Laboratory medicine – Vet Clin Path Journal Fri, 04 Jun 2021 16:23:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Laboratory medicine – Vet Clin Path Journal 32 32 Medical Student Pledges to Live Meaningful Life by Helping Others | Information Center Fri, 04 Jun 2021 16:09:39 +0000

Study the Harvard / MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities website and find out what Bobak Seddighzadeh was doing before he began his studies at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.

Bobak Seddighzadeh is an associate researcher at the Harvard / MGH Center of Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities. During his graduate studies at the Gallatin School at New York University, he studied population genetics and medical genetics and graduated as a class valedictorian. Since then, Seddighzadeh has focused his research at the intersection of genomics and health inequalities. Now, as project manager of the Jamaica Institute for Cancer Care and Research (JACCRI), his work includes assisting in the development of a prospective study on the genetics of prostate cancer in Jamaican men and establishing national guidelines on palliative care for the Jamaican Ministry of Health.

Yes, Seddighzadeh, now ready to earn his MD in 2022, already has an impressive resume. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including: Epigenomics, BioMedicine, and European urology. As a member of the charter class of the medical school, he took time between his second and third year of medical school to pursue additional training in cancer genomics in Dr Franklin Huangfrom the University of California at San Francisco, a doctor-researcher whom he met at Harvard.

Fight against vaccine hesitancy

As Seddighzadeh focused in Huang’s cancer lab, at the height of the pandemic, Huang turned his lab’s attention to understanding COVID-19. “At the time, a trend emerged where both men and women contracted COVID at similar rates, but men died in greater proportions than women,” Seddighzadeh said. “We studied publicly available genomic datasets on human lungs to see whether or not there were sex differences between lung cells in males and females that would explain this phenomenon. Indeed, we have found that men have a higher percentage of lung cells that express the receptors that COVID-19 needs to infiltrate our cells. “

Huang and Seddighzadeh also studied the prostate to see if there is any potential for COVID-19 infiltration. “Surprisingly, we found that the prostate also has the pairs of receptors needed for COVID to infiltrate the cell, albeit in very small amounts. “

Seddighzadeh points out that much more research needs to be done before the clinical implications of the research done in Huang’s lab can be revealed. As part of his research, Seddighzadeh, with Huang as a mentor, designed a study to understand the genetic basis of aggressive prostate cancer.

“I am on an authentic journey to learn all I can,” said Seddighzadeh, who received a full scholarship at the Kerkorian School of Medicine in 2017 courtesy of Dr. Barbara Atkinson, Founding Dean, and Maureen Schafer, former team leader of the faculty of medicine. “I want to lead a determined life and for me that means taking the time to pursue meaningful projects that have great potential to help others through medicine.”

Concerned about the reluctance to vaccinate, Seddighzadeh wrote a piece for Men’s health magazine on the Safety of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines. He also wrote a guest column for the Las Vegas Sun, arguing that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine far outweighed the risk of blood clots.

Jamaica Project

A graduate with honors in biology and biochemistry from Loyola Marymount University in California, Seddighzadeh completed two years of research on health disparities at the Charles R Drew / UCLA Medical Education Program before going to New York University (NYU ) for his graduate studies. After graduating from NYU, he received a job offer at Harvard from a renowned researcher he met during his graduate studies, Dr Alexandra E. Shields, director of the Harvard / MGH Center of Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities. At Harvard Medical School, he helped study how psychosocial stress modulates our stress circuit (also known as the HPA axis) to understand how it can influence chronic disease.

“Dr. Shields had a grand vision to help establish a world-class cancer institute in Kingston, Jamaica,” said Seddighzadeh. “She was inspired by their unusually high cancer rates combined with their dramatic need for research. and clinical ability. I had no doubts in my mind that this was an experience I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to help improve the fight against cancer, learn how to create organizations and start-ups. up, as well as participating in an international experiment. I was hired by Dr Shields to be the Cancer Institute’s first project director and to move to Kingston to help establish the institute from scratch. I maintained my role until my first year of medical school, after which I quit to concentrate on my studies.

The cancer center in Jamaica is now funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“I hope, in one way or another, to help UNLV establish its own world-class cancer center and research institute for the city of Las Vegas,” said Seddighzadeh, who believes the medicine’s future is in “precision medicine”, or the use of one’s genetic makeup to tailor treatments to that person.

Parental influence

Seddighzadeh, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer between his second and third year of medical school, said the experience with Dr. Shields and the cancer center “gave me the confidence to be a leader. in the field of cancer ”.

