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Archive for the ‘Genetics & Pharmaceutical’ Category


Single-cell Genomics: Directions in Computational and Systems Biology – Contributions of Prof. Aviv Regev @Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cochair, the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee with Sarah Teichmann of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

 

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Dana Pe’er, PhD, now chair of computational and systems biology at the Sloan Kettering Institute at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a member of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee,

what really sets Regev apart is the elegance of her work. Regev, says Pe’er, “has a rare, innate ability of seeing complex biology and simplifying it and formalizing it into beautiful, abstract, describable principles.”

Dr. Aviv Regev, an MIT biology professor who is also chair of the faculty of the Broad and director of its Klarman Cell Observatory and Cell Circuits Program, was reviewing a newly published white paper detailing how the Human Cell Atlas is expected to change the way we diagnose, monitor, and treat disease at a gathering of international scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, 10/2017.

For Regev, the importance of the Human Cell Atlas goes beyond its promise to revolutionize biology and medicine. As she once put it, without an atlas of our cells, “we don’t really know what we’re made of.”

Regev, turned to a technique known as RNA interference (she now uses CRISPR), which allowed her to systematically shut genes down. Then she looked at which genes were expressed to determine how the cells’ response changed in each case. Her team singled out 100 different genes that were involved in regulating the response to the pathogens—some of which weren’t previously known to be involved in immune function. The study, published in Science, generated headlines.

The project, the Human Cell Atlas, aims to create a reference map that categorizes all the approximately 37 trillion cells that make up a human. The Human Cell Atlas is often compared to the Human Genome Project, the monumental scientific collaboration that gave us a complete readout of human DNA, or what might be considered the unabridged cookbook for human life. In a sense, the atlas is a continuation of that project’s work. But while the same DNA cookbook is found in every cell, each cell type reads only some of the recipes—that is, it expresses only certain genes, following their DNA instructions to produce the proteins that carry out a cell’s activities. The promise of the Human Cell Atlas is to reveal which specific genes are expressed in every cell type, and where the cells expressing those genes can be found.

Regev says,

The final product, will amount to nothing less than a “periodic table of our cells,” a tool that is designed not to answer one specific question but to make countless new discoveries possible.

Sequencing the RNA of the cells she’s studying can tell her only so much. To understand how the circuits change under different circumstances, Regev subjects cells to different stimuli, such as hormones or pathogens, to see how the resulting protein signals change.

“the modeling step”—creating algorithms that try to decipher the most likely sequence of molecular events following a stimulus. And just as someone might study a computer by cutting out circuits and seeing how that changes the machine’s operation, Regev tests her model by seeing if it can predict what will happen when she silences specific genes and then exposes the cells to the same stimulus.

By sequencing the RNA of individual cancer cells in recent years—“Every cell is an experiment now,” she says—she has found remarkable differences between the cells of a single tumor, even when they have the same mutations. (Last year that work led to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research.) She found that while some cancers are thought to develop resistance to therapy, a subset of melanoma cells were resistant from the start. And she discovered that two types of brain cancer, oligodendroglioma and astrocytoma, harbor the same cancer stem cells, which could have important implications for how they’re treated.

As a 2017 overview of the Human Cell Atlas by the project’s organizing committee noted, an atlas “is a map that aims to show the relationships among its elements.” Just as corresponding coastlines seen in an atlas of Earth offer visual evidence of continental drift, compiling all the data about our cells in one place could reveal relationships among cells, tissues, and organs, including some that are entirely unexpected. And just as the periodic table made it possible to predict the existence of elements yet to be observed, the Human Cell Atlas, Regev says, could help us predict the existence of cells that haven’t been found.

This year alone it will fund 85 Human Cell Atlas grants. Early results are already pouring in.

  • In March, Swedish researchers working on cells related to human development announced they had sequenced 250,000 individual cells.
  • In May, a team at the Broad made a data set of more than 500,000 immune cells available on a preview site.

The goal, Regev says, is for researchers everywhere to be able to use the open-source platform of the Human Cell Atlas to perform joint analyses.

Eric Lander, PhDthe founding director and president of the Broad Institute and a member of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee, likens it to genomics.

“People thought at the beginning they might use genomics for this application or that application,” he says. “Nothing has failed to be transformed by genomics, and nothing will fail to be transformed by having a cell atlas.”

“How did we ever imagine we were going to solve a problem without single-cell resolution?”

