Biotecnologicas

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Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 07:50

Mauldin nos dice que sera el proximo boom:

Note that biotech stocks are particularly vulnerable to this sort of scam. They are almost all burning through mountains of cash in the pursuit of some dream. Many of them do indeed crash and burn before they get to a safe landing. It is a world fraught with danger; but as with gold stocks, if you find the mother lode you can be in for a very pleasant experience. Do NOT invest in biotechs without doing a lot of homework. That being said, I think it is one of the most exciting spaces of the future. We are just at the beginning of a biotech revolution that will astound and amaze.


Nos habla sobre todo de BioTime y Star Scientific, habra que mirarlas!
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 08:04

The SP100 Gene Discovery

Many genes never previously associated with cancers were discovered, which has led to a radically new diagnostic technology. Like PSAs and other single cancer diagnostics, the test will require only a drop of blood and a biochip – but it will allow extremely precise diagnosis of most if not all major cancers.

This inexpensive pan-cancer diagnostic will, I believe, enable inexpensive and early detection of many cancers that currently develop into life-threatening malignancies. This, in turn, will significantly reduce cancer mortality rates and costs. Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, ex-FDA chief and former head of the National Cancer Institute, joined the BioTime team as a result of this diagnostic technology which is moving rapidly through the European regulatory process for medical devices. It is one of three BioTime technologies on track for clinical testing next year.

The clue that led to this breakthrough was the fact that the protein expressed by the SP100 gene was absent or deactivated in all cancers. To borrow a metaphor from Arthur Conan Doyle, SP100 was the dog that didn't bark. The clear implication was that cancers block SP100 gene activity so they can reprogram healthy cells.

This led BioTime CEO Michael West to work done at the Wistar Institute. Wistar, incidentally, is where the biological clock of aging, telomeres, was discovered by Dr. Leonard Hayflick. Telomeres are the disposable caps on the ends of our chromosomes. One telomere is used during each cell replication when the double helices of our DNA split apart to copy themselves and then rejoin. When our cells run out of telomeres, they stop replicating. Before then, however, shortened telomere caps cause age-related conditions.

In certain cells, this shortening doesn't happen. Telomeres are continually replaced as they are used so these cells don't age. The two most important are embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, but cancers also exploit this mechanism. In these cells, telomeres are constantly replenished by the gene which expresses telomerase. When ES or iPS cells begin the transition to a specific adult cell type, the telomerase gene turn off. Then, they begin to use up their telomeres and age.

Critically, this process can also be reversed. Old cells, like mine, can be made young again by reactivating the telomerase gene. BioTime, though, is developing the processes to reprogram ES and iPS cells to become different adult cell types. Patents on hundreds of cell types have already been filed for. The video above demonstrates just one of those cell types.

BioTime took skin cells, fibroblasts, from inside my left tricep, leaving a slight scar. These skin cells were converted to iPS cells identical to the embryonic cells that I came from. I donated my cells to BioTime, incidentally, for research purposes.

Heart muscle cells were chosen because they spontaneously self-assemble into little beating clumps for instructional purposes. You don't have to be a cellular biologist to recognize them for what they are. Keep in mind that the cells are completely rejuvenated. They have the same full count of telomeres that my heart cells had when I was an infant.

Also, because they are my own cells with my own DNA, I could receive them via transfusion without triggering an immune response. In fact, I would happily do so if the authorities allowed.

Several recent studies have shown that young stem cells with DNA matching the recipient have widespread rejuvenating effects. This is probably due to the youthful growth and signaling factors these stem cells release.

The iPS technology obviously opens up vast potential to treat medical conditions by restoring cells to youthful health. These conditions range from joint problems and blindness to heart disease and diabetes. Eventually, it will be possible to rejuvenate and extend the life span of every cell in your body. BioTime's subsidiary, Recyte Therapeutics, is now working on the production of patient-specific stem cells to cure our number one killer; age-related cardiovascular disease.

As you read this, your endothelial precursors stem cells are constantly repairing your cardiovascular system. Their ability to do so, however, diminishes as those cells age. With a transfusion of a patient's own rejuvenated endothelial precursors, the recipient would have a rejuvenated cardiovascular system within months.

Though BioTime doesn't have regulatory approval yet, the company has been able to perform this procedure on a limited basis for some time. The process of creating rejuvenated iPS cells for individuals, however, is slow and therefore expensive. Cells resist reprogramming because most of the DNA in adult cells is purposely folded up and protected from activation.

