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Fred Hutch scientist on how gold nanoparticles could bring CRISPR to the developing world – GeekWire

By daniellenierenberg

Jennifer Adair, a senior scientist at Fred Hutch, speaks at the 2019 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Genetically editing cells using CRISPR could be the answer to curing genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia. But in order for the technology to be available for people in countries like Nigeria where around a quarter of the population carries the sickle cell trait the technology will need to become substantially cheaper and less invasive.

Thats where gold nanoparticles come in.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are devising an approach that vastly simplifies how CRISPR is applied. Their goal is to create a safe process for gene editing that takes place entirely within the body of a patient.

In order to edit human stem cells using CRISPR today, scientists have to follow a process that involves removing the cells from a patients bone marrow, electrocuting those cells, and modifying them with engineered virus particles.

The process gets even more invasive from there. We actually have to treat these patients with chemotherapy, radiation or other agents in order for these cells that were genetically manipulated to be taken up, Jennifer Adair, a senior scientist at Fred Hutch, said during a talk at the 2019 GeekWire Summit.

The researchers think theyve figured out the first step, which is delivering CRISPR to blood stem cells inside the body. Theyre doing that using gold nanoparticles that are about a billionth the size of a grain of table salt and able to smuggle in RNA, DNA and a protein.

Weve been able to show that not only can we make these, but they passively deliver all of those components to blood stem cells, then we do get genetic editing. And weve been able to go on to show that we can correct the sickle cell defect using this approach, said Adair.

The nanoparticles are big enough to carry the CRISPR payload but small enough to infiltrate cell membranes. Gold is a useful medium since it isnt harmful to humans.

The Fred Hutch team published their work with gold nanoparticles earlier this year in the journal Nature Materials. The system safely edited 10 to 20 percent of the target cells, which the researchers hope will increase as the method is refined.

In an ideal world, clinicians would be able to deliver gene therapy through a syringe, a process that might be accomplished in a single office visit. Adair previously published research on agene therapy in a box concept, a table-top device that could provide gene therapy treatments without the need for expensive medical infrastructure.

We need to develop technologies that make gene editing simpler, more affordable and more accessible to patients around the world, Adair said.

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Gaucher Might Be LInked to Rare Types of Blood Cancer, Report Suggests – Gaucher Disease News

By daniellenierenberg

Gaucher disease can predispose patients to rare types of blood cancer, and doctors should be vigilant for the development of these malignancies, a case report suggests.

The study, A case of bony lytic lesions in a patient with Gaucher disease, was published in the journal Clinical Case Reports.

The most common symptoms of Gaucher disease are reduced platelet count, enlarged liver and spleen, and lesions in the bones. This disease also has been associated with an increased risk ofblood disorders.

Researchers in Canada reported the case of a 57-year-old man who developed a rare type of blood cancer cell probably related to Gaucher disease, as he had Gaucher cells cells that accumulate abnormal amounts of a fat molecule (glucocerebroside) characteristic of the condition in his bone marrow.

The man had a scalp lesion that did not heal and progressively increased in size. Doctors performed a biopsy and discovered it was caused by a plasmacytoma, a rare form of blood cancer in which myeloma cells form a tumor in the bones or soft tissues.

At the time of biopsy, the patient had mild anemia, low levels of platelets, and a family of blood proteins called gamma globulins characteristic of myeloma. His kidney function and calcium levels were normal.

Further tests showed that the man had several bony lytic lesions spots of bone damage caused by cancerous myeloma cells and abone marrow biopsy showed infiltration of both plasma cells and Gaucher cells. That led to a diagnosis of plasma cell myeloma probably associated with Gaucher disease.

Gaucher cells infiltrating the bone marrow may mask the extent of abnormal plasma cell infiltrates, and immunohistochemical staining [a method that identifies abnormal cells in biopsies] can be invaluable in identifying the true burden of plasma cells for appropriate classification of suspected plasma cell neoplasia, the researchers said.

The investigators also noted that the man had a history of abnormal spleen size and reduced blood cell count. A bone marrow biopsy performed years earlier showed the presence of possible Gaucher cells.

Gaucher disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of unexplained hepatomegaly [abnormal liver size], splenomegaly [abnormal spleen size], or cytopenias [reduced blood cell count], the investigators said. They added that further research of the previous symptoms might have allowed diagnosing Gaucher disease before the cancer appeared.

The patient received a combination of chemotherapy, cyclophosphamide, and Velcade (bortezomib), followed by high doses of melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation. He tolerated the transplant well and was discharged with the recommendation of long-term follow-up.

Alejandra has a PhD in Genetics from So Paulo State University (UNESP) and is currently working as a scientific writer, editor, and translator. As a writer for BioNews, she is fulfilling her passion for making scientific data easily available and understandable to the general public. Aside from her work with BioNews, she also works as a language editor for non-English speaking authors and is an author of science books for kids.

Total Posts: 20

Ins Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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It’s in the blood – Lab News

By daniellenierenberg

Blood, of course, plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies alive and functioning.

Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to our muscles. White blood cells are the first responders of our immune systems, detecting infections and foreign agents and triggering the immune response needed to deal with the problem. Plasma, the liquid part of blood, transports not only the cells but also proteins, such as antibodies, and hormones, such as insulin, to every part of the body. It is a beautifully complex system that is the key to our bodies functioning correctly.

Parasites, viruses and bacteria all use the circulatory system to spread around the body. When cancer metastasises and spreads to other parts of the body, it is through tumour cells circulating within the bloodstream. There are also myriad blood cancers, such as leukaemias and lymphomas, and blood disorders, such as sickle cell anaemia, not to mention autoimmune diseases like diabetes or lupus. Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, is a deadly overreaction to an infection which also has its roots in blood.

Magnetic blood filtration is a tool which enables the physical removal of specific substances from the bloodstream

Most of these diseases are treated with drugs or chemotherapies, some with great success, others, much less. There are also various methods of physically extracting different components from the blood by circulating a patients blood outside of the body through whats known as an extracorporeal circuit. Dialysis, for example, removes excess toxins from the blood, acting as a substitute for kidneys when they fail. Plasmapheresis and leukapheresis are methods of removing harmful antibodies from the plasma or white blood cells from the blood. Similar techniques are also used to harvest stem cells from the blood, which can then be used in cancer therapies (known as stem cell transplantation), if the donor and patient are a match.?

Magnetic blood filtration

Despite these methods, millions of people still die every year from blood-borne diseases. At MediSieve a small, London-based start-up company we are using nanotechnology to develop a new technology which we think can transform our ability to tackle these conditions. Magnetic blood filtration (MBF) is a tool which enables the physical removal of specific substances from the bloodstream. It is similar to other extracorporeal procedures like dialysis, but instead of removing every component of a particular size or weight, MBF removes highly specific targets to address the specific medical issue, thereby removing only the substance that doctors want to remove. Alongside this high specificity, various targets, both big and small, can be removed simultaneously, raising the prospect of removing for example specific cells and harmful antibodies in a single procedure.

To achieve this, we use magnetic nanoparticles coated with binding moieties, such as antibodies, which bind specifically to the desired targets in the blood. These particles are infused into the blood within the extracorporeal circuit, binding to their targets. The blood then flows through a magnetic filter which captures the magnetic particles and the targets bound to them, while the rest of the blood flows back into the patient. Several different particles can be used in the same procedure in order to capture different components. Using this method, anything for which there is a specific antibody or other binding moiety can theoretically be removed directly from the bloodstream. I think that in the long-term the technology could be used to remove specific cells, antibodies, bacteria, viruses, toxins, drug molecules and inflammatory cytokines, the drivers of immune conditions such as sepsis.

The MediSieve Filter is a disposable, single-use device in which the magnetic particles and their targets are captured. It is inserted into the MediSieve Magnet, a reusable medical device which activates the filter. Both can be incorporated into a variety of existing extracorporeal systems and integrate with standard blood pumps and tubing sets.

We are currently developing treatments for malaria, sepsis and leukaemia. The Filter and Magnet have completed pre-clinical testing and are now ready for clinical trials, which we hope to start shortly. Magnetic particles for various clinical targets are currently being developed and validated in the laboratory, with promising results. Animal trials for these are expected to start in 2020.


Our potential treatment for malaria is the closest to market because malaria infected cells, uniquely, have naturally occurring magnetic properties is it therefore possible to remove them from the blood using the MediSieve Filter without the infusion of any magnetic particles. The magnetic properties arise from a core aspect of the malaria parasites lifecycle. After infecting a red blood cell, the parasite consumes the protein part of haemoglobin, leaving behind an iron-based waste-product known as haemozoin, which is stored inside the cell. Haemozoin is paramagnetic, thereby giving infected cells their unique magnetic properties.

MBF could be used in highly severe malaria cases in which the patient is hospitalised and at high risk of death. Currently, these patients receive intravenous drugs such as artesunate which can achieve parasite clearance in 36-48 hours; parasite clearance rate is the key indicator of patient recovery, and it can take up to eight doses of IV drugs to achieve complete clearance. Mortality in these cases can be as high as 20%.?

Using MBF alongside the first dose of IV drugs could drastically accelerate parasite clearance rate. We claim that, depending on the patient size and initial level of infection, this approach can remove over 90% of red blood cells containing haemozoin in just two hours. Because they have higher quantities of haemozoin, MBF is better at removing later stage infected cells, whereas drugs are much more effective against earlier stage cells, so they should be complimentary.

MBF has the additional benefit of removing free circulating haemozoin, also known as the malaria toxin, which should also improve the treatment for the patient since drugs can cause the large-scale release of haemozoin as infected cells die.

According to the WHO, in 2017 there were 219 million cases of malaria and 435,000 deaths, mostly children. While overall malaria cases and deaths have been trending downwards in recent years, the number of hospitalised patients is increasing as healthcare infrastructure improves in malaria endemic countries and more patients gain access to hospitals. In the future, MBF could be adapted for use in mobile clinics to reach harder to access areas.

While ourinitial target is severe malaria patients, I also believe MBF could be a valuable tool in the fight against drug-resistant malaria strains, which have been emerging in SE Asia and are causing great concern if drug resistance spreads to Africa, the effect could be catastrophic. It can also be used to treat patients for whom drugs cannot be used, such as pregnant women.


Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in the developed world with more than 1.9M cases in Europe and the US and published mortality rates of 29% - 50%. Sepsis is a complex syndrome in which bacteria or other pathogens create a dysregulated immune response which can escalate to organ failure and death. The immune response creates an overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, while cell damage over time creates damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) that sustain the syndrome. ?

Our approach to sepsis, which we call SepSieve, uses a cocktail of different particles to remove a number of targets from a patients bloodstream: specific pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 and IL-18), DAMPs (HMGB-1), endotoxins (LPS), and gram-negative bacteria. This multi-modal approach tackles the disease from two key angles: Removing the pathogens and endotoxins that trigger the immune response and reducing magnitude of the immune response and preventing the cascade towards septic shock.

