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Strong Progress for Paralyzed Patients After Stem Cell Therapy, Company Says – KQED

A small stem cell trial in which patients with severe spinal injuriesappeared to make remarkable progress is still showing excellent results, according to the company conductingthe research.

One of the patients in the trial is 21-year-old Kris Boesen, from Bakersfield, California, whose story we reported on last year.A car crash had left theBakersfield, California native with three crushed vertebrae, almost no feeling below his neck, and a grimprognosis. Doctors believed he would live the rest of his life as a paraplegic.

Enter stem cell therapy. Most treatments for serious spinal injuries concentrate on physical therapy to expand the range of the patients remainingmotor skills and to limit further injury, not to reverse the actual damage. But last April, as part of an experimental phase 2 clinical trial called SCiStar, researchers injected Boesen with 10 million stem cells. By July, hehad recovered use of his hands to the point where he could use a wheelchair, a computer and a cellphone, and could take care of most of his daily living needs.In recent months his progress has continued, says his father.

Boesen is not the only patient to have improved in the trial, according toAsterias Biotherapeutics, which is conducting the research. Boesen is part of a cohort of six patients who were experiencing various levels of paralysis and were injected with the 10 million stem cell dose. In a Jan. 24update, the company saidfive of those patientshad improved either one or twolevels on a widely used scale to measuremotor function in spinal injury patients.

On Tuesday, Asterias issued a newupdate, announcingthat the sixth patient in the cohort has experienced a similar improvement.

While spontaneous recovery for spinal injury patients does occur,the likelihood of all six patients recovering to the degree they haveis less likely, researchers say.

This is as good as you could hope at this point, said Charles Liu, Boesens neurosurgeon and director of the USC Neurorestoration Center. So far all the evidence is pointing in the right direction.

To measure improvement in spinal injury patients, researchers use two yardsticks: the Upper Extremity Motor Scale, or UEMS, and the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury, or ISNCSCI. On the UEMS scale,patients are scored from 0 to 5 on theirability to use five key muscles in the wrists, elbows and fingers. The ISNCSCI scale assesses where damage has occurred along the different levels of the cervical vertebrae, which generally determines the scope of impairment to the body and the level of care needed.

For instance, if a patient has sustained damage at the fourth cervical vertebra down, known as C-4, at the base of the neck, it generally means that person is paralyzed from the neck down, requiring round-the-clock care and a ventilator to breathe.A patient with a C-5 injury may not be able to move her arms or hands, requiring about 6 to 12 hours per day of assisted care; and at the C-6 level, better motor function mayallow a patient to take care of most of herdaily living needs on her own.

Which is all to say that even one level of recovery could substantially improve the daily life ofa spinal injury patient.

According to Asterias, all six patients in the 10million-cell cohort have improved their general UEMS scores, and jumped at least one motor level on the ISNCSCI scale on one or both sides of their body.

Two patients have improvedtwo motor levels on one side; and one patient,Boesen, has improved two motor levels on both sides.

Steve Cartt, president and CEO of Asterias, said anotherpatient, Jake Javier of Danville, California, has gonefrom partial paralysis to being able to use his hands well enough to considerpursuing a computer science career.

Throws Like a Regular Throw

In September, Boesens father, Rod Boesen, told us how excited he wasthat his son had regained some feeling in one of his feet. Last week, at11 months post-injection, the elder Boesensaid Kris has continued to improve.

Now he can move his toe and his knee together at the same time, Boesen said. Theyre about to give him a manual wheelchair now [instead of a motorized one]. He can grip with his hands enough to use a manual one.

Boesen said the movement in his sons arms and hands has greatlyimproved since September.Kris, a formerhigh school pitcher, had beenflinging a ball to his dog like people throw hand grenades, Boesen said. They kind of cradle them and thats how Kris would do it. But now he throws like a regular throw, tosses that ball down the hall, has that release point down, and just wings it.

Asterias is currently recruiting patients for a trial in which theyll receive 20 million stem cells, the optimal dose, according to company researchers. Two patients have already started the 20 million stem cell therapy, and six-month results from those patients will be released in the fall, Cartt said.

Patients who received 2 million stem cells in an earlier phase of the study have not shown much change in their condition, according to the Jan. 24 update.

Guarded Optimism

While Boesens father is impressed with the results, the optimism of researchers inside and outside the studyhas been guarded.The trial is still in its early stages, and the sample size is small, said Paul Knoepfler, a cell biology professor and stem cell researcher at UC Davis, who is not involved in the SCiStar study.

As a scientist, I still would want to wait for more data, Knoepfler said. Its certainly interesting, but its still early. Its a phase 2 trial.

To address the issue of small sample size, Asterias islooking at historical data to determinethe level of improvement for patients in similar circumstances who did not receive stem cell therapy. The company has said it found a meaningful difference in the recovery of its study patients compared to the norm.

Liu said one of the most importantresults is the lack of significant side effects or other negative outcomes resulting from the treatment to date.

Thats very significant to me, Liu said. Thats the first thing you look for, is anyone hurt from this therapy.

There was also a concern, he said, that some patients might regress over time, once the initial injection of stem cells wore off. Thathasyet to occur.

No one has lost anything theyve gained, Liu said. We were very happy to see that. This is all very promising.

The next step for the SCiStartrial will be to establish a control group, Cartt said.

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Strong Progress for Paralyzed Patients After Stem Cell Therapy, Company Says – KQED

12-year-old battling cancer gets surprise visit from furry star of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ – Fox News

A 12-year-old girl battling brain cancer was treated to a special surprise recently when one of the screenwriters behind A Dogs Purpose arranged for a private screening of the film, and a visit from one of the hit movies main stars.

