell Therapy was used to restore sight in patients with severe retinal deterioration, allowing them to see clearer than they had in years, or even decades.

Now, there is another form of Stem Cell Treatment on the horizonthis one of a very different form. Stem Cells have now been used as a mechanism to deliver medical treatment designed to eliminate cancer cells, even in hard to reach places. One issue with current cancer treatments is that, treatments that are effective at treating tumors on the surface of the brain cannot be performed safely when the tumor is deeper within the brains tissues.

Stem Cells have the fantastic ability to transform into any other kind of cell within the human body, given the appropriate stimulation. As of today, most of these cells come from Embryonic Lines, but researchers are learning how to backwards engineer cells in the human body, reverting them back to their embryonic state. These cells are known as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

How Does This Stem Cell Cancer Treatment Work?

Using genetic engineering, it is possible to create stem cells that are designed to release a chemical known as Pseudomonas Exotoxin, which has the ability to destroy certain tumor cells in the human brain.

What is Pseudomonas Exotoxin?

Pseudomonas Exotoxin is a compound that is naturally released by a form of bacteria known as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. This chemical is toxic to brain tumor cells because it prevents polypeptides from growing longer, essentially preventing the polypeptides from growing and reproducing. When used in a specific manner, this toxin has the ability to destroy cancerous and malignant tissue without negatively impacting healthy tissue. In addition to its potential as a cancer treatment, there is also evidence that the therapy could be used for the treatment of Hepatitis B.

PE and Similar Toxins Have been Used Therapeutically in the Past

As of now, this chemical, which we will refer to for the rest of the article as PE, has been used as a cancer treatment before, but there are major limitations regarding the use of PE for particular cancers, not because of the risks of the treatment, but because of the lack of an effective method to deliver the medication to where it is needed.

For example, similar chemicals have been highly effective in the treatment of a large number of blood cancers, but havent been nearly as effective in larger, more inaccessible tumors. The chemicals break down or become metabolized before they can fully do their job.

How do Stem Cells Increase the Effectiveness of PE Cancer Treatment

Right now, PE has to be created in a laboratory before it is administered, which is not very effective for these embedded cancers. By using Stem Cells as an intermediary, it is possible to deliver the medication to deeper areas of the brain more effectively, theoretically highly increasing the efficacy of the treatment.

The leader of this Stem Cell Research is Harvard researcher Dr. Khalis Shah. His goal was to find an effective means to treat these deep brain tumors which are not easily treated by methods available today. In utilizing Stem Cells, Dr. Shah has potentially found a means by which the stem cells can constantly deliver this Cancer Toxin to the tumor area. The cells remain active and are fed by the body, which allows them to provide a steady stream of treatment that is impossible to provide via any other known method.

This research is still in its early stages, and has not yet reached human trials, but in mice, the PE Toxin worked exactly as hypothesized and was able to starve out tumors by preventing them from replicating effectively.

Perhaps this might seem a bit less complicated than it actually is. One of the major hurdles that had to be overcome was that this Toxin would normally be strong enough to kill the cell that hosted it. In order for the Stem Cells to release the cancer, they had to be able to withstand the effects of PE, themselves. Using genetic engineering, Dr. Shah and his associates were able to create a cell that is capable of both producing and withstanding the effects of the toxin.

Stem Cell delivered medical therapy is a 21st century form of medical treatment that researchers are just beginning to learn how to effectively utilize. Essentially, this treatment takes a stem cell and converts it into a unique symbiotic tool capable of feeding off of the host for energy in order to perform a potentially life-saving function. Its really quite fascinating.

How Does PE Not Damage or Kill Brain Cells Indiscriminately?

You might be concerned about the idea of a patient having a toxin injected into the brain to cure a disease. It sounds almost like a dangerous, tribal, homeopathic remedy. In reality, the researchers have been able to harness the destructive power of the toxin and re-engineer it so that it directly targets cancer cells while having limited negative effects on healthy, non-cancerous tissue.

