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Bruce Power, ITM and Partners Finalize Agreement Paving Way for New Medical Isotope Delivery System Expected in 2022 – Business Wire

TORONTO & GARCHING, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Two partnership agreements signed today will lay the groundwork for a new isotope delivery system at Bruce Power that will help provide lifesaving medical isotopes worldwide.

The agreements, signed at Kinectrics with Ontario Premier Doug Ford in attendance, involved three Ontario companies Bruce Power, Kinectrics & Framatome and ITM, a biotechnology and radiopharmaceutical group of companies based in Munich with a global network of radiopharmaceutical production facilities. This new partnership, in conjunction with Bruce Powers Life Extension program, helps to create a framework for isotope production until 2064, which is the expected life of the Bruce Power site following its Life Extension Program launched in 2016 which remains on time and on budget.

Using ITMs unique manufacturing methodology, the production of the medical isotope non-carrier-added (n.c.a.) Lutetium-177 (177Lu) / EndolucinBeta by irradiating Ytterbium-176, will be established at Bruce Power. N.c.a. Lutetium-177 is a highly pure therapeutic precursor, which is successfully applied in Targeted Radionuclide Therapy for the treatment of a growing variety of cancers such as prostate cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, or bone metastases. Pending regulatory and other approvals, the delivery system for the production of the isotope n.c.a. Lutetium-177 is expected to begin in 2022.

Ontario has been a worldwide leader in the production of life-saving, cancer-fighting isotopes and our nuclear industry is making sure that we maintain that role for years to come, said Premier Doug Ford. I am very proud to see that this important work that is being done right here in Etobicoke and Id like to congratulate Kinectrics, Bruce Power, Framatome and ITM for signing this ground-breaking agreement.

These agreements allow us to take the next step forward in providing life-saving isotopes, said Mike Rencheck, Executive President and CEO at Bruce Power. Through our partnership with Kinectrics, Framatome and ITM, we look forward to becoming part of a global network providing n.c.a. Lutetium-177 to a growing number of cancer patients worldwide.

Earlier this year, Bruce Power and ITM completed a successful feasibility study that concluded that Bruce Power and its partners Framatome and Kinectrics, following regulatory and other approvals, are uniquely positioned to fulfil the necessary requirements to establish isotope delivery units at the Bruce Power reactors for the subsequent production of ITMs n.c.a. Lutetium-177. The study examined factors such as technical, medical and nuclear regulatory requirements, radiation protection and waste management. It also verified the specific requirements of compatibility with ITM's target and processing technology.

We are pleased to see the progression of our common goal with Bruce Power and its partners Framatome and Kinectrics to produce our therapeutic no-carrier-added Lutetium-177 in North America, annotated Steffen Schuster, CEO of ITM. The qualified expertise of our partners Bruce Power, Framatome and Kinectrics will enable the fastest route in providing our no-carrier-added Lutetium-177 to cancer patients in North America and help secure the supply of high-quality medical radioisotopes for Targeted Radionuclide Therapy to cancer patients worldwide.

The installation of the irradiation services at Bruce Power by Framatome and Kinectrics, is currently planned for late-2021. Bruce Power will provide the infrastructure and be responsible for the irradiation as it currently does with Cobalt-60.

Kinectrics is proud to support the Ontario-based supply of this lifesaving Isotope Lutetium-177. With our partner Framatome, we will design, supply and license the isotope production system enabling large-scale production of Lu-177 to meet future market demand. This is a very exciting business opportunity for Kinectrics, building on our licensing, engineering, and active materials handling capabilities.

Bruce Powers unwavering commitment to life-saving isotope development expands Framatomes innovation and expertise in nuclear technologies, as we join forces with Bruce Power, Kinectrics and ITM in the fight against cancer, said Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome. Our contribution in developing and delivering Lutetium-177 medical isotopes not only transforms medical treatments for cancer patients worldwide, it strengthens Canadas position as a global leader in the production of medical isotopes for the advancement of human health.

- Ends -

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Raju Foundation Essay Contest Winner On the Ethics of Genetic Engineering – The Philadelphia Citizen

Editors Note: The Pamela and Ajay Raju Foundations annual high school essay writing contest was inspired this year by the Philadelphia Museum of Arts latest exhibit, Designs for Different Futures, which features ways to address the values, needs and desires of society in a changing world. The winner, Mary Cipperman, won a $5,000 scholarship, another $5,000 to support an internship with the PMAs curatorial team and naming rights on a piece of artwork purchased by the Raju Foundation (which also supports The Citizen) and donated to the museum. Mary chose the gift pictured above, called Raising Robotic Natives.

What would happen if humans could sense ultraviolet light? What if we could run twice as fast or see twice as far? What if we never aged? Technology has shaped human beings since Mesopotamian times; however, in the past two decades, we have begun to elevate the human condition beyond our current sensory and cognitive functionalities. This movement has a name: Max More, founder of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation and leading futurist, first defined transhumanism as a class of philosophies that seek the continuationof intelligent life beyond its current human form and human limitations. He described not one invention but rather a framework for applying and developing transformative technologies, such as genetic engineering, cybernetics, brain emulation, and artificial intelligence. While transhumanism could threaten our identity and welfare, it potentially affords improved productivity and survival for the future of humanity.

The idea of enhancing human beings is not new, nor is its bioethical concerns. Steroid hormones as well as neurological stimulants such as caffeine alter the human body and heighten performance. Likewise, amphetamine gained pharmacological praise as early as the 1920s. Such neurological enhancers beg the question of misuse. Doctors and ethicists alike question whether we should apply drugs that could improve mood or lessen fatigue to individuals with perfectly normal hormone levels. After all, such usage would leave behind individuals with disorders and elevate others beyond normal human abilities. Steroid hormones, for example, allow athletes to enhance their workouts and performance, but we consider this practice unethical in certain formal competitions. Still, if dietary supplements have similar effects on the human body, how do we draw a distinction between these two practices?

Unfortunately, these concerns bear even greater consequences as the magnitude of our technological development grows. Consider the difference between erythropoietin-stimulating agents and genetic engineering. Both can increase hormone levels, but the latter can alter the allelic frequencies of subsequent generations. This distinctionof inheritability, lack of precedent, and magnitude of impactmarks a new subset of enhancing technologies; those that alter human nature.

In light of these radical developments, bioethicists have begun to question how transhuman technologies could affect the boundaries and wellbeing of humanity. Permanent alterations, such as gene editing, could facilitate exploitation. Governments or higher institutions could use these technologies to increase submissiveness or institute eugenic programs. Certain individuals could choose not to alter their genes. These circumstances would increase polarizations of power and undermine equality and freedom.

As we look forward, we can postulate that engineers and scientists will design not only our future, but ourselves.

Genetic engineering raises another, deeper, concern with transhumanism as well: whether we should consider human nature to be malleable and changeable, as transhumanists suggest. The 1997 Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights suggests that the genome, as the heritage of humanity, belongs not to individuals, but to our species collectively. This might indicate that genetic engineering of any kind infringes on human rights. Furthermore, cognitive technologies like brain emulation have the potential to separate consciousness from physicality. This, and other uses for AI, demonstrate that intelligent life can exist beyond human beingswhether in the form of robots or enhanced posthumans. This change is occurring now: four years ago, the Open Worm Project at Oxford modeled over three-hundred neurons of a C. elegans with computer software. The scientists then uploaded the worms brain onto a robot that emulated the movement of the original organism. If these, and other intelligences, were to gain consciousness, we would need to determine whether these constitute living beings. Further, we must be willing and able to control them.

Despite these concerns, transhumanism has enormous potential. Cochlear ear implants and bionic eyes, for example, have already enhanced human capabilities for decades. Altering the human body via cyborgization may not be inherently wrong; otherwise hearing aids would be unethical. Transhumanists merely intend to extend the magnitude of these alterations in order to overcome all death, disability, and disease. We could potentially decrease decisional fatigue and improve memory. Others even argue that pursuing these advances is not just ethical, but morally obligatory. Psilocybin, for example, has the potential for moral enhancement. If we could make human beings more empathetic, our viewpoints towards climate change and nuclear warfare could save us as a species. Thus, many bioethicists do not object to the concept of enhancement itself, but rather to its unintended consequences or safety concerns.

While transhumanism raises the concerns of exploitation and safety, it has transformed lives already and promises even greater advances for the future. Transhumanism describes not one invention or development but rather a radical alteration of the interaction between humans and their environments. To embrace it too readily would be to accept a complete and potentially dangerous redefinition of both technology and humanity. Yet, to reject it would be to relinquish a plethora of multidisciplinary opportunities. The future certainly promises a new cultural, social, and political framework for defining the very essence of humanity. It holds machines that create art and recognize faces, as well as human beings designed with metallic limbs and silicon brains. As we look forward, we can postulate that engineers and scientists will design not only our future, but ourselves.

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Raju Foundation Essay Contest Winner On the Ethics of Genetic Engineering - The Philadelphia Citizen

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Future analysis and scope of Soy Isoflavones Market by 2019 to 2025 | leading Companies- NOW Foods, InVite Health, ADM, DHC, GNC and Life Extension -…

A new report entitled Global Soy Isoflavones Markets was recently added to the CMFE Insights database. It has allowed marketers to understand the key attributes that can help investors capitalize effectively on market dynamics, providing a market definition, product description, competitor analysis, and more.

The bulk of the report also includes the market definition, the commercial division, the examples and the difficulties that affect the market, as well as the investigation of the fundamental factors that govern the market. The survey also shows global segmentation by aggregating production, capacity, contact data, costs and revenues of key players. The industry review was conducted using Porters five forces and SWOT analysis. The report consists of a qualitative and quantitative analysis of current trends, product characteristics, end-product applications, end-users and other industry sectors.

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Table of Content:

Global Soy Isoflavones Market Research Report 2019

Chapter 1 Soy Isoflavones Market Overview

Chapter 2 Global Economic Impact on Industry

Chapter 3 Global Market Competition by Manufacturers

Chapter 4 Global Production, Revenue (Value) by Region

Chapter 5 Global Supply (Production), Consumption, Export, Import by Regions

Chapter 6 Global Production, Revenue (Value), Price Trend by Type

Chapter 7 Global Market Analysis by Application

Chapter 8 Manufacturing Cost Analysis

Chapter 9 Industrial Chain, Sourcing Strategy and Downstream Buyers

Chapter 10 Marketing Strategy Analysis, Distributors/Traders

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Future analysis and scope of Soy Isoflavones Market by 2019 to 2025 | leading Companies- NOW Foods, InVite Health, ADM, DHC, GNC and Life Extension -...

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The Drilldown: Floating barges on the horizon for Rockies LNG Partners –

The Lead

As Canadas fleet continues to age, the availability for vessels to take on major projects is becoming scarce. This fall, an oceanographic survey with the goal of monitoring climate change was cancelled by Fisheries and Oceans Canada because there were no vessels available to take on Atlantic waters. Hudson, the Canadian Coast Guard science ship, is regularly tasked with working on the offshore Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP) but was not able to because it had not had its life extension check completed.

Similarly, Coriolis II, a private research vessel brought on by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for 2019, has been considered unable to participate in the Maritimes region survey, according to Robin Jahn, representative for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The oceanographic survey is tasked with collecting and analyzing physical, chemical and biological data from Canadas East Coast in order to evaluate the changes that the ocean is experiencing. Dave Hebert, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said that one of the issues is to determine whether or not its a long-term trend or just year-to-year variability.

AZMP has never been cancelled before, and one of the many outcomes of this will be the loss of half a year of plankton sampling, which will distort the results of year-to-year data collection says CBC News.


The international oil industry continues to be burdened by the heightened trade conflict between the U.S. and China this year.

At an energy conference in Abu Dhabi this week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretary general Mohammad Barkindo stated that smoothing out a trade deal between the U.S. and China will almost remove that dark cloud that had engulfed the global economy, according to The Globe and Mail.

Next month, OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies such as Russia, is scheduled to meet and discuss the cutbacks that were made to oil production this past January to balance supply and demand. According to UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, slashes made to oil output have done what they were supposed to do and have resulted in more stable prices.

In Canada

Developing a floating liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of B.C. is on the horizon for Rockies LNG Partners, a coalition of Canadian natural gas producers comprised of companies such as Peyto Exploration & Development Corp., and Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. According to Chief Executive Officer Greg Kist of Rockies LNG, floating barges would have a significantly smaller environmental impact.

Kist explained that in Northern British Columbia, there are limited flat pieces of land, so if you could remove significant cost and impact associated with trying to flatten a piece of land, we think that thats a much better outcome than land-based facilities. He said that the only land-based infrastructure required would be a control room, jetty structures and bunking for workers because the LNG equipment would be on a facility based on the water.

Three barges would be needed for the project that the Rockies LNG Partners are considering, which is estimated to produce 12 million tons of natural gas a year, Bloomberg reported. The partnership hopes to find a project site at the beginning of 2020 and aims to have the project up and running by 2026.


