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Combining art and science in a medical practice – Coast Mountain News

Words by Kathy Michaels Photographs by Phil McLachlan

My life has been simple run fast, turn left, Dr. Andrew Dargie said over coffee one day in late fall, offering up one last thought on his work in the Okanagan and the path he took to get here.

It was an endearing understatement from someone who is clearly more comfortable with taking on big tasks than boasting about how he completed them. As a former All-American sprinter who earned a full-ride scholarship at Stanford University, speed is certainly one of the defining points of Andrews life. He competed for Team Canada numerous times, turning left over and over again as he rounded a track with some of the fastest people on the planet.

Simple, however, is where the sports metaphor falls apart.

For all his athletic abilities, academics were a priority for Andrew, who, after Stanford, obtained his medical doctor designation from the University of Calgary. In a newspaper article about him from that time in his life, a third dimension of his personality became clear. He is a compassionate individual. During medical school he found time to take on a meaningful volunteer commitment with the schools aboriginal health program. For this work he was awarded the Canadian Student Athlete Community Service Award.

His next step was entering vascular surgery residency in Manitoba.

Ultimately, he said, I realized that I loved acute care medicine, but I didnt love the operating room. So I transferred residency programs and obtained my CCFP designation and moved to the Okanagan.

Since arriving, hes worked as an emergency room physician at Penticton Regional Hospital as well as South Okanagan General Hospital. At the latter location, he is the department head of Emergency Medicine.

While in the Okanagan, Andrew took on another passion and is bringing to it the same focus and dedication he has for everything else. This passion is medical aesthetics. In addition to his ER work, he now practises advanced medical aesthetics in both Kelowna and Vernon.

I decided I love performing procedures and found something to help balance working in emergency, he said. Its personally satisfying. Im able to offer procedures that are a blend of art and science and people are appreciative and happy.

Its an interesting time in a rapidly expanding industry. Not so long ago, cosmetic surgery was the clear-cut facial rejuvenation strategy.

This can be a definitive solution to reduce the signs of aging, albeit an invasive, sometimes painful experience typically reserved for the socially elite and requiring significant down time for recovery.

Now, more people are seeking anti-aging services that are less invasive, have less down time and are more affordable. Just a few facial rejuvenation techniques that Andrew offers are botox, dysport, fillers and platelet-rich plasma injections. The clinics he works at offer lasers, CoolSculpting, microdermabrasions and chemical peels, amongst numerous other procedures and skin-care treatments.

While minimally invasive rejuvenation procedures are in high demand, the relative newness of the industry has created some issues and it is not as closely regulated as it perhaps should be. This was made plain in recent months as a non-medical civilian in the Vancouver area passed herself off as a doctor and injected dermal fillers into countless unwitting clients at a spa. She used an altered photocopy of a College Certificate of Licensure to convince medical suppliers that she had a medical licence and was certified to practise in British Columbia. In any other field of medicine it would sound ludicrous, but that it happened at all lays bare the fact that checks and balances are lacking.

Thats something Andrew worries about. And this is why he founded Aesthetics Training Canada, which offers the botox course and the filler course.

Ensuring medical professionals are properly trained is of the utmost importance. There are people injecting without any formal training in facial anatomy or rejuvenation. I said, how can I change this and provide a safe and standardized way for medical professionals to expand their scope of practice to include medical aesthetics? That was the impetus for offering these new comprehensive courses.

There are also clear gaps in proper medical care.

We have patients come in who have been getting procedures elsewhere for years, and when I go to take them through the consent process, they say, Wait, there are risks with these procedures? I was told there were zero risks, Andrew said. This shocks me. Thats not proper medicine and it really bothers me. Some people think about patients in terms of syringes or units. Or some prioritize how fast they can get a patient in and out of the door. This type of practice doesnt warn patients that there are, in fact, risks to consider.

To start creating the change he wants to see in the industry, each of Andrews treatment rooms has anatomy cards so he can take patients through what hes doing, what the risks are and how they can be mitigated.

There are all sorts of things we can do to optimize patient care, he said. If Im in emergency, whether its something as simple as cutting out a mole, or something more complicated like a cardioversion, we always take people through the risks and benefits, and it should be no different in medical aesthetics. Patients must consent and they must be educated that these are not completely harmless procedures and should be performed by experienced medical professionals only.