His parents immigrated to the United States from Iran to give their children better opportunities in life. They moved from California to Las Vegas four years before Seddighzadeh began medical school. “My father and mother were the yin and yang of my development. My father was a serial entrepreneur – very logical, meticulous and hardworking. From him I learned the value of discipline and perseverance. He instilled in me a mindset of growth – that I can accomplish whatever I choose as long as I continue to learn, work hard, and persist despite setbacks. My mother was a clinical psychologist. She transmitted to me the values ​​of ethics, simplicity, benevolence, well-being towards others and generosity. She instilled in me emotional intelligence and awareness. I think it is the unique combination of their skills that has given me a foundation to hopefully make progress as a great physician for my patients and as a leader for my community.

Education has always been emphasized in Seddighzadeh’s family. “In college, I remember I almost made my mom cry when I brought home a ‘B’ because she knew I was capable of more.”

Seddighzadeh’s favorite question growing up was “Why?” “

“I remember when I was 8 years old, I wanted to understand how electricity works, so I read a book called, How things work. The book explained the physical principles and phenomenon of how various objects work, from light bulbs to nuclear bombs. In seventh grade, I read my sister’s physics book in high school during the summer to better understand natural phenomena. Then in high school, I read books on nutrition and learned about how the endocrine system and our health are affected by our food decisions.

To date, the medical scientist Seddighzadeh admires the most is the late Dr Jonas Salk. “I admire Dr. Salk’s ambition to use his training as a doctor and scientist to find a cure for polio and then help launch one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in history. Even more admirable was his decision not to patent the vaccine in order to make it accessible to the world. I am inspired by this intellect, this selflessness and this commitment to pursue medicine, and I hope to achieve it one day.

He plans to complete a residency in internal medicine in order to pursue a scholarship that will allow him to fulfill his dream of becoming a hematologist-oncologist. He said his father’s death from pancreatic cancer had a lot to do with his choice of medical specialty.

“I was called upon to become a doctor-researcher because, currently, we need better answers for many of our patients. For example, mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and brain cancers all have five-year survival rates of less than 12%, ”Seddighzadeh said. “I want to use my clinical knowledge to treat my patients, their stories to inspire new laboratory research and the results of my research to help cure my patients more effectively. The future of medicine can only advance if we continue to take and shift the measure. “

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Researchers are set to unravel the mystery of the science behind regeneration Thu, 03 Jun 2021 05:06:00 +0000

Many salamanders can easily regenerate a lost limb, but adult mammals, including humans, cannot. Why this is the case is a scientific mystery that has fascinated observers of the natural world for thousands of years.

Now, a team of scientists led by James Godwin, Ph.D., of the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, has come closer to this mystery with the discovery of differences in molecular signaling that promote regeneration in the axolotl , a highly regenerative salamander, while blocking it in the adult mouse, which is a mammal with limited regenerative capacity.

“Scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory have relied on comparative biology to better understand human health since its founding in 1898,” said Hermann Haller, MD, president of the institution. “The discoveries made possible by James Godwin’s comparative studies on the axolotl and the mouse are proof that the idea of ​​learning from nature is as valid today as it was over 120 years ago. years.”

Instead of regenerating lost or injured body parts, mammals usually form a scar at the site of an injury. Because the scar creates a physical barrier to regeneration, regenerative medicine research at the MDI Biological Lab has focused on understanding why axolotl doesn’t form a scar – or why it doesn’t respond to injury the same way. than the mouse. and other mammals do.

Our research shows that humans have untapped potential for regeneration. If we can fix the problem of scar formation, maybe we can unleash our latent regenerative potential. Axolotls do not heal, which is what allows regeneration. But once a scar has formed, it’s over in terms of regeneration. If we could prevent scars in humans, we could improve the quality of life for so many people. “

James Godwin, PhD, MDI Biological Lab, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island Biological Lab

The axolotl as a model of regeneration

The axolotl, an almost extinct Mexican salamander in the wild, is a favorite model in regenerative medicine research because of its unique status as a champion of nature’s regeneration. While most salamanders have some regenerative capacity, axolotl can regenerate almost any part of the body, including the brain, heart, jaws, limbs, lungs, ovaries, spinal cord, skin, tail and more.

Since mammalian embryos and juveniles have the ability to regenerate – for example, human infants can regenerate heart tissue and children can regenerate fingertips – adult mammals are likely to retain the genetic code for regeneration, which suggests that pharmaceutical therapies could be developed to encourage humans to regenerate tissues and organs lost as a result of illness or injury instead of forming a scar.

In his recent research, Godwin compared immune cells called axolotl macrophages to those in mice in an attempt to identify the quality of axolotl macrophages that promote regeneration. The research builds on previous studies in which Godwin found that macrophages are essential for regeneration: When depleted, axolotl forms a scar instead of regenerating, just like mammals.

Recent research has found that although macrophage signaling in axolotl and in mice was similar when organisms were exposed to pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, when it came to exposure to injury was a different story: signaling from macrophages in axolotl promoted new tissue growth while that in mice promoted healing.

