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Turmeric could Be The World’s Most Important Herb.600 reasons why.PLEASE SHARE.

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

This article was supplied by herbs-info.com

We found a simply astonishing page all about Turmeric and had to share! I honestly think it is one of the best pages about a herb I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a fair number!) The link is after our commentary.

There are several things that are amazing about the page we discovered. First – of course – the fact that there is scientific research to support the notion that turmeric may be beneficial for a staggering 600+ conditions. It is one of the world’s most studied items for medicinal potential, with over 4000 scientific studies being recorded overall.

Then there is the fact that the mighty turmeric has been in use for over 6000 years, with an incredible safety record. Note also, the effects of turmeric have been found by scientists to be greatly enhanced when it is taken in combination with black pepper (see our report here – Substance In Black Pepper Increases Bioavailability Of Beneficial Turmeric Compounds by 2000% )

Even more amazing is the way the article weaves a crystal-clear narrative that exposes the farce behind the fact that the modern medical world will perhaps never approve turmeric “officially” for medical use. It explains clearly that “proof” is effectively only purchased by those with very deep pockets (802 million dollars on average is the cost for obtaining a new drug approval). [1] The situation is a complete joke. Turmeric is clearly and obviously one of the most benign and beneficial things in the known universe.

But most amazing of all, to me, was the comment from the man who states calmly that he is one of the world’s longest survivors of the kidney transplant operation (34 years since the op, the world record is 40 years) and he takes capsules of turmeric (and other herbs) daily. Truly inspiring stuff.

The original article is fantastic, electrifying even – and we encourage you to share this article www.newcures.info  far and wide. Here’s the link: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/600-reasons-turmeric-may-be-worlds-most-important-herb

www.foodpassions.net

Henry Sapiecha

Substance In Ginger Found 10,000x As Effective as Chemo Against Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

An intriguing and possibly highly important study [1] has recently been published regarding the action of 6-shogaol (a ginger compound) against cancer cells. This study has been “doing the rounds” on social media but in many cases it has been misreported and highly misrepresented – either through misunderstanding of the (admittedly a little complex) science involved – or through deliberate exaggeration of the facts in order to create “headline sizzle”. Many of the social media articles we saw did not even link to the original research!

We’re going to do our best to clear it all up for you today, “joining the dots” with some of the other amazing research that is being done in this field and attempting to interpret the studies in terms that both make sense to the lay person and won’t offend persons of science.

Short Summary:

The quick takeaway for those in a hurry: 6-shogaol, a compound in ginger, has been found to have amazing activity against breast cancer cells in cell cultures in the lab – including action against simulations of “stem cells” – the “mother ship” of cancer cells that chemo showed no activity against even at 10,000x concentration. The action of 6-Shogaol against the cancer cells happens at concentrations that do very little harm to healthy cells. Other studies have shown that these ginger compounds are bio-absorbed but are converted into other forms in the body, leaving some uncertainty as to whether these new forms are as active, more active or less active against actual cancer. Recent research however has found a strong possibility that ginger may have an actual anti-cancer action in vivo, leading us to conclude that ginger should be considered a prime candidate for inclusion in an “anti-cancer diet” (subject to approval from your physician of course! We have to say this; we do not make actual medicinal recommendations for legal reasons.)

Ginger Compound vs. Chemotherapy (Taxol):

In this in vitro study, 6-Shogaol showed astonishing activity against “spheroids” – stem cell-like simulations – against which taxol (standard chemotherapy treatment derived from yew tree) showed no activity at even 10,000x the concentration. [1] The inability of taxol to kill the stem cells has been a past stumbling block of cancer therapy. 6-shogaol was found “only” 2 to 5 times as active than taxol against the “regular” breast cancer cells (still an impressive result).

What’s really awesome is that 6-shogaol showed high selectivity – and normal (non-cancerous) cells showed strong resistance to it even after 6 days. 6-shogaol was effective in killing both breast cancer monolayer cells and spheroids at doses that were not toxic to noncancerous cells. [1]

This study adds to the impressive list of studies in which ginger compounds have been found highly active against cancer cells in vitro while also showing very high selectivity, not harming normal / healthy cells.

However what remains to be fully understood (this is an essential point) is the bioavailability of 6-shogaol after digestion. In other words, an in vitro study such as this does not indicate whether or not eating ginger will do you any good, because if 6-shogaol is broken down by stomach acids, it is unlikely to reach its intended site anyway. Even if it does make it into the bloodstream – how will it “get inside” the cancer? The “metabolic fate” of compounds which destroy cancer cells in in vitro studies are often overlooked by the casual researcher (and the numerous social media outlets reporting on such matters) – and so the “first step” in your education on this matter should be to understand that an in vitro study such as this cannot be considered as evidence in any way that the nutrient will have an effect on cancer.

