Closing in on a cure

first_imgDUARTE – Andrew Raubitschek’s eyes light up when he talks about the new five-story building City of Hope National Medical Center is planning for his field.Raubitschek, head of the center’s new division of cancer immunotherapeutics and tumor immunology, remembers being fascinated as a medical student by the body’s natural ability to fend off infectious disease.Later, he wondered whether he could figure out a way to unleash those same defenses to fight cancer.Now the field – known as immunotherapy – has the technology and the groundwork laid and Raubitschek, who helped develop that foundation, is jealous of his son, Tony, who’s in his first year of medical school and has his future in research and treatment ahead of him.“The ability now, through our better understanding of immunology, through our much more sophisticated molecular biological approaches, now you can do things which 30 years ago you couldn’t do,” he said. “That’s sort of why I envy my son.”Raubitschek imagines that when Tony graduates, the cancer therapies in his medicine bag will be nontoxic products of immunotherapy. “It will be much more effective and we’ll understand much better what are the issues because we really will make magic bullets,” he said.Immunotherapy researchers are working to make such magic bullets by modifying the immune systems’ natural warriors – proteins called antibodies that form in response to infection and white blood cells called T cells. Immunotherapy shows promise Today, Raubitschek’s group builds on City of Hope’s distinguished track record of working with antibodies. They engineer and modify the proteins to deliver bits of radioactive material and other cancer fighting substances directly to cancer cells. The goal is to knock out the diseased cells while minimizing the number of healthy cells affected by the therapy.Although still experimental, the center is currently testing about a dozen of these approaches and those using engineered T cells. One trial involves the infusion of immune cells modified with antibodies into patients who have a form of aggressive brain cancer after surgery to seek out and destroy remaining tumor cells.Immunotherapy hasn’t always been a popular approach, and some previous treatments designed to modify the immune system have met with failure. But Louis Weiner, chairman of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said a better understanding of the natural immune response has advanced the field. “Immunotherapy has always been recognized as something that could ideally be useful but has been seen as unrealistic, and it’s only been in the last few years, I think, that the power and promise are beginning to become apparent to everybody.”Elsewhere in the country, researchers are working with antibodies and immune cells while others are developing cancer vaccines to prevent cancer from occurring or recurring.Caltech’s Nobel laureate president, David Baltimore, has been experimenting with a novel approach in mice using gene therapy to instruct blood forming stem cells to produce specific cancer fighting immune cells. “It produces more (immune cells) and it produces ones whose specificity of interaction is determined by us, not by the vagaries of the immune system,” Baltimore said. “We’re instructing the cells what kind of specificity they should have.”Raubitschek envisions something he calls multi-modal immunotherapy, which would combine all these tools to destroy cancer with a powerful attack. A new era of therapy The immunotherapy building isn’t the only addition to City of Hope. The NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center is also planning a building to bring together molecular biologists, chemists, computer scientists, statisticians and immunologists to work on experimental therapeutics with a focus on molecular-targeted therapies.Like tailors who fit clothes to the customer, researchers working in this field want to develop therapies that suit the specific molecular problems contributing to each patient’s cancer.They envision a future of personalized cancer care.Last summer, Richard Jove, previously the director of molecular oncology at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., arrived at City of Hope to fulfill his new role as deputy director of the cancer center, chairman of the division of molecular medicine and co-director of experimental therapeutics.It’s quite a list of titles and the list of projects he and his lab underlings are juggling is even longer. Perhaps that’s because he says his goal is to cure cancer before he gets it. Jove explains his work with eager but measured anxiousness. “We’ve got to hurry up and cure cancer,” he said one recent afternoon. He points to a simple looking equation to explain his underlying mantra: Molecular Signatures + Targeted Therapies = Improved Patient Outcomes. “This is the direction that we’re heading in and this is the direction the field is heading in and this is where the new therapies are going to come for the next, I predict, several decades at least for cancer therapy. So we’re entering a new era of cancer therapy,” he said.Using small gene chips called microarrays that can screen thousands of genes at a time for cancer-caused abnormalities, researchers identify potential molecular targets within cells that if altered, might have an impact on cancers. Figuring out all those potential targets is the process of determining a cancer’s molecular signature. The other part of the equation is coming up with drugs and treatments that will specifically affect a target once it’s been identified.City of Hope researchers have come up with dozens of promising targets and are taking a variety of approaches to develop therapies to address them. One of Jove’s jobs is to streamline the process of moving discoveries in the lab to treatments that can be tested in human clinical trials. He hopes to have one or two dozen drugs in that pipeline within a couple years. Hua Yu, a professor and researcher in the division of cancer immunotherapeutics and tumor immunology and Jove’s wife, focuses on a protein target called Stat3. Her lab has shown that Stat3 often plays a crucial role in helping tumors survive and spread, and also reaches out and disables immune cells. So, in a way, she provides a bridge between City of Hope’s two new buildings, working both with molecular targets and the immune system.As she sees it, cancer researchers must be “scientists with no borders,” collaborating between many fields, she said. “Wherever there is a sign that leads us to think we can help find the cure to cancer, we go for it.” [email protected](626) 578-6300, Ext. 4451 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Global travellers vote SAA as Africa’s best

