The health stories we won’t forget and what 2020 holds –

Which stories made the headlines and why?By EUNICE OMOLLOMore by this AuthorBy NASIBO KABALE More by this Author2daysago

It has been a year marked by milestones from new vaccines for deadly diseases to a law that meant life for recipients of organs. But, along the way there were hitches that threatened crucial programmes.

In September, Kenya became the third African country to start the routine immunisation of children against malaria using the worlds first vaccine. Kenya was picked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the malaria drive to vaccinate 360,000 children per year. The drive has already taken place in eight counties in Western Kenya and all endemic counties in a pilot that will end in 2021.

Mosquirix, the brand name for RTS, S vaccine, triggers the immune system to defend itself against the first stages of the disease shortly after a malaria parasite enters the bloodstream through a mosquito bite.

Children in the eight counties will receive four doses of RTS, S at six, seven, nine and 24 months in addition to standard vaccines.

Kenya also became the 16th African country to introduce the cervical cancer vaccine. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine works by preparing the body to fight the germs that cause the infections.

The vaccination rollout in Kenya targets 766,207 girls aged 10 and will cost the government Sh467 per dose for the same vaccine that costs more than Sh10,000 in high-income countries.

The vaccine is most effective when given to girls before they are sexually active and could be exposed to the virus.

Two doses of the vaccine are given to the girls six months apart at about 9,000 public, private and faith-based centres countrywide.

Signed into law in June and published in July, the 2017 Health Act operationalises and ensures important constitutional provisions for health services. Before its enactment, organ transplant donation procedures were not clear. With the law in place, patients have hope as it now allows people to donate their organs to others or for research when they die.

The law also gives weight to some of the more aspirational health language in the Constitution. It seeks to safeguard access to healthcare services for vulnerable groups by making clear the governments obligation to provide these for women, the elderly, the disabled, children, youth and members of minority or marginalised communities.

The Act also instructs the national government to expand free maternity care and childhood immunisation by mandating funding for these services through ring-fenced, conditional grants grants earmarked for a specific activity and must meet certain conditions. Employers and all formal workplaces will also be required to provide breastfeeding facilities to promote the well-being of infants, and health facilities must provide emergency care or face punitive measures.

For the second time since 1994, renowned population and development scholars, scientists and researchers met in Nairobi in November for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The 179 governments present at the Nairobi meet reaffirmed their commitment to the goals they set in Cairo 25 years ago to end the unmet need of child spacing, to end preventable maternal deaths, to end sexual and gender-based violence and to end early marriages and other harmful practices against women and girls.

Countries agreed to bring down to zero cases of maternal and infant deaths, and gender-based violence by 2030.

For instance, as a way of reducing unsafe abortions, Kenya is expected to reinstate post-abortion care guidelines which had been revoked.

The aims of the ICPD are rooted in the sacred value and dignity of every human life.

President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Health ministry to establish a task force to assess the status of mental health in the country.

The team is expected to come up with new policies to address growing concerns about mental health among Kenyans.

The teams findings will help the government in allocation of resources to mental health.

The task force is expected to assess the mental health systems including the legal, policy and administrative environment to identify areas that may benefit from reform for optimal delivery.

In addition, the team will consider the changing societal dynamics and associated threats to mental well-being such as substance abuse, gambling, sexual and gender-based violence, cyber bullying, child abuse and neglect.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the implementation of the national mental health policy will create a sustainable response mechanism, including resource mobilisation, training and creation of awareness.

Four counties have this year taken part in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot which kicked off in December last year.

Residents of Isiolo, Machakos, Kisumu and Nyeri have been receiving next to free medical services as part of the programme ahead of the nationwide roll-out.

About 80 per cent of the money for the pilot has gone into the purchase of drugs and basic medical equipment, the Health ministry said, with additional Sh800 million allocated to each of the regions for complicated cases that would be referred outside the participating counties.

The pilot has had its fair share of troubles especially in Kisumu where doctors have been on strike for the three months. Counties have also had to grapple with drug shortage.

The ministrys approach to achieving UHC has been through removal of user fees at all public hospitals, including level four and five facilities and ensuring commodity security through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa). Kemsa, however, has been unable to deliver 100 per cent of the required drugs.

The hospitals have also experienced a surge in numbers where the county data shows a 300 per cent increase, which could mean trust in the facilities or easier access to healthcare given the low costs.

A deal that would see 100 Cuban doctors come to Kenya was sealed in 2018. Under the agreement, 47 would work as specialists and 53 family physicians would be deployed to the counties.

At the same time, Kenya secured space for its 50 doctors to study in Cuba, famed for its world-class healthcare system.

The programme was meant to instill much-needed skills in the ailing sector.

However, this year, the suicide of a Kenyan doctor who was sponsored by the government to study family medicine in Cuba exposed the programmes soft underbelly. Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Nairobi Secretary-General, Dr Thuranira Kaugiria, said the doctors who travelled to Cuba were given a raw deal and had on several occasions unsuccessfully sought to air their grievances with the ministry.

Here in the country, two Cuban doctors were kidnapped in Mandera County which led the ministry to reassign 10 medics stationed in border counties to Kenyatta National Hospital, National Spinal Injury Hospital, Mathare Mental Hospital and Kiambu County hospitals.

For the 37 million people who have HIV around the world, the news of a possible cure for the disease was more than welcome.

A London patient with HIV became the second person ever to be free of the virus after a bone marrow transplant, raising hopes of a cure. In 2007, another patient identified as the Berlin patient received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor with natural immunity to the virus.

Timothy Brown, the so-called Berlin patient, who later went public, and the London patient, who does not want to disclose his identity, received stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation of the CCR5 gene, making them HIV-resistant. Brown has been virus-free ever since. The London patient stopped taking the medication 18 months ago and there is no sign of a return of HIV.