West of the oilsands, another sector suffers its own existential crisis (The Financial Post)

Nine oil companies to watch during the green energy push (The Globe and Mail)

TSX futures slip after Trump threatens to increase tariffs (Reuters)

Saudis Are Urged Not to Miss the Train on Aramco IPO (The Wall Street Journal)

Venice partly submerged by highest tides in half a century (The Washington Post)

India says it plans to use hydrogen-based fuel to tackle air crisis (The Guardian)

The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific (The Washington Post)

Air pollution nanoparticles linked to brain cancer for first time (The Guardian)

In Opinion

In an effort to mitigate domestic emissions, countries such as the U.S. have been exporting their carbon footprint, sending dirtier energy production methods like coal abroad. Joe Oliver, previously federal minister of finance in 2014 and 2015, claims that the substitution effect should be considered when analyzing the problem of global carbon leakage.

Oliver explained that if Canada started expanding pipeline infrastructure to its coasts, the countrys oil and gas supply would be able to reach international markets in Europe and Asia. He said that although this would increase Canadas emissions, more exportation would allow countries to stop being so reliant on coal and would reduce the global emission footprint altogether.

There is a disconnect between an allegedly existential threat of global warming and policies that are ineffective and frequently undermine green goals, said Oliver in his column in Financial Post. He believes that this disconnect will continue to grow until Canada recognizes that building pipelines will actually reduce global GHG emissions.

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Natur International Corp. and China-based Share International Sign Definitive Agreement for a Share Exchange – GlobeNewswire

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Nov. 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Natur International Corp., (OTCQB: NTRU), a farm-to-functional producer of natural and organic plant-based foods and beverages including full and broad spectrum CBD (cannabinoid) and terpene-blended consumer products, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for a share exchange with Share International. The combined company will be renamed Share Natur International Corporation.

The merger will put Natur International in the unique position of being able to collaborate directly with the Chinese government, and more importantly, via their executive board member, Li Zeng, who is also Chairman and CEO of Hualong (Chongqing) Ltd., a part of CQ News. Share Natur will become strategic partners with CQ News, the second largest media company in China. CQ News and the Share Natur offices are both located in the city of ChongQing, which has a population of 32 million people and is located within the ChongQing Province in Southwest China, which has over 280 million inhabitants.

The combination of Natur, a leading Amsterdam-based company in the emerging functional and consumer goods marketplace, and Share International, a global import/export powerhouse and a leader in direct-to-consumer digital distribution in China with disruptive propriety software, will together form a groundbreaking vertically integrated global company. The new Share Natur International is positioned to become the professional direct-to-consumer market leader in seed-to-sale for both hemp-derived and health and wellness-based, functional solutions catering to both the food and non-food FMCG segments across both Europe and Asia.

Share Natur is committed to the global revolution in functional foods and supplements. With the explosion of CBD and cannabinoid health and wellness products, Share Natur is capturing the momentum of this revolution, ignited in North America, and poised to sweep across Europe and China.

Michael Jones, Chief Strategy Officer of Natur International, stated, Our goal in China is simple, to bring the highest quality CBD and other functional products to the worlds largest population. We have an unparalleled international executive management team and are deploying scalable smart vending machines and our proprietary mobile technology commerce platform (SHARE), which is valued over US$6 million and has been developed over 4 years, to achieve our business goals in the Chinese marketplace.

With world-class non-executive board members such as Nina Storms, Boaz Wachtel, and rt. Hon. Mark Simmonds, supporting an accomplished management team, the mission of the combined companies is to disrupt traditional retail and marketplace distribution models by connecting functional products and lean distribution channels into the world's growing allegiance of demanding consumers.

Spencer Chesman, Co-CEO of Natur International, commented, This acquisition is highly strategic and instrumental for Natur as it provides us with a leading distribution platform for our growing portfolio of unique farm-to-functional products. Following North American trends, consumers have been migrating towards functional health and wellness products, with validated supply chains and direct-to-consumer business models. However, there is currently no professional group leading the breed to brand supply chain, and traditional retail and marketplace models do not meet the demands of todays audience. Share Natur aims to seize that leadership position with a unique vertically integrated framework securing up- and downstream proficiency and world-class collaborations that feature best in class capabilities in product, process, breeding, extraction and production in fruit, vegetable, floral and hemp science, hemp derived product, terpenes and medical cannabis.

Li Zeng, CEO of Share Natur China and executive board member of Share Natur International, added, The worldwide reach of Share International, which includes Europe and China, will make us a Eurasian market leader with cutting-edge operations offering a disruptive business model and route to market enabling huge global opportunities. By bringing together these two dynamic companies, we will focus on captivating the consumer with unique technologies and functional products.

Natur Internationals heritage has been to offer functional and CBD-infused brands of juices, shots, smoothies and snacks. The companys unique technologies and genetics offer farm-to-functional CBD and nutrigenomic solutions in the cosmetics and beauty, health and wellness, and food and beverage categories. Their leading-edge affiliate marketing driven direct-to-consumer sales platform ensures authentic products reach a diversity of consumers at the fairest prices.

About Natur International Corp.

Natur, founded in 2015 to market farm-to-functional natural and organic plant-based foods and beverages, expanded its product portfolio this past year to include full and broad spectrum CBD (cannabinoid) and terpene-blended consumer products. With the portfolio expansion, Natur is moving swiftly to place relevant consumer goods in multiple health and wellness categories including food and beverage, snacks, health and beauty, supplements, sports and animal care. Natur personalizes nutrition and strives to enhance ones quality of life by utilizing the forces of nature, driven by science.

Natur applies the most advanced and emerging hi-tech health methodologies as it markets nutritious, delicious and fresh-tasting products. By applying innovative technologies to the breeding of its plant sources, the extraction of its ingredients, and delicate shelf life extension, Natur ensures the peak of freshness, and supplies nutrient- dense products that are superior to competitors offerings. The company remains astute to relevant snackification trends and goes to market through Europes leading retailers, foodservice partners and online eCommerce subscription models. Visit the website at

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this release that are not based on historical fact are forward-looking statements. While management has based any forward-looking statements included in this release on its current expectations, the information on which such expectations were based may change. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, as a result of various factors including those risks and uncertainties, some of which are described in the Risk Factors and in Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations sections of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, which can be found on the SECs website at We urge you to consider those risks and uncertainties in evaluating our forward-looking statements. We caution readers not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Except as otherwise required by the federal securities laws, we disclaim any obligation or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein (or elsewhere) to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


PCG Advisory Inc. Jeff Ramson+16468636893jramson@pcgadvisory.comOr Laurens Felderhof CMO,

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The article I wish I’d had: Diagnosed with POTS and still anchoring the news – WJAC Johnstown

The article I wish I'd had: Diagnosed with POTS and still anchoring the news  WJAC Johnstown

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Factors that influence your skin – CelebMix

The skin is in many ways the largest organ of the human body. It provides the first line of defense in the immune system since it helps to prevent many pathogenic organisms from gaining entry into our body. Our skin also contains many sensory receptors that allow us to sense our environment. We can sense pressure, touch, temperature changes, and pain, all through special structures in our skin which are attached to nerve fibers.

There are three main layers making up the skin. The outermost layer is the epidermis which consists of stratified squamous epithelial cells which are designed to be sloughed off. These are close-fitting cells which have no blood supply. This layer of cells provides a waterproof barrier and protection for the underlying tissue layers. There are cells present in the epidermis that make the protein keratin, these are cells called keratinocytes. The dermis is the layer of skin that occurs below the epidermis of the skin.

The dermis is the layer where you find blood vessels, nerves and also where the hair follicles grow from. Sweat and sebaceous glands are also found in the dermis of the skin.

Beneath the dermis is the hypodermis which contains areolar connective tissue and adipose tissue. The areolar connective tissue contains various cells including macrophages and fibroblasts, which are scattered in a matrix of collagen and elastin fibers. Macrophages are immune system cells and fibroblasts make fibrous proteins such as collagen. The adipose tissue consists of the fat cells, which are important in helping to protect our internal organs and as a source of stored energy for times when we may be starving.

The condition of our skin is influenced by a combination of many internal and environmental factors, including exposure to toxins in the environment. If you have fair skin you also have a greater risk of damage from the sun.

This is because people with darker skin have more melanin pigment which helps protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Excess UV radiation can cause genetic changes in skin cells that can lead to skin cancer, but some sunlight is important for vitamin D synthesis. In fact, vitamin D may help to prevent some illnesses such as heart disease, and thus some sunlight exposure is necessary for good health. Internal factors also influence the health of our skin, including our genetics and hormone levels, and allergies can often manifest as skin rashes or hives.

Over time, as we age, our skin tends to become thinner and may sag and droop. This can lead to aging of the face and, in the case of women, sagging of the breasts. There are cosmetic surgeries that can deal with many of the problems associated with sagging skin. You can consult with a specialist at a clinic such as the Vera Clinic to find out what procedures can be done to tighten up skin and regain a more youthful appearance to the body.

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UC Davis leads in innovative gene editing research with NIH grants – The Aggie

Researchers strive to address societal health issues through gene editing

In October, three researchers at UC Davis were awarded a $1.5 million grant to fund their project which attempts to demonstrate the effectiveness of gene editing through use of CRISPR, a powerful technology that allows alteration of DNA sequences to change gene function.

This kind of design can help enhance personalized medicine, said R. Holland Cheng, a professor of molecular and cellular biology in the College of Biological Sciences. Specific patients with specific illnesses can be treated in specific ways.

Cheng, along with Kit Lam, a distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in the School of Medicine, and David Segal, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, were awarded this highly competitive and sought-after grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

UC Davis is part of the NIHs Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) consortium which has awarded grants to 45 other research institutes across the nation so they can begin groundbreaking work on gene editing. Through this consortium, the NIH hopes to find an efficient and safe way to conduct gene editing. Research programs are investigating the best delivery mechanism as well as the most dynamic gene editing tool.

The major problem with gene editing currently is the inability of cells to be edited within a living organism. It has become fairly easy and efficient to edit genes in a cell culture outside of the body but extremely difficult to do the same processes inside the body. Cheng, Lam and Segal are focused on changing this.

The question is how to do it inside of an animal and eventually a human, Lam said.

They are answering this question by utilizing Chengs work in engineering a non-toxic nanoparticle that they hope can transport the gene editing tool CRISPR into the cells of a living organism. Cheng has been able to create a Hepatitis E viral nanoparticle (HEVNP) that when manipulated could be a delivery system for CRISPR. They plan to take this nanoparticle and encase CRISPR inside of it, producing a mechanism for delivery of CRISPR.

The Hepatitis E nanoparticle has the capacity to be a highly efficient way to deliver gene editing to cells in the body due to its unique nature. HEVNP is resistant to the gastric acid environment of the intestines and stomach, enabling it to survive once its entered the body. Given its resistant abilities, HEVNP can be taken orally, making it a useful form of medicine. If able to successfully get HEVNP to the target cells in the body and deploy CRISPR, gene editing abilities could drastically change.

The addition of a cell-type specific targeting ligand to the HEVNP would code the nanoparticle to deliver CRISPR to a specific cell. The abilities of this method to be precise and safe will determine its success.

With five years of funding from the NIH, these three researchers are eager to begin work on this project and see the strides that can be made in gene editing. They have impressive goals for this research, as it has the capacity to reshape medicine.

This will redefine precision medicine as currently there is broad medicine that can cause side effects to people and not be effective, yet by making it specialized it is becoming more precise and effective, Cheng said.

As more effective and safe tools to cure illnesses are being tested and created, the benefits to society could be expansive. With so much potential to help improve the health of society, the NIH is dedicated to coming to new solutions at a quick rate. All programs that received grants will be required to share and utilize the research occurring at other funded programs. The NIH is hoping to eliminate the private nature of research through enforcing the sharing of ideas, as scientists are often constrained by the institutions they work for. It is their hope that by having communication between the programs, positive results will arise faster.

I think this is great because scientists inherently want to work with each other but have real world concerns especially with money, Segal said.

The research results, when groundbreaking, can provide incredible monetary gains and credibility to the institutions that made the discovery. Ultimately, scientists collaborating with one another will serve society as people are able to benefit earlier from this innovative research.

We want the public to know that we are working in their best interest, Segal said.

The NIH grant is competitive and still the third research program to join the consortium at UC Davis. Innovation has never been more prevalent than in this field at UC Davis. With three different programs researching gene editing, UC Davis stands out as a hotspot for this field of research.

Written by: Alma Meckler-Pacheco

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Oppenheimer Weighs in on Crispr Therapeutics AG’s Q1 2020 Earnings (NASDAQ:CRSP) – DFS Caller

Crispr Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) Stock analysts at Oppenheimer issued their Q1 2020 EPS estimates for Crispr Therapeutics in a note issued to investors on Tuesday, November 12th. Oppenheimer analyst S. Tuerkcan forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of ($0.87) for the quarter. Oppenheimer has a Outperform rating and a $65.00 price target on the stock. Oppenheimer also issued estimates for Crispr Therapeutics FY2021 earnings at ($4.29) EPS, FY2022 earnings at ($4.70) EPS and FY2023 earnings at ($1.07) EPS.

CRSP has been the subject of a number of other reports. Piper Jaffray Companies restated an overweight rating on shares of Crispr Therapeutics in a research note on Monday, October 21st. BTIG Research upped their target price on Crispr Therapeutics from $51.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a positive rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 30th. Roth Capital upped their target price on Crispr Therapeutics from $50.00 to $65.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 30th. Canaccord Genuity initiated coverage on Crispr Therapeutics in a research note on Friday, July 26th. They issued a buy rating and a $72.00 target price for the company. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded Crispr Therapeutics from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $57.95.