It is possible using the virus-vector technology, which was honored with a Nobel prize this year, to create iPS cells. Viruses can penetrate and reprogram the folded portion of genome, but it's an extremely slow and inefficient process. This is where the Wistar Institute's research comes into the picture.

Looking for causes of cancer, Wistar Institute researchers turned off specific genes, including SP100. The SP100 experiment didn't yield cancer but it produced cells that resembled embryonic stem cells. BioTime CEO Michael West understood the true significance of the Wistar experiment and extensive collaboration followed. I consider the result the most important breakthrough in stem cell medicine yet.

In essence, the SP100 gene produces the protein signals that keep our DNA folded in adult form. As you know, every cell in our bodies contains the entire genome, but only some are activated. We don't want, for example, tendon genes accidentally activated in our eyes. SP100 gene activity keeps our cells locked in one state. Normally, the SP100 signals are turned off in adult cells only when the cell needs access to the entire genome – during replication.
Administrator Privileges to the Genome

What this means is blocking SP100 gene activity in adult cells opens up the part of the genome that is normally locked down. This allows much more efficient genetic engineering. For those of you who understand computer operating system, I like to think of the SP100 gene as a security system or anti-virus program that prevents unwanted changes in the cell's DNA or operating system. Normally, your computer OS is protected from alteration. When you want to upgrade your OS, you need “administrator privilege” to make those changes.

Controlling SP100 gene expression gives stem cell scientists administrator privileges to the genome. It will enable fast, cheap automated large-scale production of iPS cells from adult cells. It means that you will be able to donate some skin cells, as I did, and they can be robotically turned into the equivalent of the embryonic cells that you came from. Then, they can be turned into the healthy youthful version of whatever type cell you need, without immune rejection issues. The implications are staggering.

Before telling you about a nutraceutical more powerful and useful than many blockbuster drugs, I'd like to update you on the nanomedicine front.
The First Oral Nanomedicine and Cure for Influenzas

I've written here before about the convergence of nanotech and biotech at NanoViricides Inc. This company's technology platform is the marriage of submicroscopic polymer structures, or nanovesicles, with even smaller biological signaling molecules called ligands.

Most people following nanotech progress have looked to physicists for the tools to build nano-sized structures and machines. Largely unnoticed, however, biochemists have taken an alternate route, exploiting the atomic-scale tools provided by nature. The scientists at Nanoviricides have used these tools to produce precisely-shaped submicroscopic polymer nanovesicles. To these constructs they attach biological ligands.

As background information, ligands are extraordinarily sophisticated molecules essential for life. They can bind with other biological molecules, using electrostatic attraction and other forces. When they do, they produce signals that are used for a vast array of biological functions.

You don't really need to understand ligands in depth but you do need to know that invading viruses use specific ligands to identify their target cells. Different viruses recognize different ligands but all viruses, once they've found their target ligands, enter the cells they are attached to. Once inside, viruses hack cells' DNA to make more of themselves.

NanoViricides scientists, led by Dr. Anil Diwan, have identified the ligands that attract specific viruses. They attach huge numbers of these ligands to their synthesized polymer virus traps.

A picture may be more helpful than words. In this artist's representation of a nanoviricide, the spherical structure is the polymer nanovesicle and the green and pink objects on its surface are ligands.

When viruses detect their target ligands attached to the polymer nanovesicles, they act as if the nanovesicle is a cell. Viruses force their way into the polymer structure and attempt to hack the nanoviricide as they would a living cell. With no genome to exploit, they are disassembled harmlessly.

These nanoviricides are as notable for what they do not do as what they do. They do not modify cell biology, as do traditional drugs, to fight viruses. Nanoviricides are far more simple. They work outside the cells in the blood stream, the virus's transport system. Because their mechanism of action is more mechanical than biochemical, they are not metabolized by the liver.

This explains just-released data regarding their astonishing lack of toxicity (to mammalian cells). Instead, they are toxic only to virus, which they disassemble wherever they meet them. In a real sense, the molecular forces and shapes utilized by nanoviricides qualify them as true and nanotech machines.

Recent studies using both animals and human cell cultures demonstrated how amazingly efficient this technology is. Tests in humanized animals showed that NanoViricides broad-spectrum influenza drug, FluCide, is orders of magnitude better at killing influenza viruses, including the really dangerous ones, than the current best flu drug.

What this means is blocking SP100 gene activity in adult cells opens up the part of the genome that is normally locked down. This allows much more efficient genetic engineering. For those of you who understand computer operating system, I like to think of the SP100 gene as a security system or anti-virus program that prevents unwanted changes in the cell's DNA or operating system. Normally, your computer OS is protected from alteration. When you want to upgrade your OS, you need “administrator privilege” to make those changes.

