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Archive for the ‘Interviews with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)’ Category

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

In an announcement televised on C-Span, President Elect Joseph Biden announced his new Science Team to advise on science policy matters, as part of the White House Advisory Committee on Science and Technology. Below is a video clip and the transcript, also available at

https://www.c-span.org/video/?508044-1/president-elect-biden-introduces-white-house-science-team

 

 

COMING UP TONIGHT ON C-SPAN, NEXT, PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN AND VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS ANNOUNCE SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THEIR WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE TEAM. AND THEN SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER TALKS ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP IN THE WEEKLY DEMOCRATIC ADDRESS. AND AFTER THAT, TODAY’S SPEECH BY VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE TO SAILORS AT NAVAL AIR STATION LAMORE IN CALIFORNIA. NEXT, PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN AND VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS ANNOUNCE SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THEIR WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE TEAM. FROM WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, THIS IS ABOUT 40 MINUTES. PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN: GOOD AFTERNOON, FOLKS. I WAS TELLING THESE FOUR BRILLIANT SCIENTISTS AS I STOOD IN THE BACK, IN A WAY, THEY — THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT THAT I’VE GOTTEN TO MAKE IN THE ENTIRE CABINET RAISED TO A CABINET LEVEL POSITION IN ONE CASE. THESE ARE AMONG THE BRIGHTEST MOST DEDICATED PEOPLE NOT ONLY IN THE COUNTRY BUT THE WORLD. THEY’RE COMPOSED OF SOME OF THE MOST SCIENTIFIC BRILLIANT MINDS IN THE WORLD. WHEN I WAS VICE PRESIDENT AS — I I HAD INTENSE INTEREST IN EVERYTHING THEY WERE DOING AND I PAID ENORMOUS ATTENTION. AND I WOULD — LIKE A KID GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. SIT DOWN AND CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME AND THEY WERE — VERY PATIENT WITH ME. AND — BUT AS PRESIDENT, I WANTED YOU TO KNOW I’M GOING TO PAY A GREAT DEAL OF ATTENTION. WHEN I TRAVEL THE WORLD AS VICE PRESIDENT, I WAS OFTEN ASKED TO EXPLAIN TO WORLD LEADERS, THEY ASKED ME THINGS LIKE DEFINE AMERICA. TELL ME HOW CAN YOU DEFINE AMERICA? WHAT’S AMERICA? AND I WAS ON A TIBETAN PLATEAU WITH AT THE TIME WITH XI ZIN PING AND WE HAD AN INTERPRETER CAN I DEFINE AMERICA FOR HIM? I SAID YES, I CAN. IN ONE WORD. POSSIBILITIES. POSSIBILITIES. I THINK IT’S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE’VE OCCASIONALLY BEEN REFERRED TO AS UGLY AMERICANS. WE THINK ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE GIVEN THE CHANCE, WE CAN DO ANYTHING. AND THAT’S PART OF I THINK THE AMERICAN SPIRIT. AND WHAT THE PEOPLE ON THIS STAGE AND THE DEPARTMENTS THEY WILL LEAD REPRESENT ENORMOUS POSSIBILITIES. THEY’RE THE ONES ASKING THE MOST AMERICAN OF QUESTIONS, WHAT NEXT? WHAT NEXT? NEVER SATISFIED, WHAT’S NEXT? AND WHAT’S NEXT IS BIG AND BREATHTAKING. HOW CAN — HOW CAN WE MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE? AND THEY WERE JUST ASKING QUESTIONS FOR THE SAKE OF QUESTIONS, THEY’RE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS AS CALL TO ACTION. , TO INSPIRE, TO HELP US IMAGINE THE FUTURE AND FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT REAL AND IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. THIS IS A TEAM THAT ASKED US TO IMAGINE EVERY HOME IN AMERICA BEING POWERED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY WITHIN THE NEXT 10 YEARS. OR 3-D IMAGE PRINTERS RESTORING TISSUE AFTER TRAUMATIC INJURIES AND HOSPITALS PRINTING ORGANS FOR ORGAN TRANSPLANTS. IMAGINE, IMAGINE. AND THEY REALLY — AND, YOU KNOW, THEN RALLY, THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY TO GO ABOUT DOING WHAT WE’RE IMAGINING. YOU NEED SCIENCE, DATA AND DISCOVERY WAS A GOVERNING PHILOSOPHY IN THE OBAMA-BIDEN ADMINISTRATION. AND EVERYTHING FROM THE ECONOMY TO THE ENVIRONMENT TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND TO NATIONAL SECURITY. AND ON HEALTH CARE. FOR EXAMPLE, A BELIEF IN SCIENCE LED OUR EFFORTS TO MAP THE HUMAN BRAIN AND TO DEVELOP MORE PRECISE INDIVIDUALIZED MEDICINES. IT LED TO OUR ONGOING MISSION TO END CANCER AS WE KNOW IT, SOMETHING THAT IS DEEPLY PERSONAL TO BOTH MY FAMILY AND KAMALA’S FAMILY AND COUNTLESS FAMILIES IN AMERICA. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA ASKED ME TO LEAD THE CANCER MOON SHOT, I KNEW WE HAD TO INJECT A SENSE OF URGENCY INTO THE FIGHT. WE BELIEVED WE COULD DOUBLE THE RATE OF PROGRESS AND DO IN FIVE YEARS WHAT OTHERWISE WOULD TAKE 10. MY WIFE, JILL, AND I TRAVELED AROUND THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD MEETING WITH THOUSANDS OF CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES, PHYSICIANS, RESEARCHERS, PHILANTHROPISTS, TECHNOLOGY LEADERS AND HEADS OF STATE. WE SOUGHT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AND BREAK DOWN THE SILOS AND STOVE PIPES THAT PREVENT THE SHARING OF INFORMATION AND IMPEDE ADVANCES IN CANCER RESEARCH AND TREATMENT WHILE BUILDING A FOCUSED AND COORDINATED EFFORT HERE AT HOME AND ABROAD. WE MADE PROGRESS. BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE THAT WE CAN DO. WHEN I ANNOUNCED THAT I WOULD NOT RUN IN 2015 AT THE TIME, I SAID I ONLY HAD ONE REGRET IN THE ROSE GARDEN AND IF I HAD ANY REGRETS THAT I HAD WON, THAT I WOULDN’T GET TO BE THE PRESIDENT TO PRESIDE OVER CANCER AS WE KNOW IT. WELL, AS GOD WILLING, AND ON THE 20TH OF THIS MONTH IN A COUPLE OF DAYS AS PRESIDENT I’M GOING TO DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO GET THAT DONE. I’M GOING TO — GOING TO BE A PRIORITY FOR ME AND FOR KAMALA AND IT’S A SIGNATURE ISSUE FOR JILL AS FIRST LADY. WE KNOW THE SCIENCE IS DISCOVERY AND NOT FICTION. AND IT’S ALSO ABOUT HOPE. AND THAT’S AMERICA. IT’S IN THE D.N.A. OF THIS COUNTRY, HOPE. WE’RE ON THE CUSP OF SOME OF THE MOST REMARKABLE BREAKTHROUGHS THAT WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE WAY OF LIFE FOR ALL LIFE ON THIS PLANET. WE CAN MAKE MORE PROGRESS IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, I PREDICT, THAN WE’VE MADE IN THE LAST 50 YEARS. AND EXPONENTIAL MOVEMENT. WE CAN ALSO FACE SOME OF THE MOST DIRE CRISES IN A GENERATION WHERE SCIENCE IS CRITICAL TO WHETHER OR NOT WE MEET THE MOMENT OF PERIL AND PROMISE THAT WE KNOW IS WITHIN OUR REACH. IN 1944, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT ASKED HIS SCIENCE ADVISOR HOW COULD THE UNITED STATES FURTHER ADVANCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN THE CRITICAL YEARS FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR? THE RESPONSE LED TO SOME OF THE MOST GROUND BREAKING DISCOVERIES IN THE LAST 75 YEARS. AND WE CAN DO THAT AGAIN. AND WE CAN DO MORE. SO TODAY, I’M PROUD TO ANNOUNCE A TEAM OF SOME OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST BRILLIANT AND ACCOMPLISHED SCIENTISTS TO LEAD THE WAY. AND I’M ASKING THEM TO FOCUS ON FIVE KEY AREAS. FIRST THE PANDEMIC AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT WHAT IS POSSIBLE OR WHAT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE TO ADDRESS THE WIDEST RANGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH NEEDS. SECONDLY, THE ECONOMY, HOW CAN WE BUILD BACK BETTER TO ENSURE PROSPERITY IS FULLY SHARED ALL ACROSS AMERICA? AMONG ALL AMERICANS? AND THIRDLY, HOW SCIENCE HELPS US CONFRONT THIS CLIMATE CRISIS WE FACE IN AMERICA AND THE WORLD BUT IN AMERICA HOW IT HELPS US CONFRONT THE CLIMATE CRISIS WITH AMERICAN JOBS AND INGENUITY. AND FOURTH, HOW CAN WE ENSURE THE UNITED STATES LEADS THE WORLD IN TECHNOLOGIES AND THE INDUSTRIES THAT THE FUTURE THAT WILL BE CRITICAL FOR OUR ECONOMIC PROSPERITY AND NATIONAL SECURITY? ESPECIALLY WITH THE INTENSE INCREASED COMPETITION AROUND THE WORLD FROM CHINA ON? AND FIFTH, HOW CAN WE ASSURE THE LONG-TERM HEALTH AND TRUST IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN OUR NATION? YOU KNOW, THESE ARE EACH QUESTIONS THAT CALL FOR ACTION. AND I’M HONORED TO ANNOUNCE A TEAM THAT IS ANSWERING THE CALL TO SERVE. AS THE PRESIDENTIAL SCIENCE ADVISOR AND DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY, I NOMINATE ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT GUYS I KNOW, PERSONS I KNOW, DR. ERIC LANDER. AND THANK YOU, DOC, FOR COMING BACK. THE PIONEER — HE’S A PIONEER IN THE STIFFING COMMUNITY. PRINCIPAL LEADER IN THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT. AND NOT HYPERBOLE TO SUGGEST THAT DR. LANDER’S WORK HAS CHANGED THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY. HIS ROLE IN HELPING US MAP THE GENOME PULLED BACK THE CURTAIN ON HUMAN DISEASE, ALLOWING SCIENTISTS, EVER SINCE, AND FOR GENERATIONS TO COME TO EXPLORE THE MOLECULAR BASIS FOR SOME OF THE MOST DEVASTATING ILLNESSES AFFECTING OUR WORLD. AND THE APPLICATION OF HIS PIONEERING WORK AS — ARE POISED TO LEAD TO INCREDIBLE CURES AND BREAKTHROUGHS IN THE YEARS TO COME. DR. LANDER NOW SERVES AS THE PRESIDENT AND FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE BRODE INSTITUTE AT M.I.T. AND HARVARD, THE WORLD’S FOREMOST NONPROFIT GENETIC RESEARCH ORGANIZATION. AND I CAME TO APPRECIATE DR. LANDER’S EXTRAORDINARY MIND WHEN HE SERVED AS THE CO-CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL ON ADVISORS AND SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE OBAMA-BIDEN ADMINISTRATION. AND I’M GRATEFUL, I’M GRATEFUL THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER AGAIN. I’VE ALWAYS SAID THAT BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION WILL ALSO LEAD AND WE’RE GOING TO LEAD WITH SCIENCE AND TRUTH. WE BELIEVE IN BOTH. [LAUGHTER] GOD WILLING OVERCOME THE PANDEMIC AND BUILD OUR COUNTRY BETTER THAN IT WAS BEFORE. AND THAT’S WHY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, I’M GOING TO BE ELEVATING THE PRESIDENTIAL SCIENCE ADVISOR TO A CABINET RANK BECAUSE WE THINK IT’S THAT IMPORTANT. AS DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY AND SCIENCE AND — SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, I APPOINT DR. NELSON. SHE’S A PROFESSOR AT THE INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. THE PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL. AND ONE OF AMERICA’S LEADING SCHOLARS IN THE — AN AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR AND RESEARCHER AND EXPLORING THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND OUR SOCIETY. THE DAUGHTER OF A MILITARY FAMILY, HER DAD SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY AND HER MOM WAS AN ARMY CRIPPING TO RAFFER. DR. NELSON DEVELOPED A LOVE OF TECHNOLOGY AT A VERY YOUNG AGE PARTICULARLY WITH THE EARLY COMPUTER PRODUCTS. COMPUTING PRODUCTS AND CODE-BREAKING EQUIPMENT THAT EVERY KID HAS AROUND THEIR HOUSE. AND SHE GREW UP WITHIN HER HOME. WHEN I WROTE THAT DOWN, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, I MEAN, HOW MANY KIDS — ANY WAY, THAT PASSION WAS A PASSION FORGED A LIFELONG CURIOSITY ABOUT THE INEQUITIES AND THE POWER DIAMONDICS THAT SIT BENEATH THE SURFACE OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND THE TECHNOLOGY WE BUILD. DR. NELSON IS FOCUSED ON THOSE INSIGHTS. AND THE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY, LIKE FEW BEFORE HER EVER HAVE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. BREAKING NEW GROUND ON OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ROLE SCIENCE PLAYS IN AMERICAN LIFE AND OPENING THE DOOR TO — TO A FUTURE WHICH SCIENCE BETTER SERVES ALL PEOPLE. AS CO-CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL ON ADVISORS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,APPOINT DR. FRANCIS ARNOLD, DIRECTOR OF THE ROSE BIOENGINEERING CENTER AT CALTECH AND ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING EXPERTS IN PROTEIN ENGINEERING, A LIFE-LONG CHAMPION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS WHO HAS BEEN INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL INVENTORS’ HALL OF FAME. THAT AIN’T A BAD PLACE TO BE. NOT ONLY IS SHE THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE ELECTED TO ALL THREE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE, MEDICINE AND ENGINEERING AND ALSO THE FIRST WOMAN, AMERICAN WOMAN, TO WIN A NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY. A VERY SLOW LEARNER, SLOW STARTER, THE DAUGHTER OF PITTSBURGH, SHE WORKED AS A CAB DRIVER, A JAZZ CLUB SERVER, BEFORE MAKING HER WAY TO BERKELEY AND A CAREER ON THE LEADING EDGE OF HUMAN DISCOVERY. AND I WANT TO MAKE THAT POINT AGAIN. I WANT — IF ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING, LET THEM KNOW YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. THIS COUNTRY CAN DO ANYTHING. ANYTHING AT ALL. AND SO SHE SURVIVED BREAST CANCER, OVERCAME A TRAGIC LOSS IN HER FAMILY WHILE RISING TO THE TOP OF HER FIELD, STILL OVERWHELMINGLY DOMINATED BY MEN. HER PASSION HAS BEEN A STEADFAST COMMITMENT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR PLANET AND HUMANKIND. SHE IS AN INSPIRING FIGURE TO SCIENTISTS ACROSS THE FIELD AND ACROSS NATIONS. AND I WANT TO THANK DR. ARNOLD FOR AGREEING TO CO-CHAIR A FIRST ALL WOMAN TEAM TO LEAD THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WHICH LEADS ME TO THE NEXT MEMBER OF THE TEAM. AS CO-CHAIR, THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, I APPOINT DR. MARIE ZUBER. A TRAIL BLAZER BRAISING GEO PHYSICIST AND PLANETARY SCIENTIST A. FORMER CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD. FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT M.I.T. AND THE FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD NASA’S ROBOTIC PLANETARY MISSION. GROWING UP IN COLE COUNTRY NOT FAR FROM HEAVEN, SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, IN CARBON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, ABOUT 50 MILES SOUTH OF WHERE I WAS A KID, SHE DREAMED OF EXPLORING OUTER SPACE. COULD HAVE TOLD HER SHE WOULD JUST GO TO GREEN REACH IN SCRANTON AND FIND WHERE IT WAS. AND I SHOULDN’T BE SO FLIPPANT. BUT I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE FOLKS. YOU KNOW, READING EVERY BOOK SHE COULD FIND AND LISTENING TO HER MOM’S STORIES ABOUT WATCHING THE EARLIEST ROCKET LAUNCH ON TELEVISION, MARIE BECAME THE FIRST PERSON IN HER FAMILY TO GO TO COLLEGE AND NEVER LET GO OF HER DREAM. TODAY SHE OVERSEES THE LINCOLN LABORATORY AT M.I.T. AND LEADS THE INSTITUTION’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN. GROWING UP IN COLD COUNTRY, NOT AND FINALLY, COULD NOT BE HERE TODAY, BUT I’M PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT I’VE HAD A LONG CONVERSATION WITH DR. FRANCIS COLLINS AND COULD NOT BE HERE TODAY. AND I’VE ASKED THEM TO STAY ON AS DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND — AT THIS CRITICAL MOMENT. I’VE KNOWN DR. COLLINS FOR MANY YEARS. I WORKED WITH HIM CLOSELY. HE’S BRILLIANT. A PIONEER. A TRUE LEADER. AND ABOVE ALL, HE’S A MODEL OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND I’M HONORED TO BE WORKING WITH HIM AGAIN. AND IT IS — IN HIS ABSENCE I WANT TO THANK HIM AGAIN FOR BEING WILLING TO STAY ON. I KNOW THAT WASN’T HIS ORIGINAL PLAN. BUT WE WORKED AN AWFUL LOT ON THE MOON SHOT AND DEALING WITH CANCER AND I JUST WANT TO THANK HIM AGAIN. AND TO EACH OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES, AND I SAY YOUR FAMILIES, THANK YOU FOR THE WILLINGNESS TO SERVE. AND NOT THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN SERVING ALREADY BUT TO SERVE IN THE ADMINISTRATION. AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, TO ALL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THIS IS A TEAM THAT’S GOING TO HELP RESTORE YOUR FAITH IN AMERICA’S PLACE IN THE FRONTIER OF SCIENCE AND DISCOVER AND HOPE. I’M NOW GOING TO TURN THIS OVER STARTING WITH DR. LANDER, TO EACH OF OUR NOMINEES AND THEN WITH — HEAR FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT. BUT AGAIN, JUST CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH AND I REALLY MEAN IT. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR WILLING TO DO THIS. DOCTOR, IT’S ALL YOURS. I BETTER PUT MY MASK ON OR I’M GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE.