Like in malaria, SepSieve would be used alongside existing frontline treatments, specifically antibiotics. While antibiotics are critical for treatment of sepsis, the bacterial cell death they cause releases LPS which accelerates the dysregulated immune response MBF could remove the LPS to prevent the condition from worsening. The main benefit of MBF in sepsis is therefore not so-much the removal of bacteria itself (which is tackled by antibiotics and in any case is not present exclusively in the bloodstream), but rather the removal of all the other components driving the disease.

Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli account for approximately 50% of sepsis patients, but thanks to the removal of other substances, particularly HMGB-1 and the inflammatory cytokines, I think the combined approach could benefit all sepsis patients. Since magnetic filtration is a purely physical method, it can also target and remove pathogens which are resistant to antibiotics, which again are a huge concern with increasing occurrences of resistant infections in hospitals.

Like in malaria, wwe plan to apply sepsis treatment to hospitalised patients and specifically those in Intensive Care Units. These are the most severe cases and those who stand to benefit the most from the treatment. The idea is to intervene early to prevent the sepsis cascade, in which the disease escalates eventually causing organ failure and death.

In fact, we managed to secure grants worth a total of 1.56M from Innovate UK, the UKs government grant funding body, and the UK National Institute of Health Research to develop and validate our sepsis particles. Currently being tested in human blood models in the companys laboratories, we plan to start animal trials in 2020 which, if successful, will be followed by clinical trials in 2021.


One of the advantages of the particles we develop to remove pro-inflammatory cytokines for sepsis is that they can also be used in other diseases. This includes auto-immune diseases and cytokine storms such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS), a common side-effect of newer leukaemia treatments known as CAR T-cell therapies.?

In CAR-T therapies, T-cells, a type of white blood cell, are modified to attack cancer cells in a patients bone marrow. Taken either directly from the patient or from a matching donor, the modified cells are infused into the patient in order to directly attack the cancer. Results of clinical trials have been mixed, but these cell therapies are seen as a huge leap forward for leukaemia treatment.?

The problem is that the infused T-cells trigger massive immune reactions within the patient. Indeed, that is the intention the immune reaction is intended to kill the cancer cells but it can easily escalate into the condition called CRS. The result is similar to sepsis an immune over-reaction which attacks the patient and can be fatal. Immune mediators can be used to calm this reaction, but they then prevent the infused CAR-T cells from having their effect, eliminating the therapeutic benefit of the treatment.

Our proposal is to use MBF in CRS patients to remove cytokines from the bloodstream. This should calm the immune reaction, alleviating patient suffering and eliminating the risk of death. But since MBF only removes cytokines from the bloodstream, it shouldnt affect the immune effect of the CAR-T cells in the bone marrow, so the therapeutic benefit should be maintained. In addition, MBF can be stopped at will, so it can be used to control the immune response by maintaining the correct balance of cytokines this is of course not possible with immune mediators which are infused into the patient.

A further benefit that MBF can provide in leukaemia patients is the removal of leukaemia cells from the bloodstream leukaemia patients commonly have very high white blood cell counts due to circulating leukaemia cells. These cause a number of issues such as a reduction in immune function, making patients more vulnerable to infection. They can also prevent certain chemotherapies from working effectively, since they block the drug from targeting cancer cells in the bone marrow. High white blood cell counts also increase the risk of side-effects during treatment, since the sudden death of such a large numbers of cells causes debris to circulate in the blood, putting strain on the body and causing immune reactions like CRS; this is known as Tumour Lysis Syndrome. ?

We are currently focussing development on their sepsis particles, but plan to trial their cytokine particles in CRS at the same time as they are trialled in sepsis, since the pre-clinical validation for each disease is the same. The particles to remove white blood cells, however, are at an earlier stage and will be developed further down the line.

Our ambitions for MBF are certainly large. In the long-term we want to revolutionise the way in which blood-borne diseases are treated. Going far beyond malaria, sepsis and leukaemia, we want to develop treatments for all blood-borne diseases if its in the blood, and doctors want it out, we want to be able to take it out.

My vision is that hospitals all around the world will have Magnetic Blood Filtration Units which will address a huge variety of patients. Only time will tell if this can be achieved, or even if our technology will work at all after all, there have, as of yet, been no clinical trials.

However, the ability to remove specific substances from blood would clearly be of benefit to huge numbers of patients. It is something that we cannot do today, but we certainly should want to be able to do tomorrow. Whether it is MediSieve who gets us there or not remains to be seen.


Dr George Frodsham is CEO and founder of MediSieve

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Cellular Therapy in Oncology Market: Strategic Analysis to Understand the Competitive Outlook of the Industry, 2017 2025 – Online News Guru

By daniellenierenberg

Cellular therapy is also known as cytotherapy or cell therapy. Cellular therapy (CT) is the transplantation of cellular material into human body to repair or replace damaged tissue and damaged cells. Advancement in technology, development of innovative products, and growth in the number of research activities have helped in the discovery of several types of cells that are likely to be used in the treatment or therapy of various conditions and diseases. Several cells such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), mesenchymal stem cells, skeletal muscle stem cells, dendritic cells, pancreatic islet cells, and lymphocytes can be used in cellular therapy. HSC is extensively used in cellular therapy. Cellular therapy is used to treat various types of cancers, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and urinary problems. The therapy also helps patients rebuild damaged cartilage in joints, improve a weakened immune system, and repair spinal cord injuries. Moreover, it also helps treat neurological disorders. Cellular cancer therapy has various approaches as the cell can be designed to stimulate the patients immune system (T cells or natural killer cells) to kill cancer cells, or to replace most of the patients immune system to enhance their immune response to cancer cells, or to directly find and kill the cancer cells.

The global cellular therapy in oncology market has been classified based on cancer type and geography. In terms of cancer type, the market has been categorized into blood cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, and other cancer. The blood cancer segment accounts for a major share of cellular therapy in oncology market. Increasing prevalence of prostate cancer is expected propel the segment in the near future. According to WHO statistics, 8.2 million people die each year due to cancer which estimates about 13% of all death worldwide. There are more than 100 types of cancers that require unique diagnoses and therapies. This increases the demand for cellular therapy in oncology in near future.

Geographically, the cellular therapy in oncology market has been segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. In terms of revenue, North America dominates the cellular therapy in oncology market followed by Europe. The market in Asia Pacific and Latin America is developing. This trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Availability of large patient pool, expansion of the health care industry, and rise in government investment to improve the health care industry are anticipated to propel the market in these regions. The cellular therapy in oncology market in countries such as Brazil, China, and India are projected to expand at substantial growth rate during the forecast period due to rise in awareness among the population about the usage of cellular therapy to treat various types of cancers and rapid innovations in cellular therapy.

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Increasing prevalence of various cancers, affordability of cellular therapy in cancer drugs, high adoption in developed markets, and development of innovative drugs are other factors driving the cellular therapy in oncology market. High competition among existing players, high risks of failure, severity and complications involved in cellular therapy due to misdiagnosis, and lack of awareness among the rural population in underdeveloped and developing economies are likely to inhibit the market.

Major players operating in the cellular therapy in oncology market include Alkem Laboratories Limited, Amgen, Inc., Bayer AG, Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Cipla, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline Plc., Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., Novartis AG, Pfizer, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

The report offers a comprehensive evaluation of the market. It does so via in-depth qualitative insights, historical data, and verifiable projections about market size. The projections featured in the report have been derived using proven research methodologies and assumptions. By doing so, the research report serves as a repository of analysis and information for every facet of the market, including but not limited to: Regional markets, technology, types, and applications.

The study is a source of reliable data on: Market segments and sub-segments Market trends and dynamics Supply and demand Market size Current trends/opportunities/challenges Competitive landscape Technological breakthroughs Value chain and stakeholder analysis

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The regional analysis covers: North America (U.S. and Canada) Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and others) Western Europe (Germany, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Nordic countries, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia) Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand) Middle East and Africa (GCC, Southern Africa, and North Africa)

The report has been compiled through extensive primary research (through interviews, surveys, and observations of seasoned analysts) and secondary research (which entails reputable paid sources, trade journals, and industry body databases). The report also features a complete qualitative and quantitative assessment by analyzing data gathered from industry analysts and market participants across key points in the industrys value chain.

A separate analysis of prevailing trends in the parent market, macro- and micro-economic indicators, and regulations and mandates is included under the purview of the study. By doing so, the report projects the attractiveness of each major segment over the forecast period.

Highlights of the report: A complete backdrop analysis, which includes an assessment of the parent market Important changes in market dynamics Market segmentation up to the second or third level Historical, current, and projected size of the market from the standpoint of both value and volume Reporting and evaluation of recent industry developments Market shares and strategies of key players Emerging niche segments and regional markets An objective assessment of the trajectory of the market Recommendations to companies for strengthening their foothold in the market

Note:Although care has been taken to maintain the highest levels of accuracy in TMRs reports, recent market/vendor-specific changes may take time to reflect in the analysis.

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Vericel Corporation (VCEL) and BioTime Inc. (:) Contrasting side by side – MS Wkly

By daniellenierenberg

Both Vericel Corporation (NASDAQ:VCEL) and BioTime Inc. (:) compete on a level playing field in the Biotechnology industry. We will evaluate their performance with regards to analyst recommendations, profitability, risk, institutional ownership, dividends, earnings and valuation.

Earnings and Valuation

We can see in table 1 the earnings per share, gross revenue and valuation of Vericel Corporation and BioTime Inc.


Table 2 shows us the return on equity, return on assets and net margins of both companies.

Volatility and Risk

Vericel Corporation has a 2.72 beta, while its volatility is 172.00% which is more volatile than S&P 500. BioTime Inc. has a 2.81 beta and it is 181.00% more volatile than S&P 500.


Vericel Corporations Current Ratio is 8.5 while its Quick Ratio is 8.2. On the competitive side is, BioTime Inc. which has a 3.5 Current Ratio and a 3.5 Quick Ratio. Vericel Corporation is better positioned to pay off short and long-term obligations compared to BioTime Inc.

Analyst Recommendations

The Recommendations and Ratings for Vericel Corporation and BioTime Inc. are featured in the next table.

Vericel Corporations upside potential currently stands at 48.79% and an $21.5 average price target.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

The shares of both Vericel Corporation and BioTime Inc. are owned by institutional investors at 89% and 43.7% respectively. About 0.5% of Vericel Corporations share are held by insiders. Insiders Comparatively, held 3.9% of BioTime Inc. shares.


In this table we provide the Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Half Yearly, Yearly and YTD Performance of both pretenders.

For the past year Vericel Corporations stock price has smaller growth than BioTime Inc.

