Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nobel prize in physics 2013

(CNN ) - The Higgs boson, or the "God particle," which was discovered last year, garnered two physicists the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday, but it didn't go to the scientists who detected it.

Nearly 50 years ago, Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of the United Kingdom had the foresight to predict that the particle existed.

Now, the octogenarian pair share the Nobel Prize in physics in recognition of a theoretical brilliance that was vindicated by the particle's discovery last year.

Well deserved. Congrats!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

AMD stem cell trial began

World's 1st iPS cell clinical study for regeneration of retina begins

TOKYO — 8/1/2013
The world’s first clinical study using stem cells harvested from a patient’s own body began Thursday. A government committee last month approved proposals for the tests, which will be jointly conducted by the Riken Center for Developmental Biology and the Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation (IBRI) Hospital in Kobe.

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura signed off on a proposal by two research institutes that will allow them to begin tests aimed at treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common medical condition that causes blindness in older people, using “induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells”.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stem cell treatment for AMD

This is what a patient with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) sees.

News on 2/17/2013:

TOKYO — Researchers in Japan have moved one step closer to clinical trials using adult stem cells in a therapy they hope will prove a cure for common sight problems.

The ethics committee at the Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation in Kobe, last Wednesday approved a trial treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells.

The trial is aimed at creating retinal cells that can be transplanted into the eyes of patients suffering from AMD, a presently incurable disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older people and can lead to blindness.

Stem cell treatment vs artificial retina implant: the race is now on.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Artificial retina

[The Argus II device consists of special glasses outfitted with a video camera and a video processing unit that sends signals to a wireless receiver implanted in the eye.]

It took USD 200 million and 14 years for Second Sight Medical Products Inc of Sylmar, CA, to out-compete others and become the first to gain FDA approval for its artificial retina.

This is a good start. Indeed, much higher resolution is still needed, for one thing. The company plans to keep improving the treatment, which they hope will ultimately be used to treat age-related macular degeneration. For now, there are limitations:

(1) The FDA approved the system as a humanitarian use device, an approval that is limited to fewer than 4,000 people in the United States each year.
(2) The device is limited to adults 25 or older, with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa who have no light perception or bare light perception, in which they can perceive light but cannot tell where it is coming from.
(3) The system will cost more than $100,000 when it is launched in the United States. And
(4) Although it does not completely restore vision, the implant helps with daily activities, such as locating objects and recognizing large letters and shapes.

[Sources: FoxNews and UDN News]