Adverse events can occur and these can be devastating, Andrew said. The results of shoddy, haphazardly conducted work can be disfiguring or worse even blinding and he wants to prevent this.

He also wants to bring back a more natural look.

People that come to see me get full transparency, and a natural look, he said.

The day before the interview, Andrew said he had turned away four patients who had come in seeking lip filler treatment.

Hed told them, I think your lips are already full enough and we want you to look natural.

They may go down the street and get that duck lip. But our patients arent getting that. Theyre going to get an honest and fair assessment and can expect a refreshed, natural look.

Interestingly, the four who were turned away were receptive to feedback and appreciated hearing his honest and clear communication.

Andrew has accomplished a lot in his life and is bound to take on more. What makes him different than others, however, is that he makes things look easy. He has a light and pleasant demeanour that puts people speaking to him at ease. If you didnt know better, it would be possible to believe that he did have a simple life, remarkable only by his ability to go fast and turn left.

More info at http://www.drdargie.com

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

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Combining art and science in a medical practice - Coast Mountain News

Know About the Latest & Best Non-Surgical Ways To Regrow Hair by Dr. Debraj Shome, Cosmetic Surgeon & Director, The Esthetic Clinics – APN…

Published on January 27, 2020

By Sachin Murdeshwar

Mumbai: It is a no brainer that hair fall is a common condition prevailing in both men and women. However, when the hair fall is out of control and bald patches start to appear on your head then it is a matter of concern as it can spoil your appearance, and give you a tough time. Here are some effective non-surgical solutions to help you regrow your hair.

Do you spot your hair strands all over your pillow? Is that constant hair fall embarrassing for you? Did you stop combing your hair owing to the hair loss? Then, it is time you consult an expert as this can be worrisome. Hair fall or alopecia is a sensitive issue in both, men and women. It can be described as a common, genetically driven disorder, causing hair loss and baldness. Pollution, stress, faulting eating habits, usage of chemical shampoos and products are some of the culprits that can induce hair fall. There are a few non-surgical treatments that can work wonders for you, as they can help arrest the hair fall. Here is a list of few of the latest and the best research-backed remedies you must opt for.

Mesotherapy: This process of intra-dermal scalp injections of solution can help encourage natural hair regeneration. Yes, you have heard it right! Microinjections are being made just under the epidermis to help stimulate the mesoderm layer. Furthermore, did you know? It is a dual-action process that tends to involve both chemical and mechanical stimulation. The solution that is injected is loaded with chemicals, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and coenzymes that is suitable to ones needs. Thus, if you are opting for it then get it done from a certified expert. The trick though is to understand that it is not the mesotherapy that causes hair growth, but the choice of the solution used in mesotherapy which makes all the difference.

Hair concealers: Do you want to make your hair appear fuller? Then, you can try this option. Hair concealers can be used on scalp or hair itself and can help you get a fuller appearance. It is suitable for people who are in the early stages of hair thinning, and also for the ones having bald patches. Concealers can be used in the form of creams and powders as recommended by the expert.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP): In this method, ones own blood is injected into the affected areas. Now, this treatment is helpful in hair regrowth as the motto behind using it is that the growth factors help create or stimulate new hair follicles.

QR 678 hair fall and hair regrowth therapy: It has acquired the US and Indian patent is Indian FDA approved. The formulation has been named QR678 to signify a quick response to a disease which earlier had no solution. This therapy curbs hair fall and increase the thickness and number and density of existing hair follicles, offering a greater overage to the ones with alopecia.

Moreover, the polypeptides and hair growth factors used in the QR 678 Neo therapy are anyways present in a scalp full of hair (they tend to get decreased in scalps which have hair fall). Thus, it is the enrichment of the scalp skin with these polypeptides which cause hair growth. Since these hair growth polypeptides are normally present in the scalp and are derived from plant sources, replenishing the scalp with these is not artificial and doesnt result in side-effects. It is a non-invasive, non-surgical, safer and affordable. The procedure will take 6-8 sessions and the hair follicles which are dying or dead are revived with this therapy. Research has shown more than a 83% hair regrowth in people who have lost hair. Research has also shown that mesotherapy with the QR 678 Neo solution is far more effective than traditional mesotherapy and more than 5 times more effective than PRP. Thus, the QR 678 neo hair growth factor injections are the latest inventions in the hair growth sector and easily amongst the best inventions for hair growth and stopping hair fall.

