Saturday, 18 December 2010

Biotechnology & Competitiveness

Biotechnology is a new set of techniques that can be used in basic research, product development, and manufacturing in several different industries. Although it was primarily developed in the United States, funded mainly through government support for basic biomedical research, there are growing concerns that, like some other native technologies, biotechnology will be rapidly adopted and commercially applied elsewhere, leading to a loss of U.S. preeminence in this area.

Biotechnology was first applied commercially in producing diagnostics and therapeutics. These applications were the most obvious because most of the developers of the new techniques were conducting basic biomedical research. Most recently, genetically engineered biopesticides have won regulatory approval in the United States. Further agricultural applications are expected within the next 10 years.

In the United States, the earliest firms to exploit these new techniques were the dedicated biotechnology companies (DBCs). Financed with venture capital, they were founded in the late 1970s and early 1980s to apply the new techniques to the development of diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plants, and other products. Although these firms are often referred to collectively as the “biotech industry,” the dedicated biotechnology firms are, in fact, developing products and competing with firms in existing industries. DBCs, regardless of the products they make, share some characteristics and certainly compete with each other for capital. But industries are defined primarily by the products they produce and the markets in which they compete. As DBCs develop and become engaged in commercializing products, the problems they face are characteristic of the existing industries to which they belong. Thus, their problems become more understandable if DBCs are regarded not as “biotech companies’ but as young firms in, for example, the pharmaceutical, agricultural, or waste treatment industries.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Targeting Biotechnology Development

Because it encompasses several processes that have applications to many sectors of the U.S.
economy, some argue that biotechnology should be targeted by the Federal Government for aggressive government support and promotion. Currently, U.S. industrial growth depends on private sector entrepreneurship, Federal funding of research, and regulatory oversight of various research applications and commercial development.

Congress could target biotechnology through legislation that broadly singles it out for favorable treatment, or through measures that address specific problems faced by researchers and companies seeking to commercialize products developed through biotechnology. Legislative attempts to target biotechnology have focused on the establishment of national biotechnology policy boards and advisory panels for specific areas of research interest (e.g., agriculture, human genome, and biomedical ethics) and development of a national center for biotechnology information. Those who argue against targeting biotechnology say that it is not the role of the Federal Government to pick winners and losers in the world of commerce, that such efforts have more often failed than succeeded, and that attempts to target biotechnology cannot succeed due to the number of industries involved, all of which face different scientific, regulatory, patent, and commercial problems. Targeting biotechnology alone cannot assure increased competitiveness; fostering a research base (funding, training, and personnel) and maintaining an industrial capacity to convert basic research into products also is required.

Federal Funding for Biotechnology Research

An issue central to the competitive position of U.S. efforts in biotechnology is a sufficient and stable level of funding for areas of science crucial to the field. In relative and absolute terms, the United States supports more research relevant to biotechnology than any other country. Clearly, intensive and sustained Federal investment in applications of biotechnology to the life sciences has been transformed into commercial products in some industries faster than others. Commercial applications continue to be more advanced in areas such as human therapeutics and diagnostics, largely due to the high 22 l Biotechnology in a Global Economy levels of funding of basic biological research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other areas, such as agriculture, chemicals, and waste degradation, have not come close to approaching the same levels of funding enjoyed by the biomedical sciences. In some cases, such as agriculture and waste degradation, slow progress in commercial activity could be due in part to insufficient funds for basic research; in other cases, such as chemicals, potential products are simply not being developed because industry does not consider the biotechnology products or processes sufficiently better (either functionally or economically) than those that already exist.
Congress could determine that Federal levels of investment in R&D over recent years have adequately supported the forward integration of biotechnology into many sectors and have contributed to the commercial successes of U.S. biotechnology companies. Proceeding with the current funding patterns would ensure a stable level of research relevant to biotechnology and its applications. Such an approach, however, would perpetuate current disparities in research emphases, with biomedicine continuing to fare better than agriculture and waste management.

