UNL team awarded $1.9M to develop new approach to HIV vaccine

May 30, 2014Using a genetically modified form of the HIV virus, a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists has developed a promising new approach that could someday lead to a more effective HIV vaccine.The team, led by chemist Jiantao Guo, virologist Qingsheng Li and synthetic biologist Wei Niu, has successfully tested the novel approach for vaccine development in vitro and has published findings in the international edition of the German journal Angewandte Chemie.With the new approach, the UNL team is able to use an attenuated — or weakened — HIV virus in the vaccine. The new method involves manipulating the virus’ codons — a sequence of three nucleotides that form genetic code — to rely on an unnatural amino acid for proper protein translation, which allows it to replicate. Because this amino acid is foreign to the human body, the virus cannot continue to reproduce, Guo said.Adaptive immunity is developed when the body’s immune system develops antibodies that attack the virus. The virus is then shut off from replicating by removing the amino acid.”Since the unnatural amino acid is not present in humans, the virus cannot further replicate and cause disease once a desirable protection is achieved,” Guo said.On June 1, they will begin the next phase of development through a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The grant will allow further research involving the genetically modified virus and lead to animal trials of the vaccine.Since the HIV/AIDS pandemic began in the 1980s, an estimated 36 million people have died from the disease. Today, more than 35 million people live with the virus and 2.5 million new infections are recorded each year. No universal cure or vaccine exists, mainly because of the virus’ persistent replication and evolution.The most successful vaccination attempt in humans — a trial in Thailand in the middle of the last decade — had a roughly 31 percent efficacy rate. But that vaccine used engineered versions of HIV genes and proteins, rather than the actual virus.”The science tells us a live-attenuated vaccine would work best to stop the pandemic and possibly eradicate the disease,” Li said. “But, using a live virus in a human trial has safety concerns.”Using an attenuated virus in a vaccine has not been accomplished before because HIV — even a weakened form of the virus — replicates rapidly, which allows it to evolve quickly and regain is virulence and disease-causing ability.With the funds from the grant, Guo, assistant professor of chemistry, and Li, associate professor of biology, along with Niu, research assistant professor in chemistry, will perfect the technology and begin new trials.The project is being completed with support from the UNL Department of Chemistry, School of Biological Sciences, Nebraska Center for Virology and Nebraska Research Initiative.The Angewandte Chemie journal article is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201402092/full.University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The River : A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDSby Edward Hooper (Author)While science has devoted much of its efforts to finding a cure for AIDS, the sources of this deadly epidemic remain largely unexamined. Distinguished science journalist Edward Hooper presents the meticulously researched — and highly readable — history of HIV and its possible origins. Pursuing leads across the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa, Hooper pieces together the tantalizing clues offered by long-archived blood samples, early AIDS-like cases (such as the “Manchester sailor” case of 1959), immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs), and the medical interventions in Africa and elsewhere that may have played a role in SIVs’ crossover into humans.Hooper examines over two dozen theories of origin, and eventually discards most of them. What remains is a remarkable and well-supported theory…

Immunology and the Quest for an HIV Vaccine: A New Perspectiveby Dr. Omar Bagasra (Author)How many human immune systems are there? How old are they? Why is there no AIDS vaccine? Is a new approach needed? Why is public opinion growing skeptical of the scientific community after three decades of public awareness about HIV/AIDS? Consider answers to these puzzling questions. Learn from the decades of experience of two senior scholars: Dr. Omar Bagasra (an eminent molecular biologist, immunologist, and retrovirologist) and Dr. Donald Gene Pace (a highly published writer who examines public health policy). Explore intriguing new possibilities about human immunity, and the development of an effective AIDS vaccine. Read Immunology and the Quest for an HIV Vaccine. Benefit from an informed synthesis backed by a wealth of peer-reviewed scientific references. Review basic concepts of…

HIV and AIDS: Symptoms, Testing, Treatment, Risk Factors, Preventions, Nutrition, Marriage, Having Children, Legal Issuesby James Lee Anderson (Author)“Although, your health condition may impact your everyday life, do not let it define who you are.” Understanding the cause of AIDS and the ways on how its cause is being transmitted will help a lot in the prevention of the spread of this disease. In case of infection, this book describes in details how HIV affects specific cells in our body (that fights off infections and diseases) and the signs and symptoms that accompany such infection. You will also find ways on how testing and diagnosis (including home test kit) are being done once you see the signs and felt the symptoms. In this way, you will be able to deal with the virus infection early and be able to manage your immune health by suppressing the amount of virus in your body. People infected with HIV can now lead longer and…

Virus Hunt: The Search for the Origin of HIVby Dorothy H. Crawford (Author)In Virus Hunt, renowned virologist Dorothy H. Crawford takes us inside one of the great research quests of our time–the search for the origin of AIDS. From hospital intensive care wards to research laboratories to the African rain forests, Crawford follows the trail of the virus back to its roots deep in Africa. We track wild monkeys and apes through the jungle–gathering their DNA via hair and feces samples–to discover from which primates HIV first jumped to our species, ultimately concluding that the most virulent strain, HIV-1, came from chimpanzees in Cameroon. We then time travel back to colonial Africa around the turn of the 20th century, when the virus first spread to humans. But even the rapidly mutating HIV could not survive in one person long enough to adapt to our…
 

Vaccines, 1992: Modern Approaches to New Vaccines Including Prevention of AIDSby Fred Brown (Editor)Over 60 papers from the latest of the annual conferences concerned with approaches to the deliberate provocation of immunity, focusing especially on HIV. The discussions are grouped by their perspective: immunology, AIDS, virology, bacteriology, and parasitology. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc.

Vaccines: Expert Consult – Online (Vaccines (Plotkin/ Orenstein))by SaundersApply the latest vaccination knowledge with a reference that Bill Gates calls “an indispensable guide to the enhancement of the well-being of our world.” Inside Vaccines, you’ll find comprehensive and current coverage of every aspect of vaccination, from the development of each vaccine to its use in reducing disease. This medical reference book offers the expert information you need to apply the very latest techniques and information in your practice!Consult this title on your favorite e-reader, conduct rapid searches, and adjust font sizes for optimal readability. Compatible with Kindle®, nook®, and other popular devices.Gain a complete understanding of each disease, including clinical characteristics, microbiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as…

HIV Essentials 2013by Paul E. Sax (Author), Calvin J. Cohen (Author), Daniel R. Kuritzkes (Author)The world’s leading experts provide all the ‘Essentials’ needed to manage patients in the office, on the ward, and in the ICU. Completely revised and updated, HIV Essentials 2013 incorporates the latest clinical guidelines into a step-by-step guide to the diagnosis, evaluation, management, and prevention of HIV infection and its complications. Topics include: opportunistic infections and other HIV complications, treatment of HIV and pregnancy, antiretroviral drug summaries, post-exposure prophylaxis, as well as commercially available dosage forms for all ARVs.