Brooke Mulford, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2009, had a special wish to see the movie, but has been hospitalized at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, ABC News reported.

She was admitted for the pain, Amy Mulford, Brookes mother, told ABC News. It was just getting worse and worse. Its just about trying to get her comfortable. Shes not been able to walk for three weeks now. She cant stand anymore.

The New Jersey girls health troubles started when she had trouble straightening her legs following a long car ride, ABC News reported. Mulford rushed her to the hospital and on Jan. 5, 2009, Brooke was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

Over the following years she would undergo six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, two stem cell transplants and radiation, but the cancer spread to her spine, ABC News reported. On Jan. 30, she had brain surgery to remove a tumor.

On March 11, Brooke took a break from dealing with cancer to enjoy a special wish that was granted after an online campaign connected her with Amblin Entertainment, the production company behind A Dogs Purpose. The campaign reached one of the films screenwriters, Catheryn Michon, and her husband, the author of the original novel behind the blockbuster hit, ABC News reported.

The two sent Brooke T-shirts, a personalized copy of the book and arranged for a special screening at the hospital, complete with movie theater popcorn. They arrived at the hospital with one more surprise in store for Brooke, which was a visit from the one of films stars, a golden retriever named Tripp.

The fact that so many people came together to make this happen for her was just incredible to me, Mulford told ABC News. Shes gone through so much in the last eight years, but really in the last couple months.

Mulford posted photos from the star-studded visit on Facebook, which have been shared more than 350 times.

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12-year-old battling cancer gets surprise visit from furry star of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ – Fox News

Can a dog take human ibuprofen – Interpharm ibuprofen – Side effects dogs taking ibuprofen – 7479 Completed … – Barnsdalltimes

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Can a dog take human ibuprofen – Interpharm ibuprofen – Side effects dogs taking ibuprofen – 7479 Completed … – Barnsdalltimes

Girl battling cancer granted wish of seeing ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ gets visit from dog in film – ABC News

A 12-year-old battling cancer was granted her wish of seeing the inspirational film, “A Dog’s Purpose.” Brooke Mulford also got a visit from the golden retriever who stars in the film.

Mulford has been battling cancer since she was diagnosed on January 5, 2009, which just so happened to be her mother’s 40th birthday.

Amy Mulford, a single mother from Voorhees, New Jersey, initially knew something was wrong with her daughter when she began limping.

“I asked her why she was limping and she said, ‘[Our dog] Bailey jumped up on me and hurt my knee,'” Amy Mulford recalled to ABC News. “It made sense.”

But after a three-hour road trip, Brooke Mulford couldn’t straighten her legs and couldn’t stand when getting out of the car, her mother added. So she was rushed to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed her with stage four neuroblastoma.

Despite six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, two stem cell transplants, and radiation, Brooke Mulford’s cancer spread to her spine, which doctors discovered December 5, 2012, her mother said.

And although her prognosis at times improved, in January it took a turn for the worse. “She had a massive spread throughout her whole body,” Amy Mulford, 48, detailed.

Since having surgery on January 30 to remove a tumor that had grown in her brain, Brooke Mulford has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Mulford said.

“She was admitted for the pain. It was just getting worse and worse,” her mother said. “It’s just about trying to get her comfortable. She’s not been able to walk for three weeks now. She can’t stand anymore.”

But Brooke Mulford recently got a break in her painful days after she was granted her wish of seeing “A Dog’s Purpose,” a film adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron’s 2010 novel of a dog who finds his purpose by being reincarnated.

After her mother shared her wish on Facebook, many people contacted the film’s production company, Amblin Entertainment. Still, one of her social media friends, Marcie Aron, was connected to Cathryn Michon, the screenwriter for the film and Cameron’s wife.

The two not only sent a personalized copy of the novel and T-shirts promoting the film, but Michon visited Brooke Mulford in the hospital on March 11.

“Bruce and I admire Brooke for having such grace for all she has had to endure,” she wrote Saturday on Facebook of why she visited the hospital. “She is brave and kind and the world is better for her being in it. That’s why everyone was so inspired to grant her request.”

But there’s more. Brooke Mulford along with her family were able to screen the film complete with movie popcorn.

“She was just so excited,” her mother told ABC News of her daughter’s big day. “We watched the movie and it was so beautiful. She was just so moved by it, we all were.”

And Trip, the golden retriever who stars in the film, along with his handler Jennifer Henderson surprised Brooke Mulford.

“The fact that so many people came together to make this happen for her was just incredible to me,” her mother said. “Shes gone through so much in the last eight years, but really in the last couple months.”

Amy Mulford noted that since her cancer spread, her daughter has suffered from nightmares and panic attacks.

“It’s been really hard to see her that way. She’s in so much pain,” she continued, “and then we get to see this movie that she wanted to see so badly and then to get to meet the dog from the movie … it was the best day weve had in so long.

“Its what my heart needed,” Amy Mulford added.

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Girl battling cancer granted wish of seeing ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ gets visit from dog in film – ABC News

Okayama University Research: Bioengineered Tooth Restoration in … – Benzinga

Researchers at Okayama University report in Scientific Reports successful tooth regeneration in a postnatal large-animal model. The approach used involves the autologous transplantation of bioengineered tooth germ into a canine jawbone; the in vivo artificially created tooth has the structure, composition and physiological characteristics of a natural tooth.

