Source:http://www.abbvie.com/ Jun 25 2018AbbVie , a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, and Calibr, a nonprofit drug discovery division of Scripps Research, today announced a collaboration to develop T-cell therapies aimed primarily at cancer, including solid tumors.This collaboration broadens AbbVie’s oncology research to access advanced precision medicine technology to expand the development of potentially life-changing treatments for patients with cancer.Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies harness the power of a cancer patient’s own immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. Despite promising results in hematological malignancies, current CAR-T therapies in development for solid tumors have demonstrated limitations due to rapid activation and expansion of CAR-T cells that can lead to serious adverse events. Calibr’s novel cell therapy program, led by Travis Young, PhD, director of protein sciences at Calibr, is designed to enhance safety, versatility and efficacy through a proprietary modular “switchable” CAR-T cell that uses antibody-based switch molecules to control the activation and antigen specificity of CAR-T cells. Calibr’s proprietary technology may enable the development of universal CAR-T-based treatments across several types of hematological and solid tumor indications.”Calibr has assembled a premier scientific team and developed an innovative cell therapy technology that can take us to the next frontier of cancer treatment,” says Mohit Trikha, PhD, vice president and head of Oncology Early Development at AbbVie. “The combination of AbbVie’s oncology discovery and early development expertise and Calibr’s novel switchable CAR-T therapy platform aims to advance the current standard of care, with the potential rapidly advancing new treatment options for patients.”Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellComprehensive cell atlas of the human liverExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell division”We’re delighted to work together with a strong partner like AbbVie to expand the impact of the CAR-T cell field to a broader range of cancers,” says Peter Schultz, PhD, chief executive officer of Calibr and Scripps Research.Under the terms of the license agreement, AbbVie will pay Calibr an upfront license fee and gain exclusive access to Calibr’s switchable CAR-T platform for a term of up to four years. The two organizations will work together to develop T-cell therapies directed to solid tumor targets identified by AbbVie. AbbVie also has the option to develop additional cell therapies toward AbbVie-nominated targets and license existing Calibr cell therapy programs under development for hematological and solid cancers, including Calibr’s lead program. Calibr plans to enter this lead candidate into clinical studies for lymphoma in 2019. In addition, the agreement provides AbbVie with an option to acquire an exclusive license to Calibr’s switchable CAR-T platform and programs within the first four years of the collaboration. The companies will share responsibility for preclinical development, with AbbVie responsible for clinical development and commercialization, and Calibr eligible to receive success-based milestone payments and royalties. The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
The precursor form of surfactant protein B (Pro-SFTPB) Cancer antigen 125 (CA125) Cytokeratin-19 fragment (CYFRA 21-1) Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) The validation study was conducted among patients from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition and the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study.The researchers note that their findings need to be validated in larger studies to further validate and fine-tune the biomarker-based prediction model. Hanash said that will depend upon guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and consultations with the FDA have begun.Lung cancer causes an estimated 20-25 percent of all deaths from cancer — 1.69 million annually worldwide and 155,000 in the United States. Early detection improves prospects of survival, but most countries do not screen for the disease and it’s estimated that fewer than half of all U.S. cases are among people who are eligible under USPSTF guidelines. Jul 12 2018A four-protein biomarker blood test improves lung cancer risk assessment over existing guidelines that rely solely upon smoking history, capturing risk for people who have ever smoked, not only for heavy smokers, an international research team reports in JAMA Oncology.”This simple blood test demonstrates the potential of biomarker-based risk assessment to improve eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography,” said study co-senior author Sam Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.The biomarker panel achieved superior sensitivity – identification of smokers who later developed lung cancer – without increasing false-positives compared to guidelines for screening approved by the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) for heavy smokers based on age and smoking history.USPSTF guidelines call for CT screening only of adults between ages 55 and 80 with a 30 pack-year smoking history who either smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.”The biomarker panel more accurately identifies at-risk smokers who should proceed to screening, even if they’re not at the highest risk based on smoking history alone,” Hanash said. “A positive blood test means an ever-smoker is as much, if not more so, at risk of having lung cancer as a heavy smoker with a low biomarker score.”The paper reports a validation study of the biomarker model in 63 ever-smoking