The procedure in itself can never be offered as a cure for HIV infection because stem cell transplants carry risks.

An expos by NTV investigative team revealed how supermarkets are using toxic chemicals to make their meat look fresher for longer.

The expos, which involved laboratory tests on meat samples which revealed that supermarkets use chemical as a food preservative to keep the food fresh for longer.

The documentary highlighted how rotten the system is. The fact that more than one supermarket was doing it means that it is an open secret which led the Ministry of Health to conduct a random survey on the safety of meat sold in the capital city.

The survey exposed just rotten the system is the results showing that six out of 40 samples collected tested positive to the preservative Sodium Metabisulfite which is harmful in large doses.

All the meat in the affected outlets were destroyed and some outlets were closed.

The year was characterised by adverse weather conditions, with drought being experienced at the start of the year and heavy rainfall at the end.

Just before the start of the short rain in October, between August and October, at least 3.1 million people were projected to be facing acute food insecurity.

The most hit areas were Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River and Baringo counties, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report.Then came the floods caused by the October-November-December rainfall.

As of December 2019, at least 130 people had been reported dead from the flooding and landslides and more than 17,000 displaced.

Earlier in December, the government announced it had set aside Sh6.1 billion to restore infrastructure damaged by floods.

Blood test for breast cancer

Recent findings by scientists from University of Nottingham in England that a blood test could potentially detect breast cancer at least five years before other symptoms and lumps appear, could just be the answer to the killer disease that claims lives in millions globally.

A more elaborate research on the blood test is set to kick off in 2020. According to the scientists, if all goes well, the test could be in the market within the next five years.

According to the Kenya Medical Research Institute cancer registry, eight out of 10 cancers in the country are detected late due to low awareness of symptoms.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the country, with women under 50 accounting for 50 per cent of cases.

The test, which would be much cheaper and easier to conduct than a mammogram, looks for autoantibodies which are produced by the body in reaction to the presence of cancer bodies in the blood. According to WHOs International Agency for Research on Cancer, the global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. One in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease.

These new figures highlight that much remains to be done to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally and that prevention has a key role to play, said International Agency for Research on Cancer Director Christopher Wild.

Kenyans countrywide will experience UHC in 2020. This is after a 12-month pilot programme that has been running in the four counties of Nyeri, Machakos, Isiolo and Kisumu. Speaking during the last meeting of the Council of Governors held early this month in Nairobi, chairman Wycliffe Oparanya hinted that counties are ready for the roll out.

But, the national government should find ways to solve the challenges that have been experienced in the four counties, he said.

Speaking to HealthyNation, Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki had said her ministry was ready for the scale up and had outlined the challenges experienced. The lessons we have picked is that once we invest right, once we are consistent and speak to the population, the issue of confidence comes back within the shortest time possible, she said.

The Kenya-Cuba relationship is set to bring in an additional tactical move in the fight against malaria in 2020. The ministry is setting sights on the introduction of malaria bio larvicide method to combat transmission in endemic areas.

Larviciding refers to the regular application of chemical or microbial insecticides to water bodies or water containers to kill the aquatic immature forms of the mosquito (the larvae and pupae).

According to Ms Kariuki, the collaboration with the Cuban government would help Kenya learn how the country eradicated the disease.

In the first quarter of the coming year, we have identified the experts that we will require to bring in and train our own people in collaboration with the experts coming from Cuba.

It is good to note that there is no malaria in Cuba. They got to that stage by applying the technology, which we believe will play a big role in Kenya in the fight against Malaria, she said.

The aim of larviciding is to reduce the adult population of mosquitoes by killing the aquatic immature forms, so that fewer will develop into adults. This should reduce the number of mosquitoes that bite and infect humans with malaria.

Additional reporting by Bernadine Mutanu

The health stories we won't forget and what 2020 holds -

Firm adds a new wrinkle to anti-aging products – The Logan Banner

HUNTINGTON Serucell Corporation, a cosmeceutical company based in Huntington, has developed the worlds only dual-cell technology to create and produce anti-aging skincare products, and they did it in Huntington.

Serucell KFS Cellular Protein Complex Serum is made start to finish at Serucells laboratory on the south side of Huntington.

This has been one of the best kept secrets in West Virginia, said Cortland Bohacek, executive chairman and a co-founder of Serucell Corporation.

The company soft launch was in September 2018 at The Greenbrier Spas. The Official online launch was April 2019 and is getting exposure with some well known sellers like Neiman Marcus, local dermatologist and plastic surgeons offices and several other retail locations from New York to California. It is also sold online at

One person that has tried the product is Jennifer Wheeler, who is also a Huntington City Council member.

As a consumer I have an appreciation of the quality of the product and the results Ive seen using it, she said. It has been transformative for my skin and seems like its success will be transformative for our city as well.

She said Serucell and the people behind it are impressive on every level.

In my role on council, Im especially grateful for the companys conscious effort to stay and grow in our city, Wheeler said.

A one-ounce bottle of the serum costs $225. The recommended usage is twice per day and it will last on average of about six weeks.

Serucells active ingredient is called KFS (Keratinocyte Fibroblast Serum), which is made up of more than 1,500 naturally derived super proteins, collagens, peptides and signaling factors that support optimal communication within the cellular makeup of your skin.

This is the first and only dual-cell technology that optimizes hydration and harnesses the power of both keratinocytes and fibroblasts, two essential contributors to maintaining healthy skin by supporting natural rejuvenation of aging skin from the inside out, said Jennifer Hessel, president and CEO of the company.

When applied to the skin, KFS helps boost the skins natural ability to support new collagen and elastin, strengthen the connection and layer of support between the upper and lower layers of your skin. The result, over time is firmer, plumper and smoother skin, according to Hessel.

Why it works so naturally with your skin is because it is natural, Hessel said. These proteins play an important role in strengthening the bond between the layers of your skin, and thats where the re-boot happens.