SOURCE

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611786/the-cartographer-of-cells/?utm_source=MIT+Technology+Review&utm_campaign=Alumni-Newsletter_Sep-Oct-2018&utm_medium=email

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

 

University of California Santa Cruz’s Genomics Institute will create a Map of Human Genetic Variations

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/01/13/university-of-california-santa-cruzs-genomics-institute-will-create-a-map-of-human-genetic-variations/

 

Recognitions for Contributions in Genomics by Dan David Prize Awards

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/07/31/recognitions-for-contributions-in-genomics-by-dan-david-prize-awards/

 

ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) program: ‘Tragic’ Sequestration Impact on NHGRI Programs

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/09/18/encode-encyclopedia-of-dna-elements-program-tragic-sequestration-impact-on-nhgri-programs/

 

Single-cell Sequencing

Genomic Diagnostics: Three Techniques to Perform Single Cell Gene Expression and Genome Sequencing Single Molecule DNA Sequencing

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/07/04/genomic-diagnostics-three-techniques-to-perform-single-cell-gene-expression-and-genome-sequencing-single-molecule-dna-sequencing/

 

LIVE – Real Time – 16th Annual Cancer Research Symposium, Koch Institute, Friday, June 16, 9AM – 5PM, Kresge Auditorium, MIT – See, Aviv Regev

REAL TIME PRESS COVERAGE & Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/03/13/16th-annual-cancer-research-symposium-koch-institute-friday-june-16-9am-5pm-kresge-auditorium-mit/

 

LIVE 11/3/2015 1:30PM @The 15th Annual EmTech MIT – MIT Media Lab: Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies & 2015 Innovators Under 35 – See, Gilead Evrony

REAL TIME PRESS COVERAGE & Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/03/live-1132015-130pm-the-15th-annual-emtech-mit-mit-media-lab-top-10-breakthrough-technologies-2015-innovators-under-35/

 

Cellular Guillotine Created for Studying Single-Cell Wound Repair

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/06/29/cellular-guillotine-created-for-studying-single-cell-wound-repair/

 

New subgroups of ILC immune cells discovered through single-cell RNA sequencing

Reporter: Stephen J Williams, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/02/17/new-subgroups-of-ilc-immune-cells-discovered-through-single-cell-rna-sequencing-from-karolinska-institute/

 

#JPM16: Illumina’s CEO on new genotyping array called Infinium XT and Bio-Rad Partnership for single-cell sequencing workflow

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/12/jpm16-illuminas-ceo-on-new-genotyping-array-called-infinium-xt-and-bio-rad-partnership-for-single-cell-sequencing-workflow/

 

Juno Acquires AbVitro for $125M: high-throughput and single-cell sequencing capabilities for Immune-Oncology Drug Discovery

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/12/juno-acquires-abvitro-for-125m-high-throughput-and-single-cell-sequencing-capabilities-for-immune-oncology-drug-discovery/

 

NIH to Award Up to $12M to Fund DNA, RNA Sequencing Research: single-cell genomics,  sample preparation,  transcriptomics and epigenomics, and  genome-wide functional analysis.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/27/nih-to-award-up-to-12m-to-fund-dna-rna-sequencing-research-single-cell-genomics-sample-preparation-transcriptomics-and-epigenomics-and-genome-wide-functional-analysis/

 

Genome-wide Single-Cell Analysis of Recombination Activity and De Novo Mutation Rates in Human Sperm

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/07/genome-wide-single-cell-analysis-of-recombination-activity-and-de-novo-mutation-rates-in-human-sperm/

REFERENCES to Original studies

In Science, 2018

Single-cell RNA-seq reveals new types of human blood dendritic cells, monocytes, and progenitors

 See all authors and affiliations

Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, eaah4573
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4573
Single-cell reconstruction of developmental trajectories during zebrafish embryogenesis

See all authors and affiliations

Science  26 Apr 2018:
eaar3131
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3131

In Nature, 2018 and 2017

How to build a human cell atlas

Aviv Regev is a maven of hard-core biological analyses. Now she is part of an effort to map every cell in the human body.

  1. Research | 

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  6. Amendments and Corrections | 

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  10. Comments and Opinion | 

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Researchers have embraced CRISPR gene-editing as a method for altering genomes, but some have reported that unwanted DNA changes may slip by undetected. The tool can cause large DNA deletions and rearrangements near its target site on the genome. Such alterations can confuse the interpretation of experimental results and could complicate efforts to design therapies based on CRISPR. The finding is in line with previous results from not only CRISPR but also other gene-editing systems.

