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HulaAnglers: I remember here in Quebec in the 70's there was secret selective sterilization performed at the discretion of doctors - my little brother was hospitalized for flue like symptoms and treated for meningitis and he is now sterile, I was "accidentally" sterilized by a black Haitian doctoress at 24.
Valproate semisodium (INN) or divalproex sodium (USAN) consists of a compound of sodium valproate and valproic acid in a 1:1 molar relationship in an enteric coated form. It is used in the UK and U.S. for the treatment of the manic episodes of bipolar disorder. In rare cases, it is also used as a treatment for major depressive disorder, and increasingly taken long-term for prevention of both manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder, especially the rapid-cycling variant. It is also used in the US for the treatment of epilepsy, chronic pain associated with neuropathy, and migraine headaches. Its chemical name is sodium hydrogen bis(2-propylpentanoate). The extended release formulation allows for a single daily dose.
Histone deacetylases (HDAC) (EC number 3.5.1) are a class of enzymes that remove acetyl groups from an ε-N-acetyl lysine amino acid on a histone. Its action is opposite to that of histone acetyltransferase.
Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) have a long history of use in psychiatry and neurology as mood stabilizers and anti-epilectics, for example, valproic acid. More recently, HDIs are being studied as a mitigator or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. Also in recent years, there has been an effort to develop HDIs for cancer therapy, and Vorinostat (SAHA) has recently been approved for treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). The exact mechanisms by which the compounds may work are unclear, but epigenetic pathways are proposed. In addition, a clinical trial is studying valproic acid effects on the latent pools of HIV in infected persons.
Our data supports the concept that chromatin acetylation and DNA methylation are found in a dynamic interrelation and that the consequences of HDAC inhibitors are not limited to changes in histone acetylation but that they also bring about a change in the state of modification of DNA. The implications of our results on the future therapeutic utilities of VPA in cancer will be discussed.
RESULTS: Sixty-three conventional IVF cycles were performed, 760 oocytes were retrieved, an average of 8.1 +/- 4.8 embryos was obtained, and 2.4 embryos were transferred. Neither the fertilization rate nor the rate of good quality embryos was correlated with the DNA methylation level (r = -0.1 and r = -0.08 respectively; not significant). When sperm DNA methylation was >555 arbitrary units, the pregnancy rate was 33.3% compared with 8.3% in the lower (
Of the other big groups in Australia, Sydney IVF is an unlisted public company, about 75% owned by practitioners, while Melbourne IVF and Queensland Fertility Group have small shareholder registries that also appear dominated by doctors.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of a broad epigenetic defect associated with abnormal semen parameters. Our results suggest that the underlying mechanism for these epigenetic changes may be improper erasure of DNA methylation during epigenetic reprogramming of the male germ line.
At the biotech company Novavax, researchers are testing the use of virus-like particles (VLP), instead of the virus itself, to stimulate a flu immune response. Using this method, a vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 virus could be in production in 10 to 12 weeks, rather than the usual four to six months. "We have made vaccines against multiple flu strains and tested them in humans and gotten relevant and robust immune responses, which checks off the major boxes that the technology works against flu," says Rahul Singhvi, president and CEO of Novavax.
Novavax's strategy involves isolating three proteins from the virus that flag the human immune system, which then churns out neutralizing antibodies against the proteins. These antibodies are robust enough to fight off the actual virus should an immunized person become infected. This is the same way the recently developed vaccine against human papilloma virus, Gardasil, works. "It provides the look and feel of the flu virus but does not have the genetic materials to cause disease," Singhvi says. (Read about the vaccine being prepared in case of a pandemic.)
A VLP vaccine may also prove easier to develop since all it requires is an accurate genetic sequence of three critical virus genes. That could especially help with swine flu, since researchers found back in the 1970s that the virus doesn't grow well in chicken eggs; that could slash the yield and slow production of a potential new vaccine. "As long as we get the genetic sequence of some viral proteins, it doesn't matter where the virus came from — human, swine or bird," says Singhvi. So far, Novavax's shot is still in the testing phase, but its VLP-based vaccines against seasonal and bird flu are providing good results. The company stands ready to try its strategy against swine flu if needed. "The CDC is aware of what we are doing, and we have offered to help both the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC," says Singhvi.
NOVAVAX (Nasdaq: NVAX) announced favorable preclinical results for a new broadly immunogenic pandemic influenza virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidate that provided protection against several H5N1 virus strains.
The unique economics of manufacturing in disposable systems is such that the need for large central facilities to drive low cost of goods is eliminated. Instead, smaller facilities can be built and operated economically and hence distributed to regions that need a local supply of influenza vaccine. This is particularly important to pandemic influenza supply as vaccine access is expected to be limited in the event of a pandemic and countries may have a desire to be self-sufficient within their border, rather than depending on foreign suppliers and importation issues during a pandemic event. To that end, Novavax, Inc. offers an economical in-border manufacturing solution for pandemic vaccine in collaboration with General Electric Healthcare.