KFS is the creation of Dr. Walter Neto, Serucells chief science officer and co-founder of the company. Neto is both a physician and a research scientist, specializing in the field of regenerative medicine with an emphasis on skin healing and repair.

Neto said Serucells technology unlocks the key to how our cells communicate and harnesses the signaling power actions to produce the thousands of bioactive proteins necessary to support the skins natural rejuvenation.

Originally from Brazil, Neto studied at Saint Matthews University and completed his clinical training in England. His clinical research on stem-cell cancer therapies, bone and tissue engineering and wound and burn healing led to his discovery in cell-to-cell communication, and ultimately the creation of Serucells KFS Cellular Protein Complex Serum.

Neto received multiple patents for the production method of Serucell KFS Serum. He lives in Huntington with his wife and four golden retrievers and works alongside his longtime friend, Dr. Brett Jarrell.

I have known Brett since I was 18 years old, Neto said.

Jarrell practices emergency medicine in Ashland, Kentucky, and oversees all aspects of quality control for Serucell. He received his bachelors degree in biology from Wittenberg University, his masters degree in biology from Marshall University and his medical degree from the Marshall University School of Medicine. Jarrell completed his residency at West Virginia University and is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Jarrell has served as a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at the Marshall School of Medicine, president of the West Virginia chapter of the American College of Emergency Medicine and he has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on stroke research.

Jarrell also lives in Huntington.

Another co-founder of the company is Dr. Tom McClellan.

McClellan is Serucells chief medical officer and director of research and is a well-respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon with a private practice, McClellan Plastic Surgery, in Morgantown.

McClellan completed his plastic and reconstructive surgery training at the world-renowned Lahey Clinic Foundation, a Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical School affiliate in Boston, Massachusetts. While in Boston, he worked at Lahey Medical Center, Brigham and Womens Hospital, as well as at the Boston Childrens Hospital. McClellan is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

In addition to his practice and role at Serucell, McClellan utilizes his surgical skills through pro bono work with InterplastWV, a non-profit group that provides comprehensive reconstructive surgery to the developing world. He has participated in surgical missions to Haiti, Peru and the Bahamas.

McClellan lives in Morgantown with his family.

All three doctors here have strong connections to West Virginia, and we didnt want to leave, Neto said. We all want to give back to West Virginia, so that is the main reason we have our business here in Huntington.

We are building a company we believe can make a difference in the community, Hessel added. Our goal is to grow Serucell and build our brand right here in Huntington. There is a pool of untapped talent here in Huntington. When we expand our business here, we can provide another reason for young people to be able to stay and grow their careers, whether it is in science, operations or manufacturing. The team is a pretty excited to make an impact in the community where it all started.

Hessel decline to give sales numbers, but said the business has been growing each year since the product was introduced. She also declined to give the number of employees at the facility, but did say it has sales representatives across the country.

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The Major Discoveries That Could Transform the World in the Next Decade –

The last decade ushered in some truly revolutionary advances in science, from the discovery of the Higgs boson to the use of CRISPR for Sci-Fi esque gene editing. But what are some of the biggest breakthroughs still to come? Live Science asked several experts in their field what discoveries, techniques and developments they're most excited to see emerge in the 2020s.

The universal flu shot, which has eluded scientists for decades, may be one truly groundbreaking medical advances that could show up in the next 10 years.

"It has sort of become a joke that a universal [flu] vaccine is perennially just five to 10 years away," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease specialist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

Related: 6 Flu Vaccine Myths

But now, it appears that this "may actually be true," Adalja told Live Science. "Various approaches to universal flu vaccines are in advanced development, and promising results are starting to accrue."

In theory, a universal flu vaccine would provide long-lasting protection against the flu, and would eliminate the need to get a flu shot each year.

Some parts of the flu virus are constantly changing, while others remain mostly unchanged from year to year. All of the approaches to a universal flu vaccine target parts of the virus that are less variable.

This year, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) began its first-in-human trial of a universal flu vaccine. The immunization aims to induce an immune response against a less variable part of the flu virus known as the hemagglutinin (HA) "stem." This Phase 1 study will look at the safety of the experimental vaccine, as well as participants' immune responses to it. Researchers hope to report their initial results in early 2020.

Another universal-vaccine candidate, made by the Israeli company BiondVax, is currently in Phase 3 trials, which is an advanced stage of research that looks at whether the vaccine really is effective meaning that it protects against infection from any strain of flu. That vaccine candidate contains nine different proteins from various parts of the flu virus that vary little between flu strains, according to The Scientist. The study has already enrolled more than 12,000 people, and results are expected at the end of 2020, according to the company.

In the last decade, scientists have successfully grown mini-brains, known as "organoids," from human stem cells that differentiate into neurons and assemble into 3D structures. As of now, brain organoids can only be grown to resemble tiny pieces of a brain in early fetal development, according to Dr. Hongjun Song, a professor of neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. But that could change in the next 10 years.

"We could really model, not just cell type diversity, but the cellular architecture" of the brain, Dr. Song said. Mature neurons arrange themselves in layers, columns and intricate circuits in the brain. Currently, organoids only contain immature cells that cannot forage these complex connections, but Dr. Song said that he expects the field may overcome this challenge in the coming decade. With miniature models of the brain in hand, scientists could help deduce how neurodevelopmental disorders unfold; how neurodegenerative diseases break down brain tissue; and how different peoples' brains might react to different pharmacological treatments.

Someday (though perhaps not in 10 years), scientists may even be able to grow "functional units" of neural tissue to replace damaged areas of the brain. "What if you have a functional unit, pre-made, that you could click into the damaged brain?" Song said. Right now, the work is highly theoretical, but "I think in the next decade, we'll know" whether it could work, he added.