 

Director’s Page

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020: Emmanuelle Charpentier & Jennifer A. Doudna

Reporters: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D. and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 to

Emmanuelle Charpentier
Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany

Jennifer A. Doudna
University of California, Berkeley, USA

“for the development of a method for genome editing”

Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.

Researchers need to modify genes in cells if they are to find out about life’s inner workings. This used to be time-consuming, difficult and sometimes impossible work. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, it is now possible to change the code of life over the course of a few weeks.

“There is enormous power in this genetic tool, which affects us all. It has not only revolutionised basic science, but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments,” says Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

As so often in science, the discovery of these genetic scissors was unexpected. During Emmanuelle Charpentier’s studies of Streptococcus pyogenes, one of the bacteria that cause the most harm to humanity, she discovered a previously unknown molecule, tracrRNA. Her work showed that tracrRNA is part of bacteria’s ancient immune system, CRISPR/Cas, that disarms viruses by cleaving their DNA.

Charpentier published her discovery in 2011. The same year, she initiated a collaboration with Jennifer Doudna, an experienced biochemist with vast knowledge of RNA. Together, they succeeded in recreating the bacteria’s genetic scissors in a test tube and simplifying the scissors’ molecular components so they were easier to use.

In an epoch-making experiment, they then reprogrammed the genetic scissors. In their natural form, the scissors recognise DNA from viruses, but Charpentier and Doudna proved that they could be controlled so that they can cut any DNA molecule at a predetermined site. Where the DNA is cut it is then easy to rewrite the code of life.