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Know About the Latest & Best Non-Surgical Ways To Regrow Hair by Dr. Debraj Shome, Cosmetic Surgeon & Director, The Esthetic Clinics - APN...

Global Joint Pain Injections Market Size 2020 | Key Players, Growth Insights, Demand Analysis and 2029 Forecast Research – Sound On Sound Fest

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Segmentation Covering:

Segmentation by Injection type:

Corticosteroid InjectionsHyaluronic Acid InjectionsOthers (include, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), Placental tissue matrix (PTM), etc.)Segmentation by joint type:

Knee & AnkleHip JointShoulder & ElbowFacet Joints of the SpineOthers (include, Ball and socket, etc.)Segmentation by end-user:

Hospital PharmaciesRetail PharmaciesOnline Pharmacies

Regions Covering:

North America: US, Canada

Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Rest of Latin America

Europe: Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Rest of Europe

Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Rest of Asia Pacific

The Middle East and Africa: GCC, South Africa, Rest of Middle East and Africa

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Share Your Questions Here For More Details On this Report or Customizations As Per Your Need:https://marketresearch.biz/report/joint-pain-injections-market/#request-for-customization

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Global Joint Pain Injections Market Size 2020 | Key Players, Growth Insights, Demand Analysis and 2029 Forecast Research - Sound On Sound Fest

If you want to ban fetal tissue research, sign a pledge to refuse its benefits – USA TODAY

Irving Weissman and Joseph McCune, Opinion contributors Published 7:00 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2020

Severe Trump administration restrictions mean millions of Americans of all political and religious stripes won't benefit from fetal tissue research.

Last summer the Trump administration curtailed federal funding of medical research using human fetal tissue; the new rulestook effect Oct. 1. More recently, the administration addedrestrictions that are even more severe.

Immediately, important work at two NIH-supported labs in Montana and California that are fighting the AIDS epidemic stopped because they were testing new medications against HIV using mice with human immune systems derived from human fetal tissue. In the near term, all National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of research using fetal tissuewill likely cease.

More than 30years ago, we invented SCID-hu mice for biomedical research on diseases affecting humans, by implanting human fetal blood-forming and immune system tissuesinto mice whose immune systems had been silenced. The implanted immune tissues came from an aborted fetus, and allowed our otherwise immune-deficient mice to exist and be vulnerable to viruses that infect humans.

Tissues from living infants would not have worked;they are too far along in development and nearly impossible to obtain. This mouse model (and later versions of it) became the only living system, outside of a human, in which advanced therapies for diseases like AIDS and other viral infections could be evaluated before they were given to people.

Our work with human fetal tissue proceeded with the highest level of caution and vigilance. We received advice from bioethicists, clergyand government officials, which led to the establishment of strict guidelines that are still used today. No woman was asked or paid to terminate a pregnancy, the termination process was unaltered, and the women were asked for donation of the organs only after they had decided to terminate the pregnancy. Thus, obtaining the fetal tissue for medical research had no impact on ending pregnancies.

Since then, mice with transplanted human fetal tissues have been successfully used by scientists to identify blood stem cells and to devise treatments now availableor in clinical trialsfor cancer, various viral infections, Alzheimers disease, spinal cord injuries, and other diseases of the nervous system. Such diseases kill or cripple many Americans including pregnant women, fetusesand newborn infants. Many of them have only a short window of opportunity wherein a new therapy can treat them, and a delay can be fatal.

National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 21, 2013.(Photo: *, Kyodo)

The Trump administration's new rules are tantamount to a funding ban. In academic labs, the experiments are done by students and fellows in training, and the new rules block any NIH-funded students or fellows from working with human fetal tissue. Those who imposed the banmust bear responsibility for the consequences: People will suffer and die for lack of adequate treatments.

Americans pay the price:Trump administration's 'scientific oppression' threatens US safety and innovation

At a December 2018 meeting at NIH,after hearing scientific evidence about alternative research methods such as the use of adult cells, experts concluded that the use of fetal tissue is uniquely valuable. Nonetheless, the administration severely restricted the use of fetal tissue, thereby denying millions of Americans the fruits of such research Americans of all political stripes, since deadly viruses and cancers do not care who you vote for.

These restrictions subvert the NIH mission, which is to advance medicine and protect the nations health. To the extent that it was motivated by the religious beliefs of those in charge, it bluntly transgresses the American principle of separation of church and state. As a result, both believers and non-believers will die.

