DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Kolohe
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Kolohe » 16 Oct 2017, 18:49

JD wrote:
16 Oct 2017, 14:49
But recent studies suggest that it was not a tree, but actually a giant fungus or lichen, eventually out-competed by vascular plants.
Are those plants the Protoubertes?
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 18 Oct 2017, 09:02

Cascade of costs could push CAR-T therapy to $1.5M per patient

This is a concern that many of us have had since CAR-T therapies seemed viable. Who's going to pay?
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Aresen » 19 Oct 2017, 10:42

I have been enjoying the stories about the recent gravitational observation of merging neutron stars.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 22 Oct 2017, 21:15

I'm surprised this wasn't already publicly available. My dissertation is. I suspect thoreau's, Jadagul's and Timothy's are as well.



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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Kolohe » 22 Oct 2017, 21:22

Is it probably more correct to say 'finally digitized'? If Docktor T is the age I think he is, he wrote his disertation just before everyone became Extremely Online.

(There's that scene in Friends where Ross's disertation is in the library stacks in the same place - because nobody actually cares about the books there- where everyone gets in on)

(We have a copy of my wife's uncles Mech Eng Ph.D. dissertation that was in that late 60s early 70s time frame. It's very bio med oriented, something about blood sample testing)
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 22 Oct 2017, 21:38

It's still surprising, even if "finally digitized" is the reason. Actually, finally digitized would also be surprising. Even more surprising is:
From this October all PhD graduates will be required to deposit a digital copy of their theses, and will be urged to make them open access. Cambridge will also be trying to persuade all its former academics, who include 98 Nobel prize winners, to follow Hawking’s example.
So, Cambridge is just now requiring its doctoral graduates to deposit digital copies of their dissertations.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 22 Oct 2017, 21:57

Kolohe wrote:
22 Oct 2017, 21:22
Is it probably more correct to say 'finally digitized'? If Docktor T is the age I think he is, he wrote his disertation just before everyone became Extremely Online.

(There's that scene in Friends where Ross's disertation is in the library stacks in the same place - because nobody actually cares about the books there- where everyone gets in on)

(We have a copy of my wife's uncles Mech Eng Ph.D. dissertation that was in that late 60s early 70s time frame. It's very bio med oriented, something about blood sample testing)
I submitted my dissertation in 2005. I had to submit both paper and electronic versions. The paper version is no longer in the campus library (I happened to be at my alma mater a couple months ago). Of those who submitted dissertations my year, about half their dissertations are still in the library, half aren't. There are virtually none from years after 2005, but everyone I know who submitted before 2005 still has their dissertation in the library.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 22 Oct 2017, 22:01

the innominate one wrote:
22 Oct 2017, 21:38
It's still surprising, even if "finally digitized" is the reason. Actually, finally digitized would also be surprising. Even more surprising is:
From this October all PhD graduates will be required to deposit a digital copy of their theses, and will be urged to make them open access. Cambridge will also be trying to persuade all its former academics, who include 98 Nobel prize winners, to follow Hawking’s example.
So, Cambridge is just now requiring its doctoral graduates to deposit digital copies of their dissertations.
Eh, it's an 800 year old school.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dead_elvis » 03 Nov 2017, 13:57

Space changes how genes are expressed
According to preliminary results from NASA’s Twins study, Scott’s year in space also drastically increased his rate of DNA methylation, the process responsible for turning genes on and off. By regulating gene expression, methylation is believed to play a major role in the development in many diseases, ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease.

“Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,” said Chris Mason, principal investigator of the Twins Study, in a press release. “With this study, we’ve seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth.”
Interstellar trips could get biologically pretty interesting. But kinda puts another damper on hopes for space travel that as much time as humans have logged in space we still hardly know shit about what would happen to us on long voyages; seems like every new discovery puts us further from being ready to go.
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the innominate one
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 03 Nov 2017, 14:08

Very interesting. But DNA methylation is not "the" process of gene regulation, it's one process associated with gene regulation. It's not clear it's more important than binding of transcription factors, it's easier to detect, however. I'd like to see RNA-seq or RT-PCR data.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 03 Nov 2017, 14:20

I think the important thing is that we can read into it that at some point astronauts will come back as horrifying mutant monsters.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dead_elvis » 03 Nov 2017, 14:52

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
03 Nov 2017, 14:20
I think the important thing is that we can read into it that at some point astronauts will come back as horrifying mutant monsters.
Or as giant baby/space ghosts. Has anybody looked to see if there were any monoliths just hanging around the ISS trying to look inconspicuous?
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 06 Nov 2017, 23:41

Shooting for a new standard on osteoarthritis, Merck KGaA outlines promising data for a potential game-changer

Merck KGaA’s pharma group is taking one more step in a long journey toward rehabbing its rep in the R&D field this weekend. Company execs turned up at the ACR scientific conference in San Diego to roll out a promising look at some key Phase II osteoarthritis data — which comes with a critical caveat.

The drug is sprifermin, which Merck Serono has had in its pipeline for the past 13 years after bagging it from ZymoGenetics, now a part of Bristol-Myers Squibb. In the first two-year efficacy assessment of the five-year study, researchers are now proudly pointing to a slight increase of cartilage in the knee, as opposed to the remorseless decline that leads to expensive knee replacement surgery.