In this decade, rising sea levels and more extreme climate events revealed just how fragile our beautiful planet is. But what does the next decade hold?

"I think we will see a breakthrough when it comes to action on climate," said Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State University. "But we need policies that will accelerate that transition, and we need politicians who will support those policies," he told Live Science.

In the next decade, "the transformation of energy and transportation systems to renewables will be well under way, and new approaches and technologies will have been developed that allow us to get there faster," said Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And, "the increasing climate-related impacts from severe weather and perhaps from sea-level rise finally get enough people's attention that we really begin to take climate change seriously."

Good thing too, because based on recent evidence, there's a scarier, more speculative, possibility: Scientists might be underestimating the effects that climate change have had on this century and beyond, Wuebbles said."We should learn much more about that over the next decade."

Related: The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted

In the last decade, the biggest news in the world of the very small was the discovery of the Higgs boson, the mysterious "God particle" that lends other particles their mass. The Higgs was considered the crowning jewel in the Standard Model, the reigning theory that describes the zoo of subatomic particles.

But with the Higgs discovered, many other less-famous particles began taking center stage.This decade, we have a reasonable shot at finding another of these elusive, as-yet-still hypothetical particles the axion, said physicist Frank Wilczek, a Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (In 1978, Wilczek first proposed the axion). The axion is not necessarily a single particle, but rather a class of particles with properties that rarely interact with ordinary matter. Axions could explain a long-standing conundrum: Why the laws of physics seem to act the same on both matter particles and their antimatter partners, even when their spatial coordinates are flipped, as Live Science previously reported.

Related: Strange Quarks and Muons, Oh My! Nature's Tiniest Particles Dissected

And axions are one of the leading candidates for dark matter, the invisible matter that holds galaxies together.

"Finding the axion would be a very great achievement in fundamental physics, especially if it happens through the most likely path, i.e., by observing a cosmic axion background which provides the 'dark matter.'" Wilczek said. "There's a fair chance that could happen in the next five to 10 years, since ambitious experimental initiatives, which could get there, are blossoming around the world. To me, weighing both the importance of discovery and likelihood of it happening, that's the best bet."

Among those initiatives is the Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) and the CERN Axion Solar Telescope, two major instruments that are hunting for these elusive particles.

That said, there are other possibilities too we may yet detect gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime, emanating from the earliest period in the universe, or other particles, known as weakly interacting massive particles, that could also explain dark matter, Wilczek said.

On Oct. 6, 1995, our universe got bigger, sort of, when a pair of astronomers announced the discovery of the first exoplanet to orbit a sun-like star. Called 51 Pegasi b, the orb showed a cozy orbit around its host star of just 4.2 Earth days and a mass about half that of Jupiter's. According to NASA, the discovery forever changed "the way we see the universe and our place in it." More than a decade later, astronomers have now confirmed 4,104 worlds orbiting stars outside of our solar system. That's a lot of worlds that were unknown just over a decade ago.

So, the sky's the limit for the next decade, right? According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sara Seager, absolutely. "This decade will be big for astronomy and for exoplanet science with the anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope [JWST]," said Seager, a planetary scientist and astrophysicist. The cosmic successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST is scheduled to launch in 2021; for the first time, scientists will be able to "see" exoplanets in infrared, meaning they can spot even faint planets that orbit far off from their host star.

What's more, the telescope will open a new window into the characteristics of these alien worlds. "If the right planet exists, we will be able to detect water vapor on a small rocky planet. Water vapor is indicative of liquid water oceans since liquid water is needed for all life as we know it, this would be a very big deal," Seager told Live Science. "That's my number one hope for a breakthrough." (The ultimate goal, of course, is to find a world that has an atmosphere similar to that of Earth's, according to NASA; in other words, a planet with conditions capable of supporting life.)

And of course, there will be some growing pains, Seager noted. "With the JWST, and the extremely large ground-based telescopes anticipated to come online, the exoplanet community is struggling to transform from individual or small team efforts to large collaborations of dozens or over one hundred people. Not huge by other standards (e.g., LIGO) but it's tough nonetheless," she said, referring to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a huge collaboration that involves more than 1,000 scientists across the globe.Originally published on Live Science.

Originally published on Live Science.

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The Major Discoveries That Could Transform the World in the Next Decade -

ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff diagnosed with pneumonia and HLH before he died – WPVI-TV

When ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff died, he had been diagnosed with multifocal pneumonia and a rare disease known as HLH, his fiance tweeted.

Aschoff was first admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia in many parts of his lungs but was brought back to the emergency room when antibiotic treatment failed and he got worse, Katy Berteau said.

HLH, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, is a rare disease that affects the immune system.

She did not provide any further details about the manner of Aschoff's death, which occurred on his 34th birthday.

Other people, including Aschoff himself, expressed surprise about the seriousness of the illness in a young man in apparently good health.

"Anyone ever had multifocal (bilateral) pneumonia in their early 30s as some who never gets sick and has a very good immune system? Asking for two friends ... my lungs," he tweeted on December 5.

More questions have come up about his second diagnosis, HLH. It is unclear if Aschoff had HLH or pneumonia first, if one came from the other, and exactly how he died so quickly.

Here is what we know about the diseases Aschoff's had:

Pneumonia is when air sacs in the lungs fill with fluid or pus. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or a fungus, causing a fever and respiratory problems.

It can occur in one or both lungs, and multifocal means the pneumonia occurs in multiple places.

Thousands of people die around the world each year of pneumonia, but most healthy people can fight it off, especially with antibiotics and antiviral medications. The people most at risk are the young, elderly, frail or immune-compromised.

What is HLH?

HLH is a rare disease that affects the immune system, making certain white blood cells attack other blood cells and enlarging the spleen and liver, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

It can be inherited or acquired, Johns Hopkins said. About a quarter of cases are passed down through families, and the rest come from infections, a weakened immune system and cancer.