That said, it might. We did a little research…

Ginger Phytochemistry:

The chemical constituents of ginger (and ginger supplements) have been known for some years [2][3]. 6-shogaol is one of the 4 main pungent constituents of ginger [4] (the others are 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol and 10-gingerol. Shogaols are chemically similar to gingerols – being the dehydrated form thereof. Interestingly, Shogaols are found in only small quantities in the fresh root and are mainly found in the dried and thermally treated roots; with 6-shogaol becoming the most abundant of these constituents when ginger is dried or cooked. [5] There are smaller amounts of other gingerols, shogaols and many further compounds in ginger; these are largely untested but may contribute significantly to the health benefits of the whole root.

Bioavailability Of 6-Shogaol:

As it happens, a 2010 study has investigated the bioavailability of 6-shogaol. [4] Their notes reported first of all that prior to that study, few studies had examined the bioavailability of 6-Shogaol. They stated: “Despite ginger being investigated in over 30 clinical trials in humans with over 2300 subjects, only a handful of studies in rats and our study in healthy volunteers have examined the absorption, bioavailability, metabolites and elimination of ginger constituents. In rat studies, only two of the pungent

compounds, 6-gingerol and zingerone, have been investigated, and in two of the rat studies 6-gingerol was administered as an intravenous bolus, which is unlikely to be reflective of usual oral dosing. Moreover, until we conducted a study in healthy volunteers no pharmacokinetic studies have been conducted in humans nor had any studies in mammals or in vitro examined the other major pungent constituents, namely 8- and 10-gingerols and 6-shogaols.” [4]

A further study from the same team studied 6-shogoal in a clinical trial to determine whether it is passed to the bloodstream intact. [6] It was found that 6-shogoal is absorbed by the body after oral dosing but is bio-converted (either in the liver or intestinal mucosa, researchers were not sure) to glucuronide conjugates – which can be detected in serum for a few hours after ingestion; before being eliminated by the body’s natural processes.

The researchers summarized succinctly here: “In [previous] study, 6-shogaol [had been] found to induce apoptosis, autophagocytosis and growth inhibition in ovarian cancer cells at 2.21 μg/mL (7.5 μmol/L). All of these in vitro studies required higher concentrations of free ginger constituents than found in the serum in this study – putting the clinical validity of these and similar studies in question. However, gingerols and shogaols may reach higher serum concentrations within target tissue compared to serum, e.g., gut. Ginger conjugates may also be as or more biologically active compared to parent compound. Clearly, further research is needed to answer these questions and determine the cancer prevention relevance of ginger.”

Action Of Ginger Compounds Against Cancer In Vivo:

This research appears to be underway and we are getting closer to a positive result: A further study from the esteemed Oxford University Press, published in Carcinogenesis (2014) [7], has found astonishing synergistic results for the anti-cancer use of whole ginger extract in vivo against human prostate cancer cell lines – demonstrating that ginger extract “showed 2.4-fold higher tumor growth-inhibitory efficacy than” isolated constituents. In addition, gingerol glucuronides were detected in feces upon intravenous administration confirming hepatobiliary elimination. [7]

This important result from a prestigious journal is a “double-win” for herbalism – being not only highly indicative that ginger metabolites may possibly be bioactive against cancer cells in the human body, but also demonstrating the importance of preserving the natural composition of whole extracts.

We await further study with anticipation! In the meantime, ginger is generally recognized as a healthy, safe addition to the diet and one noted by innumerable studies for its health benefits and potential for protection against disease. I believe that those considering an “anti cancer diet” should (with the advice of their physician) hold ginger in high esteem in both raw and dried/cooked form.

The message here is clear: Nature works best when not tampered with – and it makes sense. After all, we did evolve over hundreds of thousands of years in a pure natural environment. Researchers are starting to catch up to what herbalists have known all along – that we are bioattuned to nature and literally “designed by evolution” to thrive on food in the most natural state possible.

Finally – if you happen to chance upon headlines “ginger 10000x as effective as chemo”… now you know the actual facts…

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Further reading:

Our full “Herbal Report” on ginger.

