British scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time.
The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.
This week Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.
The treatment will tackle age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness. It affects more than 500,000 Britons and the number is forecast to increase significantly as people live longer. The disease involves the loss of eye cells.
Talk about wishful thinking. One might as well ask if there will be a war that will end all wars, or a pill that will make us all good looking. It is also a perfectly understandable question, given that half a million Americans will die this year of a disorder that is often discussed in terms that make it seem less like a disease than an implacable enemy. What tuberculosis was to the 19th century, cancer is to the 20th: an insidious, malevolent force that frightens people beyond all reason–far more than, say, diabetes or high blood pressure.
The problem is, the “cure” for cancer is not going to show up anytime soon–almost certainly not in the next decade. In fact, there may never be a single cure, one drug that will bring every cancer patient back to glowing good health, in part because every type of cancer, from brain to breast to bowel, is different.
Now for the good news: during the next 10 years, doctors will be given tools for detecting the earliest stages of many cancers–in some cases when they are only a few cells strong–and suppressing them before they have a chance to progress to malignancy. Beyond that, nobody can make predictions with any accuracy, but there is reason to hope that within the next 25 years new drugs will be able to ameliorate most if not all cancers and maybe even cure some of them. “We are in the midst of a complete and profound change in our development of cancer treatments,” says Richard Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute. The main upshot of this change is the sheer number of drugs in development–so many that they threaten to swamp clinical researchers’ capacity to test them all.
Nanotechnology, or more affectionately nicknamed as nanotech, is a field of research that deals with controlling matter on an atomic or molecular level. This has multiple applications that range anywhere from electronics, to energy production, to engineering, to physics, and even to medicine. In the field of medicine alone, nanotech is giving rise to tools and possible applications that are now being streamlined to focus on finding and eradicating cancer cells. This is a particularly timely issue because cancer is now the foremost killing disease of the modern times. As humankind evolves into the new millennia, it seems that cancer cells are evolving as well. As such, there are still no known medicines or medical procedures that can prevent or cure the occurrence of any type of cancer.
The startling case of an AIDS patient who underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia is stirring new hope that gene-therapy strategies on the far edges of AIDS research might someday cure the disease.
The patient, a 42-year-old American living in Berlin, is still recovering from his leukemia therapy, but he appears to have won his battle with AIDS. Doctors have not been able to detect the virus in his blood for more than 600 days, despite his having ceased all conventional AIDS medication. Normally when a patient stops taking AIDS drugs, the virus stampedes through the body within weeks, or days.
“I was very surprised,” said the doctor, Gero Hütter.
The breakthrough appears to be that Dr. Hütter, a soft-spoken hematologist who isn’t an AIDS specialist, deliberately replaced the patient’s bone marrow cells with those from a donor who has a naturally occurring genetic mutation that renders his cells immune to almost all strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The development suggests a potential new therapeutic avenue and comes as the search for a cure has adopted new urgency. Many fear that current AIDS drugs aren’t sustainable. Known as antiretrovirals, the medications prevent the virus from replicating but must be taken every day for life and are expensive for poor countries where the disease runs rampant. Last year, AIDS killed two million people; 2.7 million more contracted the virus, so treatment costs will keep ballooning.
While cautioning that the Berlin case could be a fluke, David Baltimore, who won a Nobel prize for his research on tumor viruses, deemed it “a very good sign” and a virtual “proof of principle” for gene-therapy approaches. Dr. Baltimore and his colleague, University of California at Los Angeles researcher Irvin Chen, have developed a gene therapy strategy against HIV that works in a similar way to the Berlin case. Drs. Baltimore and Chen have formed a private company to develop the therapy.
For the first time the transmission of data secured by quantum cryptography is demonstrated within a commercial telecommunications network. 41 partners from 12 European countries, including academics from the University of Bristol, have worked on realising this quantum cryptographic network since April 2004.
Today [Wednesday 8 October] the first commercial communication network using unbreakable encryption based on quantum cryptography is demonstrated in Vienna, Austria. In particular the encryption utilises keys that are generated and distributed by means of quantum cryptographic technologies. Potential users of this network, such as government agencies, financial institutions or companies with distributed subsidiaries, can encrypt their confidential communication with the highest level of security using the quantum cryptographically generated keys.