Of course, all who take the Hippocratic Oathto "do no harm,"which includes all medical doctors, will always offer and deliver all types of therapies that are available.

Restricting science: Trump EPA's cynical 'transparency' ploy would set back pollution science and public health

However, we believe that thoseresponsible forthis de facto ban, and perhapsthose who agree with them, should personally accept its consequences. We challenge them tobe true to their beliefs. They should pledge to never accept any cancer therapy, any AIDS medication, any cardiac drug, any lung disease treatment, any Alzheimers therapy, or any other medical advance that was developed using fetal tissue including our mice. Its a long list, one that you can learn about from us here. Should this apply to you, be faithful and be bold: Take the pledge.

Irving Weissman is a Professor of Pathology and Developmental Biology and the Director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell at Stanford University School of Medicine. Joseph McCune is Professor Emeritus of Medicine from the Division of Experimental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The views expressed here are solely their own.

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If you want to ban fetal tissue research, sign a pledge to refuse its benefits - USA TODAY

Scots tot, 3, battling rare blood cancer to receive stem cell donations from anonymous American woman – The Scottish Sun

A TODDLER battling a rare form of blood cancer will receive life-changing stem cell, from a US donor.

Adeline Davidson, three, has been receiving weekly blood transfusions to keep her alive.

5

She has been diagnosed with myelodysplasia, an extremely rare form of blood cancer that affects only one in 250,000 children.

Doctors have now identified a donor assessed as a 9/10 match who is female and lives in the United States.

Under existing regulations, Adelines parents Stephanie and Jordan, from Alness, Easter Ross, will not be able to find out any more about the woman who could change their daughters life for at least two years after the transplant.

Mrs Davidson said news of the match, which came via the Anthony Nolan register she has personally encouraged many people to sign up to, was relayed to her by a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

She said: My mind was going crazy. All we know is that she is an American we know nothing more than that.

"You hear stories about people meeting their donors.

5

"The most mind-blowing thing for me is that this person who we dont know will pass on some of her DNA to Adeline.

Its good news but it does bring new anxieties.

"Our focus now is keeping Adeline away from bugs and infections. She needs to be healthy.

All being well Adeline, will be prepared for the transplant which can help restore the bodys ability to make blood cells next month and undergo the procedure in March.

5

Stephanie said: The support has been amazing. The messages we have got have been lovely and kept us going.

"It shows you there are good people out there. A lot of people say Im calm.

"It is what it is and you just need to keep a positive mind and be strong for her.

"Now its a waiting game.

There was another surprise for Adeline when she was invited aboard the Maersk Resilient oil rig, one of the giant landmarks dotting Invergordons shoreline.

5

Crew members seeking a worthy local cause for money they wished to donate had asked around on shore and been pointed in the Davidsons direction.

As well as the invitation for a tour of the rig capable of drilling to a depth of 30,000ft and sleeping 120 people Adeline was given a 1,000 donation on behalf of crew members.

The delighted youngster, who may be the youngest ever guest to have boarded the rig, relished the jaunt in the company of her mum and granny Lorraine, whose has also championed her cause on a number of fronts.

5

Stephanie Davidson said: It was brilliant, we got to see around the whole rig.

When they handed over a 1000 cheque, the family who face regular long overnight hospital trips to Glasgow were bowled over.

Ms Davidson said: We were not expecting that much."

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Adeline is also sister to nine-month-old twins, Josie and Jude.

Stephanie is charting Adelines journey on the Instagram feed @adelinebluesjourney_x and says messages of support there mean the world to the family.

We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Email us at scoop@thesun.co.uk or call 0141 420 5300

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Scots tot, 3, battling rare blood cancer to receive stem cell donations from anonymous American woman - The Scottish Sun

Scots toddler who needs weekly blood transfusions to receive life changing stem-cells from US donor – Daily Record

A young Scots tot battling a rare form of cancer is to receive life-changing stem cell, from a US donor.

Adeline Davidson, 3, suffers from myelodysplasia, an extremely rare form of blood cancer that affects only one in 250,000 children.

Since her diagnosis, Adeline has been receiving weekly blood transfusions to keep her alive.

A female who lives in the United States has been identified as donor and doctors have assessed as a 9/10 match.

Adeline's mum Stephanie, from Alness, Easter Ross welcomed the news of the match.

