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Skin Cells Brain Cells Antibiotics WHO biotechnology genetic engineering bioprinting cancer evolution transhumanism

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#1
wjfox

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13664452

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Skin cancer treatments revealed at conference

Patients with advanced skin cancer could benefit from two new treatments that extend life, a cancer meeting in Chicago has heard.

Scientists say a pill called Vemurafenib appears to give patients a greater chance of surviving longer than chemotherapy.

It was tested on a group of 675 patients with advanced melanoma.

Another drug, taken intravenously, called Ipilimumab, is said to give patients extra years of life.

The results were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

During a trial, 84% of patients who took Vemurafenib pills twice a day were still alive six months later. This compares with 64% of those on standard chemotherapy.

The drug works by acting on a faulty gene, BRAF, found in half of terminally ill patients whose cancer has spread to other organs.

The results were so impressive that the British experts running the trial stopped it early so they could switch all patients in the group over to Vemurafenib.

And trials showed the drug reduced the risk of the disease worsening by 74%, compared with chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, trial results from another study show that a one-course infusion treatment of Ipilimumab may extend the survival of patients with advanced melanoma.

'Enormous advance'

Several patients have lived for years when they might otherwise have died in weeks or months, say investigators. At least one is still alive five years after receiving the treatment.

Research is now being conducted to find out whether Vemurafenib could be used for other cancers, including ovarian, thyroid and bowel cancer.

Both treatments are now being assessed by European licensing bodies and could become available to UK patients within months, subject to approval.

Although it is unclear if the NHS would be able to afford to use these relatively expensive drugs that cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Professor Richard Marais, whose work at the Institute of Cancer Research demonstrated the importance of BRAF in melanoma, said: "This is the biggest breakthrough in melanoma treatment in more than 30 years.

"The results demonstrate for the first time that a targeted therapy can work in melanoma and will change our approach to treating this disease. It is an enormous advance in the field."

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: "For the first time, we have effective treatments becoming available for melanoma.

"Both show how the research we have been doing is feeding through into help for patients.

"It is a first step but a vitally important one, and it encourages us to redouble our efforts for people with this most dangerous type of skin cancer."

Malignant melanoma kills more than 2,000 people in the UK each year, and more than 11,000 people annually develop the disease.


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#2
Caiman

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Cancer charities like Cancer Research UK are amongst the most worthwhile causes to support, in my opinion. Practically every single person on Earth is affected by Cancer in some way, whether it’s in suffering from it themselves or seeing a loved one afflicted. The eventual elimination of Cancer will be one of the crowning glories of human achievement, should it happen and it’s a brilliant goal to work to work towards. Of course, there’s probably never going to be a single solution to treat every variation but perhaps as we come to understand the human genome better and develop superior treatments like those outlined in the article above we’ll one day be at a place where ‘Cancer’ isn’t automatically thought of as ‘death sentence’.
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~Jon

#3
Nom du Clavier

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I wonder in what part cancer is such a big problem because of the things we consume (pesticides, herbicides, particulates in the atmosphere), and how much is due to an inherent problem in our genome. How many people on average died of cancer when someone aged 40 was considered to be a very old geezer, for example? Considering cancer is basically cell division gone haywire, how much of it is simply inevitable when longer lifespans mean the accumulated errors in cell division eventually add up to too big an error?
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#4
wjfox

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http://medicalxpress...sful-early.html

Researchers use human vaccine to cure prostate cancer in mice

June 19, 2011

University of Leeds researchers, funded by Cancer Research UK, have used a library of DNA to create a vaccine that could be used to treat cancer, according to a study published in Nature Medicine.

Before now, 'gene therapy' vaccines have often delivered just one gene to stimulate the immune system. It produces a protein, called an antigen, which activates the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

It has been difficult to develop successful cancer vaccines because each tumour has specific proteins and identifying the right antigens has been a huge challenge.

Scientists have also tried to boost the effectiveness of vaccines by using several genes to increase the chances of producing successful antigens. But a worry has always been that the immune system's response would be too strong for the body to handle.