Vericel Corporation, a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company, researches, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells patient-specific expanded cellular therapies for use in the treatment of patients with severe diseases and conditions. It markets three autologous cell therapy products, including Carticel and MACI, which are used for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee; and Epicel, a permanent skin replacement that is used for the treatment of patients with deep-dermal or full-thickness burns comprising greater than or equal to 30 percent of total body surface area in the United States. The company also develops ixmyelocel-T, which is in Phase IIb clinical trial, a patient-specific multicellular therapy for the treatment of advanced heart failure due to ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy. The company was formerly known as Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. Vericel Corporation was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

BioTime, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company, focuses on developing and commercializing products addressing degenerative diseases based on pluripotent stem cells and HyStem cell/drug delivery platform technologies. Its product candidates include Renevia, a facial aesthetics product that is in pivotal clinical trial for the treatment of HIV related facial lipoatrophy; OpRegen, which is in Phase I/IIa clinical trial for the treatment of the dry form of age-related macular degeneration; HyStem-BDNF, a preclinical development program for the delivery of recombinant human brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) directly into the stroke cavity of patients for aiding in tissue repair and functional recovery; and ReGlyde that is in preclinical development as a device for viscosupplementation and a combination product for drug delivery in osteoarthritis. The company also develops AST-OPC1, a therapy derived from pluripotent stem cells that is in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for spinal cord injuries; AST-VAC1, a patient-specific cancer immunotherapy that is in Phase II clinical trial for acute myeloid leukemia; and AST-VAC2, a non-patient specific cancer immunotherapy, which is in Phase I/IIa clinical trial to treat non-small cell lung cancer. In addition, it offers liquid biopsy tests for diagnosis of cancer; bone grafting products to treat orthopedic disorders; and mobile health software products. Further, it markets GeneCards, a human gene database; LifeMap Discovery, a database of embryonic development, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine; MalaCards, a human disease database; VarElect, an application for prioritizing gene variants; and GeneAnalytics, a novel gene set analysis tool. Additionally, the company develops and markets Hextend, a blood plasma volume expander used for the treatment of hypovolemia. BioTime, Inc. was founded in 1990 and is based in Alameda, California.

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Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences job with THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG | 182916 – Times Higher Education (THE)

By daniellenierenberg

Work type: Full-timeDepartment: School of Biomedical Sciences (22600)Categories: Academic-related Staff

Applications are invited for appointment as Post-doctoral Fellow in the School of Biomedical Sciences (Ref.: 498889), to commence as soon as possible for three years, with the possibility of renewal.

Applicants should have a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology or a related discipline. Preference will be given to those with experience in human neural stem cell culture and vivo spinal injury models. Applicants should also have a good command of both written and spoken English. The appointee will study the therapeutic potential of genetically modified human neural stem cells in rodent spinal cord injury models. Please visit or contact Dr. Martin Cheung at for further information. Applicants who have responded to the previous advertisement (Ref.: 494003) need not re-apply.

A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits

The University only accepts online application for the above post. Applicants should apply online and upload an up-to-date C.V.Review of applications will start on October 23, 2019 and continue untilJanuary 31, 2020, or until the post is filled, whichever is earlier.

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Comparing of Kura Oncology Inc. (KURA) and Neuralstem Inc. (NASDAQ:CUR) – MS Wkly

By daniellenierenberg

Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:KURA) and Neuralstem Inc. (NASDAQ:CUR) compete against each other in the Biotechnology sector. We will contrast them and contrast their profitability, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, dividends, earnings and valuation.

Earnings and Valuation

Table 1 highlights Kura Oncology Inc. and Neuralstem Inc.s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.


Table 2 demonstrates the return on assets, return on equity and net margins of Kura Oncology Inc. and Neuralstem Inc.

Risk & Volatility

A beta of 2.5 shows that Kura Oncology Inc. is 150.00% more volatile than Standard & Poors 500. In other hand, Neuralstem Inc. has beta of 1.94 which is 94.00% more volatile than Standard & Poors 500.


The current Quick Ratio of Kura Oncology Inc. is 13.8 while its Current Ratio is 13.8. Meanwhile, Neuralstem Inc. has a Current Ratio of 3.8 while its Quick Ratio is 3.8. Kura Oncology Inc. is better positioned to pay off its short-term and long-term debts than Neuralstem Inc.

Analyst Ratings

The following table shown below contains the ratings and recommendations for Kura Oncology Inc. and Neuralstem Inc.

Kura Oncology Inc.s consensus price target is $22, while its potential upside is 58.96%.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

Kura Oncology Inc. and Neuralstem Inc. has shares owned by institutional investors as follows: 70.8% and 4.9%. Insiders owned roughly 0.8% of Kura Oncology Inc.s shares. Insiders Comparatively, owned 1% of Neuralstem Inc. shares.


In this table we show the Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Half Yearly, Yearly and YTD Performance of both pretenders.

For the past year Kura Oncology Inc. had bullish trend while Neuralstem Inc. had bearish trend.


Kura Oncology Inc. beats Neuralstem Inc. on 10 of the 11 factors.

Kura Oncology, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, develops medicines for the treatment of cancers. Its pipeline consists of small molecule product candidates that target cancer. The companys lead product candidate is Tipifarnib, an oral farnesyl transferase inhibitor that is in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of solid tumors, peripheral T-cell lymphomas, lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes, and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. It also develops KO-947, a small molecule inhibitor of extracellular signal related kinase used for the treatment for patients with tumors that have mutations in, or other dysregulation of, the mitogen-activated protein kinase; and KO-539, a small molecule inhibitor of the menin-mixed lineage leukemia. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

Neuralstem, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the research and development of nervous system therapies based on its proprietary human neuronal stem cells and small molecule compounds. The companys stem cell based technology enables the isolation and expansion of human neural stem cells from various areas of the developing human brain and spinal cord enabling the generation of physiologically relevant human neurons of various types. It is developing products include NSI-189, a chemical entity, which is in Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of major depressive disorder, as well as is in preclinical programs for the MCAO stroke, type 1 and 2 diabetes related neuropathy, irradiation-induced cognition, long-term potentiation enhancement, and angelman syndrome. The company is also developing NSI-566, which has completed Phase II clinical trial for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, as well as is in Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of chronic spinal cord injury and motor deficits due to ischemic stroke. Neuralstem, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Germantown, Maryland.

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Comparing of Kura Oncology Inc. (KURA) and Neuralstem Inc. (NASDAQ:CUR) - MS Wkly

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Minibrains Grown In The Laboratory Produce Brainwaves. Now What? – Forbes

By daniellenierenberg

Its hard to study the human brain. It is the most complex in the animal kingdom with its massive collection of neurons, 80-100 billion to be exact, three times more than chimpanzees. Research relating our brains to the brains of mice and monkeys can only go so far. And because of this complexity, scientists often came up short when studying diseases such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimers in the brains of monkeys and mice.

Enter minibrains.

Minibrains are small clusters of human brain cells that can be grown in a Petri dish. Floating through the agar, these small gray lumps dont look particularly impressive, but they are allowing scientists to study actual living human brain tissue in ways they couldnt before.

Minibrains may look just like pea-sized gray globules, but once they started producing brainwaves, they received a lot of attention.

Growing these minibrains gives scientists a chance to study a host of psychological issues and diseases, and perhaps make advancements that they would not have made previously. Minibrains will even be sent to space to study how the human brain develops in zero-G.

But then came the surprise. These lab-grown brains started producing brainwaves.

These brainwaves, equivalent to brain wave patterns in a pre-term infant, were seen by a group of researchers at the University of California San Diego. They reported in a recent paper in Cell Stem Cell that these minibrains began showing neural activity after two months, and in four to six months, they reached levels of neural activity never before seen in a lab. At ten months, they were equivalent to pre-term babies, complete with lulls and flutters of activity.

Dan Zhang, a 4th year MD, PhD student, examines minibrains through a microscope. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Minibrains are created by using stem cells, in this case, human skin cells. When stem cells are placed in a conducive environment, they can develop into any organ.

But minibrains are still a far cry from a full human brain. To develop into a mature brain, these minibrains would need to communicate with other areas of a larger brain and have some sort of connection with the outside world. But this might not be far off. Already, scientists have given minibrains retinal cells so they can sense light.

While some note that these minibrains are nowhere near real human brains, others begin to feel uneasy at seeing this neural activity. What does it mean? In this quickly developing field, how soon will these minibrains develop even further? There is an ethical code when dealing with animals in the lab - should this code apply to minibrains too? Could they one day feel pain, have memories, or even become self-aware?

There is now a need for clear guidelines for research, says Dr. Nita Farahany and collaborators in a 2018 Letter to Nature. They point out that as research develops and these minibrains become more advanced, it is less far-fetched to believe that one day these minibrains might have some sort of sentience or feelings such as pleasure or pain. The benefits of minibrain research are promising, but they caution, to ensure the success and social acceptance of this research long term, an ethical framework must be forged now, while brain surrogates remain in the early stages of development.

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BEYOND LOCAL: Expert recommends ‘path of cautious optimism’ about the future of stem cell treatment – CollingwoodToday

By daniellenierenberg

This article, written byKatharine Sedivy-Haley, University of British Columbia, originally appeared on The Conversation and is republished here with permission:

When I was applying to graduate school in 2012, it felt like stem cells were about to revolutionize medicine.

Stem cells have the ability to renew themselves, and mature into specialized cells like heart or brain cells. This allows them to multiply and repair damage.

If stem cell genes are edited to fix defects causing diseases like anemia or immune deficiency, healthy cells can theoretically be reintroduced into a patient, thereby eliminating or preventing a disease. If these stem cells are taken or made from the patient themselves, they are a perfect genetic match for that individual, which means their body will not reject the tissue transplant.

Because of this potential, I was excited that my PhD project at the University of British Columbia gave me the opportunity to work with stem cells.

However, stem cell hype has led some to pay thousands of dollars on advertised stem cell treatments that promise to cure ailments from arthritis to Parkinsons disease. These treatments often dont help and may harm patients.

Despite the potential for stem cells to improve medicine, there are many challenges as they move from lab to clinic. In general, stem cell treatment requires we have a good understanding of stem cell types and how they mature. We also need stem cell culturing methods that will reliably produce large quantities of pure cells. And we need to figure out the correct cell dose and deliver it to the right part of the body.

Embryonic, 'induced and pluripotent

Stem cells come in multiple types. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos which makes them controversial to obtain.

A newly discovered stem cell type is the induced pluripotent stem cell. These cells are created by collecting adult cells, such as skin cells, and reprogramming them by inserting control genes which activate or induce a state similar to embryonic stem cells. This embryo-like state of having the versatile potential to turn into any adult cell type, is called being pluripotent.

However, induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cells can form tumours. Induced pluripotent stem cells carry a particularly high risk of harmful mutation and cancer because of their genetic instability and changes introduced during reprogramming.