She said: My mind was going crazy. All we know is that she is an American we know nothing more than that. You hear stories about people meeting their donors.

"The most mind-blowing thing for me is that this person who we dont know will pass on some of her DNA to Adeline."

Its good news but it does bring new anxieties. Our focus now is keeping Adeline away from bugs and infections. She needs to be healthy.

Under existing regulations, Stephanie and Adeline's dad Jordan, will not be able to find out any more about the woman who could change their daughters life for at least two years after the transplant.

All being well Adeline, will be prepared for the transplant which can help restore the bodys ability to make blood cells next month and undergo the procedure in March.

Stephanie said: The support has been amazing. The messages we have got have been lovely and kept us going. It shows you there are good people out there.

"A lot of people say Im calm. It is what it is and you just need to keep a positive mind and be strong for her. Now its a waiting game.

There was another surprise for Adeline when she was invited aboard the Maersk Resilient oil rig, one of the giant landmarks dotting Invergordons shoreline.

Crew members seeking a worthy local cause for money they wished to donate had asked around on shore and been pointed in the Davidsons direction.

As well as the invitation for a tour of the rig capable of drilling to a depth of 30,000ft and sleeping 120 people Adeline was given a 1,000 donation on behalf of crew members.

The delighted youngster, who may be the youngest ever guest to have boarded the rig, relished the jaunt in the company of her mum and granny Lorraine, whose has also championed her cause on a number of fronts.

Stephanie Davidson said: It was brilliant, we got to see around the whole rig.

When they handed over a 1000 cheque, the family who face regular long overnight hospital trips to Glasgow were bowled over.

We were not expecting that much, said Mrs Davidson, who is also mum to nine-month-old twins, Josie and Jude.

She is charting Adelines journey on the Instagram feed @adelinebluesjourney_x and says messages of support there mean the world to the family.

Excerpt from:
Scots toddler who needs weekly blood transfusions to receive life changing stem-cells from US donor - Daily Record

Advancells Group & IFC Concluded their 3-Day Workshop on Regenerative Medicine – APN News

Published on January 23, 2020

New Delhi:On Saturday, January 18th, 2020, the Advancells Group & the International Fertility Center together ended their first workshop Sub-Specialty Training in Application of Regenerative Medicine (S.T.A.R. 2020). The three-day workshop had specialized doctors, medical practitioners, learned scientists of Advancells, the leaders in cell manufacturing & processes and IFC, one of Indias most prestigious Fertility institute who were joined by candidates with MBBS/BAMS/BHMS/BPharma & Masters degree in Life Sciences.

The key-note speaker of the workshop was Dr. Rita Bakshi, founder and chairperson of International Fertility Centre, the oldest fertility clinic and one of the most renowned IVF clinics in India, one of the organizers of the event. Participants also had a privilege to listen to Dr. Sachin Kadam, CTO, Advancellsand gain hands-on experience in the preparation of PRP; Liposuction method; and Bone Marrow aspiration. All these techniques were talked about at length and demonstrated in the form of manual & kit-based models to help the candidates gain exposure.

Dr. Punit Prabha, Head of Clinical Research and Dr. Shradha Singh Gautam, Head of Lab Operations at Advancells successfully set the base of stem cell biology for the participants who were experts in gynecology field, stem cell research and pain specialist. With the help of detailed analysis of Application of PRP for Skin rejuvenation; Preparation of Micro-fragmented Adipose Tissue and Nano Fat & SVF (Stromal Vascular Fraction) from Adipose Tissue; and Cell Culturing and Expansion in a Laboratory, applicants understood the application of stem cells in aesthetics, cosmetology, and anti-aging.

Vipul Jain, Founder & CEO of Advancells Groupsaid, Educating young scientists about stem cells is important for us. With this workshop we wanted to discuss and share the challenges and lessons we have learned in our journey of curing our customers. We wanted to establish more concrete knowledge base in the presence of subject matter experts and help our attendees in more possible ways. We are hopeful to have successfully achieved what we claimed with this workshop.

Given the resounding success of the Sub-Specialty Training in Application of Regenerative Medicine (S.T.A.R. 2020), its hoped that the future events shall offer even greater wisdom to the participants by helping them improve and the lead the community into the age of greater awareness.

