Novel approach induces cell death via dual targeting of DNA repair mechanism

first_img Source:https://www.templehealth.org/News/TempleScientistsEradicateCancerCellsThroughDualTargetingofDNARepairMechanisms?showBack=true Jun 13 2018Proteins commonly known as BRCA – short for BReast CAncer susceptibility gene- serve a critical role in cellular DNA repair, but when mutated they allow genetic errors to replicate, facilitating cancer development. If the BRCA repair system is disabled in cancer cells, the cells simply turn to backup repair mechanisms and adapt to alternative repair pathways, a survival mode that also underlies their ability to evade targeted drug therapies.Now, new research by scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) shows that it is possible to eliminate at least two backup repair mechanisms at the same time using two targeted therapies. The strategy effectively narrows down the number of secondary repair pathways available, helping to ensure cancer cell eradication.The novel approach, described June 12 in a paper published in Cell Reports, is named dual synthetic lethality, so-called because cancer cell death is induced by two drugs targeting distinct DNA repair pathways at the same time. “Cancers cells have multiple ways of protecting themselves from death,” explained senior investigator Tomasz Skorski, MD, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Professor at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at LKSOM.Tumor cells that carry BRCA-deficiency mutations frequently rely on DNA repair mediated by a protein known as PARP1. Clinically, PARP1 inhibition can significantly improve progression-free survival in patients with cancers involving hereditary BRCA mutations.Over time, however, the effectiveness of PARP1 inhibition declines, and cancer relapses. According to Dr. Skorski, this happens because targeting one pathway is not enough. “The tumor cells eventually escape PARP1 inhibition by activating another backup to the BRCA-mediated repair pathway,” he said. “Our previous work had suggested that RAD52-dependent pathways are a likely escape route, which led us to see whether simultaneous inhibition of both PARP1 and RAD52 could trigger more effective lethality.”Related StoriesHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairmentHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemDr. Skorski’s team first tested their idea in a series of experiments in BRCA-deficient solid tumor and leukemia cell lines in vitro. Using an experimental RAD52 inhibitor, they were able to show that RAD52 blockade enhanced synthetic lethal effects in cells treated with the PARP inhibitor olaparib, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. For all tumor types, the dual treatment completely eradicated BRCA-deficient tumor cells.The simultaneous targeting strategy was then tested against BRCA-deficient tumors in mice, in which the researchers recapitulated the effects of BRCA deficiency in breast cancer and in acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia. They found that dual inhibition exerted strong effects against tumors in vivo, showing greater activity than either agent alone.Importantly, the teams’ experiments showed, both in vitro and in vivo, that normal cells, with normal BRCA activity, are unaffected by the dual treatment. “Normal cells continue to use BRCA-mediated repair as their primary DNA repair pathway and do not rely heavily on PARP1 or RAD52,” explained Katherine Sullivan-Reed, a graduate student in Dr. Skorski’s research laboratory and first author on the new paper. Leaving normal cells relatively unharmed helps limit the severity of side effects patients may experience with targeted cancer therapy.The new research provides a foundation for pursuing the development of a clinically viable drug to inhibit RAD52, as well as the development of a screening test specifically for patients who carry tumors displaying BRCA-deficiency.In the near-term, Dr. Skorski’s team also plans to continue investigating alternative DNA repair pathways, which are essential for tumor cells but expendable in normal cells. “One of our primary goals is to find additional targets to kill cancer cells, without increasing toxicity,” he added.last_img read more

False Signs of Life on Alien Worlds

Call it the cosmic version of fool’s gold. What was once considered a sure-fire sign of life on distant planets may not be so sure-fire after all, a new study suggests. Instead, it may simply be the artifact of a lifeless world and its equally lifeless moon.“I like this paper. It’s a great concept,” says Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “I think the [scientific] community is gradually realizing that it might be impossible to be absolutely certain, based on its atmosphere, that an exoplanet hosts life.”Life on planets orbiting other stars doesn’t have to literally broadcast its existence: Radio signals are just one way earthbound scientists might detect biological activity elsewhere in the universe, says Hanno Rein, a planetary scientist at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, in Canada. Signs of life are much more likely to be subtle, especially if the organisms are simple. One way to look for such clues is to search for chemical evidence, particularly in light passing through the atmospheres of the planets, Rein says. By comparing the spectrum of light passing through an exoplanet’s atmosphere with that of the unfiltered light emitted by its parent star, astronomers can identify substances present in the exoplanet’s air. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Thus far, Rein notes, scientists haven’t been able to agree upon a single chemical—oxygen, for example—that could be a conclusive sign of extraterrestrial life. But researchers generally agree that certain mixes of two or more chemicals in an exoplanet atmosphere could be a strong sign of life, Rein explains. Here’s the idea: A mixture of gases that would normally react until one is completely gone simply can’t exist over the long term, unless one or both of the gases is being constantly replenished—possibly by the biological activity of life forms. One easy-to-understand example, Rein says, is a mix of methane and oxygen. Left to themselves, those two substances react to form carbon dioxide. And if life on Earth weren’t continuously producing those two gases, chemical reactions between the two would eventually scrub the less prevalent one from the atmosphere, leaving only the other.Now, Rein and his colleagues propose a scenario that could easily lead researchers looking for extraterrestrial life astray. What if, they say, a distant exoplanet has a moon with an atmosphere of its own? And furthermore, what if that “exomoon’s” atmosphere contains large amounts of a gas that would typically react with one from the exoplanet’s atmosphere if given a chance? Even if neither body hosted life, the combined light from the two objects might easily be mistaken as having passed through a single atmosphere of a body that hosts life, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.In fact, with current instruments and observing techniques, astronomers might not even recognize that the distant exoplanet has a moon, Rein notes. The two bodies would be so close together that, as seen from Earth, their light would blend into one smudge. Consider, Rein says, the spectrum of light that distant astronomers might see if Earth—whose atmosphere is more than 20% oxygen—had a moon with a methane-rich atmosphere like Saturn’s moon Titan. In that instance, the single smudge of light would contain signs of both reactive gases.The team’s scenario “is a really very interesting way to get a ‘false positive’ ” for extraterrestrial life, says Wesley Traub, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Scientists could easily be fooled by such a blended spectrum, he notes, and it’s likely that they’d be fooled for quite a while. And if scientists ever did detect such a spectrum, “it’s not clear what the next step would be,” he suggests. Many of the techniques now used to detect exoplanets—such as observations of their gravitational effect on the movements of their parent stars, or mini-eclipses that occur regularly as they pass in front of the stars as seen from Earth—aren’t sensitive enough to detect the presence of an exomoon. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email read more

