AbbVie and Calibr collaborate to develop Tcell therapies aimed at cancer

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first_img 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.last_img read more

Fourprotein biomarker blood test improves lung cancer risk assessment for smokers

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first_img 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:center_img Source:https://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/2018/07/study-shows-biomarker-panel-boosts-lung-cancer-risk-assessment-for-smokers.htmllast_img read more

CNS releases new clinical practice guidelines for thoracolumbar spine trauma

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first_imgReviewed 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/last_img read more

Interstellarlike blight could ravage Earths wheat

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first_imgIn 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.last_img read more

Test your smarts on the universes brightest flash and the worlds hottest

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first_img About 30% Top Ranker Time’s Up! Average Monsoon air pockets Dead birds. Scientists have always wondered how lizards, insects, and even foxes survive in Iran’s Lut Desert, which—with a maximum temperature of 70.7°C—blows Death Valley out of the water as the hottest place on Earth. A few years ago, researchers pondered whether migratory birds were the key, passing out from the extreme heat and falling from the sky to form the base of the food web. Now, a new expedition has confirmed that hypothesis and posited one more: that the bone-dry landscape conceals a “hidden sea” of salty groundwater just beneath the surface. Soy and chips Score A black hole gorging on a star. The flash, seen in 2015, was thought to be a superluminous supernova, the result of a massive star collapsing under its own gravity and spewing out a fireball of hot dust and gas. At the time, the event was twice as bright as the previous record holder. But further investigation revealed the flash was close to the heart of a burned-out galaxy, rather than a stellar breeding ground, and that it came from a low-mass star in the prime of its life. The most likely explanation, scientists say, is that the young star was torn to pieces by a spinning black hole more than 100 million times the mass of our sun. The Science Quiz tests your knowledge of the week’s biggest science news stories. No matter how much you know, you’re still likely to learn something–give it a try! Warming temperatures are also doing a number on this creature, whose body size is 12% smaller than it was some 2 decades ago: They injected stem cells into their spinal fluid. About 10% An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. 10-year thunderstorms It didn’t impress large-brained females. Earlier this year, scientists called a brilliant flash in the sky “the brightest supernova ever detected.” Now, they’re having second thoughts. What are they saying it might be instead? Spam and chips How did you score on the quiz? Challenge your friends to a science news duel! Didier Descouens/Muséum de Toulouse/Wikimedia Commons What did scientists recently do to reset the aging clock in mice? How does life survive in the world’s hottest desert? Reindeer It made walking upright more difficult. They artificially capped their telomeres. Moose Department of Energy (DOE). When Donald Trump’s transition team sent a list of 74 questions to DOE last week asking—among other things—for the names of workers involved in international climate talks and carbon-cutting initiatives, scientists across the agency felt a chill. Although the incoming administration has since backtracked on the ask, DOE officials initially refused to turn over any names—though they did agree to answer the rest of the questions. A black hole gorging on a star Horses. Six of them, in fact—Cuartetera 01 through Cuartetera 06. Adolfo Cambiaso rode them to victory in the Argentine Polo Open championship, a high-profile event in Buenos Aires. Critics said the clones could never perform as well as the original mare, thanks to environmental influences that could potentially modify gene activity. But now it looks like Cambiaso is having the last laugh. “They thought I was crazy,” he said in an interview with a leading newspaper in Argentina. “And today it seems that I was not so crazy, right?” Polar bears An underground network of fungus The Science Quiz Physics December 16, 2016 Click to enter Roosters December 16, 2016 The Science Quiz Take the quiz to enter for a chance to win a FREE digital subscription to Science! Learn More Official rules for the News from Science weekly quiz sweepstakes And for those of you still following your Nobel news, a leading scientist just claimed that the citation for the 2015 Nobel Prize in this category is wrong: In other genetic news, an Argentine sportsman won a major tournament this month by using what cloned animals? About 50% ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser A new study suggests that pregnant women infected with Zika virus miscarry or have children with birth defects at a much higher rate than thought. What is that rate? Squirrels and chipscenter_img Win a FREE digital subscription