Media Mining 14 – Feb 20, 2012: The 99% and Top 1%, Regenerative Medicine Overview, Reading Cancer Signs, Curing Muscular Dystrophy, Coulter Foundation work, Med Device Innovation, Open Source Hardware, and Predicting Pandemics

“Over the past 30 years, the benefits of economic growth in Canada, the US and much of the rest of the world, have gone increasingly to the top one percent of the population. For the majority of families, however, incomes have stagnated. This rise in inequality coincided with a sea change in government policy. Beginning in the 1980s, governments in much of the English-speaking world embarked on what has been called the neoliberal revolution – deregulation, privatization and tax cuts, aimed at liberating markets and stimulating the economy. The rising tide was supposed to lift all boats, but it didn’t.” Jill Eisen explores what happened in two parts. Part 1and Part 2 are both fifty-four minutes long.  Those links are to listen online. They can be downloaded for later listening here, right clicking on either Left Behind – Part 1, Part 2  and selecting “Save Link As…”  There is also a Part 3 which emphasizes Canada, but proposes a solution.  It’s located at the same place as the other two and can be downloaded from there as well.

An excellent hour-long talk about regenerative medicine is presented by a key figure in that field, Dr Anthony Atala, at the National Institute of Health. It’s called “Regenerative Medicine: Current Concepts and Changing Trends” from the NIH where you have to locate the title and select an video or audio version. The video did not work for me, but you can listen online or right click either version and “Save Target As…” to download them. Dr Atala has given many talks on this field, some of which were to TED gatherings, two of which are here and here. The NIH talk is the most recent and most comprehensive, with history, types of regeneration, restrictions or handicaps, and the many tissues/organs being developed. The TED talks, each about seventeen minutes long, appear to contain many of the visual aids Dr Atala used at the NIH, if you desire images as well. He discusses bioreactors, bio printing a functioning two-chamber heart, insertion of new cell wafers into organs, how long failing organs can function, how much vascularization is needed for new tissue to live, stem cells from amniotic fluid and placentas, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the Quantum Program shown about half way through this Power Point Presentation and the new Francis Collins Stem Cell Translational Medicine Journal where more podcasts are available, and the Intermural Center for Regenerative Medicine. In March Listen to The Lancet: 09 MarchFriday has an 8 min summary of stem cell work. Right click on title and “Save Link As..” to download.

Dr. Moira Gunn spends the first fifteen minutes of a half hour program with the Genomic Health Company President, a breast cancer survivor who discusses the importance of reading the signs of cancer. The topic is also explained at the company site in six videos. Cancers differ, as we know, not just by location but within the location. Evaluation of a growing bank of cancer tissue samples, coupled with treatments used and outcomes, determined that four out of a hundred breast cancer victims are helped with chemotherapy. Knowing that in advance means more effective and less expensive treatment. It also means you are unlikely to need chemo. In another example it was found that ten percent of men with prostate cancer need treatment, so watch and wait is a good option, rather than slash and burn. A detailed non-commercial discussion can be read online here where all the jargon and acronyms are defined and debated.

The second fifteen minutes are spent with Chris Garabedian, CEO of A-V-I concerning the use of RNA therapeutics particularly in treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy one result which is in Phase II trials. Machinery inside the cell nucleus is repaired using RNA to fix a malformed protein that causes the condition. The same approach was used in one emergency case of a researcher accidentally infected with the Marburg virus to produce a single treatment dose within an astonishing period of four days. The speed of development attracted interest from the Department of Defense which has provided funding for further research. The company is committed to the discovery and development of novel RNA-based therapeutics with the potential to provide patients transformative treatment options. So its programs target rare diseases such as the Ebola and Marburg viruses but is also looking into treatment of dengue and flu.

Hardware is needed to apply the new medical advances and one approach started by the Coulter Foundation when it formed a partnership with fourteen educational institutes. One of those institutes is described for twenty-five minutes by the director who discusses the Foundation and role it plays in funding research at the University of Pittsburgh. These Translational Research Partner Institutions work closely with the Foundation to promote, develop and realize the clinical potential of translational research. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to focus on outcomes which will save, extend, and improve patient lives suffering from any disease or condition, in any size market, in any discipline, in any country around the world. The first year of the program at UP produced twenty-three possible projects of which five will probably be funded this year. The goal is to repeat the process each year. This effort and those of Dr Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regeneration are on the East Coast.

Then there is medical device innovation by commercial developers who met at Stanford to discuss their efforts for seventy-eight minutes. Healthcare entrepreneurs provide their in-the-trenches perspectives on advancing medical technologies working to extend and enhance lives. Especially in global markets which demand high-impact growth products, these innovators are challenged by securing funding through traditional ventures or alternative sources and developing cost-effective products in a changing landscape. From the 2011 Global Health Series organized by the Stanford Global Health Center in partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Paul Yock, Professor of Medicine and Founding Co-Chair of Stanford’s Program in Biodesign, leads this interactive panel discussion. Panelists include Uday Kumar of iRhythm, Darin Buxbaum of Hourglass Technologies, Mohit Kaushal of the West Wireless Health Institute, and Darren Hite of Aberdare Ventures, all of whom launched in their first years after Stanford. In California one such innovator called Organovo is now using a 3D printer to produce muscle tissue.

The opposite of commercialized hardware is an open source version.  The benefits and challenges of this approach are typified by a webinar promoted by The Neuroscience Information Framework. Carlo Quinonez is the presenter, an academic researcher, and located in California. A link to the video and audio are here. The audio can be heard online here. A webinar includes an audience that can ask questions. It was hosted by Adobe Connect and the sound quality for the audience was poorly done. Adobe provides a service, but it apparently does not advise about the need for sound checks. The presentation also works better if playback speed is increased. The emphasis is on design of microfluidic devices and can stand more information about resources, such as the organization DIY Biology but does promote the concept and uses some other examples as well. One visual aid shows 3D printed items available from DerisiLab, but not the attachment for a Dremel that turns it into a centrifuge. This topic is difficult to define because of such work as open source robotic surgery and groups like the Open Source Hardware Junkies.

Identifying emerging pandemic threats is part of a program called “Predict” discussed in Dr Kiki’s Science Hour #132 that can be downloaded or viewed online. The program is being run by the One Health Commission. A two-page summary is available as a PDF and a twenty-eight version that looks like a Power Point Presentation is also available.


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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