Nanoparticle drug stops cancers spread in mice

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe When a person dies from cancer, the culprit is usually not the original tumor but rather the cancerous cells that spread throughout the body and replicate in distant organs, a process called metastasis. Researchers have long known that metastasizing cancer cells slip their bonds and avoid immune detection by altering the sugars on their surfaces. They’ve even come up with a would-be drug to prevent such sugar alterations. But that compound interferes with needed sugars on normal cells, too, with lethal results in animals. Now, Dutch researchers report that they’ve packaged the drug in nanoparticles targeted exclusively to cancer cells, and they’ve shown that this combination prevents cancer cells from metastasizing in mice.  The new nanotech therapy still has a long way to go before becoming a medicine, including passing safety and effectiveness trials in humans. Nevertheless, “it’s promising,” says Cory Rillahan, a chemical biologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City who wasn’t connected to the study. Rillahan, who 3 years ago was part of the team to first report the antimetastatic drug compound, known as P-3Fax-Neu5Ac, says the compound was designed to block a family of 20 enzymes that alter sugars known as sialic acids. Sialic acids often cap long chains of other sugar molecules that are attached to proteins and lipids that stud cell surfaces. Those chains have been shown to be involved in cell adhesion and recognition, key processes co-opted by metastatic cancer cells.Several types of cancer cells overexpress enzymes that add sialic acids to sugar chains. But shutting these enzymes all off can be dangerous. Last year, a team led by James Paulson, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, who leads the lab where Rillahan did his work on P-3Fax-Neu5Ac, found that the drug caused fatal kidney damage in mice when injected into the bloodstream. So for P-3Fax-Neu5Ac to have a shot as an antimetastasis drug, it must target cancer cells.center_img That’s the step that researchers led by Gosse Adema, a tumor immunologist at the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, have now taken. In a paper posted online this month in ACS Nano, Adema and his colleagues report packaging P-3Fax-Neu5Ac into nanosized, biodegradable vesicles made from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA, a compound already approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They then coated the vesicles with antibodies that home in on a protein overexpressed on the surface of melanoma cells. Melanoma cells commonly metastasize to the lungs. So in their study, Adema and his colleagues checked whether melanoma cells spread to the lung in mice.It is difficult for lab researchers to quickly study metastases from solid tumors, because they might have to wait for months for rogue cells to slip away. So to speed things up, Adema’s team relied on a standard procedure of injecting cancer cells and the antimetastatic drug into the tail veins of mice and waiting for 2 weeks to see whether the cells began to form new tumor nodules. After 14 days, the Dutch team found that mice that had received the drug-loaded nanovesicles developed 75% fewer tumor nodules in their lungs than did mice given empty nanovesicles.Whether this therapy will succeed in humans remains uncertain, because most drugs that work in mice don’t do so in people. The synthesis of sugar chains on cells, known as glycosylation, differs between humans and mice, so any prospective drug would need to prevent glycosylation in human cancer cells as well. Still, Paulson says, the new finding “opens the door” to the prospect of drugs that inhibit glycosylation as an alternative, or additional, strategy to combat metastatic cancer. Such a discovery won’t make an overnight cancer cure. But it could help researchers learn to prevent the spread of cancer, the disease’s most lethal weapon. Emaillast_img read more

Smithsonian asks legal watchdog to investigate climate skeptics disclosure practices

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email The Smithsonian Institution has asked its independent Inspector General (IG) to investigate allegations that one of its researchers, aerospace engineer Willie Wei-Hock Soon, violated the conflict-of-interest policies of several journals by failing to disclose financial support from a large energy company in his technical papers.“The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research,” the Smithsonian, which is based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement released late Sunday. “The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue: Acting Secretary Albert Horvath has asked the Smithsonian Inspector General to review the matter. Horvath will also lead a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards.”The statement also notes that the Smithsonian “does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change.”center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The moves come after two environmental advocacy groups released documents this past weekend that raised questions about whether Soon had fully disclosed his funding from the Southern Co., a major energy concern, in nine technical papers published in seven journals.Soon is a part-time researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a cooperative institute operated in conjunction with Harvard University. Soon “was hired to conduct research on long-term stellar and solar variability,” the statement notes, adding that the “Smithsonian does not fund Dr. Soon; he pursues external grants to fund his research.”In some of the papers at issue, Soon has essentially argued that variations in the sun’s radiation output play a bigger role in influencing Earth’s climate than do other factors, such as the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide that humans are pumping into the atmosphere. He has also been a vociferous opponent of U.S. government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions; Soon’s work is often cited by politicians who agree with his views. (The Smithsonian notes that its “official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”)The Smithsonian and the observatory are taking the disclosure allegations “very seriously,” Charles Alcock, the observatory’s director, told ScienceInsider today. “We want to understand the facts, and then take whatever steps [needed] to make corrections, if we find things that we don’t like.” Alcock says that, if the IG’s office—which has extensive investigative powers—decides not to undertake the review, “we will do it ourselves.”One key issue, he says, is what disclosure policies were in place at the journals when Soon submitted papers to them. “You can’t hold people to present-day policies that weren’t in effect at the time,” he says. Yesterday, ScienceInsider reported that one of the journals involved, Physical Geography, had no formal conflict-of-interest or disclosure policies when Soon submitted one of the questioned papers, although it does now.In general, Alcock says he believes Soon should have disclosed his funding. “One informal rule that is always useful is: ‘When in doubt, disclose,’ ” he says.It’s not clear, however, what the Smithsonian can do if it concludes Soon did violate journal policies. The organization has no formal policy on disclosure, although officials have said that individual researchers are expected to comply with publishing guidelines.The uproar over Soon’s disclosure practices is unusual in the astronomy and astrophysics community. Most of the public controversies around conflicts of interest have pertained to biomedical science and environmental research. “This is new to us,” Alcock says. “I’ve published throughout my career in [a leading] astrophysics journal and I don’t think I’ve ever filed a disclosure statement. … In fact, our major journals do not have disclosure requirements. … Other fields have a lot experience [with conflicts], and some of it has been painful. I think we are going to have to look to them for guidance.”Alcock doesn’t expect a quick resolution to the current controversy. “We don’t want to be making policy in a hurry, because then we will have unintended consequences,” he says. “We’ll take a measured approach.”last_img read more

A for effort C for impact from US biomedical research study concludes

first_imgCasadevall, who recently moved from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York City to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Bowen of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, offer some reasons for the decline in what they term the “efficiency” of biomedical research. For example, one widely cited argument for the slowdown in new drugs is that companies have already tackled the easiest diseases and targets. But the authors also point to problems within academic research, from mouse studies that aren’t relevant to humans to irreproducible results that they blame on the pressure to publish more papers and get them into high-impact journals.“Our results are best interpreted as a cautionary tale,” Bowen and Casadevall write, and could undermine public confidence in science. They hope their findings will “motivate new efforts to understand the parameters that influence the efficiency of science and its ability to translate discovery into practical applications.” Productivity in the biomedical sciences has exploded in the past 50 years in the United States and globally, with more than a million papers now published each year by an even larger number of scientists. Yet dramatic growth in funding and knowledge has not been matched by a similar impact on U.S. public health. That’s the conclusion of a provocative new analysis from researchers who worry that poor research practices are hindering progress.Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall and M.D./Ph.D. student Anthony Bowen gathered data on what they call “inputs” and “outputs” since 1965—annual inflation–adjusted U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) budgets, papers added to the PubMed database, and the number of paper authors. They then compared the trends to outcomes, such as the number of new molecules approved by the U.S government for use as drugs, and gains in life expectancy. Pubmed Data Collection Details Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Email They found that the NIH budget grew exponentially until flattening in the past decade, that annual publications have grown sixfold, and the number of authors has grown ninefold. In contrast, the total number of new drugs approved has merely doubled (see graph). And gains in U.S. life expectancy have been steady but modest, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Physicists predict a way to squeeze light from the vacuum of empty