 

CRISPR -Cas9 gene editing relies on the Cas9 enzyme to cut DNA at a particular target site. The cell then attempts to reseal this break using its DNA repair mechanisms. These mechanisms do not always work perfectly, and sometimes segments of DNA will be deleted or rearranged, or unrelated bits of DNA will become incorporated into the chromosome.

 

Researchers often use CRISPR to generate small deletions in the hope of knocking out a gene’s function. But when examining CRISPR edits, researchers found large deletions (often several thousand nucleotides) and complicated rearrangements of DNA sequences in which previously distant DNA sequences were stitched together. Many researchers use a method for amplifying short snippets of DNA to test whether their edits have been made properly. But this approach might miss larger deletions and rearrangements.

 

These deletions and rearrangements occur only with gene-editing techniques that rely on DNA cutting and not with some other types of CRISPR modifications that avoid cutting DNA. Such as a modified CRISPR system to switch one nucleotide for another without cutting DNA and other systems use inactivated Cas9 fused to other enzymes to turn genes on or off, or to target RNA. Overall, these unwanted edits are a problem that deserves more attention, but this should not stop anyone from using CRISPR. Only when people use it, they need to do a more thorough analysis about the outcome.

 

References:

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05736-3?utm_source=briefing-dy

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28561021

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30010673

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24651067

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25398350

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24838573

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25200087

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25757625

 

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Thriving at the Survival Calls during Careers in the Digital Age – An AGE like no Other, also known as, DIGITAL

Author and Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

The source for the inspiration to write this curation is described in

Survival Calls during Careers in the Digital Age

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/06/13/survival-calls-during-careers-in-the-digital-age/

 

In this curation, I present the following concepts in three parts:

  1. Part 1: Authenticity of Careers in the Digital Age: In Focus, the BioTechnology Sector
  2. Part 2: Top 10 books to help you survive the Digital Age

  3. Part 3: A case study on Thriving at the Survival Calls during Careers in the Digital Age: Aviva Lev-Ari, UCB, PhD’83; HUJI, MA’76 

 

Part 1: Authenticity of Careers in the Digital Age: 

In Focus, the BioTechnology Sector

 

Lisa LaMotta, Senior Editor, BioPharma Dive wrote in Conference edition | June 11, 2018

Unlike that little cancer conference in Chicago last week, the BIO International convention is not about data, but about the people who make up the biopharma industry.

The meeting brings together scientists, board members, business development heads and salespeople, from the smallest virtual biotechs to the largest of pharmas. It allows executives at fledgling biotechs to sit at the same tables as major decision-makers in the industry — even if it does look a little bit like speed dating.

But it’s not just a partnering meeting.

This year’s BIO also sought to shine a light on pressing issues facing the industry. Among those tackled included elevating the discussion on gender diversity and how to bring more women to the board level; raising awareness around suicide and the need for more mental health treatments; giving a voice to patient advocacy groups; and highlighting the need for access to treatments in developing nations.

Four days of meetings and panel discussions are unlikely to move the needle for many of these challenges, but debate can be the first step toward progress.

I attended the meetings on June 4,5,6, 2018 and covered in Real Time the sessions I attended. On the link below, Tweets, Re-Tweets and Likes mirrors the feelings and the opinions of the attendees as expressed in real time using the Twitter.com platform. This BioTechnology events manifested the AUTHENTICITY of Careers in the Digital Age – An AGE like no Other, also known as, DIGITAL.

The entire event is covered on twitter.com by the following hash tag and two handles:

 

I covered the events on two tracks via two Twitter handles, each handle has its own followers:

The official LPBI Group Twitter.com account

The Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Twitter.com account

Track A:

  • Original Tweets by @Pharma_BI and by @AVIVA1950 for #BIO2018 @IAmBiotech @BIOConvention – BIO 2018, Boston, June 4-7, 2018, BCEC

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/06/11/original-tweets-by-pharma_bi-and-by-aviva1950-from-bio2018-iambiotech-bioconvention-bio-2018-boston-june-4-7-2018-bcec/

 

  • Reactions to Original Tweets by @Pharma_BI and by @AVIVA1950 from #BIO2018

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/06/12/reactions-to-original-tweets-by-pharma_bi-and-by-aviva1950-from-bio2018/

Track B:

  • Re-Tweets and Likes by @Pharma_BI and by @AVIVA1950 from #BIO2018 @IAmBiotech @BIOConvention – BIO 2018, Boston, June 4-7, 2018, BCEC

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/06/11/re-tweets-and-likes-by-pharma_bi-aviva1950-from-bio2018-iambiotech-bioconvention-bio-2018-boston-june-4-7-2018-bcec/

Part 2: Top 10 books to help you survive the digital age

From Philip K Dick’s obtuse robots to Mark O’Connell’s guide to transhumanism, novelist Julian Gough picks essential reading for a helter skelter world

Here are 10 of the books that did help me [novelist Julian Gough]: they might also help you understand, and survive, our complicated, stressful, digital age.