The research article, titled “Distinct TLR Signaling in the Salamander Response to Tissue Damage” was recently published in the journal Developmental Dynamics. In addition to Godwin, the authors include Nadia Rosenthal, Ph.D., of the Jackson Laboratory; Ryan Dubuque and Katya E. Chan from the Australian Institute of Regenerative Medicine (ARMI); and Sergej Nowoshilow, Ph.D., Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria.

Godwin, who holds a joint appointment with The Jackson Laboratory, was previously associated with ARMI and Rosenthal is the founding director of ARMI. The MDI Biological Laboratory and ARMI have a partnership agreement to promote research and education on regeneration and the development of new therapies to improve human health.

Specifically, the article reported that the signaling response of a class of proteins called toll-type receptors (TLRs), which allow macrophages to recognize a threat such as infection or tissue damage and induce a pro response. -inflammatory, was “unexpectedly divergent” in response to injury in axolotl and mice. The discovery offers an intriguing window into the mechanisms governing regeneration in the axolotl.

To be able to “pull the levers of regeneration”

The discovery of an alternative signaling pathway compatible with regeneration could eventually lead to regenerative medicine therapies for humans. Although regrowth of a human limb may not be realistic in the short term, significant opportunities exist for therapies that improve clinical outcomes in diseases in which scarring plays a major role in pathology, including heart disease. , renal, hepatic and pulmonary.

“We are moving closer to understanding how axolotl macrophages are prepared for regeneration, which will bring us closer to the ability to pull the levers of regeneration in humans,” Godwin said. “For example, I imagine I could use a topical hydrogel at the wound site that is combined with a modulator that changes the behavior of human macrophages to look more like axolotl.”

Godwin, who is an immunologist, chose to examine the function of the immune system in regeneration because of its role in preparing the wound for repairs as the equivalent of a first responder at the site of an injury. . His recent research opens the door to further mapping of critical nodes in TLR signaling pathways that regulate the unique immune environment enabling axolotl regeneration and scar-free repair.


Journal reference:

Debuque, RJ, et al. (2021) Distinct toll receptor signaling in the salamander response to tissue damage. Development dynamics.

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PHCC laboratories receive CAP accreditation Wed, 02 Jun 2021 11:28:08 +0000

(MENAFN – The Peninsula) The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) USA has granted accreditation to the 27 PHCC laboratories on the basis of recent comprehensive inspections carried out last April as part of the accreditation programs of the CAP.

As the world’s largest organization of board-certified pathologists and a leading provider of laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing programs, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists and the public, by encouraging and advocating excellence in pathology and laboratory practice. medicine in the world.

With CAP accreditation, PHCC laboratories join the elite group of more than 8,000 CAP accredited laboratories around the world. CAP accreditation is considered the gold standard in laboratory accreditation designed to ensure the highest standards of care for laboratory patients.

During the accreditation process, inspectors review the quality control of a laboratory’s procedures, personnel qualifications, equipment, facilities, program and safety records, and overall laboratory management.

HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, commented: “This accreditation represents the high level of professionalism and expertise that is reflected in the exceptional patient care provided at PHCC. The hard work and commitment of the PHCC team is what made CAP accreditation possible.

His Excellency congratulated the team for their sustained and valuable efforts despite this difficult period which requires taking measures to ensure the highest quality of services on a permanent and continuous basis.

With this accreditation, PHCC Laboratories becomes the world’s largest CAP-accredited networked laboratory group outside the United States and one of the largest public sector primary care laboratory groups accredited by the College of American. Pathologists. Accreditation focuses on the people, policies, processes, methods, material and environmental factors that impact laboratory results, and which may then have additional impact on clinical decision making.

Dr Mariam Abdul Malik, CEO of PHCC, said: “I remain inspired by the hard work and resilience shown by our teams, from the exceptional ability to achieve accreditation without gaps, to professional and rapid adaptation. to virtual inspections during a very difficult time in healthcare.

For our patients, this accreditation means the highest level of quality in all of our laboratories, ensuring optimal patient care and safety, while providing the most accurate results in parallel with international standards.

Dr Samya Ahmad Abdulla, Executive Director of Operations, said: “The CAP accreditation demonstrates the commitment of our laboratories to continuous quality improvement in order to effectively meet the needs of our community, by providing a practice based on evidence, ensuring better clinical outcomes and improving patient safety ”.


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New discovery in Ewing’s sarcoma could prevent the onset of tumor metastases Tue, 01 Jun 2021 17:15:00 +0000

A new finding in Ewing’s sarcoma, an aggressive and often fatal childhood cancer, has revealed the potential to prevent cancer cells from spreading beyond their primary tumor site.

