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Old May 1st, 2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Medical Breakthroughs News and Discussions

I thought a separate thread was needed from the Longevity one, as that deals specifically with aging/life extension, rather than general medical/biology stuff.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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Groundbreaking Surgery for Girl Born Without Windpipe

Using plastic fibers and human cells, doctors have built and implanted a windpipe in a 2 ½-year-old girl — the youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ.

The surgery, which took place on April 9 here at Children’s Hospital of Illinois and will be formally announced Tuesday, is only the sixth of its kind and the first to be performed in the United States.

To make Hannah’s windpipe, Dr. Macchiarini’s team made a half-inch diameter tube out of plastic fibers, bathed it in a solution containing stem cells taken from the child’s bone marrow and incubated it in a shoebox-size device called a bioreactor.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/sc...nted=all&_r=2&
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Old May 7th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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Antibiotics could cure 40% of chronic back pain patients

Scientists hail medical breakthrough by which half a million UK sufferers could avoid major surgery and take antibiotics instead

Up to 40% of patients with chronic back pain could be cured with a course of antibiotics rather than surgery, in a medical breakthrough that one spinal surgeon says is worthy of a Nobel prize.

Surgeons in the UK and elsewhere are reviewing how they treat patients with chronic back pain after scientists discovered that many of the worst cases were due to bacterial infections.

The shock finding means that scores of patients with unrelenting lower back pain will no longer face major operations but can instead be cured with courses of antibiotics costing around £114.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...-pain-patients


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Old May 8th, 2013, 01:55 AM   #4
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Hope on the horizon for HIV

Researchers at the University of Aarhus in Denmark are hopeful that they could have a marketable cure for HIV “within months”. This marks a dramatic departure from the former thinking of HIV/AIDS as a incurable disease that you can only manage through long term treatment

This new direction in research was partly galvanised by the cure of a 2007 bone marrow recipient who received the marrow from a donor with a mutation for immunity against the virus. Six years after receiving the treatment, they are still free of the virus and this has led scientists across the globe to search for cures and not just treatments that manage the disease.

This Danish treatment focuses on the latent viral load in so called “reservoirs”, in the DNA of cells. It forces the virus out where the immune system can then locate and destroy it. This can be complemented by a booster vaccine to help the body’s natural immune system overcome the now free virus. The technique has already proven successful during in vitro tests on human cells; which promises much during the next step in human patients.

The technique has proven so promising in the laboratory that the researchers have been awarded £1.5 million by the Danish Research Council to move their research into clinical trials. The treatment is already in the human phase of clinical trials. The Danes are able to quickly and efficiently transfer basic research into clinical trials, as well as being a good example of the re-purposing of old drugs to treat other diseases.

The technique uses Panobinostat, a drug form a class known as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which are more often used in cancer treatments. Fifteen patients are taking part in the trials, due to conclude in September. However, they have yet to publish any data, so it is impossible to know if the trials will truly replicate the results of the initial laboratory tests; it’s important to bear in mind that the pharmaceutical world is strewn with drugs which almost made it but failed at this last stage.

Other studies not yet in the clinical trial stage are taking place here in the UK under the CHERUB (Collaborative HIV Eradication of viral Reservoirs: UK BRC) group; this draws internationally-recognised researchers from five biomedical research centres across the UK to bring together a diverse interdisciplinary team. However, they have yet to move any treatments into clinical trials.

If this Danish research does prove to be successful in producing a cure that can be mass produced, then it could free many from the shackles of their daily drug regime to manage their HIV and save both lives and money around the world.

SOURCE: http://www.nouse.co.uk/2013/05/07/ho...rizon-for-hiv/
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Old May 14th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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The video is 2 years old, but gives you an insight into the product

The first human implantations of bioprosthetic artificial hearts



CARMAT, the designer and developer of the world’s most advanced project of total artificial heart, announces today that it has obtained the approval of four renowned international cardiac surgery centers in Belgium, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia to proceed with the first clinical implantations of its bioprosthetic total artificial heart.