Genetic damage could be avoided by using younger tissues such as umbilical cord blood, avoiding tissues that might contain pre-existing mutations (like sun-damaged skin cells), and using better methods for reprogramming.

Stem cells used to test drugs

For now, safety concerns mean pluripotent cells have barely made it to the clinic, but they have been used to test drugs.

For drug research, it is valuable yet often difficult to get research samples with specific disease-causing mutations; for example, brain cells from people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Researchers can, however, take a skin cell sample from a patient, create an induced pluripotent stem-cell line with their mutation and then make neurons out of those stem cells. This provides a renewable source of cells affected by the disease.

This approach could also be used for personalized medicine, testing how a particular patient will respond to different drugs for conditions like heart disease.

Vision loss from fat stem cells

Stem cells can also be found in adults. While embryonic stem cells can turn into any cell in the body, aside from rare newly discovered exceptions, adult stem cells mostly turn into a subset of mature adult cells.

For example, hematopoietic stem cells in blood and bone marrow can turn into any blood cell and are widely used in treating certain cancers and blood disorders.

A major challenge with adult stem cells is getting the right kind of stem cell in useful quantities. This is particularly difficult with eye and nerve cells. Most research is done with accessible stem cell types, like stem cells from fat.

Fat stem cells are also used in stem cell clinics without proper oversight or safety testing. Three patients experienced severe vision loss after having these cells injected into their eyes. There is little evidence that fat stem cells can turn into retinal cells.

Clinical complications

Currently, stem cell based treatments are still mostly experimental, and while some results are encouraging, several clinical trials have failed.

In the brain, despite progress in developing treatment for genetic disorders and spinal cord injury, treatments for stroke have been unsuccessful. Results might depend on method of stem cell delivery, timing of treatment and age and health of the patient. Frustratingly, older and sicker tissues may be more resistant to treatment.

For eye conditions, a treatment using adult stem cells to treat corneal injuries has recently been approved. A treatment for macular degeneration using cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells is in progress, though it had to be redesigned due to concerns about cancer-causing mutations.

A path of cautious optimism

While scientists have good reason to be interested in stem cells, miracle cures are not right around the corner. There are many questions about how to implement treatments to provide benefit safely.

In some cases, advertised stem cell treatments may not actually use stem cells. Recent research suggests mesenchymal stem cells, which are commonly isolated from fat, are really a mixture of cells. These cells have regenerative properties, but may or may not include actual stem cells. Calling something a stem cell treatment is great marketing, but without regulation patients dont know what theyre getting.

Members of the public (and grad students) are advised to moderate their excitement in favour of cautious optimism.

Katharine Sedivy-Haley, PhD Candidate in Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Stem cell therapy helped Owen Franks but there’s still plenty to prove –

By daniellenierenberg

Stem cell therapy, which All Blacks prop Owen Franks used to help fix a damaged shoulder, is raising hopes of a whole range of medical breakthroughs.

But there's a way to go before the medical establishment is convinced.

In late 2017, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner ScottGottliebhad this to say:"We're at the beginning of a paradigm change in medicine with the promise of being able to facilitate regeneration of parts of the human body, where cells and tissues can be engineered to grow healthy, functional organs to replace diseased ones; new genes can be introduced into the body to combat disease; and adult stem cells can generate replacements for cells that are lost to injury or disease."


Dr Hassan Mubark takes blood from All Blacks prop Owen Franks.

Yet, as an indication of how far there is still to go, the FDA has also warnedpeople in the USagainst "unscrupulous providers" offering stem cell products that were unapproved and unproven.

READ MORE:*Rugby World Cup 2019: All Black Owen Franks thrown a stem cell lifeline*Owen Franks hits back at critics following omission from Rugby World Cup squad*Stem cell therapy for All Black Israel Dagg as he hits comeback trail with Crusaders*Experimental stem cell treatment shows results for Waikato woman with MSA Cerebella*Stem cell clinics accused of taking advantage of patients*Reported stem cell treatment could give hope to Michael Schumacher

"Researchers hope stem cells will one day be effective in the treatment of many medical conditions and diseases," it said, thenadded: "Stem cells have been called everything from cure-alls to miracle treatments. But don't believe the hype."

Looking at just the area of deteriorating joints, it's easy to see how stem cell therapies, if they deliver on the promise,could make life much better for many people with osteoarthritis who are in pain and have restricted movement.

Last week, Otago University researchers predictedthe number of knee replacement surgeries needed for osteoarthritis would increase from around 5000 a year in 2013 to abut9000 in 2038.


Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher received devastating head injuries in a ski accident six years ago. Last month it was reported he has undergone stem cell treatment in Paris.

Osteoarthritis is the area where ReGen Cellular,the clinic where Franks had the therapy, has done most of its work in the past two to three years, although ithas recently expanded its services to include a range of diagnosed auto-immune conditions, among them rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

ReGensaid 55 per cent of its patients were aged over 60, 35 per cent were 40-60 and 10 per cent were sports-based.

Theclinic usesPure Expanded Stem Cell (PESC) therapy, which involves taking 40 grams - about a teaspoon - of fat from around a patient's stomach. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)in that sample are then multiplied in the clinic's Queenstown laboratory for about eight weeks. At the end of that process 100 million to 200 million cells have been produced.

Otago University

Otago University, Christchurch regenerative medicine research team have invented a bio-ink - a gel-like substance mixed with human stem cells - to be used with a bio-printer to make human body parts. Video shows the printer using bio-ink to make a body part.

For the treatment of osteoarthritis, between 50m and 100m stem cells are injected into larger joints, with 25m to 50m into smaller joints. ReGen said the therapy provided immediate pain reduction and increased mobility. MRI scans showed cartilage could and did regenerate.

ReGendescribedMSCs as the cells that "wake up damaged or lazy cells". Slightly more technically, said MSCs wereadult stem cells present in multiple tissues, including the umbilical cord, bone marrow and fat.MSCscan self-renew by dividing and can differentiate into multiple tissues including bone, cartilage, muscle and fat cells, and connective tissue.

ReGen director of patient care Marcelle Noble said the clinic believed its treatments, if offered early enough, would save the public health system hundreds of millions of dollars through lessened replacement surgeries, and would save ACC millions of dollars in lengthy rehabilitation programmes.

The treatment for two knees was half the price of one knee replacement surgery within the public health system, she said. ReGen advertises osteoarthritis treatment for a single joint at $12,500 and for two joints at $15,000.


Former All Black Israel Dagg had stem cell therapy for an injured knee, but in the end had to give the game away because of the injury.

So far mainstream funding hadnot been offered for the therapy, Noble said. But the clinic had a "big breakthrough" earlier this year when two insurers in New Zealand accepted patients'PESC therapy claims. In July, ACC accepted consultation by ReGen's chief medical officer Dr Hassan Mubark.

ReGen only had data for the past five years on the success of its therapy, but the fact patients were returning to have other areas of their body treated was an indication of how people feltthe therapy was improving their quality of life, Noble said.

Globally, "massive" R&D spending was going into stem cell research. More therapies would become available and stem cell treatment would become "commonplace".

At any one time ReGen had 50-75 patients' cells growing in its incubators, Noble said. Of the patients treated, 40 per cent hadailments in therknees, 30 per cent in their hips, 20 per cent in their shoulders. The final 10 per cent were for sports and other issues, including problems with tendons, muscles, cartilage tears, fingers, elbows, ankles and hands.


Dr Ron Lopert undergoing part of the PESC treatment.

The first patient to undertake ReGen's PESC therapy was retired GP Dr Ron Lopert, who lives in Tauranga.

For five to 10 years, he had beengetting aches and pains in his hips after playing sport, and the problem was becoming more noticeable, he said. In 2013 he had an x-ray that showed he had moderate to severe osteoarthritis in both hips,more severein his right hip.

He stopped playing all sports and started researching different forms of treatment. Ideally, he wanted to be able to get some of his own cartilage back and reverse the osteoarthritis. It seemedPESCshould do that.

In 2015, aged 61, he had the therapy, with stem cells being injected into each hip joint.Within weeks henoticed an improvement in the range of motion and a decrease in pain, Lopert said.Some of that was just the anti-inflammatory component of stem cell injection, but he thought he also received a longer term benefit from cartilage regeneration.


Dr Lopert on his recent travels. He says he has much less hip pain.

He put the success of the procedure at75 per centin terms of symptoms and function, and100 per cent when it came to avoiding invasive surgery."I opted for a much more natural treatment where my own tissue is regenerating, instead of a metal prosthesis," Lopert said.

He was not sure all the improvement came from the stem cell treatment. As well as avoiding overuse of the joints, which meant he hadn't returned to playing sport, he had also switched to an anti-inflammatory diet.

His left hip continued to have hardly any symptomsbut he had started noticing the "odd twinge now and then" in his right hip.

"The vast majority of days it's fine provided I'm just walking and doing ordinary things. On the odd occasion I might carry something heavy, then I would notice it the next day and it (right hip) would stay painfulintermittentlyfor the next couple of days," Lopert said.

Sean Gallup

In this picture from February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks through a microscope at brain organoids grown from stem cells.

Some of his stem cells had been retained after the treatment, and he was booked in for a follow-up injection for his right hip at the end of October.

He expected the therapy would become a "go to" treatment, and would become an early intervention for osteoarthritis. But more independent research was needed to confirm the success of the treatment. "The evidence is slowly building up but there needs to be more before the Government will accept it," Lopert said.

In his case, he thought there had been cartilage regeneration in his hips, but that was based on his symptoms. "It would have been nice had I had MRI scans before and after the injection for objective evidence," he said.

From the perspective of the medical establishment, the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association said it supported a position statement on stem cell therapy produced by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

That paper, approved in mid-2018,noted stem cell therapy was a "rapidly advancing" area, but many proposed stem cell therapies were experimental and not yet proven. It did not support surgeons administering stem cell therapy outside of an ethically approved registered clinical trial.

"Whilst there may be scope for innovative treatment in the future, currently, the clinical effectiveness and safety of stem cell therapies remain scientifically unproven," RACS said.

In this country, an ACC spokesperson said ACC did not have an official position on stem cell therapy for the treatment of injuries. An internationally standardised evidence-based healthcare approach was used to help ACC decide how it covered injuries and funded treatments.

Dr HassanMubark, ReGen's chief medical officer, was a healthcare provider contracted to ACC in the specialty of rheumatology, and ACC had funded consultation fees with Mubark, the spokesperson said. Those consultations were for diagnostic and treatment planning purposes and did not need prior approval from ACC.

ACC had to consider legislative criteria when deciding whether to fund any particular treatment. There would be many reasons why ACC might decide to fund a client to see a rheumatologist for an opinion on the diagnosis and possible management of their condition. That would not commit ACC to funding any proposed treatment but would provide the client and ACC with information to help decision-making.