Okayama, Japan (PRWEB UK) 19 March 2017

Source: Okayama University (JAPAN), Public Relations and Information Strategy For immediate release: 19 March 2017

Okayama University research: Bioengineered tooth restoration in a large mammal

Researchers at Okayama University report in Scientific Reports successful tooth regeneration in a postnatal large-animal model. The approach used involves the autologous transplantation of bioengineered tooth germ into a canine jawbone; the in vivo artificially created tooth has the structure, composition and physiological characteristics of a natural tooth.

Conventional therapies for restoring the loss of a tooth due to e.g. caries, gum disease or injury essentially consist of replacing the tooth with artificial material or an osseointegrated dental implant. Whole-organ regeneration technology is a promising alternative approach: a new tooth is grown from bioengineered tooth germ transplanted into the jawbone. Takuo Kuboki from Okayama University and colleagues have now demonstrated successful functional tooth restoration via the regenerative method for a postnatal large-animal model (a beagle dog).

The researchers first tested whether bioengineered tooth germ does indeed lead to the formation of a proper tooth. They dissected embryonic tooth germ cells and tissues of a dog 55 days prior to birth, and then reconstructed bioengineered tooth germ by means of a technique known as the organ germ method. The germs were then transplanted into mice. In many cases Kuboki and colleagues were able to identify the necessary conditions the germ resulted in tooth-crown formation, featuring both the hard and soft tissues present in natural teeth, after several weeks.

The scientists then performed autologous transplantation experiments. Rather than relying on a donor, autologous treatments make use of an organism’s own stem cells (undifferentiated cells that can develop into specialized cells), avoiding immunological rejection. Applying this to their canine model, Kuboki and co-workers extracted deciduous teeth from the jawbone of a 30-day old beagle dog. Tooth germ engineered from the dog’s permanent tooth cell and tissue was then transplanted, after two days of cell culture, into the dog’s mandible, resulting in tooth eruption 180 days later.

Micro-CT analysis showed that the developmental process of the bioengineered tooth’s formation was practically identical to that of a natural tooth, and, by means of scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, the bioengineered tooth was found to have the same structure and chemical composition of a natural one. Finally, the researchers demonstrated that the response of the regenerated tooth to a mechanical force was consistent with proper physiological functioning of the periodontal ligament (the tissue that connects the crown to the jawbone).

Regarding the future clinical application of the method to humans, the researchers pointed out that immature wisdom tooth germ would be a possible source of stem-cell germs, as it is available in the human postnatal jawbone. However, this would only pertain to younger people wisdom teeth mineralize after the age of 7; for elderly patients, other stem-cell sources would need to be identified. In any case, quoting Kuboki and colleagues, “this study highlights the feasibility of fully functional tooth restoration by autologous transplantation of bioengineered tooth germ”.

Background Tooth structure and tooth loss remedies Teeth playing an essential role in the basic oral functions of mastication, swallowing and pronunciation comprise hard (such as enamel, dentin and cementum) and soft tissue (such as pulp and periodontal ligaments). As a remedy for tooth loss, fixed dental bridges or removable dentures made from artificial materials have been traditionally used, as well as osseointegrated dental implants: artificial teeth that are directly connected to the jawbone, without intervening soft tissue. Driven by recent advances in biomedical understanding and biotechnological engineering, regenerative technologies for the successful replacement of a lost tooth with uncompromised physiological tooth function such as the one now reported by Kuboki and colleagues are intensively researched today.

Donor-organ versus autologous transplantation The transplantation experiments carried out by the researchers are of the autologous type: a dog’s own tooth germ stem cells were used to regenerate a missing tooth. An autologous transplantation avoids the potential problem of transplant rejection: when an organism receives a donor organ from another, genetically different organism, the former’s immune system may attempt to destroy the transplant. Another complication can be graft-versus-host disease, caused by immune cells of the donated tissue recognizing the host as foreign and starting to attack host cells. It is therefore expected that future whole-tooth restoration in humans will be done by means of autologous transplantation techniques.

Organ germ method The approach of Kuboki and co-workers involves the bioengineered organ germ method, studied since about a decade ago. The method aims to regenerate ectodermal organs organs originating from the so-called ectoderm, the outer embryonic layer such as teeth, hairs and glands, by replicating the organ’s developmental process starting from bioengineered organ germ. In a natural embryo, organ germ arises from the interaction between epithelium (the tissue at the outer layer of a body’s surface) and mesenchyme (tissue sitting below the epithelium). Bioengineered organ germ is created by letting epithelial and mesenchymal tissue or cells interact.

Reference Mitsuaki Ono, Masamitsu Oshima, Miho Ogawa, Wataru Sonoyama, Emilio Satoshi Hara, Yasutaka Oida, Shigehiko Shinkawa, Ryu Nakajima, Atsushi Mine, Satoru Hayano, Satoshi Fukumoto, Shohei Kasugai, Akira Yamagushi, Takashi Tsuji & Takuo Kuboki. Practical whole-tooth restoration utilizing autologous bioengineered tooth germ transplantation in a postnatal canine model. Scientific Reports, 7, 44522. DOI : 10.1038/srep44522 (2017)

Reference (Okayama University e-Bulletin & OU-MRU) : Professor Kuboki’s team e-Bulletin Vol.9Bio-hybrid implants: Restoring organ functions OU-MRU Vol.11Compound-protein combination shows promise for arthritis treatment OU-MRU Vol.19Study links signalling protein to osteoarthritis

About the author Vice-President and Professor Takuo Kuboki, D.D.S., Ph.D. Department of Oral Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Further information Okayama University Website: Okayama Univ. e-Bulletin: About Okayama University (You Tube):

Okayama University Medical Research Updates OU-MRU Vols 1 to 38.