The toxin does its damage after it has been absorbed by a cell. By retooling the toxin so that it does not readily absorb into healthy cells, the dangers associated with having such a potentially dangerous toxin in the brain are seriously and significantly mitigated.

Beyond that, Dr. Shah and his associates have been able to take steps to effectively turn off PE while it is inside the host stem cell, and only activates when it has entered the cancerous tissue. Dr. Shah explains that, although this research has only been conducted in animal subjects, there is no known reason why the effectiveness and safety of the treatment would not be applicable to human patients.

In this treatment, surgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible from the brain, and insert the engineered Stem Cells submerged in a sterile gel in the area where the tumor was removed or partially still exists. Researchers found that, when they used this treatment on laboratory rats, they could tell through imaging and analysis that the modified PE toxin effectively killed the cancer cells, and that this cancer treatment effectively lengthened the life of the rat, as compared to control subjects.

Whats the Next Step?

Of course, cancer treatment is far more complex than a single treatment, no matter how effective that treatment may be. Because human cancer treatment is a comprehensive therapy approach, the end goal of this research is to create a form of therapy in which the method used in animal subjects is combined with other existing approaches, increasing and maximizing the effectiveness of the comprehensive treatment.

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A recent change in how well we understand stem cells may make it easier for scientists and researchers to gather stem cells for use in scientific research as well as medical application. A new study was released in the research publication, Cell, which was performed by representatives from the University of California San Francisco.

One of the issues which hinder the use of stem cells as a more widespread treatment or field of research is that researchers and patients have a bottleneck of available healthy stem cell lines which can be used for research. Researchers hope that this new discovery will allow future scientific discoveries and applications in the areas of creating new and healthy tissue for patients with kidney failure or any other form of organ tissue failure. The future of medical therapy lies with Stem Cell Research, but many other forms of treatment, including Hormone Replacement Therapy, are already in practice today.

Researchers have discovered that it is possible to essentially flip a switch in an adult cell, reverting it back to the preliminary state at which cells existed in one of the earliest stages of developmentthe embryonic stem cell. Medical researchers hypothesize that Stem Cell treatments could be used for a variety of medical health issues which plague the world today, including kidney failure, liver disease, and Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes.

Use of Embryonic Stem Cells Contentious

There is an ethical issue in Stem Cell Research today. Many Pro-Life Advocates are vociferously against the use of Embryonic Stem Cells harvested from procedures such as fertility treatments designed for conception. They believe that the use of embryonic stem cells harvested from donors and couples looking to conceive is unethical.

Using current research, it may be possible to bypass this ethical quandary completely by using adult cells and converting them into embryonic stem cells. Furthermore, because these stem cells are genetic derivatives of the patient from which the adult cells were harvested, this potentially paves the way for patient-specific medical treatments using stem cells.

After adult cells have been converted back into Embryonic Stem Cells, it will be possible to convert them into any possible cell that the patient needs or would benefit from.

Hijacking the Blueprint of the Cell Allows Scientists to Revert Adult Cells to their Earliest State

Researchers have increased the capacity to produce Embryonic Stem Cells by identifying previously unrecognized biochemical processes which tell human cells how to develop. In essence, researchers have discovered how the body blueprints cells, and can change the blueprints so that a new cell is made.

By utilizing these newly recognized pathways, it is possible to create new stem cells more quickly than ever before. One of the researchers explains the implications of this research. Dr. Miguel Ramalho-Santos is an associate professor of obstetrics, medicine, and cancer research at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Ramalho-Santos is also a member of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

He explains that these stem cell discoveries have the ability to alter the way that the medical sciences can take advantage of stem cells with regard to both cancer research and regenerative medicine. Dr. Ramalho-Santos was the lead researcher for this study, and the research was largely funded by the Director of the National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award, granted to promising young researchers which are leading highly innovative and promising medical research studies.

Dr. Ramalho-Santos research builds off of earlier research which discovered that it was possible to take adult cells and turn them back into embryonic stem cells. These stem cells dont have any inherent aging processes, and they can be turned into any other kind of tissue. In the process of this conversion, the adult cells lose all of their unique characteristics, leaving them in an ultimately immature and malleable state.