Biotechnology Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual-property law, which provides a personal property interest in the work of the mind, is of increasing importance to people using biotechnology to create new inventions. Intellectual property involves several areas of the law: patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and plant variety protection. All affect emerging high-technology industries because they provide incentives for individuals and organizations to invest in and carry out R&D. Many see protection of intellectual property as a paramount consideration when discussing a nation’s competitiveness in industries fostered by the new biology.
Broad patent protection exists for all types of biotechnology-related inventions in the United
States. The Supreme Court decision in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, that a living organism was patentable, along with action by Congress and the executive branch changing Federal policy to increase opportunities for patenting products and processes resulting from federally funded research have spurred biotechnology- related patent activity. Internationally,several agreements (e.g., the Paris Union Convention,the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Budapest
Treaty, the Union for the Protection of New Varietiesof Plants, and the European Patent Convention) provide substantive and procedural protection for inventions created through the use of biotechnology.
Despite a generally favorable international climate,a number of elements affect U.S. competitivenessin protecting intellectual property. The patent application backlog at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), domestic and international uncertainties regarding what constitutes patentable subject matter, procedural distinctions in U.S. law (e.g.,first-to-invent versus frost-to-file, priority dates, grace periods, secrecy of patent applications, and deposit considerations), uncertainties in interpreting process patent protection, and the spate of patent infringement litigation, all constitute unsettled areas that could affect incentives for developing new inventions.
The backlog of patent applications at PTO is frequently cited as the primary impediment to commercialization of biotechnology-related processes and products. Recent studies reveal that
the pendency period for biotechnology patent applications is longer than that of any other technology.

Monday, 25 October 2010

What are the barriers to Efficient Gene Transfer?

DNA, the common carrier of the genetic information for all living entities on this planet, is omnipresent and we are daily exposed to large quantities of foreign DNA (e.g., by food or bacterial infections). Under these circumstances, nature had to provide powerful barriers against the spontaneous insertion of foreign DNA sequences into the genomic DNA of cells. Barriers are the plasma membrane of the cell, the envelope of the cell’s nucleus, but also the possibility for DNA degradation in lysosomes and the cytoplasm. These protective mechanisms work rather well and even under optimized conditions it is by no means easy to genetically modify an eukaryotic cell (the terminus usually employed for this modification is to “transfect” the cell). However, the necessity to transfect cells for research purposes, the discovery of new and efficient reporter systems to verify the success of a transfection experiment (luciferase, green fluorescent protein) as well as the availability of powerful transfection reagents have spurred research in the area for many years. Several methods to transfer genes into cells have been developed during the last 30 years. However, considerable efforts to develop new techniques or to improve the efficiency of old ones are still being made.

Transfection reagents help to overcome the natural barriers to gene transfer by various strategies.

The steps involved in the transfer of a “gene” from the outside into the genome of the cell comprise of the following:

1. Compaction of the DNA,

2. Attachment to the cell surface,

3. Transport into the cytoplasm,

4. Import into the nucleus and

5. Insertion into the chromosomal DNA.

The mechanism by which a certain barrier is overcome is an important feature of the respective transfection reagent. In order to elucidate the difficulties in optimizing the genetic engineering of mammalian cells, the major steps of transfection as well as putative agents for reaching this goal will be discussed in detail in the following sections. The mechanisms for many of the above-mentioned five steps of transfection are still under discussion. This is especially the case for the later steps taking place inside the cell, i.e., transport into the cell and most importantly into the nucleus. The earlier stages of compaction and interaction with the cell surface are better understood. This has important consequences for our current ability to engineer transfection agents and procedures. It should be noted that man-made transfection procedures are still orders of magnitude less efficient than nature’s transfection agents, the viruses are. One to five infectious particles, i.e., viruses, per cell are sufficient in that case, compared to the 105– 106 plasmid molecules needed in most nonviral transfection methods.

Understanding the Process of compaction of DNA

Pure (“naked”) DNA has little chance to enter a cell. DNA is a huge, negatively charged and hence highly hydrophilic molecule. Cells are surrounded by a hydrophobic plasma membrane and, in addition, bear a negative surface charge. The plasma membrane contains several highly selective transporter units, which allow for the well-controlled introduction and excretion of certain molecules. Foreign DNA is normally not amongst the molecules allowed to enter the cell.

The first and best-understood step of transfection is therefore the necessity for “compaction” of the large, negatively charged DNA molecule. A suitable compacting agent is a positively charged molecule able to interact with the DNA and to neutralize or even overcompensate the negative charges. During compaction, the DNA forms stable complexes with the compaction agent, which either stay in solution or form a precipitate. In a typical transfection experiment, the complexes are formed in a reaction mixture containing the given amounts of purified DNA as well as the compaction agent under defined pH and salt conditions. The complex formation occurs spontaneously upon mixing. Within the next 30 minutes the complexes are added to the target cells. Usually, cells are exposed for several hours to the complexed DNA. Subsequently, the medium is exchanged in order to minimize possible toxic effects.