Researchers followed about 260 children born to pregnant women in the United States and United Kingdom between 1999 and 2004. They found that by age three, toddlers whose mothers had taken valproate had an average IQ of 92 compared to scores of between 98 and 101 for children of women who had taken other drugs, including lamotrigine, phenytoin, and carbamazepine.
Project SHAD, an acronym for Shipboard Hazard and Defense, was part of the joint service chemical and biological warfare test program conducted during the 1960s. Project SHAD encompassed tests designed to identify US warships' vulnerabilities to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents and to develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining a war-fighting capability. Although classified, the Department of Defense has been actively pursuing declassification of relevant medical information. To date twelve SHAD projects have been evaluated and released for your review.
The SHAD program planned as many as a hundred individual tests and was part of the larger Deseret Test Center program. Many tests were never actually executed. DoD investigators plan to look at all Deseret Test Center’s chemical and biological tests conducted between 1963 and 1970
Of the 4,300 sailors known to be involved, to our knowledge, only 622 have been notified.
Fort Greely holds the dubious distinction of being the only place in the United States besides Dugway where germ warfare agents are acknowledged to have been tested in the open atmosphere. The information concerning biological testing that Senator Gravel obtained from the Army in response to Keim's inquiry may be summarized as follows:
1. In 1966 and 1967 tularemia tests were conducted in the Delta Creek area, approximately thirty miles west of the main post at Fort Greely and about sixty miles from Gerstle River.
2. The tests were conducted in order to obtain data concerning the vulnerability of tularemia under arctic conditions.
3. Prior to testing the pathogenic agent, stimulants were used to check the procedures and safety precautions.
4. Extensive ecological, epidemiological, and meteorological studies were conducted before the tests.
5. The strain of tularemia selected for testing was intentionally different from the endemic strains, ensuring that it could he readily identified and traced.
6. Ecological and epidemiological monitoring of the area was continued through 1970, and followup studies indicate that the strain of tularemia used for testing not contaminate either the wildlife or the environment of Alaska.
News of the nerve gas loss slid not surface until nine months after the chemicals had been recovered from the lake, more than four years after they had sunk and three months after the Army had gratuitously denied any untoward incidents in its Alaska CBW program. The first admission that anything had gone awry at Gerstle came on June 5, 1970, when a little-noticed mimeographed Army statement marked "Information for Members of Congress" was slipped under doors on Capitol Hill in Washington. That evening in Anchorage the Alaskan Command issued the same statement to the press.
The Greely reactor was the “first copy” of the SM-1 family of reactors. Pushing a first-copy nuclear reactor to exceptional thermal power and neutron densities would be expected to have severely adverse consequences reflected in major accidents and early decommissioning. These adverse consequences are evident for the Fort Greely reactor. There was a major accident after five years of operation, resulting in a two-year outage, and a second major accident after only three more years of operation. This second major accident involved a loss of radioactive, live steam producing local fallout. As a result, the reactor was closed ten years after first criticality and was quickly decommissioned. (These two accidents are examined later in th is report.) Neither the magnitude nor the character of the accidents were admitted, and the facts continue to be covered up to the present day.
During the summer of 1968 the Army asked the Oklahoma research group to collect field data at a site about thirty miles from Clear, an Air Force radar installation southwest of Fairbanks. The remote site, accessible only by helicopter and more than one hundred miles from Fort Greely, lies within the vast domain of public lands maintained by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management. Apparently the area was to be used for CBW testing.
According to an Oklahoma field biologist who spent about ten days working in the area during the summer of 1968, a weather crew was gathering meteorological data for the military at the same location. The weather crew consisted of about a dozen civilians and a handful of Army and Air Force personnel. One of the military men was identified as an Air Force officer who apparently served as Alaska liaison for the Desert Test Center, the Utah CBW complex, during the 1967 biological tests at Fort Greely. He was assisted by members of the meteorological team at Fort Greely.
The Oklahoma researcher says that the weather crew was checking air currents, apparently for 'a CBW test. He recalls that a red dust stimulant was dispersed from a high tower constructed at the remote location, but he does not believe that testing with germ warfare agents was actually conducted. He was told that the military decided to call off the test when the wind carried the stimulant much farther than had been anticipated.
When Oklahoma personnel returned to do a followup survey later in the year they were given no special precautions, indicating that no dangerous poisons had been introduced to the area. "We had no reason to believe they had tested anything," the Oklahoma biologist told me, but he does not know why he was sent back to the area for the followup survey. "Dr. Hopla said that the location was not scientifically interesting to him and that he dispatched his team to that location at the Army's request.
A disturbing aspect of the stimulant test is that the operation was conducted on public domain
Interview: Rothschild Fund Hunting for Deals at BIO-Europe Spring
Posted on February 2, 2009 - 1:36pm in
* BIO-Europe Spring 2009
“It is well known that we have fresh money so in Milan my colleagues and I expect our agendas will be full,” said Olivier Litzka, a partner with Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners who manages the BioDiscovery portfolios of biotechnology companies.