This earlier research was conducted by researchers from UC San Francisco in partnership with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka from Kyoto University and Gladstone Institutes. These entities all gained a piece of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine from their part in the study.

Pluripotent Stem Cells vs. Embryonic Stem Cells

Thus far, weve described these cells as Embryonic Stem Cells, but in fact, the more accurate term for these cells are Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS). These cells are biologically and functionally similar to Embryonic Stem Cells, but have a different name because they are sourced from adult cells. The difference between Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Embryonic Stem Cells is that Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells do seem to retain some of the characteristics of their previous state, which appears to limit their ability to convert into any other type of cell. This new research identifies new pathways by which it may be possible to increase the number of cells that an individual IPS Cell can turn into, perhaps allowing them to convert into any other kind of human cell.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are not explicitly considered an alternative to Embryonic Stem Cells, but are considered a different approach to produce similar cells. If researchers fully uncover the mechanisms of how to reprogram these cells, it will lower many barriers to stem cell research and the availability of stem cell treatments.

As of today, researchers have figured out how to make these Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, but the percentage of adult cells which are reverted successfully is quite low, and frequently, these cells still show some aspects of specialization, which limits their use.

How Do Scientists Make Stem Cells From Adult Cells?

There are genes within every cell which have the ability to induce pluripotency, reverting the cell to an earlier stage of specialization. The initial stage of this process is the result of activating Yamanaka Factors, specific genes that initiate this reversion process.

As of today, this process of de-maturation is not completely understood, and researchers realized from the start that the cells they created were not truly identical to Embryonic Stem Cells, because they still showed signs of their former lives, which often prevented them from being successfully reprogrammed.

The new research conducted by Dr. Ramalho-Santos appears to increase our knowledge regarding how these cells work, and how to program them more effectively. Dr. Ramalho-Santos and his team discovered more genes associated with these programming/reprogramming processes, and by manipulating them, they have increased the viability and range of particular stem cells.

It appears that these genetic impulses are constantly at play to maintain the structure and function of a cell, and that by systematically removing these safeguards, it is possible to increase the ability to alter these cells.

This research increases researchers ability to produce these stem cells, by increasing the ability of medical scientists to produce adequate numbers of stem cells, while also increasing the range of potential treatment options by more effectively inducing the total pluripotency which is available in Embryonic Stem Cells. This research may also help scientists treat certain forms of cancer which are the result of malfunctions of these genes.

Dr. Patrick W. Thomas Published 7:00 p.m. ET May 30, 2017 | Updated 9 hours ago

Dr. Patrick W. Thomas, chief of cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, supports state legislation to raise the age for tobacco sales to 21. Dr. Thomas is also president of the Board of Directors for the Putnam County Division of the American Heart Association. Video by Nancy Cutler/lohud Wochit

Those who seek support to stop smoking are more likely to succeed.(Photo: AndreyPopov, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I see it in my cardiology practice each day the deadly effects of smoking: The obvious health implications, the attempts to quitand the resignation that comes when those quitting attempts fail. Tobacco addiction causes heart disease, damage to arteries throughout the body, chronic and debilitating breathing issues, stroke, aneurysms, cancer. The list goes on.

I prescribe medications (such as nicotine replacement therapies) and offer information for group or individual counseling. Most patients who smoke want to quit but the addiction is just too strong.

As a health-care provider, it is my job to speak out to break the cycle of tobacco addiction, and thats exactly what legislation thats been proposed to raise the age of sale for tobacco products in New York would do and our lawmakers have just a few weeks to move on it.

WESTCHESTER: County mulls age change for tobacco sales

TOMPKINS COUNTY: Legislators raise tobacco age to 21

Sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Diane Savino (S03978) and in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (A0273), the legislation will raise the legal sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide.

I know that not one of my patients who smokes would say he or she is glad to have started smoking. Some admit they wont live their lives without it, and some have paid a high price for their addiction but its too hard for them to quit.