But now researchers, working with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, have solved this problem in experiments involving mice.

The team used doses of a vaccine made from a virus which contained a 'library' of DNA, containing multiple fragments of genes and therefore many possible antigens. This approach did not send the immune system into overdrive, which had been a concern. Instead the range of DNA meant the vaccine was able to target the tumour through many routes.

Importantly, the DNA library was harvested from the same organ as the tumour. This meant that the immune system 'self-selected' the cancer antigens to respond to and did not react against other healthy parts of the body. Also, the process of self-selection was triggered when the vaccine was injected into the bloodstream, an approach to vaccination that is far more practical than injecting directly into tumours.

The researchers delivered a library of DNA taken from healthy prostate tissue in mice. When delivered in a virus, the vaccine successfully treated mice with prostate cancer.

University of Leeds' Professor Alan Melcher, co-author of the study, said: "This is the first time we've been able to use a whole library of DNA in a viral vaccine successfully.

"The biggest challenge in immunology is developing antigens that can target the tumour without causing harm elsewhere.

"By using DNA from the same part of the body as the tumour, inserted into a virus, we may be able to solve that problem."

The vaccine was made by putting the DNA library inside a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which stimulates an immune response that can then track down and kill tumour cells.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: "This is an interesting and significant study which could really broaden out the field of immunotherapy research.

"Although the vaccine didn't trigger the immune system to overreact and cause serious side effects in mice, it will need to be further developed and tested in humans before we can tell whether this technique could one day be used to treat cancer patients."


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#5
Craven

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Yeah I've just read about it on io9. Very cool.
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#6
wjfox

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http://www.bbc.co.uk...health-14047670

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Surgeons carry out first synthetic windpipe transplant

By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News, in Stockholm

Surgeons in Sweden have carried out the world's first synthetic organ transplant.

Scientists in London created an artificial windpipe which was then coated in stem cells from the patient.

Crucially, the technique does not need a donor, and there is no risk of the organ being rejected. The surgeons stress a windpipe can also be made within days.

The 36-year-old cancer patient is doing well a month after the operation.

Professor Paolo Macchiarini from Spain led the pioneering surgery, which took place at the Karolinska University Hospital.

In an interview with the BBC, he said he now hopes to use the technique to treat a nine-month-old child in Korea who was born with a malformed windpipe or trachea.

Professor Macchiarini already has 10 other windpipe transplants under his belt - most notably the world's first tissue-engineered tracheal transplant in 2008 on 30-year-old Spanish woman Claudia Costillo - but all required a donor.

Indistinguishable

The key to the latest technique is modelling a structure or scaffold that is an exact replica of the patient's own windpipe, removing the need for a donor organ.

To do this he enlisted the help of UK experts were given 3D scans of the 36-year-old African patient, Andemariam Teklesenbet Beyene. The geology student currently lives in Iceland where he is studying for a PhD.

Using these images, the scientists at University College London were able to craft a perfect copy of Mr Beyene's trachea and two main bronchi out of glass.

They then coated this was then flown to Sweden and soaked in a solution of stem cells taken from the patient's bone marrow.

After two days, the millions of holes in the porous windpipe had been seeded with the patient' own tissue.

Dr Alex Seifalian and his team used this fragile structure to create a replacement for the patient, whose own windpipe was ravaged by an inoperable tumour.

Despite aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the cancer had grown to the size of a golf ball and was blocking his breathing. Without a transplant he would have died.

During a 12-hour operation Professor Macchiarini removed all of the tumour and the diseased windpipe and replaced it with the tailor-made replica.

The bone marrow cells and lining cells taken from his nose, which were also implanted during the operation, are able to divide and grow, turning the inert windpipe scaffold into an organ indistinguishable from a normal healthy one.

And, importantly, Mr Beyene's body will accept it as its own, meaning he will not need to take the strong anti-rejection drugs that other transplant patients have to.