Controlling SP100 gene expression gives stem cell scientists administrator privileges to the genome. It will enable fast, cheap automated large-scale production of iPS cells from adult cells. It means that you will be able to donate some skin cells, as I did, and they can be robotically turned into the equivalent of the embryonic cells that you came from. Then, they can be turned into the healthy youthful version of whatever type cell you need, without immune rejection issues. The implications are staggering.
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 08:29

The Oral Breakthrough

NanoViricides demonstrated that they can design, using certain polymer shapes and ligands, a drug that passes safely through the stomach lining into the blood stream. It may not be evident today, but this is a discovery that will be recorded in future medical history books.

Oral nanoviricides will allow low-cost preventative dosing for influenza, but the implications are much greater. I believe the company is on track to solving the oral delivery problem for other virus-borne diseases. Soon, I'm convinced, we will see oral nanomedicines that cure or completely prevent symptoms of AIDs, herpes, hepatitus, smallpox, dengue and other diseases.

Treating Autoimmune Disorders with a Natural Supplement http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17116321

Your immune system is on constant high alert, ready at a moment's notice to mount an “inflammatory response” to infections or injuries common only a century ago. The highly tuned immune system you inherited from your ancestors is not equipped for less hazardous times. I think of our immune systems as guards suffering from sleep deprivation and a caffeine overdose with with their fingers on hair-triggers.

Our immune systems are designed to over-react because, in the past, a false alarm was far less dangerous than a weak or delayed response. We see evidence of this in young people who have allergies. It's not the pollen or the peanuts that make people sick, it's their own overreacting immune systems. As we age, the immune system misfires more and more often and the resulting cellular damage provokes even more inflammation. It's a vicious accelerating circle that contributes to all diseases.

In other words, you may have a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis or diabetes but it is your own immune system that triggers these conditions. Many researchers studying this phenomenon have focused on NF-κB, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, as the root cause of the problem.

NF-kappa, as it is often abbreviated, is the alarm system of our immune system. NF-kappa is a transcription factor capable of activating your DNA to mount an immune defense. They exist outside of the nucleus in virtually every cell in your body but, if they detect something indicating injury or infection, they migrate into the nucleus and initiate an immune response.

As we age, NF-kappa calls in more and more false alarms until we are in a state of chronic low-level inflammation. Eventually, this chronic inflammation tends to localize at some point of vulnerability until we have a health-threatening disease that ends our lives prematurely.

For this reason, the quest for a substance that would calm down NF kappa activation without suppressing legitimate immune system function has been called the “holy grail” of modern medicine. To make a long story short, that holy grail has been found in members of the solanaceous plant family such as eggplant, peppers and tobacco.

Researchers have long known that there's more in tobacco that leads smokers to smoke than nicotine. This was obvious due to fact that smoking has a powerful and pleasurable calming effects, via MAO inhibition, that nicotine does not provide. Moreover, despite the clear dangers of smoking, the tobacco plant has known medicinal values.

Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a company dedicated to lessening the harm of tobacco, Star Scientific (STSI), discovered that extra ingredient. After spending years and millions of dollars to find a safe food form of the substance, he proved safety with two years of Harvard University toxicity studies. Then, he put smoking cessation mints containing his anatabine citrate on the market.

Almost immediately, people began posting reports online of improvements in a variety of inflammation-related conditions. Intrigued, Williams took his substance to several important research organizations, including The Roskamp Institute and the Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Personally, since I began using the supplement two years ago, I've seen remarkable improvements in health. Due to a bad car accident while in college, I was far into the inflammaging death spiral. Tibial periostitis (shin splints) kept me even from walking distances. Severe cervical arthritis had left my right arm mostly unusable, making most upper-body exercises nearly impossible. Within months, both conditions were significantly improved. After two years, I have no symptoms. As a result, I was able to begin running and lifting weights again.

Additionally, my seasonal allergies, while still occasionally evident, no longer take me down. The same is true for my family and many of my friends. My optometrist was surprised to find that sight in my right eye, lost through trauma-induced glaucoma, had improved. I've dropped more weight than I care to admit and my numbers are all better.

Many others, including golfer Fred Couples, have also found life-changing relief from serious inflammatory conditions. Jonnie Williams wife's thyroiditis, on the verge of surgery, reversed and no longer bothers her.