HIV: From Biology to Prevention and Treatment (Subject Collections from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology)by Frederic D Bushman (Editor), Gary J. Nabel (Editor), Ronald Swanstrom (Editor)The worldwide AIDS epidemic makes research on HIV, the disease processes it induces, and potential HIV therapies among the most critical in biomedical science. Furthermore, the basic biology of HIV infections provides a model for a more general understanding of retroviruses and their hosts. Written and edited by experts in the field, this collection from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine provides a comprehensive review of HIV research, covering everything from the pathogenesis of HIV infection to prevention. Contributors explore the origins and evolution of HIV, the HIV replication cycle, hostvirus interactions, host immune responses, and HIV transmission. Vaccines, cell and gene therapies, antiretroviral drugs, microbicides, and behavioral strategies for the treatment…

HIV/AIDS: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)by Alan Whiteside (Author)HIV/AIDS is without doubt the worst epidemic to hit humankind since the Black Death. As of 2004 an estimated 40 million people were living with the disease, and about 20 million had died. Despite rapid scientific advances there is still no cure and the drugs are expensive and toxic. In the developing world, especially in parts of Africa, life expectancy has plummeted to below 35 years, causing a serious decline in economic growth, a sharp increase in orphans, and the imminent collapse of health care systems. The news is not all bleak though. There have been unprecedented breakthroughs in understanding diseases and developing drugs. Because the disease is so closely linked to sexual activity and drug use, the need to understand and change behavior has caused us to reassess what it means…

The Search for an AIDS Vaccine: Ethical Issues in the Development and Testing of a Preventive HIV Vaccine (Medical Ethics)by Christine Grady (Author)”The book is a balanced and comprehensive treatment of an important social issue. It is accessible to the general reader and belongs in public as well as academic libraries.” —Religious Studies Review”Painstaking analysis of the knotty ethical problems involved in human-subjects research, and a well-thought-out proposal for a community approach to conducting field trials for an HIV vaccine…. Highly recommended for medical ethicists and anyone concerned about the AIDS epidemic and how HIV research is conducted.” —Kirkus Reviews”… a carefully reasoned account of how research for and trial of a preventive vaccine differ from the methods used to discover a therapy.” —Booklist”I highly recommend reading this book which I would attest to be a thrilling, ethically challenging,…

Beautiful by design: turning a stem cell research workplace into a work of art

Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research, USC
Sometimes what seems like an interesting project, a fun thing to try out, turns out to be a great idea, one that has the power to completely transform the way others see what you do and where you do it. That’s what is happening at the Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California (USC).A few weeks ago I told you how USC is using art to break down barriers, bringing together students studying art and design with stem cell researchers to collaborate on a project to come up with a new way of communicating about stem cells. The end results are far beyond what they had hoped for.First, the art students toured the research facility, talked to the scientists and fell in love with the science. In a portfolio put together by the students they said they were “inspired by the imagery and research process.”Then they got to work, coming up with ways of incorporating the imagery from stem cell research into the actual building itself. The students said they were inspired by the way the researchers worked together, and how the building itself seemed to promote that kind of collaboration because of its design. So, they set out to mirror that idea of collaboration by creating:
 “a designed environment that would enliven the space, enrich the researchers’ experience, convey a sense of the current research to visitors, and be visually energizing and engaging.”

They came up with a number of different proposals using different stem cell images and colors to brighten up the building and help give visual clues as to where you are in the facility. They wanted those colors and images to be part of the experience from the moment you walked in the lobby, to getting out of the elevator and walking down a corridor.

The end design will not just engage the eye but also the mind, using quotes from scientists, writers and patients to inspire people to think, to hope, and to reflect on the role that science plays in all our lives. One they have in mind comes from science fiction writer Ray Bradbury:
“The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance – the idea that anything is possible.”

Although the semester is almost over the students have asked if they can stay on over the summer, to help see the final designs implemented.At USC they’re showing that an open mind and a vivid imagination can turn a work place into a work of art. The science inspired that art. Now the hope is that the art will inspire the science.kevin mccormack

'Nanodaisies' Deliver Drug Cocktail to Cancer Cells

May 28, 2014Biomedical engineering researchers have developed daisy-shaped, nanoscale structures that are made predominantly of anti-cancer drugs and are capable of introducing a “cocktail” of multiple drugs into cancer cells. The researchers are all part the joint biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”We found that this technique was much better than conventional drug-delivery techniques at inhibiting the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of the paper and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program. “And based on in vitro tests in nine different cell lines, the technique is also promising for use against leukemia, breast, prostate, liver, ovarian and brain cancers.”To make the “nanodaisies,” the researchers begin with a solution that contains a polymer called polyethylene glycol (PEG). The PEG forms long strands that have much shorter strands branching off to either side. Researchers directly link the anti-cancer drug camptothecin (CPT) onto the shorter strands and introduce the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) into the solution.PEG is hydrophilic, meaning it likes water. CPT and Dox are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t like water. As a result, the CPT and Dox cluster together in the solution, wrapping the PEG around themselves. This results in a daisy-shaped drug cocktail, only 50 nanometers in diameter, which can be injected into a cancer patient.Once injected, the nanodaisies float through the bloodstream until they are absorbed by cancer cells. In fact, one of the reasons the researchers chose to use PEG is because it has chemical properties that prolong the life of the drugs in the bloodstream.Once in a cancer cell, the drugs are released. “Both drugs attack the cell’s nucleus, but via different mechanisms,” says Dr. Wanyi Tai, lead author and a former postdoctoral researcher in Gu’s lab.”Combined, the drugs are more effective than either drug is by itself,” Gu says. “We are very optimistic about this technique and are hoping to begin pre-clinical testing in the near future.”The paper, “Folding Graft Copolymer with Pedant Drug Segment for Co-Delivery of Anticancer Drugs,” is published online in the journal Biomaterials. Co-authors include Dr. Ran Mo, a current postdoctoral researcher in the program, and Yue Lu and Tianyue Jiang, who are both Ph.D. students in the program. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant 1UL1TR001111 and funding from NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill.North Carolina State UniversityRelated Biomedical Engineering Current Events and Biomedical Engineering News ArticlesDisturbance in blood flow leads to epigenetic changes and atherosclerosisDisturbed patterns of blood flow induce lasting epigenetic changes to genes in the cells that line blood vessels, and those changes contribute to atherosclerosis, researchers have found.Screening for Autism: There’s an App for ThatMost schools across the United States provide simple vision tests to their students-not to prescribe glasses, but to identify potential problems and recommend a trip to the optometrist. Researchers are now on the cusp of providing the same kind of service for autism.Phase contrast improves mammographyPhase contrast X-ray imaging has enabled researchers at ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Kantonsspital Baden to perform mammographic imaging that allows greater precision in the assessment of breast cancer and its precursors.Virginia Tech updates football helmet ratings, 5 new helmets meet 5-star markVirginia Tech has updated results of its adult football helmet ratings, which are designed to identify key differences between the abilities of individual helmets to reduce the risk of concussion. New Method Sneaks Drugs into Cancer Cells Before Triggering ReleaseBiomedical engineering researchers have developed an anti-cancer drug delivery method that essentially smuggles the drug into a cancer cell before triggering its release.Luminescent nanocrystal tags and high-speed scanner enable rapid detection of multiple pathogens in a single testA research team using tunable luminescent nanocrystals as tags to advance medical and security imaging have successfully applied them to high-speed scanning technology and detected multiple viruses within minutes.Columbia engineers grow functional human cartilage in labResearchers at Columbia Engineering announced today that they have successfully grown fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from bone marrow tissue.Brain tumor cells penetrated by tiny, degradable particles carrying genetic instructionsWorking together, Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers and neurosurgeons report that they have created tiny, biodegradable “nanoparticles” able to carry DNA to brain cancer cells in mice. The key to easy asthma diagnosis is in the bloodUsing just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.Neuroscientists: Brain activity may mark the beginning of memoriesBy tracking brain activity when an animal stops to look around its environment, neuroscientists at the Johns Hopkins University believe they can mark the birth of a memory. More Biomedical Engineering Current Events and Biomedical Engineering News Articles

Biomedical Engineering: Bridging Medicine and Technology (Cambridge Texts in Biomedical Engineering)by W. Mark Saltzman (Author)This is an ideal text for an introduction to biomedical engineering. The book presents the basic science knowledge used by biomedical engineers at a level accessible to all students and illustrates the first steps in applying this knowledge to solve problems in human medicine. Biomedical engineering now encompasses a range of fields of specialization including bioinstrumentation, bioimaging, biomechanics, biomaterials, and biomolecular engineering. This introduction to bioengineering assembles foundational resources from molecular and cellular biology and physiology and relates them to various sub-specialties of biomedical engineering. The first two parts of the book present basic information in molecular/cellular biology and human physiology; quantitative concepts are stressed in…

Is There a Biomedical Engineer Inside You?: A Student’s Guide to Exploring Careers in Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering TechnologyThis jam packed resource guide is perfect for anyone considering a career in biomedical engineering or biomedical engineering technology. 
Get yourself on the path to a challenging, rewarding, and prosperous career as an engineer or technologist by getting inside each discipline, learning the differences and making educated choices. Updated and now covering engineering technology, this resource guide is packed with the information you need right now!Written by award winning author Celeste Baine, this guide offers a unique perspective that is sure to capture your attention. You will learn:* The differences between engineering and engineering technology* Details about each branch of engineering* Subdivisions within each branch* Salary…

Introduction to Biomedical Engineeringby Michael M. Domach (Author)For freshman and limited calculus-based courses in Introduction to Biomedical Engineering or Introduction to Bioengineering. This text presents freshman-level students with a study of some of the best engineering designs provided by nature and exposes them to bioengineering practice from a variety of perspectives. Examining the living system from the molecular to the the human scale, this text covers such key issues as optimization, scaling, and design; and introduces these concepts in a sequential, layered manner. Analysis strategies, science, and technology are illustrated in each chapter.

Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, Third Editionby John Enderle (Author), Joseph Bronzino (Author)Introduction to Biomedical Engineering is a comprehensive survey text for biomedical engineering courses. It is the most widely adopted text across the BME course spectrum, valued by instructors and students alike for its authority, clarity and encyclopedic coverage in a single volume. Biomedical engineers need to understand the wide range of topics that are covered in this text, including basic mathematical modeling; anatomy and physiology; electrical engineering, signal processing and instrumentation; biomechanics; biomaterials science and tissue engineering; and medical and engineering ethics. Enderle and Bronzino tackle these core topics at a level appropriate for senior undergraduate students and graduate students who are majoring in BME, or studying it as a combined course with a…

Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, Second Editionby John Enderle (Author), Susan M. Blanchard (Author), Joseph Bronzino (Author)Under the direction of John Enderle, Susan Blanchard and Joe Bronzino, leaders in the field have contributed chapters on the most relevant subjects for biomedical engineering students. These chapters coincide with courses offered in all biomedical engineering programs so that it can be used at different levels for a variety of courses of this evolving field. Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, Second Edition provides a historical perspective of the major developments in the biomedical field. Also contained within are the fundamental principles underlying biomedical engineering design, analysis, and modeling procedures. The numerous examples, drill problems and exercises are used to reinforce concepts and develop problem-solving skills making this book an invaluable tool for…

Biodesign: The Process of Innovating Medical Technologiesby Stefanos Zenios (Author), Josh Makower (Author), Paul Yock (Author), Todd J. Brinton (Author), Uday N. Kumar (Author), Lyn Denend (Author), Thomas M. Krummel (Author)Recognize market opportunities, master the design process, and develop business acumen with this ‘how-to’ guide to medical technology innovation. A three-step, proven approach to the biodesign innovation process – identify, invent, implement – provides a practical formula for innovation. The experiences of hundreds of innovators and companies, in the form of case studies, quotes and practical advice, offer a realistic, action-orientated roadmap for successful biodesign innovation. Real-world examples, end-of-chapter projects, and Getting Started sections guide the reader through each of the key stages of the process and provide a template to create their own new medical devices. Addressing common medical, engineering, and business challenges to develop well-rounded expertise, this book is…

Biomedical Engineering for Global Health (Cambridge Texts in Biomedical Engineering)by Rebecca Richards-Kortum (Author)Can technology and innovation transform world health? Connecting undergraduate students with global problems, Rebecca Richard-Kortum examines the interplay between biomedical technology design and the medical, regulatory, economic, social and ethical issues surrounding global health. Driven by case studies, including cancer screening, imaging technologies, implantable devices and vaccines, students learn how the complexities and variation across the globe affect the design of devices and therapies. A wealth of learning features, including classroom activities, project assignments, homework problems and weblinks within the book and online, provide a full teaching package. For visionary general science and biomedical engineering courses, this book will inspire students to engage in solving…

Introductory Biomechanics: From Cells to Organisms (Cambridge Texts in Biomedical Engineering)by C. Ross Ethier (Author), Craig A. Simmons (Author)Introductory Biomechanics is a new, integrated text written specifically for engineering students. It provides a broad overview of this important branch of the rapidly growing field of bioengineering. A wide selection of topics is presented, ranging from the mechanics of single cells to the dynamics of human movement. No prior biological knowledge is assumed and in each chapter, the relevant anatomy and physiology are first described. The biological system is then analyzed from a mechanical viewpoint by reducing it to its essential elements, using the laws of mechanics and then tying mechanical insights back to biological function. This integrated approach provides students with a deeper understanding of both the mechanics and the biology than from qualitative study alone. The text is…

Biomedical Engineering Principles, Second Editionby Arthur B. Ritter (Author), Vikki Hazelwood (Author), Antonio Valdevit (Author), Alfred N. Ascione (Author)Current demand in biomedical sciences emphasizes the understanding of basic mechanisms and problem solving rather than rigid empiricism and factual recall. Knowledge of the basic laws of mass and momentum transport as well as model development and validation, biomedical signal processing, biomechanics, and capstone design have indispensable roles in the engineering analysis of physiological processes. To this end, an introductory, multidisciplinary text is a must to provide the necessary foundation for beginning biomedical students. Assuming no more than a passing acquaintance with molecular biology, physiology, biochemistry, and signal processing, Biomedical Engineering Principles, Second Edition provides just such a solid, accessible grounding to this rapidly advancing field….

The Biomedical Engineering Handbook, Third Edition: Biomedical Engineering Fundamentalsby Joseph D. Bronzino (Author), Donald R. Peterson (Author), Joseph D. Bronzino (Editor)Over the last century,medicine has come out of the “black bag” and emerged as one of the most dynamic and advanced fields of development in science and technology. Today, biomedical engineering plays a critical role in patient diagnosis, care, and rehabilitation. As such, the field encompasses a wide range of disciplines, from biology and physiology to informatics and signal processing. Reflecting the enormous growth and change in biomedical engineering during the infancy of the 21st century, The Biomedical Engineering Handbook enters its third edition as a set of three carefully focused and conveniently organized books. The first installment, Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals provides a concise survey of the major areas that constitute modern biomedical engineering. Beginning with…

New Lease on Legs: Stem Cell Treatment Gives Mice with MS-Like Condition Ability to Walk

For a long time, the team of scientists was in shock: in just two weeks they had transformed mice that could not walk—into mice that could.

In the latest issue of Stem Cell Reports, available online today, scientists from the University of Utah and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, have reversed the debilitating effects of a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like illness in mice after treating them with human neural stem cells. However, the most astonishing fact, the researchers say, is that they had assumed the treatment wouldn’t work.

The research, which was supported by a CIRM grant when co-senior author Dr. Tom Lane was at the University of California, Irvine, began as a routine experiment to test how the mouse immune system would respond to the transplanted cells. The researchers assumed it would be not unlike how a patient’s immune system reacts to an organ transplant. But the team was surprised by what happened next.

After just two weeks, the mice—who had previously been unable to walk or even feed themselves—had regained basic motor skills. And six months later the improvements have only continued. As co-senior author Dr. Jeanne Loring of Scripps said in today’s press release:

“This result opens up a whole new area of research for us to figure out why it worked. We’ve long forgotten our original plan.”

MS is a debilitating disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks myelin—the protective sheath that surrounds nerve cells. The resulting symptoms vary but many patients experience progressive difficulty walking, impaired vision and fatigue. And while current FDA-approved medications can slow the onset of symptoms, there is still so little that researchers know about the earliest stages of MS that no effective treatment that halts or reverses the symptoms has been found.

But this study’s exciting results could change all that.