Since Charpentier and Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in 2012 their use has exploded. This tool has contributed to many important discoveries in basic research, and plant researchers have been able to develop crops that withstand mould, pests and drought. In medicine, clinical trials of new cancer therapies are underway, and the dream of being able to cure inherited diseases is about to come true. These genetic scissors have taken the life sciences into a new epoch and, in many ways, are bringing the greatest benefit to humankind.

Illustrations

The illustrations are free to use for non-commercial purposes. Attribute ”© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences”

Illustration: Using the genetic scissors (pdf)
Illustration: Streptococcus’ natural immune system against viruses:CRISPR/Cas9 pdf)
Illustration: CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors (pdf)

Read more about this year’s prize

Popular information: Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life (pdf)
Scientific Background: A tool for genome editing (pdf)

Emmanuelle Charpentier, born 1968 in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France. Ph.D. 1995 from Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. Director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany.

Jennifer A. Doudna, born 1964 in Washington, D.C, USA. Ph.D. 1989 from Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 

Other Articles on the Nobel Prize in this Open Access Journal Include:

2020 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for Hepatitis C Discovery goes to British scientist Michael Houghton and US researchers Harvey Alter and Charles Rice

CONTAGIOUS – About Viruses, Pandemics and Nobel Prizes at the Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm, Sweden 

AACR Congratulates Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza on 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for contributions to Cancer Immunotherapy to James P. Allison, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Dr. Allison shares the prize with Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University Institute, Japan

2017 Nobel prize in chemistry given to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson  for developing cryo-electron microscopy

2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for development of molecular machines, the world’s smallest mechanical devices, the winners: Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa

Correspondence on Leadership in Genomics and other Gene Curations: Dr. Williams with Dr. Lev-Ari

Programming life: An interview with Jennifer Doudna by Michael Chui, a partner of the McKinsey Global Institute

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via Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

 

Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

Christopher-cover

Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD. explains what COVID is and how to contain the infection, pointing also to what will require attention next.

Please see this special release at http://online.fliphtml5.com/qlnw/zgau/#p=1

 

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via Dr. Giordano Featured in Forbes Article on COVID-19 Antibody Tests in Italy and USA

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My Memories Tell a Story to Share

Author: Larry Howard Bernstein, MD, FCAP 

Contact: 413-727-8523

Updated on 6/2/2020

In preparation for a PODCAST with Dr. Larry, we prepared the following content:

For many years, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and Member of the Board of Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, a Pharmaceutical Media Venture with several Cloud Based products: (1) an Open Access Online Scientific Journal

PharmaceuticalIntelligence.com, (2) a BioMed e-Series of 16 volumes in Medicine (3) A Real Time Press Coverage of Biotech and Medical Conferences (4) a Podcast Library of Interviews with Key Opinion Leaders (4) A Platform with Composition of Methods and (5) a Team of Experts, Authors, Writers.

Dr. Bernstein had contributed 1,400 curated articles to LPBI’s Journal, mentioned above and served as Editor and Content Consultant to each of the 16 volumes in LPBI’s BioMed e-Series.

Examples of the TOP articles in the Journal by e-Readers Views shows the cardinal positioning of Dr. Bernstein’s publications.

Top Posts for all days ending 2020-06-02 (Summarized)   
    
All Time   
TitleViewsAuthor NameType of Article
Home page / Archives676,690Internet AccessTabulation
Is the Warburg Effect the Cause or the Effect of Cancer: A 21st Century View?17,117Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACPInvestigator Initiated Research
Recent comprehensive review on the role of ultrasound in breast cancer management14,242Dr. D. NirCommission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Do Novel Anticoagulants Affect the PT/INR? The Cases of XARELTO (rivaroxaban) and PRADAXA (dabigatran)13,839Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RNCommission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Paclitaxel vs Abraxane (albumin-bound paclitaxel)13,709Tilda Barliya, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
Apixaban (Eliquis): Mechanism of Action, Drug Comparison and Additional Indications8,230Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RNInvestigator Initiated Research
Clinical Indications for Use of Inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) in the Adult Patient Market: Clinical Outcomes after Use, Therapy Demand and Cost of Care7,903Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RNInvestigator Initiated Research
Mesothelin: An early detection biomarker for cancer (By Jack Andraka)6,540Tilda Barliya, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
Our TEAM6,505Internet AccessTabulation
Biochemistry of the Coagulation Cascade and Platelet Aggregation: Nitric Oxide: Platelets, Circulatory Disorders, and Coagulation Effects5,221Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACPInvestigator Initiated Research
Interaction of enzymes and hormones4,901Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACPCommission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Akt inhibition for cancer treatment, where do we stand today?4,852Ziv Raviv, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
AstraZeneca’s WEE1 protein inhibitor AZD1775 Shows Success Against Tumors with a SETD2 mutation4,535Stephen J. Williams, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
The History and Creators of Total Parenteral Nutrition4,511Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACPCommission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Newer Treatments for Depression: Monoamine, Neurotrophic Factor & Pharmacokinetic Hypotheses4,365Zohi Sternberg, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
FDA Guidelines For Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Studies for Small Molecules4,188Stephen J. Williams, PhDInvestigator Initiated Research
The Centrality of Ca(2+) Signaling and Cytoskeleton Involving Calmodulin Kinases and Ryanodine Receptors in Cardiac Failure, Arterial Smooth Muscle, Post-ischemic Arrhythmia, Similarities and Differences, and Pharmaceutical Targets4,038Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RNCommission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Founder3,895Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RNInvestigator Initiated Research

That small sample from a universe of 1,400 articles reflects just a glimpse of the topics that he had covered in his writing.

In addition, in 2020 the Journal ontology has 700 Categories of Research, more than 50% were create by Dr. Bernstein for allowing a precise classification of the wide range of topics his life body of research had covered, chiefly: Cancer, Genomics, Pathology, Coagulation, Cardiovascular, Nutrition, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Processes, at large.

Dr. Bernstein served on the Board of Director of NAACLS and the American Library Association Commission on Accreditation and he is listed in the America’s Top Physicians.

He has three patents:

1. Measuring Lactate Dehydrogenase Isoenzymes by differential inhibition of heart and muscle enzymes using the inhibition by a triplex formed by pyruvate – NAD+ and LDH.

2. Measuring the mitochondrial Malate Dehydrogenase using the inhibition of mMDH by a triplex formed by OAA – NAD+ – and mMDH in the laboratory of Nathan Oren Kaplan (NAS).