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Okayama University Research: Bioengineered Tooth Restoration in … – Benzinga

Veterinary Doctors Conduct Study Looking To Ease Arthritis Pain – CBS Philly

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Veterinary Doctors Conduct Study Looking To Ease Arthritis Pain
CBS Philly
But soon Brown knew her dog was hurting. After coming back from a walk and taking a nap, she would get up and limp, said Brown. With her being a puppy it was devastating. Zoey was enrolled in a Penn Vet trial to determine the benefits of stem cell …

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Veterinary Doctors Conduct Study Looking To Ease Arthritis Pain – CBS Philly

Caring for dogs as they age – Burlington County Times

Do you have any tips for pet owners to help aging dogs?

We are fortunate that with advanced medical treatments, more balanced nutrition, and dedicated pet owners, dogs are living longer and happier lives.

Here are some suggestions for helping responsible pet owners keep their beloved dogs living a quality life:

1. Health checks: One of the best ways to stay on top of any potential health concerns is to schedule regular veterinary visits. Often by identifying certain health conditions early on there is a better chance of finding treatment options and improving a dogs survival.

I would recommend a veterinary examination at least every six months once your pet has reached his or her senior years, which on average is around 7 years of age depending on the breed of dog. Your veterinarian will want to carefully examine for any changes in heart or lung sounds, vision, mobility and temperature. He or she may perform tests such as senior bloodwork, urine tests and blood pressure readings.

2. Nutrition: Evaluation of your dogs diet is another important element in your dogs aging process. Aging animals may require different levels of fat and protein in their diet due to changes in their metabolic demands. Also depending on any underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes, specific diet changes will be recommended by your veterinarian.

Several commercial dog foods are now formulated specifically for senior dogs and contain additional nutrients, such as glucosamine for arthritis or omega 3 and omega 6 to help with skin coat and to prevent cartilage degeneration.

Additionally, many companies have begun to formulate diets that aim to prevent a decline in cognitive dysfunction. Consult with your veterinarian to find the perfect diet tailored to suit your aging dog.

3. Alternative therapies: There are several alternatives therapies now available to our aging pets, including acupuncture, physical therapy, stem cell therapy and cold laser treatments.

Many arthritic pets have difficulty with joint pain and range of motion, which makes routine exercise very difficult. This population of dogs may greatly benefit from exercise on an underwater treadmill or in the pool, which would lessen the stress on their painful joints while helping to build or maintain muscle mass.

Cold laser treatments are a type of a noninvasive therapy that utilizes light to stimulate cell regeneration and increases blood circulation to an injured or arthritic region of the body.

4. Enrichment: The use of enrichment in your dogs life has shown to be beneficial in keeping them more active, mobile, and less anxious. Those dogs that are provided with interactive toys, playtime and walks have less chance of losing many of their cognitive abilities. Furthermore, active dogs are not as likely to gain weight as they age. Overweight or obese dogs are predisposed to health concerns such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and arthritis.

5. Environmental changes: A pet owner should be mindful that their aging pets are often more sensitive to temperature extremes. During the warmer months of the year it would be wise to keep your dog in an area of the house that is a comfortable temperature and ensure they have free access to water to prevent heatstroke.

During the colder months pets should spend limited time outside in the cooler temperatures, especially in the snow and ice. There are boots designed to aid your dog with slippery floors or on the icy ground to prevent potential injuries. Providing extra blankets, an orthopedic bed or placing your dogs bed in a warmer location of the house are all suggestions to help make your dog more comfortable.

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Caring for dogs as they age – Burlington County Times

Meet the obscure microbe that influences climate, ocean ecosystems, and perhaps even evolution – Science Magazine

By Elizabeth PennisiMar. 9, 2017 , 8:00 AM

Penny Chisholm has had a 35-year love affairwith a microbe. For her, it’s been the perfect partnerelusive during courting, a source of intellectual fulfillment, and still full of mystery decades after their introduction during an ocean cruise.

Penny Chisholm made a photosynthesizing microbe calledProchlorococcus(green) her life’s work.


To look at, the object of her passion is just a green mote, floating in vast numbers in the world’s oceans. But Chisholm has found hidden complexity within Prochlorococcus, a cyanobacterium that is the smallest, most abundant photosynthesizing cell in the oceanresponsible for 5% of global photosynthesis, by some estimates. Its many different versions, or ecotypes, thrive from the sunlit sea surface to a depth of 200 meters, where light is minimal. Collectively the “species” boasts an estimated 80,000 genesfour times what humans have, and plenty to deal with whatever the world’s oceans throw at it. “It’s a beautiful little life machine and like a superorganism,” Chisholm says. “It’s got a story to tell us.”

And tell it Chisholm has, to anyone and in any way possible. Her work on the microbe has led to a meeting with a U.S. president, a debate with the Dalai Lama, and co-authorship of science-themed children’s books. She even once tried to get the hip-hop star GZA to incorporate the bacterium’s mouthful of a name into a rap song for an album he was considering on oceans. “She’s really driven to sell Prochlorococcus,” says Allison Coe, Chisholm’s longtime lab manager. “She wants everyone else to be as passionate and to consider it as amazing as she thinks it is.”