After discovering that the stem cell transplant restored the mouse’s ability to walk, the research team looked closer to find out why. As Loring described:

“The way we made the neural stem cells turns out to be important.” [emphasis added]

Normally, human neural stem cells are grown in large quantities in a petri dish prior to transplant. But in this case, Ronald Coleman, the paper’s co-first author, grew fewer cells per dish. This created stem cells that were more ‘potent.’ They predicted that this change would cause the cells to be rejected by the body’s immune system.

But instead, what happened was that the potent stem cells sent chemical signals instructing the mouse’s own cells to regenerate themselves. This serendipitous discovery, said Lane, now at the University of Utah, could end up speeding drug discovery:

“Rather than having to engraft stem cells into a patient, which can be challenging from a medical standpoint, we might be able to develop a drug that can be used to deliver the therapy much more easily.”

For more from Lane on how regenerative medicine offers new hope for patients living with MS, check out our recent videos, Living with Multiple Sclerosis: Hope for Stem Cell Therapies.

Anne Holden

Risk is much more than a game

May 23, 2014Wildfires and flooding affect many more people in the USA than earthquakes and landslide and yet the dread, the perceived risk, of the latter two is much greater than for those hazards that are more frequent and cause greater loss of life. Research published in the International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, suggests that a new paradigm for risk assessment is needed so that mitigation plans in the face of natural disasters can be framed appropriately by policy makers and those in the emergency services.Maura Knutson (nee Hurley) and Ross Corotis of the University of Colorado, Boulder, explain that earlier efforts for incorporating a sociological perspective and human risk perception into hazard-mitigation plans, commonly used equivalent dollar losses from natural hazard events as the statistic by which to make decisions. Unfortunately, this fails to take into consideration how people view natural hazards, the team reports. Moreover, this can lead to a lack of public support and compliance with emergency plans when disaster strikes and lead to worse outcomes in all senses.The researchers have therefore developed a framework that combines the usual factors for risk assessment, injuries, deaths and economic and collateral loss with the human perception of the risks associated with natural disasters. The framework includes risk perception by graphing natural hazards against “dread” and “familiarity”. These two variables are well known to social psychologists as explaining the greatest variability in an individual’s perception of risk, whether considering earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, avalanche, even volcanic activity. “Understanding how the public perceives the risk for various natural hazards can assist decision makers in developing and communicating policy decisions,” the team says.The higher the perceived risk of a natural disaster, the more people want to see that risk reduced and that means seeing their tax dollars spent on mitigation and preparation. For example, far more money is spent on reducing earthquake risk than on reducing the risk from wildfires, perhaps because the perceived risk is much greater, even though both will cause significant losses of life and property. The team’s new framework for risk assessment will act as an aid in decision making for these types of situations as well as perhaps even offering a way to give members of the public a clearer understanding of actual risk rather than perceived risk.###Hurley, M.A. and Corotis, R.B. (2014) ‘Perception of risk of natural hazards: a hazard mitigation plan framework’, Int. J. Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.188-211. Inderscience Publishers Related Natural Hazards Current Events and Natural Hazards News ArticlesFirst year student publishes monsoon studyA first year Environmental Science student at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) has had a literature review of the Southeast Asian monsoon published in the academic journal Geoscience Frontiers.Coral Reefs are Critical for Risk Reduction & AdaptationStronger storms, rising seas, and flooding are placing hundreds of millions people at risk around the world, and big part of the solution to decrease those risks is just off shore.Naturally occurring methane found in groundwater in New York Since hydraulic fracturing operations began in the Marcellus Shale region, debate has raged over whether drilling operations are causing high levels of methane in drinking-water wells. The first globally complete glacier inventory has been createdThanks to the efforts of an international group of scientists – one of them is Tobias Bolch from Technische Universität Dresden, Germany – who have mapped all of the world’s glaciers, glaciologists can now study with unprecedented accuracy the impacts of a changing climate on glaciers worldwide, and determine their total extent and volume on a glacier-by-glacier basis.International team maps nearly 200,000 global glaciers in quest for sea rise answersAn international team led by glaciologists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Trent University in Ontario, Canada has completed the first mapping of virtually all of the world’s glaciers — including their locations and sizes — allowing for calculations of their volumes and ongoing contributions to global sea rise as the world warms.Precise to a fault: How GPS revolutionized seismic research Global Positioning System (GPS) technology was conceived in the 1960s to provide precise time and location data to the U.S. military, but it was soon embraced by geodesists and earth scientists.New risk factors for avalanche trigger revealedThe amount of snow needed to trigger an avalanche in the Himalayans can be up to four times smaller than in the Alps, according to a new model from a materials scientist at Queen Mary University of London. Fierce 2012 magnetic storm barely missed EarthEarth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012. Outsmarting nature during disastersThe dramatic images of natural disasters in recent years, including hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the Tohoku, Japan, earthquake and tsunami, show that nature, not the people preparing for hazards, often wins the high-stakes game of chance. EARTH Magazine: Geological travels in AntarcticaYesterday, 52 scientists, journalists and tourists were rescued from frozen Antarctic waters, where their ship, the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, had been stuck in ice since December 24th, 2013.More Natural Hazards Current Events and Natural Hazards News Articles

Natural Hazards: Earth’s Processes as Hazards, Disasters, and Catastrophes (3rd Edition)by Edward A. Keller (Author), Duane E. DeVecchio (Author)Ideal for courses on natural hazards or on earthquakes and volcanoes, Natural Hazards uses real-life examples of hazards and disasters to explore how and why they happen—and what we can do to limit their effects. The Third Edition of this text provides fully up-to-date coverage of recent disasters, and significantly revises the visual programk throughout. Included with every copy of this text is access to Hazard City, an online media resource which gives instructors meaningful, easy-to-assign, and easy-to-grade assignments where students investigate virtual disasters in the fictional town of Hazard City.

Natural Hazards: Earth’s Processes as Hazards, Disasters, and Catastrophes (4th Edition)by Edward A. Keller (Author), Duane E. DeVecchio (Author)…

Natural Hazards and Disastersby Donald Hyndman (Author), David Hyndman (Author)Written by a father-son team of prominent geologists, Donald and David Hyndman, NATURAL HAZARDS AND DISASTERS, Third Edition, emphasizes Earth, the atmosphere, and the hazardous natural processes and events that dramatically alter them. In teaching introductory environmental and physical geology courses, the authors found that topics involving natural hazards are among the most interesting for students like you. They also realized that employing natural hazards as a thematic focus and context motivates their students to learn basic scientific concepts. You begin each chapter by reading about the underlying geological processes as well as the key terms that describe them. Next, you explore the impact these processes have on humans (as well as the impact that humans have on the processes)….

Natural Hazards and Disastersby Donald Hyndman (Author), David Hyndman (Author)Cengage Learning’s Natural Hazards and Disasters brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools along with market leading text content for introductory earth science courses. Whether you use a traditional printed text or all digital Natural Hazards and Disasters alternative, it’s never been easier to better understand the underlying geological processes, explore the impact these processes have on humans and vice versa, and analyze strategies for mitigating these hazards’ physical and financial harm. Available with InfoTrac Student Collections http://gocengage.com/infotrac.