first_imgCharged particles zipping through water in a nuclear reactor produce Cherenkov radiation. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Physicists predict a way to squeeze light from the vacuum of empty space Argonne National Laboratory/Wikimedia commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Adrian ChoMar. 29, 2019 , 12:55 PMcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Talk about getting something for nothing. Physicists predict that just by shooting charged particles through an electromagnetic field, it should be possible to generate light from the empty vacuum. In principle, the effect could provide a new way to test the fundamental theory of electricity and magnetism, known as quantum electrodynamics, the most precise theory in all of science. In practice, spotting the effect would require lasers and particle accelerators far more powerful than any that exist now.“I’m quite confident about [the prediction] simply because it combines effects that we understand pretty well,” says Ben King, a laser particle physicist at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the new analysis. Still, he says, an experimental demonstration “is something for the future.”Physicists have long known that energetic charged particles can radiate light when they zip through a transparent medium such as water or a gas. In the medium, light travels slower than it does in empty space, allowing a particle such as an electron or proton to potentially fly faster than light. When that happens, the particle generates an electromagnetic shock wave, just as a supersonic jet creates a shock wave in air. But whereas the jet’s shock wave creates a sonic boom, the electromagnetic shock wave creates light called Cherenkov radiation. That effect causes the water in the cores of nuclear reactors to glow blue, and it’s been used to make particle detectors. Email However, it should be possible to ditch the material and produce Cherenkov light straight from the vacuum, predict Dino Jaroszynski, a physicist at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, U.K., and colleagues. The trick is to shoot the particles through an extremely intense electromagnetic field instead.According to quantum theory, the vacuum roils with particle-antiparticle pairs flitting in and out of existence too quickly to observe directly. The application of a strong electromagnetic field can polarize those pairs, however, pushing positive and negative particles in opposite directions. Passing photons then interact with the not-quite-there pairs so that the polarized vacuum acts a bit like a transparent medium in which light travels slightly slower than in an ordinary vacuum, Jaroszynski and colleagues calculate.Putting two and two together, an energetic charged particle passing through a sufficiently strong electromagnetic field should produce Cherenkov radiation, the team reports in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters. Others had suggested vacuum Cherenkov radiation should exist in certain situations, but the new work takes a more fundamental and all-encompassing approach, says Adam Noble, a physicist at Strathclyde.Spotting vacuum Cherenkov radiation would be tough. First, the polarized vacuum slows light by a tiny amount. The electromagnetic fields in the strongest pulses of laser light reduce light’s speed by about a millionth of a percent, Noble estimates. In comparison, water reduces light’s speed by 25%. Second, charged particles in an electromagnetic field spiral and emit another kind of light called synchroton radiation that, in most circumstances, should swamp the Cherenkov radiation.Still, in principle, it should be possible to produce vacuum Cherenkov radiation by firing high-energy electrons or protons through overlapping pulses from the world’s highest intensity lasers, which can pack a petawatt, or 1015 watts, of power. However, Jaroszynski and colleagues calculate that in such fields, even particles from the world’s highest energy accelerators would produce much more synchrotron radiation than Cherenkov radiation.Space could be another place to look for the effect. Extremely high energy protons passing through the intense magnetic field of a spinning neutron star—also known as a pulsar—should produce more Cherenkov radiation than synchrotron radiation, the researchers predict. However, pulsars don’t produce many high-energy protons, says Alice Harding, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the particles that do enter a pulsar’s magnetic field should quickly lose energy and spiral instead of zipping across it. “I’m not terribly excited about the prospect for pulsars,” she says.Nevertheless, King says, experimenters might see the effect someday. Physicists in Europe are building a trio of 10-petawatt lasers in Romania, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, and their counterparts in China are developing a 100-petawatt laser. Scientists are also trying to create compact laser-driven accelerators that might produce highly energetic particle beams far more cheaply. If those things come together, physicists might be able to spot vacuum Cherenkov radiation, King says.Others are devising different ways to use high-power lasers to probe the polarized vacuum. The ultimate aim of such work is to test quantum electrodynamics in new ways, King says. Experimenters have confirmed the theory’s predictions are accurate to within a few parts in a billion. But the theory has never been tested in the realm of extremely strong fields, King says, and such tests are now becoming possible. “The future of this field is quite exciting.”last_img read more

The Year Without a Summer

first_imgToday, seemingly more than ever before, climate change is a hot topic of almost any political and social debate. Is our modern lifestyle artificially interfering with the climate or is it a natural occurrence independent from human activity? The debate rages on. However, climate abnormalities are not something humanity is encountering for the first time. A historical episode that shows another dark environmental period of the Earth is the year 1816, known in history as the “Year Without a Summer”, “Poverty Year” or “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”According to USA Today, this extremely harsh year caused average global temperatures to decrease by 32-33 °F (0.4–0.7 °C). It brought snow in the middle of June followed by a freezing winter in July and August. This extraordinary weather change destroyed crops and the food supply became so scarce that countless people in North America and Europe suffered a great famine. In fact the Year Without a Summer is the sixth-deadliest disaster in Great Britain and Ireland by death toll (65,000).1816 summer temperature anomaly compared to average temperatures from 1971–2000. Photo by Giorgiogp2 CC BY-SA 3.0One of the claimed scientific reasons for this climate anomaly was the biggest volcanic eruption in history which took place in Indonesia on Mount Tambora in 1815. The aftermath of this event resulted in large quantities of dust and ash leaking into the atmosphere causing a serious change decrease in temperatures.The resulting famine spread deadly diseases far and wide so people were forced to move away from their homes.Experts and scientists claim that this black scenario could possibly happen again due to the fact that volcanoes still erupt and no one can be certain when the next big eruption is going to happen.The 1815 Mount Tambora eruption. The red areas are maps of the thickness of volcanic ashfall.  CC BY-SA 3.0Considering this, any big eruption may prove to be far more fatal than any man-made ecological catastrophes.The tragic events of the year 1816 were also sealed in the pages of the book “The Year without Summer” by William B. Klingaman and co-author Nicholas P. Klingaman. The latter stated at the time that humanity is still unable to predict volcano eruptions and their destructive potential can only increase.The yellow skies typical of summer 1815 had a profound impact on the paintings of J.M.W. TurnerUSA Today reports that according to Klingman’s book, the eruption of Tambora is “by far the deadliest volcanic eruption in human history, with a death toll of at least 71,000 people, 12,000 of whom were killed directly by the eruption. And this doesn’t take into account the indirect deaths caused by the resulting famine.The volcano spewed out enough ash and pumice to cover a square area of 100 miles on each side with a depth of almost 12 feet. NASA also confirms that an eruption can cool a particular area and spread sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere where it then forms sulfate aerosols due to its reaction with water vapor.Turner’s classic sunset paintings were inspired by dust from volcanic eruptions including at Mount Tambora. This is the “Chichester Canal” (1828)The aerosols are highly durable and cool the surface of the Earth by reflecting sunlight.The heavy June snowstorms that year not only killed most of the crops but also froze many birds to death as well as other animals. Two months later, the freeze in August hit even harder, forcing people to survive in dreadful ways by eating pigeons, raccoons and other unsavory snacks.When The Arctic Warms, Extreme US Weather Is More FrequentThe Year Without Summer transformed many of Europe’s communities into impoverished crowds who, on top of that, had to fight a typhus epidemic.Dark storm clouds on a deserted dirt road. Many people had to flee their homes due to the ravages caused by the summerless year.After reading this unpleasant chapter in Earth’s natural history, one would naturally wonder when humanity can expect a return of this cruel climate episode. According to Klingaman, though eruptions like Tambora happen once every 1,000 years, smaller eruptions aren’t less of a problem.For example, the 1991 Pinatubo eruption cooled the Earth’s surface by nearly 34 °F (1 °C).1991 Mount Pinatubo eruptionTaking into account that today’s global temperatures are steadily increasing, it is understandable that a huge eruption could result in a network of disasters. USA Today adds that if it were to ever happen, it would be temporary and the warming would take up to several years to reappear again.Read another story from us: UK Heatwave Reveals Ancient Archaeological Sites Throughout BritainInterestingly, The Year without Summer had one positive effect. It inspired the British painter J.M.W Turner who painted breathtaking landscapes of the sunset after the Tambora eruption. The painting is named “The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, Fighting Bucks” and according to the Daily Mail it was painted many years after Tambora, presenting volcanic ash and gas in the sky under the warm colors of the sunset.last_img read more