Two groups of molecules are currently investigated as compaction agents: cationic lipids and cationic polymers. Protonated amino groups provide the required positive charges in both cases. Amino groups are also found in some of the naturally occurring compaction agents such as spermine and spermidine. They are clearly the group of choice, since they allow the generation of a positive charge at physiological (neutral) pH. In addition, eukaryotic cells developed over eons of evolution special proteins (nucleosomes) with a high affinity to DNA, which also can complex DNA. The structure of these nucleosomes may in the future inspire the design of novel compaction agents. Prominent representatives are histones or protamines, naturally occurring ubiquitous DNA binding (compacting) proteins.

Cationic lipids are usually fairly small molecules, which mimic the structure of the cell’s plasma membrane and hence facilitate the passage of DNA into the cell by increasing the solubility of the DNA in the plasma membrane. These molecules consist of a hydrophobic (hydrocarbon) tail and a positively charged head-group. The hydrophobic tail promotes in aqueous solutions self-aggregation into larger structures (micelles, double layers) capable of interaction or even fusion with the cellular membrane.

The cationic polymers (such as polyethyleneimine, polyvinyl pyrrolidone) commonly used for transfection are fairly large molecules (up to 1,000,000 g/mol). They are soluble in water at neutral pH due to their positive charges. Linear as well as branched molecules are employed for transfection. In contrast to the cationic lipids, which usually were developed as dedicated transfection reagents, most cationic polymers have been developed for other applications and purposes. They are therefore available from several suppliers in a wide variety of purity and chemical homogeneity.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Government Regulations Biotechnology

Governments impose regulations to avert the costs associated with mitigating adverse effects expected to result from the use of the technology. But, developing regulations is difficult when a technology is new and the risks associated with it are uncertain or poorly understood. Because there have been no examples of adverse effects caused by biotechnology, projecting potential hazards rests on extrapolations from problems that have arisen using naturally occurring organisms. The consensus among scientists is that risks associated with genetically engineered organisms are similar to those associated with nonengineered organisms or organisms genetically modified by traditional methods, and that they may be assessed in the same way. Where similar technologies have been used extensively, past experience can be an important guide for risk assessment.

Many countries, in addition to the United States, have adapted existing laws and institutions to accommodate advances in biotechnology. However, it is no simple matter to base scientifically sound biotechnology regulation on legislation written for other purposes. The differences in approach from nation to nation, particularly through their effects on investment and innovation, will influence the ability of the United States to remain competitive in biotechnology on the international scene.

Industrial Policy Biotechnology

Industrial policy is the deliberate attempt by a government to influence the level and composition of a nation’s industrial output. Industrial policies can be implemented through measures such as allocation of R&D funds, subsidies, tax incentives, industry regulation, protection of intellectual property, and trade actions. Industrial policies in the United States are complex, fragmented, continually evolving, and rarely targeted comprehensively at a specific industry. There is no industrial policy pertaining to biotechnology per se, but rather, a series of policies formulated by various agencies to encourage growth, innovation, and capital formation in various hightechnology industries. And, just as there is no biotechnology policy in the United States, biotechnology companies tend to behave not as an industry but rather, as agrichemical firms, diagnostic firms, or human therapeutic firms. Biotechnology companies have been built on a unique system of financing, but they largely confront the same regulatory, intellectual property, and trade policies faced by other U.S. high-technology firms. There may be a need for the Federal bureaucracy to fine-tune its policies as biotechnology moves through the system, but, to date, Federal agencies have not seen the need to revolutionize their practices for biotechnology.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Environmental Applications Biotechnology

Although biotechnology has several potential environmental applications-including pollution control, crop enhancement, pest control, mining, and microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR)— commercial activity to date is minuscule compared to other industrial sectors. Bioremediation, efforts to use biotechnology for waste cleanup, has received public attention recently because of the use of naturally occurring micro-organisms in oil-spill cleanups. The U.S. bioremediation industry includes more than 130 firms, but it is the focus of few DBCs. Nevertheless, though small, the size of the commercial bioremediation sector in the United States far exceeds activity in other nations. Although bioremediation offers several advantages over more conventional waste treatment technologies, several factors hinder its widespread use.

Relatively little is known about the effects of micro-organisms in various ecosystems. Research data are not disseminated as well as research in other industrial sectors because of limited Federal funding of basic research and the proprietary nature of business relationships under which bioremediation is most often used. Regulations provide a market for bioremediation by dictating what must be cleaned up, how clean it must be, and which cleanup methods may be used; but regulations also hinder commercial development, due to their sheer volume and lack of standards governing biological waste treatment.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Chemical Industry Biotechnology

The chemical industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States and Europe. Currently, over 50,000 chemicals and formulations are produced in the United States. The consumption of chemical products by industry gives these products a degree of anonymity as they usually reach consumers in altered forms or as parts of other goods.