These institutions are the St Pierre University Hospital (Brussels, Belgium), the Silesian Center for Heart Disease (Zabrze, Poland), the Prince Sultan Cardiac Center (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), and the University Medical Centre Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia).



All these institutions share excellence in surgical results and heart patient care, depth of patient recruitment and experience in innovative medical devices pre-market clinical trials.

In a common statement, Prof. Didier de Cannière, Chief of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at St Pierre University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, Prof. Marian Zembala, Chairman, Department of Cardiac Surgery and Transplantation and Director of the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases in Zabrze, Poland, Prof. Borut Geršak, Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Prof. Antonio Calafiore, Head of the Department of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, declared: “We are very glad to share our experience and knowledge and thus contribute to this extraordinary project, as end-stage heart failure is indeed an international health issue. CARMAT’s bioprosthetic artificial heart could bring true innovation to the heart failure surgical community and we are looking forward to starting its implantation and to exploring its potential benefits for our patients.”



Prof. Alain Carpentier, co-founder and Scientific Director at CARMAT, comments: "I have been very pleased to learn that the leaders of these prestigious departments are willing to join us in the evaluation of the Carmat bioprosthesis. As recognized experts in the field, they will be able to appreciate first-hand the unique features and remarkable performances of this prosthesis."

Marcello Conviti, CEO of CARMAT, concludes: “The patient selection process and the training of the clinical teams are ongoing in these four countries, supported by our French proctors, Prof. Christian Latrémouille, Cardiac Surgeon at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris and Prof. Daniel Duveau, Medical Director of the Thorax Institute and of the Department of Thoracic and Vascular surgery at University Hospital in Nantes. Implantations could start shortly following the completion of the training. Carmat expects to receive additional approvals in a near future, potentially in France (ANSM approval) and in other countries.”

SOURCE: http://www.european-hospital.com/en/...al_hearts.html
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Old May 15th, 2013, 03:06 AM   #6
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Proton therapy gives cancer hope



Several million people in the world are affected by cancer and there are various treatments available. Some patients undergo sessions of proton therapy, an advanced form of radiotherapy that uses a high-energy proton beam.



In a lab near Brussels, in Belgium, IBA (Ion Beam Applications) is building and testing cyclotrons. Inside the cyclotron, charged particles are accelerated until they almost reach the speed of light. Electrons are separated from hydrogen atoms and only the protons are kept.

Inside the orange magnets a special pipeline is installed to make the protons travel towards the nearby treatment rooms, before they enter the patients’ bodies, and destroy their tumours.

While conventional radiation can damage healthy tissues, proton beams deliver their maximum energy within a precisely controlled range, thereby reducing adverse effects to adjacent healthy tissues. The first prototype particle accelerator for medical purposes was invented in 1986, and the latest generation of cyclotrons, are much smaller and cheaper than previous ones.

Yyves Jongen, the inventor. explained: “Cancer often affects older people. But around 7% of cancers are found in children. And when we’re treating cancer in children it’s even more important not to irradiate other organs which the child will need throughout life. And proton therapy allows us to do that. When we have the patient here on the treatment table we use two x-rays to locate the exact position of the tumour in the patient. And we can position the patient to the nearest millimetre so that we really target that and nothing just beside it.”

Proton therapy is therefore particularly useful when treating tumours which are close to vital organs: for example cancers in the eyes, brain, neck or left breast. The strength of the beam can also be regulated.

The inventor of this proton therapy is now in line for a Lifetime Achievement at the European Inventor Awards, organised by the European Patent office. The winners will be announced on 28th May in Amsterdam.

Yyves Jongen said: “I get paid for doing things I love in life. I am passionate about combating cancer and designing machines which can treat it better. So I’m a very happy man.”

To make this therapy more widely available, the next step is to reduce the size and cost of the machines.