And any of those smokers, most of whom started when they were young, would say they dont want to see future generations become addicted to deadly tobacco. Not their kids, grandkids or neighbors. We know that 95 percent of smokers started before age 21. Young people are warned of the reality of tobaccos addiction, but thats not enough we need to do all that is possible to keep these deadly products away from our children.

New York state lawmakers are considering an increase in the age to legally buy tobacco products from age 18 to 21. Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau

The Tobacco 21 bill, as it is known, will not totally prevent smoking. It will not help those who already have started smoking their addiction is likely already too strong. But it can help prevent others from starting. It is another tool for helping keep tobacco out of the hands of high school kids.

Kids tell us that its easy to get tobacco from older kids. Preventing the flow of products from older kids to younger kids is critical. Not many 21-year-olds are still in high school social circles, but plenty of 18- and 19-year-olds are and they supply the cigarettes, chew, and other products to those younger than them.

And the tobacco industry knows it. Theyve been on the record for years saying that laws such as this would gut their next generation of smokers.

As doctors, parents, lawmakers, isnt that exactly what we should be doing? Doing everything we can to prevent unnecessary deaths and illness caused by tobacco?

I commend the work thats been done across all corners of our state to drive this sort of regulation on the local level. From Tompkins County to New York City, and in nearby Orange and Sullivan counties, local leaders have taken this issue head on and have seen widespread support. In fact, to date, more than 55 percent of New Yorkers already livein an area covered by Tobacco 21 legislation. Its a good start, but a mishmash of town and county laws wont get the job done. We need statewide action on this public health crisis.

I urge the New York State Legislature to work to pass Tobacco 21 legislation this session.

The writer is chief of cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and president of the Board of Directors for the Putnam County Division of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Patrick W. Thomas(Photo: SUBMITTED/Howard Copeland of Scotts Camera in Peekskill)

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Original post: Take it from a cardiologist: Tobacco sales should be restricted to 21 and over The Journal News | LoHud.com

TAIPEI, Taiwan, May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ TaiGen Biotechnology Company, Limited (TaiGen) today announced that it has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) for the intravenous formulation of Taigexyn (Nemonoxacin) to the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). Taigexyn is a novel non-fluorinated quinolone antibiotic.The NDA submission is supported by a pivotal Phase 3 trial comparing intravenous formulations of Taigexyn 500 mg to levofloxacin 500 mg in 518 patients with moderate to severe community-acquired pneumonia. The clinical success rates were 91.8% for Taigexyn vs. 85.7% for levofloxacin and Taigexyn was shown to be non-inferior to levofloxacin meeting the primary endpoint of the pivotal trial.

About Taigexyn Taigexyn is a novel broad spectrum antibiotic with excellent efficacy against drug-resistant bacteria available in both oral and intravenous formulations. The oral formulation is already approved for marketing and launched in Taiwan and mainland China. In addition, Taigexyn is also partnered in Russia, Commonwealth Independent States, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and the Latin American territory for a total 32 countries worldwide.

Link: TaiGen Biotechnology Announces Submission of New Drug Application for Taigexyn Intravenous Formulation to the PR Newswire (press release)

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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, DC 20549

FORM 8-K

CURRENT REPORT

Pursuant to Section13 or 15(d)

of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): May30, 2017 (May 24, 2017)

PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2150

Los Angeles, California 90024

(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

(424) 248-6500

(Registrants telephone number, including area code)

N/A

(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)

Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions:

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On May24, 2017, Puma Biotechnology, Inc. (the Company) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) voted 12 to 4 to recommend approval of PB272 (neratinib) for the extended adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early stage breast cancer based on finding that the risk-benefit profile of neratinib is favorable. Neratinib is an investigational therapy for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer that has previously been treated with a trastuzumab containing regimen.

ODAC is an independent panel of experts that evaluates data concerning the efficacy and safety of marketed and investigational products for use in the treatment of cancer and makes appropriate recommendations to the FDA. Although the FDA will consider the recommendation of the panel, the final decision regarding the approval of the product is made by the FDA solely, and the recommendations by the panel are non-binding.

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Recommendation and review posted by simmons

CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique – The Conversation US

Laboratory mice are among the first animals to have their diseases treated by CRISPR.