patients who developed lung cancer within a year of initial blood sample collection compared to 90 matched controls in two large European population-based cohorts.Researchers compared a model based on smoking history to an integrated model that included the biomarker score based on the four markers plus smoking history.At the same level of false-positive rate (specificity) set by the USPSTF guidelines, the integrated test with biomarkers identified 63 percent of future lung cancer cases (40 of 63), compared to 42 percent (20 of 62) based on smoking history alone.The improved detection rate, Hanash said, reflects the biomarker panel’s ability to identify at-risk people among the larger population of ever-smokers. In the validation study, smoking history did not improve prediction of future lung cancer cases beyond that provided by the biomarkers alone.Hanash’s group worked with European researchers affiliated with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization. Co-senior authors were Mattias Johansson, Ph.D., of IARC and Paul Brennan, Ph.D., head of the Section on Genetics at IARC.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskLiving with advanced breast cancerAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsMD Anderson’s Lung Cancer Moon Shot™, part of the institution’s Moon Shots Program™, provided initial support of Hanash’s research, mainly through funding from the Lyda Hill Foundation.Prediagnosis blood samples were crucialHanash says the key to selecting the biomarkers was the availability of blood samples taken from people before they had developed the disease. This contrasts to most previous studies comparing biomarkers in early stage lung cancer patients to healthy controls. Such studies do not reflect how biomarkers can help to predict future cancers.To develop the biomarker blood test, Hanash’s group led the analysis of blood samples taken from 108 ever-smokers who went on to be diagnosed with lung cancer within a year of sampling, compared to 216 smoking-matched controls. All were participants in the Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), a lung cancer prevention trial conducted in North America in the 1990s.”We compared smokers with lung cancer to smokers who didn’t have lung cancer, and we showed there are biomarker differences between those groups, so it wasn’t only smoking status giving us differences,” Hanash said. “Then we compared cancer cases to the general population and found similar differences.”The resulting panel includes four proteins found in the blood: Source:https://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/2018/07/study-shows-biomarker-panel-boosts-lung-cancer-risk-assessment-for-smokers.html
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 7 2018The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) has issued new clinical practice guidelines on the evaluation and treatment of patients with thoracolumbar spine trauma. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines on the Evaluation and Treatment of Patients with Thoracolumbar Spine Trauma have been published today in full text on the CNS website and as executive summaries in Neurosurgery.Traumatic injuries of the thoracic and lumbar spine (“thoracolumbar”) occur in approximately 7 percent of all blunt trauma patients and comprise 50 to 90 percent of the 160,000 annual traumatic spinal fractures in North America. Up to 25 percent of patients with thoracolumbar fractures have concomitant spinal cord injury. Long-term care of patients with persistent disability after thoracolumbar trauma represents a significant burden on society’s health care resources. Additionally, thoracolumbar trauma patients often have multiple visceral and bony injuries, compounding the challenges of treatment decision-making.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery results’Text neck’ may be causing bone spurs in young peopleResearchers identify new subtypes of motor neurons and microglia present in ALS patientsThese guidelines provide guidance on evaluating and treating patients with injuries to the thoracic spine, the thoracolumbar junction, and the lumbar spine. The guidelines present eighteen clinical questions pertaining to a range of issues surrounding the care of these patients including: injury classification; radiological evaluation; neurological assessment; pharmacological treatment; hemodynamic management; prophylaxis and treatment of thromboembolic events; nonoperative care; nonoperative versus operative management; choice of surgical approach; timing of surgical intervention; and novel surgical strategies.To develop these guidelines, a multidisciplinary task force of clinical experts representing neurosurgery, neurotrauma, and orthopedic surgery systematically reviewed and analyzed the literature, and produced nine recommendations addressing the use of classification schemes, MRI, neurologic assessment scales, external bracing, timing of surgery, and surgical approaches and strategies.”These guidelines and accompanying recommendations provide education and guidance to clinicians, patients, payers, and researchers as we seek to provide optimal care to this complex patient population,” said John O’Toole, MD, co-chair of the guideline development working group. “The existing data confirms the effectiveness of both traditional and novel surgical approaches, but also highlights the clear and pressing need for future research looking specifically at patients with thoracolumbar spinal trauma.”The guidelines were developed by the CNS with support from the Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves and the Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, and have been endorsed by the CNS and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.For even more information on thoracolumbar trauma guidelines, attend the Guidelines for Acute Cervical and Thoracolumbar Spine Trauma Session at the 2018 CNS Annual Meeting, October 6–10, in Houston, Texas. Source:https://www.cns.org/