I could go on and on, but anecdotal stories such as these are not valid scientific evidence, though I've heard scores of even more remarkable accounts from the research scientists themselves who have given the supplement to friends and family. Even the dramatically successful results that have come from humanized animal studies are not proof that this natural compound, found in the over-the-counter nutraceutical Anatabloc, will work similarly in humans. The conditions we've seen improved in animals include, by the way, Alzheimer's, thyroiditis and multiple sclerosis.

http://www.rfdn.org/

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/ ... ine&rank=1

In fact, positive results from all three ongoing studies would confirm the thesis that anatabine citrate does not treat specific diseases directly. Rather, it dramatically reduces the NF-kappa induced inflammation that effects all diseases. If this is true, and I'm personally convinced that it is, it means that we will be able to delay or prevent most of the conditions that prematurely shorten life.

One nutraceutical I'm very excited about is nicotinomide riboside or Vitamin NR, a superior form of niacin developed by Cornell and Duke Universities and licensed by ChromaDex (CDXC.OB). NR has profound implications for mitochondrial function, cholesterol, fat loss and nerve health. It appears to me that it would work synergistically with anatabine citrate, Anatabloc. Hopefully, we will have data within the year.
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 08:37

Institucionales comprando:

Visto en: http://seekingalpha.com/article/1001301 ... scientific

Institutional ownership at a new high today ( November 12, 2012 )

    52,178,062 shares now held by institutions, that's a new high as of today.
    28,946,951 - Total Shares held by 116 institutions - a new high. (19.79% of shares) (Less than 5% holders) - For details, see Nasdaq here
    23,231,111 shares held by TradeWinds Investment, (a Beneficial Owners of MORE than 5%) (15.9% of shares) [SEC PRE14A] See EdgarOnline here
    Also - (insiders) all Directors and Executive Officers as a Group own 28,383,173 shares (17.5% of shares) See EdgarOnline here.
That's a total of 53.19%.

It should be noted that nonbelievers are also plentiful regarding the shares of STSI as there is a large short interest of 30,619,836 shares (also a new high as of today) a large percentage of which has been around for well over two years. My comment is that much has changed over the last two years with most of the science not existing prior to that. Shorts should be worried as both the science and sales of Anatabloc continues to advance

The Star press release of Oct. 24, 2012 states: The committee reviewing the data found that the administered doses of anatabine were safe, well-tolerated, and showed clear evidence of a biological effect on CRP and the immune system, as manifested by CRP and an inflammatory marker called Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-alpha).

The figures reflecting the decrease in CRP levels after anatabine supplementation are as follows: 11 of 18 (61%) diabetic subjects on metformin had a CRP reduction. Taken as a whole, 42 of 99 (42%) subjects had a decrease in CRP after only one month with anatabine supplementation.

Also, known by Star followers is that the ever growing number of anecdotal stories of improvement in many of the conditions mentioned above (and likewise referenced in Star's International Patent - WO 2011/119722 A2) contains numerous references to relief from conditions like Crohns, ulcerative colitis and autoimmune diseases in general and a host of other inflammatory conditions. The Johns Hopkins thyroid study funded by the Walton Family result are due in December per the recent 10-Q.

The provisional patent application WO 2011/119722 A2 discloses that, "S-(-)-anatabine positively correlates with reduction of the inflammatory activity."
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 08:40

Grafico de Star Scientific, Inc. (STSI):
Adjuntos
STSIGraph.JPG
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 18 Nov 2012 08:46

Grafico de BioTime, Inc. Common Stock (NYSE MKT) :
Adjuntos
BioTimeGraph.JPG
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 19 Nov 2012 06:09

Surprisingly, China has a long history with biotechnology. “Back in the 1950s China based its science and technology system on that of the Soviet Union”, writes Tom. “The system produced some successes, such as the chemical synthesis of bovine insulin for diabetes, but then collapsed as the Cultural Revolution outlawed academic activity of any sort.”

But when reformist leader Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978 he got the programme back on its feet and set up the National Centre for Biotechnology Development. Slowly the country improved its understanding and in 2009 Dr Fanyi Seng made history by breeding live mice from re-programmed stem cells.

But this story isn't about breeding mice, says Tom. The fact is biotechnology could help the Chinese in lots of ways.

“Second generation bio-fuels, made from agricultural waste, can provide ‘green’ power, reduce China's dependence upon imported oil, and help clean up the country's damaged environment. Biotechnology can improve standards of food and hygiene, and meet the healthcare demands of an ageing population that is demanding the standards of healthcare that it sees in the western world.”