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Drexel on the Road: Stem cell study for osteoarthritis – WKRG News 5

By daniellenierenberg

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) Osteoarthritis affects millions of people in the US. Symptoms range from minor pain to crippling pain that compromises quality of life. A groundbreaking study is underway at four prestigious research facilities in the United States. One of those is right here on the Gulf Coast. Tonight, Drexel Gilbert is on the road in Gulf Breeze.

Lori Jamison is a Pensacola native who, as a teenager, played basketball at Pine Forest High School. Today, she suffers from osteoarthritis in her knee. She believes its a result of basketball injuries.

I get stiffness, it interferes with my mobility. Sometimes its like a sharp needle going down your leg. When I go to the movie theater, I have to sit on the back row so I can stretch it out, Jamison said. She is participating in a clinical trial at Andrews Research and Education Foundation in Gulf Breeze.

The research is studying stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis in the knee. AREF is one of only four facilities in the country participating in the study. The others are Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center, Duke University and Sanford Health. Researchers hope it leads to FDA approval for the treatment. If that happens, it could be life-changing for patients.

Hopefully reduce their pain if not actually get rid of their pain. That is our goal. We want to delay, if not prevent, total knee replacement, said Dr. Josh Hackel, who is the primary investigator for the Andrews phase of the study. Were comparing three different stem cell sources. Bone marrow from their pelvis, adipose- thats tissue from their belly fat- and the third is umbilical cord tissue donated from pregnant mothers.

The bone marrow and belly fat stem cells are harvested from the study participants, under local anesthesia. The stem cells are later implanted into the knee joint using ultrasound guidance to implant the cells into the knee joint.

Jamison has already undergone stem cell harvesting.

It was very easy, very convenient, no downtime after the procedure was done, Jamison said

This $13 million clinical trial is being funded entirely by a grant from Bernie Marcus, founder of the Marcus Foundation and co-founder of Home Depot. Osteoarthritis is an issue that is close to the philanthropists heart because his mother was left disabled by the illness at a young age.

There will be around 120 participants at each of the four sites. There are plenty of openings. If youd like to be considered for the study, call AREF at 850-916-8591.

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The Connection Deeper Than Blood – Jewish Link of New Jersey

By daniellenierenberg

By JLNJ Staff | October 10, 2019

(Courtesy of Ezer Mizion) Flying 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean is not an easy job! But Ofer had already spent 17 years as a fighter pilot in the IDF defending the State of Israel. In 2003 he left the reserves and joined El-Al full time. Most people dont realize that being a pilot is a very dangerous profession. When you know it is dangerous you are safe but when you think it is easy, when youre a cowboy, you are unsafe! A pilots job is to always be alert in case something happens. Ofer always remained alert with hundreds of travelers under his wing, quite literally!

But after 16 years of flying for El-Al, Ofer started to feel fatigued. It became difficult for me to walk up with steps to the plane from the tarmac. I thought I was starting to get old or out of shape. But the truth was far more devastating: after routine blood tests, Ofer was diagnosed with leukemia!

I was immediately rushed to the hospital. When I arrived they couldnt even find bone marrow inside my body for a biopsy. I had very little bone marrow left in my body.

Ofer started to think about his future. He thought, Will I ever be able to fly again? Will I be able to see my children again? Will I get to meet my grandchildren?

It was a very difficult time in my life. I was very lucky to have the best doctors in Israel. Shortly after Jan 1, 2017, Ofer was told that Ezer Mizion had a perfect bone marrow match for him! He was thrilled, but still very hesitant. I knew I was not yet out of the woods. I was on a new medication and I was starting to feel better. I did not know if I wanted to risk a transplant with possible complications. Ofer decided to take a vacation to Moscow. He had always traveled the world and Moscow was one place he had never visited but had always wanted to see. The doctors told me if I get even a small virus I can forget about the whole transplant. I put my faith in God and said, if it is meant to be, then I will return and have the transplant.

On Feb. 28, Ofer landed back in Tel Aviv, and March 1 started his preparations for a transplant.

Pushing through all the negative thoughts, Ofer decided to fight. He was absolutely determined to overcome this illness and would go to any lengths to get better.

A short six weeks later Ofer was released from the hospital and returned to his family.

David Bugoslavski was in the middle of his military service on Mt. Hermon when he received a call from Ezer Mizion that he is a perfect match for a cancer patient. Ironically, David wasnt supposed to have his phone on him while he was in the middle of active duty. Yet, as he explains, fate thought otherwise. He knew that Ezer Mizion needed him, and while he did not know Ofer personally, he jumped at the opportunity to save the pilots life.

Thanks to Davids transplant, Ofer is alive today. While the recovery process is slow and there has been some turbulence along the way, Ofer has his life back. One of Ofers dreams had always been to fly a Boeing Dreamliner. Unfortunately, due to his medical history, this dream will never come to fruition in his capacity as a pilot but he still loves to travel the world, even if hes sitting in the back of the plane.

David was able to jump on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save a life. Ofer was able to be the recipient of a special and unique kindness, having his life literally saved by someone else. As Ofer explained so beautifully, David: without you, I wouldnt be here... For me, you are part of the family.

Ezer Mizions bone marrow registry has close to 1 million registrants, with over 550,000 of them IDF soldiers. At Ezer Mizion, no matter who you are or where you come from, your life matters. Ofer and David are just one example of the lifesaving mission of Ezer Mizion taking flight. At Ezer Mizion, unconditional love is not just a term thrown around, but a philosophy that is in the very DNA of the organization. As Dr. Bracha Zisser, director and founder of Ezer Mizions National Bone Marrow Registry says, We have created a true connection of blood between two people who did not know each other at all up to that point. A connection that would not have happened without the unconditional immediate enlistment of David or, as Ofer called him, my angel.

Join Ezer Mizion on November 9 at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck at 7:30 p.m. for an Evening of Heroes: a beautiful musical Havdalah by Shulem Lemmer, meet real IDF heroes who have saved lives by donating their stem cells, and a fireside chat with Bret Stephens and Nachum Segal. Learn more about Ezer Mizion and RSVP for the Evening of Hereos by going to, or contact Ryan Hyman, national director of development, at [emailprotected] or 718-853-8400 ext.109.

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The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for research in cellular responses to oxygen – World Socialist Web Site

By daniellenierenberg

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for research in cellular responses to oxygen By Benjamin Mateus 10 October 2019

In the course of a lifetime, the human heart will beat more than three billion times. We will have taken more than 670 million breaths before we reach the end of our lives. Yet, these critical events remain unconscious and imperceptible in everyday life, unless we exert ourselves, such as running up several flights of stairs. We quickly tire, stop to take deep breaths and become flushed.

With the deepening comprehension by medical science of how our bodies work, we have come to better understand the fundamental importance of oxygen to life. Every living organism relies on it in one form or another. However, how cells and tissues can monitor and respond to oxygen levels remained difficult to elucidate. It has only been late in the 20th century with advances in cellular biology and scientific instrumentation that these processes have finally been explained.

On Monday, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to three individuals: William G. Kaelin, Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza. Specifically, their discoveries helped elucidate the mechanisms for lifes most basic physiologic processes.

They were able to discover how oxygen levels directly affect cellular metabolism, which ultimately controls physiological functions. More importantly, their findings have significant implications for the treatments of conditions as varied as chronic low blood counts, kidney disease, patients with heart attacks or stroke and cancers. One of the hallmarks of cancer is its ability to generate new blood vessels to help sustain its growth. It also uses these oxygen cellular mechanisms to survive in low oxygen environments.

Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. is a professor of medicine at Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The main focus of his work is on studying how mutations in what are called tumor suppressor genes lead to cancer development. Tumor suppressor genes are special segments of the DNA whose function is to check the integrity of the DNA before allowing a copy of itself to be made and undergo cell division, which prevents cells from propagating errors. Cellular mechanisms are then recruited to fix these errors or drive the cell to destroy itself if the damage is too severe or irreparable.

His interest in a rare genetic disorder called Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) led him to discover that cancer cells that lacked the VHL gene expressed abnormally high levels of hypoxia-regulated genes. The protein called the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) complex was first discovered in 1995 by Gregg L. Semenza, a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize. This complex is nearly ubiquitous to all oxygen-breathing species.

The function of the HIF complex in a condition of low oxygen concentration is to keep cells from dividing and growing, placing them in a state of rest. However, it also signals the formation of blood vessels, which is important in wound healing as well as promoting the growth of blood vessels in developing embryos. In cancer cells, the HIF complex helps stimulate a process called angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, which allows the cancer cells to access nutrition and process their metabolic waste, aiding in their growth. When the VHL gene is reintroduced back into the cancer cells, the activity of the hypoxia-regulated genes returns to normal.

Dr. Gregg L. Semenza is the founding director of the vascular program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Duke University Hospital and followed this with a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins. His research in biologic adaptations to low oxygen levels led him to study how the production of erythropoietin (EPO) was controlled by oxygen. EPO is a hormone secreted by our kidneys in response to anemia. The secretion of EPO signals our bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

His cellular and mouse model studies identified a specific DNA segment located next to the EPO gene that seemed to mediate the production of EPO under conditions of low oxygen concentration. He called this DNA segment HIF.

Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, a physician and scientist, trained as a nephrologist, was head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford until 2016, when he became Clinical Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute. Through his research on the cellular mechanisms of EPO and its interaction between the kidneys and red cell production, he found that these mechanisms for cellular detection of hypoxia, a state of low oxygen concentration, were also present in several other organs such as the spleen and brain. Virtually all tissues could sense oxygen in their micro-environment, and they could be modified to give them oxygen-sensing capabilities.

Dr. Kaelins findings had shown that the protein made by the VHL gene was somehow involved in controlling the response to low oxygen concentrations. Dr. Ratcliffe and his group made the connection through their discovery that the protein made by the VHL gene physically interacts with HIF complex, marking it for degradation at normal oxygen levels.

In 2001, both groups published similar findings that demonstrated cells under normal oxygen levels will attach a small molecular tag to the HIF complex that allows the VHL protein to recognize and bind HIF, marking it for degradation by enzymes. If the oxygen concentration is low, the HIF complex is protected from destruction. It begins to accumulate in the nucleus where it binds to a specific section of the DNA called hypoxia-regulating genes, which sets into motion the necessary mechanisms to respond to the low oxygen concentration.

The ability to sense oxygen plays a vital role in health and various disease states. Patients who suffer from chronic kidney failure also suffer from severe anemia because their ability to produce EPO is limited. This hormone is necessary for the stem cells in our bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Understanding how cancer cells utilize oxygen-sensing mechanisms has led to a variety of treatments that targets these pathways. The ability to elucidate these mechanisms offers insight into directions scientists and researchers can take to design or create novel treatments.