In the 2014 sci-fi movie Interstellar (pictured above), a cataclysmic blight has wiped out the world’s wheat, forcing astronauts to hunt for another habitable planet. A new study on barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), a wheat and cereal crop disease, shows that this fictional dystopia carries more than a few grains of truth. Researchers made this discovery by relying on a basic prediction for climate change. At our current pace, global atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are expected to rise 60% by the end of the century (400 μmol/mol versus 650 μmol/mol). So the scientists split 96 wheat seeds between two greenhouses and grew the sprouts with current or future CO2 levels. After 10 days, the team exposed one leaf from half the plants to aphids infected with BYDV. The tiny insects are the main mode of transport for BYDV, which occurs sporadically across the globe but can cause major damage to cereal crops. One month later, the young plants were harvested and examined for virus and damage. Higher carbon dioxide boosted the reproduction of barley yellow dwarf virus in wheat crops by 37%, the team reports online this month in Global Change Biology—the first time the gas has been shown to spur a plant virus. Plants grow larger with greater access to CO2, so one might argue that virus levels increased because the germs had more tissue to feast on. That wasn’t the case here. Carbon dioxide exposure marginally elevated the size and weight of the young plants, but the extra growth didn’t correlate with viral production. Heftier viral infections mean a wider range of spread, the team reports, suggesting a future where wheat faces more severe attacks from BYDV. They’re conducting ongoing research on the possible outcomes with adult plants and crop yields.
At the age of only 23, Michael Rockefeller, born to the New York State governor Nelson Rockefeller in one of the wealthiest families ever, had gone missing off the coast of then-Dutch New Guinea. The date was November 21, 1961. The young man was conducting an anthropological expedition in this remote corner of the planet along with his mission companion René Wessing.Michael Rockefeller (1938 – 1961?), who disappeared during an expedition to New Guinea in 1961. He was the youngest son of New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. Photo by T. Nielsen/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesThe two men had an accident with their boat, which capsized some 12 miles from the coast.Stranded in the sea, Michael told René he would swim to reach the coast. Even though his friend advised him not to do so, the 23-year-old tied gasoline cans on his belt and started swimming… towards his death.Asmat on the Lorentz River, photographed during the third South New Guinea expedition in 1912-13.While Wessing was eventually saved, not a word was heard nor a hair was seen from Michael Rockefeller again. A thorough search mission to find him entailed both aircraft and ships.No resources were spared as this concerned a member of the wealthy and politically powerful Rockefeller family. In the 1970s, Nelson Rockefeller went on to serve as the 41st Vice President of the United States.Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (1940).The strange disappearance filled the news, and various stories popped up explaining what had happened. Did a shark eat Michael? Did he drown? Did he retreat from a life of fame and fortune, finding refuge among the woods and tribesmen of New Guinea?Nelson and his wife came to the remote island country in person to support the hunt for their son, but almost ten days had passed and, as the Dutch interior minister himself stated, “There is no longer any hope of finding Michael Rockefeller alive.”The Rockefeller Family. From left to right: Nelson A., Ann. Standing, Steven, Rodman and Michael on November 18, 1958. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty ImagesAccording to the 2014 book penned by National Geographic’s Carl Hoffman, entitled Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, the statement that Michael Rockefeller was no longer to be found alive sounded about right.Besides a Harvard degree in history and economics, Michael Rockefeller was not the kind of guy who would see clients and conduct meetings as part of his father’s business empire. Instead, he garnered a love for ancient cultures and art, which is why he came to New Guinea in October 1961 — to explore the indigenous Asmat people.Rodman Rockefeller (L) and Michael Rockefeller (R) during the GOP convention. Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesHe had already collected a trove of artifacts from visiting different Asmat villages, which today can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In November 1961, the young Rockefeller had returned for more adventures and more exploration. His thirst for new knowledge and experiences proved fatal, however.According to Hoffman’s book, Dutch investigations at the time turned up evidence that Michael’s life was claimed by the Asmat people.An Asmat woodcarver. Photo by Edi Wibowo CC BY-SA 3.0Namely, two Dutch missionaries who lived among the tribesmen and were able to understand the Asmat language pieced together a curious tale from conversations they overheard. The locals also wanted to keep the story a secret, in fears that the ‘white men’ might get angry and come for revenge.Supposedly the