Navajo County brings on John Osgood as public works director

first_imgNavajo County brings on John Osgood as public works director March 20, 2018 Photo by Toni GibbonsPublic Works Director John Osgood was introduced at the Navajo County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 13.center_img By Toni Gibbons Navajo County Manager Glenn Kephart introduced new Public Works Director John Osgood to the Navajo County Board of Supervisors at the meeting on March 13. “I think people will find John responsive,Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

Notice to son Vijayvargiya says PM is supreme party can act

first_imgAmid talk in the party that action will be taken against Akash following Modi’s strong disapproval, Vijayvargiya said Akash will “give his version” once he gets a show-cause notice.Vijayvargiya, who has been credited with the stunning performance of the BJP in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections, maintained that the Prime Minister’s word is final. “The Prime Minister is our supreme leader. His decision is final and the party is duty-bound to follow his directives.”akash vijayvargiya, kailash vijayvargiya, akash vijayvargiya violence, akash vijayvargiya hits civic officer, pm modi, pm modi condemns violence, akash vijayvargiya hits civic officer with bat, india news, Akash Vijayvargiya, BJP MLA from Indore assaulted a municipal officer with a cricket bat.He said he is “convinced” that the “Prime Minister will take decisions for the good of the party only.”Two days ago, at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party, Modi sent a strong message to the party rank and file, saying arrogance and misbehaviour will not be tolerated irrespective of “whoever it may be, whoever’s son he may be”. “When the notice comes, we will put our version. Let the party take appropriate action after it. But I don’t want this issue to flare up again. We are obedient servants of the BJP,” he said. Best Of Express Related News Notice to son, Vijayvargiya says PM is supreme, party can act Kailash Vijayvargiya, who has been credited with the stunning performance of the BJP in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections, maintained that the Prime Minister’s word is final.In first remarks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong disapproval of the conduct of his son Akash Vijayvargiya, BJP MLA from Indore who assaulted a municipal officer with a cricket bat, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya Thursday said the BJP should initiate action against his son because the “party is everything” and Modi is their “supreme leader”. ‘Wrong can’t be defended’: Sumitra Mahajan on Akash Vijayavargiya’s assault on civic officer More Explained Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan Advertising LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? 0 Comment(s) Unaware of showcause notice by BJP to son, says Kailash Vijayvargiya Advertising Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Elected to the Madhya Pradesh assembly for the first time in the state elections last year, Akash was arrested on June 26 for assaulting an Indore Municipal Corporation official with a cricket bat. The incident was caught on camera and the video clip did the rounds of social media.Expressing strong displeasure over the incident, Modi was said to have quoted Akash’s remark — Nivedan, Aavedan, Danadan (first request and then action) — and asked: “What sort of language is this?”Also read | Madhya Pradesh: House at centre of Akash Vijayvargiya controversy set to be demolished todayReleased on bail on June 30, Akash was garlanded by BJP workers in Indore when he walked out of prison. Modi also told the party meeting that those who had welcomed him should be suspended. Advertising PM Modi should caution all BJP politicians who assume they have the licence to throw their weight around Vijayvargiya said his son has already expressed regret and is ready to face any action by the party. “He has already said, Modiji is like his grandfather and he will accept the punishment the party gives him. I too have told him he should be ready to face consequences now,” he said.Asked about remarks of some state BJP leaders that they were unable to take action because Akash is the son of a very senior leader, Vijayvargiya said: “Rakesh Singhji (BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit president) is our leader in the state. He should not hesitate to take action against anyone if one violates party discipline. I would urge him to initiate action against him (Akash).” Taking stock of monsoon rain BJP sources, meanwhile, said the state unit has served Akash a show-cause notice, seeking an explanation for his behaviour.Read | BJP’s disciplinary committee issues showcause notice to MLA Akash VijayvargiyaSaying he is ready to accept the party decision “whatever it may be and how much ever strong it will be”, Vijayvargiya told The Indian Express: “I want to end this controversy. We are all servants of our party. We want to accept whatever decision the BJP leadership is taking on this matter. BJP is everything for us and we don’t want to inflict more damage to the party.” Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: July 5, 2019 6:59:35 amlast_img read more

Sri Lanka in talks for 1 billion loan from Chinaled lender

first_img Related News Sri Lankan soldier arrested for attack on newspaper editor 10 years ago Advertising Sri Lanka to revive suspended visa on arrival programme to 39 countries excluding India Where India stands in battle against measles, how Sri Lanka eliminated it By Reuters |Colombo | Published: June 21, 2019 2:11:18 pm Post Comment(s) sri lanka, sri lanka economy, sri lanka loan, sri lanka bank loans, sri lanka asian infrastructure investment bank, asian infrastructure investment bank, sri lanka terrorist attack, sri lanka political turmoil, sri lanka 1 billion dollars loan, world news, indian express Sri Lanka has been beset by political infighting since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October last year, before reinstating him weeks later after a constitutional crisis that hit the economy. (AP File Photo)Sri Lanka is in talks with the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for a $1 billion dollar loan, the finance ministry said, to help an economy that has been badly hit by a deadly terrorist attack and political turmoil. “We have been discussing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to obtain nearly an additional $1 billion for further development of the Power and Highway sectors,” the ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.The ministry said that the bank also approved $280 million for a renovations in the capital Colombo.The ministry said that there are projects worth around $271 million being carried out across the country to boost growth. Sri Lanka has been beset by political infighting since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October last year, before reinstating him weeks later after a constitutional crisis that hit the economy.More recently, the lucrative tourism industry was badly hit after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks by Islamic militants that killed 250 people.Sri Lanka’s economy grew at 3.7 per cent, its fastest pace in nearly a year from January to March, accelerating from a growth rate of 1.8 per cent the previous quarter – its slowest pace since early 2014, due to the political crisis.But despite the recovery at the start of the year, growth will likely slump to a nearly two-decade low in 2019, a Reuters poll showed, as tourism, foreign investment and business activity eased sharply in the wake of the bombings.Last month, central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said he expected the economy to grow by 3 per cent or less this year, due to the impact of the bombings.The bank had earlier projected 4 per cent growth. Advertisinglast_img read more

Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory

first_imgAn enzyme (pink) places a chemical mark (gold) on messenger RNA (blue), in an artist’s concept. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Of at least half a dozen modifications of mRNA, m6A is the best studied. When proteins called readers attach to it, they direct the fate of the marked mRNA—which can vary dramatically.For example, m6A boosts gene expression needed for embryonic stem cells to properly differentiate into different cell types. But in blood stem cells, m6A restricts differentiation. In leukemia—a disease of blood stem cells gone awry—m6A sustains disease by keeping the cells in a stemlike state. In 2017, three groups, including Kharas’s, independently showed that eliminating the enzyme that places m6A on mRNA kills tumor cells in acute myeloid leukemia. At least three biotech companies are now developing experimental drugs to block such enzymes.At the meeting, Tony Kouzarides of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom reported a new mRNA modification and an associated enzyme that drives leukemia. “I suspect there will be many, many more” links to leukemia, he said.M6A has also turned out to be critical in the brain. Through its readers, it controls the precise timing of new neuron formation during development in mice and enables axons to regenerate after nerve injury. The modification also enhances memory. When He’s team knocked out the gene for an m6A reader in mice, the otherwise normal animals had memory defects. Injecting a virus carrying the normal reader gene reversed the effect. And when the researchers chemically stimulated the neurons to mimic the addition of a new memory, they saw a burst of protein synthesis that depended on m6A, they reported last year in Nature.Several years ago, Oberdoerffer followed a hunch that cells might use another simple chemical unit, an acetyl group, on mRNA. Her team reported last year in Cell that many mRNA cytosine bases are acetylated. The change boosts translation by stabilizing the molecules, and perhaps also by helping mRNAs match up with the correct transfer RNAs (tRNAs), the small RNA molecules that read the mRNA and add an amino acid to a growing protein chain. When mRNA and tRNA complement each other, they bind, triggering the addition of the amino acid. But the system isn’t exact—there are many more possible mRNA sequences than there are tRNAs, so tRNAs must somehow find (and bind to) some mRNAs that don’t match.Oberdoerffer’s team found a clue to the mystery: an acetylated mRNA base often sits where a tRNA must recognize the mRNA despite a mismatch. The RNA modification’s presence dramatically boosts gene translation, the researchers found. Oberdoerffer doesn’t think the modification is necessary for correct mRNA-tRNA recognition, but it may strengthen binding. “I think we will learn that the genetic code as we know it is not a static entity,” she says.Like other fledgling areas of research, RNA epigenetics (also known as epitranscriptomics) has its skeptics. In 2016, one group reported in Nature it had found a new modification, m1A, at more than 7000 sites across a cell’s complement of mRNAs. But a year later in the same journal, another group claimed that at most 15 mRNA m1A sites exist. “Because of that, everyone in the molecular biology community is a little bit suspicious about the validity of these [mRNA] modifications,” Jaffrey says.Other disputes rage over the functions of key enzymes and reader proteins. But epitranscriptomics is evolving fast. “We just need … a lot more knowledge about these things,” He says. “We need to stay open minded. The field is still very young.” Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory The idea that chemical tags on genes can affect their expression without altering the DNA sequence, once surprising, is the stuff of textbooks. The phenomenon, epigenetics, has now come to messenger RNA (mRNA), the molecule that carries genetic information from DNA to a cell’s proteinmaking factories. At a conference here last month, researchers discussed evidence that RNA epigenetics is also critical for gene expression and disease, and they described a new chemical modification linked to leukemia.Research has found that epigenetic marks decorate mRNAs like Christmas lights on a fence. The cell uses the marks “to determine where, when, and how much of the [associated] protein should be generated,” RNA biologist Pedro Batista of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, said at the conference. What’s more, says Michael Kharas of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, mRNA modifications “can affect the viability of cells, whether cells divide, cancer, neurologic diseases.” They are providing promising leads for drug developers. And, he adds, “There’s so many [more] diseases these things could be important in, ones people aren’t even looking at.”Modified mRNAs had been reported in the 1970s, but by 2008 they were largely forgotten. Then, Chuan He at the University of Chicago, Samie Jaffrey at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Gideon Rechavi at Tel Aviv University in Israel took a fresh look. Their teams focused on one mRNA modification called m6A: a methyl group—a simple chemical unit—attached to some of an RNA molecule’s adenine bases. He’s group showed that a well-known enzyme removes this mRNA modification, indicating that m6A has an important biological role, and Jaffrey’s and Rechavi’s groups developed mapping tools that showed it is widespread. Before the work, researchers knew mRNA epigenetic marks were there, but “they just didn’t know how to actually look for them,” says NCI researcher Shalini Oberdoerffer. 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US State Department proposes 2 billion sale of arms to Taiwan

first_img US State Department imposes visa ban on several DR Congo officials Advertising 1 Comment(s) US State Department, usa, us arms sale to taiwan, america arms sale to taiwan, us taiwan, world news, Abrams tanks, Stinger surface to air missiles US President Donald Trump with an M1A2 Abrams tank at the Lima Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. The US is proposing the sale of .2 billion in arms to Taiwan, including 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, sidestepping protests from China. (Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times/File)The US State Department is proposing the sale of $2.2 billion in arms to Taiwan, including 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, sidestepping protests from China. By AP |Washington | Published: July 9, 2019 10:28:09 am Senior Afghan official publicly criticizes US negotiator Khalilzad on visit to Washington In rare rebuke, US State Department summons visiting Afghan NSA Related News The tanks represent a significant upgrade to Taiwan’s aging armored battle fleet. Congress has been notified of the proposed sale and lawmakers can vote to stop it.The Chinese foreign ministry has said it firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its territory.The State Department says the arms will help Taiwan “meet current and future regional threats” and enhance its ability to operate with the US and other partners.Taiwan split from China in 1949, and has no formal diplomatic ties with the US America is Taiwan’s main supplier of defensive weapons.last_img read more

Apple Drone Fleet to Gather Maps Data

first_imgApple has assembled a group of robotics and data-collection experts who will use unmanned aerial vehicles — that is, drones — to obtain data for updates to its Maps app, Bloomberg reported Thursday.Apple, Google and others in the cartography space currently collect a lot of their data using motor vehicles equipped with high-tech gear.”That’s a very expensive and time-consuming process,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst at Navigant Research.”Doing it with drones provides the potential to gather the same kind of data in a much more cost-effective manner and do it more rapidly,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Drones allow them to cover more territory faster,” observed Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.”It is the most obvious way to help keep road data up to speed at all times,” he told TechNewsWorld. The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year approved Apple’s request to operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography and videography.The approval is subject to a number of conditions and limitations: a drone’s speed can not exceed 87 knots; its altitude is limited to 400 feet; and its flight operations must be kept at least 500 feet away from all persons, vessels, vehicles and structures, with certain exceptions.In addition, drones must be flown during daylight hours and within eyesight of a pilot licensed to operate a UAV.Apple also plans to add an indoor navigation features to Maps to help people find their away around high-traffic buildings, such as airport terminals and museums, according to the Bloomberg report. The company likely will use technology gained with two recent acquisitions — Indoor.io and WiFiSlam — for that purpose.”Apple wants to give iPhone users no reason to download Google Maps,” explained Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.”With both of them heavily pushing payment technologies, you can see Apple’s interest in being able to direct customers to the exact location of a can of tomato soup in a supermarket if there’s an opportunity to pay using their phones,” he told TechNewsWorld. Drone Alone When Apple introduced its Maps app in 2012, it marked one of biggest missteps in the company’s history. Since that time, it has bumped up the accuracy of the app and added features like faster data updates, public transit navigation, better search results, and support for services such as Uber ride-hailing and OpenTable restaurant reservations.As good as Maps has become, it still has a way to go before it can best chief rival Google.”I think Apple can approximate what Google does, but Google seems to have more resources dedicated to developing their maps,” said Michael Blades, senior industry analyst for aerospace and defense at Frost & Sullivan.”While Apple seems to want to challenge with this drone idea, the overall information in Google Maps will likely still be better, with Apple perhaps having better information in the local areas where drone-gathered data is implemented,” he pointed out. “Bottom line: Apple has vastly improved its Maps app, but I think the Google infrastructure related to its Maps app will keep it ahead for the foreseeable future.” Indoor Maps Importance of Mapscenter_img Catching Google Maps are a crucial component for any company that wants to profit in the mobile space, especially one that wants to build revenue from its service offerings, as Apple does.”The Maps app is associated with many location-based services, such as finding nearby restaurants, shopping [and] movies,” SDSU’s Tsou explained.”Mapping services, including navigation, are the most frequently used services in both iOS and Android phones — and one of the top data transaction categories in the mobile networks,” he continued.”Good mapping services will help location-based services and their partners get more customers and get more money,” Tsou added. “It is one of the most important services on mobile phones linking to many key partners and developers.” However, drones are no substitute for a fleet of ground vehicles, maintained Tsou, a professor in the geography department at San Diego State University.”I don’t think drones can replace the ground vehicles since there are many limitations of UAVs,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The viewpoint of drones is very different from a car. For car navigation purposes, the car view is more important than an airplane view.”There are other disadvantages to using drones for information collecion.”Most folks recognize a Google Street View car as it drives along the road, and even a Street View pedestrian with the huge camera and backpack is pretty recognizable,” noted Ken Hyers, director of wireless device strategies for Strategy Analytics.However, “a small drone whizzing around may surprise or irritate folks,” he told TechNewsWorld.Privacy also will be an issue.”When a ground vehicle collects this information, it is driving along public roads and can only see what’s visible from the road,” Hyers explained, “but a drone can peek over fences, look in backyards, and into rooms behind balconies.” John Mello is a freelance technology writer and contributor to Chief Security Officer magazine. You can connect with him on Google+.last_img read more