A new research paper is stirring up controversy among scientists interested in using DNA editing to treat disease.

In a two-page article published in the journal Nature Methods on May 30, a group of six scientists report an alarming number of so-called off-target mutations in mice that underwent an experimental gene repair therapy.

CRISPR, the hot new gene-editing technique thats taken biology by storm, is no stranger to headlines. What is unusual, however, is a scientific article so clearly describing a potentially fatal shortcoming of this promising technology.

The research community is digesting this news with many experts suggesting flaws with the experiment, not the revolutionary technique.

The research team sought to repair a genetic mutation known to cause a form of blindness in mice. This could be accomplished, they showed, by changing just one DNA letter in the mouse genome.

They were able to successfully correct the targeted mutation in each of the two mice they treated. But they also observed an alarming number of additional DNA changes more than 1,600 per mouse in areas of the genome they did not intend to modify.

The authors attribute these unintended mutations to the experimental CRISPR-based gene editing therapy they used.

A central promise of CRISPR-based gene editing is its ability to pinpoint particular genes. But if this technology produces dangerous side effects by creating unexpected and unwanted mutations across the genome, that could hamper or even derail many of its applications.

Several previous research articles have reported off-target effects of CRISPR, but far fewer than this group found.

The publicly traded biotech companies seeking to commercialize CRISPR-based gene therapies Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics and Crispr Therapeutics all took immediate stock market hits based on the news.

Experts in the field quickly responded.

Either the enzyme is acting at near optimal efficiency or something fishy is going on here, tweeted Matthew Taliaferro, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT who studies gene expression and genetic disease.

The Cas9 enzyme in the CRISPR system is what actually cuts DNA, leading to genetic changes. Unusually high levels of enzyme activity could account for the observed off-target mutations more cutting equals more chances for the cell to mutate its DNA. Different labs use slightly different methods to try to ensure the right amount of cuts happen only where intended.

Unusual methods were used, tweeted Lluis Montoliu, who runs a lab at the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology that specializes in editing mice genes using CRISPR. He believes the authors used suboptimal molecular components in their injected CRISPR therapies specifically a plasmid that causes cells to produce too much Cas9 enzyme likely leading to the off-target effects they observed.

Gatan Burgio, whose laboratory at the Australian National University is working to understand the role that cellular context plays on CRISPR efficiency, believes the papers central claim that CRISPR caused such an alarming number of off-target mutations is not substantiated.

Burgio says there could be a range of reasons for seeing so many unexpected changes in the mice, including problems with accurately detecting DNA variation, the extremely small number of mice used, random events happening after Cas9 acted or, he concedes, problems with CRISPR itself.

Burgio has been editing the DNA of mice using CRISPR since 2014 and has never seen a comparable level of off-target mutation. He says hes confident that additional research will refute these recent findings.

Although the news of this two-mouse experiment fired up the science-focused parts of the Twittersphere, the issue it raises is not new to the field.

Researchers have known for a few years now that off-target mutations are likely given certain CRISPR protocols. More precise variants of the Cas9 enzyme have been shown to improve targeting in human tissue the lab.

Researchers have also focused on developing methods to more efficiently locate off-target mutations in the animals they study.

As scientists continue to hone the gene-editing technique, we recognize theres still a way to go before CRISPR will be ready for safe and effective gene therapy in humans.

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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique – The Conversation US

Recommendation and review posted by sam

That’s the way the CRISPR crumbles – Nature.com

Jennifer A. Doudna & Samuel H. Sternberg Houghton Mifflin: 2017. ISBN: 9780544716940

Buy this book: US UK Japan

Graeme Mitchell/Redux/Eyevine

Jennifer Doudna helped to uncover the CRISPRCas gene-editing system.

The prospect of a memoir from Jennifer Doudna, a key player in the CRISPR story, quickens the pulse. And A Crack in Creation does indeed deliver a welcome perspective on the revolutionary genome-editing technique that puts the power of evolution into human hands, with many anecdotes and details that only those close to her may have known. Yet it does not provide the probing introspection, the nuanced ethical analysis, the moral counterpoint that we CRISPR junkies crave.