That’s why last year the government pledged $300bn to sciences and noted biotechnology as a priority, says Tom.

Private sector firms also recognise China’s potential in the sector.

“Following the lead of Silicon Valley, China has developed life science ‘clusters’ – vast business parks dedicated to the industry. One of these is at Chengdu, in a part of the country known as the ‘Land of Heaven’ and a centre for the production of the many biological materials that are the ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine.

“Today Chengdu is home to over 400 bioscience companies, over 80 colleges, universities and research centres, the West China Hospital which is one of the busiest in China, and the Ping'an Monkey Park where rhesus monkeys are bred for clinical purposes.”
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 23 Nov 2012 08:37

This breakthrough comes from Stanford University.

It's the first man-made material that acts very much like real skin and so could become useful to patients on a daily basis.a

It's extremely sensitive to touch, for one thing. The material can detect infinitesimal changes in pressure - even as small as when a fly lands on it. What's more, the material can heal itself, quickly, and over and over again. (I'll show you how in a moment.)

This is early-stage work, but I do see a very strong investment potential coming soon.

That's because Stanford has a very active program to license its inventions to companies. Lying in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford's been doing this since 1970. Turns out the university wants to make money, too.

Just look at its charter: "Without a company willing to invest in bringing the invention to marketplace, many potential benefits of these breakthroughs are likely to end on the page" in some scientific journal. "Our charter is to help turn scientific progress into tangible products, while returning income to the inventor and to the University to support further research."

With regard to the "skin" Stanford has developed, the potential for products - and profits - is tremendous. We're talking applications in medicine, electronics, construction, and even aircraft.

Team members said this "skin" could lead to a new generation of smarter prosthetics. It could also help pave the way for electronics that can heal themselves under the right conditions. And soft robots whose outer layers are sensitive to touch. The self-repair feature means it could function in tight spaces where it's hard to make repairs, like walls, autos, and jetliners.

Of course, it could be a boon to people who wear prosthetic limbs. The material is subtle enough to detect the pressure of a handshake and also responds well to flexing, which could help give people instant feedback about the degree of bend in a joint.

That's why I believe this one's got "winner" written all over it...
The lab started with plastic that had long chains of molecules joined by hydrogen bonds. This process created a weak attraction. That means the positive region of one atom did not want to bind tightly with the negative region of the next one. This was key to the result, because the loose bond is where the self-healing property came from.

After forming the plastic, team members then added particles of nickel to give the substance its mechanical strength. The tiny surfaces of the pieces of metal remained rough, which helped in getting current to flow from one section to the next - itself a rare feat in the use of plastics.

Now this is the part that just amazes me.

To test their new substance, team members took a thin strip and cut it in half with a scalpel. They gently pressed the pieces together for a few seconds. The "skin" gained back 75% of its original strength and conductivity right away.

And it gets better. In just half an hour, the plastic stuff was nearly 100% restored.

In a case like that, actual human skin might take days to repair itself. Not only that, but the synthetic skin withstood 50 cuts and repairs and could still stretch and bend as though it were brand new.
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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 23 Nov 2012 08:40

Two scientists who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine for creating this field.

The advance that cemented their award occurred in 2002. But it wasn't until just five years ago, in 2007, that the science of deriving adult stem cells really began in earnest.

As you might expect, it took two or three years just for all those teams around the world to get organized.

Already, I'm seeing a steady stream of new findings. There seems to be something new almost every week.

As a group, they point to a day in the very near future in which adult stem cells will become a routine part of treating a wide range of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer's.

See, that's the great thing about stem cells - they can grow to become anything, from bone to brain tissue. Doctors hope to take your own cells, like those in your skin, and use them to grow replacement organs or to repair damaged muscles or other tissue.

Over the weekend, I told you how a team used adult stem cells to reverse vision loss in older mice. As it turns out, there are more advances you should know about.

At age 20, armed with one of the best male physiques on the planet, Arnold Schwarzenegger became Mr. Universe.

At 65, the action hero still looks good... but he's not nearly as buff.

And how could he be? It's a simple fact of science. As we age, we lose muscle mass, leaving us much more prone to falls and injuries.

Now, a team from the U.S. and Great Britain has found both the cause and a possible cure. Team members looked at stem cells inside muscles of mice. They found that the older mice in the study had far fewer of the stem cells needed to repair damage and rebuild muscle mass.

Here's why.

As the muscles got older, they showed high levels of a protein known as FGF2. That's important because this protein tells cells to divide, and the process continued over time until the muscles run out of stem cells. As that occurred, the muscles slowly withered away.