The network consists of six nodes and eight intermediary links with distances between 6km and 82km (seven links utilising commercial standard telecommunication optical fibres and one “free-space”-link along a line of sight between two telescopes). The links employ altogether six different quantum cryptographic technologies for key generation which are integrated into the network over standardised interfaces.
The network is installed in a standard optical fibre communication ring provided by SECOQC partners, Siemens AG Österreich in Vienna. Five subsidiaries of Siemens are connected to the network. The operation of the quantum cryptographic network will be visualised on a screen at the Siemens Forum in Vienna and streamed live over the Internet. The network-wide key generation and distribution will be demonstrated, the different functionalities of the network itself will be presented as well as utilisation of the keys for standard communication applications. A voice-over-iptelephone-application will be secured by the information-theoretically secure “one-time-pad-encryption“ while videoconferencing will be protected by symmetrical AES-encryption with frequent key changes. A low-cost key distributor, with the potential of extending the quantum cryptographic network to the consumer, will also be shown.
If we are to believe these two articles, cancer cures needn’t always come from synthetic drugs produced in science labs.
New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene.
Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer.
The carcinogen affected the activity of some 2,200 genes in the animals’ esophagus in only one week, but 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder as part of their diet during the exposure.
Could a substance from the jasmine flower hold the key to an effective new therapy to treat cancer? Prof. Eliezer Flescher of The Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University thinks so. He and his colleagues have developed an anti-cancer drug based on a decade of research into the commercial applications of the compound Jasmonate, a synthetic compound derived from the flower itself. Prof. Flescher began to research the compound about a decade ago, and with his recent development of the drug, his studies have now begun to bear meaningful fruit. “Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is based on a plant stress hormone,” says Prof. Flescher. “I asked myself, ‘Could there be other plant stress hormones that have clinical efficacy?’ While various studies have suggested that aspirin can prevent cancer, especially colon cancer, I realized that there could be a chance to find a potent plant hormone that could fight cancer even better. I pinpointed jasmonate.”
Medra… a company that is already offering stem cell cures to the public.
From the website:
A medical procedure whereby Human Fetal Stem Cells are transplanted into a patient. These cellular building blocks are usually administered intravenously and subcutaneously (under the skin). It is a painless procedure, which takes place in approximately one hour, and has no negative side effects.
The Fetal Stem Cell searches out, detects and then attempts to repair any damage or deficiency discovered, as well as releases growth factors, which stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms.
Medra’s Medical Director William C. Rader, MD. has treated over one thousand patients with Human Fetal Stem Cells, including children and adults suffering from many of mankind’s most devastating diseases.
You should have a look at the two videos listed there.
- The power of Fetal Stem Cells to reverse a child’s fatal disease. Watch Video
- Successful clinical results of Fetal Stem Cells in Spinal Cord Injury, Down’s Syndrome and Epilepsy. Watch Video
This is just the beginning.
In the coming decade, we will see more and more diseases obliterated by modern science.
Looking back to the past, we will see our current times as a barbaric period in human history. A black page. One that we’ll eagerly forget.
This may be a complete hoax. See the comment below, which quotes from www.quackwatch.com.
If you think it’s important to cure aging, now would be your chance to act.
A few minutes of your time is all it takes to become a small part of a big solution.
From the webpage:
The Methuselah Foundation needs your help. We are supporting a project named “Undergrads Fighting Age Related Disease” (http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C), which has been submitted as part of the Amex Members Project initiative. The Methuselah Foundation has been nominated to complete this initiative and, if enough votes are obtained, could receive a grant of up to $1.5M from American Express towards the project’s completion.
It is free to vote and should only take you a few minutes. We need to get more than 2000 votes in the next 2 weeks (by Sept 1, 2008), so please support our cause and vote now.
Here are the instructions:
1. Go to this website: http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C
2. Log in either as an Amex Card Member or as a Guest Member on the top right side (any US resident can vote)
3. Complete the Registration Form, which will give you your login ID
4. Click the Nominate button at:
http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C and post a supportive comment
Your action or inaction can make the 1.5 million dollar difference here.
If you love your life and want to hold on to it perpetually… vote!