Continued here:
Advancells Group & IFC Concluded their 3-Day Workshop on Regenerative Medicine - APN News

How to Improve on a Good Year for Global Health | by Melvin Sanicas – Project Syndicate

The discovery of new viruses, vaccines, and treatments in 2019 was the result of investments in global surveillance, cross-sector partnerships, and scientific advances. At a time when misinformation is calling into question the validity of facts, the world needs to support science more than ever.

ZURICH Measles went viral in 2018, infecting nearly ten million people worldwide and claiming 142,000 lives. Poor vaccination coverage and large pockets of unvaccinated children resulted in devastating outbreaks in many parts of the world, including in countries that had high vaccination rates or had previously eliminated the disease. Last year, the United States reported its highest number of cases in a quarter-century, while four European countries Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece, and the United Kingdom lost their measles-free status following protracted outbreaks.

Moreover, two studies demonstrated how a measles infection reduces the levels of pre-existing antibodies against other pathogens like flu or pneumonia. So, children who recover from measles become more vulnerable to other infectious diseases.

Fortunately, measles was not the only big global health story of 2019. The year also was full of exciting discoveries of new viruses, vaccines, and treatments that again proved the value of science.

Virus research made significant strides last year. For starters, scientists in Japan discovered the Medusavirus, so named because it can turn amoebae into stone-like cysts. Its genome is among the largest and most complex viral genomes ever found. Separately, researchers identified a new tick-borne illness the Alongshan virus in a group of patients in Inner Mongolia. For the first time, an insect RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus, the Providence virus, was found to have the ability to infect plants and mammalian cells suggesting that plants could act as reservoirs of human viruses. Meanwhile, the Spanish authorities reported the first case of dengue attributed to sexual transmission in an area without vector mosquitoes.

In addition, a mysterious polio-like disease known as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, has emerged in the US in recent years, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over 600 cases since 2014. Immunological studies published last year linked this new disease to two enteroviruses. Researchers also associated a common human herpes virus (HHV-6) and the Epstein-Barr virus with multiple sclerosis, linked adenovirus C with type I diabetes, and found that a human papillomavirus infection increases the risk of breast cancer. Another study found that the brains of Alzheimers patients had higher levels of the HHV-6 and HHV-7 viruses than healthy brains, while levels of viral RNA tracked the severity of clinical symptoms. More research is needed to discover exactly what roles, if any, these viruses play in the progression of these diseases.

Vaccines also advanced in 2019. For starters, the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration approved Ervebo, the first Ebola vaccine. Trials had shown the vaccine to be 100% effective in preventing transmission of the disease to people who had been in close contact with those infected. Another Ebola vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, was also tested during 2019 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the second-largest outbreak of the disease began in August 2018.

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Meanwhile, the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium completed a large field study in Nepal which showed that the typhoid conjugate vaccine is safe, immunogenic, and effective, and could significantly reduce typhoid infection among high-risk groups. In addition, the World Health Organization prequalified a more affordable pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that could help to widen protection against a leading cause of deadly childhood pneumonia.

Finally, new and improved treatments provided some of the best global health news of the year. In particular, the final results of a study called Pamoja Tulinde Maisha (Together Save Lives) in the DRC showed that two experimental Ebola treatments based on monoclonal antibodies were nearly twice as effective as the standard treatment. When patients received the new treatments shortly after the onset of symptoms, deaths decreased by almost 90%. For the first time, therefore, Ebola ceased to be a death sentence.

Moreover, gene therapy staged a comeback in 2019, mainly featuring adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, and lentiviral vectors derived from HIV. Early last year, doctors in the US used lentiviral gene therapy to cure children afflicted with a severe immunodeficiency. And the previous December, a phase 1/2 human-based clinical trial of another lentiviral gene therapy stopped painful episodes of sickle cell disease, and relieved nearly 80% of patients of the need for therapeutic blood transfusions.

Also last year, the FDA approved the AAV-based Zolgensma gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy. Other AAV-based experimental therapies, including one for temporal lobe epilepsy and another for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, were tested on animals with promising results.

The discovery of many new viruses, vaccines, and treatments in 2019 was the result of investments in global surveillance, cross-sector partnerships, and scientific advances. But much more needs to be done. For example, we are only beginning to understand the impact of climate change on the emergence of infectious diseases and on the social and environmental determinants of health.

Science may have been successful last year, but it still needs support. This should include more high-quality education in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), increased funding of global research collaborations, and continued government support for innovation and research and development. At a time when misinformation is calling into question the validity of facts, the world also needs better science communication including higher-quality science reporting by the mass media.