Natural Hazards Analysis: Reducing the Impact of Disastersby John Pine (Author)Emphasizes Resilient Policies, Rather Than Rigid Philosophy Economic and environmental consequences of natural and man-made disasters have grown exponentially during the past few decades. Whether from hurricanes, chemical spills, terrorist incidents, or other catastrophes, the negative impacts can often be felt on a global scale. Natural Hazards Analysis: Reducing the Impacts of Disasters evaluates critical preparedness issues that emergency managers must face before, during, and after disasters of any kind. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, this book effectively demonstrates how to use the results of GIS tools, spatial analysis, and remote sensing to reduce adverse disaster outcomes and to foster social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Complete with clearly set…

Earth’s Natural Hazards: Understanding Natural Disasters and Catastrophesby David M. Best (Author), David B. Hacker (Author)Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Kendall Hunt Publishing; 1st edition (July 20, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0757576192
ISBN-13: 978-0757576195
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.8 inches

Playing against Nature: Integrating Science and Economics to Mitigate Natural Hazards in an Uncertain Worldby Seth Stein (Author), Jerome Stein (Author)Defending society against natural hazards is a high-stakes game of chance against nature, involving tough decisions. How should a developing nation allocate its budget between building schools for towns without ones or making existing schools earthquake-resistant? Does it make more sense to build levees to protect against floods, or to prevent development in the areas at risk? Would more lives be saved by making hospitals earthquake-resistant, or using the funds for patient care? What should scientists tell the public when – as occurred in L’Aquila, Italy and Mammoth Lakes, California – there is a real but small risk of an upcoming earthquake or volcanic eruption?  Recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis show that society often handles such choices poorly. Sometimes nature…

Natural Hazard Mitigation: Recasting Disaster Policy And Planningby David Godschalk (Author), Timothy Beatley (Author), Philip Berke (Author), David Brower (Author), Edward J. Kaiser (Author)This text offers an informative examination of natural hazard mitigation for planners, policymakers, stu dents, and professionals that work in this field. The topics include guidelines for hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. ‘

Natural Hazard Mitigationby Alessandra Jerolleman (Editor), John J. Kiefer (Editor)One of the four core phases of emergency management, hazard mitigation is essential for reducing disaster effects on human populations and making communities more resilient to the impacts of hazards. Presenting an up-to-date look at the changing nature of disasters, Natural Hazard Mitigation offers practical guidance on the implementation and selection of hazard mitigation programs and projects. Based on real-world applications, the book includes case studies that present a thorough explanation of the various issues involved. The contributors describe the value and potential of mitigation efforts and explain how to convince public officials and communities of that value. They also discuss how to better involve the community and uniquely tailor solutions to regional and local situations. …

Global Warming, Natural Hazards, and Emergency Managementby George Haddow (Editor), Jane A. Bullock (Editor), Kim Haddow (Editor)Scientists predict the earth is facing 40-to-60 years of climate change, even if emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases stopped today. One inevitable consequence of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will be an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disaster events. Global Warming, Natural Hazards, and Emergency Management documents the imperative need for communities to prepare for the coming effects of climate change and provides a series of in-depth, road-tested recommendations on how to reduce risks for communities and businesses. Frontline Advice for Increasing Defenses and Reducing Impacts of Global Warming Authored and edited by emergency management and environmental protection professionals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

Stem cell techniques yield new clues to the origins of schizophrenia

Although the word “schizophrenia” was coined over 100 years ago, scientists are still stumped by what causes this severe brain disorder, which afflicts an estimated three million Americans and presents a financial burden of $63 billion each year. People with schizophrenia suffer debilitating delusional and hallucinatory symptoms, such as hearing voices or believing that tragedy is imminent. Life-long drug treatment and psychotherapy can help keep symptoms in check—but ten percent still surrender to the disease by taking their own lives.
Studying the brains of schizophrenic patients after death reveals abnormalities in brain cells. But these defects seen at the end of life tell very little about what initiates the disease or predisposes someone to it. Clearly new approaches are needed to tackle schizophrenia. Sounds like a job for stem cells. In fact, results published this week reveal just that. In a study published by CIRM grantees at the Salk Institute and their collaborators in Molecular Psychiatry report on using stem cell techniques to glimpse early hallmarks of schizophrenia in stem-cell derived brain cells that resemble those of the developing brain.
As an initial pilot study, the researchers collected skin samples from four people with schizophrenia and six individuals without the disease and then reprogrammed those skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells. From there, they transformed the stem cells into immature brain cells called neural precursor cells, or NPCs.
With the NPCs in hand, the researchers ran two analyses that can look for differences in a vast array of genes and proteins in the schizophrenia (SZ)-derived cells compared to non-SZ cells. Both tests indicated abnormal gene activity and protein levels related to cell movement and cell stress in the SZ cells. And as predicted by these molecular tests, examination of cell function showed that the SZ-derived NPCs indeed had poor cell migration, which could lead to abnormal communication among brain cells and increased cell stress which could stimulate brain cell death.
These results are in line with previous studies that suggest schizophrenia begins during early fetal brain development—possibly due to extreme stress or infection during pregnancy. In a Salk Institute press release picked up by Health Canal first author Kristen Brennand, assistant professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, spoke about the advantage of using these NPCs:

We realized they weren’t mature neurons but only as old as neurons in the first trimester. So we weren’t studying schizophrenia but the things that go wrong a long time before patients actually get sick.

And since the gene and protein tests used in this pilot study are highly scalable, the logical next step is to perform the analysis on hundreds or thousands of patient samples to better reflect the complexity and variation in the disease. As senior author Fred Gage, a CIRM grantee and professor at the Salk Institute, points out in the press release:

The study hints that there may be opportunities to create diagnostic tests for schizophrenia at an early stage.

For more from Dr. Gage about modeling disease with stem cells, check out this video from our stem cell basics series.
CIRM Funding: New Cell Lines Award: RL1-00649Todd Dubnicoff

Low IQ students learn to read at 1st-grade level after persistent, intensive instruction