This breakthrough provides new insight into what triggers the process that allows cancer cells to survive while traveling through the body in the bloodstream.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer have learned that Ewing’s sarcoma cells – and possibly other types of cancer cells – are able to develop a shield that protects them from the harsh environment circulation and other places when looking for a new place to settle or metastasize. The study has just been published in Discovery of cancer.

“You might think that a tumor cell could easily survive in the bloodstream, but it’s actually a very difficult environment,” said lead author of the study, Dr. Poul Sorensen, a distinguished scientist at BC Cancer, professor of pathology and medicine at the new Academy of Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

“What we found is that Ewing’s sarcoma cells are able to develop an antioxidant response that protects them and allows them to survive while in circulation,” said Dr Sorensen. “It’s like a person in the Arctic who has to put on a thick layer before going out. If they don’t protect themselves, they are exposed to dangerously harsh conditions in which they may not survive.”

Metastatic disease, which occurs when cancer has spread throughout the body, is the strongest predictor of poor outcome for cancer patients of all ages and has been a difficult process for researchers or clinicians to study. target.

“What’s exciting about this study is that if we can target the circulating cells, we may be able to prevent metastasis from occurring. So this is the main objective of this research, ”said Dr Sorensen.

Few cells can become metastatic. Although there has been research into the genetic reasons for a tumor mutating and spreading, what these researchers found is that Ewing’s sarcoma cells activate the expression of a natural gene to the surface of the cell, known as IL1RAP, to create a protective shield of proteins. .

This study is the first to show that the surface protein, IL1RAP, is rarely expressed in normal tissue, but is upregulated in childhood sarcomas. This is a very good thing because it means that we can develop treatments to target IL1RAP without producing toxic side effects in non-cancerous cells. “

Dr Haifeng Zhang, UBC postdoctoral fellow in Dr Sorensen’s lab at BC Cancer and first author of the study

Drs. Colleagues Sorensen and Zhang, who are members of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Dream Team, as well as the National Cancer Institute Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network (PI-DDN), have developed antibodies that can target IL1RAP.

“These powerful antibodies can bind to the outside of the cell, and we show in our research that these reagents can actually kill Ewing’s sarcoma cells. So not only have we discovered an interesting path, but we are well on the way to developing a clinic. A quality immunotherapeutic treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma, ”said Dr Sorensen.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to work on clinical trials in a year or two,” added Dr Zhang.

Research is ongoing to determine if the same protective behavior can be found in other types of cancer cells, including acute myeloid leukemia, melanoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, central nervous system tumors, and in certain types. lung and breast cancer.


Journal reference:

Zhang, HF., et al. (2021) Proteomic screens for anoikis suppressors identify IL1RAP as a promising surface target in Ewing’s sarcoma. Discovery of cancer.

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The sisters do it for themselves … and the health sciences Tue, 01 Jun 2021 00:15:19 +0000

The sisters are part of a group of 11 promising academics from across the state being recognized for their academic achievement through the CEO’s Reconciliation Awards or Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarships.

A native of Nuriootpa High School, Angie, a 2020 graduate, is studying Laboratory Medicine at the University of South Australia.
She is one of two Reconciliation Award recipients recognized for achieving the highest Australian Higher Education Admission (ATAR) rankings among the state’s Indigenous students.

Meg is in Grade 11 at Nuriootpa High School and is one of nine recipients of the Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarships designed to help Indigenous students in Grades 11 and 12 begin their SACE and pursue their educational and professional goals after graduation. school.

Like her sister, she can’t wait to pursue a path in health sciences when she graduates.

“I am very happy to celebrate these promising young academics who are committed to their education and who are an outstanding example of what Indigenous students in South Australia can accomplish,” said Education Minister John Gardner.

“We are committed to improving outcomes for Indigenous children, youth and their families by recognizing the importance of a strong cultural identity in our schools, workplaces and our community at large.

“National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to reconciliation in Australia.”

“As a ministry, we will continue to support and set high expectations for the academic and personal success of Aboriginal students,” said Ministry of Education CEO Rick Persse.

“I am proud to see a trend of increasing positive academic outcomes for all Aboriginal students in this state. It’s an honor to our team across the state.

“This includes an increase in the retention rate of Indigenous students, an increase in the number of Indigenous SACE graduates and an increase in Indigenous enrollment in kindergartens and schools in South Australia.

Reconciliation Week 2021 Award Recipients:

  • Angie Couzner Nuriootpa High School (student in laboratory medicine at Uni SA)
  • Grace Bennett Playford International College (studying teaching at Uni SA)

2021 Dame Roma Mitchell Scholars:

  • Amber Kearney Salisbury High School
  • Dimitra Tsavaris Salisbury East High School
  • Faith Morgan Renmark High School
  • Jordyn Doll Grant High School
  • Kelly Santry Brighton High School
  • Meg Couzner Nuriootpa High School
  • Liam Porter Glossop High School
  • Shaewanah Coulthard Leigh Creek Area School
  • Zoe Solomon Port Augusta High School

The awards complement the department’s Indigenous education strategy to improve outcomes for Indigenous students by helping them be proud and confident learners from birth, in school and beyond.