10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Ginger

Scientists Find Substance In Ginger Kills 91% of Leukemia Cells and Shrinks Tumors in Vivo

References:

[1] 6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death. PLOSone (Sept 2014). http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137614 (Full Text)

[2] Fresh organically grown ginger (Zingiber officinale): composition and effects on LPS-induced PGE2 production. Phytochemistry (2004). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15280001

[3] Identification and Quantification of Gingerols and Related Compounds in Ginger Dietary Supplements Using High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry. J Agric Food Chem (2010). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2783668/ (Full Text)

[4] Quantitation of 6-, 8- and 10-Gingerols and 6-Shogaol in Human Plasma by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Electrochemical Detection. Int J Biomed Sci. (2010). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2975369/

[5] 6-Shogaol https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shogaol

[6] Pharmacokinetics of 6-, 8-, 10-Gingerols and 6-Shogaol and Conjugate Metabolites in Healthy Human Subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676573/ (Full Text)

[7] Enterohepatic recirculation of bioactive ginger phytochemicals is associated with enhanced tumor growth-inhibitory activity of ginger extract. Carcinogenesis (2014). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24431413

www.foodpassions.net

Henry Sapiecha

Latest Research Report highlights that Cancers are caused by sugar

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

It’s something that has been murmured about – especially in alternative health circles – for several years: The connection between sugar and cancer.

The roots of this idea come from the work of Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for his work demonstrating that cancer cells in the human body derive nourishment through the fermentation of glucose. He wrote “Oxygen gas, the donor of energy in plants and animals, is dethroned in the cancer cells and replaced by an energy-yielding reaction of the lowest living forms; namely a fermentation of glucose.

The full science behind this branch of medicine is very complex but for those interested, wikipedia has a (difficult / technical) introduction here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warburg_hypothesis

New scientific research however has identified sugar not only as the fuel source for an already existing cancer, but as a primary driver in oncogenesis – i.e. the initiation of cancerous characteristics within previously healthy cells. So could it be that too much sugar in the system actually causes our cells to “go over to the dark side”?

Read the full report at the link below: (brilliant tutorial on the health effects of sugar)

Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer

Henry Sapiecha

 

Nobel Prize for Medicine Goes to Discovery of Cells’ Garbage Disposal System Article-1 of 2

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in medicine image www.newcures.info

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle content, a garbage disposal system that scientists hope to harness in the fight against cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

The Karolinska Institute honored Ohsumi for “brilliant experiments” in the 1990s on autophagy, a phenomenon that literally means “self-eating” and describes how cells gobble up damaged content and provide building blocks for renewal.

Disrupted autophagy (aw-TAH’-fuh-jee) has been linked to several diseases including Parkinson’s, diabetes and cancer, the prize committee said.

“Intense research is now ongoing to develop drugs that can target autophagy in various diseases,” it said in itscitation .

Ohsumi, 71, from Fukuoka, Japan, is a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 2012, he won the Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement.

Ohsumi said he never thought he would win a Nobel Prize for his work, which he said involved studying yeast in a microscope day after day for decades.

“As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture,” he told reporters in Tokyo.

“I don’t feel comfortable competing with many people, and instead I find it more enjoyable doing something nobody else is doing,” Ohsumi added. “In a way, that’s what science is all about, and the joy of finding something inspires me.”

Nobel committee secretary Thomas Perlmann said Ohsumi seemed surprised when he was informed he had won theNobel Prize.

“The first thing he said was ‘ahhh.’ He was very, very pleased,” Perlmann said.

Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago, to make sure they have stood the test of time.

Though scientists have known that autophagy exists for more than 50 years, its fundamental significance was only recognized after Ohsumi’s “paradigm-shifting research” on yeast in the 1990s, the committee said.

“Thanks to Ohsumi and others following in his footsteps, we now know that autophagy controls important physiological functions where cellular components need to be degraded and recycled,” it said.

The term autophagy was coined in 1963 by Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on cell structure and organization.

But before Ohsumi’s research, scientists “didn’t know what it did, they didn’t know how it was controlled and they didn’t know what it was relevant for,” said David Rubinsztein, deputy director of the Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge.

Now “we know that autophagy is important for a host of important mammalian functions.” For example, it protects against starvation in the period when a newborn animal hasn’t yet started breastfeeding, by providing energy, he said.

It also removes proteins that clump together abnormally in brain cells, which is important in conditions like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases and some forms of dementia. If autophagy didn’t do that job, “the diseases would appear more early and be more aggressive,” he said.

Animal studies suggest that boosting autophagy can ease and delay such diseases, said Rubinsztein, whose lab is pursuing that approach for therapy.

“As time goes on, people are finding connections with more and more diseases” and normal cellular operations, he said.