SOURCE: http://www.euronews.com/2013/05/14/p...s-cancer-hope/
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Old May 15th, 2013, 03:50 PM   #7
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Nice, IBA is a spin-off from my university. Ironically, still no medical center in Belgium can afford their protontherapy (and only a few ones through Europe), their technology is mostly used in the US.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 11:04 PM   #8
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Surprised nobody posted this yet...


Human stem cells created by cloning

It was hailed some 15 years ago as the great hope for a biomedical revolution: the use of cloning techniques to create perfectly matched tissues that would someday cure ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease. Since then, the approach has been enveloped in ethical debate, tainted by fraud and, in recent years, overshadowed by a competing technology. Most groups gave up long ago on the finicky core method — production of patient-specific embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from cloning. A quieter debate followed: do we still need ‘therapeutic’ cloning?

A paper published this week by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a reproductive biology specialist at the Oregon Health and Science University in Beaverton, and his colleagues is sure to rekindle that debate. Mitalipov and his team have finally created patient-specific ESCs through cloning, and they are keen to prove that the technology is worth pursuing.

http://www.nature.com/news/human-ste...loning-1.12983


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Old May 16th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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Polio to be eradicated by 2018

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/...n_20130425/en/
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 03:11 PM   #10
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Cancer risk in 680 000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians

Abstract

Objective: To assess the cancer risk in children and adolescents following exposure to low dose ionising radiation from diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scans.

Design: Population based, cohort, data linkage study in Australia.

Cohort members: 10.9 million people identified from Australian Medicare records, aged 0-19 years on 1 January 1985 or born between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 2005; all exposures to CT scans funded by Medicare during 1985-2005 were identified for this cohort. Cancers diagnosed in cohort members up to 31 December 2007 were obtained through linkage to national cancer records.

Main outcome: Cancer incidence rates in individuals exposed to a CT scan more than one year before any cancer diagnosis, compared with cancer incidence rates in unexposed individuals.

Results: 60 674 cancers were recorded, including 3150 in 680 211 people exposed to a CT scan at least one year before any cancer diagnosis. The mean duration of follow-up after exposure was 9.5 years. Overall cancer incidence was 24% greater for exposed than for unexposed people, after accounting for age, sex, and year of birth (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.24 (95% confidence interval 1.20 to 1.29); P<0.001). We saw a dose-response relation, and the IRR increased by 0.16 (0.13 to 0.19) for each additional CT scan. The IRR was greater after exposure at younger ages (P<0.001 for trend). At 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, and 15 or more years since first exposure, IRRs were 1.35 (1.25 to 1.45), 1.25 (1.17 to 1.34), 1.14 (1.06 to 1.22), and 1.24 (1.14 to 1.34), respectively. The IRR increased significantly for many types of solid cancer (digestive organs, melanoma, soft tissue, female genital, urinary tract, brain, and thyroid); leukaemia, myelodysplasia, and some other lymphoid cancers. There was an excess of 608 cancers in people exposed to CT scans (147 brain, 356 other solid, 48 leukaemia or myelodysplasia, and 57 other lymphoid). The absolute excess incidence rate for all cancers combined was 9.38 per 100 000 person years at risk, as of 31 December 2007. The average effective radiation dose per scan was estimated as 4.5 mSv.

Conclusions: The increased incidence of cancer after CT scan exposure in this cohort was mostly due to irradiation. Because the cancer excess was still continuing at the end of follow-up, the eventual lifetime risk from CT scans cannot yet be determined. Radiation doses from contemporary CT scans are likely to be lower than those in 1985-2005, but some increase in cancer risk is still likely from current scans. Future CT scans should be limited to situations where there is a definite clinical indication, with every scan optimised to provide a diagnostic CT image at the lowest possible radiation dose.