Biotechnology has a limited, though varied, role in chemical production. The production of some chemicals now produced by fermentation, such as amino acids and industrial enzymes, may be improved using biotechnology. Similarly, biotechnology can be used to produce enzymes with altered characteristics (e.g., greater” stability in harsh solvents or greater heat resistance). In many instances, biotechnology products will probably be developed and introduced by major firms without the fanfare that has accompanied other biotechnology developments and, like much of chemical production, will remain unknown to those outside the industry.

In the very long run, biotechnology may have a major impact in shifting the production of fuel and bulk chemicals away from reliance on nonrenewable resources (e.g., oil) and toward renewable resources (e.g., biomass). However, current work in this field appears to be limited, in part, because the international price of oil has remained too low to encourage investment in alternatives, and, in part, because the chemical industry throughout the world has restructured during the last 10 years, moving away from bulk chemical production and toward the production of specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Agriculture Biotechnology

Biotechnology has the potential to be the latest in a series of technologies that have led to astonishing increases in the productivity of world agriculture in recent decades. Biotechnology can increase food production by contributing to further gains in yield, by lowering the cost of agricultural inputs;and by contributing to the development of new high-value-added products to meet the needs of consumers and food processors. These potential products include agricultural input (e.g., seeds and pesticides), veterinary diagnostics and therapeutics, food additives and food processing enzymes, more nutritious foods, and crops with improved food processing qualities. Thus far, R&D has focused on crops and traits that are easiest to manipulate, particularly single-gene traits in certain vegetable crops. As technical roadblocks are lifted, research is likely to increase and spread to other crops and other traits.

In the United States, DBCs are applying biotechnology to agriculture, and well-established firms are adapting biotechnology to their existing research programs. The ability to profit from new products depends on a variety of factors, such as the potential size of the market for these products, the existence of substitutes, the rate at which new products and technologies are adopted, the potential for repeat sales using patent or technical protection, the existence of regulatory hurdles, and the prospect for consumer acceptance of these new foods.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Biotechnology : Threat to bio-diversity?

Biotechnology is a "important tool" to ensure food security, but should ensure that there were no adverse effects on human health and animal biodiversity, parliament was informed Monday.

"There is general agreement within the relevant ministries that biotechnology is an important tool for increasing productivity of agriculture and ensuring food security," said Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh during question hour in Rajya Sabha.

"At the same time, ensure that there were no adverse effects on human and animal health and biodiversity," he said.

He said that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) calls attention to resolving all issues related to Bt eggplant scientific "address.

Answering a question on whether the two members and a special guest to the GEAC was in disagreement with the approval given for the commercial production of Bt eggplant in the country.

Ramesh admitted it was true.

In this regard, noted that "the concern that the Bt eggplant could contaminate conventional crops and reduce crop genetic diversity of eggplant, because of gene flow.

However, Ramesh said, environmental safety studies conducted have not shown adverse effects of Bt eggplant

At the same time said that based on the opinions of various stakeholders during the public consultations organized by the Ministry established a moratorium on the commercialization of Bt eggplant by independent scientific studies on the safety of the product to determine from Given the point of their long-term effects on human health and the environment, including the genetic wealth of the rich eggplant that exist in our country. "

Norwegian Biotechnology Research Initiative

Challenges for society, the international focus, quality and cooperation at the national level are important considerations for the Council for Research and R & D community in planning a new initiative of biotechnology research in Norway.

Research groups are preparing for the next step in biotechnological research activities as the National Programme for Research in Functional Genomics in Norway (Fugue) reaches its end in 2011. In recent months the Research Council has sought the support of universities, institutes and industry to identify future research priorities.

Addressing the major challenges of society

"The main focus of the flight program on the technological aspects of research. In the next phase which will focus to a greater extent in how technology can meet the challenges facing society," says Seth Berg Steinar Hoc Advisory Council Research in Norway. He cites the climate and environment, health, food and nutrition, and population aging as examples of areas for research in this initiative. Mr. Seth Berg also emphasizes that the Norwegian biotechnology research, social problems from a global perspective.

Øystein RØNNINGEN, Special Adviser to the Council biofabricación Research Department, International Cooperation and Marketing, emphasized that research must fit into the current international approach. In his opinion, the EU Declaration of Lund in 2009 and the position of Biotechnology of the OECD as a major force behind the transition to an economy based on bio-economy here in 2030 to provide good guidance to further improve Norway's initiative in biotechnology.

High quality is essential for the international impact

Norway has high aspirations for participation in international research activities in biotechnology.