3. Measuring a cancer modified MDH by loss of mMDH inhibition with Prof. Johannes Everse. In addition, only a provisional patent was filed for Converting Hematology Based Data into an Inferential Interpretation under the direction of Prof. Ronald Raphael Coifman (NAS). No patent was filed for the statistical determination of myocardial infarct using two assays for creatine kinase MB. No patent was filed for the diagnosis of myaocardial infarct using a neural network under the supervision of Izaak Mayzlin, eminent mathematician from former Soviet Union;
No patent was filed for the determination of myocardial infarct using Kullback Entropy.

My lab was the only one to get down to reliable measurements of transthyretin of 20 mg/L. I co-chaired the First International Transthyretin Congress in Strasbourg, at the invitation of Yves Ingenbleek, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg.

I chaired the 14th and was an invited participant in the 17th Ross Roundtable on Nutrition, Organized and Chaired the Beckman Roundtable on Pre-albumin in Los Angeles, was responsible for the AACC first document of Standards of Clinical Laboratory Practice with Lawrence Kaplan, and was recipient of the Labbe/Garry award of the Nutrition Division of AACC).

Other projects in normalizing the NT-proBNP for age and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), were successful, but widespread implementation is even more gradual than was TTR.

  • Could you tell us about the research project that had the most significance in your career?

You worked with two noted researchers – Gil David and Yale University’s Chairman of the Mathematics Department Ronald Coifman – to develop a software system which is today’s equivalent of electronic health records that gathers medical information, generates metrics and analyzes data in real-time, providing a health diagnosis for an individual’s medical condition.

4/19/2020

The Schwartz and Auslander Families

I was born a triplet to David and Lillian Bernstein on December 28, 1941, the first set of triplets born in Highland Park Hospital in some 20 years, but on graduation from Mumford High School, Detroit, Michigan in 1960, we were one of three sets of triplets. We were Larry, Leslie and Linda, who were preceded by Sharon, a sister two years older, also a December baby. Our parents were middle class and our father was a dental technician, so a family with four children was not easy to bring up. We always lived in a household of two families, with my uncle Irving and aunt Elsie Bernstein, living in the lower level, having two children, Barbara, who was our age, and Richard, who was the older brother. When we were born, under the circumstance of my grandmother, Bobby Mulvin (Mulvina in Hungarian), three calls were made in successive days to inform the family in Cleveland, Ohio, of our birth. My mother’s father and mother were Julius and Mulvina Schwartz, from the Hungarian edge of Austria on the Raba River, who moved the family to Cleveland as the intentions of Hitler became clear. My mother had two older brothers and a younger sister, David, Herman and Bernice. David had already been a United States citizen when the Schwartz family moved to the United States in 1931, and Herman was a third year medical student in Budapest after completing a year in Vienna, having been valedictorian of his high school class after special arrangement of his local catholic priest. But Herman had to move from Hungary months prior to graduation because immigration would close. Lillian was 18 years age when she brought her 11 year old sister to America. Julius and David worked in the dry cleaning business in Cleveland. There was also a Mulvina cousin, Biederman, who was a jeweler in Vienna who moved to Cleveland, but his father did not escape the Nazis. Their children were Alan and Marvin, Lois, Robert and Barbara (Liss), Lucille and Janice. Another two generations have passed. Robert was a merit scholar in upstate New York, became a reporter on the Miami Herald, and had three children. He died too young of leukemia. Barbara married and had 3 Wolfe children, two boys and a girl.

I have described the Cleveland side of the family. My mother worked making ties in Cleveland for a friend of my father’s family. She helped bring him to Detroit and married my mother. My father came from Czeckoslovakia, his father having a tree farm on the Carpathian mountains, near the border with Poland. He became a Schochet (kosher chicken). He had a sister, Rivka. Rivka married a cantor after her husband died. My grandmother was in the Auslander family. Auslander means out of the land. A rabbi brought his family out of Spain and changed the family name to Auslander. My grandfather was Meyer and grandmother was Rachel (Bobby Rochel). They lived two streets from the elementary school, so we had lunch at the grandparents house. My grandmother had sisters Esther, Edna, Katie, Jeanette. We go to a next generation rich in talent. This family lived in the city of Detroit, which has an interesting history.

The Jewish Community

Grandfather Meyer was very orthodox, but he shaved, and attended the Gelitzioner Shul, but our mother objected to her children going to an orthodox yeshiva school that was too rigid. Our mother read a lot to become knowledgable and also fluent in the English language. Our father read the Detroit Free Press and the business section daily. Some of our family went to the reform synagogue, Temple Israel, that did not use rigorous Hebrew in prayer. We attended the Bnai Moshe synagogue, which had Rabbi Moses Lehrman, whose daughter became an English teacher at our school. There was a cantor, and there was a superb reader of the Torah (Baal Koreh). The president of the Bnai Moshe was the founder of a salami that was the equal to that in New York.

Detroit

Detroit was a city on the Detroit River that was once known as Fort Ponchartrain at the time of the Revolutionary War with the British. There were Indians at the edge of the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula was obtained by Governor Lewis Cass from Wisconsin an a trade that made Toledo a part of Ohio. Detroit and the Detroit River became a crossing point for Negroes at the time of flight from the Southern states during the Civil War. Windsor, Ontario was a point of transfer of liquor from Winsor, Ontario. Detroit became important when Henry Ford brought automation into auto manufacturing, and it was followed by Dodge/Crysler and General Motors. Neighboring Dearborn, Michigan became a city where there was later a Ford Museum, and it was known to be only for whites and non-jews. There was also before my arrival an anti-Semitic priest, Father Coughlin. In addition, Henry Ford was known to disseminate “The Elders of Zion. So the city was somewhat divided, as perhaps other cities – like New York. Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles – that had distinctly jewish and black neighborhoods that one might consider ghettos. The city of Highland Park, within Detroit, was Polish. The jewish neighborhood migrated from Chicago Boulevard toward Livernois, and beyond to beyond Seven Mile Road, and eventually beyond Eight Mile Road, the Detroit border.

My early childhood was on Sturtevant, between Linwood and Dexter. Linwood extended to middle Detroit, where there was an automobile convention center. There was a theater at the corner of Linwood and Livernois. There was an upper middle class neighborhood adjacent to Oak Park, and a zoo on Woodward Avenue. The synagogue my family attended was on Dexter, and there was a butcher shop, a bakery, and the Dexter Davison Market. My aunt Edna had an ice cream parlor a short distance from the synagogue on Dexter. She had two sons and one became a doctor and the other a professor.
The McCullough elementary school and across the street a United Hebrew School were walking distance from where my family lived, with many children on our street. Milk was delivered to a milkbox, and an alternative way of entering the home was through the milkbox. The next door neighbor had a dog named Blackie. He was child friendly. There were many children in the neighborhood. My best friend in elementary school was an Armenian boy, Michael Michalian.