Full paper is open access at: http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2360
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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Baby’s life saved with groundbreaking 3D printed device from University of Michigan that restored his breathing

http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archi...printed-device


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Old May 27th, 2013, 10:22 AM   #12
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Stroke patients see signs of recovery in stem-cell trial

Five seriously disabled stroke patients have shown small signs of recovery following the injection of stem cells into their brain.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22646103


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Old May 29th, 2013, 08:15 PM   #13
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From the video description: "A clip from episode five of the BBC Two series, 'Keeping Britain Alive', about the National Health Service. This clip demonstrates deep brain stimulation to stop body tremors and shows the actual moment the conscious patient's tremors stop. The series gives an amazing insight into the biggest institution in the UK. Every day in the NHS, 1,300 of us will die, 2,000 will be born and one and a half million of us will be treated."

Warning: Not for the squeamish.


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Old June 13th, 2013, 07:55 PM   #14
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A victory for common sense...

---

Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patented

By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: June 13, 2013

WASHINGTON — Isolated human genes may not be patented, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday. The case concerned patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah company, on genes that correlate with increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The patents were challenged by scientists and doctors who said their research and ability to help patients had been frustrated. The particular genes at issue received public attention after the actress Angelina Jolie revealed in May that she had had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she had inherited a faulty copy of a gene that put her at high risk for breast cancer.

The price of the test, often more than $3,000, was partly a product of Myriad’s patent, putting it out of reach for some women. The company filed patent infringement suits against others who conducted testing based on the gene. The price of the test "should come down significantly," said Dr. Harry Ostrer, one of the plaintiffs in the case decided Thursday. The ruling, he said, “will have an immediate impact on people’s health.”

The court’s ruling will also shape the course of scientific research and medical testing in other fields, and it may alter the willingness of businesses to invest in the expensive work of isolating and understanding genetic material.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/us....html?hp&_r=1&


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Old June 19th, 2013, 01:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjfox View Post
A victory for common sense...

---
Why exactly? I be seen that said a lot on the interent bit I don't see what common sense has to do with it.

The Austrilan High came to the opposite conclusion and its decison seemed far more coherent to me.

In the EU the patentability of isolated DNA was hardcoded into legislation by the Biotech directive in 1998 and it seems to have worked out pretty well.

I do find the slowness of the Court system depressing. I believe this was really only a significant issue in the 90s and early 2000s. Today as iunderstand it its so routine that its near impossible for a new patent claim on isolated DNA to succeed as it will be considered obvious. The US deviousness mostly affects old patents that were due to expire soon anyway. Myriad made a good business out of DNA patent and the judgemtb has come too late to effect that which can't be right. Hiw was something as beauratic and conservative as Eu legislation able to nail this issue down 15 years before the US courts?
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Old July 6th, 2013, 12:23 AM   #16
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Technological Breakthrough Paves the Way for Better Drugs



Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed the first method for directly measuring the extent to which drugs reach their targets in the cell. The method, which is described in the scientific journal Science, could make a significant contribution to the development of new, improved drug substances.

Most drugs operate by binding to one or more proteins and affecting their function, which creates two common bottlenecks in the development of drugs; identifying the right target proteins and designing drug molecules able to efficiently seek out and bind to them. No method has been available for directly measuring the efficiency of the drug molecules to locate and bind to its target protein. Now researchers from Karolinska Institutet have developed a new tool called CETSA (Cellular Thermal Shift Assay), which utilise the concept that target proteins usually get stabilised when drug molecules bind.

"We have shown that the method works on a wide variety of target proteins and allows us to directly measure whether the drug molecules reach their targets in cells and animal models," says lead investigator Professor Pär Nordlund of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. "We believe that CETSA will eventually help to improve the efficiency of many drugs and contribute to better drug molecules and more successful treatments."

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0705101541.htm
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Old July 8th, 2013, 01:04 PM   #17
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Two interesting IVF news from today

New gene sequencing yields healthy baby



Scientists said Monday they had used a new-generation gene sequencing technique to select a viable embryo for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) that yielded a healthy baby boy.