to Science! Just submit the required contact information to enter. Share your score Reindeer. According to a new study, the average body mass of Svalbard reindeer in Norway has gone from 55 kilograms to 48 since 1994. That’s because their diet of grasses, lichens, and mosses is locked away under a layer of ice that forms on top of snow when warming temperatures cause early rainfall. Though the numbers might not seem extreme, reindeer size has reached a critical point: Female reindeer below 50 kilograms give birth to smaller calves and even naturally abort their fetuses to save themselves if too little food is available. Question Snowy owls Dead birds 0 / 10 They tweaked their epigenetic marks. Last week, British government scientists said that, thanks to warming oceans, this dish might soon replace fish and chips on dinner tables across the United Kingdom: Environmental Protection Agency Start Quiz A pulsar in its death throes Economics They tweaked their epigenetic marks. Like hair and skin, our chromosomes show our age. Chromosomes carry molecular attachments, known as epigenetic marks, which control how active genes are. As we get older, the arrays of these marks change, fouling up the precisely coordinated patterns of gene activity that keep our cells working. Now, by using these marks to turn on a few genes normally active only in embryos, scientists have “reprogrammed” adult body cells into youthful stem cells in mice, boosting their life spans and refurbishing some of their tissues. Department of Energy Physics. The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics honored leaders of two experiments “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.” But now, a prominent theoretical physicist says: not so fast. Even though the two winners deserved the prize, he says, only one of their experiments actually proved neutrino oscillations. Intrigued? Read Adrian Cho’s account of how meshing mass states and cosmic rays made the discovery possible. About 50%. The study, the first to look at what happened to pregnant women known to be infected, suggests that carrying the virus at any stage of pregnancy—not just the final trimester—is far more dangerous than realized. The results build on an earlier report that found nearly a third of women infected in the third trimester develop complications that affect their babies. In the new study, 46% of women at all stages of pregnancy experienced “adverse outcomes,” including miscarriage, infant brain calcification, and brain hemorrhages. A J. J. Abrams lens flare Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Chemistry LOADING 0 Department of Defense Enter the information below to enter the sweepstakes:Your information has been submitted.An error occurred submitting the email. Please try again later.This email has already been entered.The email submitted is not a valid email.Incomplete form. Please fill out all fields. 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I would like to receive emails about products and services offered by AAAS advertisers.PRIVACY I have read and accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.Submit Squid and chips. The Brits love their squirrels! But they also love their haddock and cod (in a different way, of course). The only problem is that ocean waters around the British Isles are warming so quickly that stocks of cold-water fish are rapidly migrating northward: The center of distribution for cod is now off the coast of Norway. Meanwhile, warm-water creatures like sardine and squid are leaving the seas of France, Spain, and Portugal for the comfortable climes of the North Sea, whose temperature has risen 1.7° C since the early 1980s. Calamari, anyone? Department of the Interior A Dyson sphere Pigeons About 75% In the United States, this government department has refused to hand over to the incoming Trump administration the names of scientists who worked on climate-related issues: Dogs Not a good idea for that narrowing female pelvis. Physiology or Medicine You It didn’t aid monogamous intercourse. Why did humans likely lose their penis bone, according to a new study? It didn’t aid monogamous intercourse. Despite colloquialisms that imply otherwise, the human penis has no bones. The same cannot be said of our closest relatives, including chimpanzees and bonobos. To find out why, scientists traced the evolutionary history of the baculum (as the bone is known), which evolved between 145 million and 95 million years ago. It turns out that primates with ossified penises can penetrate for longer periods of time—advantageous in polygamous species, which experience intense competition for fertilization. To make sure a female isn’t mating with other males, her gentleman callers simply spend more time having sex with her. And that’s where the baculum comes in, holding open the urethra and supporting the penis. (Even so, a plus-one if you went for large-brained females!) Squid and chips Horses Enter for a chance to win. We’ll select a new winner each week. The faster you answer, the higher you score! Challenge your friends and sign up for your chance to win a free digital subscription to Science. They treated them with human growth hormone.last_img read more

Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20000 years earlier than thought ancient