High School and College

We moved from the old neighborhood at the time were to attend High School. My brother and I joined the chess club and learned from Peter Wolf, who excelled at it. Mumford High School chess club won the city championship over Redford High School, taking the cup four years in succession. I also found a friend in high school a grade ahead, Fred Baskin, who was extremely bright and very social. The triplets graduated from high school and entered WSU in 1960. When we finished high school we all went to Wayne State University (WSU), where I majored in chemistry, and was a premedical student. Fred had a Merit Scholarship. I prepared myself sufficiently so that if I were not to qualify for medical school, I could follow a suitable career. My older sister, Sharon, was a very fine pianist and she entered WSU with a General Motors Scholarship three years earlier. She excelled in mathematics. She has taught piano for years and still does so at 80 years age. Fred went on to graduate school in biochemistry at University of California, Berkeley and I went on to medical school at Wayne State University upon graduation. My sister Linda did graduate work and obtained a Master degree in biology at Wayne State, married a psychiatry graduate, and they moved to California and raised two boys. I shared the same room as Leslie, but I did not see changes in him that lead to attempted suicide and admittance to the hospital. The three of us spent a summer at the NIH in a study of Schizophrenia. Leslie went to San Diego to be near Linda.

I worked very hard in my first two years of medical school. I engaged in a graduate study in embryology under Harry Maisel in the Anatomy Department, studying the evolution of the proteins of the lens of the eye (crystallins) under Prof. Harry Maisel, but I also studied the changes in the isoenzymes of lactate dehydrogenase (LD). He was an inspiring scientist, but I also had the opportunity to learn electron microscopy under Maurice Bernstein in the same department. When I finished the Master degree I returned to finish the last two years of medical school. This was a valuable experience under two inspiring mentors. In the study of the evolution of the LD isoenzymes I became extremely interested in the work of Nathan Kaplan at the Graduate University of Biochemistry in Boston, and the work of one of his graduate students who looked at the changes in the wings of avians, depending on flight characterics. I chose to go to the University of Kansas Medical School for residency and PhD in pathology. When I arrived in 1968, the pathologist whose work interested me had left to carry on the chairmanship elsewhere, but I was fortunate to meet Masahiro Chiga, who had left an Acting Chairman of Biochemistry to return to pathology. He was an inspiration. I finished less than a year when he recommended that I go to the University of California, San Diego to work with Nathan Kaplan. He modestly said that he had worked with the muscle enzyme of adenylate kinase (myokinase) that is different than the liver enzyme, but he hadn’t had the insight that Kaplan had. I stayed in touch with him until his death. My mother developed gastric cancer, quite rare then, and I visited her several times before she died. I also dated an old Mumford schoolmate, Audrey Mellon, who I married before going to San Diego.

University of Calfornia, San Diego

I found myself in a completely different environment in San Diego. One part of it was the enormous scientific environment, not only with Kaplan’s laboratory his two competent two assistants, and his several postdoctoral students, but also my engagement with several staff biochemists. There were presentations in the hallway next to Prof. Kaplan’s office, and some were from outside research institutions. It was amazing how when the medical school was opened, it had drawn talents from all of the best institutions. An unintended benefit was the beautiful ocean, the nearby La Jolla, and nearby other research centers. Dr. Kaplan was the Editor, and he cofounded Methods in Enzymology with Sidney Colowick, who had worked with Carl and Gerty Cori (Nobel Laureates) in St. Louis. They had both worked with Fritz Lippman in the discovery of Coenzyme A , the cofactor that acts as an acyl carrier, and either activates the acyl group for group transfer or electrophilic attack, or increases the acidity of the protons adjacent to the carbonyl group. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1945 with Hans Krebs, who elucidated the Krebs cycle. Kaplan’s role in the discovery was significant. Interestingly, Hans Krebs work was related to work carried out in the laboratory of Otto Warburg (Nobel Laureate, 1937)), whose work pioneered the study of mitochondrial impairment if cancer.

My own work was not with lactate dehydrogenase, but with Malate dehydrogenase, a critical enzyme linked to mitochondrial function. While LDH catalyze the conversion of pyruvate to lactate with NADH as cofactor and the transfer of a proton, the reverse reaction was inhibited by a ternary complex formed by LDH-NAD- and lactate, but this reaction was weak with the muscle type LDH compared to the heart type LDH. In a similar manner the malate dehydrogenase had a mitochondrial and cytoplasmic isoenzyme, the mitochondrial MDH forming a ternary complex, but not the cytoplasmic enzyme. I spent many months purifying the mitochondrial enzyme from 50 lb of chicken hearts with first an ammonium sulfate precipitation, then a column separation, and dialysis. A study of the mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase was followed by stopped flow analysis and that showed the inhibition by transfer of the hydrogen to form a ternary complex.

I returned to residency in pathology at UCSD under an NIH fellowship with Averill Liebow in the next year. Liebow was an internationally known expert in pulmonary pathology. He was also very amazing. A resident from Yale referred to Liebow noticing him sleeping in the back row and the professor called his name, the son of so and so, you can’t sleep in my class. His car was the first in the lot, until I came. Then when I went to the VA Hospital and parked on the other side, he noted that I parked around the corner. The chief of chemistry at the VA was an outstanding teacher and biochemist who subsequently took a position at Beckman-Coulter. I set up an assay in a study of swimming rats with Liebow. My first daughter was born during my residency and it was fascinating watching her learn to stand up. I took her to the San Diego zoo on weekends and she would stand up in her crib and say zoo, zoo. It was at this time that I collected urine specimens for a study of adenylate kinase with Percy Russell, and also took serum specimens from a study of creatine kinase MB in myocardial infarction that was done by the cardiologist Burton Sobel for my own study that was published.

At the end of my residency I had to give two years for my time deferred from the Vietnam War. Liebow called the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington to give me the best placement. I then spent the next two years working in orthopedic pathology with Lent C. Johnson, who was quite a genius. He determined the normal ratio of bone forming to bone removing cells, and did pioneering work in bone cancer. Liebow wanted me to return after the two years, but he had a stroke. At the end of two years I took a pathology position at the University of South Florida, Tampa, under Herschel Sidransky.

Herschel was an outstanding researcher from University of Pittsburg Medical School. He had several outstanding researchers in his department. I returned to my studies of malate dehydrogenase and in particular, the mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase in hepatic cancer from Herschel Sidransky’s animals. I had a grant from the Cancer Society. I also had the support in statistics from a mathematician.