"The quality is critical if you want to succeed in international competition for research funding," said Ole-Jan Iversen, chairman of the board Fuge program.

Many points in the right direction: eight of the 21 Centers of Excellence • Excel Norway (SFF) research related to biotechnology, making the area around one of the strongest areas of research in terms of quality.

Biotechnology and life sciences?

If the drain followed by a program initiative that focuses more generally, what is known in international forums such as life sciences? This is a central theme in the current debate on biotechnology research in Norway.

A large number of actors of R & D agreement that this is a good direction to follow and I think that would help change the focus of the technology as the search for solutions to the challenges and reap the benefits of social resources already invested Norwegian biotechnology research. Moreover, there is a general consensus in the research community that Norway needs a special program for this type of research that have not been included in the existing thematic programs such as Food Program and of Aquaculture Program (Havbruk).

National strategy launched

Efforts to develop a national biotechnology strategy will be launched shortly under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Research. Admission Council for Research on the development of new biotechnology initiative is part of the basis of a strategy.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Mesothelioma Cancer Prognosis

Generally, the most important variable in determining the prognosis and life expectancy of a patient mesothelioma cancer stage at diagnosis. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is more difficult to "stage" than other cancers. This is true for two reasons:

1) because its quite rare, and
2) because its initial symptoms are subtle, it is often advanced when diagnosed, it is difficult to stage.

Peritoneal mesothelioma in particular can be difficult to stage because, while pleural mesothelioma has multiple classification systems, pathologists have not yet developed a system of staging for peritoneal mesothelioma. Both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma are very serious conditions and are not good prospects.

Since mesothelioma is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, the statistics of five-year survival for early stage mesothelioma are generally unreliable. He also can not say with certainty which of the two types is a bad diagnostic peritoneal mesothelioma or pleural mesothelioma. Numerous studies show that peritoneal is more deadly and rapidly spreading mesothelioma pleural mesothelioma, but these studies are often contradicted by scholars who argue pleural mesothelioma is the most dangerous and difficult to deal with both. Usually, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma is peritoneal or pleural said they may have less than a year to live. However, according to researchers at major research centers around the world this is not necessarily the case. More recent studies indicate that patients with mesothelioma may, in some cases, have a better appearance than previously thought.

These studies suggest that about 10% of all mesothelioma patients will be alive 3 years later and about 5% will be alive 5 years later. However, if mesothelioma is detected early and treated, 50% survive 2 years and 20% of people survive 5 years.

In a clinical trial involving 120 patients with different types of pleural mesothelioma, all patients underwent pleural pneumonectomy (removal of the lung and pleura), followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 45% were alive two years later and 20% were still alive five years later.

In the same study, patients with sarcomatoid and mixed mesothelioma was not as well. Only 20% of these patients were alive two years later, and none of them have survived five years.

However, patients who had no cancer in the lymph nodes and tumors of epithelioid type is much better. Nearly 75% survived more than two years and nearly 40% were alive after five years.

Another larger study conducted in Italy examined the records of 4.5 million people diagnosed with mesothelioma. The survival rates were as follows: 24% of people with pleural mesothelioma and 34% diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma were still alive one year after diagnosis. Two other important studies, in addition to examination of comparable populations, also revealed similar results.

Another variable that is extremely important for a patient is seeing his general health at the time of diagnosis. In general, the health of a patient, the better he or she will react to treatments against cancer, and the chances of longer survival. Doctor's have a method of classifying patients' health and to give each patient a score at diagnosis. This method of classification is called a patient's condition "performance" (PS). The best score is 0 and indicates a patient can normally take care of himself or with the help of. A performance index of 1 indicates that the patient can do things, but may need assistance. The more deteriorated health of the patient, the higher the number.

The patient must always keep in mind that statistics such as those mentioned here are by no means definitive. Survival has much to do with a number of different factors, including health, the type of mesothelioma, the choice of treatment, and even a moral patient. The statistics listed here are too general for patients to get an accurate idea of their own look.

Patients should consider taking part in clinical trials. Although nobody can say exactly why patients who are treated in clinical trials do better on average than those treated conventionally. Maybe with all the testing and monitoring that is done, patients become more confident that everything that can possibly be done is done.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Cancer genes switched off in humans

For the first time, researchers have used short sequences of RNA that can effectively treat skin cancer in people by silencing specific genes behind tumour production.

Mark Davis from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and his colleagues have used the technique, called RNA interference (RNAi), to deliver particles containing such sequences to patients with the skin cancer melanoma.

When analysing biopsies of the tumours after treatment, they found that the particles had inhibited expression of a key gene, called RRM2, needed for the cancer cells to multiply.