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New Drug Developed To Prevent Infection With Coronavirus And Associated Variants Has Been Effective In Mice | The Weather Channel – Articles de The Weather Channel Mon, 31 May 2021 05:51:30 +0000

Representative image


US researchers have developed a new drug that could not only prevent SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, but also treat other respiratory coronaviruses in mice.

A team led by the University of Pennsylvania developed the drug diABZI, which activated the body’s innate immune response and effectively prevented severe symptoms of COVID-19, including the variant native to South Africa (B1351) and also curbed their spread in mice, the scientists said. .

Mice treated with diABZI showed much less weight loss than control mice, had significantly reduced viral loads in their lungs and nostrils, and increased cytokine production.

“Few drugs have been identified as game changers in blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection. Activating an early immune response therapeutically with a single dose is a promising strategy to control the virus, including the South African variant B1351, which has led to concern, ”said Sara Cherry, professor of pathology and medicine laboratory at the University’s Perelman School of Medicine.

“The development of effective antivirals is urgently needed to control SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease, especially as dangerous variants of the virus continue to emerge,” she added. The results are published in the journal Scientific immunology.

By observing human lung cell lines that had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the team found that the virus is able to hide, delaying the early recognition and response of the immune system.

They performed a high-throughput screening of 75 drugs that target detection pathways in lung cells and examined their effects on viral infection under microscopy. They identified nine candidates, including two cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs), which significantly suppressed the infection by activating STING (the simulation of interferon genes).

Since CDNs are low in potency and produce mediocre drugs, according to Cherry, her team also decided to test a newly developed small-molecule STING agonist called diABZI, currently being tested in clinical trials to treat certain cancers.

Tests in mice infected with COVID-19 have shown that diABZI potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection from various strains, including a variant of concern B1351, by activating STING.

In addition, diABZI could also inhibit the replication of human parainfluenza virus and rhinovirus in cultured cells. Thus, the STING agonist may be more widely effective against other respiratory viruses, the researchers said.


The above article was published by a news agency with minimal changes to the title and text.

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10 severe COVID patients given Israeli drug, leave hospital in one day Sat, 29 May 2021 19:39:00 +0000

MesenCure Development Entrepreneurs (from right): Dr Dror Ben David, Dr Shai Meretzki and Tomer Bronstein

Bonus MesenCure, which consists of activated mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) that are isolated from fatty tissue of healthy donors, has been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate respiratory and other symptoms in patients with life-threatening respiratory distress. caused by COVID-19.

“So far, the results of treatment with the drug MesenCure are extremely impressive and an improvement over the results of other treatments,” said Dr Shadi Hamoud, principal investigator in the clinical trial and deputy director of the department of internal medicine E in Rambam.

He said the results were so promising that the hospital was already examining the use of the treatment for other indications.

Bonus reported in 10 COVID patients aged 45 to 75, all with severe symptoms. Ninety percent of them also had co-morbidities.

The data showed a 40% decrease in lung inflammation after treatment – from 55% to 15%, as seen in chest x-rays, in the first five days after treatment. A month later, lung inflammation reached 1%.

Additionally, patients showed significantly improved respiratory function, with blood oxygen saturation increasing to 95% and lung function returning to almost completely normal levels after just one month.

Meretzki shared a lab image of a healthy lung, a diseased lung, and a lung treated with MesenCure. “The treated lung looks almost identical to the normal, healthy lung – complete healing, complete prevention of lung damage,” Meretzki said.

Most strikingly, patients were discharged from the hospital after a median of just one day after treatment.

And there were no side effects associated with MesenCure, the company reported.

Meretzki said the trial followed patients for 30 days after treatment was given. All but one had survived. The deceased patient did not die from COVID-19 but from a severe pre-existing illness.

Many patients with COVID-19 die from an increased production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, rather than the virus itself, Meretzki explained. When the immune system secretes too many cytokines, a so-called “cytokine storm” can break out. Such an excessive immune response ravages healthy lung tissue, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome or failure, and ultimately death.

Bonus was founded in 2008. It has worked with MSCs for a decade from its headquarters in Haifa, where it developed its main product, a tissue bone graft which is also based on MSCs.

Meretzki said that MSCs are cells that “are found in all of us; they are responsible for damage control and various daily activities. “

When the coronavirus outbreak began in early 2020, Bonus began investigating the potential of MSCs to possibly reduce the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.

The phase II trial is expected to continue in Rambam and include 50 additional patients. However, due to the low level of infection in Israel, Bonus sought approval to conduct the trial in Europe as well, Meretzki said.