In 1993 Ohsumi published his “seminal discovery” of 15 genes crucial to autophagy, and cloned several of those genes in yeast and mammalian cells in subsequent studies, the Nobel committee said.

“He actually unraveled which are the components which actually perform this whole process,” said Rune Toftgard, chairman of the Nobel Assembly. “Having those components at hand were also important tools to … do functional experiments to understand how important it was for different types of processes in the body.”

In Tokyo, Ohsumi said many details of autophagy are yet to be understood and that he hoped younger scientists would join him in looking for the answers.

“There is no finish line for science. When I find an answer to one question, another question comes up. I have never thought I have solved all the questions,” he said. “So I have to keep asking questions to yeast.”

It was the 107th award in the medicine category since the first Nobel Prizes were handed out in 1905.

Last year’s prize was shared by three scientists who developed treatments for malaria and other tropical diseases.

The announcements continue with physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics and literature awards will be announced next week.

Each prize is worth 8 million kronor ($930,000). The awards will be handed out at prize ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

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Henry Sapiecha

Japanese Scientist Wins Nobel Prize in showing How Human Cells Cannibalize Worn Out Parts

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

yoshinori_osumi_nobel-prize-recipient image www.newcures.info

Even the best-man made machines eventually break down. And the human body, made up of millions of tiny machine-like cells, is no different. Over the years, cells gradually wear from the grueling work of keeping you alive. To restore themselves, they devour their own broken parts. This morning, cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for identifying the genes and underlying mechanisms that keep our cells in tip-top shape.

The cellular process known as “autophagy” (Greek for “self-eating”) has been known since the 1960s. As far as biological processes go, it’s one of the most important ones. Without being able to tear apart old, broken-down cells for parts, we would age much faster and be more vulnerable to diseases like cancer caused by error-riddled cells running amok.

In the 1950s, scientists discovered that cells of plants and animals are packed with tiny structures called organelles, which are responsible for cellular functions such as generating energy. Researchers noticed, however, that one of these organelles also contained bits and pieces of proteins and structures from the cell itself, “like a garbage dump,” write Gina Kolata and Sewell Chan for the New York Times. This trash pile, dubbed the “lysosome,” cannibalizes worn out parts of the cell for the raw materials to build anew, according to the Nobel Assembly at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet.

Before Ohsumi’s work, however, cellular biologists didn’t have a firm understanding of the inner workings of this process. Scientists knew that cells built little sacs around worn-out proteins and organelles for transport to the lysosome. But beyond this basic process, the cellular recycling remained a mystery, Ariana Eunjung Cha and Anna Fifield report for The Washington Post. By studying the inner workings of small, simple yeast cells, Ohsumi was able to identify the genes that make autophagy possible, how cells determine which parts need replacing and what happens when things go wrong.

“Looking into bodily processes, I found that we have an ongoing renewal process without which living organisms can’t survive,” Ohsumi tells the Japanese broadcaster NHK. “This recycling process did not receive as much attention as it deserved, but I discovered that we should be paying more attention to this autophagy process.”

Ohsumi’s discoveries shed new light on some of the most important processes our cells use to stay healthy. By understanding how autophagy works, scientists hope to better understand the role it plays in aging and disease. Yet despite his accomplishments, Ohsumi remains humble, calling himself “just a basic researcher in yeast,” in an interview with the Canadian newspaper TThe Globe and Mail last year after he received the Canada Gairdner International Award. Perhaps—but some yeast researchers clearly rise to the top more than others.

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Henry Sapiecha

IVF baby born using the latest revolutionary genetic-screening process

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Next-generation sequencing could enable IVF clinics to determine the chances of diseases developing in children

David-Levy-and-Marybeth-S-010 with dna selection image www.newcures.info

Baby Connor Levy with his parents David Levy and Marybeth Scheidts

The first IVF baby to be screened using a procedure that can read every letter of the human genome has been born in the US.

Connor Levy was born on 18 May after a Philadelphia couple had cells from their IVF embryos sent to specialists in Oxford, who checked them for genetic abnormalities. The process helped doctors at the couple’s fertility clinic in the US select embryos with the right number of chromosomes. These have a much higher chance of leading to a healthy baby.

The birth demonstrates how next-generation sequencing (NGS), which was developed to read whole genomes quickly and cheaply, is poised to transform the selection of embryos in IVF clinics. Though scientists only looked at chromosomes – the structures that hold genes – on this occasion, the falling cost of whole genome sequencing means doctors could soon read all the DNA of IVF embryos before choosing which to implant in the mother.