The microbe’s long climb to recognition mirrors Chisholm’s own. Early in her career, as the lone woman, and lone biologist, in the civil engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, she had to overcome both scientific and cultural hurdles, adopting the latest techniques to reveal Prochlorococcus’s secrets while working with other female faculty to get MIT to address gender discrimination. Her quiet persistence inspired others. Chisholm, who in recent years has been awarded the National Medal of Science and named as one of MIT’s 13 Institute Professors, sent “an important message for future academicians,” says Heidi Sosik, a biological oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. “You don’t have to be a blustery, high-profile white guy to make it.”

The stature of her microbial partner continues to grow as well. Its influence over climate is now appreciated, for example. And Chisholm and two colleagues will soon lay out evidence for a scenario in which Prochlorococcus is a central actor in evolution. They propose that it is not only responsible for much of the oxygen we breathe today, but also fueled the explosion of early life in the oceans and the ancient rise in oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. As MIT oceanographer Mick Follows put it, Chisholm “has beautifully shown us how this microbe works and how the ocean world is organized.”


Chisholm says that as a woman of her times, she went to college in the 1960s mainly “to find a husband.” Nevertheless, as an undergrad, she explored the chemistry of lakes, andafter a professor pushed herdecided to pursue a Ph.D. At the State University of New York in Albany, she studied the 24-hour variation in nutrient cycling in Euglena, a single-cell photosynthesizer like Prochlorococcus, but found in freshwater. She next went to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, for a very practical reasonthere was more funding for marine microbial ecology than for freshwater.

In 1976, MIT came calling. At the time, its civil engineering department was looking to become more “environmental” by hiring a microbiologist, a trend already evident in many similar departments elsewhere. She accepted but was so convinced she wouldn’t get tenure it took many years for her to consider buying a house. It was easy to see why she might not fit in. An old department photo shows a petite, young blonde among a sea of mostly middle-aged white men. Furthermore, the other biologists on campus had a biomedical or molecular bent, quite unlike the fuzzy ecological world she was diving into.

But MIT, through its affiliation with WHOI on Cape Cod, offered Chisholm a chance to go to sea, looking for answers to a question that had begun to captivate her: how microbes influence the ocean. “She had this idea there were new things to discover and [scientists] just needed to find ways of observing the ocean at higher and higher resolution,” says Alexandra Worden of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, who studies the evolution of ocean microbes.

In the 1980s most of the ocean’s freefloating organisms, or plankton, went virtually unseen because they were too small to detect in a light microscope. But other researchers had identified a handful of photosynthetic marine bacteria. Chisholm and her first postdoc Robert Olson decided to sieve seawater with a flow cytometer, a laboratory device that uses a laser to view and sort individual cells, to learn more about them. With it, Olson noticed an unexpected red fluorescing signal so small that they first thought it was electronic noise. But the signal varied depending on the depth and temperature of the water sample being analyzed, suggesting it might come from something alive.

Chisholm wasn’t satisfied that they had found a new life form until collaborators photographed the tiny cells under an electron microscope and another group had traced the red signal to the microbe’s chlorophyll and other pigments. In 1988, they published their discovery. By 1992, when they named it Prochlorococcus, the “primitive green berry,” they realized that they were not the first to see the microbe. But no one had recognized that it represented a new organism. “We were in the right place at the right time with the right instruments to have these cells say who they were,” Chisholm says.

For years, because no one could keep Prochlorococcus alive in a lab, the only way to study it was at sea. And even though Brian Palenik, now an oceanographer at Scripps, was finally able to grow it in a test tube in 1990, it took another 10 years before anyone could sustain the pure cultures needed for many experiments. Even today, no one has been able to manipulate Prochlorococcus genetically, a standard approach to studying other organisms.

Despite these challenges, Chisholm was quickly seduced by her team’s discovery, suspecting that this simple, abundant organism might be a major player in marine ecology. But just as her relationship with Prochlorococcus was starting to flourish, Chisholm took a detour onto a more public stage, after receiving a call that, she says, “changed my life.” Nancy Hopkins, an MIT cancer researcher she casually knew, felt that the school was discriminating against female faculty in lab space, pay, and support. Hopkins had written a letter calling for an investigation and wanted more backers. Chisholm had never considered herself a feminist or activist, but like all but one of the 17 other senior female faculty at the time, she signed on. “We were really upset that things were not changing for women,” Chisholm recalls.

They took their concerns to an MIT dean in 1995 and got backing for an investigative committee to collect data on the number of teaching and administrative positions held by women, salaries, sizes of labs, and more. “[Penny] was one of the ones who brought a more positive, Let’s figure this out approach,” says biogeochemist Diane McKnight of the University of Colorado in Boulder, an alumna of Chisholm’s lab.

As a graduate student Chisholm studiedEuglena, a freshwater photosynthesizing microbe, before setting sights onProchlorococcus.


After working behind the scenes for almost 2 years, the committee made a series of recommendations that the MIT administration quickly embraced. When a summary of the investigation made it into the media in 1999, “it was a shot heard around the world,” Chisholm recalls. “It became a big movement.” MIT’s leaders responded constructively, she adds. “Looking back at the way things were when I first got here and how things are now, there’s a tremendous shift,” she says.

After helping raise the profile of female scientists, Chisholm drew new attention to her favorite microbe. As she and her students and postdocs grew samples under varied conditions in the lab, they identified five main Prochlorococcus ecotypes, each adapted to a different combination of light and temperature. In her lab’s growth chambers, they are easy to tell apart: Some are bright green, whereas others have a yellowish hue. Each makes a different light-absorbing pigment so that at its particular depth, “it is the most efficient photosynthetic machine,” Chisholm says.