“We look forward to booking the meetings for BIO-Europe Spring,” he told Partnering News, “though we deliberately will leave time in the schedule for serendipity, those accidental meetings that can develop into opportunities.”
Litzka and his colleagues from Edmond de Rothschild are flush with the BioDiscovery III fund that raised EUR 155 million in May 2008, just ahead of collapse of the financial markets.
“There is no doubt that we had luck in the timing of this new fund,” he said, “though we were surprised by how quickly the fund closed. We started in January, just one year ago, and we fully expected to take one year to complete the fundraising, yet we were able to close four months later.”
“The performance of the BioDiscovery II fund we created in 2005 is the reason the fundraising went so well for the new fund. BioDiscovery II investors responded to the new offer enthusiastically, in many cases with twice the money they put into the BioDiscovery II fund. Three years later they knew the story from BioDiscovery II and told us that we did what we said we were going to do, which is offering a realistic return in biotechnology and medical technology, two interesting but difficult sectors. The returns on the portfolio made them happy enough to come back. “
Litzka said 12 investments were made with BioDiscovery II and quickly the fund realized two liquidity events with an IPO for one company in 2006 and a trade sale for another portfolio company in 2008. In addition some significant events happened in other portfolio companies which created value.
The final investment slot for BioDiscovery II was closed in June, 2008 with a financing round for BT Pharma (Toulouse) led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP).
One investment has been made so far with the new BioDiscovery Fund III with EUR 7 million going to Supersonic Imaging (Aix-en-Provence) and there are two other investments that are nearing a closing, according to Litzka.
In an exclusive interview with Partnering News
Litzka explained the approach he is taking with the new BioDiscovery III fund, offered insights into the current market for biotech companies, and outlined the qualities he will be seeking in partners at BIO-Europe Spring 2009 in Milan.
He also concludes with a cautionary note for biotech executives exploring creative partnerships as an alternative to traditional financing.
“We expect to maintain a good deal flow in 2009 with four or five investments,” he said. “We are not racing toward some new goal for closing deals fast due to current market conditions. That is not our business. We prefer to pick a few really good companies, spend the time it takes to get to know the company, and then decide about the value and the investment.”
“We have the luxury of a lot of interesting choices due to the fact that fundraising is so difficult for biotech and medtech companies,” he said. “We can be selective. Clearly it is in our interest to arrive at a price that leaves an opportunity for an interesting return, but it is not our intention to go to extremes in a harsh negotiation. It is not our business to destroy value. We want to find fair conditions for a good long term relationship with the stakeholders.”
“We invest in biotech and medtech, mainly investing all over Europe with some select opportunities in the United States. We are a humble European fund though if there is an opportunity with management we know and other investors we are comfortable with, then yes, we would look at the opportunity,” he said.
“The aim is to have a balanced portfolio with a mix of low and high risk companies. We set realistic expectations and pay attention to liquidity. It is a part of the equation of opportunity, risk, reward and liquidity, and some people forgot the importance of liquidity events. Developing companies to the stage where they are ready for a trade sale is very important. A trade sale means a cash return and our limited partners like cash returns because that helps them in turn to deliver to their investors. Liquidity is one of our key responsibilities and make all participants in the high tech life science world on the long run happy.
“I am hopeful and an optimistic sort of person thinking that we have seen a reduction in the market but that it will stabilize, though we continue to pass through a very difficult period. Limited partners have a ratio for risk diversification telling them the amount of funding they should put in private equity. This ratio is based on the value of their investments in listed companies, which right now are very far down. Automatically this fact pushes down the ratio of capital available for private equity. This is what is making it so difficult, even for companies with great performance to get private equity from limited partners.
“Looking at how companies are positioned right now I see a lot of opportunities with good companies with professional management, many in clinical development with compounds addressing unmet medical needs, which are caught in an unfortunate condition where it is not easy to find proper financing. European companies already passed through a difficult time from 2002 to 2004 that forced them to focus on quality and reasonable opportunities. For this reason for most biotech and medtech companies in Europe further cost-cutting and downsizing is not relevant to their current position because they are already lean and professional.
“I hope that the good funds that are out there interested in biotech resist the temptation to be harsh in this difficult moment and that they in fact are prepared to support portfolio companies for perhaps longer than they had expected. I know that we are in a position to do so, to help our companies develop in a realistic way toward an exit...[/qote]
Originally posted by elusive1
No butts: China orders officials to smoke 230,000 packets every year to boost economy or face being fined
Cytokine storm arresting nicotine anyone?
The White House is eager this week to recapture momentum on the health care front at a time when the American people, not just lawmakers, are expressing skepticism. Returning to another successful tactic, Obama will also hold an extended press conference in the Rose Garden tomorrow afternoon, the first such session since a prime time event on his 100th day in office.