The researchers created the particles from two polymers plus a protein that binds to receptors on the surface of cancer cells and pieces of RNA called small-interfering RNA, or siRNA, designed to stop the RRM2 gene from being translated into protein.

The siRNA works by sticking to the messenger RNA (mRNA) that carries the gene's code to the cell's protein-making machinery and ensuring that enzymes cut the mRNA at a specific spot.

When the components are mixed together in water, they assemble into particles about 70 nanometres in diameter. The researchers can then administer the nanoparticles into the bloodstream of patients, where the particles circulate until they encounter 'leaky' blood vessels that supply the tumours with blood.

The particles then pass through the vessels to the tumour, where they bind to the cell and are then absorbed. Once inside the cell, the nanoparticles fall apart, releasing the siRNA. The other parts of the nanoparticle are so small, they pass out of the body in urine.

"It sneaks in, evades the immune system, delivers the siRNA, and the disassembled components exit out," Nature quoted Davis as saying.

When researchers analysed tumour samples from three of the patients who volunteered samples, they found fragments of the mRNA in exactly the length and sequence they would expect from the design of their siRNA.

And in at least one patient, the levels of the protein were lower than they were in samples of the tumours taken before treatment.

They also found that patients who were given higher doses had higher levels of siRNA in their tumours. "The more we put in, the more ends up where they are supposed to be, in tumour cells," said Davis.

Davis says that by targeting specific genes he hopes these treatments will not have major side effects. "My hope is to make tumours melt away while maintaining a high quality of life for the patients. We're moving another step closer to being able to do that now," he said.

The study has been published in Nature.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Mesothelioma: Burn pits contained asbestos

The US military's largest contractor, KBR, has testified in court that it burned hazardous materials (including asbestos) in so-called "burn pits" in Iraq and Afghanistan at the behest of military officials. The company is hoping to avoid being held accountable for the burn pits, which may have exposed US military personnel overseas to toxic materials that could ultimately cause cancer later in life.

For example, asbestos burned in the pits could have become airborne. If inhaled or ingested, these airborne asbestos particles can lead to the development of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lungs and other major organs and tissues.

A class action suit was filed in October of last year against KBR and other companies. Combining 22 lawsuits from 43 states, the class action case was filed in US District Court in Maryland against KBR, Halliburton, and other military contractors. The plaintiffs are seeking damages after developing health issues that were allegedly caused by being in close proximity to these burn pits overseas, which were used for trash disposal.

KBR is not denying that the burn pits they operated did contain hazardous materials such as batteries, petroleum, asbestos, and medical waste. Instead the company hopes to challenge the idea that they should be held accountable for the items burned in the pits, as KBR was allegedly just following orders from high-ranking military officials.

According to one military reporter: "Though military officials say there are no known long-term effects from exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 100 service members have come forward to Military Times [a newspaper] and Disabled American Veterans with strikingly similar symptoms: chronic bronchitis, asthma, sleep apnea, chronic coughs and allergy-like symptoms. Several also have cited heart problems, lymphoma and leukemia."

KBR is also being sued by a group of veterans who were exposed to hexavalent chromium while protecting KBR employees at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant. The men have since suffered from a variety of symptoms, including difficulty breathing. A recent blog post on our Veterans Blog highlights the issue of hexavalent chromium and veteran exposure.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Mesothelioma diagnosed into Pleura

To the asbestos. mesotheliooma is not ant contagious and cancer and cannot also be passed from to one person or to another . Mesothelioma is diagnosed by the pathological examination from biopsy.

this diseases is basic also a malignant cancer and also more common .
Mesothelioma is also a form type of a cancer that is also almost always and baric also caused by the previous exposure.

Than what is it cancer all about?
Mesothelioma cancer is a tyoe of cancer like no other ones. Mewsothelioma is also nothing but also a cancer of all the mesothelium.
Mesothelkioma is also basic a type of a cancer that also attacks many mesothelial all the cells of the boby .

Mesothelioma is more and
Common in the men than in women . this diseas is also very similar to also other cancers in the respect to the treatments .

this diseases usually also develops in only one lung this disease normally also begins in the lungs and also spread to abdominal lining , which also worsens condition . Mesothelioma is basic also a rare of cancer. Cases of the diseases have been also found in the people whose only
Exposure breathing in the air through the ventilation systems .

how long does it takes after exposure for a mesothelioma cancer to show up? .
Is thete also any promising research on this?or are thre any promising drugs for mesothelioma ?.

This diseases is also cased by the breathing in the asbestos dust. this diseases is also basic divided into the three main types.