He told the Post that the Phase II trial is expected to be completed quickly once the remaining patients are fully enrolled.

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Why dying from a stem cell cure is actually good news Sat, 29 May 2021 00:36:52 +0000

At the end Reported on the fate of stem cell therapies For rare childhood diseases, we noted that a biotechnology company funded by the California Stem Cell Program to monitor treatment development had put the project on hold indefinitely.

This is no longer the case. Orchard Therapeutics announced on Friday: Abandon the project forever..

Patient advocates and treatment inventors say this is good news.

It’s about paving the way for prompt treatment of patients on a compassionate basis, rather than waiting for Orchard to go through more traditional procedures for government approval.

“It must be seen as a victory,” says Alysia Padilla-Vaccaro, whose nine-year-old daughter Evangelina was treated a few years ago and recovered from her illness.

Orchard CEO Bobby Gaspar said the company “faced technical issues specific to commercial grade manufacturing processes.

We have to see this as a victory.

Alysia Padilla-Vaccaro, mother of ADA-SCID children

This treatment, referred to by Orchard as OTL-101, treats severe combined immune deficiency caused by adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA-SCID). It is a rare disease that deprives newborns of a functioning immune system.

Victims generally do not live beyond two years. However, clinical trials have shown that this treatment is successful in restoring the immune system.

Orchard’s next mission is to test the manufacture of therapies, funded by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and licensed by UCLA and University College London, where the therapies were developed. It was to conduct a clinical trial.

Orchard had put the case on hold last May for “business reasons” but had previously left the option of taking it over at some point in the future.

Instead, Gaspar said the company needs to “end the licensing deal” with UCLA and UCL and “allow them to return OTL-101 smoothly.” Letter shape “Advocate and partner for the promotion of ADA-SCID treatment”.

Stem cell scientist Donald Korn, who developed treatment in the UCLA lab, seeks approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat UCLA patients “as soon as possible” on the basis of the schedule extended access from the FDA. I said it would.

Is FDA program It is designed to provide life-threatening patients with access to laboratory drugs other than approved clinical trials.

CIRM CEO Maria T. Millan calls Orchard’s decision “good news for families with ADA-SCID children”. However, she said it could take months to get an extended license from the FDA.

Although previous trials have established its clinical safety and efficacy, you are unlikely to make a lot of money making a treatment. Hereditary diseases occur in 1 in 200,000 to 1 in 1 million people. This means that on average 4 to 20 cases occur in the United States each year.

Orchard, however, has obtained FDA designations for Orphan Drugs, Breakthrough Therapies, and Rare Pediatric Diseases, all of which allow for rapid review by the FDA. The decision to put OTL-101 on hold indefinitely hampered existing patients’ access to treatment.

The ruling also called into question why UCLA and CIRM did not act more aggressively to reclaim Orchard’s exclusive license to develop and market the drug. Orchard received $ 8.5 million grant CIRM 2018 Clinical Trials. Of this grant, $ 5.8 million remains unused.

The motivation for Orchard to drop the license at this point is unknown. Gaspard’s letter acknowledges that the sick community “is impatient to return the program to university partners at this time”.

He said that London-based biotech startup Orchard, which is in the red, will support UCLA and CIRM’s efforts to secure FDA approval for extended access.

In an email, Korn said UCLA and University College London “are looking for a new business partner” to gain ongoing approval for the treatment from the FDA.

Why dying from a stem cell cure is actually good news Source link Why dying from a stem cell cure is actually good news

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The pandemic will eventually end, but medical experts say our lives will be changed forever Fri, 28 May 2021 19:30:00 +0000

Ontario Medical Association panelists explain what to expect when coronavirus finally recedes

With most residents of Ontario facing ‘pandemic fatigue’, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) has offered several opinions and ideas on how people might cope with the changes in our lives when COVID-19 pandemic ends.

For some, it could be the party. For others, it will be a time of difficulty and mistrust.

“It’s been 14 months since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic; 14 very long months for everyone. And now people all over the world are wondering how is this going to end? Because we know pandemics always end, ”OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill said at an hour-long online media briefing on Wednesday.

Hill wondered if we would return to the life we ​​lived before or if things would change to the point that some of our behaviors would have changed forever. She said many questions like this were asked.

“As pandemic fatigue reaches all new highs and peaks, but we are seeing this light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Hill hosted a panel of medical experts to comment on what Ontario residents can expect when it comes to physical and mental health between themselves and their family members. Speakers included Dr. Zain Chagla, Associate Professor at McMaster University and a physician who has helped plan local, provincial and federal policies. He has been asked to comment on how the pandemic might end.

Chagla predicted “that COVD-19 will exist for the foreseeable future and probably for the long term.”