By Merck research chief Luciano Rossetti’s reckoning, this is the first time a drug has actually triggered a reversal of this disease — rather than just managing the symptoms of the disease — leaving the German Merck with a potentially groundbreaking drug in a field that accounts for 5% of the world’s population, with 237 million people whose lives have been crimped by this disease.

“The most striking response is the disease response,” Rossetti tells me. And what’s particularly exciting, he added, is that the drug — recombinant human FGF-18 protein — is not just blocking the decline of cartilage, but significantly building normal cartilage in a 2-year time frame.

At the highest dosage, researchers tracked a 0.05 mm increase in cartilage thickness, with a step down in dose to a 0.04 mm increase. Considering that a 0.04 mm loss puts patients at a greatly higher risk of knee replacement, he says, they’re looking at a major treatment shift.

If the data are borne out in Phase III, Merck KGaA believes it can line up another drug behind its big PD-1 drug avelumab, partnered with Pfizer in the biggest upfront ever recorded in biotech. Merck KGaA also recently won a European approval for the MS drug cladribine, initially abandoned in 2010 after it was spurned by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. That marked a low point for Merck KGaA, which went for more than a decade without a single major win on the R&D side of the business.

Rossetti and the rest of the team want to put the bad old days behind the company for good, and sprifermin could help.

But there’s a big catch. The drug failed to register any kind of noticeable improvement over placebo on patients’ symptoms involving pain or function, an essential part of the secondary endpoint profile.

Just getting an injection of either placebo or drug in the knee had a big impact, says Rossetti, making it impossible to tease out the drug’s effect. They now have to see if regulators are open to using a marker on cartilage thickness rather than an effect on symptoms as a Phase III primary endpoint.

There is no set plan for Phase III, he adds, with upcoming regulatory exchanges needed to sort out trial design and length. You can be sure it won’t be easy or quick, though. GlobalData recently estimated that the drug could hit the market in 2021, with fairly limited near-term commercial prospects in a market dominated by cheap generics.

Still, it’s forward progress for Merck KGaA in the clinic. And that is big.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 06 Nov 2017, 23:50

Pretty cool, until you get to the part where the effect is indistinguishable from the placebo. OTOH, maybe the only treatment actually needed to stimulate cartilage growth is a placebo injection. That would be bad for Merck, but great for patients.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 06 Nov 2017, 23:57

the innominate one wrote:
06 Nov 2017, 23:50
Pretty cool, until you get to the part where the effect is indistinguishable from the placebo. OTOH, maybe the only treatment actually needed to stimulate cartilage growth is a placebo injection. That would be bad for Merck, but great for patients.
The growth effect wasn't indistinguishable from the placebo, the patient reported symptoms were. Probably need a large, long phase-III (or post market) trial, with an appropriate treatment group, to tease that out.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 07 Nov 2017, 00:03

Oh, I see. Thanks. Please pardon my error.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 07 Nov 2017, 00:21

Here's the endpoint data:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 49720.html
The study of 549 patients met its primary endpoint, demonstrating statistically- significant, dose-dependent increases in MRI total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness from baseline in the two sprifermin groups receiving the highest doses as compared with the placebo group after the two-year treatment period (+0.03 mm with 100µg sprifermin every six months vs. -0.02 mm with placebo, p<0.001; +0.02 mm with 100µg sprifermin every twelve months vs. -0.02 mm with placebo, p<0.001). Demonstration of an increase in cartilage thickness as opposed to a delay in decreasing cartilage thickness has not been previously reported. The correlation of these changes with clinical endpoints is being evaluated.
Placebo effect (shakes fist):
Secondary endpoints included changes in cartilage thickness as measured by MRI in the medial and lateral compartments, as well as changes in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) score over two years. Statistically significant treatment effects of increased cartilage thickness were observed in the medial and lateral femorotibial compartments, including the central medial and central lateral regions, in the highest sprifermin dose group. Total WOMAC scores decreased (indicating less symptoms) by approximately 50 percent compared to baseline in all treatment groups, including placebo.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 07 Nov 2017, 00:25

The abstract is here, but it doesn't say what other treatments patients received (presumably analgesics etc):

http://acrabstracts.org/abstract/effica ... -ii-study/
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the innominate one
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 07 Nov 2017, 07:44

Thanks. Interested if they learn why there's no improvement in symptoms over placebo. Endorphins released locally when injected with the placebo, perhaps.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 07 Nov 2017, 20:39

This is cool. Diagnosing malaria infections using chemical analysis of breath.

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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 10 Nov 2017, 07:36

Here's a video of cleavage of a DNA molecule by the Crispr-Cas9 editing system. thoreau, can you achieve any improvements to their visualization?



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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Warren » 10 Nov 2017, 10:30

the innominate one wrote:
10 Nov 2017, 07:36
Here's a video of cleavage of a DNA molecule by the Crispr-Cas9 editing system. thoreau, can you achieve any improvements to their visualization?
I hope so. I don't see any boobs at all.
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the innominate one
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 10 Nov 2017, 11:37

Turn six.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 15 Nov 2017, 21:05

Gene editing in a adult patient to repair a genetic defect.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/15/health/fi ... index.html

That escalated quickly. Hope it works out.
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