  1. Marshall McLuhan Unbound by Marshall McLuhan (2005)
    The visionary Canadian media analyst predicted the internet, and coined the phrase the Global Village, in the early 1960s. His dense, complex, intriguing books explore how changes in technology change us. This book presents his most important essays as 20 slim pamphlets in a handsome, profoundly physical, defiantly non-digital slipcase.
  2. Ubik by Philip K Dick (1969)
    Pure pulp SF pleasure; a deep book disguised as a dumb one. Dick shows us, not a dystopia, but a believably shabby, amusingly human future. The everyman hero, Joe Chip, wakes up and argues with his robot toaster, which refuses to toast until he sticks a coin in the slot. Joe can’t do this, because he’s broke. He then has a stand-up row with his robot front door, which won’t open, because he owes it money too … Technology changes: being human, and broke, doesn’t. Warning: Dick wrote Ubik at speed, on speed. But embedded in the pulpy prose are diamonds of imagery that will stay with you for ever.
  3. The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil (2005)
    This book is what Silicon Valley has instead of a bible. It’s a visionary work that predicts a technological transformation of the world in our lifetime. Kurzweil argues that computer intelligence will soon outperform human thought. We will then encode our minds, upload them, and become one with our technology, achieving the Singularity. At which point, the curve of technological progress starts to go straight up. Ultimately – omnipotent, no longer mortal, no longer flesh – we transform all the matter in the universe into consciousness; into us.
  4. To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell (2017)
    This response to Kurzweil won this year’s Wellcome prize. It’s a short, punchy tour of transhumanism: the attempt to meld our minds with machines, to transcend biology and escape death. He meets some of the main players, and many on the fringes, and listens to them, quizzically. It is a deliberately, defiantly human book, operating in that very modern zone between sarcasm and irony, where humans thrive and computers crash.
  5. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2011)
    This intricately structured, incredibly clever novel moves from the 60s right through to a future maybe 15 years from now. It steps so lightly into that future you hardly notice the transition. It has sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, solar farms, social media scams and a stunningly moving chapter written as a PowerPoint presentation. It’s a masterpiece. Life will be like this.
  6. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly (2010)
    Kelly argues that we scruffy biological humans are no longer driving technological progress. Instead, the technium, “the greater, global, massively interconnected system of technology vibrating around us”, is now driving its own progress, faster and faster, and we are just caught up in its slipstream. As we accelerate down the technological waterslide, there is no stopping now … Kelly’s vision of the future is scary, but it’s fun, and there is still a place for us in it.
  7. The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore (1999)
    Blackmore expands powerfully and convincingly on Richard Dawkins’s original concept of the meme. She makes a forceful case that technology, religion, fashion, art and even our personalities are made of memes – ideas that replicate, mutate and thus evolve over time. We are their replicators (if you buy my novel, you’ve replicated its memes); but memes drive our behaviour just as we drive theirs. It’s a fascinating book that will flip your world upside down.
  8. Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)
    In the early 1980s, Gibson watched kids leaning into the screens as they played arcade games. They wanted to be inside the machines, he realised, and they preferred the games to reality. In this novel, Gibson invented the term cyberspace; sparked the cyberpunk movement (to his chagrin); and vividly imagined the jittery, multi-screened, anxious, technological reality that his book would help call into being.
  9. You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier (2010)
    Lanier, an intense, brilliant, dreadlocked artist, musician and computer scientist, helped to develop virtual reality. His influential essay Digital Maoism described early the downsides of online collective action. And he is deeply aware that design choices made by (mainly white, young, male) software engineers can shape human behaviour globally. He argues, urgently, that we need to question those choices, now, because once they are locked in, all of humanity must move along those tracks, and we may not like where they take us. Events since 2010 have proved him right. His manifesto is a passionate argument in favour of the individual voice, the individual gesture.
  10. All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks (2000)
    Not, perhaps, an immediately obvious influence on a near-future techno-thriller in which military drones chase a woman and her son through Las Vegas. But hooks’s magnificent exploration and celebration of love, first published 18 years ago, will be far more useful to us, in our alienated digital future, than the 10,000 books of technobabble published this year. All About Love is an intensely practical roadmap, from where we are now to where we could be. When Naomi and Colt find themselves on the run through a militarised American wilderness of spirit, when GPS fails them, bell hooks is their secret guide.