CRSP opened at $56.87 on Friday. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $43.31 and a 200 day moving average price of $44.57. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.06, a quick ratio of 8.32 and a current ratio of 8.32. The firm has a market cap of $3.04 billion, a P/E ratio of -16.53 and a beta of 3.15. Crispr Therapeutics has a twelve month low of $22.22 and a twelve month high of $57.40.

Crispr Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 28th. The company reported $2.40 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of ($0.95) by $3.35. Crispr Therapeutics had a negative return on equity of 2.60% and a negative net margin of 5.30%. The business had revenue of $211.93 million during the quarter, compared to analysts expectations of $6.32 million.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in CRSP. NEXT Financial Group Inc grew its position in Crispr Therapeutics by 915.0% in the third quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 609 shares of the companys stock valued at $25,000 after acquiring an additional 549 shares during the period. Benjamin Edwards Inc. grew its position in Crispr Therapeutics by 96.4% in the second quarter. Benjamin Edwards Inc. now owns 546 shares of the companys stock valued at $26,000 after acquiring an additional 268 shares during the period. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in Crispr Therapeutics in the third quarter valued at $26,000. US Bancorp DE grew its position in Crispr Therapeutics by 553.7% in the second quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 621 shares of the companys stock valued at $29,000 after acquiring an additional 526 shares during the period. Finally, BSW Wealth Partners bought a new stake in Crispr Therapeutics in the second quarter valued at $39,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 51.09% of the companys stock.

In other Crispr Therapeutics news, Director Pablo J. Cagnoni sold 7,500 shares of the companys stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total value of $412,500.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 7,500 shares in the company, valued at $412,500. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 21.40% of the companys stock.

Crispr Therapeutics Company Profile

CRISPR Therapeutics AG, a gene editing company, focuses on developing transformative gene-based medicines for the treatment of serious human diseases using its regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats associated protein-9 (CRISPR/Cas9) gene-editing platform in Switzerland. Its lead product candidate is CTX001, an ex vivo CRISPR gene-edited therapy for treating patients suffering from dependent beta thalassemia or severe sickle cell disease in which a patient's hematopoietic stem cells are engineered to produce high levels of fetal hemoglobin in red blood cells.

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Oppenheimer Weighs in on Crispr Therapeutics AG's Q1 2020 Earnings (NASDAQ:CRSP) - DFS Caller

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US cancer scientists on the verge of gene editing breakthrough to treat cancer – The National

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Centre say it could hail a new era of potential treatments

A DNA editing tool used to snip defective genes in unborn children is being tested in the United States to fight cancer.

For the first time outside of China, tests on three patients with advanced cancer were conducted to see how effective DNA-snipping tool Crispr is at fighting the disease.

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Centre used the technology on patients in their 60s whose cancer had progressed despite undergoing regular treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Its the most complicated genetic, cellular engineering thats been attempted so far, said study leader Dr Edward Stadtmauer, the centres section chief of hematologic malignancies.

This is proof that we can safely do gene editing of these cells.

The technique extracts immune cells from the patients blood and genetically alters them to recognise and fight cancer cells.

Experts said early tests proved to be safe, and that a breakthrough could hail a new era of potential cancer treatments.

Two of the patients had blood cancer and the other had a rarer form of sarcoma, cancer of the bone or soft tissue.

Although yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, the findings will be presented at the American Society of Hematology in December.

Researchers said the exercise at this stage was focused on whether the technology is safe and feasible, rather than improving survival rates. It is too early to say whether the treatment will improve survival rates.

The use of Crispr technology in China to edit the genes of couples experiencing fertility problems has been controversial.

The editing tool alters a defective gene in IVF embryos to eliminate life-limiting or chronic illnesses such as sickle cell disease, which starves the body of oxygen.

Some doctors have criticised the early use of the molecular scissors in fertility clinics as the long term effects are not yet known, with potential damage caused to other genes during the treatment.

Updated: November 17, 2019 11:28 AM

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US cancer scientists on the verge of gene editing breakthrough to treat cancer - The National

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Is sexual orientation genetic? Yes and no, an extensive study finds – Haaretz

The international group of scientists knew they were setting out to investigate an explosive subject: the hereditary basis of human same-sex behavior. Even so, the members of the prestigious Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, may not have anticipated the magnitude of the public furor that erupted when they published their study, which identified several markers in certain genetic loci in the human genome related to same-sex sexual experience. The storm of reactions ranged from those who welcomed something seen as heralding significant progress in the field, to others who maintained that it would have been better if the scientists hadnt published anything.

The research results were published in full in the journal Science, at the end of August. This was the most extensive study of its kind ever conducted (there were about a half a million subjects), in which use was made of the GWAS (genome-wide association studies) method to analyze genetic big data. The researchers discovered five genetic markers (frequent, minor changes in the DNA segments of certain chromosomes) that appeared repeatedly among individuals who reported having had same-sex sexual experiences. Slight and frequent genetic variations were identified in both women and men, two others in men only and one more only in women.

No less important in the study, entitled Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior, is the scientists claim that a large number of genetic markers, perhaps even thousands, might operate simultaneously together although each in and of itself is of minuscule weight and influence ones same-sex orientation. Moreover, their study led the researchers to the conclusion that human genetics can explain up to 32 percent of same-sex sexual behavior.

What is at issue here, however, is not what the study contains but what it does not contain. As Melinda Mills, a sociology professor at Oxford, writes in the same issue of Science, there is no way that the researchers findings can be used as a tool to accurately predict same-sex behavior. Specifically, the fact that genetics can explain up to 32 percent of the fact that someone is gay or lesbian, does not mean that sexual identity is determined primarily by environmental factors not to mention social ones. This story is far more complex and has not yet been fully deciphered. Mills views are shared by Andrea Ganna, one of the chief authors of the new study.

What we basically do is statistical associations between having and not having these genetic markers and having or not having same-sex behavior, Ganna told Haaretz in a phone interview. Because we had this uniquely large study, he continued, which allowed us to have robust conclusions, and because we had the technology to measure the genetic markers of so many individuals, the time was right to confirm something that we expected: There is no one specific gay gene. Instead there are a lot of relatively common genetic markers, genetic mutations, that have a small effect on same-sex behavior.

At the same time, adds Ganna, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School and at Finlands Institute of Molecular Medicine, Not everyone is interpreting the fact that theres no single gay gene in the right way.

Gannas concern is shared by scientists around the world. Theyre worried that the researchers findings will fuel prejudice and discrimination against the LGBTQ community, and even spark calls for genetic engineering and genetic diagnosis among its members. So serious are these apprehensions that some have wondered whether the study would not do more harm than good.

As a queer person and a geneticist, I struggle to understand the motivations behind a genome-wide association study for non-heterosexual behavior, Joseph Vitti, a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute, wrote on its blog, adding, I have yet to see a compelling argument that the potential benefits of this study outweigh its potential harms [T]he results presented not only oversimplify the question of biological causality, but also threaten direct damage by perpetuating the stereotype of LGBTQIA+ people as imprudent, while also likening same-sex attraction to a medical or psychological disorder.

Moreover, a website called The American Conservative posted an article entitled Not Born This Way After All? which wondered, skeptically: If the study proves that homosexuality is related to the environment, above all, and not to heredity why isnt it right and proper, in scientific terms, to allow those who so desire to undergo treatment in order to reduce their same-sex desires, which have now been shown not to be genetic?

That, however, is a simplistic reading of the studys findings. According to Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois, who was not involved in the study but has been conducting research on sexual orientation for 30 years, Its very important to understand that environment does not simply refer to social surroundings, like what your parents teach you and what kids you know, trauma and so on theres also a biological environment that begins right after conception.

Three years ago, Bailey and several colleagues published a survey of all the studies and professional literature in the field. The best studies have shown that genes are probably important but not overwhelmingly important, he tells Haaretz. We estimated in our 2016 review that 30 percent of the variation in sexual orientation is due to genetic variations. It may be this finding that led him to conclude that it is the biological environment that is mostly important. Bailey is convinced that men are born with their sexual orientation and that it is not subsequently acquired at any stage. He notes that there are several cases, I think there are seven throughout the professional literature, in which a baby boy was changed into a girl for medical reasons and was raised as a girl. When you follow these individuals through adulthood, you find that they are attracted to women and not to men.

In Baileys view, the best example of how biological-environmental factors can influence sexual orientation is the fraternal birth order effect. The phenomenon, whose existence is well established, he says, shows that the more older brothers a man has, the more likely he is to be homosexual. In practice, every older biological brother increases the probability that the youngest brother will be gay by about 33 percent. Thus, if the probability that a man with no older brothers will be gay is 2 percent, one older brother will increase the probability to 2.6 percent, and a second, third and fourth brother to 3.5 percent, 4.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Whats not yet clear is the reason for this.

In my mind, Bailey suggests, the best hypothesis as to why this happens is that a mothers immune system becomes increasingly active and produces antibodies against male proteins over successive births.

Fingers and hands

Behind this hypothesis is one of the most influential figures in the field, American-Canadian clinical psychologist and sexologist Ray Milton Blanchard. He was also among those who linked the fraternal birth order effect to another phenomenon of interest to scientists: the connection between being left-handed and having a same-sex orientation. The most extensive study in this regard was conducted in 2000, incorporating 20 different studies involving 7,000 gay male and female subjects and 16,000 heterosexual ones. It was found that gay men were 34 percent more likely to be left-handed. The situation was more extreme among lesbians: They were seen to have a 91 percent greater chance than straight women of writing with their left hand.

As a result, six years later, a research team led by Blanchard argued that the fraternal birth-order effect is relevant only among right-handed men. The reason is that, in any case, left-handed men who dont have older brothers already have a greater likelihood of being gay than right-handed men with such siblings.

A persons dominant hand turns out to be significant in another sense as well. An article published two years ago (about a study in which all the subjects had taken part in a gay pride parade in Toronto) found a connection between that hand and the gay persons role in bed: that is, the proportion of left-handed gays who defined their sexual behavior as passive or versatile (i.e., sometimes passive, sometimes not) was significantly higher than among those who described themselves as actives who clearly tended to be right-handed.

In research conducted over the years on the subject of the connection between sexual orientation and other attributes of the body, the hand holds a place of honor. But while Blanchard developed his theory on the basis of the whole hand, sometimes a few fingers are also enough: two, to be exact. In his 1998 study, British biologist John Manning confirmed a relatively old hypothesis, first put forward in Germany almost 150 years ago. Its gist is that the proportion between the length of index and ring fingers is, typically, different in men and women. Manning found that this phenomenon was detectable as early as age 2, which led to the observation that its source lies in the differences in testosterone and estrogen levels that already exist in the womb hereinafter: a biological-environmental factor.

Manning did not emphasize the element of sexual orientation in the two books and over 60 articles he wrote on this subject, but in the two decades that have elapsed since his study, more than 1,400 papers have been written on the ratio between the length of the second and fourth fingers (known as 2D:4D) and the connection between it and the level of risk of contracting certain diseases, as well as personality traits, cognitive and athletic abilities and sexual orientation.

One such study, published in 2010, maintained that straight and lesbian women are differentiated by the ratio between the length of the index and ring fingers, with lesbians tending to show a more masculine ratio i.e., closer to the average difference between the length of the fingers, among men. However, no such differences were found between gay and straight men.

Last year a team of scientists led by a British psychologist measured the fingers of 18 pairs of identical female twins, one lesbian, the other straight. Overall, differences in proportion were documented only in the lesbians and only in their left hand, and were comparable to the situation among men. This fact, the team concluded, could indicate a heightened exposure to testosterone in the womb but their study was based on a very small sample and drew much criticism. The critics charged that the conclusion was based on an overly simple means of measurement: of the way only two variables impacted each other. And, they added to bolster their argument, findings of studies involving those fingers have not been replicated in scientific experiments.

The field of gay science has been on a roll in recent years, but has a far longer history. Its modern phase dates to the early 1990s, when scientists began to publish increasing numbers of studies arguing that sexual orientation has a biological component. A leading scientist in this field is British-American neurobiologist Simon LeVay, who in 1990 performed autopsies on the bodies of 41 people: 19 gay men, 16 straight men and nine women. He discovered that the brain cells known as INAH-3 among the deceased gay men were relatively small, and closer in size to those of women than to heterosexual males.

In 1991, LeVay told Haaretz in a phone conversation, I published a study that got a lot of media attention, related to my observation that there was a region inside the hypothalamus that was different in size between men and women, and also between gay and straight men My additional finding was the difference in size between gay and straight men in this region inside the hypothalamus that is involved in the regulation of sexual behavior.

Adds LeVay, My general feeling is that there are certainly strong biological influences on peoples sexual orientation, but we cant say everything is genetic.

In the spirit of the period, and in light of the AIDS epidemic at the time, LeVay tried to be as cautious as possible about his conclusions. Its important to stress what I didnt find, he said in an interview to Discover magazine, in 1994. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didnt show that gay men are born that way, [which is] the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.

Three decades after publishing his study, he still thinks media coverage is doing an injustice to research even if its not his. Ive seen some headlines saying, basically, that this study [i.e., that of Ganna and his associates] shows its not genetic, or that are no gay genes, or something like that; and, of course, its not what the study shows at all.

Truly gay

In recent decades, scientific research (on men and women alike) in this realm has relied on an additional field: molecular genetics. The pioneer is geneticist Dean Hamer, who in 1993 conducted the first study of its kind.