Is it dangerous?

There is treatment for HLH, and acquired forms may clear when properly treated, Johns Hopkins said. If familial HLH goes untreated, it is usually fatal.

Treatments include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, steroids, antibiotic drugs and antiviral drugs. Stem cell transplants can cure HLH in most cases if drug treatments don't work, Johns Hopkins said.

There is no way to prevent HLH, the medical center said.

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ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff diagnosed with pneumonia and HLH before he died - WPVI-TV

Alligator Skin, Human Clones and Other Things Being Banned in 2020 – The New York Times

California lawmakers made their fashion ruling: Crocodile handbags were out. Alligator boots, too. But for Louisiana, the nations top producer of all things made from alligator skin, those were fighting words.

The states attorney general filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month to stop Californias ban on alligator and crocodile products from taking effect in 2020. Last week, a federal judge agreed to temporarily block the new law, meaning Louisiana and California are headed for a showdown in court.

Every year on Jan. 1, hundreds of new state and federal laws take effect across the country. Many are mundane, but some can be contentious and not just in the world of fashion.

As 2020 arrives on Wednesday, Arkansas will ban state-funded human cloning, while Illinois will legalize marijuana. Texas will try to save lives in school shootings, but not by taking action on guns. Heres a look at changes coming across the country.


When a gunman opened fire at a high school in Santa Clarita, Calif., in November, a choir teacher barricaded her students behind a grand piano and grabbed a gunshot wound kit, wrapping the wounds of a freshman girl who had been shot in the torso and shoulder. The girl survived.

In Texas, which has seen its own rash of mass shootings, a new law will require local school districts to stock similar kits on their campuses, equipped with tourniquets, chest seals, compression bandages, bleeding-control bandages, emergency blankets, latex-free gloves, markers and scissors. University Health System, a San Antonio-based public hospital, will train students and school employees to use them.


Arkansas lawmakers voted to prohibit state funding of human cloning or destructive embryo research, stating that the prospect of creating new human life solely to be exploited or destroyed has been condemned on moral grounds as displaying a profound disrespect for a human life.

The new law will also block funds to state educational institutions investigating stem cell research using embryos. In vitro fertilization, however, will not be affected.

Arizona, Maryland and Missouri prohibit the use of state funds to pay for reproductive cloning, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma are the only states to ban all forms of human cloning.


Wondering why youre seeing a flurry of updates to our terms of service and privacy policy emails in your inbox?

California, home of some of the countrys big tech giants, such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo, is rolling out a landmark digital privacy law that will regulate data collection from consumers. The California Consumer Privacy Act requires companies to comply with new privacy and transparency standards.

Consumers will be able to request access to information that tech companies have collected about them and ask that the data be deleted. Users can also opt out of companies selling their personal data including photos, and information on what they buy and where they go to other businesses.

California is the first place to implement such a law in the United States. In 2018, the European Unions data protection law took effect, protecting all residents in the member countries.


Illinois will become the 11th state in the country, and the second in the Midwest, to legalize recreational marijuana sales and use. As early as 6 a.m. on New Years Day, anyone 21 and over with a valid drivers license will be able to purchase cannabis products at state-licensed stores.

The state has approved 35 medical cannabis dispensaries to sell pot and other products. There are, however, limits on how much an individual can purchase: 30 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of edibles and five grams of concentrated THC oils.


The state was set to institute a ban on any merchandise made of alligator or crocodile skin, including popular boots and handbags, until the Louisiana attorney generals office filed a lawsuit and a federal judge issued a hold.

The temporary restraining order is the first step in protecting Louisianas alligator industry, which creates jobs, supports our economy and contributes to much-needed coastal restoration efforts, Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said in a news release Friday.

Louisiana is the United States leading producer of alligator skins, according to the Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council. In 2017, the alligator industry generated almost $100 million for the state, the group said.

California will still go ahead with a ban on cosmetics companies importing or selling products that have been tested on animals.


New York will become the latest state to eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, which could see more than 40 percent of inmates released from pretrial detention, according to the Center for Court Innovation.

Bail can still be set for people accused of more violent crimes, including sexual offenses, domestic abuse, witness tampering and conspiracy to commit murder. When deciding whether to set bail on those cases, judges are still expected to consider the defendants financial ability to pay.

Over the past few years, several states have taken similar steps as part of an effort to reduce the criminalization of poverty. California became the first state to abolish cash bail entirely last year. New Jersey has also all but eliminated cash bail, while New Mexico has minimized its use.

New Jersey

Employers in New Jersey will be banned from screening applicants based on their past salaries or benefits history or asking what they previously earned, a rule intended to address the gender wage gap and promote equal pay among workers. Seventeen states including California, Hawaii and Maine have passed similar laws. And in recent years, such laws at the county level have been passed across the country.


Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, Colorado has suffered several more mass shootings. The state will now become the latest to implement a red flag law, which will allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition a court to confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.

Colorado follows in the footsteps of at least 17 states, including Florida, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana and California, which have approved some version of a red flag law. In Colorado, the seizure of firearms can be extended to 364 days, after which the burden of proof is on owners to have their firearms returned.


Some new state laws wont take effect until the summer. Beginning July 1, businesses in Washington State will be banned from putting expiration dates on gift cards. The new law will protect recipients if they do not use their gift cards in a timely fashion, and service charges will no longer be allowed.

Vermont residents will not be able to throw peels, eggshells, seeds, pits, bones, coffee grounds, loose-leaf tea, oil and other food scraps in landfills beginning on July 1. Trucking companies will be required by the states universal recycling law to provide scrap collection services to all residents and businesses. Supermarkets and restaurants will also have to comply with mandatory composting across the state.