IVF, the process whereby a human egg is fertilised with sperm in the laboratory, is a hit-and-miss affair, with only about 30 percent of fertilised embryos resulting in pregnancy after implantation. The reason for the high failure rate is not clear but genetic defects are the prime suspects, according to the authors of the paper presented Monday at a meeting in London of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).The new method, known as next generation sequencing or NGS, uses updated technology to sequence an entire genome -- revealing inherited genetic disorders, chromosome abnormalities and mutations.

Study author Dagan Wells of the University of Oxford's NIHR Biomedical Research Centre said the new technology was "inherently cheaper" and yielded more genetic data than older methods. It provides millions of fragments of DNA from a single cell which are then sequenced by a computer. The method has started being used in genetic research and diagnostics, but not yet in embryo screening, according to Wells. "Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities," he said in a statement.

"Next generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy." Current methods of detecting embryonic gene deficiencies add over £2,000 (2,300 euros, $3,000) to a single IVF attempt, said Wells. "The new method should allow costs to be reduced by several hundred pounds, potentially bringing the benefits of chromosome screening within the reach of a far greater number of patients," he told AFP. Wells had tested the method on "abnormal" embryos in the laboratory until he was satisfied of a high level of accuracy, then used it to help two couples undergoing IVF.

The mothers were aged 35 and 39, and one had previously had a miscarriage. Wells said the method identified three healthy blastocysts (early embryos) in one couple and two in the other.
A single embryo was transferred to each woman, leading to healthy pregnancies in both cases, said the statement. "The first pregnancy ended with the delivery of a healthy boy in June" in Pennsylvania. The second mother "will be delivering soon," said Wells. Further tests will be carried out later this year.

SOURCE: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...f06ddb41751.f1

IVF for 200 euro per cycle

A study performed in Belgium has shown that low-cost IVF for developing and poor resource countries is feasible and effective, with delivery rates not much different from those achieved in conventional IVF programmes. This proof-of-principle study, say the investigators, suggests that infertility care may now be "universally accessible"."We showed that the IVF methodology can be significantly simplified and result in successful outcomes at levels that compare favourably to those obtained in high resource programs," they note. "We estimate that the cost of our simplified laboratory system is between 10% and 15% of current costs in Western-style IVF programs." They calculate that a cycle of IVF with the simplified procedure can be performed for around 200 euro.

Behind the study lies the huge personal stigma which infertility brings to women in developing countries, who might as a result be disinherited, abused, ostracised and abandoned to a secondclass life in a polygamous marriage. Yet despite a record of 5 million IVF babies born in the world, the treatment of infertility by effective methods remains largely the preserve of developed countries. "Infertility care is probably the most neglected healthcare problem of developing countries, affecting more than 2 million couples according to the WHO," said investigator Dr Elke Klerkx from the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Belgium, who presented the study today at the annual meeting of ESHRE.

The low cost IVF system tested in this study was based on an embryo culture method which removes the need for an expensive IVF laboratory with CO2 incubators, medical gas supply and air purification systems.(1) Outcomes from the low-cost culture method were compared with those from a conventional IVF culture system.

The study started in 2012 in IVF patients under the age of 36 and with at least eight oocytes available for fertilisation. The primary outcome measure was embryo quality at day 3, while secondary outcomes were embryo implantation rate and ongoing pregnancy rate.

An interim analysis of outcomes (as presented today) showed similar rates of fertilisation and embryo cleavage in both groups. However, in 23 out of 35 cycles assessed (65.7%) the top quality embryo selected by an independent embryologist originated from the simplified culture system. In this low-cost group the implantation rate was 34.8% (8/23), with an ongoing pregnancy rate of 30.4% (7/23), with one miscarriage at eight weeks' gestation. The first lowcost baby was a healthy boy (3500 grams, 52 cm) born at 40 weeks' gestation. Up to 31 May this year, 12 healthy babies had been born vaginally.