We noticed that being gay, for males, tended to pass down through the mothers side of the family, he told Haaretz. And that is characteristic in genetics of something on the X chromosome because males get their X chromosomes from their moms That led us to look in families where there were gay brothers, to see if they shared anything on the X chromosome.

And thus, recalls Hamer, he and his team discovered Xq28: a genetic marker that plays a part in determining whether a person will be heterosexual or gay. He emphasizes that this is a factor, its not the factor and actually, overall, its not even the most important factor. He adds, Whats good about genetic studies, is that you know that whatever you find is a causal factor, because of course people are born with their genes, and its not something that changes over time.

LeVay, he explains, is looking directly at the brain, and were looking at what we think is building the brain and genes. Yet, its very difficult to know whether one was born with a brain like that, or whether that brain developed that way because of your behavior the causality is rather unknown.

At the same time, Hamer adds, That doesnt mean there arent specific pathways, because there has to be some sort of a pathway in the brain that controls sexual orientation. We know, for example, that the reason you become a male or a female is very simple: If you have a certain gene on the Y chromosome, you will produce male hormones, and if you have those you make a penis and scrotum and you become male. Accordingly, Theres probably some pathway in the brain that does same thing for sexual orientation, but were not going to discover it from genetics The answer will probably emerge from some sort of very sophisticated brain and developmental studies.

For 35 years, Hamer accumulated experience as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. That period is behind him. He doffed the white coat and now lives in Hawaii, where he makes films. But even if hes no longer occupied with research, it still occupies him.

Hamer: Back in the 1990s, I, along with all the scientists involved, believed that if we did good genetic studies wed find the important genes. For example, well find a gene that is responsible for the production of testosterone, and if its functioning was low, it would be possible to say that this is the cause of homosexuality in a particular person. But it turns out that it doesnt work that way. For every mental trait that has been studied everything you can imagine in the brain, for every single trait, theres a [vast number of] genes not to mention a host of complex societal and environmental factors.

For his part, Hamer has much praise for the Broad Institute study: The new GWAS study is really important, because for the very first time they used a huge sample and they mapped every inch of the genome. And this has never been done before. All the other studies were much smaller, or used many fewer genetic markers. But he also demurs: Whats very important is to look at what they actually analyzed. They didnt analyze people who were gay or lesbian, but anyone who had one single same-sex experience, which is quite different... They were measuring something more like openness to sexual experimentation.

As Hamer sees it, If you look for those five markers, or even just the three strongest markers, they are not necessarily found in people who actually identify as gay or lesbian. If you take people who are gay, like me, and look for those markers theyre not significantly there.

Hamer thinks that the whole field is lagging behind because of insufficient research, owing to the stigmas that plague the subject. I dont think sexuality is any more complicated than many other areas of human personality and individual differences, he observes, noting, We formally established that male sexuality is something that is deeply ingrained in people, its not any sort of choice really. It starts really early in life, and it has a major biological component to it. But, how it works? What the biological component is? Were completely unaware and dont know anything, and we barely know more than we did 25 years ago, or in the 1940s, when Kinsey did his work, to be honest.

Hamer was referring to biologist Alfred Kinsey, who in 1948 stunned the American public with his book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which addressed previously taboo subjects, and challenged the traditional beliefs and existing knowledge about human sexuality. Kinsey had conducted a survey of men, which found that 37 percent of his subjects said they had undergone a homosexual experience of some kind, and 10 percent said they had been exclusively gay for three years of their adult life a statistic which to this day is generally said to represent the proportion of people engaging in same-sex behavior.

At the same time, subsequent studies reveal that the percentage of people who define themselves as exclusively homosexual is far lower, though it fluctuates from one article to the next. For example, a 2011 survey of nine different studies on the subject revealed that approximately 3.5 percent of Americans identify themselves as gays, lesbians or bisexuals. A poll involving 1,000 Jewish Israelis in 2012 found that 11.3 percent of the male respondents and 15.2 percent of the female ones said they felt an attraction to members of the same sex. However, only 8.2 percent of the men categorized themselves as gay or bisexual, while 4.8 percent of the women said they were lesbian or bisexual.

For his part, Ganna, of the Broad Institute, understands some of the criticism of his research. What we studied is not related directly to the biology, but to extended environmental factors related to it. Its not about our sample size once you have a lot of individuals, you can capture very small effects. But are these directly influencing same-sex behavior, or other things related to this topic? As a medical example, think about a study that looks for associations between genetic markers and lung cancer. In that example, what we found are genetic variants regarding how much you smoke, which is related to lung cancer.

One of the lessons, and one of the most interesting points arising from the study has to do, says Ganna, with the mode of measurement that had been in use since 1948, when Kinseys scale ranked individuals as being between 0 (totally heterosexual) and 6 (totally homosexual).

Ganna: Basically, the tendency is to locate individuals on a continuum. You can supposedly be anywhere between 100 percent heterosexual to 100 percent homosexual, which implies that the more youre homosexual, the less youre heterosexual, and vice versa. We show that this assumption actually doesnt hold water: When we look at the genetic data, its not that straightforward, theres no simple continuum of sexuality.

So, actually, you are refuting the Kinsey scale?

Ganna: Thats exactly one of our conclusions. What were now doing is, rather than asking people to put themselves on a scale somewhere between being exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual, we ask them how much theyre attracted to men and women. You could be attracted to either of them, very attracted to both of them or to one more than the other. And that information will be crossmatched with genetic markers.

In the final analysis, he adds, We showed that this is just another natural human variation. Sexual orientation, similar to many other behavioral traits, is complicated and is composed of different factors. The interesting thing is how genetics and environment work together. If you think about how much more prevalent same-sex behavior has become lately, people engage in it more than in the past. And thats clearly not because our genetics are changing. Its because of the environment, because society is becoming more open and laws are changing.

Further research should focus on the relationship between environmental factors and genetics, Ganna says, and on how they interact. Its somewhat misleading to think of nature and nurture as separate aspects; they both contribute. So, it would be wrong to say that you can use only DNA to predict if someone will engage in same-sex behavior, but you also cant say its simply a [matter of] choice.

In summary, he says, I think that the more people who will understand that there are genetic and environmental components to sexual behavior, the better and this is a message that goes beyond just sexuality.

Choice and lifestyle

However, the relationship between science and the environment, and particularly the people living in it, is a complicated one. The subject definitely should be studied, but the social aspect of it is problematic, says LeVay, the neurobiologist. I am gay myself, and I feel strongly that gay people should be valued and accepted into society, regardless of what caused their sexual orientation. I dont think its vital for gay liberation to prove that gay people cant help but be gay there are plenty of other reasons [for accepting them], including basic human rights.

At the same time, he adds, this issue is socially relevant, because of traditional notions that see same-sex relations as a choice, a lifestyle or sinful behavior.

In recent years, there have been many studies showing that peoples attitudes toward homosexuality are closely tied to their beliefs about what makes people gay, says LeVay, citing a survey that showed there was a high probability that people who think homosexuality is a choice will object to a gay person being their childrens teacher which in a way might make sense, he adds: If you think being gay is something infectious, socially contagious, and you didnt want your kid to be gay, then you wouldnt want their teacher to be gay ... It follows that demonstrating that biological factors are involved, helps counter those ideas. Still, Im a bit ambivalent about the use of this type of research as some sort of a political weapon in the struggle for gay rights.

The Broad Institute study contains a reminder of the problems and stigmas that still exist with regard to the LGBTQ community. One of the parameters it considers are genetic correlations between genes that are ascribed to homosexuality, and certain psychological problems.

Bailey, the psychologist: One thing that was perceived as controversial, was to look for and find a genetic overlap between homosexual sex genes and genes associated with depression. Its not the same as saying all people who engage in homosexual sex are depressed for genetic reasons, but its also not something that can be easily ignored. There are assumptions that the higher rates of depression among gay men and lesbians is due to the way they are mistreated by society, but the evidence for that is not so overwhelming. There is also the fact, for example, that you have as high a rate of depression among homosexual men in the Netherlands, which is very tolerant, as you have in some less tolerant places, like the United States.

Ganna, for his part, tries to soften that criticism: Even if we see genetic overlap, or correlation, it is not set in stone that weve found a biological mechanism that causes depression and same-sex behavior, he says. There are many explanations for why this one genetic marker is associated with both things. But finding these correlations help us study human traits in general.

In the meantime, there is a price to be paid for conducting research in this realm, which all those involved must be aware of. Reminders of this abound, and are almost routine. In some cases whats at stake is not even a groundbreaking study or one of tremendous scientific importance. In 2017, for example, two researchers from Stanford published an article stating that gay men are predicted to have smaller jaws and chins, slimmer eyebrows, longer noses, and larger foreheads; the opposite should be true for lesbians. In the next stage, they created a facial-recognition program with the aid of more than 14,000 images taken from a singles site of straights and LGBTQs. The program was able to distinguish between gays and lesbians and heterosexuals with an accuracy of 81 percent for men and 71 percent for women, in contrast to an average rate of successful human guesses of 61 percent and 54 percent, respectively. Even though the program achieved relatively impressive results, the study as such drew widespread criticism not unusual for researchers engaged in such studies.

The Stanford gays identification program may be an extreme example, in this respect, but its also a byproduct of the considerable surge in studies in this field, a trend that began in the early 1990s. Together with the scientific community, media interest in the subject of same-sex orientation and its causes has contributed substantially to transmitting messages and shaping public opinion.

In the United States, this can be seen in a series of polls conducted by Gallup, Inc. The first one, conducted in 1977, found that only 13 percent of the respondents believed that homosexuality is an innate tendency, while 56 percent attributed it to environmental factors. This approach remained largely constant until the period between 1989 and 1996, when the rate of those supporting the innate thesis leaped from 19 percent to 31 percent; by 2001, it stood at 40 percent. Almost a decade and a half later, the annual poll produced, for the first time, a larger proportion who agreed with the innate argument. The latest survey, from the end of last year, showed this trend continuing: More than half of the American public believes that gay people are born with their sexual orientation, whereas only 30 percent attribute it to environmental factors (10 percent said both factors play a part, 4 percent cited other factors and 6 percent said they werent sure).

Changes in the perceptions of the origins of sexual orientation are having a pronounced effect on the struggle LGBTQ individuals are waging for equal rights. The latest Gallup poll shows that an absolutely majority (88 percent) of those who believe that homosexuality is an innate trait also support legitimizing same-sex marriages. In contrast, most of those who see this orientation as being environmentally driven (61 percent) are against.

When it comes to public opinion, which is very important, the born this way idea has been really resonant and has had a very positive impact on society, Hamer maintains. Public opinion polls asked people whether they think [gays] were born this way or not, and we know that believing that homosexuality is innate correlates with having positive feelings toward gay rights. Overall, its been important in educating the public about who we are, as gay people.

Such messages are reaching Israel as well. A poll conducted by the Dialog Institute for Haaretz at the end of 2013 found that 70 percent of those questioned favored full rights for same-sex couples, while 64 percent specifically backed their right to surrogacy. However, two polls conducted in the wake of the surrogacy law protest in July 2018 presented slightly lower numbers: About 57 percent of respondents expressed support for the right of same-sex male couples to surrogacy.

These polls did not ask Israelis whether they believe the origin of same-sex orientation is innate or environmental. If you ask Bailey, though, that doesnt really matter.

Ive gone to great lengths to try to persuade people not to base equal rights for gay people on the causal hypothesis, he says. Its a terrible idea to say gay people should have equal rights because they were born that way. Its terrible in part because some criminals might be born that way, and you dont want to them to have the same rights. Being gay doesnt harm anybody, other than people who are close-minded and easily offended. Preventing people from expressing their homosexuality is quite destructive for them. Thats true whether gay people are born that way or not.

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Is sexual orientation genetic? Yes and no, an extensive study finds - Haaretz

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Whos the daddy? Difficult to say in Victorian times – The Guardian

The women of the 19th-century urban poor were at it. Sneaking around, getting some. That, anyway, is the conclusion drawn from some recently reported DNA research, published in the journal Current Biology.

The authors of the paper compared the Y chromosomes of 513 pairs of men who supposedly share a common ancestor to determine the prevalence of what they called extra-pair paternity over the past 500 years in other words, the number of times in the mens family trees that the father named on the birth certificate wasnt the same as the man who supplied the sperm.

For most of the period, the rate was stable at one in 100. But the researchers analysis identified a spike in the 19th century, when the level went up to six in 100. What caused this? The Industrial Revolution.

While procreation stayed closely tied to marriage bonds in the countryside, the rapidly increasing urban population lived in an intimacy with each other that made sex outside marriage more possible that ever before. This was reported as an uptick in adultery, although the researchers acknowledged that sexual violence played a part too: not every extra-pair paternity event was consensual.

Theres an inevitable glint of salaciousness in the way this has been reported. And the idea of the Victorian woman loosening her stays for a passing fancy fellow, then presenting the resulting baby to her clueless husband as his own, has a certain piquancy to the kind of man who hangs around on internet forums inveighing against the general untrustworthiness of females.

As presented, extra-pair paternity sounds like a kind of con that modern science can at last unravel, the cuckoos in the nest finally revealed and the unhappy chaps who raised another mans child made subject to retrospective sympathy.