Professor Macchiarini said this was the real breakthrough.

"Thanks to nanotechnology, this new branch of regenerative medicine, we are now able to produce a custom-made windpipe within two days or one week.

"This is a synthetic windpipe. The beauty of this is you can have it immediately. There is no delay. This technique does not rely on a human donation."

He said many other organs could be repaired or replaced in the same way.


A month on from his operation, Mr Beyene is still looking weak, but well.

Sitting up in his hospital bed, he said: "I was very scared, very scared about the operation. But it was live or die."

He says he is looking forward to getting back to Iceland to finish his studies and then returning to his home in Eritrea where he will be reunited with his wife and young family, and meet his new three-month-old child.

He says he is eternally grateful to the medical team that has saved his life.
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#7
Caiman

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Amazing! Cannot wait to see the emergence of more complex synthetic organs, but this is a great start.
~Jon

#8
Prolite

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This needs to be done for the heart. A real human heart that's exactly the same as the biological one. And also for the liver and kidneys. If scientists can do THAT, many many lives will be saved. And bless the hearts of those that survive long enough for this technology.
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#9
wjfox

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It's on the timeline now. http://www.futuretim...rgan-transplant I've contacted Harvard Bioscience to ask if I can use a better image.

#10
alonzo-ny

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Fantastic development. How complex could this get? Could we be talking about synthetic limbs?
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#11
mic of orion

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Fantastic development. How complex could this get? Could we be talking about synthetic limbs?



sure, 5-10 years down the read even liver and hart organs could be replaced, i15 years tops.
It's dangerous to be right, when your government is wrong.
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#12
OrbitalResonance

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Anyone else get wierded out by the pic?

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers. - Carl Sagan


#13
alonzo-ny

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Anyone else thinking how much money there is to be made in synthetic vaginas? Sorry to lower the tone but you know it will happen.

#14
alonzo-ny

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Fantastic development. How complex could this get? Could we be talking about synthetic limbs?



sure, 5-10 years down the read even liver and hart organs could be replaced, i15 years tops.


What about synthetic but engineered to take out flaws?

#15
mic of orion

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Fantastic development. How complex could this get? Could we be talking about synthetic limbs?



sure, 5-10 years down the read even liver and hart organs could be replaced, i15 years tops.


What about synthetic but engineered to take out flaws?



If you mean by improving on what was there before, enhancing, perhaps with in 50 years, after all we have just started to dwell in to genetics, give a take few decades we'd be able to do all sorts of stuff. I'm quite convinced by 2028 we'll be able to slow down if not even halt human aging, this is mare 17 years from now, after that sky is the limit.
It's dangerous to be right, when your government is wrong.
They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

#16
OrbitalResonance

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Wow. Anyway, good thing that stuff is on the inside.

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers. - Carl Sagan


#17
wjfox

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New leukemia treatment exceeds 'wildest expectations'

A single shot could be one of the biggest advances in cancer research in decades, scientists say. But the research almost didn't happen

By Robert Bazell
Chief science and health correspondent, NBC News
8/10/2011 7:20:14 PM ET

Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. And it almost never happened.

In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.

The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team.

Dr. Edgar Engleman, a cancer immunologist at Stanford University School of Medicine who was not involved in the research calls the results “remarkable ... great stuff.”

The Penn scientists targeted chroniclymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common type of the blood disease. It strikes some 15,000 people in the United States, mostly adults, and kills 4,300 every year. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection.

In the Penn experiment, the researchers removed certain types of white blood cells that the body uses to fight disease from the patients. Using a modified, harmless version of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, they inserted a series of genes into the white blood cells. These were designed to make to cells target and kill the cancer cells. After growing a large batch of the genetically engineered white blood cells, the doctors injected them back into the patients.

In similar past experimental treatments for several types of cancer the re-injected white cells killed a few cancer cells and then died out. But the Penn researchers inserted a gene that made the white blood cells multiply by a thousand fold inside the body. The result, as researcher June put it, is that the white blood cells became “serial killers” relentlessly tracking down and killing the cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow and lymph tissue.