Apples iOS 11 Makes Siri a More Natural Woman and Man

first_imgNever Wanting Customers The Apple Pay mobile payment system gets an expansion in iOS 11. It will be able to make person-to-person payments through the iMessage app.”Apple Pay is the No. 1 contactless payment service on mobile devices, and by the end of the year, it’ll be available in more than 50 percent of retailers in the U.S.,” said Federighi.The new iOS expands its use of NFC technology. Up to now, NFC use has been limited to Apple Pay. With iOS 11, it also will read tags, which can convey information about a product to a device, or provide authentication.Adding that function helps the NFC market in a number of ways. For example, companies and developers working with tags no longer have to cobble together workarounds to accommodate iOS devices.”There are a lot of examples of applications that have been successful in Europe and Asia. where the Android market share is much higher,” explained Paula Hunter, executive director of the NFC Forum.”Here in the U.S., we’ve had a lot of application providers hesitant to go full throttle with NFC, because a significant portion of the market is served by Apple,” she told TechNewsWorld. With the next version of iOS, Apple will add some desired productivity features to the iPad. For example, it has a new customizable dock that can be pulled up at the bottom of the screen with a finger flick to give you quick access to your favorite apps.”To someone trying to get real work done, I think some of the improvements to iPad iOS will be welcomed — in particular, the new dock,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.”The new dock puts a new spin on multitasking, moving iOS closer to macOS,” he told TechNewsWorld.On the other hand, for consumers who use their iPad Pros primarily for content consumption, the new features could make the devices seem a bit more complex than they’re used to, Moorhead pointed out.Other productivity enhancements include an improved app switcher for moving between active apps, and a new feature for managing files — not only locally and in iCloud, but on services like Box, Dropbox and OneDrive. Moving files, text and photos is easier, too, with a new drag-and-drop feature.Apple Pencil is more deeply integrated into the iPad with iOS 11. Inline drawing is supported, and the Notes app can be accessed from the lock screen with a tap of the pencil. Parlez Vous Francais In addition, there’s a translation function. You can tell Siri to ask, “What are the most popular dishes in your restaurant?” in Chinese, and it will ask the question in that language. Languages initially supported by Siri translate are English, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.Siri’s IQ also got a boost.”Siri not only understands your voice, it understands the context,” Apple Senior Vice President for Software Engineering Craig Federighi said at WWDC. “It understands your interests. It understands how you use your device, and this allows it to ultimately understand what you want next.”In iOS 11, Siri uses on-device learning to understand topics of interest to you so it can flag news items that might interest you, or make a calendar appointment based on reservation made on the Web. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Apple supports two new media formats in the new iOS: HEVC for video and HEIF for photos. Both formats offer good quality and smaller file sizes.The company also improved its Memories app to identify photos in more ways — by anniversaries, for example, or sporting events or birthdays.When the new iOS arrives next fall, developers need not worry about finding customers for their wares, Apple CEO Tim Cook told the audience at the WWDC keynote presentation on Monday.”Eighty-six percent of our customers are running iOS 10 and taking advantage of its capabilities. This blows away other platforms that suffer from horrible fragmentation,” he said.”With iOS, developers can always target the latest capabilities and features of our latest operating system,” added Cook, “and be confident that there’s customers there for them.” New Voice, New Sexcenter_img iPad Gets Productive With iOS 11, Apple has given Siri a voice that’s more natural and expressive. What’s more, a male voice has been added.”I like how Apple is underscoring the idea of ‘more natural,'” said Tuong Nguyen, an analyst with Gartner.”Conversational interfaces are arguably the most intuitive way to interact with machines,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Apple’s competitors certainly agree, given the efforts and emphasis they’ve put on it.” New voices for Siri and peer-to-peer payments are among the new features in the next version of Apple’s mobile device operating system iOS 11, previewed at the company’s annual Worldwide Development Conference on Monday.”With the new operating system, Apple has doubled down on many of the applications it has developed for iOS,” said Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research.”Much of the enhancement of the OS has come via those core applications versus general new functionality,” he told TechNewsWorld.How Apple has improved Siri for the upcoming OS is an example of that. Messages in the Cloud Apple’s new OS will make it easier for developers to forge applications that tap into the camera and motion sensors in iOS devices to create augmented reality programs through ARKit.”Tim Cook excited the market a number of times last year by speaking about AR,” Gartner’s Nguyen said. “This announcements feels like more of an official endorsement-acknowledgement of AR as a tech everyone should be paying attention to.”With iOS 11, Apple’s Messages app will be integrated with iCloud. That enables all conversations to be synchronized automatically across a user’s devices. In addition to be being convenient, the feature saves space on a device, because most messages will be stored in the cloud. Paying Your Peerslast_img read more

Study finds increased risks to mother and baby when pregnancies are closely

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 29 2018Twelve to 18 months seems to be the ideal length of time between giving birth and getting pregnant again, according to new research from the University of British Columbia and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.In a study published Oct. 29 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that getting pregnant less than 12 months after delivery is associated with risks for women of all ages. Risks to the mother were found only for women over the age of 35, while risks to the infant were found for all women, but were greatest for women between the ages of 20-34.”Our study found increased risks to both mother and infant when pregnancies are closely spaced, including for women older than 35,” said the study’s lead author Laura Schummers, a postdoctoral fellow in the UBC department of family practice who carried out the study as part of her dissertation at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The findings for older women are particularly important, as older women tend to more closely space their pregnancies and often do so intentionally.”The study is the most extensive evaluation of how the role of pregnancy spacing could be impacted by maternal age. It is also the first investigation of pregnancy spacing and maternal mortality or severe morbidity–rare but life-threatening complications of pregnancy, labour and delivery–in a high-income country.For the study, researchers examined the relationship between risks for mothers and babies associated with pregnancy spacing among 148,544 pregnancies in B.C. The data was pulled together from birth records, billing codes, hospitalization data, prescription data for infertility information, and census records.Among women over 35 who conceived six months after a previous birth, the researchers found a 1.2 per cent risk (12 cases per 1,000 pregnancies) of maternal mortality or severe morbidity. Waiting 18 months between pregnancies, however, reduced the risk to 0.5 per cent (five cases per 1,000 pregnancies).Related StoriesTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Dry cracked skin of eczema patients promotes ‘atopic march’Concurrent use of benzodiazepine and opioids complicates neonatal abstinence syndromeFor younger women, the researchers found an 8.5 per cent risk (85 cases per 1,000 pregnancies) of spontaneous preterm birth–delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy after labour that started on its own, for pregnancies spaced at six months. For younger women who waited 18 months between pregnancies, however, the risk dropped to 3.7 per cent (37 cases per 1,000 pregnancies).Among older women, the risk of spontaneous preterm labour was about six per cent (60 cases per 1,000 pregnancies) at the six-month interval, compared to 3.4 per cent (34 cases per 1,000 pregnancies) at the 18-month interval.Although the causes of poor pregnancy outcomes at short intervals among older and younger women were not examined in this study, the findings suggest different risk profiles for each age group.”Short pregnancy spacing might reflect unplanned pregnancies, particularly among young women,” said Dr. Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Whether the elevated risks are due to our bodies not having time to recover if we conceive soon after delivering or to factors associated with unplanned pregnancies, like inadequate prenatal care, the recommendation might be the same: improve access to postpartum contraception, or abstain from unprotected sexual intercourse with a male partner following a birth.”Senior author Dr. Wendy Norman, associate professor in the UBC department of family practice, said these findings of a shorter optimal interval are encouraging for women over 35 who are planning their families.”Older mothers for the first time have excellent evidence to guide the spacing of their children,” said Norman. “Achieving that optimal one-year interval should be doable for many women, and is clearly worthwhile to reduce complication risks.” Source:https://news.ubc.ca/2018/10/29/at-least-one-year-between-pregnancies-reduces-risks-for-mother-and-baby/?preview=truelast_img read more