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The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for research in cellular responses to oxygen - World Socialist Web Site

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Penny Lancaster is reduced to tears as she gives bone marrow donor Ronnie Musselwhite, 5, The Suns Young H – The Sun

By daniellenierenberg

PENNY Lancaster was reduced to tears as she handed five-year-old Ronnie Musselwhite the Young Hero gong at The Suns Who Cares Wins health awards last night.

Spurs fan Ronnie bravely offered to give his older sister Ebonie a bone marrow transplant last year.

Eight-year-old Ebonie had leukaemia and it was her only hope.

Mum Christine Jenkins, 40, said: Ronnies stem cells worked perfectly. They did what they were supposed to do but the leukaemia came back somewhere new.

Ebonie, of Crawley, West Sussex, nominated her younger brother before her death in June.

Rod Stewarts partner Penny chatted with Ronnie about his love of football and Spurs.

She said: To say I am humbled to be here is an understatement. Sometimes you think life has turned a corner on you, but then someone else turns up to give you some inspiration.

"The courage this little man has shown is absolutely incredible. Hes only five years old, hes lost a sister.

"He was incredibly shy to stand up in front of everyone to collect his award, but he again was so brave.

Christine said: We want Ronnie to know that what he did still worked, was still brave, even though he lost his sister.


PM Boris Johnson was also at the awards held at The Suns London HQ near The Shard and paid tribute to our NHS heroes.

He presented an award to a pair of quick-thinking hospital porters who saved the life of a seven-week-old baby boy.

Nick Evans, 48, and Ruth Lowe, 47, sprang into action after Logan Clifford stopped breathing.

His parents, Sarah and Mike were visiting a relative at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shrops, when they noticed Logans lips had turned blue.

Sarahs screams alerted Ruth, who shouted for Nick. He grabbed Logan and performed CPR as he ran half a mile down the corridor to A&E.

Nick continued CPR until the resuscitation team took over and the porters stayed by Logans parents side until they knew he was going to be OK. Sarah, 30, has called the two porters my heroes.

As he handed the pair the Ultimate Lifesaver trophy, the PM said: The NHS is revered around the world, and in no small part due to the heroes working in it every day.

He added: My experience of the NHS is like everybody else in the NHS - one of admiration and love.

"It is the most extraordinary institution in the world. If our country was an omelette then the NHS is the egg white that holds the great British cake together.

Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans presented the Best Nurse gong to Liz Monaghan, 53. She set up the widely praised Purple Rose initiative, which aims to improve the care for patients and their loved ones in the last days of their life.

Liz, who works at the Florence Nightingale Hospice, based at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Bucks, said: Im a little embarrassed to have won. Im a small part of a big team.

DJ Chris said: Youve got to prepare yourself for nights like this because otherwise they hit you like an express train.

Who Cares Wins Awards: The winners


Winner: Matt Hampson Foundation

Former English rugby union player Matt Hampson set up a charity to help others after being left paralysed in a scrum in 2005.

Other nominees: Superhero Foundation and Team Domenica


Winner: Professor Kypros Nicolaides

Professor Nicolaides performed pioneering keyhole surgeon on Sherrie Sharps unborn son Jaxon. By extraordinary coincidence, as a young surgeon, he also operated on Sherries mother when she was in the womb.

Other nominees: Dr Vesna Pavasovic and Professor Massimo Caputo


Winner: Therapeutic Care Volunteers at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust

30 therapeutic care volunteers, who all have a learning or physical disability, give up their time to support patients with spinal injuries at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. They include Ify Nwokoro.

Other nominees: Ben Slack and Rob Allen


Winner: Guys and St Thomas London Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Service

Leia Armitage, eight, was born with a rare form of deafness and was never expected to speak. But she now can thanks to pioneering brain surgery and speech therapy carried out by Guys and St Thomas London Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Service.

Other nominees: Dr Helen Spencer and Girish Vajramani


Winner: Dr Matthew Boulter

Dr Boulter served in Afghanistan, teaches wild trauma to army medics and his surgery became the first in Cornwall to be given veteran friendly accreditation.

Other nominees: Margaret France and Dr Bijay Sinha


Winner: Jane Parke

Jane helped deliver the youngest surviving twin boys in Britain when they were born at 22 weeks last year. She flew 190 miles with their mum Jennie Powell to a specialist neonatal unit.

Other nominees: Charlotte Day and Nagmeh Teymourian


Winner: Ruth Lowe and Nick Evans

Porters Ruth and Nick saved the life of Sarah and Mike Cliffords seven-week-old baby Logan. He stopped breathing as they walked through the main entrance of The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to visit a sick relative.

Other nominees: Dr Mark Forrest and Mike Merrett


Winner: Liz Monaghan

Liz is the Matron of the Florence Nightingale Hospice in Aylesbury, Bucks, and came up with the idea for the widely praised Purple Rose initiative to improve the care for patients in the last days of their lives.

Other nominees: Margaret Ballard and Carlton DeCosta


Winner: Ben West

Ben lost his brother Sam, 15, to suicide last year and since his death, has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness for mental health.

Other nominees: Beth Gregan and Catherine Benfield


Winner: Ronnie Musselwhite

Ronnie offered to help his sister Ebonie by giving her a bone marrow transplant when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Ebonie nominated her brother for his bravery before she died in June.

Other nominees: Bella Field and Kaitlyn Wright

I only walked ten metres into the room tonight and I already nearly burst into tears three times.

TV star Christine Lampard gave the Best Neonatal Specialist award to Prof Kypros Nicolaides, 66.

He was nominated by Sherrie Sharp, 29, of Horsham, West Sussex, for saving the life of her unborn baby son and her own.

After scans revealed Jaxson had spina bifida, Sherrie was offered a termination. But she contacted Prof Nicolaides, a surgeon at Kings College Hospital, London.

He had saved her life 30 years earlier when she developed a rare blood disorder in her mums womb.

He agreed to perform ground-breaking surgery on Jaxson while he was in Sherries womb.

Prof Nicolaides said: I was delighted to be able to help. Sherrie said: He has saved so many generations of my family. Hes our guardian angel.

The Who Cares Wins Awards were set up in 2017 by The Sun to honour the nations heroic doctors, nurses, midwives, other NHS staff and volunteers.

The Duchess of York presented an award to the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who died of an allergic reaction to a sandwich from Pret.

The duchess said: Can I just say to The Sun, I think youre incredible. Every minute Im sitting there and thinking Im so lucky. The NHS, The Sun and all of you, this is what makes Britain so great.

Lorraine Kelly, who presented the awards, said: Earlier on this year my dad was very sick and we honestly thought we were going to lose him.

"It was really difficult and it was only because of the efforts of the NHS hes still here. Its fantastic.

Who Cares Wins Awards: The winners


Nominees: Superhero Foundation

Team Domenica

Winner: Matt Hampson Foundation

Former English rugby union player Matt Hampson set up a charity to help others after being left paralysed in a scrum in 2005.


Nominees: Dr Vesna Pavasovic

Professor Massimo Caputo

Winner: Professor Kypros Nicolaides

Professor Nicolaides performed pioneering keyhole surgeon on Sherrie Sharps unborn son Jaxon. By extraordinary coincidence, as a young surgeon, he also operated on Sherries mother when she was in the womb.


Nominees: Ben Slack

Rob Allen

Winner: Therapeutic Care Volunteers at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust

30 therapeutic care volunteers, who all have a learning or physical disability, give up their time to support patients with spinal injuries at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. They include Ify Nwokoro.


Nominees: Dr Helen Spencer

Girish Vajramani

Winner: Guys and St Thomas London Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Service

Leia Armitage, eight, was born with a rare form of deafness and was never expected to speak. But she now can thanks to pioneering brain surgery and speech therapy carried out by Guys and St Thomas London Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Service.


Nominees: Margaret France

Dr Bijay Sinha

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Sarah Ferguson opens up about years of plastic surgery from Botox to fillers to stem cell therapy – Evening Standard

By daniellenierenberg

The hottest luxury and A List news

Ahead of her 60th birthday on TuesdaySarah Fergusonhas opened up about her cosmetic treatments at the hands of her friendDr.GabrielaMercik- an aesthetician who has given her everything from laser facelifts to organic fillers.

In a candid interview with the Daily Mail, Ferguson and Mercik talked about thecosmetic procedures the Duchess of York has had done over the years,with Ferguson revealing she was Mercik'sguinea pig with new treatments.

The pair spoke to The Daily Mail about their close relationship, as well as Fergusons history with both invasive and non-invasive procedures including botox, mesotherapy and even stem cell therapy - specifically for Fergusons feet.

Sarah Ferguson in October 2019 (Getty Images for BFI)

Ferguson said she was comfortable talking about her treatments, sayingIm really happy to be open about what Ive had done.

Sarah Ferguson in 2010 (Getty Images)

Ferguson revealed in the interview that she used to get Botox, however as technology has advanced shes opted to move away from it. She explained, I had Botox a long time ago when there was nothing else available.

With her aesthetician calling it passe now, Ferguson added, I really dont like the frozen look. Im so animated and I like to be myself. I dont like the thought of needles and am very glad if I look well and happy.

Botox is a cosmetic procedure which is designed to help diminish wrinkles and fine lines, by injecting a chemical solution with a micro needle into specific target areas.

Sarah Ferguson in 2019 (PA)

It was revealed in the Daily Mail that Ferguson started getting mesotherapy in 2013, though she has since moved away from it in favour of other treatments.

Ferguson said that she had chosen mesotherapy to tackle sun damage, saying, I need to repair the damage that was done on the beach when I was a child. Its why I had the mesotherapy, the vitamin cocktail to hydrate and boost the skin.

According to HealthLine, mesotherapy involvesinjecting a mixture of vitamins, enzymes, hormones, and plant extracts. Designed to tighten skin and rejuvenate it, it also removes excess fat and is used by people to do everything from reduce cellulite, diminish wrinkles and tighten loose skin.

HealthLine continues, The technique uses very fine needles to deliver a series of injections into the middle layer (mesoderm) of skin. The idea behind mesotherapy is that it corrects underlying issues like poor circulation and inflammation that cause skin damage.

(Getty Images for GFI)

Following this, Ferguson chose to move onto organic fillers.

Face fillers are designed to both fade wrinkles as well as plump up parts of your face that you want to add volume to. In the case of Fergusons, hers were organic and were described as being non-invasive injectables.

Sarah Ferguson in 2017 (Getty Images)

One of Fergusons more unusual facial procedures involved something called a thread lift. She explained, Before I had it done I thought,Oh this is going to be painful, but it wasnt bad. My skin responded well. I think if you look at photos of me after I had it done, I look much better.

However, Mercik added that Ferguson had since swapped the threads for laser because its non-invasive.