SOURCE

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/30/top-10-books-to-help-you-survive-the-digital-age?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Bookmarks+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=277690&subid=25658468&CMP=bookmarks_collection

Part 3: A case study on Thriving at the Survival Calls during Careers in the Digital Age:  Aviva Lev-Ari, UCB, PhD’83; HUJI, MA’76

 

On June 10, 2018

 

Following, is a case study about an alumna of HUJI and UC, Berkeley as an inspirational role model. An alumna’s profile in context of dynamic careers in the digital age. It has great timeliness and relevance to graduate students, PhD level at UC Berkeley and beyond, to all other top tier universities in the US and Europe. As presented in the following curations:

Professional Self Re-Invention: From Academia to Industry – Opportunities for PhDs in the Business Sector of the Economy

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/05/22/professional-self-re-invention-from-academia-to-industry-opportunities-for-phds-in-the-business-sector-of-the-economy/

 

Pioneering implementations of analytics to business decision making: contributions to domain knowledge conceptualization, research design, methodology development, data modeling and statistical data analysis: Aviva Lev-Ari, UCB, PhD’83; HUJI, MA’76 

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/05/28/pioneering-implementations-of-analytics-to-business-decision-making-contributions-to-domain-knowledge-conceptualization-research-design-methodology-development-data-modeling-and-statistical-data-a/

 

This alumna is Editor-in-Chief of a Journal that has other 173 articles on Scientist: Career Considerations 

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/category/scientist-career-considerations/

 

In a 5/22/2018 article, Ways to Pursue Science Careers in Business After a PhD by Ankita Gurao,

https://bitesizebio.com/38498/ways-to-pursue-the-business-of-science-after-a-ph-d/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare

Unemployment figures of PhDs by field of science are included, Ankita Gurao identifies the following four alternative careers for PhDs in the non-academic world:

  1. Science Writer/Journalist/Communicator
  2. Science Management
  3. Science Administration
  4. Science Entrepreneurship

My career, as presented in Reflections on a Four-phase Career: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN, March 2018

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/03/06/reflections-on-a-four-phase-career-aviva-lev-ari-phd-rn-march-2018/

has the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Research, 1973 – 1983
  • Phase 2: Corporate Applied Research in the US, 1985 – 2005
  • Phase 3: Career Reinvention in Health Care, 2005 – 2012
  • Phase 4: Electronic Scientific Publishing, 4/2012 to present

These four phases are easily mapped to the four alternative careers for PhDs in the non-academic world. One can draw parallel lines between the four career opportunities A,B,C,D, above, and each one of the four phases in my own career.

Namely, I have identified A,B,C,D as early as 1985, and pursued each of them in several institutional settings, as follows:

A. Science Writer/Journalist/Communicator – see link above for Phase 4: Electronic Scientific Publishing, 4/2012 to present 

B. Science Management – see link above for Phase 2: Corporate Applied Research in the US, 1985 – 2005 and Phase 3: Career Reinvention in Health Care, 2005 – 2012 

C. Science Administration – see link above for Phase 2: Corporate Applied Research in the US, 1985 – 2005and Phase 4: Electronic Scientific Publishing, 4/2012 to present 

D. Science Entrepreneurship – see link above for Phase 4: Electronic Scientific Publishing, 4/2012 to present  

Impressions of My Days at Berkeley in Recollections: Part 1 and 2, below.

  • Recollections: Part 1 – My days at Berkeley, 9/1978 – 12/1983 –About my doctoral advisor, Allan Pred, other professors and other peers

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/03/15/recollections-my-days-at-berkeley-9-1978-12-1983-about-my-doctoral-advisor-allan-pred-other-professors-and-other-peer/

  • Recollections: Part 2 – “While Rolling” is preceded by “While Enrolling” Autobiographical Alumna Recollections of Berkeley – Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD’83

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/05/24/recollections-part-2-while-rolling-is-preceded-by-while-enrolling-autobiographical-alumna-recollections-of-berkeley-aviva-lev-ari-phd83/

The topic of Careers in the Digital Age is closely related to my profile, see chiefly: Four-phase Career, Reflections, Recollections Parts 1 & 2 and information from other biographical sources, below.

Other sources for my biography

 

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that the federal healthcare program will cover the costs of cancer gene tests that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration

 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

genetic testing just became routine care for patients with advanced cancers. And that means precision medicine has finally broken into the mainstream.