But such a view forgets that life for women in the urban working classes was precarious at best (something that the historian Hallie Rubenhold has written about movingly in her book The Five, a group biography of the victims of Jack the Ripper). The available jobs were poorly paid and unreliable. To be a woman alone was to skirt along the bleakest fringes of existence; to be a woman alone with a baby was to have almost no prospects at all. The imperative was to find a man who could provide some legal standing, some financial security and some social shelter in an inhospitable world.

Did all the men raising children who werent genetically their own know? Of course not. But many would have done and though the researchers may be correct that extra-pair paternity is little studied from a genetic standpoint, the private mythologies of families abound with these stories, few of which sit safely within the prudish label of infidelity.

The parlour maid whose master ruined her, but set her up with a dowry with which she could be safely married off to a male servant. The deserted woman who supported herself and her children with a makeshift procession of temporary husbands of no lawful status.

And, yes, the one who was having a good time and got away with it. Marriage is a patriarchal invention and nothing the patriarchy made was ever done in womens interests: marriage exists precisely because men sought to control the female body and not all female bodies have submitted easily to that control.

The untidy true story of paternity is really the story of how insufficient our institutions can be when they try to contain the messy truth of human feelings. Desire will defy lawful bonds, brute survival will best romance, and love those fathers who cared for their sons, regardless of extra-paternity events will refuse the mean calculus of genetics.

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Whos the daddy? Difficult to say in Victorian times - The Guardian

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The American Heart Association’s Annual Conference Comes to Philly This Weekend – Philadelphia magazine


Researcher Tom Cappola tells us about the latest clinical trials and medical breakthroughs to be announced during Scientific Sessions.

Chief of the cardiovascular medicine division in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Tom Cappola.

For the first time in its near 100-year history, the American Heart Association (AHA)will host its annual meeting in Philadelphia. AHAs Scientific Sessions is the largest cardiovascular meeting in the United States. On November 16-18, the meeting will attract nearly 18,000 attendees from more than 100 countries to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and an additional two million medical professionals who will participate virtually in lectures and discussions about basic, translational, clinical and population science innovations aimed at reducing disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association is excited to be in Philadelphia, said Michelle Kirkwood, director of National Science Media Relations for AHA. It has been on our wish list for some time, especially since the renovations at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the citys landmark, robust nonsmoking laws that align directly with the American Heart Associations health and wellness goals. We are excited for our thousands of attendees to visit Philadelphia.

More than 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, according to the CDC. While heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women, it claims the lives of over 400,000 American women each year, or one death every 80 seconds. During the three-day meeting, more than 12,000 leading physicians, scientists, cardiologists and healthcare professionals in the global cardiovascular health community will host 850 educational sessions and more than 4,100 original research presentations to unveil the late-breaking science, clinical trials, and novel therapeutics and pathways that are shaping the future of cardiovascular care.

Its very fitting for Scientific Sessions to be here, chief of the cardiovascular medicine division in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Tom Cappola said. We have the first medical school in the country and the first teaching hospital in the country. It makes sense that these new innovations would be presented in a place where theres already been so much innovation.

Cappola will be one of several Penn researchers leading the Cardiovascular Expert Theater, Innovations in Cardiovascular Therapies session during the meeting. Here are just a few big trends in heart care that Cappola says we can expect to learn more about during this weekends meeting:

Using artificial intelligence to monitor heart health

Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a big impact on cardiovascular care. Results from two preliminary studies to be presented this weekend will show AI can be used to accurately examine electrocardiogram (ECG) test results to possibly predict irregular heartbeat and risk of death. There will also be a presentation on the Apple Heart Study, which found that the Apple Watch and other wearable remote monitoring devices may be capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (aFib), an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other complications.

Identifying new risk factors for aFib and stroke

George Mason University researchers will present results from two studies that found young people who smoke marijuana regularly have an increased risk of stroke. According to the study findings, young adults between the ages 18 and 44 who reported frequent use of marijuana, cigarettes and e-cigarettes were three times more likely to suffer stroke than young adults who did not smoke marijuana at all. The study also found that African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24 faced the highest risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmia.

In one Penn study to be presented this weekend, researchers found women who are diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) during late pregnancy or within a month following delivery are more likely to experience restored cardiac function and improved outcomes compared to those who are diagnosed later in the postpartum period. The findings underscore the need for increased awareness and monitoring of heart failure symptoms, particularly among black women, who, on average, are diagnosed significantly later than white patients, according to study results.

Making advances in genetics and genomics

Another big trend at this years meeting will be the continued advancement in genetics and genomics, and how thats impacting cardiovascular care.

I think that genomic medicine has arrived and its arriving in waves, but it will ultimately affect all aspects of cardiovascular care, Cappola said. We have lots of people getting their 23andMe for sort of recreational purposes and they dont know what to do with it. But were starting to figure out what to do with that genetic information to improve care.

Another Penn Medicine study to be presented during the meeting will show why taller people may have an increased risk of developing atrial aFib. The research found a strong link between the genetic variants associated with height and ones risk for AFib, for the first time demonstrating that height may be a causal not correlated risk factor for the condition. Researchers hope insight from human genetics in large studies like this one will help them better understand causal risk factors for common disease.

It takes expertise to find links like this. Thats why researchers go to the American Heart Association meetings. You get all the experts together, they share their knowledge and this helps us to actually figure out what to do with this genetic information, Cappola said. Thats true across the board, but its particularly important for genomic medicine as it continues to advance.

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The American Heart Association's Annual Conference Comes to Philly This Weekend - Philadelphia magazine

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Gene targets for obesity and wildfire research: News from the College | Imperial News – Imperial College London

Heres a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From a study showing a genetic link for obesity, to a new centre for wildfire research, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

An international team has discovered a new genetic link for a type of obesity which affects pathways in the brain as well as in the pancreas.

Caused by mutations in a single gene called MRAP2, the condition is associated with excessive hunger and linked to early onset diabetes and high blood pressure.

Professor Philippe Froguel, who worked with French researchers in Lille on the discovery, hopes the findings could lead to new treatments targeting the MRAP2 protein. He said: Discoveries such as these could help to tackle genetic forms of obesity. Finding the genetic basis is the key to targeting excessive hunger.

Froguels team previously identified the MC4R gene and a treatment to activate the protein and affect appetite. The treatment is expected to become available from next year.

Read more in Nature Medicine: Loss-of-function mutations in MRAP2 are pathogenic in hyperphagic obesity with hyperglycemia and hypertension

When it comes to asthma, neutrophilsmay not be the bad guys people thought they were.

Severe asthma is caused, in part, by inflammation of the branching airways inside the lungs which makes it hard to breathe. White blood cells called neutrophils are a major component of this inflammation, and researchers previously thought these cells were driving much of the lung damage and ensuing symptoms.

But new research fromDr Robert SnelgroveandDr Dhiren Patel, from Imperials National Heart and Lung Institute,hasfound that neutrophils are not all bad in the context of asthma. They show targeting neutrophils can also have a negative effect, as they have a regulatory role over other inflammatory cells in the lung.

Read the full paper in Science Immunology: Neutrophils restrain allergic airway inflammation by limiting ILC2 function and monocytedendritic cell antigen presentation

Professor Ricardo Martinez-Botas, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

Professor Martinez-Botas is the co-Director of UTMs Centre for Low Carbon Transport (LoCARtic) and has supervised more than ten PhD students from UTM and other institutions in Malaysia.

In 2018, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad visited Imperial and toured Professor Martinez-Botass Turbo Group lab, learning about the latest developments in low-carbon transport and electric motors, as well as major collaborations with UTM.

Matoha Instrumentation, founded by Imperial scientists and entrepreneurs, has won an Institute of Physics Business Start-Up Award.

The company make technologies that quickly and cheaply analyse the chemical composition of materials that visually look the same, allowing them to be more easily sorted for recycling. They have made two platforms: one that identifies and analyses plastics, and one that works with fabrics.

The technology uses a combination of near-infrared spectroscopy and machine-learning algorithms to continuously improve performance. The small and low-cost nature of the technology means it can also be used where larger, automatic detectors are not feasible, instead providing a better pair of eyes to manual sorters. The team behind Matoha Instrumentation previously won the Faculty of Natural Sciences Make-A-Difference competition.

Read more on the Institute of Physics website

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre marked the end of Black History Month and six years of the IMPACT talent development programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff with a special reunion event. Delegates and mentors, old and new, gathered at the event to reflect on and celebrate their time on the programme.

Gabriella Gordon-Kerr, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, has been at the helm of the IMPACT programme since it started in 2014. She said: It was great to gather our delegates and mentors in one room, and to reflect on the success of the IMPACT programme. At our reunion event, we looked at the history of the programme and heard stories of progression from delegates.

We asked delegates to sign a guest book on the day, and one of the quotes that resonated with us said: IMPACT has left an ever-lasting impact on my life in more ways than one. Heres hoping to another great six years.

BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera presented the 10th Vincent Briscoe Lecture of Imperials Institute for Security Science and Technology this week.

He spoke of the intertwining history of technology and espionage over the last century, from the most classified heart of the national security state. From Bletchley Park through the Cold War to Google and Huawei he explored how data, encryption and computers transformed what we think of as secret and what this means for us.

This marks the tenth anniversary of the lecture, which was named in honour of Professor Vincent Briscoe, a distinguished inorganic chemist at Imperials Department of Chemistry.

Dr Jackie Bell has won the Rising Star Award from WISE a campaign that promotes the work of women in STEM.

The annual awards recognise inspiring individuals who actively promote these subjects to girls and women. Dedicated to raising aspirations and changing peoples beliefs that science isnt for them, Dr Bell has given talks to schools and community groups across the UK, and helps Imperial and other institutions develop inclusive community outreach approaches.

Jackie is currently developing the Department of Computings outreach strategy, committing to at least 50 per cent female participation for all activities. Jackie said: Im a strong supporter of the WISE Campaign and all that is being done to achieve gender balance. To have my work recognised like this is an honour and winning the Rising Star award has given me a greater platform to bring about positive change.

Imperial held the launch of a new research centre studying the science and impact of wildfires. Speakers from the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society were joined by Marc Castellnou, a Strategic Fire Analyst working with Bombers de Catalunya (Firefighters of Catalonia), who warned that warm and wet winters, followed by extremely hot summers are a perfect storm for the most dangerous wildfires.

Historically common in Mediterranean countries, evidence shows these conditions have arrived in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia as a result of climate change. The Centres new Director, Imperials Professor Colin Prentice, said, We need a better understanding of how and why wildfires occur, knowledge to make seasonal forecasts, and an urgent need to understand how to live with wildfires.

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The Tasmanian tiger is thought to have gone extinct in 1936, but mysterious sightings suggest the creature might still be out there – INSIDER

On September 7, 1936, the last Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo.

Or so we thought.

Last month, Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment released a document that revealed Australian citizens have been reporting Tasmanian tiger sightings. In the last two years, there have been eight reported sightings; the most recent was in July.

The tiger was a member of the Thylacine family of carnivorous marsupials. It was recognizable by its yellow-brown fur and a pallet of black stripes across the lower back and tail (hence the tiger moniker).

Tasmanian tigers preyed on kangaroos, wombats, and occasionally sheep and livestock, which brought them into conflict with British colonists who settled in Tasmania in 1803.

Some 130 years later,the last wild Tasmanian tiger was thought to have been hunted to extinction.

Here's everything we know about the elusive animal and why some experts and hunters think it may not be extinct after all.

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The Tasmanian tiger is thought to have gone extinct in 1936, but mysterious sightings suggest the creature might still be out there - INSIDER

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‘Siya got hit in the mouth at school and was bleeding… I just remember him bouncing guys and carrying on’ – RugbyPass

14 November, 12:50pm

On a crisp Port Elizabeth morning, 14-year-old Mike Willemse stood gawping pitchside, utterly transfixed by a schoolboy monster, claret gushing from his face and fury burning in his eyes.

As a junior pupil at the storied Grey High, Willemse was expected to brandish the school flag and roar on the older students in their ferociously contested matches.

South African schools rugby is a ruthless proving ground. Enormous teenage specimens, not all of them purely the product of extreme toil and fortunate genetics, lock horns on paddocks as hard as granite against the backdrop of unyielding pride and tradition that dates back decades.

There was one boy who stood above them all for Willemse. It was on that morning that the young hooker first laid eyes on Siya Kolisi, the snarling township urchin who would become a World Cup-winning captain.

Kolisi was not yet 17, but already there was an avalanche of hype building around this back row phenomenon. The kid was a colossus, a schoolboy encased in the body of a giant.

(Continue reading below)

Siya was captain of the under-16 As and he got hit in the mouth and he was bleeding, Willemse told RugbyPass. I just remember him grabbing the ball and not even caring, bouncing guys and carrying on.

He completely dominated, brushing through players like they werent even there. Hed come on for the last 15 minutes to win games for us. Honestly, wed have people from other schools coming to watch our games instead of their own teams just because of Siya. He was incredible.

Since the Springboks glorious triumph in Japan, the astonishing story of Kolisi has been told and retold. The flanker had been reared in obscene poverty, left school aged 10 to look after his ailing grandmother, suffered the most heinous bereavements and spoke not a word of English before winning a bursary to study and play at Grey.

His impact, even in those days, went well beyond what he did on the pitch. Because he had played and done so well for so long, the whole school respected him, explained Willemse. He was a prefect, house captain and whatnot.