This year started with a mysterious outbreak in Wuhan, China, involving individuals who have contracted a novel coronavirus. The coming weeks or months will, one hopes, bring answers to some key questions, including how the virus is acquired, whether those who have died or are critically ill have other medical conditions that explain the severity of illness, and many others. Science helped the world with the pandemic H1N1, SARS, and Ebola viruses, and science will once again help the world overcome this new threat.

The world is on the cusp of further, previously unimaginable medical discoveries and innovations. By supporting science and highlighting its positive impact, we can make 2020 an even better year for global health.

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How to Improve on a Good Year for Global Health | by Melvin Sanicas - Project Syndicate

Europe’s guardian of stem cells and hopes, real and unrealistic – INQUIRER.net

Submerged in liquid nitrogen vapor at a temperature of minus 175 degrees Celsius, hundreds of thousands of stem cells from all over Europe bide their time in large steel barrels on the outskirts of Warsaw.

Present in blood drawn from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby, stem cells can help cure serious blood-related illnesses like leukemias and lymphomas, as well as genetic conditions and immune system deficits.

Polish umbilical cord blood bank PBKM/FamiCord became the industrys leader in Europe after Swiss firm Cryo-Save went bankrupt early last year.

It is also the fifth largest in the world, according to its management, after two companies in the United States, a Chinese firm and one based in Singapore.

Since the first cord blood transplant was performed in France in 1988, the sector has significantly progressed, fuelling hopes.

Health insurance

Mum-of-two Teresa Przeborowska has firsthand experience.

At five years old, her son Michal was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant, the entrepreneur from northern Poland said.

The most compatible donor was his younger sister, Magdalena.

When she was born, her parents had a bag of her cord blood stored at PBKM.

More than three years later, doctors injected his sisters stem cells into Michals bloodstream.

It was not quite enough for Michals needs but nicely supplemented harvested bone marrow.

As a result, Michal, who is nine, is now flourishing, both intellectually and physically, his mum told AFP.

A cord blood transplant has become an alternative to a bone marrow transplant when there is no donor available, with a lower risk of complications.

Stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood are like those taken from bone marrow, capable of producing all blood cells: red cells, platelets and immune system cells.

When used, stem cells are first concentrated, then injected into the patient. Once transfused, they produce new cells of every kind.

At the PBKM laboratory, each container holds up to 10,000 blood bags Safe and secure, they wait to be used in the future, its head, Krzysztof Machaj, said.

The bank holds around 440,000 samples, not including those from Cryo-Save, he said.

If the need arises, the blood will be ready to use without the whole process of looking for a compatible donor and running blood tests, the biologist told AFP.

For families who have paid an initial nearly 600 euros (around P34,000) and then an annual 120 euros (around P7,000) to have the blood taken from their newborns umbilical cords preserved for around 20 years, it is a kind of health insurance promising faster and more effective treatment if illness strikes.

But researchers also warn against unrealistic expectations.

Beauty products

Hematologist Wieslaw Jedrzejczak, a bone marrow pioneer in Poland, describes promoters of the treatment as sellers of hope, who make promises that are either impossible to realize in the near future or downright impossible to realize at all for biological reasons.

He compares them to makers of beauty products who swear their cream will rejuvenate the client by 20 years.

Various research is being done on the possibility of using the stem cells to treat other diseases, notably nervous disorders. But the EuroStemCell scientist network warns that the research is not yet conclusive.

There is a list of almost 80 diseases for which stem cells could prove beneficial, U.S. hematologist Roger Mrowiec, who heads the clinical laboratory of the cord blood program Vitalant in New Jersey, told AFP.

But given the present state of medicine, they are effective only for around a dozen of them, like leukemia or cerebral palsy, he said.

Its not true, as its written sometimes, that we can already use them to fight Parkinsons disease or Alzheimers disease or diabetes.

EuroStemCell also cautions against private blood banks that advertise services to parents suggesting they should pay to freeze their childs cord blood in case its needed later in life.

Studies show it is highly unlikely that the cord blood will ever be used for their child, the network said.

It also pointed out that there could be a risk of the childs cells not being useable anyway without reintroducing the same illness.

Some countries, such as Belgium and France, are cautious and ban the storage of cord blood for private purposes. Most E.U. countries however permit it while imposing strict controls.