After the race for discovery comes the battle for control of the discovery narrative. The stakes for the CRISPRCas system are extraordinarily high. In February, the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled against Doudna and the University of California, Berkeley. It found that a patent on the application of CRISPR to eukaryotic cells filed by Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts did not interfere with Berkeley’s more sweeping patent on genetic engineering with CRISPR.

Although that battle is over, the war rages on. Berkeley has already appealed against the decision; meanwhile, the European Patent Office has ruled in favour of Doudna and Berkeley. Doubtless there are many more patents to milk out of this versatile system. And then there’s the fistful of 66-millimetre gold medals they give out in Stockholm each year.

So far, the Broad Institute has controlled the CRISPR narrative. Rich in funds and talent, the Broad melds sleek, high-tech sexiness with a sense of East Coast, old-money privilege. Last year, institute director Eric Lander published a now-infamous piece entitled ‘The heroes of CRISPR’ (E.Lander Cell 164, 1828; 2016). It adopted a tone of magnanimity, crediting Lithuanian biochemist Virginijus Siksnys with observing early on that his findings pave the way for engineering of universal programmable RNA-guided DNA endonucleases, and Doudna and her CRISPR co-discoverer Emmanuelle Charpentier with noting the potential to exploit the system for RNA-programmable genome editing.

Lander’s clear implication was that they were laying the groundwork; Zhang’s group got CRISPR over the finish line. To many of us, such tactics made Team Broad look like the villains of CRISPR.

Doudna’s book was a chance to deliver a righteous knockout blow. Instead, we get a counter-narrative just as constructed as Lander’s article. It is written entirely in the first person; co-author Samuel Sternberg, a former student in the Doudna lab, barely surfaces.

In that counter-narrative, Doudna had always been interested in gene editing. Her early work was on RNA enzymes, or ribozymes. She developed an impeccable pedigree, doing her PhD with Jack Szostak at Harvard and a postdoc with Tom Cech at the University of Colorado Boulder, before joining the faculty at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. From the mid-1990s, she writes, she was exploring the basic molecular mechanisms that would be able to unlock the full potential of gene editing.

Her work on CRISPR dates to 2006 six years before the key papers were published and a call from Berkeley geomicrobiologist Jillian Banfield. Over coffee, Banfield described the clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats that kept popping up in her DNA databases of bacteria and archaea. The sequences were ubiquitous among these prokaryotes, but unique to each species. This realization sent a little shiver of intrigue down my spine, Doudna writes. If CRISPR was so widespread, there was a good chance that nature was using it to do something important. By 2012, she and her co-workers had characterized the natural CRISPR system, harnessed it as a laboratory tool and developed a modified system that was programmable, cheap and easy to use.

The middle of the book reels off the obligatory breathless list of potential uses, generating everything from malaria-free mosquitoes and police dogs with muscles like Vin Diesel to the canonical cure for cancer. Thankfully, Doudna counterweights sensationalism with a sober accounting of the risks and responsibilities of applications such as altering the genomes of entire populations of organisms with ‘gene drives’. In 2015, she sustained doubts about CRISPR ever being safe enough for clinical trials, but she has come to embrace editing of the human germ line inheritable DNA modification once it is proved safe.

But the discussion is ultimately unsatisfying. When it is time to grapple with tricky ethical issues, such as human experimentation, she baulks, unspooling instead a series of rhetorical questions. Rather than guiding us through the ethical thickets of precision genetic engineering, or providing a candid, warts-and-all look at one of the great scientists of our time, the book mainly polishes her ‘good scientist’ image and rationalizes the unfettered self-direction of human evolution, within liberal bounds of safety, efficacy and individual choice.

Rather than dispel the cartoon-character feel of this epic battle, Doudna elaborates on it. She presents us with a persona so flawless that it seems more concealing than revealing. She waves away the bloody patent fight as a disheartening twist in the story, but the entire biomedical world knows that it was much more. As I read A Crack in Creation, I was reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s benevolent man, who, he wrote, should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance and, I would add, to give him- or herself more depth.