And also just being a player of colour of that stature at that time was very inspiring for a lot of people. The way he did things was inspiring for everyone. Through that, he gained so much respect and he handled it well. Thats why he was a leader.

Everyone was in awe of him. He was a seriously good player and a natural-born leader from the get-go. He made his first-team debut at grade ten, so he was playing three years above his age. You dont often hear of that in South African schools rugby.

The way he dominated the schoolboy rugby scene is what people talk about sometimes more than how he is playing now. He was probably the best schoolboy rugby player anyone had ever seen.

I only really got to know him very well after school because at school you stay in your age groups. He was my dorm prefect and often you dont really build a tight connection with your prefect. They instil discipline and that is what he did very well.

After their school days, Willemse and Kolisi played together with the Stormers and became close friends. The Edinburgh hooker has heaps of mates in Kolisis group of immortals. In his days at Newlands and with the Southern Kings, he played alongside Steven Kitshoff, Makazole Mapimpi, Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am and a pile more besides.

On the morning of the World Cup final, Edinburgh were in Treviso preparing for a PRO14 match against Benetton. That didnt stop the hulking South African contingent threatening to reduce the team hotel to rubble as the hammering unfolded not least because their coach, Richard Cockerill, is typecast as the very depiction of the pugnacious Englishman.

They thought after the All Blacks game they had already won it. But the whole of South Africa just had a quiet confidence about us, said Willemse.

It was life-changing for them and for SA as a whole. What Rassie Erasmus has done and the way the players have bought into what he was trying to do was seriously special. You can see the determination to stick to that plan and do damage with it.

Compared to the horrors of Kolisis upbringing, Willemse has not seen true hardship. But in a pure rugby sense, he has known extreme deprivation. For four seasons, some as captain, he grafted for the Kings, a team hopelessly handicapped by its meagre budget, ramshackle infrastructure and the bruising annual poaching of its top assets.

After being booted out of Super Rugby in 2017, they and the Cheetahs found a home in the PRO14. The Kings have won only four games out of 48 since.

In Willemses time, they had few of the modern tools that professional teams regard as a given no GPS units, and only a handful of backroom staff. During pre-season, their search for a new head coach became so compromised by leaks, controversy and unseemly public malcontent that it had to be aborted.

The scary thing about it is that because you know you dont have the gear and the support staff all of the teams over here do, the minute something goes wrong, its so easy to look for excuses, explained Willemse.

It was so easy to look elsewhere and not at ourselves. We were almost mentally oppressed. As much as we were saying we could do it, I dont think we really believed we could. That was the biggest struggle.

Youre losing games week in, week out. Its tough to try and get guys up for it. Youve got to take it down a whole lot of levels and look at the smaller things and be positive about things you did well on the field.

There were no chartered planes for the Kings squad on their tours of the north. In fact, the travel itineraries often read like extracts from Christopher Columbus diary, leaving players stiff and exhausted on the eve of matches.

Youre leaving on the Tuesday to play on the Saturday, flying from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, Johannesburg to Istanbul, Istanbul to Heathrow, and from there youre either flying to Scotland or Ireland or bussing it to Wales.

You couldnt train the next day. You almost lost three or four days of training. Wed have a captains run to try and freshen up and then you have got to play. I dont care what you say, you cant be as physically up for it in those circumstances all the time.

We tried as best as we could, we tried to get decent enough hotels with pools and saunas to make an effort with recovery, but you can only do so much before fatigue sets in. A lot of our games we were up for it in the first half and come the last 40 we were completely off our feet.

Willemse is better for the chaos he endured but grateful that it is now behind him. In Edinburgh, the hooker has joined a cleverly assembled squad with a mountain of depth and designs on the PRO14 play-offs.

After winning four of their first six league matches, they begin their European Challenge Cup voyage in Agen this Friday, before Bordeaux-Begles come to Murrayfield a week later. The fact that Edinburgh are competing in the second tier having scalped Montpellier and Toulon and reached the giddying heights of the Champions Cup quarter-finals last season is a trifle embarrassing.

But the group Cockerill has built this time around is far better equipped to compete on two fronts. With Matt Scott and Mark Bennett fit and flourishing in midfield, Edinburgh are finding extra gears in attack, the pack is rumbling around with its typical venom, and the World Cup contingent are being steadily filtered back into contention.

Edinburgh werent as attack-minded last year as they are now. Theres real excitement about our attack, our counterattack, Willemse said. Our backs are really making an impact on the game and we know from previous seasons how good the pack is. Thats what Richard expects and demands from us.

The pack really grinds a lot harder than anyone else in training and rightly so, because youre doing a lot more than anyone else on the field.

Weve got ourselves in a good position and weve yet to reach our full potential. Now that the internationals are making their way back into the team, weve created so much depth that its really exciting we can hopefully make a claim to play-offs and go further from there.

WATCH: RugbyPass Rugby Explorer takes a trek through South African rugby in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth

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Cyclops and the Summers: The X-Men Family Tree, Explained | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Every superhero's life can get complicated, and the same could be said for their families. That holds especially true in the world of the X-Men, which features more time-traveling, alternate dimensions and clones than any other major superhero franchise.

From the earliest days of the franchise to Johnathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu's ongoing run on X-Men, Cyclops has been one of the franchise's most consistent core characters. Naturally, Scott Summers has amassed quite a family during his adventures with the rest of Marvel's mutants. Now, we're going to break down the rest of his very extended family from across the Marvel Multiverse to see who knows who in this family of mutant royalty.

RELATED: The New Mutants Are Betrayed By a Classic Marvel Team

Major Christopher Summers was am Air Force pilot, who, on one fateful day, had his aircraft shot out of the sky by the Shi'ar. This plane crash would forever alter the lives of his children, Alex and Scott Summers. After the crash, Chris and his wife, Katherine Anne were taken to the Shi'ar Imperial Throneworld of Chandilar, where Katherine was murdered by Emperor D'Ken.

While imprisoned, Chris met Cho'd, Cr'reee, Hepzibah, and Raza. Together, they escaped and formed the Starjammers, a group of space pirates who sought vengeance on the Shi'ar starting in Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum's Uncanny X-Men. Chris became Corsair, the swashbuckling leader of the group and years later, he was reunited with his sons, Scott and Alex. During Ed Brubaker, Billy Tan and Clayton Henry's "The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire" arc i, Corsair was seemingly killed by his long lost son, Vulcan. However, he appeared alive and well in the short-lived ongoing series Cyclops, where he spent time roaming the galaxy with a time-displaced version of Scott.

When Corsair's plane went down, Alex held onto Scott as the brothers jumped out of the plane. When the two were found, Scott became comatose as a result of his head injury, and Alex was placed in an orphanage. Alex was soon adopted by the Blandings, a family who tried to mold Alex into the memory of their dead son, Todd. During this period in his life, he discovered his own mutant powers.

After Arnold Drake and Don Heck introduced him to the X-Men, he reunited with Scott and went on to become an X-Man of his own. As Havok, he played a part on the main X-Men team and adjacent teams like X-Factor. During the aftermath of Brubaker's "The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire," he became the leader of the Starjammers, taking his late father's role. While Havok has been manipulated into becoming a villain more than once, he's also led the Avengers and currently lives with the Summers family on the Moon.

RELATED: Marvel's X-Men are Making Black Panther a Future Enemy

For years there were inklings of a third Summers brother, but it wasn't until Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine'sX-Men: Deadly Genesis that readers learned the truth about him. Gabriel Summers, also known as Vulcan, was the Summers brother no one knew existed --and Charles Xavier wanted it to stay that way. When Corsair and Katherine Summers were captured, Katherine was pregnant with Gabriel. The fetus was removed from Katherine's body and placed in an incubation accelerator, allowing Gabriel to reach adolescence at an accelerated rate. He was sent to Earth to become a slave for Erik the Red but was found by Moira MacTaggert instead. Moira took him in and soon, Charles noticed his existence as well.

Alongside Petra, Darwin, and Sway, Vulcan became an X-Man and was tasked with a mission to rescue the original X-Men from Krakoa. The mission went awry, and Gabriel developed a deep hatred for the Summers clan after he was left adrift in space. Charles Xavier even wiped all memories of Gabriel from Scott's mind. For a while, Vulcan served as a major cosmic villain, ruthlessly ruling the Shi'ar Empire and wreaking havoc on his family members in various ways, even killing Corsair. Now, he lives at the Summers' lunar base, seemingly on good terms with his once-estranged family.

Jean Grey and Scott Summers' romance started all the way back in the early years of X-Men comics, becoming something of a staple for the series. After 1980's "Dark Phoenix Saga" ended, Jean Grey was thought to have died. However, then the hear-broken Scott met Madelyne Pryor, the genetic clone of Jean who was created by Mister Sinister. Sinister wanted to carry on the Summers/Grey bloodline, so he used Madelyne to make that happen, although neither Scott nor Maddie herself was initially aware of this.

Out of grief, Scott retired from the X-Men and moved to Alaska to settle down, engaging in a whirlwind romance with Madelyne Pryor. Noting her striking resemblance to Jean, he found himself questioning who she was. His suspicions certainly weren't helped by the fact that she had gaps in her memory. Nonetheless, the two wed and eventually, they had a son, Nathan Christopher Summers.

RELATED: X-Men: Marvel's Strangest Mutants are the Keys to Dawn of X

For all Scott's talk about moving on and starting a new life, he couldn't quite get his lost first love out of his mind. Scott and Maddie's relationship suffered and by 1986, Jean Grey had returned. Scott rushed to see her, leaving his wife and child behind to join the new mutant team, X-Factor. As it turned out, Jean hadn't died in the "Dark Phoenix Saga" at all --she was merely suspended in a cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay.

While her physical form was healing, the Phoenix had assumed Jean's identity. After theInfernostoryline, a crazed Madelyne (then going by the Goblin Queen) confronts Jean. Jean ends up absorbing the remnant of the Phoenix Force housed inside Madelyne, giving her the memories of both Madelyne and the Phoenix. In 1994, Jean and Scott finally wed but were transported to the future to raise their son, Nathan. Although they were separated by death for most of the 2000s, Scott and Jean seem to have gotten back together.

When Cable first appeared, he was baby Nathan Christopher Summers, the son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor. However, shortly after theInfernostoryline, Nathan contracted a techno-organic virus that was rapidly killing him. In order to save his son, Scott was forced to give him to the Mother Askani, who promised to heal himin a future timeline. Nathan returned to the X-Men from the future around that same time, appearing as the time-traveling, gun-toting Cable. Eventually, it was revealed that Cable was really Nathan, Scott's long lost son. During theExterminationevent, Cable was murdered --by a younger version of himself. This Kid Cable is the one currently found in X-Men comics and he lives at the Summer Home with his family.

Nate Grey --who's also known as X-Man-- is an alternate version of Cable, who hails from the "Age of Apocalypse" reality. Nate is the biological child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, born from Mr. Sinister's genetic tampering. Unlike Cable, Nate was not infected by the techno-organic virus, allowing him increased telepathic and telekinetic powers. Nate Grey was the antagonist in the recentAge Of X-Manstoryline, where he stayed behind to tend to the universe of his own creation.

Rachel is the biological daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, hailing from the apocalyptic "Days of Future Past" timeline. She was drugged and brainwashed, forced to hunt down other mutants until she broke her own conditioning. Eventually, she found her way into the 616 timeline and after a while, Scott learned of her true identity and came to view her as his own daughter.

RELATED: Marvel's New X-Force Isn't a Team -It's a Mutant CIA

She joined several teams including Excalibur and the X-Men, and formed close bonds with heroes like Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde. It was later revealed that a future version of Rachel was the Mother Askani who brought Nathan into the future to heal him. In the future, she also has a romantic relationship with Franklin Richards, another incredibly powerful mutant. She takes after her mother, inheriting her powerset and is one of the few mutants capable of controlling the Phoenix force. She currently lives on the Moon with her parents and brother.

Hope was the first mutant born after the Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population inHouse of M.To some, she was seen as the mutant's messiah, someone who could save their dying race with her mutant power to borrow and activate other mutants' powers.

Eventually, Cyclops put Hope in the care of Cable, wanting to save her from being raised into this world. As such, Cable raised Hope as an adoptive daughter in the future and since then, she has appeared in severalX-Mencomics. Unlike the other characters on this list, she does not have any biological connection to Cyclops or the other Summers, but she is an accepted adoptive member of the family. She currently resides on Krakoa as one of the Five, a group of young mutants who can effectively bring back the dead.

Ruby is the daughter of Scott Summers and Emma Frost, hailing from the dystopian future of Earth-1191. Alongside her father and Layla Miller, she is a founding member of the Summers Rebellion in the same future that Bishop hails from.

Like her father, she can fire force beams from her eyes, though hers are colored black. Similarly to Emma's diamond form, Rubycan turn her body into organic ruby. An alternate version of Ruby was briefly seen in one of the realities inSecret Wars. Unlike the other characters on this list, Ruby still hasn't appeared in the main Marvel Universe, even though she's present in multiple alternate timelines.

KEEP READING: Make More Mutants: A Major X-Men Couple Wants a Baby

Wonder Woman Is Humbled Before a More Powerful Wonder-Woman... From China


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Bone marrow transplant: What it is, uses, risks, and recovery – Medical News Today

Bone marrow is soft, spongy tissue within some bones, including those in the hips and thighs. People with certain blood-related conditions benefit from a transplant that replaces damaged cells with healthy cells, possibly from a donor.