Chagla said that despite the vaccines, it will not be enough to eliminate all cases. He said COVID-19 would eventually become treatable as an “outpatient” illness.

He added that the question of when it will be over should be rephrased as when it will be over for the world.

He said the coronavirus is now spreading in South America, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with much more contagious variants.

“As we think about our exit plan, we have to think about the global exit plan as part of that,” Chagla said.

Chagla added that in Canada, we need to set “reasonable benchmarks” on how much healthcare to spend on stopping COVID-19 in the long term and what we would consider a measure of long-term success. term. Chagla said it was a vague response but that the pandemic will be over when it no longer threatens other vulnerable populations.

Dr. Allison McGeer, professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, also took part in the discussion. She was asked to comment on her role as an infectious disease specialist.

Hill asked McGeer if she thought the disease would be completely eradicated or if COVID-19 was going to evolve into something else.

“From a viral standpoint, there are still a significant number of uncertainties,” McGeer said. She said a good way to look at it is that the virus has changed to adapt to humans.

“This could be the end of the story,” McGeer said, adding that what science sees to support this is “a converging evolution” of different variations.

“So maybe it will stop,” she added.

McGeer said what is needed is for the virus to be stopped by the vaccine for a long time, long enough that there is no infection from other mammals such as dogs, mouse or some other species.

She said it was a situation still unknown to science.

McGeer said another concern is that the virus could continue to evolve into something like a seasonal flu that changes over time. If that were to become the case, McGeer said COVID-19 would no longer be taken as seriously as it is now, but it wouldn’t be “a trivial disease” either. She said vaccination against COVID-19 would become a routine thing for most families.

Hill’s questions were also directed to Dr. Thomas Ungar, Chief Psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital at Unity Health Toronto and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.

Will we come back to life as we’ve known it, or will things change for good, Hill asked Ungar.

“I think what we’re going to see, I think it’s quite normal and people are expected to be worried, anxious, depressed and worried. This is a real and essential threat. for the health of our society. So we hear the terms of all people who are anxious and depressed. This is kind of normal. “

Ungar said what is concerning is that many people are in emotional distress and this will need to be addressed.

He said it will be up to infectious disease professionals to determine exactly when the pandemic is over, and that will inspire a small section of the population to “go wild” with the party, acting like nothing has happened.

Another part of society, around 30 to 50 percent, Ungar said, would gradually and cautiously fall back into a sense of normalcy and accept some changes.

Ungar said 10 to 20 percent may have a hard time moving forward. He said they would remain too fearful and avoid the others.

He said that part of society needs support and encouragement.

Ungar also mentioned the idea of ​​a fourth wave of the pandemic, or perhaps a fifth wave, being the one that identifies mental health issues.

“We’re starting to see this in emergency rooms and acute care centers,” he said. Ungar said this has been noticed since fall 2020.

Ungar said that there are serious mental health issues that affect people’s moods, cause trouble sleeping, lack of interest, lack of energy, problems concentrating, feelings of guilt and dementia. ‘uselessness and anxiety levels to the point where people cannot function.

There is a wave of sanity ahead that needs to be addressed. He said this would be partly related to the economic impact that occurs when the government’s financial support systems cease and many people experience economic hardship.

This would require an improved support system for a large number of people.

“I just hope people are looking for care and I hope we will be able to provide that care,” Ungar said.

Len Gillis is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative at It covers health care in Northern Ontario.

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Global microbiome study uncovers thousands of new species, maps urban antimicrobial resistance, reveals new drug candidates Thu, 27 May 2021 21:37:44 +0000

According to a study by the International MetaSUB Consortium, a global microbe tracking effort led by Weill Cornell, approximately 12,000 bacteria and viruses collected from a sample of transit systems and hospitals around the world between 2015 and 2017 did not had never been identified. Medical researchers.

For the study, published May 26 in Cell, international investigators collected nearly 5,000 samples over a three-year period in 60 cities in 32 countries and six continents. The researchers analyzed the samples using a genomic sequencing technique called shotgun sequencing to detect the presence of various microbes, including bacteria, archaea (single-celled organisms distinct from bacteria) and viruses that use l DNA as genetic material. (Other types of viruses that use RNA as genetic material, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, would not have been detected with the DNA analysis methods used. in this pre-pandemic study.)

This area of ​​research has important implications for detecting outbreaks of known and unknown infections and for studying the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes in different urban settings.

“Every time you sit on the subway, you’re probably walking around with an entirely new species,” said lead author Dr Christopher Mason, co-director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction and professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine. . Dr Mason is also a co-founder and paid consultant for Biotia and Onegevity Health, and a paid speaker for WorldQuant LLC.

The current study has led to the discovery of 10,928 viruses and 748 bacteria that are not present in any reference database.