Rapid growth

In the early 2000s, Swiss company Cryo-Save enjoyed rapid growth.

Greeks, Hungarians, Italians, Spaniards and Swiss stored blood from their newborns with the company for 20 years on payment of 2,500 euros (around P140,000) upfront.

When the firm was forced to close in early 2019, clients were left wondering where their stem cells would end up.

Under a kind of back-up agreement, the samples of some 250,000 European families were transferred for storage at PBKM.

The Polish firm, founded in 2002 with 2 million zlotys (around P26 million), has also grown quickly.

Present under the FamiCord brand in several countries, PBKM has some 35% of the European market, excluding Cryo-Save assets.

Over the last 15 months, outside investors have contributed 63 million euros to the firm, PBKMs chief executive Jakub Baran told AFP.

But the company has not escaped controversy: the Polityka weekly recently published a critical investigative report on several private clinics that offer what was described as expensive treatment involving stem cells held by PBKM.IB/JB

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Europe's guardian of stem cells and hopes, real and unrealistic - INQUIRER.net

Diane Francis: Treating aging like a disease is the next big thing for science – Financial Post

LOS ANGELES Extending everyones life in a healthy fashion is one of many goals held by Peter Diamandis, a space, technology, aeronautics and medicine pioneer. But the new field known as longevity is of interest to everyone.

One hundred will be the new 60, he told his Abundance360 conference recently. The average human health span will increase by 10+ years this decade.

He, like others in Silicon Valley, believe that aging is a disease and the result of planned obsolescence, or the wearing down of, or damage to, certain critical mechanisms, sensors and functions within our bodies. Longevity research is about identifying the core problems to mitigate or reverse them.

The average human health span will increase by 10+ years this decade

Peter Diamandis

The exponential technologies of artificial intelligence, machine learning and computational heft have been harnessed, and have resulted in breakthroughs and clinical trials that are just a handful of years away from deployment on human patients. The main areas of research include: Stem cell supply restoration, regenerative medicine to regrow damaged cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, spinal cords and neural nerves; vaccine research against chronic diseases such as Alzheimers; and United Therapeutics that is developing technology to tackle the organ shortage for humans by genetically engineering organs grown in pigs.

New tools are accelerating the development of new, tailor-made medicines at a fraction of todays costs. Alex Zhavoronkov of Insilico Medicine told the conference that drugs take 10 years and cost $3 billion to research and 90 per cent fail. But his company can test in 46 days using human tissue, then model, design and produce in weeks with the help of advanced computing.

In regenerative medicine, advances appear to be arriving relatively soon. For instance, Diamandis asked the audience if anyone was awaiting a knee replacement operation and suggested that they might be better off postponing these until 2021 when regenerative medicine innovator, Samumed LLC in San Diego, is expected to complete phase three clinical trials of cartilage regeneration.

Samumeds founder, Osman Kibar, said his company has successfully injected a protein that activates nearby stem cells into producing new cartilage in a knee or a new disc in a spine. Preliminary success has also occurred to regenerate muscle and neural cells, retinal cells, skin and hair. Not surprisingly, the private company just raised US$15.5 billion to continue research and product development.

Another hot area of early stage research is called epigenetic reprogramming or identifying how to reverse deficiencies in proteins, stem cells, chromosomes, genes that repair DNA and damaged cells. A leader in this field is David Sinclair, professor of genetics at the Harvard Medical School, whose new book Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Dont Have To explains the science and offers advice.

Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable, he said. As research progresses toward actual corrections or cures, there are also lifestyle habits that can slow down the aging process, or avert damage. For instance, he said humans should replicate some behaviour that their bodies were designed for. Obviously, exercising and sleep are necessary but so is eating less often. You should feel hungry regularly, he said.

Another condition that is useful to emulate is hormesis, a scientific term for what Neitzsche posited which was that that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Sinclair recommends stressing our bodies with temperature changes such as going from a hot sauna to rolling in the snow. This invigorates the bodys processes and cells.

Theres also xenohormesis or gaining benefits from eating plants that have been environmentally stressed, therefore contain more beneficial nutrients. For instance, drought-stressed or wild strawberries have better flavour but they also are enhanced with additional antioxidant capacity and phenol content.

The age of 100 is easily in sight now, said Diamandis. And kids born today can expect to live to 105.

Financial Post

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Diane Francis: Treating aging like a disease is the next big thing for science - Financial Post