Both Ferguson and Mercik explained what a thread lift involves. Patients have medical threads inserted into the skin to create a supportive mesh that pulls the face upwards - with the threads dissolving after 6-8 months and results lasting two years.

Ferguson explained, Its like garden trellising for sweet peas. You insert the threads under the skin with a fine needle and they hold everything up. They also encourage collagen production. It takes a couple of months, then the sweet peas bloom!

Mercik went into more technical details, explaining, We inserted nano peptides (synthetic growth factors) under the skin which, with the synthetic threads, stimulate collagen production.

Sarah Ferguson at Princess Eugenie's wedding (Getty Images)

Sarah Ferguson revealed that she personally swears by Merciks 6-Dimension Ultimate Laser Treatment facelift. Revealing to the Daily Mail that she much prefers it to Botox, Ferguson explained that she had actually had it done by Mercik prior to her daughter Princess Eugenies wedding.

She explained, Above all, it was being joyful for Eugenie that made me look good. But Id had some laser treatment on my face which helped, too.

She also added that she was undergoing it at the moment, ahead of her birthday on Tuesday. She said, Ive started the laser treatment, but its not finished yet. The collagen needs to rebuild. I hope it will all be done by my birthday.

Merciks laser facelift is non-invasive, pain-free, involves no recovery time and accomplished in no more than 90 minutes. It reportedly helps promote the skins natural production of youth-restoring collagen and is said to continue the work as the weeks pass.

Following a sunscreen-averse childhood (which involved Fergusons mother thinking Nivea moisturiser was sunscreen), Ferguson revealed that she was now very careful about preventing sun damage now - especially after her father and best friend died of skin cancer. She explained, It made me realise you have to look after your skin just as much as your other organs. It isnt just about aesthetics. We have to think about our skin health.

Thats why I dont go in the sun now, she continued. The tan I have is out of a bottle. Fake.

One of Fergusons more recent procedures includes a trip off to the Bahamas, which saw her undergo stem cell therapy to improve her feet. She explained, I think my toes were ruined by all the riding I did when I was young. They shaved the bone here and implanted stem cells 20 million of them taken from my midriff into my feet to make new cartilage.

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Biohack Your Way To Beauty And Health Using Your DNA And Stem Cells At These Wellness Retreats Around The World – Singapore Tatler

By daniellenierenberg

(Image: Four Seasons) By Chloe Pek October 11, 2019

Need a different type of getaway? From DNA and blood testing to harvesting your own stem cells, these facilities might make you want to forgo your usual spa retreats

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With so many resorts offering customised retreats tailored to every individual, today's well-travelled spa-goers are no longer satisfied with one-size-fits-all programmes. But beyond personalising activities and treatments to your fitness goals, these destinations are taking bespoke programmes to the next levelones that look into your genetic makeup and medical health to "biohack" your way to beauty and wellness.

(Related: The Tatler 10: Asia's Top Wellness Retreats)

Surrounded by the tropical rainforest in Nusa Dua, south Bali, Revivo Wellness Resort is an intimate retreat that offers 16 Balinese-style suites within three villas. The resort offers a regular schedule of three-day immersive programmes depending on individual goals, from relaxation to weight loss, as well as bespoke retreat programmes. And if you would like to take the personalisation to the next level, Revivo offers three DNA-centric plans that you can add to your programme.

In collaboration with DNA test provider GenePlanet, the Nutrifit and Nutrifit Premium plans offer individually tailored nutritional advice and lifestyle plans, based on your unique DNA makeup. Youll also return with a comprehensive report with analysis from up to 58 different DNA tests to facilitate your wellness goals. Beauty junkies can opt for the Nutriskin plan, which advises on skincare rituals, cosmetics, and diets to achieve optimum skin health.

Surrounded by tropical gardens and white-sand beaches on Mexicos beautiful Riviera Nayarit, the newly renovated Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers guest rooms and suites, as well as private beach-front retreats for travellers. Besides a breathtaking oceanside golf-course, the resort also boasts the award-winning Apuane Spa, offering everything from signature massages to holistic therapies.

It is also the only spa in Four Seasons collection that offers DNA testing. Based on results from a simple cheek swab, wellness curators at the resort will create a custom programme that is tailored to your fitness goals and optimal for your genetic makeup, with recommendations to improve your health and diet.

(Related: 5 Women's Only Retreats For The Solo Female Traveller)

A preventive health and anti-ageing clinic in Switzerland, Nescens Clinique de Genolier is a luxury destination for medical tourists, overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps. Programmes include La Cure Nescens, targetted at weight loss; Better-Aging Program which targets lifestyle issues like weight loss, fitness, detox and stress through spa treatments; and the new Nescens Stem Cell Advanced Program, which harnesses your own stem cells to combat signs of ageing.

The programme comprises a very in-depth check-up that includes physical examination, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, and cardiology to detect any underlying conditions. Then, following medical consultations with the specialists, a plastic surgeon will extract lipid content via liposuction. Your own stem cells are then separated and re-injected into problem areas together with lipofilling and hydrating mask treatments, to stimulate collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Tucked in a secluded cove by the Caribbean sea, BodyHoliday Saint Lucia is an all-inclusive fitness and spa resort that offers an extensive collection of wellness amenities, including an Ayurvedic temple, wellness centre, freshwater pools, fitness studios, as well as a BodyScience Clinic.

The clinics BodyScience Plus programme offers an in-depth analysis that begins prior to your arrival, requiring guests to complete an online health survey, DNA tests, and other diagnostics recommended by the clinics doctors, such as blood and urine tests. When you arrive, you will receive a personalised plan that will include Ayurvedic meals, a schedule of activities such as yoga, personal training or meditating, and also spa treatments. The programmes are specific to various wellness goals such as digestive health, weight loss, detox, destress and more.

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Biohack Your Way To Beauty And Health Using Your DNA And Stem Cells At These Wellness Retreats Around The World - Singapore Tatler

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What is being done to treat MS? –

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Considered untreatable until the early 1990s, multiple sclerosis (MS) has benefited in recent decades from huge progress in developing treatments for people with relapsing MS, the most common form of the condition at the point of diagnosis. But there are many people living with the progressive forms of MS who face increasing disability and still have very few, if any, treatment options.

Thats why the MS Society is now focusing its attention on finding effective treatments for everyone with MS. And it has a clear plan to get there.

To stop MS, people will need to be treated with a combination of drugs, explains the charitys director of research, Dr Susan Kohlhaas. This might include one drug that acts on the immune system, another that prompts brain stem cells to repair damage to myelin, the fatty substance protecting nerve fibres, and a treatment that increases the resilience of brain and nerve cells to help prevent damage occurring in the first place.

Were now at a point where were beginning to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause myelin damage and promote repair exactly what we need to stop MS, she says. Were also in the middle of a promising trial of a common statin, which we think may be able to protect nerves. The Stop MS Appeal is about making sure we have a coordinated approach to developing these treatments and can do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In early 2020, the MS Society plans to launch a world-leading clinical trials platform to test multiple treatments for MS at the same time. The aim is to set up a large trial in which several drugs can be tested concurrently on different groups of patients the first time this will ever have been done in neurodegenerative disease.

It will be a much more efficient process than having separate trials and means participants will have a much higher chance of receiving an active treatment that may work, rather than a placebo. Regular reviews will ensure that promising drugs can go straight through to late-stage clinical trials, while ineffective drugs are dropped and replaced by others.

This means desperately needed new treatments could reach people living with progressive MS much faster, says Dr Kohlhaas. We now have around 40 researchers actively working on the programme and theres a real sense of momentum and excitement about its potential.

The MS Society Tissue Bank is a repository of brain and spinal-cord tissue donated by people with MS after their death to help researchers understand more about the condition. The charity has recently invested 1.5million to fund new developments at the facility including a digital brain bank of high-definition pictures of brain tissue that will allow researchers around the world easier access to the resource.

The MS Society also funds research facilities around the UK and the UK MS Register, which enables people to record information about the progress of their condition every six months. An important research tool and source of data, it can also help identify patients for new trials.

Something Im really proud of is that we involve people with MS in the decision-making about research, says Dr Kohlhaas. They sit on our panels and committees to decide what to fund, and they have a strong voice. Im confident this approach has absolutely changed our way of working and ensured we really focus on what people with MS want.

Our vision is that, by 2025, well have treatments in late-stage clinical trials that can be taken through into practice quite quickly, and that well soon have the ability to start treating people with combinations of treatments that not only slow the progress of MS but can actually stop it.

This article is brought to you by the MS Society and Telegraph Spark. The MS Society believes that with investment, MS can be stopped. Scientists can see a future in which no one with the condition need worry about it getting worse. But action is needed now.

Donate today and help the MS Society raise 100million to find treatments for everyone. Visit

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Stem Cells Market : Insights Into the Competitive Scenario of the Market – Online News Guru

By Dr. Matthew Watson

In theglobal stem cells marketa sizeable proportion of companies are trying to garner investments from organizations based overseas. This is one of the strategies leveraged by them to grow their market share. Further, they are also forging partnerships with pharmaceutical organizations to up revenues.

In addition, companies in the global stem cells market are pouring money into expansion through multidisciplinary and multi-sector collaboration for large scale production of high quality pluripotent and differentiated cells. The market, at present, is characterized by a diverse product portfolio, which is expected to up competition, and eventually growth in the market.

Some of the key players operating in the global stem cells market are STEMCELL Technologies Inc., Astellas Pharma Inc., Cellular Engineering Technologies Inc., BioTime Inc., Takara Bio Inc., U.S. Stem Cell, Inc., BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc., Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., and Caladrius Biosciences, Inc.

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As per a report by Transparency Market Research, the global market for stem cells is expected to register a healthy CAGR of 13.8% during the period from 2017 to 2025 to become worth US$270.5 bn by 2025.

Depending upon the type of products, the global stem cell market can be divided into adult stem cells, human embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, etc. Of them, the segment of adult stem cells accounts for a leading share in the market. This is because of their ability to generate trillions of specialized cells which may lower the risks of rejection and repair tissue damage.

Depending upon geography, the key segments of the global stem cells market are North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. At present, North America dominates the market because of the substantial investments in the field, impressive economic growth, rising instances of target chronic diseases, and technological progress. As per the TMR report, the market in North America will likely retain its dominant share in the near future to become worth US$167.33 bn by 2025.

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Investments in Research Drives Market

Constant thrust on research to broaden the utility scope of associated products is at the forefront of driving growth in the global stem cells market. Such research projects have generated various possibilities of different clinical applications of these cells, to usher in new treatments for diseases.Since cellular therapies are considered the next major step in transforming healthcare, companies are expanding their cellular therapy portfolio to include a range of ailments such as Parkinsons disease, type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injury, Alzheimers disease, etc.