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first_img Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than thought, ancient teeth reveal Researchers used a special kind of computed tomography scan (lower left) on two fossilized teeth found in a Sumatran cave, an incisor and a molar. Tanya Smith and Rokus Awe Due 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 (*) By April ReeseAug. 9, 2017 , 1:00 PMcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The findings offer new hints about how our early ancestors spread across the world, paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City wrote in an email. “[The teeth] show greater affinity to east Asian humans than later southeast Asian specimens, which may give us some clues about the early dispersal routes of modern humans.” he wrote. The researchers, he says, “have definitively and superbly demonstrated the presence of modern humans in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previous estimates.”Though just a pair of teeth may seem like insubstantial evidence, the new analysis is convincing, says paleontologist Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. “If they show they are clearly human, which I think they do, then it is enough to document humans in this part of the world.”And the earlier timestamp also means early modern humans may have overlapped with the hobbit (Homo floresiensis), a tiny early human species that lived more than 60,000 years ago on another Indonesian island called Flores. Yet it’s unlikely the two crossed paths, Westaway says, because strong currents would have made travel to Flores difficult.The new findings also suggest that these early colonizers may have been the first to live in a rainforest setting. That’s significant, because researchers have long thought that early humans would have found rainforests unappealing: Why hunt clever monkeys in the treetops when easy-to-catch shellfish and other resources await on the coast?But Roberts of isn’t fully convinced that these early human colonists did live in rainforests. Fossils from rainforest animals were found at the site but don’t bear the marks of a human kill and may not have coexisted with modern humans.Still, the study shows that “tropical terrestrial habitats were crucial resources for humans expanding beyond Africa, and our species was flexible enough to adapt to them,” Roberts wrote in an email. “Perhaps it is this environmental plasticity that characterizes our species and has left it the last remaining hominin in the world.” When Dutch archaeologist D. A. Hooijer first saw a pair of weathered teeth recovered from a remote cave on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, he noted that they were about the right size and shape to belong to modern humans. But in 1948, he couldn’t be sure of their identity or their age. Now, harnessing cutting-edge science, a group of researchers has confirmed what Hooijer had suspected: Modern humans lived in Southeast Asia as far back as 73,000 years ago—about 20,000 years earlier than previously thought. The earlier timeline helps fill in the blanks on the migration routes of our early ancestors and bolsters an emerging theory that humans may have dwelled in rainforests much sooner than researchers had assumed.Previous studies suggested that after evolving in Africa, modern humans eventually made their way to Southeast Asia, but researchers have argued whether they arrived about 50,000 years ago or earlier. Recent studies put modern humans in Australia by about 65,000 years ago, but there has been little direct evidence of an early presence in Southeast Asia.To unravel the mystery, researchers led by geochronologist Kira Westaway of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, decided in 2008 to give the Sumatran teeth another look. She and her team used new techniques, including micro–computed tomography scanning to precisely measure the thickness of the enamel, and luminescence dating to determine when minerals in the rock surrounding the teeth were last exposed to sunlight. They found thick enamel, confirming that the teeth are from modern humans, and pegged the date to between 63,000 and 73,000 years ago, they report today in Nature. Emaillast_img read more