When the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute first began sequencing microbes in 2003, Chisholm convinced it to sequence two Prochlorococcus strainsthis at a time when sequencing a single microbe was a big dealso she could assess genetic differences between the forms adapted to low and high light levels. “That was very greedy of me,” she smiles. Her team found the high lightadapted ecotype’s genome was very streamlined1.7 million bases with just 1700 genes. “It’s one of, if not the, simplest self-sustaining organism we know of,” says Chisholm’s postdoc Jamie Becker. The low-light version’s genome has 2.4 million bases, with 2275 genes, including some that may enable the microbe to work best in low light and avoid damage from the sun should it wind up at the surface somehow.

As new molecular technologies arosemicroarrays that document gene activity and proteomics methods that look at the proteins present, for exampleChisholm and her students and postdocs were quick to learn and apply them. She credits them for all her successes. “When I say we I mean they,” she remarked at a lecture on her life’s work. When undergraduate Jed Fuhrman worked in her lab and contributed to a paper published in Nature, “she had no trouble just handing off the first authorship even though she was a new professor” and wrote most of the paper, he recalls. (Fuhrman is now a biological oceanographer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.)

Together, her lab found that each of the main Prochlorococcus ecotypes has its own genomic “island,” a patch of genes that confers specific adaptations to an environment. One island helps the microbe survive in very low-phosphorus waters, for example. Bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria and can either pick up or deposit genetic material, may move these islands and other genes between ecotypes, Chisholm’s postdoc Debbie Lindell proposed in 2004, thereby ensuring the microbes can adapt to changing conditions.

Chisholm’s lab remained small until about 15 years ago, when the mounting evidence that ocean microbes are major players in the biosphere persuaded three foundationsSeaver, Gordon and Betty Moore, and Simonsto pour millions into studying them. The lab grew from a handful of researchers to dozens, who not only could spend weeks at sea, sampling and collecting data, but could also return to the lab to try innovative ways of probing how the microbe worked. “That’s when everything got exciting,” Chisholm says.

The worldwide sampling showed that the five primary ecotypes didn’t begin to capture Prochlorococcus’s diversity. Sequencing revealed hundreds of strains coexisting even in just a milliliter of seawater, each with more than 100 distinctive genes. And when it became possible to sequence genomes from single cellsa technique Chisholm’s lab pioneered for marine microbeseach strain turned out to encompass still more genetic variation. “It’s not one bug, it’s a whole family of things that grade into each other,” says Olson, now at WHOI.

Although each cell has only about 2000 genes, Prochlorococcus as a whole has a “pan-genome” of perhaps 80,000 genes, Chisholm and her colleagues estimate. “That’s a ton of information for these little guys,” she says, and it must be the secret of Prochlorococcus’s success. Its enormous genomic repertoire enables it to cope with conditions across a vast swath of the oceans, dominating warm seas from 40 North to 40 South (see map, below).

Drawing on ocean and marine microbe data collected by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, this model depicts the most dominant types of phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, with Prochlorococcus ruling much of the globe and bigger diatoms dominating nearer the poles.


These waters contain an estimated 3 billion billion billion Prochlorococcus cells, collectively weighing as much as 220 million Volkswagen Beetles. That abundance makes the microbe a heavyweight in ocean food webs and climate. It is a key source of food in the nutrient-poor regions of the ocean where it flourishes, Becker says. “Prochlorococcus makes organic matter that other microorganisms eat.” And because of its role in the carbon cycle, the microbe significantly regulates levels of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2), Chisholm says.

Yet Chisholm is uncomfortable with proposals to stem global warming by manipulating the ocean’s life to capture more CO2. In 2001, she vigorously spoke out against proposals to fertilize the oceans with iron to stimulate phytoplankton growth, coauthoring a paper in Science that warned of possible unforeseen consequences. Years later, in 2012, she publicly debated the Dalai Lama’s “let’s try it” position when the two were on a panel at MIT.

Despite her current visibility, Chisholm still feels much of the insecurity that burdened her early in her career. When she was named an Institute Professor, for example, she wondered, “How could this be?” she recalls. “I don’t feel like that kind of person.”

A sense of being an imposter, she admits, continues to dog her. She still works long hours”I could never juggle [so] many things,” Coe says. “But the older she gets the more worried she gets.” In 2013, Chisholm’s anxiety about the lab and the future of her Prochlorococcus cultures if she retires was so palpable she began to develop minor health problems. Starting tai chi lessons gave her a new perspective. “I needed to do something to get me out of my head,” she recalls. She has also found an outlet, with artist and author Molly Bang, writing children’s science books, featuring the sun as the narrator. One tells the story of the “invisible pasture of the sea.”

She continues to be driven to unravel the story of Prochlorococcus. In 2014, for example, electron micrographs taken in her lab revealed tiny vesicles budding off Prochlorococcus cells; later, her postdoc Steven Biller showed that each cell releases two to five lipid-membrane bubbles filled with DNA and RNA per generationpossible food sources for other plankton, decoys for viruses, gene-transfer vehicles, or even messengers that communicate with other microbes. Biller has since found that other marine bacteria make these vesicles as well. “This was a whole new feature of the ocean ecosystem,” Chisholm says.