Any tests that gain FDA clearance in the future will automatically receive full coverage.

In 3/2018 there are three FDA approved Genetic Tests for Cancer:

UNDER development and not included in the agreement , above, includes:

  • Olivier Elemento, Director of the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Cornell, the team at Cornell, for example, has developed a whole exome test that compares mutations in tumors against healthy cells across 22,000 genes. To date, it’s been used to help match more than 1,000 patients in New York state with the best available treatment options.

Under the final decision, doctors are still free to order non-FDA approved tests, but coverage isn’t guaranteed; each case will be evaluated by local Medicare administrative contractors. Which means Elemento’s test could still be covered. “To me this is a vote of confidence that next generation sequencing is useful for cancer patients,” says Elemento.

So far, CMS is only covering these tests for stage three and stage four metastatic cancer sufferers. Most of them aren’t going to be cured. They might get a few more good months, maybe a year, tops.

Cancerous Genes

SOURCE

WITH MEDICARE SUPPORT, GENETIC CANCER TESTING GOES MAINSTREAM

https://www.wired.com/story/with-medicare-support-genetic-cancer-testing-goes-mainstream/?mbid=social_twitter_onsiteshare

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Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS): Strategies in Anticoagulant Selection: Diagnostics Approaches – Genetic Testing Aids vs. Biomarkers (Troponin types and BNP)

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

UPDATED on 8/7/2018

Siemens’ high-sensitivity Troponin I (TnIH) assaysgot FDA clearance for use in diagnosing acute myocardial infarction. (Cardiovascular Business) The first high-sensitivity Troponin T test was cleared last year, as MedPage Today reported.

SOURCE

https://www.medpagetoday.com/cardiology/prevention/74423?xid=nl_mpt_cardiobreak2018-08-06&eun=g99985d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CardioBreak_080618&utm_term=SM%20CardioBreak%20Alert

UPDATED on 3/17/2018

An NT-proBNP <300 pg/ml strongly excludes the presence of acute HF.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Mar 20;71(11):1191-1200. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.01.021.

N-Terminal Pro-B-Type Natriuretic Peptide in the Emergency Department: The ICON-RELOADED Study

 

A breakthrough in emergence of

  • Genetic Testing Aids as a Personalized approach, genomics-based approach to selecting antiplatelet therapy, for reduction in ischemic and bleeding events, and
  • Biochemical Biomarker approaches for dosing anti-thrombotic drugs are presented here.

“This study fills in a part of the puzzle of genomic testing,” said Craig Beavers, PharmD, of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “It shows we can use genomic information in clinical decision making. It was interesting that there appeared to be a change in prescribing based on genomics.”

SOURCE

https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/acc/71722?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2018-03-13&eun=g99985d0r&pos=3&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Headlines%202018-03-13&utm_term=Daily%20Headlines%20-%20Active%20User%20-%20180%20days

At 12 months, 25.9% of patients receiving standard care had experienced the trial’s primary composite endpoint — cardiovascular death, non-fatal MI or stroke, and Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC) 3-5 major bleeding — compared with 15.8% of patients receiving an anticoagulant drug on the basis of genetic testing (P<0.001), reported Diego Ardissino, MD, of Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma in Italy, and colleagues.

PHARMCLO is the first trial to combine clinical characteristics with genetic information to inform the choice of P2Y12 receptor antagonist in patients with ACS, Ardissino said in a presentation at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting. The study was simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Selecting treatment on the basis of genetic data in addition to considerations concerning the patients’ clinical characteristics may lead to a more personalized, and therefore more efficient, antiplatelet therapy, thus reducing both ischemic and bleeding risk,” he said. “PHARMCLO is the first step of a new approach that will see a shift in emphasis away from trying to discover ever-more potent anti-thrombotic drugs, and toward ensuring that the right therapy is given to each individual patient.”

However, PHARMCLO was halted after about a fourth of the intended population was recruited. The Ethics Committee of Modena (Italy) required the trial to be prematurely stopped because of a lack of in vitro diagnosis certification for the testing instruments. The original patients were still followed, Ardissino stated.

The authors enrolled 888 patients, and randomly assigned them to be tested for

  • three genes associated with resistance to clopidogrel (Plavix), and then were assigned a
  • treatment based on clinical data informed by the testing results.
  • Tested genes were ABCB1, 2C19*2 and 2C19*17 with the STQ3 system.
  • Another group was assigned to treatment without reference to genetic testing.
  • Standard of care treatment was with Clopidogrel, Ticagrelor (Brilinta), or Prasugrel (Effient).
  1. Clopidogrel was more frequently used in the standard arm (50.7% versus 43.3%), while
  2. Ticagrelor in the pharmacogenomic arm (42.6% versus 32.7%, P<0.05) and
  3. Prasugrel were used equally in both.