May 22, 2014Study offers hope for all struggling readers after large sample of special education students and students with low IQ significantly improved their reading ability over several academic yearsThe findings of a pioneering four-year educational study offer hope for thousands of children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ who have very little, if any, reading ability.The study by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its kind to demonstrate the reading potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ, said lead author Jill H. Allor, principal investigator of the study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.The researchers found that students with intellectual disability who participated in four years of persistent, specialized instruction successfully learned to read at a first-grade level or higher.”This study proves that we should never give up on anyone. It raises expectations for all children,” Allor said. “Traditionally the focus of instruction for students with intellectual disability has been functional skills, such as how to manage their personal hygiene, do basic chores around the house or simple work skills. This study raises academic expectations as well.”The study demonstrates there’s hope for every struggling reader, said Allor, a reading researcher whose expertise is reading acquisition. The study’s implications can be life-changing for non-readers and struggling readers.”If these children, and any other struggling readers, can learn to read, that means they can go grocery shopping with a shopping list, read the labels on boxes and cans, and read basic instructions,” Allor said. “Even minimal reading skills can lead to a more independent life and improved job opportunities.”The findings indicate a critical need for more research to determine ways to streamline and intensify instruction for these students, said Allor, whose research focuses on preventing reading failure among struggling readers.”This study demonstrates the potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ to achieve meaningful literacy goals,” said Allor. “And it also clearly demonstrates the persistence and intensity needed to help children with low IQs learn to read.”Students identified with intellectual disability account for nearly one in every 100 public school students, according to the study, which cites the U.S. Department of Education. Of those identified with intellectual disability who do graduate, most don’t receive a diploma, only a certificate of completion, said the study’s authors, all from SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.”This article is a call for boldness and the redoubling of our efforts to truly teach all children to read,” said the authors.The researchers report the findings, “Is scientifically based reading instruction effective for students with below-average IQs?” in the journal Exceptional Children, published by the Council for Exceptional Children.The study was funded with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Allor, professor in the department of teaching and learning in the SMU Simmons School, was principal investigator.Successful instruction relied on proven, scientific-based teaching methodFor the study, a group of 141 children was divided into two groups. One group of 76 children received the reading intervention. A group of 65 children was taught in a business-as-usual instructional environment, which included various amounts of reading instruction and methods.The children in the intervention group were taught reading 40 to 50 minutes a day in intensive small group settings of one to four students per teacher. Teachers used “Early Interventions in Reading,” a proven curriculum designed by SMU reading specialist and study co-author Patricia G. Mathes and Allor.Most of the students entered the study around the age of 7 and variously were identified with disabilities including Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, Williams syndrome or a physical disability. All of the students had the ability to speak.IQs of the students in the study ranged from 40 to 80. IQ scores in the range of 85 to 115 are considered to be average.Instruction was provided by six teachers certified in special education and four part-time teachers certified in general education. Teaching experience ranged from five years to 35 years.After four years of the specialized teaching the researchers found that students with mild or moderate intellectual disability could independently read at the first-grade level, and some even higher.Students receiving the specialized instruction significantly outperformed the comparison group on a variety of key reading tests.Scientifically based reading program put to the testThe current study also demonstrates the effectiveness of a teaching method that’s scientifically based for use with children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ, said Allor.Mathes and Allor, former special education teachers, developed the study’s reading program after research into how children with dyslexia and other learning problems learn to read.Teachers providing the intervention received extensive support and training, the authors said. That included multi-day professional development training on curriculum implementation, monthly meetings with the research team to address instructional and behavioral issues, and instructional support from reading coaches who previously taught the intervention.The program, previously validated with struggling readers without intellectual disability or low IQ, included a series of brief activities that increased in difficulty that were geared toward phonological awareness, letter knowledge and sounds, sounding out and sight words.Fluency was developed from repeated reading in unison to paired reading and independent timed reading, the authors said. Comprehension activities included strategies for both listening and reading comprehension.Students used provided materials that included word cards, small readers and activity pages to play reading games or to read aloud with someone else.IQ is generally considered a predictor of learning ability, but in this study with students who are intellectually disabled or low IQ, the results showed that IQ didn’t always predict academic achievement. Although generally students with higher IQs improved more quickly, there were many individual cases where a student with a lower IQ outperformed a student with a higher IQ, Allor said.Coauthors were Patricia Mathes, TI Endowed Chair in Evidence-Based Education and a professor in the Simmons School; J. Kyle Roberts; Jennifer P. Cheatham, research associate; and Stephanie Al Otaiba, professor.The research will continue under a new $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant, led by Allor, principal investigator on the grant. Al Otaiba and Paul Yovanoff, both professors in SMU’s new special education program, are co-investigators on the new grant.Southern Methodist UniversityRelated Intellectual Disability Current Events and Intellectual Disability News ArticlesAutism-related protein shown to play vital role in addictionIn a paper published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron, McLean Hospital investigators report that a gene essential for normal brain development, and previously linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders, also plays a critical role in addiction-related behaviors.Research sees overlap in genes altered in schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disabilityIn research published today in Molecular Psychiatry, a multinational team of scientists presents new evidence supporting the theory that in at least some cases of schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability (ID), malfunctions in some of the same genes are contributing to pathology. Genetic alterations in shared biological pathways as major risk factor for ASDA substantial proportion of risk for developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD), resides in genes that are part of specific, interconnected biological pathways, according to researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who conducted a broad study of almost 2,500 families in the United States and throughout the world.New test makes Parkinson’s-like disorder of middle age detectable in young adulthoodThe very earliest signs of a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, in which physical symptoms are not apparent until the fifth decade of life, are detectable in individuals as young as 30 years old using a new, sophisticated type of neuroimaging, researchers at UC Davis, the University of Illinois and UCLA have found.Critical role of one gene to our brain developmentResearch from the University of Adelaide has confirmed that a gene linked to intellectual disability is critical to the earliest stages of the development of human brains.Study Finds Potential Solution for Feeding, Swallowing Difficulties in Children with DiGeorge Syndrome, AutismCollaborative research out of the George Washington University (GW) reveals new information on the pathogenesis of feeding and swallowing difficulties often found in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and intellectual disability.Protein switch dictates cellular fate: stem cell or neuronResearchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that a well-known protein has a new function: It acts in a biological circuit to determine whether an immature neural cell remains in a stem-like state or proceeds to become a functional neuron. New genetic mutations shed light on schizophreniaWorking alongside teams from leading research institutions including the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Cambridge Universities, they examined DNA blood samples from 623 sufferers and their parents. European epilepsy consortium identifies new gene for severe childhood epilepsyA European consortium of epilepsy researchers has reported the discovery of a new gene involved in severe childhood epilepsy.Meat, egg and dairy nutrient essential for brain developmentAsparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. More Intellectual Disability Current Events and Intellectual Disability News Articles

Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports (11th Edition)by Robert L. Schalock (Author), Sharon A. Borthwick-Duffy (Author), Wil H.E. Buntinx (Author), David L. Coulter (Author), Ellis M. (Pat) Craig (Author)This Manual contains the most current and authoritative information and knowledge on intellectual disability, including best practice guidelines on diagnosing and classifying intellectual disability and developing a system of supports for people living with an intellectual disability. Written by a committee of 18 experts, Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports (11th edition) is based on seven years of work on: (1) a synthesis of current information and best practices regarding intellectual disability; (2) numerous reviews and critiques of the 10th edition of the AAIDD definition manual; and (3) feedback from the field regarding a series of articles published by the Committee. This is the first official AAIDD definition manual with the terminology…

Intellectual Disability: A Guide for Families and Professionalsby James C. Harris M.D. (Author)Approximately 2.5 million people in the United States–one percent of the population–have an intellectual disability (previously referred to as mental retardation). These conditions range from genetic disorders such as Down syndrome to disabilities caused by infectious diseases and brain injury. Intellectual Disability: A Guide for Families and Professionals, by one of the country’s foremost authorities on intellectual disability, is a comprehensive resource that will be of importance to anyone with a personal connection to a child or adult with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Emphasizing the humanity of persons with intellectual and related developmental disabilities, psychiatrist and pediatrician James Harris provides essential information on assessment and diagnosis of…

The Story of Intellectual Disability: An Evolution of Meaning, Understanding, and Public Perceptionby Michael L. Wehmeyer (Editor)Accessible, engaging, and filled with contributions by the country’s most celebrated disability experts, this fascinating volume skillfully captures how intellectual disability has been understood from prehistoric times to present. Readers will discover how different societies have responded to people with disability throughout history, how life has changed for people with intellectual disability and their families over the centuries, and how key historical figures and events sparked social change and shaped our modern understanding of intellectual disability. Enhanced with remarkable images and illustrations, including exclusive photos from the editor’s private collection of cultural artifacts, this informal history is a must-read for anyone devoted to improving the lives of people with…

Evidence-Based Practice and Intellectual Disabilitiesby Peter Sturmey (Author), Robert Didden (Author)Evidence-Based Practice and Intellectual Disabilities responds to the recent increased focus on, and need for, the use of evidence-based practice (EBP) in treating intellectual disabilities.The first book wholly dedicated to addressing EBP specifically in relation to intellectual disabilitiesProvides clinical guidelines based on the strength of evidence of treatments for a given problematic behavioral topography or disorderHighly relevant to a wide-ranging audience, including professionals working in community services, clinicians and parents and…

Academic Instruction for Students With Moderate and Severe Intellectual Disabilities in Inclusive Classroomsby June E. Downing (Author)Packed with instructional strategies for students with significant disabilities, this research-based resource helps teachers adapt their curriculum, work collaboratively, develop accurate assessments, track student progress, and more.