In another hint that Prochlorococcus builds extensive partnerships with other marine microbes, Chisholm’s lab found that it secretes a broad variety of peptides, or short protein fragments, that in other organisms have antimicrobial or signaling activity. Prochlorococcus has as many as 1500 different peptides per cell, according to work by Andres Fernando Cubillos-Ruiz, now a postdoc at MIT in another lab. The peptides appear to provide food for other very abundant ocean microbes and some of those in turn secrete an enzyme that detoxifies reactive oxygen molecules. Prochlorococcus doesn’t make that enzyme itself but may be able to take it in from the surrounding water. The peptides may also signal other microbes in the surrounding watersalthough what messages they carry is unclear. “I continue to be humbled by the major things we learn from Prochlorococcus that change the way we think about oceans,” Chisholm says.

The tiny, mighty bacterium could also change thinking about life on land. Chisholm’s postdoc Rogier Braakman has pieced together Prochlorococcus’s evolutionary history, drawing on the genes active in different ecotypes and the conditions in which they live. Braakman is examining whether the microbe’s metabolic activity hundreds of millions of years ago could have helped pave the way for life to explode outside of the oceans by drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen in the air. This scenario has plenty of questions, Chisholm says, but its potential importance “makes it worth spending the time to connect the dots.”

At 68, she is eager to keep making those connections. “I should probably be thinking about retiring, but I’m not because Prochlorococcus is too darn interesting,” Chisholm says. “I’m really very grateful to have this organism in my life.”

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Meet the obscure microbe that influences climate, ocean ecosystems, and perhaps even evolution – Science Magazine

VetStem Biopharma, Inc. Founder and CEO, Dr. Robert Harman, will … – PR Web (press release)

Dr Bob Harman

Poway, CA (PRWEB) March 08, 2017

Dr. Harman has been a long time attendee and frequent speaker at the Veterinary Orthopedic Society Conference. The opportunity to speak at such a prestigious conference and to present our new data is very exciting. It further reinforces our scientific and educational contributions to the field of regenerative medicine over the past 14 years. We were here at the birth of this industry, have worked with FDA for many years, and intend to provide evidenced-based products for many years to come, stated Dr. Harman.

The Veterinary Orthopedic Society exists to provide an environment where persons engaged in the practice, teaching, or research in the area of orthopedics can present and discuss items of common interest, to further scientific investigation, and to upgrade the specialty of orthopedics in order to provide better patient care. The conference will be in Snowbird, Utah March 11th through the 18th. Dr. Harman will present VetStems findings on the study Allogeneic Stem Cell Survival and Localization after Intraarticular Administration. VetStem has a licensing agreement with Aratana Therapeutics for this study. VetStem has always held the belief that scientific evidence, continuing education, and regulatory guidance are the foundation of developing any new technology. The field of veterinary regenerative medicine will progress by the scientific study of the mechanisms of action of stem cells. This particular study evaluated the systemic bio-distribution of allogeneic adipose stem cells following intra-articular administration in beagle dogs.

In 2015, VetStem (now VetStem Biopharma) announced the completion and peer-reviewed publication of a pilot efficacy study for allogeneic stem cell therapy (93 dogs, multi-center, blinded, placebo controlled) in support of an FDA INADA. The primary end point for stem cell treated dogs was statistically significantly improved as compared to placebo dogs. VetStem also entered into a distribution and clinical research agreement with Pall LifeSciences on the V-PETTM platelet enhancement therapy system. The V-PET is supported by a JAVMA peer reviewed publication of a two center, double-blinded, randomized study in osteoarthritis in dogs.

VetStem is developing multiple stem cell products for FDA-approval in order to provide therapeutic solutions for difficult-to-treat medical conditions in the dog, cat and horse.

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VetStem Biopharma, Inc. Founder and CEO, Dr. Robert Harman, will … – PR Web (press release)

‘The Good Fight’ "Henceforth Known As Property" Seeks Truth in Analogies – PopMatters

Season 1, Episode 4, “Henceforth Known As Property” Regular airtime: Sundays (CBS All Access) US: 5 Mar 2017

At a certain point, analogy fails us.

That comes from Judge Timothy Stanek (Peter Gerety) as he addresses the debate that lies at the center of this weeks case. The firm is representing Laura Salano (Prema Cruz), whos hoping to reacquire her very own lady eggs. I say reacquire, because even though she sold them a while ago, the people who bought them have run out of time to use them. Or, at least so says the agreement that was drafted between the egg supplier and the egg receiver. She wants a child now, and she wants her eggs back.

That would be fine, if the clinic storing them didnt rebrand itself and the eggs were sent to a Place o Higher Learning, if you will. Luckily for Laura, despite a college using 11 of her eggs for stem-cell research, the 12th egg was given to a doctor, and that 12th egg is now getting the call up to the majors. And to court, we go.

At stake is possession of the egg. Laura wants it back; the couple who now has it wants to take it to England and combine it with a separate embryo for an experimental technique that isnt even legal in the States. The European slant is relevant because the couple actually paid a boatload of money for it and thats a no-no when it comes to Britains lawmakers. In the end, Stanek rules that Laura deserves to get her egg back. She endures a terse Fuck you from the couple who hoped to flee the country with it.

Stanek uses the above quote to push back against an analogy that both sides of the argument use in the context of the egg case. Yet in some ways, his words apply to the rest of this first seasons fourth episode, Henceforth Known As Property. How so? Follow me.

Truth. What is it? Especially in todays uber-charged, divisive, angry and combustible political world, the notion of whats real and whats not is at lifes forefront more so now than its been in, perhaps, forever. Fake news is as buzzy a phrase as anything in popular culture and when Maia (Rose Leslie) is the victim, this week, of an ex-boyfriend looking to get his revenge by spreading stories laced with alternative facts around the Internet, it hits harder now than it would, say, seven years ago when The Good Wife had its fun with all the scandals of one, Mr. Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) via the same platform.