Bone marrow transplants can be lifesaving for people with conditions such as lymphoma or leukemia, or when intensive cancer treatment has damaged blood cells.

This type of transplant can be an intensive procedure, and recovery can take a long time.

Here, we provide an overview of bone marrow transplants, including their uses, risks, and recovery.

Bone marrow contains stem cells. In healthy people, stem cells in bone marrow help create:

If a medical condition such as one that damages the blood or immune system prevents the body from creating healthy blood cells, a person may need a bone marrow transplant.

A person with any of the following conditions may be a candidate for a bone marrow transplant:

There are three types of bone marrow transplant, based on where the healthy bone marrow cells come from.

In many cases, the donor is a close family member, such as a sibling or parent. The medical name for this is an allogenic transplant.

Transplants are more likely to be effective if the donated stem cells have a similar genetic makeup to the person's own stem cells.

If a close family member is not available, the doctor will search a registry of donors to find the closest match. While an exact match is best, advances in transplant procedures are making it possible to use donors who are not an exact match.

In a procedure called an autologous transplant, the doctor will take healthy blood stem cells from the person being treated and replace these cells later, after removing any damaged cells in the sample.

In an umbilical cord transplant, also called a cord transplant, doctors use immature stem cells from the umbilical cord following a baby's birth. Unlike cells from an adult donor, the cells from an umbilical cord do not need to be as close a genetic match.

Before a bone marrow transplant, the doctor will run tests to determine the best type of procedure. They will then locate an appropriate donor, if necessary.

If they can use the person's own cells, they will collect the cells in advance and store them safely in a freezer until the transplant.

The person will then undergo other treatment, which may involve chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of the two.

These procedures typically destroy bone marrow cells as well as cancer cells. Chemotherapy and radiation also suppress the immune system, helping to prevent it from rejecting a bone marrow transplant.

While preparing for the transplant, the person may need to stay in the hospital for 12 weeks. During this time, a healthcare professional will insert a small tube into one of the person's larger veins.

Through the tube, the person will receive medication that destroys any abnormal stem cells and weakens the immune system to prevent it from rejecting the healthy transplanted cells.

Before entering the hospital, it is a good idea to arrange:

A bone marrow transplant is not surgery. It is similar to a blood transfusion.

If a donor is involved, they will provide the stem cells well in advance of the procedure. If the transplant involves the person's own cells, the healthcare facility will keep the cells in storage.

The transplant typically takes place in several sessions over several days. Staggering the introduction of cells in this way gives them the best chance of integrating with the body.

The healthcare team may also use the tube to introduce liquids such as blood, nutrients, and medications to help fight infection or encourage the growth of bone marrow. The combination depends on the body's response to treatment.

The procedure will temporarily compromise the person's immune system, making them very susceptible to infection. Most hospitals have a dedicated, isolated space for people undergoing bone marrow transplants to help reduce their risk of infection.

After the last session, the doctor will continue to check the blood each day to determine how well the transplant has worked. They will test whether new cells are beginning to grow in bone marrow.

If a person's white blood cell count starts to rise, it indicates that the body is starting to create its own blood, indicating that the transplant has been successful.

The amount of time that it takes for the body to recover depends on:

Many other factors can affect recovery, including:

Some people are able to leave the hospital soon after the transplant, while others need to stay for several weeks or months.

The medical team will continue to monitor the person's recovery for up to 1 year. Some people find that effects of the transplant remain for life.

A bone marrow transplant is a major medical procedure. There is a high risk of complications during and after it.

The likelihood of developing complications depends on various factors, including:

Below are some of the more common complications that people who receive bone marrow transplants experience:

Some people die as a result of complications from bone marrow transplants.

A person who receives a bone marrow transplant may also experience reactions that can follow any medical procedure, including:

The body's response to a bone marrow transplant varies greatly from person to person. Factors such as age, overall health, and the reason for the transplant can all affect a person's long term outlook.

If a person receives a bone marrow transplant to treat cancer, their outlook depends, in part, on how far the cancer has spread. Cancer that has spread far from its origin, for example, responds less well to treatment.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, the 1-year survival rate among people who have received transplants from unrelated donors increased from 42% to 60% over about the past 5 years.

A bone marrow transplant is a major medical procedure that requires preparation. This involves determining the best type of transplant, finding a donor, if necessary, and preparing for a lengthy hospital stay.

The time that it takes for the body to recover from a transplant varies, depending on factors such as a person's age and overall health and the reason for the transplant.

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Bone marrow transplant: What it is, uses, risks, and recovery - Medical News Today

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Redding woman donates bone marrow, saves life of a father – FOX61 Hartford

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A 25-year-old Redding, Connecticut woman meets the Arizona man who was battling deadly Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) until she saved his life by donating her bone marrow.

Jennie Bunce joined Gift of Life Marrow Registry through a sorority swab drive at North Carolinas High Point University in 2016. "I can remember being like 13 or 14 years old during some school bucket list project. On there was save a life and I got to cross it off so thats pretty cool."

Her life-saving match-- 33-year-old father of six from Mesa, Mark Roser. Roser learned he had ALL after breaking a hip and feeling increasingly weak in 2018.

He needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. He says, "When they discovered it, 94% of my blood cells basically contaminated, so I was really at the final deadline."

Gift of Life Marrow Registry matched the Jennie to Mark with months.

The pair met for the first time at Boca Oyster Bar in Bridgeport in October. Mark says, " I feel great. Im much more positive between work and family. My priorities have completely changed. Time with the kids, time with my wife, just being there for them instead of working so much... I treasure every moment with them now."

According to the gift of Life marrow registry website: "Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. In most blood cancers, normal blood cell development is interrupted by uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells. The abnormal blood cells can prevent blood from fighting off infection or preventing uncontrolled bleeding.

Unfortunately, blood cancer can strike any one of us at any time. Approximately every three minutes, a child or adult in the United States is diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. Thats 360 people a day, 130,000 people a year.

There are three main types of blood cancers: Leukemia, cancer that is found in your blood and bone marrow; Lymphoma, blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system; and Myeloma, blood cancer that specifically targets your plasma cells.

For many, there is hope of a cure through a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant. Today, transplantation, of healthy stem cells donated by related and unrelated volunteers, offers hope to many patients suffering from these sometimes deadly diseases.

Advances in transplantation have made this procedure a reality for thousands who are alive today because a stranger gave them the Gift of Life!."

check out: to learn more and even register for a swab kit and become a donor yourself.

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Redding woman donates bone marrow, saves life of a father - FOX61 Hartford

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We live in an age of miracles. And my nephew needs one – The Times

November 15 2019, 12:01am,The Times

Al Murray

Its unfashionable to say so these days but we live in an age of miracles. Or at least potential miracles. We all have the opportunity to save someones life and you dont have rush into a burning building or a fast flowing river to do it.

My nephew Finley is six. He is, I think, like a lot of six-year-old boys, he likes trains and tanks and planes, hes into playing football and swimming, and hes almost completely beguiled by video games. So far so normal. He is, however, unlucky enough to be one of the 12 children each year who suffer from juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML).

JMML is a rare blood cancer and as difficult to defeat as it is rare. Its sort of

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We live in an age of miracles. And my nephew needs one - The Times

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Im grateful for the kindness of strangers in my cancer recovery – The Globe and Mail

Illustration by Adam De Souza

First Person is a daily personal piece submitted by readers. Have a story to tell? See our guidelines at

A few days after my stem cell transplant this year, a young cleaner entered my hospital room to disinfect and swab. Broad faced and friendly, she saw me lying in bed reading a book.

Do you like reading, she asked? Well, I have the book for you. It is called Fifty Shades of Grey. Its porno!

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That last part was whispered behind a cupped hand, as she grinned and then giggled. For good measure, she also recommended the teen vampire series Twilight.

Once shed left I laughed out loud in a way I hadnt done for days, weeks in fact. When you have cancer, these moments are golden.

Over the last year I have spent months in hospitals, being infused with chemotherapy that laid me low and then undergoing a risky transplant of stem cells from a heroic unknown donor. During this long period of remission and recovery, I have valued every opportunity to smile, to breathe and to feel hope. Much of this sense of being fully alive has come from the kindness of others.

The transplant had made me feel very sick and there was a point at which I was terrified of dying. I asked the hospital staff for a spiritual adviser and the next day a Buddhist monk came to visit me. I didnt expect this, but his calm face and compassionate manner brought me peace. He read me poems for meditation, encouraged deep breathing, and assured me that all emotions in illness are human expressions of identity and not to be judged or feared. His gentleness was echoed two days later, when a nurse with the loveliest face I had ever seen knelt down next to my bed, held my hand, and reassured me I would be okay.

Day by day, my son, his girlfriend, and my husband encouraged and supported me, too, even when I could barely hold up my head or speak without tears. My 21-year-old son sat with me through many painful procedures, setting his phone to play Bachs Brandenburg Concertos, squeezing my hand, looking into my face, loving me and giving me strength I didnt think I had.

I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in February 2019; before that fateful month I was a modern German historian teaching university students on the Weimar Republic, Nazism and the Holocaust. There were days when I had wept and raged with my students over the historical accounts of Nazi inhumanity, barbarity and chilling callousness inflicted upon innocent civilians, especially the Jews. I have often questioned whether human nature is fundamentally selfish, violent and nasty. Right now, in this world of hateful populism and climate devastation, I ask these questions even more. But since I became sick, the kindness, indeed the goodness, of other people has been a constant companion to me. I have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary outpouring of support and concern from so many. Compassion, care, affection, hope all have been expressed to me by family, friends, students and colleagues. Blood drives were organized in my name, and students asked me if they could be tested as a possible bone-marrow donor. My sister (who hates medical procedures) underwent several tests to see if she could be a sibling transplant. One colleague even offered me the umbilical blood he had saved from his three children. (Ultimately the hospital found a donor from an international registry.)

Friends and family kept in touch or visited despite the long drives to the two hospitals where I received treatment. Two of my girlfriends texted me every day, sending love, inspiration and photos of flowers. From other well-wishers I received quilts and artwork and shawls, books and lotion and lip balm. I read notes and e-mails that told me I was not alone, that love surrounded me and would lift me up. Prayers were said for me in Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian, Muslim and Jewish places of worship. Students sent me good luck charms, including a chemo bear (it worked! I went into remission). Money was donated in a go-fund-me campaign to help with the costs of travel and accommodation to cancer centres. Strangers (friends of friends) offered their homes at the times when we couldnt find accommodation. Delicious meals were dropped off at my home or brought to the hospitals: lentil soups, macaroni and cheese, banana bread and smoothies, all preventing me from having to imbibe those horrible meal-replacement drinks or the cafeteria food. Cancer patients came to see me and shared their experiences and wisdom. A quietly stoic man in his 40s with Stage 4 colorectal cancer expressed hope in the advances in cancer treatment; another inspirational friend with breast cancer revealed she had undergone over 100 chemo treatments and still managed to propel her bike in the annual Ride to Conquer Cancer. Other leukemia patients in my wards became friends and sources of enormous support. My sister-in-law, a liver transplant survivor, understood my physical and emotional pain and talked me through several hard times. On the stranger than fiction level, old boyfriends and ex-friends reappeared, expressing their love and sending me cards or messages that brought tears to my eyes. At the same time high-school and university pals from my ancient past got in touch and told me to hang in there!

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I got through the worst days because of the superb doctors and nurses, the donor who gave her or his stem cells, and our excellent health-care system. But I also made it this far because I did not feel alone. I was constantly reminded that I am loved and that I have so much to live for. In the arduous world of my cancer treatment, the face of compassion has appeared so many times and in such beautiful ways that I now place much more faith in the goodness of human nature because I have seen that many of us will care for each other, especially in hard times.

I may not decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I love that this young woman wanted to suggest something to make me forget the cancer and feel better. And, really, because of her and the support that surrounded me, I did.

Carolyn Kay lives in Peterborough, Ont.