If doctors had a readout of an embryo’s whole genome, they could judge the chances of the child developing certain diseases, such as cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s.

Marybeth Scheidts, 36, and David Levy, 41, had tried another fertility treatment, called intrauterine insemination (IUI), three times without success before they signed up for IVF at Main Line Fertility clinic in Pennsylvania.

As part of an international study with Dagan Wells, a fertility specialist at Oxford University, the couple were offered NGS to check their IVF embryos for abnormal chromosomes. Abnormal chromosomes account for half of all miscarriages.

The chances of an embryo having the wrong number of chromosomes rises with the mother’s age, and potentially with the father’s. For women in their 20s, one in 10 embryos may have the wrong number of chromosomes, but for women in their 40s, more than 75% can be faulty.

Most of the time, embryos with abnormal chromosomes fail to implant in the womb. Those that do are usually miscarried. The portion that survive to full term are born with genetic disorders, such as Down’s syndrome and Turner syndrome.

After standard treatment at the US clinic, the couple had 13 IVF embryos to choose from. The doctors cultured the embryos for five days, took a few cells from each and sent them to Wells in Oxford for genetic screening. Tests showed that while most of the embryos looked healthy, only three had the right number of chromosomes.

“It can’t make embryos better than they were in the beginning, but it can guide us to the best ones,” said Wells.

Based on the screening results, the US doctors transferred one of the healthy embryos into Scheidts and left the rest in cold storage. The single embryo implanted, and nine months later Connor was born. Details of the study will be given at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (Eshre) meeting in London on Monday.

“I think it saved us a lot of heartache,” Scheidts told the Guardian. “My insurance covered me for three cycles of IVF. We might have gone through all three without the doctors picking the right embryos. I would not have a baby now.”

A second baby who had the same genetic screening is due to be born next month, after a US couple had IVF at New York University fertility centre.

Doctors can already screen embryos for abnormal chromosomes using a technique called Array CGH, but the procedure adds more than £2,000 to the cost of IVF. Wells said NGS could bring the cost down by a third. To check the number of chromosomes is much simpler than reading all of the DNA accurately.

“It is hard to overstate how revolutionary this is,” said Michael Glassner, who treated the couple at the Main Line Fertility clinic. “This increases pregnancy rates by 50% across the board and reduces miscarriages by a similar margin. It will be much less expensive. In five years, this will be state of the art and everyone who comes for IVF will have it.”

In Britain, doctors are banned from selecting embryos for anything other than the most serious medical reasons. But as scientists learn more about genetic causes of disease, the urge to choose embryos to avoid cancer and other diseases later in life will intensify.

“You can start to have a very scary picture painted if you talk about height and hair colour and so on,” said Glassner. “We have to make sure this is used judiciously.”

The prospect of “designer babies” is remote for now, even if it were made legal. IVF produces only a dozen or so embryos at best, so the odds that one has all the traits a couple desires are very low. “IVF is still expensive and uncomfortable with no guarantee of a baby at the end. I can’t imagine many people wanting to go through the strains of IVF for something trivial,” said Wells.

The Oxford team now plans a large trial of the screening procedure to assess how much it boosts pregnancy rates, and which age groups it benefits the most.

Scheidts still has two screened embryos in cold storage, but has not yet decided whether to use them. “We haven’t even thought about that. We’ll see how the first year goes.”

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Henry Sapiecha


Britain ponders ‘three-person embryos’ to attack genetic diseases

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Doug-Turnbull-director-dna research image www.newcures.info

Doug Turnbull, director of the Wellcome Trust centre for mitochondrial research at Newcastle University, has urged the government to move quickly allow the new treatment. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The government is considering whether to propose legal changes that would allow radical new treatments for families at risk of incurable genetic diseases that involve the creation of so-called “three-person embryos”.

A national consultation released on Wednesday by the UK’s fertility watchdog found public support for techniques that involve introducing DNA from a third person to embryos which could prevent mothers from passing on devastating diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, to their children.

If ministers and MPs give the procedures the green light, Britain would become the first country to offer treatments that lead to children being born with DNA from three people: their parents and a woman donor. The amount of DNA from the donor is tiny compared with the parents.

About one in 6,000 people is born with a disease caused by genetic glitches in their mitochondria, the biological batteries that power the cells in our bodies. Mitochondria are inherited only from mothers and contain just 37 genes, held separately to the 23,000 genes that shape our appearance and define much of who we are.