Another focal point this week is the return of Mike Kresteva (a gloriously scummy Matthew Perry), who does all he can to sell a falsity to Diane (Christine Baranski), who rightfully has her doubts regarding, well, everything about him. These days, hes with the Department of Justice, and his job is to lower the rate of police brutality cases in Cook County, Illinois. He goes poking around the law firm because he says he wants advice on how to do fight the good fight.

After a morning of lies told not only to Diane, but also Adrian Boseman (Delroy Lindo) and others, he subpoenas them all to testify in front of a grand jury. In front of said grand jury, Kresteva goes for the jugular by putting Diane on the receiving end of outright bizarre and hard-to-watch falsehoods (at one point, he claims Diane said that the people of Cook County hate African-Americans and treat black lives carelessly, and man, it leaves a mark). As it goes, his attempt to lower police brutality cases isnt necessarily to fix the rate of actual police brutality; instead, he wants to take down the law firm taking on the most police brutality cases in Cook County. Even worse is the fact that the grand jury appears to be siding/believing everything coming out of Chandlers, er, Mikes mouth.

All of these developments are predicated on precisely how effective and how apropos reality is. Through all seven seasons of The Good Wifeand now at least four episodes of The Good Fightthe lines that blur themselves as facts surface become more and more imperative to try and decipher. Not just for the sake of a character, but also for the sake of a narrative. In a storytelling sense, its a fantastic tool to help create both intrigue and reflection. In a real life sense, however, those blurred lines make for a complicated and messy existence. How can one achieve truth if the definition of it cant even adhere to either consistency or its own base meaning?

Perhaps this is where analogy failing us comes into play. At its core, analogy exposes a singular viewpoint by attempting to correlate said singular viewpoint with a presumptive similar viewpoint. But what if one viewpoint -0 either the originator of the analogy, or the second idiom involved in said equation 0- is rooted in mistruth. Such would ensure that the proposed likeness would not just be flawed, but also incorrect, sometimes in ways that perpetuate toxicity within logic. This leads to the notion that a logic is proven not with actual truth, but rather, with accepted truth.

Or, in other words, if proof of reality doesnt pass as proof of reality in a universal sense, what value does traditionally accepted truth have? The answer, as The Good Fight suggests this week, is little to none.

Yet thats what makes this series so irresistible from a consumers standpoint. More often than not, we dont get clear-cut conclusions in our inevitably unending pursuit of truth. Try as we may, be it through analogy or alternative facts or outright lies, we will forever be flawed in resolution as long as we depend on other entities to define resolution. Maia wasnt going to get it from her ex-boyfriend because his version of resolution involved harming her. Diane wasnt going to get it from Mike Kresteva because his version of resolution was self-involved, a ploy to help him further his professional career.

And in this weeks case, Judge Stanek was enormously apprehensive to even attempt a shot at resolution, knowing the power of life was in his hands, knowing that his definition of perception would profoundly affect the lives of others.

It all adds up to the notion that even when analogy fails us, our hope is that truth can bail us out. Sometimes it does; other times, it cant. Ultimately, it doesnt matter whether the fight is good or the fight is bad.

How Nice to Be Able to Talk in Metaphors

Shout out to Diane for using Chum Hum! Boy, who else is wondering what Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) is up to these days?

Heres a true surprise to me: its looking like Diane might just be thinking about heading back to Kurt (Gary Cole). She nearly called him this weekand this was after gushing over how much shed like to see what type of father he would be! Combine that with the preview for next week, which has him in it, and yeah. Really wasnt expecting that. Weirdly, I kind of hope those young kids can work it out. She deserves happiness.

Man, Matthew Perry is so good in that role.

Now, Kresteva has a war room filled with people who have a sole purpose of taking this law firm down. Seems a bit much, does it not? Why, all of a sudden (unless if hes just an unabashed explicit racist, I guess), would he make this is lifes passion, even when his boss tells him to essentially settle down? I understand that hes supposed to be a bad guy, but is anyone really that bad of a guy? Im hoping theres more to this story.

Sex is transient, but a Boston Shake . Oh, you dog, Colin Morello (Justin Bartha). You dog.

Its interesting to note that the scandal revolving around the Rindell family was hardly even mentioned this week. Yes, we saw Maia go through all her fake news drama, but there was no uncle, mom or dad action. Nor was there even a follow up to the relevance of The Schtup List from last week. We have to think that will reassert itself next week, right? I mean, episode five will mark the midway point.

Keep the judges coming, guys.

Im not sure about you, but Im still digging the Marissa (Sarah Steele)/Maia relationship. Theres something pure about it.

Has anyone else noticed this? Episode one was called Inauguration. Episode two was called First Week. No. three was The Schtup List. And this week? Henceforth Known As Property. The Kings used the same type of arc with episode names for The Good Wife. You cant tell me Im the only one to notice this.Heres hoping for a five-word episode name next week.

The Most-Missed Good Wife Character of the Week: Seeing the Chum Hum search engine pop up on Dianes computer is enough for me. Still, Neil Gross needs to find a way into this universe someway, somehow.

Colin McGuire is a TV writer and a Music Reviews Editor here at PopMatters, as well as an award-winning blogger and copy editor for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Maryland. He has worked in newspapers for five years, writing columns, editing stories and trying to make sure the medium doesn’t completely fall off the Earth anytime soon. You can follow him on Twitter @colinpadraic.

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‘The Good Fight’ "Henceforth Known As Property" Seeks Truth in Analogies – PopMatters