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Im grateful for the kindness of strangers in my cancer recovery - The Globe and Mail

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An introduction to the use of transplantation for the treatment of AML – AML Global Portal

Transplant strategies for AML

Today, the only curative approach to treat patients with AML is the administration of high-dose chemotherapy followed by allogeneic HSCT (allo-SCT). Although autologous HSCT (auto-SCT) may still be an option for certain patients with favorable or intermediate risk AML, its use has been debated due to the fact that AML is a blood and bone marrow malignancy, thus transplantation with the patients own cells runs the risk of giving back some of the patients leukemia cells.1 In contrast, during the process of allo-SCT, cells from a donor are infused. This provides an additional benefit, called the graft-versus-leukemia or tumor (GvL or GvT) effect, whereby the donor immune cells have the potential of recognising and eradicating remaining leukemia cells in the host, thus reducing the risk of relapse.2

Various donors can be used for an allo-SCT, while the best stem cell source remains to be from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched sibling donor (MSD). However, in approximately 70% of the cases such donors are unavailable, leaving the next best option of an HLA-matched unrelated donor (MUD).3 For patients where MSD or MUD are unavailable, a partially HLA-matched related donor can be used. This is referred to as haploidentical transplant (HD) and is usually a 50% HLA-match. In the past, HD has been associated with a slow immune reconstitution and high mortality from infections. Today, the use of post-transplant management treatments, like post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy), reduces mortality and has made HD a viable option for patients with AML. This was further discussed by Arnon Nagler in his interview4 with the AML Global Portal (AGP) during the 2019 European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) meeting (video below). Nevertheless, HD still leads to inferior outcomes when compared to MSD in patients with AML (read AGP article here). Other donor types include cells from umbilical cord (read AGP article here) or from HLA-mismatched unrelated donors (MMUD).2 The impact of donor type on the outcomes of allo-SCT has recently been explored in an article by the AGP here. The authors of the study concluded that the traditional hierarchy of donors (MSD, MUD, and then others) remains true in patients with AML and should be used as a treatment algorithm.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: EBMT 2019 | Haploidentical hematopoietic transplantation: current status and future perspectives

How to choose the right patients for transplantation

Choosing the right patient to receive transplantation following chemotherapy is crucial for maximising outcomes and reducing the risk of relapse and toxicity. As mentioned by Uwe Platzbecker in his AGP interview during the 2019 EBMT meeting (video below), there are two main considerations when choosing the right candidate for allo-SCT:

According to the ELN guidelines, patients are classified as favorable-risk, intermediate-risk, or poor-risk depending on the possibility of disease relapse. Patients with favorable-risk are usually not considered for allo-SCT after achieving their first complete remission (CR1), as the risk of toxicity and serious side effects outweighs the potential benefit from allo-SCT. For these patients, auto-SCT instead of chemotherapy after CR1 could be beneficial (read AGP article here). On the contrary, allo-SCT at CR1 is a common strategy for poor-risk patients with AML. In the case of intermediate-risk patients (the majority of patients with AML), the most suitable treatment option is less clear.6 Due to the high relapse rates seen in AML, allo-SCT has also been considered as a potential treatment strategy in second remission (CR2), although outcome is inferior compared to allo-SCT performed in CR1.7 In a recent study, summarized here by the AGP, it seems that myeloablative conditioning (MAC) and reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) lead to similar outcomes after allo-SCT in CR2, however more prospective trials are needed to tailor them for maximum efficacy and minimum toxicity.7 To date, it is evident that clinical decisions to perform transplantation need to be made on an individual basis. Recently, measurable residual disease (MRD) as a marker for disease severity and relapse risk has emerged as an important factor that can guide treatment decisions in the context of HSCT and has been reviewed in depth here by the AGP.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: EBMT 2019 | Considerations for transplantation in AML

Post-transplant issues & how to tackle them

Regardless of the advances in the transplantation field, allo-SCTs are associated with two main post-transplant issues: disease relapse and graft-versus-host disease (GvHD).

There is still a considerable number of patients that relapse after HSCT. At the moment, the best strategies to decrease the risk of post-transplantation relapse include:

Such agents include the use of FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FTL3) inhibitors that are shown to delay disease relapse and to potentiate the GvL effect in patients with FLT3 mutations after allo-SCT.7 Multiple pre-clinical and clinical trials are currently underway to examine the efficacy of other targeted inhibitors, like sorafenib, lestaurtinib, sunitinib, tandutinib, quizartinib, and midostaurin, amongst others.8 Another drug that has been shown to prevent disease relapse and to potentially increase the GvL effect is azacitidine. This is a hypomethylating agent that is currently used as a safe and effective prophylactic therapy in high-risk patients following allo-SCT (read AGP article here).9

Charlie Craddock provided an extensive presentation on the strategies for GvL effect optimization at the 2019 EBMT meeting (see full article on the AGP here):

VIDEO INTERVIEW: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2019 | Who should get azacitidine after transplant?

GvHD remains a major post-transplant challenge, occurring when transplanted donor cells start attacking host cells and tissues.10 There are two main strategies used today to prevent GvHD:

In a clinical trial, PTCy has shown superior outcomes when compared to ATG in patients undergoing HD transplant, leading to improved overall survival, leukemia-free survival, and GvHD-relapse free survival. The results of this study were discussed by Arnon Nagler in his interview with the AGP at European Hematology Association (EHA) 2019. A comprehensive review on available treatments for GvHD prophylaxis and their efficacies has been published here by our GvHD Hub.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: EHA 2019 | Should we use PTCy or ATG as GvHD prophylaxis in haploidentical stem cell transplantation?

In patients who develop severe GvHD, systemic administration of steroids remains the first choice of treatment. Treating GvHD is considered by many as a double-edged sword, since on one side it is necessary, but on the other hand it may hinder the GvL effect, thus contributing to potential disease relapse. Further research is needed to clarify the role of GvHD treatment on the GvL effect and to establish the best agent to treat GvHD without hindering the benefits of graft transplantation to the host. Some patients do not respond to post allo-SCT corticosteroids and are classified as steroid-refractory GvHD patients. These patients have a high mortality rate after allo-SCT with a 1-year survival between 30-35%. Many novel approaches are being tested for these patients with the Janus kinase 1/2 (JAK1/2) inhibitor, ruxolitinib, and the Brutons tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, ibrutinib, being recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for steroid-refractory GvHD.11,12

VIDEO INTERVIEW: EHA 2019 | What are the current treatment recommendations for acute GvHD and the promotion of the GvL effect?

Can the new treatments for AML reduce the need for transplantation?

With the recent therapeutic advances in the field of AML, one major question arises: Can these advances in diagnostics and new therapies replace allo-SCT? During the 1st National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) AML academy meeting, AGP was pleased to film the headline debate on recently licensed drugs versus recent advances in transplantation, which can be accessed here. Although an unresolved issue, it is evident that some of the new treatments lack the toxicity associated with allo-SCT and have demonstrated improved survival rates. Moreover, with new diagnostic tools, the identification of the right subgroups of patients who may benefit from a transplant-free and more targeted approach will be feasible. One such novel approach to AML treatment is the use of CAR-T cells. Their use as monotherapy or in combination with allo-SCT for the treatment of relapsed or refractory AML is currently under consideration and of great interest in the field. More details on the potential of CAR-T cell therapy for AML can be found here in a recently published article by the AGP. However, it is too early to say whether these new treatment approaches can replace allo-SCT as a curative approach to treat AML. This topic was discussed by Gert Ossenkoppele in the interview with the AGP shown below.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: EHA 2019 | What is the clinical value of new drugs in AML?


Despite the curative potential conferred by allo-SCT in patients with AML, there is still a high risk of non-relapse mortality (mostly due to severe GvHD) in addition to the risk of relapse associated with transplantation. This warrants the need for the development of either novel management and prophylactic therapies that can improve post-transplantation outcomes or of transplantation-free approaches for the treatment of AML. With numerous clinical trials underway with novel targeted agents as monotherapy or in combination, the future of AML treatment starts to look more promising.

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An introduction to the use of transplantation for the treatment of AML - AML Global Portal

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Gracell Announces Five Presentations at the Annual Meeting of American Society of Hematology (ASH) – PRNewswire

SHANGHAI and SUZHOU, China, Nov. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --Gracell Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. ("Gracell"), a clinical-stage immune cell therapy company, today announced five presentations to be delivered at the upcoming American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, held from December 7-10.

The presentations centre on Gracell's breakthrough FasTCARtechnology, and other two platform technology in four product categories used in the treatment of hematological malignancies, each with well-defined objectives, including:

The four product candidates are currently being studied in ongoing phase I clinical trials conducted by Gracell, Hebei Yanda Lu Daopei Hospital, and Xinqiao Hospital of AMU, and six other hospitals nationwide in China.

"These clinical studies demonstrated Gracell's product development strategy and strong capabilities to bring multiple novel therapies through clinical investigations," said Dr. William CAO, CEO of Gracell. "These invaluable data provides guidance for and enhance our confidence in pipeline selection."

Oral presentations:

A Feasibility and Safety Study of a New CD19-Directed Fast CAR-T Therapy for Refractory and Relapsed B cell Acute Lymphoblastic LeukemiaAbstract #825Session Name: 612. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Clinical Studies: Therapeutics StrategiesPresenter: Peihua Lu, M.D., Hebei Yanda Lu Daopei HospitalLocation: Orange County Convention Center, Tangerine 1 (WF1), Level 2Time: 5:00 pm, Monday, December 9, 2019

Anti-CD19/CD22 Dual CAR-T Therapy for Refractory and Relapsed B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic LeukemiaAbstract #284Session Name: 612. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Clinical Studies: Novel TherapiesPresenter: Peihua Lu, M.D., Hebei Yanda Lu Daopei HospitalLocation: Orange County Convention Center, W224, Level 2Time: 4:15pm, Saturday, December 7, 2019

Poster presentations:

CD19-Directed Fast CART Therapy for Relapsed/Refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: From Bench to BedsideAbstract #1340Session Name: 614. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Therapy, excluding Transplantation: Poster IPresenter: Cheng Zhang, M.D., Xinqiao Hospital of AMULocation: Orange County Convention Center, Hall B, Level 25:30-7:30 pm, Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Bcma and CD19 Bispecific CAR-T for Relapsed and Refractory Multiple MyelomaAbstract # 3147Session Name: 653. Myeloma: Therapy, excluding Transplantation: Poster IIPresenter: Hua Zhang, PhD., Gracell Biotechnology Ltd., Shanghai, China, Shanghai, ChinaLocation: Orange County Convention Center, Hall B, Level 26:00 PM-8:00 pm, Sunday, December 8, 2019

Role of Donor-Derived CD19.CAR-T Cells in Treating Patients That Relapsed after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell TransplantationAbstract #4561Session Name: 723. Clinical Allogeneic and Autologous Transplantation: Late Complications and Approaches to Disease Recurrence: Poster IIIPresenter: Cheng Zhang, M.D., Xinqiao Hospital of AMULocation: Orange County Convention Center, Hall B, Level 26:00-8:00 pm, Monday, December 9, 2019

About FasT CAR-19

FasT CAR-19, or GC007F, is an investigational CD19-targeted CAR-T cell therapy for adolescent and adult patients with refractory or relapsed B-ALL, as well as aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Thanks to Gracell's patented FasTCAR technology, the bioprocessing time for GC007F has been significantly reduced from two weeks to 24 hours with substantially lower cost. The improved CAR-T cell fitness resulted in superior proliferation capabilities, potency, and extensive bone marrow migration making GC007F a potential best-in-class therapy for refractory or relapsed B-ALL.

About Dual CAR-19-22

Dual CAR-19-22, or GC022, is an investigational CAR-T cell therapy redirected to target CD19 and CD22, in treating patients with CD19+, or/and CD22+ relapsed/refractory B-ALL. A low toxicity with dose-dependent high CR rate including patients who previously treated with CD19 CAR-T cells were observed.

About Dual CAR-BCMA-19

Dual CAR-BCMA-19, or GC012, is an investigational CAR-T cell therapy redirected to target BCMA and CD19, in treating patients with BCMA+, or/and CD19+ relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. Previous research shows CD19 could express on the myeloma progenitor cells, while BCMA is a well validated target for MM.

About Donor CAR-19

Donor CAR-19, or GC007G, is an investigational CD19 targeted CAR-T cell therapy manufactured in use of donor's lymphocytes. The objective of this study is to further investigate and better understand the safety and efficacy of donor derived CAR-T cells in treatment of relapsed and refractory B-ALL patients.

About B-ALL

B-ALL is a sub-type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, although rare, is one of the most common forms of cancer in children between the ages of two and five and adults over the age of 50[1]. In 2015, ALL affected around 876,000 people globally and resulted in 110,000 deaths worldwide[2]. It is also the most common cause of cancer and death from cancer among children. ALL is typically treated initially with chemotherapy aimed at bringing about remission. This is then followed by further chemotherapy carried out over several years.

About MM

Myeloma begins when a plasma cell becomes abnormal. The abnormal cell divides to make copies of itself. These abnormal plasma cells are called myeloma cells. In time, myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow. They may damage the solid part of the bone. When myeloma cells collect in several of your bones, the disease is called "multiple myeloma." This disease may also harm other tissues and organs, such as the kidneys. Myeloma cells make antibodies called M proteins and other proteins. These proteins can collect in the blood, urine, and organs[3].

About Gracell

Gracell Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. ("Gracell") is a clinical-stage biopharma company, committed to developing highly reliable and affordable cell gene therapies for cancer. Gracell is dedicated to resolving the remaining challenges in CAR-T, such as high production costs, lengthy manufacturing process, lack of off-the-shelf products, and inefficacy against solid tumors. Led by a group of world-class scientists, Gracell is advancing FasTCAR, TruUCAR (off-the-shelf CAR), Dual CAR and Enhanced CAR-T cell therapies for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and solid tumors.


Linc HE Associate Director of Business Development

Dr. William Cao Founder, Chairman and

SOURCE Gracell

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Gracell Announces Five Presentations at the Annual Meeting of American Society of Hematology (ASH) - PRNewswire

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KFDM Investigates: The hiring of a Lamar University instructor who has now resigned – KBTV Fox 4 Beaumont

KFDM Investigates: The hiring of a Lamar University instructor who has now resigned  KBTV Fox 4 Beaumont

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KFDM Investigates: The hiring of a Lamar University instructor who has now resigned - KBTV Fox 4 Beaumont

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The article I wish I’d had: Diagnosed with POTS and still anchoring the news –

The article I wish I'd had: Diagnosed with POTS and still anchoring the news

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The article I wish I'd had: Diagnosed with POTS and still anchoring the news -

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