Mitochondrial diseases tend to worsen with age, and affect parts of the body that burn the most energy: the heart, brain and muscles. Many children diagnosed early in life go on to suffer catastrophic organ failure.

Scientists have developed two techniques to prevent faulty mitochondria being passed on to children. Known as maternal spindle transfer and pronuclear transfer, they both involve transferring the genetic material from the parents into an egg donated by a healthy woman.

The treatment is controversial on several grounds, not least that the genetic modifications in the embryo pass down to all future generations. The techniques have never been tried in humans, but have worked in animal studies.

The HFEA ran a series of consultations and focus groups to gauge public attitudes towards mitochondrial replacement. Among a randomly selected sample of 1,000 people, 44% approved of the techniques, while 29% were against them. An open consultation, which allowed anyone with an interest to complete an online questionnaire, found 455 in favour, with 502 saying the procedures were not acceptable.

The report from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which stressed a need for more research to establish the safety and efficiency of the procedures, will now be passed to ministers who must decide whether to seek parliamentary approval for the treatments.

The HFEA recommended that women who donated eggs for the treatments should be regarded as tissue donors, and the child would not have a right to know the donor’s identity.

“We understand that more research is required but believe it is crucial that the government moves now to draft the regulations so that mitochondrial patients in the UK will have access to this treatment,” said Doug Turnbull, director of the Wellcome Trust centre for mitochondrial research at Newcastle University.

Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust, said: “Techniques to prevent inherited mitochondrial disease received the green light from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics last year, and have now received the green light from the general public. We urge the government not to create unnecessary roadblocks, and to pass legislation so that families blighted by mitochondrial disease can benefit from these techniques.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “Scientists undertaking research have developed new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on. But such procedures would not be allowed in treatment under current law, so we asked the HFEA to consult the public as to whether we should change the law.

“Once we have received the detailed advice from the HFEA over the next few weeks, we and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will carefully consider it and respond in due course.”

DOM GOD-14

Henry Sapiecha

Genetic editing is like playing God – and what’s wrong with that?

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

child_dna-image www.newcures.info

Gene editing of human embryos to eliminate disease should be considered to be ethically the same as using laser surgery to correct eye defects.’

The announcement that scientists are to be allowed to edit the DNA of human embryos will no doubt provoke an avalanche of warnings from opponents of genetic modification (GM) technology, who will warn that we are “playing God” with our genes.

The opponents are right. We are indeed playing God with our genes. But it is a good thing because God, nature or whatever we want to call the agencies that have made us, often get it wrong and it’s up to us to correct those mistakes.

Sadly, of the half a million or so babies that will be born in the UK this year, about 4% will carry a genetic or major birth defect that could result in an early death, or a debilitating disease that will cause misery for the child and their family. This research will eventually lead to technologies that could edit DNA in the same way that we can edit text – to correct the mistakes before the child’s development goes to its final draft. Its successful implementation could reduce, and eventually eliminate, the birth of babies with severe genetic diseases.

But surely our DNA cannot be compared to the patterns of printer ink on page? Our DNA is considered to be so special that the phrase “it’s in his/her DNA” is said with the same sense of fatalism that our ancestors would have spoken of their fate or their soul. Anti-GM activists, many of whom are devout atheists, often insist that our DNA is somehow special, something donated to us by an all-powerful, wise and benevolent nature, which has taken God’s place as our creator. But nature is just blind chance – mutation – combined with the survival of the fittest. There’s no grand plan and no reason why nature shouldn’t, like the rest of us, occasionally make terrible mistakes. When those errors could lead to terrible human suffering, it is our duty to try to correct them.

Our DNA is just a chemical. Schoolchildren isolate it from cells in the class laboratory and it can be spooled out on a glass rod looking like slimy cotton wool. When dried, it looks like fibrous paper. You can eat it or burn it and it will return to those simple atoms and molecules from which it is made. There is no special magical ingredient between the atoms, no soul, just atoms and space. DNA is the most amazing chemical in the known universe, but it’s just a chemical – made of the same atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen you can find in the air. It is no more spiritual than your fingernails or hair. And we don’t mind clipping those when we need to.

Gene editing of human embryos to eliminate disease should be considered to be ethically the same as using laser surgery to correct eye defects, or a surgeon operating on a baby to repair a congenital heart defect. DNA is just another bit of our body that might go wrong.

Yet gene editing could provide revolutionary benefits to our children. A team based at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London recently used gene editing to treat a one-year-old girl with leukaemia, who is now in remission. More technology is in the pipeline. A team based at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported in this week’s Nature Biotechnology that they were able to correct a genetic liver disease in newborn mice. Taking this technology into human embryos could correct devastating genetic diseases in the womb.