FDA announces new actions to limit sale of ecigarettes to youth

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 16 2018The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center applauds new actions announced today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to limit the sale of most flavored electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to age-restricted locations and require age-verification for online sales to lower the use of these products in children. In addition, the FDA plans to restrict the marketing of these products toward youth.”Today’s actions by the FDA represent a significant step toward protecting the health of our future generations,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “These flavored products often are appealing to children and adolescents, and we support measures to prevent young people from developing a lifetime of addiction to nicotine, which can lead to a variety of health problems and potentially future tobacco use.”According to data today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 3.6 million middle and high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2018, up more than 1.5 million relative to 2017. Recognizing this as an epidemic among young people in this country, the FDA proposed actions to curb youth appeal in September 2018.”While we have been encouraged by the progress made in lowering tobacco use, we remain troubled by the epidemic rates of e-cigarette use among our young people,” said Ernest Hawk, M.D., division head and vice president of Cancer Prevention & Population Sciences. “It’s especially concerning because of the wide variety of products available, each with different ingredients and nicotine concentrations. We can’t really be sure what these products contain, what they deliver to users or what the corresponding health concerns may be.”According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on e-cigarettes, the aerosol produced by these products is not a harmless vapor, but contains a number of volatile chemicals and known carcinogens. Further, the Surgeon General has affirmed a strong association between the use of e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco products. Nicotine itself is a highly addictive chemical that can disrupt adolescent brain development, impacting learning, mood and anxiety.Recognizing the importance of educating youth about tobacco use and its harms, MD Anderson has a variety of programs designed to prevent tobacco initiation. Researchers led by Alex Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Science, developed A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience (ASPIRE), a youth-oriented tobacco prevention and cessation curriculum. The online program is designed to provide an engaging way for teens to learn about the dangers of tobacco products. Since its web-based launch in 2008, ASPIRE has reached 100,291 students in 8 countries. In 2018, the team launched an updated version of the curriculum, including new content focused on alternative tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes and hookah.Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationFurther, as founding partners of the CATCH Global Foundation, MD Anderson and UTHealth School of Public Health support distribution of a youth e-cigarette prevention curriculum, CATCH My Breath, to middle schools across the country.MD Anderson also has served as a resource for statewide tobacco control policies to protect the health of future generations. Through MD Anderson’s EndTobacco® program, MD Anderson collaborated with The University of Texas System to launch the system-wide Eliminate Tobacco Use initiative in 2016, which supports a variety of collaborative actions designed to advance a tobacco-free culture on all UT System campuses. This effort led to all 14 institutions of the UT System becoming tobacco-free as of June 2017.Additionally, EndTobacco has served as an educational resource to policy makers considering actions to limit youth tobacco exposure, such as raising the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 and a law adopted in 2017 to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under 18. EndTobacco is an initiative of the cancer prevention and control platform, part of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™, a collaborative effort to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that save patients’ lives.”Tobacco use remains the leading cause of cancer in the United States and, unfortunately, the leading preventable cause of death,” said Hawk. “We would encourage parents and educators to learn more about the health risks associated with e-cigarettes and talk to children about avoiding these products. Together, we remain committed to advancing evidence-based programs and policies that will lower current and future tobacco use, with the goal of saving lives and reducing current and future suffering from tobacco-related conditions.” Source:https://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/2018/11/fda-restrictions-on-e-cigarettes-important-step-to-protect-the-health-of-youth.htmllast_img read more

Study highlights need for better screening tools to detect maternal sepsis

first_img Source:https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/rounds/screening-tools-can-miss-sepsis-pregnancy-study-urges-action Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 21 2018A woman lies in her hospital bed. Her heart rate is elevated, she has a slight fever and an elevated white blood cell count.Could this be the beginnings of sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to an infection? Or could these simply be signs of a normal pregnancy?Maternal sepsis, which occurs during pregnancy or postpartum, is a rare but possibly preventable complication that accounts for 12.7 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States each year.”A lot of the things you depend on to tell you there’s an infection can be altered in pregnancy,” says Melissa Bauer, D.O., of the department of anesthesiology. Those include a patient’s vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate.Which is why many clinicians face difficulty in diagnosing sepsis in laboring women fast enough to intervene and save lives.”Currently, there are no good ways to identify these women early,” Bauer says. “We’re working on figuring out the best way to do that.”To address this challenge, she and a large team at Michigan Medicine and academic medical centers across the country and in Israel combed through medical records to see which of three screening tools would do the best job of catching sepsis cases.The paper, published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, also identifies risk factors for developing sepsis, pointing to simple interventions that could reduce the number of maternal deaths.”We need physicians to take a good, long look at the patient and make sure that vital signs are reassessed frequently, because things can change quickly.” Melissa Bauer, D.O.The right tool for the jobThe team examined three screening tools commonly used over the past two decades to identify sepsis: Bauer’s team collected information on vital signs, potential risk factors for sepsis, lab values and how the women were cared for in a set of patients with sepsis and a control set without the condition.Related StoriesData collected by ESHRE show rise in use of IVF in infertility treatmentMaternal prepregnancy surgery linked to increased risk of opioid withdrawal in newbornsOpioids are major cause of pregnancy-related deaths in UtahIn doing so, they found that the screening tools had vastly different sensitivities and specificities.A screening tool’s sensitivity refers to its ability to correctly identify patients with a disease. Specificity refers to the ability of the test to correctly identify patients without the disease.The SIRS tool had the highest sensitivity but the lowest specificity, while qSOFA had the lowest sensitivity and the highest specificity.”In my opinion, it is better for a test to have a higher sensitivity so that anyone with sepsis is caught,” Bauer says. Shockingly, the researchers found that qSOFA would miss about half of the sepsis patients they reviewed.However, specificity is still important.”If you have poor specificity, you’ll probably run into alarm fatigue, with caregivers constantly on alert for patients who don’t have anything wrong,” Bauer notes. “There has to be a balance.”Vigilance is keyThe study also points to areas for improvement in the care of laboring mothers.Researchers note that the Surviving Sepsis Campaign international guidelines recommend administering broad-spectrum antibiotics within the first hour of diagnosis, something that was not achieved in almost 36 percent of sepsis cases they reviewed.And delaying treatment can be deadly: 20 percent of mothers who did not receive antibiotics within the first hour died, compared with just over 8 percent of mothers who were treated more promptly.Bauer hypothesizes that possible reasons for slow action were delays in getting the right drugs from the pharmacy, lack of adequate IV access and the failure to triage and verify the administration of antibiotics.Their chart review also revealed a surprising lack of data on vital signs.”Even women who died hadn’t had vital signs checked in quite a while,” says Bauer, adding that care teams need to work together for the safety of every patient.”We need physicians to take a good, long look at the patient and make sure that vital signs are reassessed frequently, because things can change quickly.”center_img The Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) criteria, in use from 1992 to 2016 The quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA), recommended by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and others to replace SIRS in 2016 The Maternal Early Warning (MEW) criteria, designed to identify women at risk for a wide array of maternal complications, including pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage and sepsislast_img read more