Car owners across a number of states, including California, Hawaii, Kansas and Alabama, will be charged fees to register zero emission vehicles in the new year. With the growing trend of green technology, these special fees, which range from $50 to $200, are expected to make up lost gas-tax revenue that pays for upgrading and repairing roads and bridges across the country.

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Alligator Skin, Human Clones and Other Things Being Banned in 2020 - The New York Times

After injury-plagued season, Texas Collin Johnson hopes to go out with a bang in the Alamo Bowl – San Antonio Express-News

It was the cruelest bit of irony for the Longhorn brothers.

There was fifth-year tailback Kirk Johnson, an injury magnet with the worst of luck, on the field against West Virginia flashing the zip and power he once displayed as a prep prospect. On the sideline was wideout and younger sibling Collin Johnson, unable to play because of a nagging hamstring injury that derailed his senior season.

Kirks presence in the backfield with Collin split out wide was a moment the two had envisioned for years. It was a dream they clung to as Kirk underwent all manner of surgeries and treatments and injections to return to the field.

Fate had other plans in store, and a seasons worth of injury woes provided the younger Johnson with a fresh perspective.

I put my arm around him one time and was like, Kirk, I know exactly how you feel now, Collin said Sunday. Except his was probably 10 times worse because he had to deal with that for years and years. Definitely my respect for Kirk grew, which I didnt think was possible, but I had a taste of what he was dealing with.

On Longhorns defense refocused after losing leader

Collin deemed this final season in burnt orange beyond frustrating.

He first suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter of the season opener against Louisiana Tech, and it grew more severe than he anticipated. That began a miserable cycle in which he missed six of 10 games despite undergoing treatment that included several platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.

I barely practiced before LSU (in Week 2), got a lot of treatment on it and tried to play in that game, Collin said. After that game, my hamstring was pretty bad so I had to sit out, get a shot, try to play, get hurt again, got another shot. Its been a chaotic situation.

Collins story at Texas couldve ended in January at the Superdome.

He considered declaring for 2019 NFL draft recording a career-high 68 receptions for 985 yards and seven touchdowns. Plus, turning pro after hoisting the Sugar Bowl trophy wouldve been a legendary exit.

But there were still gains to be made, a Big 12 championship to be delivered, a chance to play alongside Kirk one final time. Collin couldnt deliver on many of the goals he outlined, though there are no regrets on returning for one more year.

At the end of the day, Im human, and I have those thoughts, like what if this, what if that, Collin admitted. But I wouldnt change a thing.

I know things didnt go anywhere near where I wanted to on a personal level. Even as a team this year, its been a little frustrating for me. But at the end of the day, you have to make a decision and roll with it, and I learned a lot from it.

When healthy, Collin was still every bit the imposing 6-foot-6 matchup nightmare hes always been.

During a four-game stretch midway through the season, the only extended period he was near full health, Collin averaged seven receptions and 97.3 yards. His presence alongside senior slot maven Devin Duvernay can elevate the Longhorns offense from dangerous to downright deadly, and junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger is thrilled he gets one more outing with the pair.

Having Collin obviously is a huge help for us because of the player that he is as well as the connection that we have together, Ehlinger said Sunday. Through my college career, hes been the one guy who I consistently connected with.

Im very comfortable with him out on the field. He poses an issue because now teams arent going to be able to double Devin and double Collin. They have to pick one or the other.

On Receivers Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay form Longhorns most dynamic duo

Its possible a long, fruitful NFL career awaits Collin. He looms as an intriguing vertical option and massive mismatch in the end zone against defenders who might be half a foot shorter.

Rather than playing it safe and sitting out as some draft-worthy seniors do, Collin is eager to run with his brothers in burnt orange in last time. He could make a case as an early round pick with an explosive outing against 11th-ranked Utah and its stout pass defense.

And while it isnt the finale Collin hoped for, he can go out on a high note by leading Texas to three straight bowl wins for the first time since it won five in a row last decade (2004-08).

Its always hard to put a percentage on a hamstring because its one of those lingering injuries, but I feel great, Collin said. People can argue its a bowl game, things like that, and a lot of people choose to sit out for whatever reason. But for me, I just get another opportunity to go out there and play the game I love, so it just comes down to that.

Twitter: @NRMoyle

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After injury-plagued season, Texas Collin Johnson hopes to go out with a bang in the Alamo Bowl - San Antonio Express-News

Gene Therapies Make it to Clinical Trials – Discover Magazine

After years of ethical debates and breakthroughs in the lab, CRISPR has finally made its way to clinical trials. Researchers are now looking at whether the DNA-editing tool, as well as more conventional gene therapies, can effectively treat a wide array of heritable disorders and even cancers.

Theres been a convergence of the science getting better, the manufacturing getting much better, and money being available for these kinds of studies, says Cynthia Dunbar, a senior investigator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Its truly come of age.

CRISPR formally known as CRISPR-Cas9 has been touted as an improvement over conventional gene therapy because of its potential precision. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a genetic code that, contained in a strand of RNA and paired with the enzyme Cas9, acts like molecular scissors that can target and snip out specific genes. Add a template for a healthy gene, and CRISPRs cut can allow the cell to replace a defective gene with a healthy one.

In April, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania announced they had begun using CRISPR for cancer treatments. The first two patients one with multiple myeloma, the other with sarcoma had cells from their immune systems removed. Researchers used CRISPR to genetically edit the cells in the lab, and then returned them back into their bodies.

On the other side of the country, Mark Walters, a blood and bone marrow transplant specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Childrens Hospital in Oakland, is gearing up for trials that will use CRISPR to repair the defective gene that causes sickle cell disease. With CRISPR, once youve made that type of correction, [that cell] is 100 percent healthy, says Walters.