But isn’t this a slippery slope to designer babies genetically engineered to be healthier, cleverer or more beautiful than they would otherwise be? Wouldn’t it provide a technology that would only be available to the super-wealthy, potentially creating the kind of divided society that HG Wells envisaged in his futuristic novel, The Time Machine? Perhaps. But let’s worry about the future in the future.

In the present, if those of us with mostly healthy children are worried about the ethics of gene editing, then we should ask the parents of children born with haemophilia, cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy whether they would have used this kind of technology if it had been available to them. If science can be used to eliminate human suffering, then let’s get on with it.

CBB

Henry Sapiecha

British scientists seek the ok to genetically modify human embryos

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

embryos would be used for basic research image www.newcures.info

The embryos would be used for basic research only. and cannot legally be studied for more than two weeks or implanted into women to achieve a pregnancy.

Scientists in Britain have applied for permission to genetically modify human embryos as part of a research project into the earliest stages of human development.

The work marks a controversial first for the UK and comes only months after Chinese researchers became the only team in the world to announce they had altered the DNA of human embryos.

Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, has asked the government’s fertility regulator for a licence to perform so-called genome editing on human embryos. The research could see the first genetically modified embryos in Britain created within months.

Donated by couples with a surplus after IVF treatment, the embryos would be used for basic research only. They cannot legally be studied for more than two weeks or implanted into women to achieve a pregnancy.

Though the modified embryos will never become children, the move will concern some who have called for a global moratorium on the genetic manipulation of embryos, even for research purposes. They fear a public backlash could derail less controversial uses of genome editing, which could lead to radical new treatments for disease.

Niakan wants to use the procedure to find genes at play in the first few days of human fertilisation, when an embryo develops a coating of cells that later form the placenta. The basic research could help scientists understand why some women lose their babies before term.

“The knowledge we acquire will be very important for understanding how a healthy human embryo develops, and this will inform our understanding of the causes of miscarriage. It is not a slippery slope [towards designer babies] because the UK has very tight regulation in this area,” she told the Guardian.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has yet to review her application, but is expected to grant a licence under existing laws that permit experiments on embryos provided they are destroyed within 14 days. In Britain, research on embryos can only go ahead under a licence from an HFEA panel that deems the experiments to be justified.

“If we receive a licence, I would hope to start work as soon as possible,” Niakan said. “However, it is difficult to know how long it will take to carry out the project. In particular, we need to obtain sufficient embryos.” Those will come from a number of IVF clinics whose identities are kept confidential.

Niakan is one of a growing band of scientists working with a powerful new genome editing procedure called Crispr-Cas9. Invented three years ago, it has revolutionised biomedical research. It allows scientists to make precise changes to DNA, and has the potential to transform the treatment of genetic disorders by correcting faulty genes.

Niakan will use Crispr-Cas9 to switch genes on and off in early stage human embryos. She will then look for the effects the modifications have on the development of the cells that go on to form the placenta. “It is essential to study the function of these human genes in the context of the embryo in order to fully understand their roles,” she said.

Genome editing is cheap, easy and effective and has been adopted by scientists at breakneck speed. But the pace of change has made some researchers uneasy. They warn that the field is moving too fast for its ethical implications to be fully considered. Some fear that the procedure could be used to modify human sperm, eggs and embryos for clinical uses before it is safe to do so.

Earlier this year, two groups of scientists called for a voluntary ban on genome editing of human embryos, sperm and eggs. One urged scientists to rule out the procedure for clinical treatments because it is not safe. The other, led by Edward Lanphier, chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in Washington DC, took a harder line, and pushed for a global moratorium on modifying human embryos, sperm and eggs, even if it was only for research.

Earlier this month, leading UK funders called for a national debate on whether editing human embryos could ever be justified in the clinic. Weeks later, international experts belonging to the Hinxton Group said it did not yet approve of GM babies being born, but added that “when all safety, efficacy and governance needs are met, there may be morally acceptable uses of this technology in human reproduction.”

Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem cell biology at the Francis Crick Institute and a member of the Hinxton Group, said: “There is clearly lots of interesting and important research you can do with these techniques which has nothing to do with clinical applications.” But, he added: “We are absolutely not ready for clinical applications yet.”

The US National Institutes of Health will not fund any genome editing research on human embryos, and its head, Francis Collins, has said that altering the DNA of embryos for clinical purposes was “viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed.” But if the procedure is made safe enough in coming years, IVF embryos could, in principle, be modified to boost public health, by reducing people’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or to make them resistant to HIV, malaria or influenza.