Skull fragment from Greek cave suggests modern humans were in Europe more

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Country In the late 1970s, anthropologists exploring a cave on the rugged coast of southern Greece found two mysterious hominin skull fossils. Time had left them fragmented and distorted, and the jumbled stratigraphy of the cave made them hard to date. For decades, the fossils sat on a shelf, their identity unknown. Now, a state-of-the-art analysis of their shape together with new dates suggest one skull might represent our own species, living in Greece more than 200,000 years ago. The findings, reported in Nature this week, would make this the oldest known Homo sapiens fossil found in Europe, by at least 150,000 years.If so, H. sapiens’s first forays out of its African cradle likely happened earlier and extended much farther than most paleoanthropologists thought, into territory dominated by Neanderthals, our extinct cousins. “And then [H. sapiens] disappeared” from Europe, says Eric Delson, a paleoanthropologist at the City University of New York in New York City, until a later wave successfully spread across the continent about 50,000 years ago. But because the evidence is no more than a piece from the back of the skull, some researchers aren’t sure the fossil can be definitively identified as H. sapiens. And others question the old date.Katerina Harvati, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, has long suspected that southeast Europe was a hot spot for ancient humans. Not only is the region “at the crossroads of three continents”—Africa, Asia, and Europe—but it enjoyed a relatively mild climate when other parts of Europe were covered by glaciers, she says. So she was thrilled to receive permission to study the fossils, which are named for the cave. The first individual, Apidima 1, is represented by the skull piece. The second, Apidima 2, is more complete and includes the face.center_img Email KATERINA HARVATI AND EBERHARD KARLS/UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGEN Investigators scanned a fragment from the back of an ancient hominin’s skull (right) and digitally reconstructed it (left and center), revealing the rounded skull of Homo sapiens, rather than an elongated Neanderthal skull. The Apidima 1 skull fragment was more complete on one side than the other, and Apidima 2’s skull and face were distorted. So Harvati began by figuring out what they originally looked like. She and her team scanned both fossils with x-rays and created 3D reconstructions. They digitally broke Apidima 2 into 66 bone fragments and painstakingly reassembled them into what was likely their original shape. The result showed the face of a typical Neanderthal, jutting from the skull and complete with protruding brow ridges. The ratio of uranium to its decay products in the bones revealed an age of about 170,000 years old.For Apidima 1, Harvati and her team created a mirror image of the fossil and stitched the two together to see the full shape of the back of the skull. It was short and round, like the skulls of H. sapiens, and lacked a ridge and furrow that Neanderthal skulls typically have at the back. “You couldn’t bend [the Apidima 1 reconstruction] into a classic Neanderthal cranium,” agrees Christoph Zollikofer, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland who wasn’t involved in the research. Harvati and her team concluded that the skull most likely belonged to H. sapiens.The finding startled Harvati herself—especially because the uranium dating of Apidima 1 put its age at 210,000 years old. That makes it at least 15,000 years older than the next oldest fossil of our species found outside of Africa, in Misliya Cave in Israel. It’s about 100,000 years younger than the oldest known H. sapiens fossils in the world, from Jebel Irhoud in Morocco. But Warren Sharp, a uranium dating expert at the University of California, Berkeley, points out that the Apidima 1 samples actually returned dates ranging from more than 300,000 years old to less than 40,000 years old. “It’s not a well-behaved sample,” he says. “You have this huge spread of apparent ages, and you don’t know if any of them are any good.”Researchers are also divided on whether Apidima 1 convincingly represents a member of our species. “[Apidima 1] pretty clearly preserves enough of the cranium to demonstrate that it is definitively Homo sapiens,” Delson says. But not everyone agrees. “It’s plausible,” says Susan Antón, a paleoanthropologist at New York University in New York City. “But for me it’s not a slam dunk.”In ancient humans, the shape of the back of the skull doesn’t always predict the shape of the face, she says. The Jebel Irhoud skull, for example, has an archaic, elongated back but a distinctly modern face. Zollikofer adds that the Neanderthal lineage may encompass more anatomical variations than researchers yet realize—perhaps including a short, round skull. “It highlights the scarcity of our knowledge,” he says. In fact, Marie-Antoinette de Lumley, a paleoanthropologist at CNRS, the French national research agency in Paris, has recently argued that both skulls are actually ancestors of Neanderthals.Israel Hershkovitz, a paleoanthropologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel who found the fossils in Misliya Cave, thinks that because members of H. sapiens were in the Middle East about 200,000 years ago, they could have made an early excursion to southern Europe, too. Harvati points out that some Neanderthal genomes preserve a trace of an interbreeding event with H. sapiens that took place before 200,000 years ago, a sign that our ancestors must have entered Neanderthal territory early, before vanishing again. Perhaps “they didn’t like the climate, or didn’t like the fauna to eat, or didn’t like having Neanderthals around, and pulled back,” Delson says.But Hershkovitz isn’t convinced Apidima 1 represents those ancient pioneers. Without more complete fossils and confirmation of their dates by other techniques, he says, “The evidence is very weak.”last_img read more

Did Michael Rockefeller Meet His End at the Hands of a Native

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first_imgAt 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.last_img read more

WINDIES WORLD CUP SQUAD Russell in Pollard Narine left out

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first_imgShareTweetSharePinHolder (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…last_img read more

Number of people with respiratory diseases likely to increase if UK air

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first_imgSep 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/last_img read more