Dr Mason founded MetaSUB (short for Metagenomics and Metadesign of Subways and Urban Biomes) in 2015, along with Dr Evan Afshin, who was then an undergraduate student at Macaulay Honors College at Queens College and is now a researcher in physiology and biophysics. at Weill Cornell Medicine and paid consultant for Onegevity Health. The recently published study was led by Drs. Mason, David Danko, a Weill Cornell Graduate School doctoral student in Dr. Mason’s lab during the study, and Daniela Bezdan, who was a computational biomedical research associate at Weill Cornell Medicine at the time.

By collecting samples of microbes and analyzing their genes – collectively called the microbiome – researchers hope to learn more about bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that live in humans. For example, research can help identify the emergence of strains resistant to antibiotics. Predicting antibiotic resistance from genetic sequences alone is a challenge, but researchers were able to map some genes known to be linked to resistance, quantify their abundance, and confirm the ability of genetic markers to confer resistance. They found that some cities had more resistance genes than others and that there may be city-specific signatures for some of these genes.

Antimicrobial resistance remains a major challenge for global health. “While more research is needed, this dataset demonstrates the value and potential of microbiome mapping and monitoring, and the information it can provide to physicians, scientists and public health officials. “Said Dr Afshin.

In addition, knowledge of the small molecules and proteins made by microbes could also lead to the discovery of new antibiotics as well as other molecules that could be developed as drugs. Many antibiotics and drugs currently in use come from microbial sources. Discoveries made in new microbial species could also lead to new laboratory tools and approaches, such as new ways to use the molecular editing tool known as CRISPR. In this study, the researchers found 838,532 new CRISPR arrays – extracts of viral DNA found inside bacteria – and 4.3 million new peptides (small proteins).

As a result of these sampling efforts, Dr Mason said he could predict with about 90% accuracy where a person lives, simply by sequencing the DNA on their shoes. Many factors have been found to influence a city’s microbiome, including overall population and population density, elevation, proximity to the ocean, and climate. The findings on these separate signatures could allow for future forensic studies.

“A microbiome contains molecular echoes of where it was collected. A coastal sample can contain salt-loving microbes while a sample from a densely populated city can show striking biodiversity,” said the Dr Danko.

Drs. Mason and Afshin began collecting and analyzing microbial samples in the New York City subway in 2013. After posting their first results, dubbed PathoMap, they were contacted by researchers around the world who wanted to do similar studies for their own cities. International interest inspired Dr Mason’s lab to create MetaSUB and recruited Daniela Bezdan as research director. “We needed internationally accepted protocols, logistics and collaborative arrangements with scientists, vendors, government offices and philanthropic foundations for potentially 100 cities in 20 countries,” Bezdan said.

Today, MetaSUB continues to grow and has expanded to collect RNA and DNA samples from air, water and wastewater, in addition to hard surfaces. This led to a $ 5 million grant for wastewater sequencing and viral monitoring in three states (Florida, New York, and Wisconsin), and which is part of the New National Wastewater Monitoring System (NWSS) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The group also oversees projects such as the World Cities Sampling Day (gCSD), which is held annually on June 21, and has conducted large-scale studies, including a comprehensive microbial analysis of Rio de Janeiro before, during and after the 2016 Summer Olympics. Many of the samples analyzed in the current study were collected during World City Sampling Day in 2016 and 2017. The sampling effort in New York was conducted with support from the Weill Cornell Medicine Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), in conjunction with CTSC Senior Program Director Jeff Zhu. Dr Mason and his colleagues are currently preparing for this year’s event.

“When we started in 2015, the consortium consisted of 16 cities; six years later, we have over 100 cities. It’s great to have this curious, self-reliant and enthusiastic group of co-researchers, ”said Dr Mason, who is also a professor of computational genomics in computational biomedicine at the SAR Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Institute. for Computational Biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“Although samples are collected all over the world, a lot of the testing is done right here in New York City at Weill Cornell Medicine,” said Dr. Mason. Sequence analysis and assembly also leveraged Bridges and Bridges-2, Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) supercomputers at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. Researchers at MetaSUB in Switzerland (Drs. Andre Kahles and Gunnar Rätsch) used these assemblies and raw data to construct a searchable Global DNA Sequence Portal (MetaGraph) that indexed all known genetic sequences (including MetaSUB data). ). The portal maps all known or newly discovered genetic elements to their location on Earth and can aid in the discovery of new microbial interactions and putative functions.

The isolation of DNA from samples has been largely performed with support from Zymo Research and Promega, and sequenced in collaboration with Dr Shawn Levy of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Dr Klas Udekwu of Stockholm University and the New York Genome Center. Future and ongoing studies will examine RNA and DNA with long reads and spatial imaging methods, as well as trace metabolites from global sites, and continue to update the genetic map at the planetary scale.

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