Another team is tackling the same disease using a type of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, thats normally made only in fetuses and newborn babies. Researchers found that some adults continue to produce these proteins throughout their lives, and when those adults also have sickle cell disease, their symptoms are mild. So the international team used CRISPR to disable the gene that interferes with production of this hemoglobin, resuming its production and protecting the adult patients against sickle cell disease.

Several other CRISPR studies are in the works to treat a range of inherited disorders, including hemophilia and SCID-X1 (also known as X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, the so-called bubble boy disease in which babies are born without a functioning immune system).

At St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, a gene therapy trial cured Gael Jesus Pino Alva (pictured with his mother, Giannina) of SCID-X1, the bubble boy disease. (Credit: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/Peter Barta)

The past year also saw success in a handful of experiments on conventional gene therapy. Instead of using CRISPR to repair disease-causing genes, these treatments use hollowed-out viruses to ferry healthy versions of genes into cells. Millions of these altered cells are released into the bloodstream or bone marrow in hopes that enough will land in the right places. But because scientists cant predict where the circulating genes may end up, this shotgun approach has had unintended, sometimes fatal, consequences including, in an earlier study, inadvertently activating leukemia-causing genes in patients treated for SCID-X1.

But in 2019, researchers learned that using a different type of virus one related to HIV to transport the genes may prevent these side effects. In an April study, researchers at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital in Oakland collected bone marrow from eight newborns with SCID-X1. They loaded corrective genes into the disabled HIV-related virus, which carried them into the patients bone marrow stem cells. The infants also received low doses of busulfan, a chemotherapy that gave the doctored stem cells room to grow. So far, we havent seen anything worrisome, says Ewelina Mamcarz, a pediatric oncologist at St. Jude who led the research team. The study recently added its 12th patient.

Gene therapy does have its momentum [back], says Mamcarz, reflecting on the fields setback after the earlier studys leukemia side effects. Theres so much that still needs to be done, and so many questions, she says. [But] this is how medicine evolves. We always want to be better than we were a week ago.

In the future, the hope is that gene therapy technologies will move beyond mending simple genetic mistakes and be used to combat big killers like diabetes or heart disease. [Those diseases are] more challenging, but a lot of them would benefit from knocking out a bad gene, says Dunbar.

For now, though, researchers are optimistic about the progress thats already been made. All of this has been very encouraging, says Dunbar. [And] for sickle cell in the U.S. and hemophilia in the developed world, these diseases may soon be solved.

[This story originally appeared in print as "Gene Therapy Gets Clinical."]

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Gene Therapies Make it to Clinical Trials - Discover Magazine

Stem Cells Market- What Are The Main Factors That Contributing Towards Industry Growth? – Industry Mirror

Stem Cells Market AnalysisAccording to Market Research, the Global Stem Cells Market was valued at USD 5.88 Billion in 2018 and is expected to witness a growth of 10.32% from 2019-2026 and reach USD 12.96 Billion by 2026.

What is Stem Cells Market?Stem cellscan be defined as unspecialized cells that develop into the specialized cells and make up different types of tissue in the human body. Since stem cells are unspecialized type of cells and are capable of renewing themselves through cell division. Stem cells can be Pluripotent as well as Multipotent.

Pluripotent stem cells are stem cells usually found in embryos which give rise to all the cells found in the human body, while multipotent stem cells, which are found in adults or in babies umbilical cords, have a more restricted ability. Their development is limited to cells that form the organ system that they are originated from. When a stem cell undergoes division, each new cell possess a potential either to remain a stem cell or develop into another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

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Stem Cells Market OutlookStem cell research is considered as one of the most intriguing areas of contemporary biology, but, as with many expanding fields of scientific inquiry, research on stem cells stimulates scientific queries as rapidly as it produces new discoveries. Until recently, scientists used to primarily work with two types of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic somatic or adult stem cells.

Since the advent of stem cells, one of the crucial benefits of stem cell research is the accessibility of cell lines and that they can be acquired ethically. The demands for pluripotent stem cells are increasing owing to the fact that it differentiates in various cell types in the human body. Pluripotent stem cells tend to have various applications in the medical treatment. Growing awareness regarding the stem cells and establishment of stem cell banks is expected to fuel the market growth rate.

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Ethical issues related to pluripotent stem cells could hamper the growth of stems cells in the global market as research with these cells require disrupting an artificially-fertilized embryo at the 5-14 day stage. Another factor which is limiting the growth of stem cells market is unknown long-term consequences.

Global Stem Cells Market SegmentationThe Global Stem Cells Market is classified on the basis of Product, Treatment Type, Therapeutic Application and Region. The gist of breaking down the market into various segments is to gather the information about various aspects of the market.

On the basis of Products, the market is bifurcated on the basis of Adult Stem Cells, Human Embryonic Cells, and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell. Adult stem cells accounts for a major share in the global stem cells market. Even though embryonic stem cells have a wide range of applications, the market growth rate for this sub-segment is substantial owing to the ethical issues faced by this sub-segment in the global market.

In terms of Therapeutic Application, the market study encompasses various aspects such ca Regenerative Medicine, Neurological Disorders, Orthopedic Treatments, Oncology Disorders, Diabetes, Injuries & Wounds and Cardiovascular Disorders. Growing awareness regarding regenerative medicine is expected to make this sub-segment hold a potential market share globally. Growing healthcare expenditure and presence of major industry players makes North America hold major share in the global market.

Stem Cells Market Competitive LandscapeThe Stem Cells Market study report offers a valuable insight with an emphasis on global market including some of the major players such asBioTime Inc., Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., STEMCELL Technologies Inc., Astellas Pharma Inc., U.S. Stem Cell, Inc., Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., Takara Bio Inc., Caladrius Biosciences, Inc., Cellular Engineering Technologies Inc., and BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. Our market analysis also entails a section solely dedicated for such major players wherein our analysts provide an insight to the financial statements of all the major players, along with its product benchmarking and SWOT analysis. The competitive landscape section also includes key development strategies, market share and market ranking analysis of the above mentioned players globally.