“There are suggestions that the methods could be used to correct genetic defects, to provide disease resistance, or even to introduce novel traits that are not found in humans,” said Niakan. “However, it is up to society to decide what is acceptable: science will merely inform what may be possible.”

An HFEA spokesperson said: “Genome editing of embryos for use in treatment is illegal. It has been permissible in research since 2009, as long as the research project meets the criteria in the legislation and it is done under an HFEA licence. We have recently received an application to use Crispr-Cas9 in one of our licensed research projects, and it will be considered in due course.”

bbc

Henry Sapiecha


UK researchers get green light to genetically modify human embryos

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Scientists investigating miscarriage will not be able to implant embryos or study them for a few weeks, says HFEA

Dr Kathy Niakan wants to look at the first few days of fertilisation-image www.newcures.info

Dr Kathy Niakan wants to look at the first few days of fertilisation. Photograph: Francis Crick Institute

Britain’s first genetically modified human embryos could be created within months, after scientists were granted permission by the fertility regulator to carry out the procedure.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulator approved a licence application by Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, to perform so-called genome editing – also called gene editing – on human embryos.

The decision permits Niakan to study the embryos for 14 days for research purposes only. It does not permit them to be implanted into women. Niakan’s research is aimed at finding the genes at play in the early days of human fertilisation.

The decision was greeted positively by the Francis Crick Institute and British scientists but was met with anger and disqmay by those concerned that rapid advances in the field of genome editing is precluding proper consideration of the ethical implications.

Paul Nurse, director of the institute, said: “I am delighted that the HFEA has approved Dr Niakan’s application. Dr Niakan’s proposed research is important for understanding how a healthy human embryo develops and will enhance our understanding of IVF success rates, by looking at the very earliest stage of human development – one to seven days.”

The work, using embryos donated by couples with a surplus after IVF treatment, will look at the fertilised egg’s development from a single cell to about 250 cells. The basic research could help scientists understand why some women lose their babies before term and provide better clinical treatments for infertility, using conventional medical methods.

Niakan will use a powerful genome editing procedure called Crispr-Cas9 to switch genes on and off in early stage human embryos. She will then look for the effects the modifications have on the development of the cells that go on to form the placenta.

Crispr-Cas9 has revolutionised biomedical research since its invention three years ago. It allows scientists to make precise changes to DNA, and has the potential to transform the treatment of genetic disorders by correcting faulty genes.

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader at the Francis Crick Institute, said: “

The approval of her [Niakan’s] licence gives the exciting prospect that we will at last begin to understand how the different cell types are specified at these pre-implantation stages in the human embryo.”

Lovell-Badge said it would also provide invaluable information about the accuracy and efficiency of the technique, helping to inform the debate about whether genome editing could be used in future to correct faulty genes that cause devastating diseases.

That prospect remains a long way off but is already a subject of concern.

Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “This is the first step in a well mapped-out process leading to GM babies, and a future of consumer eugenics.” He claimed the government’s scientific advisers had already decided they were comfortable with the prospect of so-called “designer babies”.

Anne Scanlan, from the anti-abortion organisation Life, said: “The HFEA now has the reputation of being the first regulator in the world to approve this uncertain and dangerous technology. It has ignored the warnings of over 100 scientists worldwide and given permission for a procedure that could have damaging far-reaching implications for human beings.”

There are fears that changes to an embryo’s DNA could have unknown harmful consequences throughout a person’s body and be passed on down the generations.

Last year, leading UK funders called for a national debate on whether editing human embryos could ever be justified in the clinic. Some fear that a public backlash could derail less controversial uses of genome editing, which could lead to radical new treatments for conditions such as muscular dystrophy and sickle cell disease.

The US National Institutes of Health will not fund any genome editing research on human embryos at present.

But supporters of the HFEA’s decision said it had arrived at the right conclusion, balancing the benefits to research and ethical considerations.

“The ruling by the HFEA is a triumph for common sense,” said Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the University of Kent.While it is certain that the prospect of gene editing in human embryos raised a series of ethical issues and challenges, the problem has been dealt with in a balanced manner. It is clear that the potential benefits of the work proposed far outweigh the foreseen risks.”

Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust, called it a victory for level-headed regulation over moral panic”.

Dr Sarah Chan, chancellor’s fellow at Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, said: “We should feel confident that our regulatory system in this area is functioning well to keep science aligned with social interests.”

skin beaut-

Henry Sapiecha