As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.

Doctors had told Bill Ludwig, one of the research volunteers, that he would die from his leukemia within weeks. Then he got the experimental treatment a year ago.

With tears welling up, he told NBC, "I'm more closer to the people I love and I appreciate them more... I'm getting emotional... the grass is greener and flowers smell wonderful."

The other two patients have chosen to remain anonymous but one who happens to be a scientist himself wrote, “I am still trying to grasp the enormity of what I am a part of -- and of what the results will mean to countless others with CLL or other forms of cancer. When I was a young scientist, like many I’m sure, I dreamed that I might make a discovery that would make a difference to mankind – I never imagined I would be part of the experiment.”

So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients?

Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down. But good guesses are the general shortage of funds and the concept tried in this experiment was too novel and, thus, too risky for consideration.

The researchers did manage to get a grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a charity founded by Barbara and Edward Netter after their daughter-in-law died of cancer. The money was enough to finance the trials on the first three patients.

With results for the three patients published Wednesday simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, money for further studies -- not just in this one type of leukemia, but in other cancers -- will likely pour in from both the government and drug companies.

It is important to emphasize that there still have been only three patients. Over the past century, many attempts to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer have shown initial success and subsequent failure. So much research remains to be done to prove just how good this treatment is. But it should begin soon, with great vigor.

Read the New England Journal of Medicine report
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#18
jjf3

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Really Amazing stuff, looks like we will defiantly cure most cancers in the next decade, but with that will come an even more powerful killer. I fear what the human body would have to face next....
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#19
Prolite

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Once scientists can get their hands on powerful quantum computers, I suspect that most diseases and cancers won't have a chance.
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#20
Time_Traveller

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'Anti-cancer virus' shows promise

An engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body in what researchers have labelled a medical first.

The virus attacked only tumours, leaving the healthy tissue alone, in a small trial on 23 patients, according to the journal Nature.

Posted Image

Researchers said the findings could one day "truly transform" therapies.

Cancer specialists said using viruses showed "real promise".

Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumours in order to evade the immune system.
Smallpox to cancer.

Scientists modified the vaccinia virus, which is more famous for being used to develop a smallpox vaccine.

The virus, named JX-594, is dependent upon a chemical pathway, common in some cancers, in order to replicate.

It was injected at different doses into the blood of 23 patients with cancers which had spread to multiple organs in the body.

I believe that some day, viruses and other biological therapies could truly transform our approach for treating cancer”
End Quote Prof John Bell University of Ottawa
In the eight patients receiving the highest dose, seven had the virus replicating in their tumours, but not in healthy tissue.
Prof John Bell, lead researcher and from the University of Ottawa, said: "We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans.

"Intravenous delivery is crucial for cancer treatment because it allows us to target tumours throughout the body as opposed to just those that we can directly inject."
Infection prevented further tumour growth in six patients for a time. However, the virus did not cure cancer. Patients were given only one dose of the virus as the trial was designed to test the safety of the virus.

It is thought that the virus could be used to deliver treatments directly to cancerous cells in high concentrations.

Prof Bell acknowledges that the research is still in the very early stages, but he said: "I believe that some day, viruses and other biological therapies could truly transform our approach for treating cancer."

Cancer Research UK's Prof Nick Lemoine, also director of Barts Cancer Institute, said: "Viruses that multiply in just tumour cells - avoiding healthy cells - are showing real promise as a new biological approach to target hard-to-treat cancers.

"This new study is important because it shows that a virus previously used safely to vaccinate against smallpox in millions of people can now be modified to reach cancers through the bloodstream - even after cancer has spread widely through the patient's body.

"It is particularly encouraging that responses were seen even in tumours like mesothelioma, a cancer which can be particularly hard to treat."

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Skin Cells, Brain Cells, Antibiotics, WHO, biotechnology, genetic engineering, bioprinting, cancer, evolution, transhumanism

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