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Stem Cells MarketCar Rental MarketThermoelectric Modules MarketCar Audio MarketQuantum Computing MarketInternet of Things (IoT) MarketIndustrial Cybersecurity Market

Analyst View:As per our sources following trends were observed in terms of most popular sources of stem cells:

Stem cells from adult bone marrow were observed to be the most popular source. Scope of stem cell therapy is increasing with growing number of applications. Clinical research has advanced to a great magnitude towards preventing, identifying and handling devastating diseases. Various applications of stem cells in regeneration such as Cardiac Regeneration, Hepatic Regeneration, Regeneration of Neural Tissue, etc. have come up lately. This suggests that the market for stem cells will grow significantly over the forecast period.

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Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market Report by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application Forecast 2019 2025 – Info Street Wire

Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market primary data collection was achieved by interviewing the retailers and the consumers. The interviews were conducted through one to one structured questionnaire supervision.

Global Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market report provides an in-depth analysis of all market dynamics including drivers and restraints, and trends and opportunities. Important factors supporting growth across various is also provided. Using the industrial figures, the market finds growth figures between the forecast timespan.

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In order to present an executive-level model of the market and its future perspectives, Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market report presents a clear segmentation based on different parameters. The factors that affect these segments are also discussed in detail in the report.

Major Players included in this report are as follows MesoblastRegeneusU.S. Stem CellAnterogenAsterias Biotherapeutics

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Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market can be segmented into Product Types as MonotherapyCombination Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market can be segmented into Applications as Osteoarthritis (unspecified)Knee OsteoarthritisShoulder OsteoarthritisHip Osteoarthritis

Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market: Regional analysis includes:Asia-Pacific (Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Australia)Europe (Turkey, Germany, Russia UK, Italy, France, etc.)North America (United States, Mexico, and Canada.)South America (Brazil etc.)The Middle East and Africa (GCC Countries and Egypt.)

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The research provides answers to the following key questions: What is the global (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, China, Japan) production, production value, consumption, consumption value, import and export of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis? Who are the global key manufacturers of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis industry? How are their operating situation (capacity, production, price, cost, gross and revenue)? What are the types and applications of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis? What is the market share of each type and application? What are the upstream raw materials and manufacturing equipment of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis? What is the manufacturing process of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis? Economic impact on Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis industry and development trend of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis industry. What will the Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market size and the growth rate be in 2025? What are the key factors driving the global Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis industry? What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market? What is the Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market challenges to market growth? What are the Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the global Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market?

Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Market track and analyse competitive developments such as joint ventures, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, new product developments, research and developments, with respect to the current market size and future prospective.

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Chinese scientist who claimed he genetically edited babies gets prison term – Los Angeles Times

A Chinese scientist who set off an ethical debate with claims that he had made the worlds first genetically edited babies was sentenced Monday to three years in prison because of his research, state media said.

He Jiankui, who was convicted of practicing medicine without a license, was also fined the equivalent of $430,000 by a court in the southern city of Shenzhen, Chinas official Xinhua News Agency reported. Two other researchers involved in the project received lesser sentences and fines.

The verdict said the three defendants had not obtained qualification as doctors, pursued fame and profits, deliberately violated Chinese regulations on scientific research and crossed an ethical line in both scientific research and medicine, according to Xinhua. It also said they had fabricated ethical review documents.

The court said the researchers were involved in the births of three gene-edited babies to two women, confirming reports of a third baby. It said all three pleaded guilty during the trial, which Xinhua reported was closed to the public because of privacy concerns.

He, the lead researcher, shocked the scientific world when he announced in November 2018 that he had altered the embryos of twin girls who had been born the same month. He described his work in exclusive interviews with the Associated Press.

The announcement sparked a global debate over the ethics of gene editing. He said he had used a tool called CRISPR to try to disable a gene that allows the AIDS virus to enter a cell, in a bid to give the girls the ability to resist the infection. The identity of the girls has not been released, and it isnt clear if the experiment succeeded.

The CRISPR tool has been tested elsewhere in adults to treat diseases, but many in the scientific community denounced Hes work as medically unnecessary and unethical, because any genetic changes could be passed down to future generations. The U.S. forbids editing embryos except for lab research.

He, who is known as JK, told the AP in 2018 that he felt a strong responsibility to make an example and that society would decide whether to allow the practice to go forward. He disappeared from public view shortly after he announced his research at a conference in Hong Kong 13 months ago, apparently detained by authorities, initially in an apartment in Shenzhen, a city in Guangdong province that borders Hong Kong.

It wasnt clear whether the three-year prison term includes any of the time he has already spent in Chinese custody.

A Chinese scientist said the sentence should have been harsher to deter others. Kehkooi Kee, a Tsinghua University researcher who conducts gene-editing research on stem cells, also said that He should be held responsible for any fallout from the experiment on the lives of the babies and their families.

Dr. William Hurlbut, a Stanford University bioethicist whose advice He sought for more than a year before his experiment, said he felt sorry for the scientist, his wife and two young daughters.

I warned him things could end this way, but it was just too late, Hurlbut wrote in an email to the AP and to the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, and gene-editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna at UC Berkeley.

Sad story everyone lost in this (JK, his family, his colleagues, and his country), but the one gain is that the world is awakened to the seriousness of our advancing genetic technologies, Hurlbut wrote.

He studied in the U.S. before setting up a lab at the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen. The verdict accused him of colluding with Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou, who worked at medical institutes in the same province.

Zhang was sentenced to two years in prison and fined the equivalent of $143,145, Xinhua said. Qin received an 18-month prison sentence, but with a two-year reprieve, and the equivalent of a $71,573 fine.

Chinese scientist who claimed he genetically edited babies gets prison term - Los Angeles Times