The primary endpoint hazard ratio was 0.58 versus the standard arm (95% CI 0.43-0.78, P<0.001).

Previous studies have shown Prasugrel and Ticagrelor to be superior to Clopidogrel at preventing ischemic events. However, prasugrel and ticagrelor, which are more potent, are also known to increase the risk of bleeding. The findings suggest that having more information about a specific patient’s likely response to clopidogrel can help doctors weigh this trade-off, Ardissino said.

 SOURCES

The STANDARD OF CARE in Diagnosis of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) using BioMarkers in serum blood relays of values of Troponin types and BNP for dosing anti-thrombotic drugs.

The team at LPBI Group published the following articles on this topic:

A search into our Journal Archive for “Acute Coronary Syndrome” yielded 210 articles

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/?s=Acute+Coronary+Syndrome

  1. High Sensitivity Troponin (hs cTn) Assays 

  • Previously undiscerned value of hs-troponin

Curators: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/06/18/previously-undiscerned-value-of-hs-troponin/

  • Recent Insights into the High Sensitivity Troponins for Acute Coronary Syndromes

Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/09/08/recent-insights-into-the-high-sensitivity-troponins-for-acute-coronary-syndromes/

  • Dealing with the Use of the High Sensitivity Troponin (hs cTn) Assays: Preparing the United States for High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin Assays

Author and Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Author and Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/05/18/dealing-with-the-use-of-the-hs-ctn-assays/

  • Preparing the United States for High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin Assays

Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/13/high-sensitivity-cardiac-troponin-assays/

 

2. BNP and proBNP

Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), also known as B-type natriuretic peptide, is a hormone secreted by cardiomyocytes in the heart ventricles in response to stretching caused by increased ventricular blood volume, decrease in systemic vascular resistance and central venous pressure as well as an increase in natriuresis. The net effect of these peptides is a decrease in blood pressure due to the decrease in systemic vascular resistance and, thus, afterload. Additionally, the actions of both BNP and ANP result in a decrease in cardiac output due to an overall decrease in central venous pressure and preload as a result of the reduction in blood volume that follows natriuresis and diuresis.

SOURCE

Maisel A, Krishnaswamy P, Nowak R, McCord J, Hollander J, Duc P, Omland T, Storrow A, Abraham W, Wu A, Clopton P, Steg P, Westheim A, Knudsen C, Perez A, Kazanegra R, Herrmann H, McCullough P (2002). “Rapid measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide in the emergency diagnosis of heart failure“. N Engl J Med347 (3): 161–7. 

 

The team at LPBI Group published the following articles on this topic:

  • Effect of Coronary Atherosclerosis and Myocardial Ischemia on Plasma Levels of High-Sensitivity Troponin T and NT-proBNP in Patients With Stable Angina

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/02/17/effect-of-coronary-atherosclerosis-and-myocardial-ischemia-on-plasma-levels-of-high-sensitivity-troponin-t-and-nt-probnp-in-patients-with-stable-angina/

  • More on the Performance of High Sensitivity Troponin T and with Amino Terminal Pro BNP in Diabetes

Writer and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/01/20/more-on-the-performance-of-high-sensitivity-troponin-t-and-with-amino-terminal-pro-bnp-in-diabetes/

  • Erythropoietin (EPO) and Intravenous Iron (Fe) as Therapeutics for Anemia in Severe and Resistant CHF: The Elevated N-terminal proBNP Biomarker

Co-Author of the FIRST Article: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP. Reviewer and Curator of the SECOND and of the THIRD Articles: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Article Architecture Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/12/10/epo-as-therapeutics-for-anemia-in-chf/

  • Highlights of LIVE Day 1: World Medical Innovation Forum – CARDIOVASCULAR • MAY 1-3, 2017  BOSTON, MA • UNITED STATES

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/05/01/highlights-of-live-day-1-world-medical-innovation-forum-cardiovascular-%E2%80%A2-may-1-3-2017-boston-ma-%E2%80%A2-united-states/

 

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Biologists may have been building a more nuanced view of sex, but society has yet to catch up. True, more than half a century of activism from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has softened social attitudes to sexual orientation and gender. Many societies are now comfortable with men and women crossing conventional societal boundaries in their choice of appearance, career and sexual partner. But when it comes to sex, there is still intense social pressure to conform to the binary model.