The Handbook of High-Risk Challenging Behaviors in People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilitiesby James Luiselli “Ed.D ABPP” (Editor), Peter Sturmey (Editor)Aggressive and destructive behaviors are an ongoing challenge for many children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). What’s behind these high-risk behaviors and how can professionals help manage them? Discover the answers in this comprehensive text, the most up-to-date compendium of knowledge on addressing challenging behaviors in the least restrictive settings using evidence-based, empirically supported practices.With contributions from more than 30 prominent clinicians and researchers, this book gives readers cutting-edge research and clear assessment and intervention guidelines in six key topic areas:Self-Injurious Behavior. Explore the behavioral and biological variables that contribute to self-injury, and learn the principles of…

A Comprehensive Guide to Intellectual and Developmental Disabilitiesby Ivan Brown Ph.D. (Editor), Maire Percy Ph.D. (Editor)The most complete book available on children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this core textbook is perfect for any course focused on disabilities. No other text on this subject is all of these things at once: broad and deep, with thorough, up-to-date information on intervention, education, family roles, health issues, specific disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism, and much morelifespan-focused, with topics ranging from genetics and development to aging issuesimmediately applicable, presenting not just the facts but also practical, real-world advice on working with people with disabilities and meeting their individual needsmultidisciplinary, blending the research and personal experiences of more than 70 world-renowned authors…

Intellectual Disabilities Across the Lifespan (9th Edition)by Clifford J. Drew (Author), Michael L. Hardman (Author)This book provides an introduction to intellectual disabilities that is highly readable, comprehensive, and reflective of the broad array of human stories associated with this condition.  This volume is strongly based in human development and follows the development of individuals with intellectual disabilities from conception through birth, infancy, and early childhood, and then through the elementary school, adolescent, and adult years.  Intellectual disabilities is a field in which this complete cycle of human life is important for a full understanding of the challenges and issues involved.   The authors also examine intellectual disabilities from the perspective of many disciplines.  It is important to examine collaboration among disciplines and its impact on the person with…

Intellectual Disability: Understanding Its Development, Causes, Classification, Evaluation, and Treatment (Developmental Perspectives in Psychiatry)by James C. Harris (Author)It is estimated that 7.2 million people in the United States have mental retardation or associated impairments – a spectrum now referred to as “intellectual disability.” This book provides professionals with the latest and most reliable information on these disabilities. It utilizes a developmental perspective and reviews the various types of intellectual disabilities, discusses approaches to classification, diagnosis, and appropriate interventions, and provides information on resources that may offer additional help. Case examples are included in each section to highlight specific diagnostic and treatment issues. The emphasis in this book is on the development of the person, the provision of interventions for behavioral and emotional problems associated with intellectual disability,…

Invisible No More: A Photographic Chronicle of the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilitiesby Vincenzo Pietropaolo (Author), Professor Catherine Frazee (Introduction), Professor Wayne Johnston (Introduction)

Behind the Bench: One Student’s Mission to Fight Ataxia

Jackie Ward is a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and former CIRM trainee. At UCSD uses stem cells as a model to study rare neurodegenerative diseases in the lab of Albert La Spada.

My work as a PhD student focuses on a rare form of inherited neurodegeneration called spinocerebellar ataxia. Previous to grad school, I can’t remember if I’d ever heard the word “ataxia” before. It’s an affliction that you don’t come across often, so even those of us who study this disease rarely encounter anyone who has it.

This all changed when I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the National Ataxia Foundation. This conference is quite unique in that it combines a gathering for patients with a science conference for ataxia investigators. There is a dedicated poster session specifically for patients to interact one-on-one with the scientists actually doing the work, as well as small group meetings for patients to ask questions of the scientists and clinicians in attendance.

My thesis project focuses on generating a disease-in-a-dish model of spinocerebellar ataxia. To do this, I have reprogrammed skin cells obtained from ataxic individuals into pluripotent stem cells. We are now trying to learn more about the disease by morphing these stem cells into the type of cells that are sick and dying in ataxia. Inherently, my work relies on consent, information, and tissue donations from patients. I was looking forward to interacting with the people who make work like mine possible, but I was not expecting an entirely different outlook on my own work.

The patients and families with whom I interacted were so interested and responsive and eager to hear about my research. After spending many, many hours in lab focusing on the technical details and minutiae of daily experiments, it was eye opening to take a step back and meet the people who I am actually doing this research for. It is so easy to get caught up in classes and committee meetings and the next set of deadlines, that sometimes I forget about the big picture.

It was important to see that behind my work are real people with faces and names and senses of humor and affinities for the same TV shows as me. It’s not just coded cell lines and tubes of DNA. I feel a renewed interest and perspective in the work I’m doing. I encourage any stem cell researcher to jump at the opportunity to interact with the individuals who will ultimately be affected by your work. It is not just these patients’ consent and tissue samples I am grateful for now, but also a new excitement in my own research.

Jackie Ward

Want to hear more from Jackie? Check out her CIRM Stem Cell Science Pitch.

Ground breaking hip and stem cell surgery in Southampton

May 19, 2014Doctors and scientists in Southampton have completed their first hip surgery with a 3D printed implant and bone stem cell graft.The 3D printed hip, made from titanium, was designed using the patient’s CT scan and CAD CAM (computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing) technology, meaning it was designed to the patient’s exact specifications and measurements.The implant will provide a new socket for the ball of the femur bone to enter. Behind the implant and between the pelvis, doctors have inserted a graft containing bone stem cells.The graft acts as a filler for the loss of bone. The patient’s own bone marrow cells have been added to the graft to provide a source of bone stem cells to encourage bone regeneration behind and around the implant.Southampton doctors believe this is a game changer. Douglas Dunlop, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, conducted the operation at Southampton General Hospital. He says: “The benefits to the patient through this pioneering procedure are numerous. The titanium used to make the hip is more durable and has been printed to match the patient’s exact measurements – this should improve fit and could recue the risk of having to have another surgery.”The bone graft material that has been used has excellent biocompatibility and strength and will fill the defect behind the bone well, fusing it all together.”Over the past decade Mr Dunlop and Professor Richard Oreffo, at the University of Southampton, have developed a translational research programme to drive bone formation using patient skeletal stem cells in orthopaedics.The graft used in this operation is made up of a bone scaffold that allows blood to flow through it. Stem cells from the bone marrow will attach to the material and grow new bone. This will support the 3D printed hip implant.Professor Oreffo comments: “The 3D printing of the implant in titanium, from CT scans of the patient and stem cell graft is cutting edge and offers the possibility of improved outcomes for patients.”Fractures and bone loss due to trauma or disease are a significant clinical and socioeconomic problem. Growing bone at the point of injury alongside a hip implant that has been designed to the exact fit of the patient is exciting and offers real opportunities for improved recovery and quality of life.”For the patient, Meryl Richards, from Hampshire, the procedure means an end to her hip troubles. In 1977 she was involved in a traffic accident and since then has had to have six operations to mend her hip.She says: “The way medicine has evolved is fantastic. I hope that this will be the last time that I have to have a hip operation. I feel excited to have this pioneering surgery and I can see what a benefit it will have to me.”University of Southampton

Bone Marrow Transplantation Across Major Genetic Barriersby Yair Reisner (Author), Massimo F. Martelli (Author), Yair Reisner (Editor), Massimo F. Martelli (Editor)The importance of bone marrow transplantation for patients who do not have a matched sibling donor cannot be overestimated. This subject has always been in the public domain, accentuated by dramatic appeals, from time to time, to search for matched volunteer donors in the public at large. Unfortunately, the availability of such donors is limited, due to the remarkable genetic diversity of humans. Thus, although registries of such volunteers now include more than eight million individuals, we still face the problem of finding a matched donor for about 30% of patients in need. To address this burning issue, extensive clinical and basic research is performed in leading institutes around the world. This book presents updated accounts of the different aspects of this research. The scope of…

Practical Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantationby Andrew J. Cant (Editor), Angela Galloway (Editor), Graham Jackson (Editor)Practical Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation is the only comprehensive yet practical guide to the total care of the transplant patient. It provides a ready source of reference to help health care professionals involved in the management of patients requiring bone marrow and stem cell transplantations – covering many of the infections and complications that may arise. An essential, practical manual for all those working in the field of bone marrow and stem cell transplantationA balanced practical text aimed at the whole multi-disciplinary team Easy to use – practically organized – covering all aspects of pre and post transplant care – including social and psychological aspects Experienced and well respected editorial team Whether you are an established…

Clinical and Diagnostic Pathology of Graft-versus-Host Diseaseby Berno Heymer (Author), D. Bunjes (Assistant), W. Friedrich (Assistant)While comprehensive descriptions of the various aspects of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GvHd) have already been published, to date there is no monograph on the clinical and diagnostic pathology of this life-threatening disease. This book fills this gap and serves as a reliable guide to the histomorphologic diagnosis of GvHd. It contains a concise description of: the clinical pathology of GvHd; the applicability and limits of immunohistologic methods in the diagnosis of this disease; an instructive guide to the histological diagnosis; and differential diagnostic problems and potential diagnostic pitfalls.

