Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Stem cell transplant unit launched: Health24: Genetics: News

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on August 5, 2010 at 11:42 am
Stem cell transplant unit launched

Created: Thursday, August 05, 2010

The largest stem cell transplant unit in South Africa was launched at a Pretoria hospital this week.

Pretoria, South Africa

Speaking after the official launch on Wednesday night, Jackie Thomson who heads up the Albert Alberts Haemopoitic Stem Cell Transplant Unit at the Netcare Pretoria East Hospital said many potential patients did not realise that transplants could be undertaken in South Africa and therefore travelled abroad for treatment.

Most transplants in Africa

Thomson said the hospital’s unit completes over 80 transplants annually, more than any other country on the continent.

Haemopoitic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of blood stem cells from blood or bone marrow in the case of bone marrow transplantation.

It is used for the treatment of diseases of the blood, bone marrow and certain cancers. Thomson is assisted by haematologist David Brittain and paediatric oncologist Dr David Reynders…

via Stem cell transplant unit launched: Health24: Genetics: News.

Scientists discover antibody that kills 91 percent of HIV – SmartPlanet

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on July 11, 2010 at 11:47 am

Scientists discover antibody that kills 91 percent of HIV

By Andrew Nusca | Jul 8, 2010

Paving the way for an AIDS vaccine, scientists have discovered two potent antibodies, the strongest of which can neutralize 91 percent of HIV strains.

Researchers from the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases discovered the antibodies in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man, whose body made the antibodies naturally.

“We have used our knowledge of the structure of a virus—in this case, the outer surface of HIV—to refine molecular tools that pinpoint the vulnerable spot on the virus and guide us to antibodies that attach to this spot, blocking the virus from infecting cells,” VRC director Gary Nabel said in a statement.

Last year, an HIV vaccine demonstrated roughly 30 percent efficacy. This new discovery triples the potency.

The announcement comes just over a week before the International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

The scientists found the antibodies, named VRC01 and VRC02, using a molecular device they developed — an HIV protein that the scientists modified so it would react only with antibodies specific to the site where the virus binds to cells it infects.

The researchers were able to determine the atomic-level structure of VRC01 when it’s attached to HIV, allowing them to design components of a potential vaccine that could teach the human immune system to make similar antibodies that could feasibly prevent infection by the vast majority of HIV strains worldwide.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 33 million people had HIV in 2008. An estimated 2.7 million contracted the virus that year.

Led by NIAID scientists Peter Kwong, John Mascola, and Gary Nabel, the research team screened some 25 million cells to discover 12 that produced the antibodies, reports the Wall Street Journal.

One question is whether scientists will be able to successfully use the antibodies to develop a vaccine to protect against AIDS.

Another is how quickly the antibodies can influence the human body to produce its own. It’s entirely possible that they could take months or years — another hurdle.

For now, the researchers plan to test the new antibodies in several ways. According to the Journal report, that includes:

  • Directly administering them like a drug;
  • Applying them as a “microbicide” gel before sexual intercourse;
  • Boosting an infected patient’s existing drug regimen.

To begin walking down that path, the VRC has contracted with a company to produce an antibody that’s safe for humans.

“Antibodies are like people: every single one is unusual in its own specific way,” said VRC structural biologist Peter Kwong to Nature. “These antibodies are freaks of nature.”

The research was published Thursday in the online edition of the journal Science.

via Scientists discover antibody that kills 91 percent of HIV – SmartPlanet.


In ALL ARTICLES on October 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm



Janet Jackson recently arrived in Milan, Italy to chair at an amfAR charity event, as they try to raise funds and awareness. There are a lot of organizations that operate on the frontlines of the battle against AIDS and are proportionately well funded, providing things like housing, counseling and the essentials to better living.

However, amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) is disproportionately under-funded receiving a small amount of the money spent on AIDS Research. Whereby if there was an intelligence department in AIDS Research they are it, as in over a period about 25 years founded in 1985 they spent about $300 million on their mission. However there were over 25 million deaths due to the complications of AIDS and at least 33 million infected as of this day. People are living longer with AIDS now, but it is still for most a death sentence.

Janet Jackson arrives in Milan, Italy for amfAR Charity event

Yes it is important to serve those underserved in society such as People Living with AIDS, but the only real hope is in finding a cure to eradicate this dreadful disease. And that is the mission of amfAR. I think with the promises of Stem Cell Research there should be a resurgence of enthusiasm and not settling for just treatments that ultimately leads to death, but an actual cure.


There was a recent BUZZ stating that there is a female contraceptive ring that can prevent the transmission of AIDS, so there has been real progress in AIDS research. Hopefully a cure will be found in the life time of the many infected people as of this day.

Ethan Zohn looks to survive Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (+chemo)

In CELEBRITIES & STEM CELLS on October 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Ethan Zohn

Three months of chemotherapy this past summer weren’t enough to knock out Ethan Zohn’s case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So he’s back in the hospital, connected to tubes and wires, undergoing even more chemotherapy – and in his latest video diary, he takes viewers inside his tiny room to share the experience and let his fans know how he’s doing.

“I have been locked in this room for three days, and I’ve gone a little bit stir crazy, I’m not gonna lie,” says the Survivor: Africa winner, reclining in a hospital bed in part one of a new three-stage battle he’s waging against the resurgent cancer.


Ethan Zohn_ & Jenna Morasca

In late August, Zohn discovered that the cancer he had been treating since May had actually spread. Last month, he began an intense treatment regimen, starting with two new chemo sessions. Those will be followed by radiation therapy, and – in December – a complete stem-cell replacement therapy that will keep him in the hospital for 30 days straight.

Finding a way to break his stir-craziness after three days, the always-driven athlete says in the video that he was excited to finally get up and walk around – just before taping his message to viewers.


Ethan Zohn - Survivor

“They finally let me out in the hallway where I could do some walking,” he says. “Fourteen laps [around the hall] is a mile, and of course I tried to break the record – so I did 28 laps. Which I’m pretty happy about.”

Showing his usual upbeat nature, Zohn adds that he’s feeling positive about the new chemotherapy: “So far so good. I feel it killing all the cancer in my body, and I’m excited to keep doing what I’m doing – and I’ll see you soon,” he says.

via {alltv} Getting Chemo with Ethan Zohn | Hottest Celebrity Photos 2009.

Korean Funding for Stem Cell Research Dwindling

In ALL ARTICLES, CATCH UP!, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm

“Korean researchers are regarded as world class in stem cell therapy to treat brain and vascular diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and atherosclerosis.”  The US is barely out of the starting blocks.  Why is that? -DG



Updated Feb.20,2009 11:34 KST

Stem cell research funding from the Korean government decreased from W35 billion in 2007 to W34.4 billion last year, according to the Postech Biotech Center (US$1=W1,480).

Meanwhile, the United States invested at least W1 trillion on stem cell research, and the United Kingdom W139 billion. Japan spent W127 billion and France W63 billion. Even Singapore and South Africa made greater investment than Korea, with W46 billion and W44 billion.

Korean researchers are regarded as world class in stem cell therapy to treat brain and vascular diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and atherosclerosis. Clinical trials of stem cell therapy are expected in Korea within one or two years.

via Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea.

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