missionaries shared the story with local authorities, but the report must have been classified and not followed up. The reasons to do so were political as by the early 1960s, the Dutch were fearful of entirely losing control over New Guinea as a territory.For the purposes of the book and to verify these claims, Hoffman traveled to the island of New Guinea and visited the Asmat villages to investigate further. According to his book, Michael Rockefeller’s death was indeed a well-known story among the native people, who were reluctant to discuss it with an outsider.New Guinea.If it was really true, then the young Rockefeller was killed and butchered in retribution. The case involves an earlier incident as of 1957 when different groups of Asmat tribes fought and killed dozens among each other.The Dutch then engaged in an intervention to calm the two groups, and this resulted in another incident where several leaders of the Otsjanep people (one of the involved groups), were shot and killed. It would have been the first gunfire the locals ever saw, probably leaving them in deep shock.Asmat people performing traditional wood carving in Otsjanep Village.So, when the sons of those fallen leaders one day saw a white man swimming towards the coast of their home island, they decided to have their revenge. That man may have been Michael Rockefeller, and what happened next, though abhorrent, is entirely in place with the tribal customs and beliefs.The Otsjanep would have quickly come to regret their deeds. The quest which followed after Michael Rockefeller had gone missing must have been a dreadful experience. Most of the Asmat didn’t know what an aircraft was. A subsequent outbreak of cholera in their villages was another dreadful event that many of them further perceived as a punishment for their killing.If this story was really how Michael Rockefeller’s life came to an end, then one thing would be certain anyway. He would have been unfortunate to face such a death after swimming those miles in the sea. A great irony.Read another story from us: The Spooky Unsolved Mystery of the Flannan Lighthouse DisappearancesAs for Michael’s family, they accepted the only explanation for their son’s death was because he drowned. Drowning was also cited as the reason for his death when the official search for Michael’s body concluded in December 1961.
ShareTweetSharePinHolder (c) leads; Gail (l) and Russell (r) are inJason Holder will lead West Indies in the 2019 World Cup as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced the squad on Wednesday evening.Big-hitting batsman Chris Gail will be playing his fifth World Cup as the squad comprises few big names in Andre Russell, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope and Kemar Roach.The flamboyant Kieron Pollard and star spinner Sunil Narine missed out a berth in the 15-member squad.The squad was picked by the newly appointed interim selection panel, chaired by Robert Haynes, along with Jimmy Adams and West Indies’ coach Floyd Reifer.Speaking about the squad, Robert said the selection panel gave preference to combination. “The selection panel looked at the skill set of the players and the combinations. We have looked at the wickets that have been used in England in the past, players fitness and their urge to represent West Indies. We came up with a balanced team who will represent West Indies in England.”Read more…
Sep 24 2018The number of people suffering from respiratory indications and the severity of those already suffering from the various diseases is expected to increase if air pollution in the UK goes unchecked, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.According to GlobalData’s reports: ‘PharmaPoint: Asthma’ states that the prevalence of asthma in the UK hovers above nine million, while epidemiology data from ‘PharmaPoint: Chronic Pulmonary Obtrusive Disease’ shows the prevalence of the disease, in 35 year olds and over, is just under two million.The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) has recently published a set of guidelines related to air pollution and the impact it can have on one’s health. It can cause, or worsen several respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition to these diseases, a recent study showed that air pollution may also be linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.The total cost to the NHS due to air pollution could have been up to £150m in 2017, a significant outlay that will only rise if things are left to carry on as they are, according to Public Health England.Rahael Maladwala, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: The implementation of the government’s ‘Clean Air Strategy’ shows a concerted effort between the regulatory agency and government, which can be seen in the commissioning of new ‘ultra-low emission zones’ in north London, which only allows electric cars in the area for certain hours in the day.The NHS is under significant stress with factors such as government cuts to funding and an aging population, both playing a major role in this. Therefore, proactive schemes such as the Clean Air Strategy, which can reduce the prevalence of disease, and lessen the amount of people going to the hospital, will play an important role in saving physician time and NHS money.” NICE have stated the size of the problem they are facing and action that can be taken to reduce the impact of air pollution; the task facing themselves and the government is now one of communication, about how best to effectively spread their guidelines to see the biggest influence on the public’s health.Source: https://www.globaldata.com/number-respiratory-conditions-will-continue-rise-uk-air-pollution-goes-unchecked-says-globaldata/