"Our initial results are proof of principle that a simplified culture system designed for developing countries can offer affordable and successful opportunities for infertility treatment where IVF is the only solution," said Dr Klerkx "This is a major step towards universal fertility care. "If combined with single embryo transfer and low stimulation protocols, we estimate the cost of a treatment cycle can be less than 200 euro - with laboratory costs between 10% and 15% of those in Western-style programmes."

This cost, however, would only be possible if a low-cost laboratory based on the simplified culture system were available. "In developed countries the cost of setting-up a high-quality IVF lab is between 1.5 and 3 million euro, but we would expect to set up a low-cost lab for less than 300,000," explained Dr Klerkx, who added that the construction of a low-cost centre in Genk equipped for simplified IVF should be completed by November this year.

This would provide training for clinics from developing countries and a model for centres to develop themselves. "The simplified lab procedure will undoubtedly open up a new era in the history of IVF," said Dr Klerkx. "The method not only offers affordable and successful access to IVF, but will make effective treatment techniques available to a much larger part of the world's infertile population. This, therefore, may also be considered an important breakthrough in terms of human rights, equity and social justice."

SOURCE: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-if2070213.php
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Old July 12th, 2013, 04:12 PM   #18
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Biological Tooth Replacement Is a Step Closer


Mar. 8, 2013 — Scientists have developed a new method of replacing missing teeth with a bioengineered material generated from a person's own gum cells. Current implant-based methods of whole tooth replacement fail to reproduce a natural root structure and as a consequence of the friction from eating and other jaw movement, loss of jaw bone can occur around the implant.

The research is led by Professor Paul Sharpe, an expert in craniofacial development and stem cell biology at King's College London and published in the Journal of Dental Research.

Research towards achieving the aim of producing bioengineered teeth -- bioteeth -- has largely focussed on the generation of immature teeth (teeth primordia) that mimic those in the embryo that can be transplanted as small cell 'pellets' into the adult jaw to develop into functional teeth.

Remarkably, despite the very different environments, embryonic teeth primordia can develop normally in the adult mouth and thus if suitable cells can be identified that can be combined in such a way to produce an immature tooth, there is a realistic prospect bioteeth can become a clinical reality. Subsequent studies have largely focussed on the use of embryonic cells and although it is clear that embryonic tooth primordia cells can readily form immature teeth following dissociation into single cell populations and subsequent recombination, such cell sources are impractical to use in a general therapy.

Professor Sharpe says: 'What is required is the identification of adult sources of human epithelial and mesenchymal cells that can be obtained in sufficient numbers to make biotooth formation a viable alternative to dental implants.'

In this new work, the researchers isolated adult human gum tissue from patients at the Dental Institute at King's College London, grew more of it in the lab, and then combined it with the cells of mice that form teeth. By transplanting this combination of cells into mice the researchers were able to grow hybrid human/mouse teeth containing dentine and enamel, as well as viable roots.

Professor Sharpe concludes: 'Epithelial cells derived from adult human gum tissue are capable of responding to tooth inducing signals from embryonic tooth mesenchyme in an appropriate way to contribute to tooth crown and root formation and give rise to relevant differentiated cell types, following in vitro culture.

'These easily accessible epithelial cells are thus a realistic source for consideration in human biotooth formation. The next major challenge is to identify a way to culture adult human mesenchymal cells to be tooth-inducing, as at the moment we can only make embryonic mesenchymal cells do this.'
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Old July 12th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #19
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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."



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Old July 28th, 2013, 03:12 PM   #20
Ulpia-Serdica
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A Bioneedle is a mini implant, prefilled with a thermo stabilized vaccine; the Bioneedle is administered through the skin without pain at very high speed using a compressed air driven Bioneedle Applicator



http://www.bioneedle.com/
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