Herschel became the Chairman of Pathology at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Several faculty went with him, but I received a substantial salary increase and a supportive offer from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, with a very enthusiastic pathology chairman. Just prior to leaving Florida, Naomi was born. I took on a role with the Medical Technology Program, and I also participated in program reviews, and some time later was on the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards. The Chairman was a capable and enthusiastic neuropathologist who intended to build a good department, but it was not long after that the Chair of Medicine, also the Dean, set up a clinical laboratory for his own interest, without merit. I submitted a cancer grant proposal that was approvingly reviewed by the Chairman of Physiology. It was approved by the NIH without funding, with suggestions to consider. That was a point that I chose to move, and after two years, I moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa to work at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the second largest after University Hospital. The President of the hospital sent me a high school student and we completed a project on fetal lung maturity that we published. However, the move was not a good match, as the Chairman’s main concern was outside laboratory work and there was also a laboratory manager who was manipulative.

After two years we moved to Binghamton, New York to a position with Gustavo Reynoso, who came from Rochester, New York and was a very respected pathologist. There was a consolidation of hospitals that led to Dr. Reynoso taking the chairmanship of pathology at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Connecticut, and he procured a position for me at Bridgeport Hospital, in Bridgeport, CT. The move was very good with an excellent staff in pathology, and I was the director of chemistry and blood bank. This time I stayed for 20 years, and developed a very good relationship with the medical staff, the Chairman of Pathology, Dr. Marguerite Pinto, and particularly with my supervisors in Blood Bank and Chemistry. My Blood Bank supervisor married and moved to Greece and eventually was in charge of the Athens Blood Program.

My relationship with the residents in medicine and cardiology was very collaborative. When I was in the hospital recovering from a femoral fracture, I received a call from I.J. Good, Chairman and Editor of a mathematics journal to whom I had sent cardiac enzyme data some years before. He had finished and validated a program “Diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction from two measurements of creatine kinase isoenzyme MB with use of nonparametric probability estimation”, and they successfully ran the data. We published the paper in Clinical Chemistry. The President of the College of American Pathologist complimented the work at a national meeting. I also met another pathologist, Rosser Rudolph, at a pathology meeting and he had developed a powerful mathematical program that determined the entropy of diagnostic data. We collaborated for many years. In addition, I was really privileged to work with the father of my daughter’s classmate, Isaac Mayzlin, who was an important mathematician at Moscow University. We developed an neural network algorithm for myocardial infarction.

I had a very long, satisfying role in collaboration with Dr. Walter Pleban, who was the surgeon in charge of the only burn unit in Connecticut. I had been engaged in the nutritional support program with Dr. Pleban for some years because of my work on transthyretin. Unfortunately, the criteria using decrease in serum albumin that was in use was very inadequate for early recognition. Transthyretin is a plasma protein that binds to vitamin A and declines very early in protein malnutrition. A decline in transthyretin results in impairment of methionine metabolism. I also had a longstanding relationship with Prof. Yves Ingenbleek at University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, in this work. When Stanley Dudrick became the Chairman of Surgery, it was a fortunate circumstance. Stanley was the pioneer in developing intravenous nutrition and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work.

A year after Yale University took charge of the Bridgeport Pathology Department, I took a position as Chief of Clinical Chemistry and Blood Bank at the Methodist Hospital of Brooklyn. I had a very good relationship with surgery and medicine, and had superb projects with the residents, but also had excellent high school and college students work on projects. I was 65 years old five years later, and returned to work at Norwalk Hospital in charge of the Blood Bank while the position was recruited. After finishing my work there, I went to Yale University and developed a project with Ronald R. Coifman, the retired Chairman of Mathematics and his graduate student. It lead to the development of a powerful algorithm for interpreting the hemogram that we published. There is a substantial body of research being published of a similar nature, but it is not at all clear whether or how this will be incorporated into the electronic medical record. It reminds me of the support I had at Bridgeport Hospital using a laboratory system designed by Dr. Perry Seamonds that eliminated nonessential examination of peripheral smears by rules criteria. This laboratory system also alleviated the volume of laboratory testing to relieve the burden on the physicians. A different problem I later noticed was that the Hospital Systems that were later introduced had the laboratory, but did not include the Blood Bank! However, as the electronic medical record has evolved it has taken an enormous physician, nursing, and provider time that does not justify a reduction in staff.

After I had been done with my Yale project, I developed a visual problem and stopped driving. I had problems I would later realize. I had had two incidents in a few years that I drove my car off the road because of sleep apnea. I was walking in my neighborhood and had to stop and hold on to a tree for balance. In the case of sleep apnea, it was diagnosed earlier in a sleep apnea study in Brooklyn. I had a study at Yale that brought to my realization that I had thyroid cancer, for which I had thyroidectomy. However, I had diplopia after surgery which disappeared some time later. We moved to Northampton, Massachusetts when our daughter, Naomi and her husband Daniel with grandson Joseph moved, Naomi taking a teaching position at Holyoke Community College, and Daniel working as a neurologist at the VA hospital.

Prior to moving I was contacted by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN who was building an online medical forum known as Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, and I became the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).  Over the decade I wrote many articles (1,390) in the Open Access Online Scientific Journal http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com that were included in 16 organized e-Books in Medicine. Dr. Lev-Ari’s accomplishment is quite impressive. The e-Books are all available on Amazon.com

https://lnkd.in/ekWGNqA

I stopped contributing two years ago, but a graduate student had read my work and wanted my academic guidance (in Canada). She finished her thesis and graduated a year ago. It was a privilege to work with her. Since moving to Northampton, we has been in a very good community at Lathrup.

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UPDATED 12/05/2020

 

In the future, George Church believes, almost everything will be better because of genetics. If you have a medical problem, your doctor will be able to customize a treatment based on your specific DNA pattern. When you fill up your car, you won’t be draining the world’s dwindling supply of crude oil, because the fuel will come from microbes that have been genetically altered to produce biofuel. When you visit the zoo, you’ll be able to take your children to the woolly mammoth or passenger pigeon exhibits, because these animals will no longer be extinct. You’ll be able to do these things, that is, if the future turns out the way Church envisions it—and he’s doing everything he can to see that it does.

UPDATED 12/05/2020

George Church backs a startup solution to the massive gene therapy manufacturing bottleneck

Source: https://endpts.com/george-church-backs-a-startup-solution-to-the-massive-gene-therapy-manufacturing-bottleneck/
Jason Mast: Associate Editor
George Church and his graduate students have spent the last decade seeding startups on the razor’s edge between biology and science fiction: gene therapy to prevent aging, CRISPRed pigs that can be used to harvest organs for transplant, and home kits to test your poop for healthy or unhealthy bacteria. (OK, maybe they’re not all on that razor’s edge.)

But now a new spinout from the Department of Genetics’ second floor is tackling a far humbler problem — one that major company after major company has stumbled over as they tried to get cures for rare diseases and other gene therapies into the clinic and past regulators: How the hell do you build these?