New findings from a safety and feasibility clinical trial on removal of

first_img Source:https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/senescent-cell-research-moves-into-human-trials-2/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 7 2019Mayo Clinic researchers, along with collaborators from Wake Forest School of Medicine and the The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, have published findings from a safety and feasibility clinical trial on the removal of senescent cells from a small group of patients with pulmonary fibrosis. The findings appear in EBioMedicine.While lung function, clinical test outcomes, frailty levels and overall health among the patients did not change, all 14 participants showed clinically meaningful improvement in physical function in nine doses over three weeks. That ability was measured in four tests: gait speed, walking speed in six minutes, a chair rise test and a score related to a bank of physical function tests.Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchOlympus launches next-generation X Line objectives for clinical, research applications”This was a short safety trial to determine if we should move ahead with actual large-scale human trials,” says senior author James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging. “It’s important to emphasize that, while some measurable improvement was noted in all the participants, this is simply the start of human studies. We don’t know what lies ahead.” Senescent or semidormant cells (sometimes called “zombie cells”) form in many areas of the body and cause aspects of aging and frailty, ranging from osteoporosis to diabetes and muscle weakness. In this case, researchers are focusing on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive and fatal condition that is related to senescent cells. The researchers used a drug called a senolytic – dasatinib plus quercetin, an open-label drug, to clear the senescent cells.”We are studying the effectiveness of this and other senolytic drugs, but that does not mean that these should be used by patients or prescribed by physicians for any off-label conditions,” says Dr. Kirkland. “I want to emphasize that no one should take these drugs. This research is only beginning.”last_img read more

Glutenfree wheat can be produced for people with celiac disease by using

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 28 2019One to two per cent of the population has Celiac Disease (CD), an immune reaction to gluten. Wheat grains contain gluten, a mixture of glutenin and gliadin proteins, which build a network that gives wheat bread its unique properties and quality. Most gliadins and part of the glutenins contain immunogenic epitopes, which are the actual trigger of the immune reaction. A gluten-free diet, excluding wheat, barley and rye, is currently the only remedy for celiac patients. This diet is not easy to adhere to, partly because wheat gluten is added to many processed food products for their viscoelastic properties. In addition, gluten-free products typically require the inclusion of numerous additives to adjust their texture and taste, resulting in products that are often less healthy than gluten-based equivalents, and more expensive. Thus there is a need to develop healthier food products for coeliac patients.One can now use CRISPR/Cas to remove all gluten genes, which would produce a gluten-free wheat which is interesting for many people who want to eat gluten-free, but it would have an inferior baking quality. In her PhD thesis, Aurélie Jouanin describes an alternative use of gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9 to precisely modify gliadin genes and strip them of immunogenic epitopes, to develop wheat with safe gluten. As a proof of principle she generated wheat plants in which some gliadin genes were modified or removed. These edited wheat plants are not yet safe for CD patients, as there is a large number of gluten genes present in wheat and not all gluten genes have been targeted. She has therefore also developed high-throughput methods to determine which genes have been modified and which remain to be edited in future steps towards a safe wheat variety.The regulation of gene editing as Genetic Modification (GM) in Europe is currently a hot topic. She discusses the inconsistency of the European regulation of gene editing in plants by displaying the similarities of mutations in gliadin genes that are obtained using random γ-irradiation mutagenesis and those obtained by targeted mutagenesis using gene editing. The former is being exempted from GM regulation while the latter is being subjected to GM regulation, following the ruling of the European Court of Justice in July 2018. She advises the European Commission to review its position on the matter and to regulate gene editing based on scientific evidence regarding the generated products, and on the innovation principle as part of responsible research innovation initiatives.Finally, she discusses some recently developed CRISPR approaches that may result in faster development of wheat with gluten that do not cause an immune reaction. The benefits and potential risks related to gene-edited wheat with gluten that do not cause an immune reaction are discussed. The requirement for producing and processing these varieties are touched upon. New test methods for food products need to be developed, since the current gluten-free tests will not be able to distinguish gluten stripped of immunogenic epitopes from regular gluten.Bianca Rootsaert, Managing Director of the Nederlandse Coeliakie Vereniging; “Many products are excluded from a normal healthy diet when suffering from Celiac Disease. Celiacs are struggling on a daily basis with the issue what they can or cannot eat. Gluten-free wheat would be an extreme improvement of the quality of life of celiacs. It will however be important for celiacs to distinguish gluten-free wheat from ‘normal’ wheat, which will lead to stricter regulation of food packaging and ingredient information”. Source:https://www.wur.nl/nl/Agenda/show/Gene-editing-towards-hypoimmunogenic-gluten-proteins-in-wheat.htmlast_img read more

Surgical care improvement linked to hospital financial performance

first_imgOur findings suggest targeted improvement in patient safety performance…is associated with improved financial performance at the hospital level. Increased attention to safe care delivery may allow hospitals to generate additional patent care earnings, improve margins, and create additional capital to advance hospital financial position.”Brad Beauvais, PhD, FACHE, of Texas State University, San Marcos, and colleagues Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 16 2019Hospitals that perform better on steps to prevent complications after surgery also have better performance on measures of profitability, reports a study in the May/June issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, an official publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer. Hospital Financial Health Improves with Steps to Make Surgery SaferThe study focused on the association between patient safety performance data and hospital profitability. The safety data included seven indicators of the quality of surgical care, as defined by the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) – an ongoing, nationwide effort to prevent common postoperative complications.The analysis included data from between 1,000 and 3,000 US hospitals, depending on the SCIP measure evaluated, for 2014-15. Two measures of the hospitals’ financial “bottom line” were analyzed: operating margin and net patient revenue.In general, hospitals that performed better on safety indicators also had better financial performance. Improved safety performance was linked to higher net patient revenue for five of the seven SCIP measures, including starting and stopping preventive antibiotics and steps to reduce the rates of cardiac events and blood clot-related complications. For all seven SCIP markers, better safety performance was linked to a higher operating margin.For example, hospitals that consistently started preventive antibiotics within one hour before surgery were 17 times more likely to be in the highest category for net patient revenue and 20 times more likely to be in the highest ranking for operating margin, compared to lower-performing hospitals and after controlling for numerous unique organizational factors. “Our results explained a very large portion of the variance in net patient revenue but were much weaker for operating margin,” Dr. Beauvais comments.Related StoriesFeeling safe and good sleep at night matter most to sick kids in hospitalBariatric surgery should be offered to all patients who would benefitIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyHospitals face increasing pressure to increase patient safety and improve outcomes, including “pay for performance” programs tying reimbursement to care quality indicators. While debate continues over the effectiveness of these programs, until now few studies have focused on how efforts to improve patient safety are related to hospital profitability.The new study is among the first to show a “focused association” between patient safety measures and hospital financial performance. “In essence, we are suggesting that improved patient safety performance can be its own reward,” Dr. Beauvais and coauthors write.While more research is needed, the study provides initial evidence that improving patient safety performance can contribute to organizational financial performance, Dr. Beauvais and colleagues believe. They conclude, “Specific areas where improvement can yield optimal financial return is worthy of additional scrutiny as financial pressures on hospitals continue to increase.”Source:Wolters Kluwer HealthJournal reference:Beauvais,B. et al. (2019) Does Patient Safety Pay? Evaluating the Association Between Surgical Care Improvement Project Performance and Hospital Profitability. Journal of Healthcare Management. doi.org/10.1097/JHM-D-17-00208last_img read more