 

This pressure has meant that people born with clear DSDs (difference/disorder of sex development) often undergo surgery to ‘normalize’ their genitals. Such surgery is controversial because it is usually performed on babies, who are too young to consent, and risks assigning a sex at odds with the child’s ultimate gender identity — their sense of their own gender. Intersex advocacy groups have therefore argued that doctors and parents should at least wait until a child is old enough to communicate their gender identity, which typically manifests around the age of three, or old enough to decide whether they want surgery at all.

 

As many as 1 person in 100 has some form of “DSD” with or without external manifestation. Diagnoses of DSDs previously relied on hormone tests, anatomical inspections and imaging, followed by painstaking tests of one gene at a time. Now, advances in genetic techniques mean that teams can analyze multiple genes at once, aiming straight for a genetic diagnosis and making the process less stressful for families. Children with DSDs are treated by multidisciplinary teams that aim to tailor management and support to each individual and their family, but this usually involves raising a child as male or female even if no surgery is done.

 

The simple scenario that all learn is that two X chromosomes make someone female, and an X and a Y chromosome make someone male. These are simplistic ways of thinking about what is scientifically very complex. Anatomy, hormones, cells, and chromosomes (and also personal identity convictions) are actually not usually aligned with this binary classification.

 

More than 25 genes that affect sex development have now been identified, and they have a wide range of variations that affect people in subtle ways. Many differences aren’t even noticed until incidental medical encounters, such as a forty-six-year-old woman pregnant with her third child, found after amniocentesis that half her cells carry male chromosomes. Or a seventy-year-old father of three who learns during a hernia repair that he has a uterus.

 

Furthermore, scientists now understood that everyone’s body is made up of a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some of which may have a different sex than the rest. This “mosaicism” can have effects ranging from undetectable to extraordinary, such as “identical” twins of different sexes. An extremely common instance of mosaicism comes from cells passing over the placental barrier during pregnancy. Men often carry female cells from their mothers, and women carry male cells from their sons. Research has shown that these cells remain present for decades, but what effects they have on disease and behavior is an essentially unstudied question.

 

References:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/mar/02/cambridge-scientists-create-first-self-developing-embryo-from-stem-cells

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25693544

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajmg.a.34123/abstract;jsessionid=A330AD995EE25C7A0AD5EA478694ADD8.f04t01

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25091731

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1695712

 

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International Award for Human Genome Project

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

The Thai royal family awarded its annual prizes in Bangkok, Thailand, in late January 2018 in recognition of advances in public health and medicine – through the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation under the Royal Patronage. This foundation was established in 1992 to honor the late Prince Mahidol of Songkla, the Royal Father of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and the Royal Grandfather of the present King. Prince Mahidol is celebrated worldwide as the father of modern medicine and public health in Thailand.

 

The Human Genome Project has been awarded the 2017 Prince Mahidol Award for revolutionary advances in the field of medicine. The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. It was an international, collaborative research program aimed at the complete mapping and sequencing of the human genome. Its final goal was to provide researchers with fundamental information about the human genome and powerful tools for understanding the genetic factors in human disease, paving the way for new strategies for disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

 

The resulting human genome sequence has provided a foundation on which researchers and clinicians now tackle increasingly complex problems, transforming the study of human biology and disease. Particularly it is satisfying that it has given the researchers the ability to begin using genomics to improve approaches for diagnosing and treating human disease thereby beginning the era of genomic medicine.

 

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is devoted to advancing health through genome research. The institute led National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) contribution to the Human Genome Project, which was successfully completed in 2003 ahead of schedule and under budget. NIH, is USA’s national medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

 

Building on the foundation laid by the sequencing of the human genome, NHGRI’s work now encompasses a broad range of research aimed at expanding understanding of human biology and improving human health. In addition, a critical part of NHGRI’s mission continues to be the study of the ethical, legal and social implications of genome research.

 

References:

 

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/human-genome-project-awarded-thai-2017-prince-mahidol-award-field-medicine

 

http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/news3/6886/83875-Announcement-of-the-Prince-Mahidol-Laureates-2017.html

 

http://www.thaiembassy.org/london/en/news/7519/83884-Announcement-of-the-Prince-Mahidol-Laureates-2017.html

 

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/us-human-genome-project-influenza-researchers-win-prince-mahidol-award-2017/

 

http://genomesequencing.com/the-human-genome-project-is-awarded-the-thai-2017-prince-mahidol-award-for-the-field-of-medicine-national-institutes-of-health-press-release/

 

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