To stop the pool of stem cells from running out, team members gave the mice a common drug used to inhibit the FGF2 protein. So far, it seems to be working; team members slowed the decline of muscle stem cells in the mice.

"The finding opens up the possibility that one day we could develop treatments to make old muscles young again," said team leader Dr. Albert Basson. "If we could do this, we may be able to enable people to live more mobile, independent lives as they age."

Next, the researchers want to study muscles in older humans. It may take a few years to prove that the stem cells in our human muscles go through the exact same process as in mice. But if that turns out to be the case, the team has a head start on a possible "fountain of youth."

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Re: Biotecnologicas

Mensajepor Dalamar » 23 Nov 2012 08:43

A team of researchers at Harvard University just reported a fantastic new medical breakthrough - in the form of a hydrogel.

The compound is made mostly of water, but it's almost unbelievably tough, strong, and resilient. It can stretch to more than 20 times its original length.

Not only that, but it can actually heal itself, too. Given time to relax between stretches, the bonds in the compound are able to "re-zip," self-repairing any cuts or breaks.

Think about the major impact this could have on medicine.

As some experts quickly pointed out, the new gel could be used to engineer human tissue. No doubt, that would be huge. We could someday use a version for skin grafts for burn victims, or to grow tissue for other needs, like organ transplants.

But I'm more excited about a much more immediate use for the hydrogel - one that could benefit the nearly 30 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis.

This is a painful condition in which cartilage wears out around the joints such as the knees and elbows. The risk of osteoarthritis onset grows with age, particularly for people over the age of 45.

That's why so many seniors have bad knees, elbows, or shoulders that are stiff and seem to hurt all time. Many take pain relievers every day, but even the strongest over-the-counter drugs can't get rid of all the pain all the time.

And it's not just seniors who hurt - torn cartilage is a leading form of sports injury across all age groups.

Right now there is no cure. Finding one could save the country a small fortune. Experts estimate that osteoarthritis costs us more than $186 billion a year in medical care, drugs, and lost wages.

We're talking about nearly $2 trillion a decade - and that's just here in the U.S.

Not only that, but this is clearly a growth market. The "graying of America" promises to greatly increase the number of these arthritis cases.

As I see it, in the very near future, doctors will be able to go in and actually remove the bad or torn cartilage that's causing you pain. They'll replace it with a hydrogel that is much stronger and more resilient than the original organic substance with which you were born.

In the Era of Radical Change, we will continue to see a steady stream of advances like this - breakthroughs that will help us live longer and healthier lives.

Hey, longevity is good. But quality of life is vital.

What's the point of living to 100 if your knees hurt so bad you can barely walk? Or your shoulder floods with you so much pain you can't pick up your grandkids?

But this new compound promises to change all that. It could even help a century-old man take up long-distance running again...

No doubt there will be plenty of opportunity for smart companies and their investors to become filthy rich in the process.

But just getting rid of a painful condition that afflicts hundreds of millions of people around the world ranks as a major "win" in my book.

Let's take a look at how the team at Harvard did it...

To create this super-gel, the group of researchers combined two different hydrogels, each of which is pretty weak on its own.

The main ingredient is the first gel, polyacrylamide, used in make-up and skin lotions. The team combined eight parts of this with one part of the second gel, alginate. It's a seaweed extract often used to make food thicker.

Now here's the part I think is just plain brilliant...

Once combined, the two polymers form a complex network of cross-linked chains that reinforce each other. That's what gives the gel its incredible strength. The chemical structure of this network allows the molecules to pull apart and expand over a large area, rather than become brittle or simply break. (You can see are several good pictures of how this works in the Harvard press release.)

If the gel suffers a tiny crack as it stretches, the chemical bonds will repair themselves. It seems nothing can weaken this substance. Team members showed that even when the gel sustains a major hole, it can still stretch to 17 times its initial length.

Therein lies its promise. For it to work in the body and replace cartilage, the gel must be able to expand and contract millions of times under pressure without breaking.

And since it's made of water and two benign compounds, it's almost certain the gel will work in the body without harmful side effects.

We're still several years from proving this will indeed work in humans to replace worn-out cartilage.

That will require many computer models, then animal testing, and then finally human trials. But I believe that if this gel runs into a dead end, something else will take its place. We just have so many bright minds working on problems like these, I know we will succeed in the long run.

It's only a matter of time before millions find lasting relief from the effects of osteoarthritis and sport injuries.


http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news-events ... its-length
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