The growing prevalence of chronic diseases and increasing investments of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies in stem cell research are the key driving factors for the stem cells therapeutics market. The growing number of stem cell donors, improved stem cell banking facilities, and increasing research and development are other crucial factors serving to propel the market, explains the lead analyst of the report.

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Caroline Wyatt: The fight to reverse damage caused by MS – BBC News

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Image caption Caroline Wyatt visited Prof Robin Franklin to find out more about a drug that might help stop the progression of MS

"I don't like to think of the future. It's such a big question mark. I just keep living in the present."

Karine Mather was diagnosed with MS when she was 27, although she noticed the first symptoms much earlier.

It started off as a mental-health issue with anxiety and depression, she remembers. Later, she noticed she was starting to limp when she walked longer distances.

Karine began using a walker to help with her balance and stamina, and then a scooter when she could no longer walk very far.

"I got to the stage where the wheelchair became quite liberating, and gave me back a sense of freedom again. Now I rely on the power-chair full-time because I can't stand by myself any more."

Now Karine and her wife, Sarah, have had to give up their full-time jobs.

Karine was forced to stop working as a customer service adviser at a bank because she could no longer fulfil the physical demands of work and Sarah gave up working as a data analyst so she could take care of Karine.

Now 34, Karine retains the use of just one hand, and suffers pain, stiffness and spasticity in her body that has got worse as the disease has progressed.

"It feels like a fist clenching all the time. And I have days when my mind is cloudy and I miss out words and sentences."

Both remain upbeat but the financial, as well as the emotional, impact of MS has been huge.

Karine's MS is the type known as "primary progressive", or PPMS, which meant that for the first years after diagnosis, no disease-modifying treatment was available.

One new drug - Ocrevus, or ocrelizumab - was recently licensed for early PPMS in the UK but came too late to help Karine.

Now the MS Society is launching an ambitious "Stop MS" appeal, aiming to raise 100m to fund research over the next decade into treatments that can stop the progression of disability in MS.

Since being diagnosed with MS in 2015, after many years of symptoms, I've been looking for anything that might help slow or even stop the progression of my MS, which affects the nerves in my brain and spinal cord.

I last wrote about my MS after travelling to Mexico for an autologous stem cell transplant (aHSCT) in 2017.

Sadly, despite initial improvements, I'm now back to where I was before: slowly but surely getting worse.

The only improvements that have endured are the lifting of some of the crushing brain fog I had before HSCT and less hesitation in my speech.

For both, I am eternally grateful, as they mean I can continue to work at the BBC, in the job I love.

However, I have no idea how long this reprieve will last.

The fatigue that had long been my worst symptom is now back with a vengeance, so that staying awake throughout a busy working day remains a challenge.

That MS fatigue did lift for a few months, and it felt miraculous. I awoke every day refreshed. But then it returned, and I awake after eight full hours fast asleep feeling as if I haven't been to bed at all.

The ageing process - including menopause - has almost certainly been a factor in the worsening of some symptoms.

Ageing cells repair less well, and with my faulty immune system apparently determined to keep stripping away the myelin sheath that should protect my nerves, I'm less able now to repair the damage than I was when the disease first began to affect me in around 1992.

Since 2016, I've had to walk using a stick to aid my balance. It is sparkly-topped; an effort to make the accoutrements of disability just a little more cheery.

Dizziness is now a constant companion. It rarely goes away, making car travel or even buses a nightmare. Just turning my head too fast can make me stagger or fall over.

And for the past year or two, my right foot has begun to drag along the ground thanks to foot drop, meaning that I trip more often because I can't fully raise it.

I am always grateful to the strangers who kindly stop to help me up from the uneven pavement when I do fall.

Perhaps most worrying for me is that my right hand no longer works as it used to, catching on the computer keyboard as my outer fingers drag lazily along the keys, sullenly refusing my brain's command to lift.

In the mornings, both my hands and my feet are numb and frozen, then painfully full of pins and needles before warming up enough to be usable a few hours later.

When I wake, I wonder how long it might be until these hands and feet barely function at all, and quickly push that unwelcome thought away.

I'm well aware how very lucky I am that the progression of my MS has been relatively slow - at least until recently. I've learned how better to conserve energy for the things that really matter, though I still chafe at how little I manage to achieve.

Having enough energy to cook a meal from scratch on a day off is a cause for rejoicing. I'm still learning how to save up enough energy for family and friends, and not use up all of my much-depleted ration for work or research.

I have had to face the fact that I have now probably gone from the relapsing-remitting phase of MS (for which a dozen or so treatments exist) into the secondary progressive phase, for which there is currently no treatment licensed in the UK to stop the relentless progression that will affect so many of the 100,000 or more of us living with MS here.

But that may be about to change.

Anna Williams, professor of regenerative neurology at the University of Edinburgh, is looking at how the brain responds to MS damage and how the fatty myelin sheath under attack in MS can be restored more efficiently.

"We have to look at ways to stop the nerves dying," she says. "We want to be able to try to limit that either by keeping the nerves alive, or keeping them working better."

Repurposing existing drugs to help with remyelination should prove the quickest route to therapies for progressive forms of MS, because creating and licensing new ones is a much lengthier and more expensive process.

Prof Williams still sees patients at the Anne Rowling Clinic of Regenerative Neurology in Edinburgh, named in memory of the Harry Potter author J K Rowling's mother, who had MS. (The author this year donated 15m for research at the unit.)

"At the moment, with PPMS or SPMS, we can always give relief for pain or stiffness but we won't change the course of the disease.

"So for those patients, to slow or stop or reverse the disease can only be done with more research, and money is critical for research."

The biggest trial yet in the UK for patients with secondary progressive MS is the MS STAT2 trial, conducted by Prof Jeremy Chataway for the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London.

The trial is still recruiting at 30 centres across the UK to look at whether simvastatin, a drug used to treat high cholesterol, can slow or stop disability progression. If so, it has the potential to become one of the first disease-modifying therapies for people with secondary progressive MS.

And perhaps most encouraging of all, Prof Robin Franklin and his team at the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute recently published research suggesting a common diabetes drug - metformin - could hold the key to stopping disease progression in MS.

Costing just a few pence per tablet, metformin appears to have an ability to restore cells to a younger, healthier state and encourage myelin regrowth.

The next question is whether it works in people as well as it does in the lab.

Prof Franklin says: "This is a drug that's well tolerated and widely available. There is every reason to believe that the effects that we have seen - which have been so spectacular - will translate into humans.

"This is the great frontier of MS therapy. We're good at stopping the inflammation in MS. What we're not so good at doing is repairing the damage. All this work has given us some real hope that this medicine will reverse the damage done by MS."

I certainly feel rather more hopeful than I did.

I've changed as much about my lifestyle as I can - prioritising sleep, eating healthily, largely giving up alcohol, doing yoga and stretching every day, and cutting back on stress, be that reporting from war zones or attending too many BBC meetings.

But I'm all too aware that time is against me as my ageing brain and body struggle to repair the damage done in their lengthy continuing battle with my own immune system.

My hope now is that these trials will show good enough results in the next few years for at least one or two of the drugs to be rapidly approved for MS so they can help people like Karine and me before it's too late.

I ask Karine what she makes of the current research.

She is suitably succinct.

"I'm sitting here with just the one limb working and I'm thinking - quicker, please."

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Caroline Wyatt: The fight to reverse damage caused by MS - BBC News

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Artificial meat is now made in space, coming to a supermarket near you – FRANCE 24

By Dr. Matthew Watson

New York (AFP)

Creating meat from cells is no longer the realm of science fiction: a Russian cosmonaut did it aboard the International Space Station, and it is just a matter of time before these products arrive in supermarkets.

Tests carried out in space in September led to the production of beef, rabbit and fish tissue using a 3D printer.

This new technology "could make long-term travel possible and renew space exploration," to Mars for example, said Didier Toubia, the head of the Israeli startup Aleph Farms, which provided cells for the tests.

"But our goal is to sell meat on Earth," he told AFP.

The idea "is not to replace traditional agriculture," he said. "It's about being a better alternative to factory farming."

- What's in a name? -

The first burger designed with cow stem cells was made by Mark Post, a Dutch scientist from Maastricht University, and presented in 2013. Several startups have since taken to the niche market.

The cost of production is still very high, and none of the products are available for sale.

The name for the meat products is still up for debate: laboratory, artificial, cell-based, cultivated.

But tastings have already taken place, and industry players are banking on small-scale commercialization taking place fairly quickly.

"It is likely to be this year," Josh Tetrick, the head of California's JUST company, which is growing meat from cells, said at a conference in San Francisco.

"Not on the market in four thousand Walmarts or in all McDonald's, but in a handful of restaurants," Tetrick said.

"The question is what do you want to put out at what cost," said Niya Gupta, founder and CEO of Fork & Goode, which is growing meat from cells in New York.

"As an industry, we are finally making progress on the science. The next step is really making progress on the engineering challenges."

The arrival of laboratory-grown meat on supermarket shelves at reasonable prices could happen in five to 20 years, according to estimates.

But it would need more investment, according to several observers. The sector attracted a total of only $73 million in 2018, according to The Good Food Institute, an organization promoting alternatives to meat and fish.

Another obstacle is regulation, which remains imprecise.

In the United States, for example, the government outlined a regulatory framework that shared oversight of cell-based foods between the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, but it is not yet finalized.

- Labeling -

For supporters, cell-based meat and fish products can transform the production system sustainably by avoiding the raising and killing of animals.

However, questions remain about the real environmental impact, particularly in terms of energy consumption, as well as about safety.

But "the market opportunity is enormous, especially for seafood," said Lou Cooperhouse, the CEO of startup BlueNalu.

"Global demand in the world is at an all-time high," he said of seafood, but "we have a supply problem" with overfishing, climate change and a very variable supply, coupled with "an issue with the supply itself" with, for example, the presence of mercury in some fish.

"What if we could add a third leg on the supply chain, wild caught, farm raised, cell-based?"

Created in 2018, BlueNalu is developing a technological platform that can be used to design various seafood products, mainly fish filets without bones or skin.

Scientific literature on stem cells, biological engineering or organic tissue printing already existed, said BlueNalu's chief technology officer Chris Dammann.

"We need to put the technology back together and optimize it," Dammann said.

The rise of cell-based proteins is not a major source of concern for traditional agriculture.

"It is something we need to monitor," said Scott Bennett, the director of congressional relations for the Farm Bureau organization, which represents farmers and ranchers.

Bennett said he feels "our energy would be much better spent in focusing (on) increasing the overall market shares for proteins, especially in developing countries."

"Some people for social reasons will want to buy this product. But there will always remain a market for conventional meat," he said.

"We feel as it should not be called meat, because we don't want to confuse the consumer as to what this really is. We want to make sure the labelling is very clear," Bennett added.

2019 AFP

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