Once this diseases is suspected through the imaging tests , it is also confirmed by the pathological examinatioon . The most common type of the disease is basic the type pleural Mesothelioma.

Diagnosis diagnosing this disease is also often basic very dificult, because the symptoms are basicalso very similar to those of any number of other coundisions.

The medical and the informartion are also contained and was compiled as a importnant service to all the pationts whit this kind of the disease and also their families and has also never not been endored by the physicians or any licensed medical professionals out there.

Stages of the disease. Once the diseases basic is found , more and more tests will also be done to find out if the cance cells have been spread to any other parts of the body . The histologic and the variants of the malignant.

this disease are also basic epithelial and also ibrous sarcomatous. six to also 80% of all the patients with the malignant whit this type disease report also a hi soy very time of the asbestos exposure.

The scholarly Information. Mesotheliomas are also primary tumors arising from also the surface lining of pleura 80% of all the case or peritoneum 20% of all these case. Experts opinion are also varies from times to time just how much the actual exposure is and nesessary to the develop of the type Malign at Mesothelioma Cancer.

The primary are a vary risk factors for the diseases and its asbestos exposure . Swallowed asbestos fires can also move fast through the stomach and wall and also case mesothelioma to also develop in peritoneum this cancer disease may also present itself also in many froms . This is also because there is also basic a vary long time gap between that exposure and also the onset of this type kind of disease.


Pleural mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat because it can spread so extensively and it is generally not diagnosed until it is in the more advanced sages , maling surgical removal of all the cancer difficult or impossible . Because it is a relatively rare cance, mesothelioma has been studied as much as more common forms of cancer . The stage at which treatment for meothelioma is begun has a tremendous impact on the patient"s prospects for long -term survival .

The American Cance Society reportsthat some pleural mesothelioma patents in stage i have had their mesothelioma successfully removed through an involved surgical procedure calledextraoleural pneumonectomy . Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a grueling surgery only ofered to patients in otherwise good health. The entire affected lung plus the pleural lining of the chest wal, diaphragm, and pericardim on the affected side are removed. Srgeons then reconstuct the diaphragm and the percardium .

This procedure works best for patients with eitelioid ceel mesothelioma.

Some patients who ave had a successful extrapleural pneumonectomy are now enjoying long remissions . A study of 120 patients, who underwent extraplural pneumonectomy at the dana-Farber cancer lnstitute in Boston between the years 1980 and 1995, revealed that 22 persent of these patients suvvied five years or longer. The surgery for these patients had beemn ollowed by chemotherapy and radation (cancer help UK,2008).

removing most o the mesothelioma from patient in stage 111 in a procedure called pleurectomy / decortication may also incrase apatient"s life expectancy. The aim of this prcedure is palliative, as it can cntrl fluid buildup and relieve pain and pressure. Factors lnfluencing the Prognosis
The patient"s overall health status ans age affect the prognosis.

The Ameican cancer sociely reports that 75 percent of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are 65 years old or older . Men are five times more likely to have mesothelioma than women are .

When mesothelioma is dagnosed , the doctors look at how far the cancer has spread and several health factors . Pleural mesothelioma patients have a poorer prgosis if they are experiencing chest pain , shortness of breath , inablity to perfrm daily tasks , weight loos , a low red blood cell count , a high white blood cell count , and hig blood levels of a substance called LDH. American cancer society , most mesothelioma patients who have all these factors present pa away within six months of theri diagnosis . It is rere mesothelioma survival rate .

The percent of cancer patients who live five years or more ater heir diagnosis for cancer is called the five year survival rate. In 2006, the five years for mesothelioma was estimated at around 10present .The American cancer society reminds people that this rate is slowly improving and that it is based on people who were diagnosed and teated more than five years ago.Patients who are newly diagnosed may have a higher survival rate because treatment for mesothelioma is continuing to improve.

GATA-1: A Protein That Regulates Proteins

Proteins are the cell’s special machines that perform a variety of tasks. Some of them help to regulate the production levels of other proteins by influencing the transcribing of the DNA genes that code for the proteins. New research is investigating how one such transcription factor, GATA-1, works and, as usual, it isn’t simple.

Looking at baby red blood cells in mice, the research found the genes that GATA-1 influences are positioned together along the DNA molecule. GATA-1 binds to specific locations along the DNA molecule and genes that cluster around those locations tend to be induced or repressed by the binding of GATA-1. Genes not in these clusters are relatively unaffected. So if GATA-1 is to influence the production of certain proteins, then the corresponding genes need to be positioned in these regulatory clusters.