CEO Lex Vovner of 64x Bio

“There’s a lot happening for new therapies but not enough attention around this problem,” Lex Rovner, who was a post-doc at Church’s lab from 2015 to 2018, told Endpoints News. “And if we don’t figure out how to fix this, many of these therapies won’t even reach patients.”

This week, with Church and a couple other prominent scientists as co-founders, Rovner launched 64x Bio to tackle one key part of the manufacturing bottleneck. They won’t be looking to retrofit plants or build gene therapy factories, as Big Pharma and big biotech are now spending billions to do. Instead, with $4.5 million in seed cash, they will try to engineer the individual cells that churn out a critical component of the therapies.

George Church
The goal is to build cells that are fine-tuned to do nothing but spit out the viral vectors that researchers and drug developers use to shuttle gene therapies into the body. Different vectors have different demands; 64x Bio will look to make efficient cellular factories for each.

“While a few general ways to increase vector production may exist, each unique vector serotype and payload poses a specific challenge,” Church said in an emailed statement. “Our platform enables us to fine tune custom solutions for these distinct combinations that are particularly hard to overcome.”

Before joining Church’s lab, Rovner did her graduate work at Yale, where she studied how to engineer bacteria to produce new kinds of protein for drugs or other purposes. And after leaving Church’s lab in 2018, she initially set out to build a manufacturing startup with a broad focus.

Yet as she spoke with hundreds of biotech executives on LinkedIn and in coffee shops around Cambridge, the same issue kept popping up: They liked their gene therapy technology in the lab but they didn’t know how to scale it up.

“Everyone kept saying the same thing,” Rovner said. “We basically realized there’s this huge problem.”

The issue would soon make headlines in industry publications: bluebird delaying the launch of Zynteglo, Novartis delaying the launch of Zolgensma in the EU, Axovant delaying the start of their Parkinson’s trial.

Part of the problem, Rovner said, is that gene therapies are delivered on viral vectors. You can build these vectors in mammalian cell lines by feeding them a small circular strand of DNA called a plasmid. The problem is that mammalian cells have, over billions of years, evolved tools and defenses precisely to avoid making viruses. (Lest the mammal they live in die of infection).

There are genetic mutations that can turn off some of the internal defenses and unleash a cell’s ability to produce virus, but they’re rare and hard to find. Other platforms, Rovner said, try to find these mutations by using CRISPR to knock out genes in different cells and then screening each of them individually, a process that can require hundreds of thousands of different 100-well plates, with each well containing a different group of mutant cells.

“It’s just not practical, and so these platforms never find the cells,” Rovner said.

64x Bio will try to find them by building a library of millions of mutant mammalian cells and then using a molecular “barcoding” technique to screen those cells in a single pool. The technique, Rovner said, lets them trace how much vector any given cell produces, allowing researchers to quickly identify super-producing cells and their mutations.

The technology was developed partially in-house but draws from IP at Harvard and the Wyss Institute. Harvard’s Pam Silver and Wyss’s Jeffrey Way are co-founders.

The company is now based in SoMa in San Francisco. With the seed cash from Fifty Years, Refactor and First Round Capital, Rovner is recruiting and looking to raise a Series A soon. They’re in talks with pharma and biotech partners, while they try to validate the first preclinical and clinical applications.

Gene therapy is one focus, but Rovner said the platform works for anything that involves viral vector, including vaccines and oncolytic viruses. You just have to find the right mutation.

“It’s the rare cell you’re looking for,” she said.

AUTHOR
Jason Mast
Associate Editor
jason@endpointsnews.com
@JasonMMast
Jason Mas

In 2005 he launched the Personal Genome Project, with the goal of sequencing and sharing the DNA of 100,000 volunteers. With an open-source database of that size, he believes, researchers everywhere will be able to meaningfully pursue the critical task of correlating genetic patterns with physical traits, illnesses, and exposure to environmental factors to find new cures for diseases and to gain basic insights into what makes each of us the way we are. Church, tagged as subject hu43860C, was first in line for testing. Since then, more than 13,000 people in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. have volunteered to join him, helping to establish what he playfully calls the Facebook of DNA.

Church has made a career of defying the impossible. Propelled by the dizzying speed of technological advancement since then, the Personal Genome Project is just one of Church’s many attempts to overcome obstacles standing between him and the future.

“It’s not for everyone,” he says. “But I see a trend here. Openness has changed since many of us were young. People didn’t use to talk about sexuality or cancer in polite society. This is the Facebook generation.” If individuals were told which diseases or medical conditions they were genetically predisposed to, they could adjust their behavior accordingly, he reasoned. Although universal testing still isn’t practical today, the cost of sequencing an individual genome has dropped dramatically in recent years, from about $7 million in 2007 to as little as $1,000 today.

“It’s all too easy to dismiss the future,” he says. “People confuse what’s impossible today with what’s impossible tomorrow.”, especially through the emerging discipline of “synthetic” biology. The basic idea behind synthetic biology, he explained, was that natural organisms could be reprogrammed to do things they wouldn’t normally do, things that might be useful to people. In pursuit of this, researchers had learned not only how to read the genetic code of organisms but also how to write new code and insert it into organisms. Besides making plastic, microbes altered in this way had produced carpet fibers, treated wastewater, generated electricity, manufactured jet fuel, created hemoglobin, and fabricated new drugs. But this was only the tip of the iceberg, Church wrote. The same technique could also be used on people.

“Every cell in our body, whether it’s a bacterial cell or a human cell, has a genome,” he says. “You can extract that genome—it’s kind of like a linear tape—and you can read it by a variety of methods. Similarly, like a string of letters that you can read, you can also change it. You can write, you can edit it, and then you can put it back in the cell.”

This April, the Broad Institute, where Church holds a faculty appointment, was awarded a patent for a new method of genome editing called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats), which Church says is one of the most effective tools ever developed for synthetic biology. By studying the way that certain bacteria defend themselves against viruses, researchers figured out how to precisely cut DNA at any location on the genome and insert new material there to alter its function. Last month, researchers at MIT announced they had used CRISPR to cure mice of a rare liver disease that also afflicts humans. At the same time, researchers at Virginia Tech said they were experimenting on plants with CRISPR to control salt tolerance, improve crop yield, and create resistance to pathogens.

The possibilities for CRISPR technology seem almost limitless, Church says. If researchers have stored a genetic sequence in a computer, they can order a robot to produce a piece of DNA from the data. That piece can then be put into a cell to change the genome. Church believes that CRISPR is so promising that last year he co-founded a genome-editing company, Editas, to develop drugs for currently incurable diseases.

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

See on Scoop.itCardiovascular and vascular imaging

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