first_img9 December 2014Global travellers have voted South African Airways (SAA) as the Best Airline in Africa at the annual Premier Traveler Magazine awards, which recognise the world’s top travel companies, SAA said in a statement on Monday.The publication’s annual reader choice survey recognised SAA’s “quality of product and customer service integrity” at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles last week.“We appreciate that Premier Traveler Magazine’s readers are global travellers who expect the best on the airlines they fly, so we are honoured and thankful that they have consistently named us as the best airline on the African continent throughout the years,” said Marc Cavaliere, SAA’s executive vice president in North America.“SAA has worked hard to continually enhance our products both in the air and on the ground to meet the needs of today’s discerning international business travellers.”Shan Willis, the executive editor of Premier Traveler, said that SAA is voted number one by our readers “year after year”.“SAA is consistently moving in a direction of excellence, continuing to raise the bar. Congratulations on this well-deserved honour,” he said.DestinationsSAA offers the most flights from the US to South Africa with daily nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and daily direct service from Washington DC-Dulles Airport to Johannesburg.From Johannesburg, SAA and its regional airline partners offer flights to over 55 business and leisure destinations throughout the continent.The airline celebrated its 80th anniversary this year, and also received the Skytrax World Airline Award for Best Airline Africa for the 12th consecutive year and Best Airline Staff Service Africa for the third year.With its regional partners and code shares, SAA operates to 40 destinations worldwide. In its domestic market, it operates 660 flights a week. Regionally, it offers 26 destinations across Africa. SAA’s international network links to all continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code shares.Source: South African Airwayslast_img read more

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Brand SA and Muslim Judicial Council to highlight religious tolerance in South Africa

first_imgBrand South Africa and the Muslim Judicial Council discuss their collaboration. From left, Thoko Modise, Manager: Civil Society, Brand South Africa; MI Abdul Khaliq Allie, Secretary General, Muslim Judicial Council; Sithembile Ntombela, General Manager: Marketing, Brand South Africa; Shaykh Achmat Sedick, Director, Muslim Judicial Council; and Dr Petrus de Kock, General Manager: Research, Brand South Africa.Brand South Africa and the Muslim Judicial Council have entered into an agreement to work together to tell the good story of religious tolerance in South Africa, following a meeting in late February to discuss collaboration between the two organisations.South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council, or MJC, is a non-profit faith-based organisation established in 1945. It is one of the country’s oldest, most representative and most influential religious organisations and enjoys local and international credibility.The MJC Halaal Trust is a major role-player in the positive promotion of and orientation on halal lifestyle for South African Muslims, specifically, and other communities, globally.The MJC is founded on the values of Ubuntu and tolerance, and speaks to South Africa’s motto of unity in diversity.A diverse but integrated societyOften referred to as the “rainbow nation”, South Africa is home to a fascinating mix of people. We are Africans, and people of European, Asian and mixed-race descent, enjoying hybrid mixtures of different cultures. But our overarching South African culture ensures that, no matter what a person’s heritage, they are, at heart, proudly South African.Indeed, as South Africa’s democracy evolves, it is becoming a more diverse but integrated country. Cultural diversity continues to be one of its strongest assets.MJC and Brand South Africa: the alignmentThe MJC’s alignment to the country’s values and ethos makes its fit with Brand South Africa more natural. While religious tolerance is a challenge in many countries, it is a success story in South Africa.Another of South Africa’s successes is not widely told: its important role in peacekeeping elsewhere on the African continent.Following the agreement, Brand South Africa will work with the MJC to promote the good story of religious tolerance in South Africa, a story that will contribute positively to the country’s reputation.The two organisations have agreed to collaborate on future stakeholder engagements, particularly international delegation strategic platforms.last_img read more

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PRETTYSHOP Hairpiece Hair Rubber Scrunchie Scrunchy Updos, The best beauty purchase I have ever made

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Future of solar energy in agriculture is bright

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Three solar energy experts will discuss the use of this renewable energy application in the agriculture industry at the Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum, Thursday, Mar. 21, 2019 from 8 – 9:30 a.m. The event is hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation (AIF).Lee Andre of Harvest Energy Solutions, will be joined by colleague Ken Zabarah, territory manager for Ohio and Indiana, as well as Daryl Stockburger, assistant director of utilities, City of Bowling Green, as they explain the use of solar energy in the Midwest, grid management, review of northwest Ohio region solar usage, and what the future holds for the industry.Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst concluded that solar energy has tremendous benefits in agriculture. For example, on a dairy farm where up to 40% of the energy used is for water heating, a solar water heater can reduce heating costs up to 85% annually.This forum is part of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership Pollution Prevention (P2) program, which utilizes the entire network of engineering resources, equipment manufacturers and suppliers at its disposal to provide complete and cost effective evaluations in power and lighting, water usage, utilities efficiency assessments, water and air discharge and sustainability.Arrive early, as breakfast and informal networking will start at 8 a.m., with the program to follow. The cost is just $10 per person when you RSVP in advance, or $12 per person at the door without RSVP (cash or check) which includes breakfast and networking opportunities.The Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum is an educational networking opportunity to provide information on current issues, trends and programs available to the agricultural community and those who support its advancement.The AIF is located at 13737 Middleton Pike (St. Rt. 582) in Bowling Green. Walk-ins are welcome, but guests are encouraged to reserve a seat in advance by visiting ciftinnovation.org.last_img read more

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