Recent Advances in Cytometry, Part B, Volume 103, Fifth Edition: Advances in Applications (Methods in Cell Biology)by Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz (Editor), Elena Holden (Editor), William Telford (Editor), Donald Wlodkowic (Editor)Cytometry is one of the most rapidly growing methodologies available for basic cell and molecular biology, cytogenetics, immunology, oncology, environmental sciences and also various fields of clinical medicine. This new edition, split into 2 Parts, is an almost completely new book, with nearly all of the chapters devoted to new topics. Like the previous volumes on cytometry published as part of the Methods in Cell Biology series, it provides a comprehensive description of particular cytometric methods and reviews their applications. Chapters present the theoretical foundations of the described methods, their applicability in experimental laboratory and clinical settings, and describes common traps and pitfalls such as problems with data interpretation, comparison with alternative…

Renal Disease in Cancer Patientsby Kevin W. Finkel (Editor), Scott C. Howard (Editor)Renal Disease in Cancer Patients is a translational reference detailing the nephrological problems unique to patients with cancer in an organized and authoritative fashion. This book provides a common language for nephrologists, oncologists, hematologists, and other clinicians who treat cancer patients, to discuss the development of renal diseases in the context of cancer and options for their optimum diagnosis, management, and treatment. With the advent of better supportive care and the era of personalized medicine, patients with cancer are living longer, and oncologists and nephrologists now recognize the serious consequences of renal disease among these patients.  Designed especially with this new need in mind, Renal Disease in Cancer Patients presents the various renal diseases…

Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methodsby SaundersRecognized as the definitive book in laboratory medicine since 1908, Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods, edited by Richard A. McPherson, MD and Matthew R. Pincus, MD, PhD, is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary pathology reference that gives you state-of-the-art guidance on lab test selection and interpretation of results. Revisions throughout keep you current on the latest topics in the field, such as biochemical markers of bone metabolism, clinical enzymology, pharmacogenomics, and more!Update your understanding of the scientific foundation and clinical application of today’s complete range of laboratory tests. Get optimal test results with guidance on error detection, correction, and prevention as well as cost-effective test selection. Reference the…

Primer to The Immune Responseby Academic CellWritten in the same engaging conversational style as the acclaimed first edition, Primer to The Immune Response, 2nd Edition is a fully updated and invaluable resource for college and university students in life sciences, medicine and other health professions who need a concise but comprehensive introduction to immunology. The authors bring clarity and readability to their audience, offering a complete survey of the most fundamental concepts in basic and clinical immunology while conveying the subject’s fascinating appeal. The content of this new edition has been completely updated to include current information on all aspects of basic and clinical immunology. The superbly drawn figures are now in full color, complemented by full color plates throughout the book. The text is further…

Human Herpesviruses HHV-6A, HHV-6B & HHV-7, Third Edition: Diagnosis and Clinical Managementby Louis Flamand (Editor), Irmeli Lautenschlager MD PhD (Editor), Gerhard Krueger (Editor), Dharam Ablashi (Editor)Completely revised and updated, Human Herpesviruses HHV-6A, HHV-6B & HHV-7, Third Edition, delivers a contemporary and thorough review of HHV-6, beginning with foundational explorations of classification, molecular biology, and chromosomal integration of the virus, through to clinical details, including pathologic features of infection, and clinical effects on various organ systems. The work now includes coverage of HHV-7, a virus that remains underestimated in transplant reactivation, seizures, and encephalitis. The book examines the role of HHV-6 in myriad diseases, including cognitive disorders following bone marrow transplant, mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, encephalitis, Hodgkin’s disease lymphoma (HHV-6B), and glioma (HHV-6A). Descriptions of…

Essentials of Stem Cell Biologyby Academic PressFirst developed as an accessible abridgement of the successful Handbook of Stem Cells, Essentials of Stem Cell Biology serves the needs of the evolving population of scientists, researchers, practitioners, and students embracing the latest advances in stem cells. Representing the combined effort of 7 editors and more than 200 scholars and scientists whose pioneering work has defined our understanding of stem cells, this book combines the prerequisites for a general understanding of adult and embryonic stem cells with a presentation by the world’s experts of the latest research information about specific organ systems. From basic biology/mechanisms, early development, ectoderm, mesoderm, endoderm, and methods to the application of stem cells to specific human diseases, regulation and…

The development of a mesenchymal stem cell based bone graft system.by Sarina Sarah Kay Sinclair (Author)Enjoy a wide range of dissertations and theses published from graduate schools and universities from around the world. Covering a wide range of academic topics, we are happy to increase overall global access to these works and make them available outside of traditional academic databases. These works are packaged and produced by BiblioLabs under license by ProQuest UMI. The description for these dissertations was produced by BiblioLabs and is in no way affiliated with, in connection with, or representative of the abstract meta-data associated with the dissertations published by ProQuest UMI. If you have any questions relating to this particular dissertation, you may contact BiblioLabs directly.

The Secret to Mending a Broken Heart

When someone suffers a heart attack, part of the heart’s muscle cells are deprived of oxygen and die. They become encased in scar tissue. And they don’t come back. A top priority among researchers, therefore, has been finding a way to grow new heart muscle.

But the heart is a complex organ, and even as research moves forward questions remain how best to regenerate heart muscle cells. One such method has focused on injecting cells called cardiosphere-derived cells, or CDCs, directly into the damage site. And yesterday, a new study out of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute offered strong evidence as to how this method might actually work.

In the latest issue of Stem Cell Reports, a team led by Institute Director Dr. Eduardo Marban discovered that it’s not the CDCs themselves that are able to regenerate the cells—but rather molecules hidden inside, called exosomes.

Made up of many proteins stitched together, exosomes are involved in critical cellular processes, such as cell-to-cell communication. And though they were first discovered more than 30 years ago, scientists are just beginning to understand how they could be used to develop therapies. As Marban explained in a recent news release:

“[In this study] we have found that exosomes and the cargo they contain are crucial mediators of stem cell-based heart regeneration, and we believe this might lead to an even more refined therapy using the ‘active ingredient’ instead of the entire stem cell.”

In laboratory experiments, the team mimicked the effects of a heart attack on mice under anesthesia and then injected the mice not with the CDCs—as has previously been done—but with exosomes extracted from the CDCs. To their surprise, they found that the injecting exosomes—and exosomes alone—spurred muscle cell regeneration. And upon further examination, the team identified the elusive ‘crucial cargo:’ a tiny molecule called miRNA-146a that seemed to be calling at least some of the shots.

Marban and his team have reasoned that this molecule, and likely several others like it within the exosomes, are the driving force behind muscle cell regeneration. And in the future as they peel away more layers they could identify the exact molecular cocktail that spurs regeneration—which can then serve the basis for much-needed therapies.

Dr. Deepak Srivastava, an expert in cardiology and regenerative medicine at the Gladstone Institutes who was not involved in the study, was also encouraged by these results. As he recently told CIRM:

“This work raises the interesting possibility that cells could be used as a vehicle for delivery of therapeutic exosomes, and could even be manipulated to enhance delivery of desired therapies to damaged tissue. It will be important for this work to be reproduced and to determine the precise factors within the exosomes that account for the positive effects observed in mice.”

These findings come on the heels of the announcement that Capricor Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing therapies to treat heart disease, has entered into an exclusive agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to license exosomes originating from CDCs. CIRM has also seen the potential for CDCs, last year announcing the funding of a phase 2 trial for a treatment developed by Capricor.

Marban and his team are optimistic about these initial results, and how they could be used to develop therapies that don’t involve the injection of cells into the heart. As he told CIRM:

“We are very keen on the concept that exosomes may be useful as cell-free therapeutic agents. Although human studies using CDCs are ongoing, I want to develop exosomes as next-generation therapeutic agents.”

Anne Holden