But why are some genes induced while others are repressed? One factor is how close the gene is to the GATA-1 protein. The closer genes tend to be induced whereas the more distant genes tend to be repressed. So the positioning of the genes is even more fine-tuned. Not only are the genes to be influenced found in the regulatory clusters, but their position within the cluster is important.

There are other factors as well. For instance, TAL1 is another transcription factor and when it is absent the nearby genes are usually repressed. This is usually accompanied by a modification of one of the histone proteins around which the DNA is wrapped. Specifically, the 27th amino acid in histone H3, a lysine, is trimethylated (three methyl groups are added to the side chain).

These and other factors help to explain how GATA-1 works to regulate protein production, and why some genes are induced while others repressed. But the observed factors do not fully explain the patterns of protein production. For instance, many repressed genes do not lack the TAL1 transcription factor. There is still more to be learned.

Evolutionists believe these protein regulation mechanisms and factors arose from molecular mishaps that were passed on. Those mishaps that luckily helped out persisted. The gene positionings, GATA-1 design, production and binding sites, TAL1, histone trimethylation machine, and other intricacies just happened to arise by happenstance. And they worked. Religion drives science and it matters.

Yeast Ribosomal RNA Genes Boost Genome Stability

Genes coding for ribosomal RNA help to maintain the stability of yeast genomes, according to a study appearing online today in Science.

By comparing four Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with different ribosomal RNA gene copy numbers, a Japanese research team found that that the strains with fewer ribosomal genes or rDNA were more sensitive to DNA damage caused by chemicals or ultraviolet light. This sensitivity seems to be due to a role for rDNA genes in recombination repair and sister chromatid cohesion. As such, the findings suggest rDNA amplification systems may have evolved in eukaryotic cells to maintain genome stability.

"The extra rDNA copies facilitate condensin association and sister-chromatid cohesion, thereby facilitating recombinatorial repair" senior author Takehiko Kobayashi, a researcher affiliated with Japan's Graduate University for Advanced Studies and the National Institute of Genetics, and co-authors wrote.

Organisms often have multiple sequences coding for rRNA and other RNA products, the researchers explained. In yeast, for example, tandem repeat sequences of rDNA genes are often found in clusters along chromosomes — past research suggests chromosome 12 houses some 150 copies of rDNA genes.

A gene amplification system in yeast and other eukaryotes seems to prop up the number of rDNA genes, despite gene loss through recombination. And although some rDNA is transcribed into rRNA, at least half of the copies of yeast rDNA aren't. A similar pattern has been reported in other organisms, including plants, the team noted, which seem to have thousands of untranscribed rDNA copies.

In an effort to explore what extra copies of rDNA genes are doing in the yeast genome, the researchers examined four S. cerevisiae strains that had 20, 40, 80, or 110 copies of rDNA genes.

Each of the strains produced typical levels of rRNA and grew well under normal conditions. But when the yeast strains were exposed to ultraviolet light or to the chemical methyl methanesulfonate, the strains with fewer rDNA copies were more sensitive to these DNA damaging agents.

By curbing rDNA transcription in the strain with the greatest number of rDNA copies by removing RNA polymerase I genes, the team showed that they could make this strain as sensitive to DNA damage as the low copy strain.

Their subsequent experiments suggest the S. cerevisiae strain with just 20 copies of rDNA apparently undergoes increased rDNA recombination following DNA damage compared with strains that had more rDNA copies.

And, the team noted, this strain also had more chromosomal damage and replication problems — particularly involving chromosome 12 — than the high copy strain.

When they screened yeast mutants looking for mutations that eliminated the rDNA copy number-related sensitivity to DNA damage, the researchers identified several genes involved in recombination repair.

Based on such findings, they propose that yeast stains with fewer rDNA copies may be less able to repair recombination changes to rDNA because so many of the genes are tied up in the process of transcription.

In addition, their experiments suggest low copy rDNA strains have problems with cohesion between sister chromatids, adding to their DNA damage sensitivity.

"Our results suggest that multiple copies of rDNA are required to reduce rDNA transcription and allow efficient replication-coupled recombination repair by facilitating condensin association and sister-chromatid cohesion," the team wrote.

And because bacteria have far fewer rDNA copies than eukaryotic cells — and lack the rDNA amplification system found in these cells — they argued that rDNA copy number evolution might correspond to the advent of organisms with larger cells.

"Bigger cells needed more ribosomes and rDNA transcription," the researchers concluded. "This increased rDNA transcription would have been toxic due to greater sensitivity to DNA damage caused by environmental factors … selecting for cells that can maintain multiple rDNA copies, and resulting in the evolution of the rDNA amplification system."