The narrative often substitutes melodrama for dramatic tension. A conference in Puerto Rico sees Charpentier and Doudna strolling the cobbles of Old San Juan, with Charpentier saying earnestly, I’m sure that by working together we can figure out the activity of what became the Cas enzyme. I felt a shiver of excitement as I contemplated the possibilities of this project, Doudna writes. When first wrestling with the ethical dilemmas of gene editing, she dreams of meeting Adolf Hitler, who demands to know the secrets of her technique. She wakes, of course, freshly determined to ensure that CRISPR is not put to nefarious use.

The larger purpose of A Crack in Creation, clearly, is to show that Doudna is the true hero of CRISPR. And ultimately, despite the book’s flaws, I’m convinced. Nominators and the Nobel Committee will need to read this book. But CRISPR binge-watchers like me still await a truly satisfying account one that is insightful, candid and contextualized.

Link:

That’s the way the CRISPR crumbles – Nature.com

Recommendation and review posted by sam

CRISPR’s Next Target: Wheat Kernels – Laboratory Equipment – Laboratory Equipment

While were most enamored with CRISPRs ability to edit human genomes, the powerful tool is not selectiveit can edit other genomes as well. In one such study, researchers are using CRISPR to expand the size and weight of wheat kernels in the hope of increasing overall wheat yield.

Although humans consume more than 500 million tons of wheat per year, overall production is decreasing as farmers continue to move toward crops that are more profitable. Increasing yield is one way to ensure wheat becomes a desirable, profitable crop again. But, that takes some genetic manipulation.

Fundamentally, this can be achieved by improving wheats photosynthesis. For example, wheat uses less than 1 percent of sunlight to produce the parts we eat, compared to maizes 4 percent efficiency and sugarcanes 8 percent efficiency. Even increasing wheats photosynthetic efficiency from 1 percent to 1.5 percent would allow farmers to increase their yields on the same amount of land, using no more water, fertilizer or other inputs.

Through a new Department of Agriculture grant and working with the International Wheat Yield Partnership Program, South Dakota State Universitys Wanlong Li and Iowa States Bing Yang seek to apply CRISPR to wheats photosynthesis problem.

First, the researchers will identify the genes that control grain size and weight in bread wheat using a rice genome model. Then, they will use CRISPR to edit out each negatively regulating genewhich will serve the two-fold purpose of removing it from the genome, as well as having it available to study.

Li and Yang will create 30 constructs that target 20 negative genes. Partners from the University of California Davis Plant Transformation Facility will then produce 150 first-generation plants for the researchers to study. When all is said and done, the researchers should be able to identify which mutations yield larger seedsand thus, increased yields.

One of the benefits of this process is the end product will not be considered genetically modified organisms.

When we transfer one of the CRISPR genes to wheat, its transgenic. That then produces a mutation in a different genomic region. When the plants are then self-pollinated or backcrossed, the transgene and the mutation are separated, Li explained. This is null transgenic.

In fact, the USDA has approved this technique in other organisms, and Yang has already utilized it in unrelated research to develop bacterial blight-resistant rice.

Ultimately, these yield-increasing mutations, along with the markers to identify the traits, can be transferred to other varieties of wheat, such as durum, spring and winter wheat.

South Dakota State University is one of seven universities nationwide to receive funding to develop new wheat varieties as part of the National Institute of Food and Agricultures International Wheat Yield Partnership Program. Lis focus on CRISPR and photosynthesis efficiency is just one approach to the problem. Other research projects from the organization include: testing genes to boost spike development; optimizing canopy architecture to increase carbon capture and conserve nitrogen; and using selected genes from other species to increase biomass and yield, among others.

A distinguishing feature of the International Wheat Yield Partnership Program is its huba massive parcel of land in Mexico that is used for the evaluation of innovations, and subsequent development pipeline.

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CRISPR’s Next Target: Wheat Kernels – Laboratory Equipment – Laboratory Equipment

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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