Oxford scientists see IVF success soar

first_imgThe collaboration of Oxford University doctors and the Colorado Centre for Reproductive Medicine could see success rates of IVF soar due to developments in screening embryos.The new process, comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), allows doctors to monitor all the chromosomes in the developing embryo. It is believed that a common cause of miscarriage is an abnormal number of chromosomes.This new method has the potential to double impregnation rates in women who would otherwise have problems conceiving, while it is estimated that the live birth rate will rise from a predicted rate of 60% to 78%.Dr Dagan Wells, of Oxford University, described the increased pregnancy rates as “absolutely phenomenal.”last_img read more

Warning: Warming ahead

first_img An artful response to the warming climate Graduate student explores perception of climate change through design and art For many, it’s not news that human activity has dramatically increased average temperatures across the globe. But few people are directly confronted with evidence of it as they walk to class or the office.“Warming Warning,” a new collaborative public art project on Harvard’s Science Center Plaza, aims to do just that.The stunning piece, on view through Dec. 7, is the result of a unique collaboration between designer and artist David Buckley Borden, M.L.A. ’11, a Harvard Forest Fellow and Harvard Graduate School of Design alumnus, and Aaron Ellison, senior ecologist at the forest.According to Borden and Ellison, “Warming Warning” was envisioned not just as a way to communicate global climate data, but also as a mechanism for spurring conversation, on and off campus, about direct action on climate change. To complement the installation, they organized a series of art talks addressing individual action. The exhibit’s launch on Oct. 22 in the Cabot Science Library included students, staff, and faculty at Harvard College, Office for Sustainability, Harvard Forest, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Graduate School of Education, the libraries, Graduate School of Design, and Harvard Climate Leaders Program for Professional Students, who discussed what they can do to tackle climate change, regardless of their area of scholarship or role at the University or in the community.“Sometimes we forget the power of one-on-one conversation,” said Borden. “A lot of people are open to these ideas, but they may not have the toolset at their fingertips for how to be better stewards.”The piece uses painted triangles made of timber sustainably harvested and milled by the Harvard Forest woods crew. On one side, the dramatic rise in in global average temperature since 1880 is highlighted as a white-to-red heat-gradient. The other side illustrates four different scenarios of future carbon dioxide emissions as detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The lines represent paths to limit temperature increase by transitioning to a fossil fuel-free future, or maintain status quo and create an increasingly warm and uninhabitable planet.The sculpture is designed to play on perspective: of time, displaying temperature change over decades, and of place, as its aspect changes depending on where the visitor is standing, the sun’s location, or current weather conditions.,“As you walk across the sculpture you can think about questions of climate change and what we can do about that from a variety of angles and perspectives.” — Aaron Ellison,“As you walk across the sculpture you can think about questions of climate change and what we can do about that from a variety of angles and perspectives,” said Ellison. “This is not a problem for the next generation. It’s a problem for all of us right now.”“The Harvard Forest is excited about this artistic collaboration as it helps highlight major insights drawn from our diverse studies across the New England landscape. Today, the region’s forests are growing rapidly and offsetting up to a quarter of the region’s carbon dioxide emissions,” said David Foster, the forest’s director. “Given the importance of this natural landscape for climate mitigation, flood control, recreation, and habitat, it is critical that we all join together to conserve it and other forested areas into the future.”“Warming Warning” was designed to leave space for more triangles. Nine wood timbers were stacked together to make a bench that “suggests each person’s role in the narrative of unfolding climate change.” The bench was left white to prompt passersby to sit for a moment and consider how they can color the future by individual and collective action to limit climate change.“Warming Warning” was made possible due to a unique partnership between the Harvard Forest, Harvard Common Spaces, and the Office for Sustainability, in part to draw attention to the University’s ambitious, science-based goal to be fossil fuel-neutral by 2026 and fossil fuel-free by 2050.“The art sculpture should serve as a reminder that each of us, including landowners of the region’s forests like Harvard University, can make a personal difference in combating global change,” Foster said. Relatedcenter_img Shifting the ‘Horizon’ ‘Weathering Change’last_img read more

Injectable drug seen as potential treatment for flu, both seasonal and avian

first_imgOct 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Recent tests suggest that an antiviral drug given by intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection could eventually serve as another weapon against influenza, according to results presented at a conference last week.In animal studies, peramivir improved survival in mice and ferrets infected with H5N1 avian flu, according to a news release from BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., Birmingham, Ala., which is developing the drug. The results were presented Sep 30 at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco.In addition, in phase 1 clinical studies, IV and IM doses of peramivir produced high blood levels of the drug in human volunteers without causing any adverse events, according to Dr. Charles E. Bugg, PhD, chairman and chief executive of BioCryst.The clinical studies “showed you can achieve high blood levels in humans safely,” Bugg told CIDRAP News in an interview today. The combination of those results with the animal studies is promising, he said.Peramivir is a neuraminidase inhibitor, like the licensed antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and zanamivir (Relenza). Oseltamivir is an oral drug, while zanamivir is inhaled as a powder. Many countries have stockpiled oseltamivir on the assumption that it will help if the H5N1 virus sparks a pandemic.BioCryst started developing peramivir in 1998 in partnership with Johnson and Johnson, Bugg said. Early studies showed the drug inhibited flu viruses effectively, but when taken orally, its bioavailability was very low, which prompted Johnson and Johnson to pull out of the program.Because injectable peramivir looked promising in animals, the program was resurrected with help from the National Institutes of Health about a year ago, Bugg said. He explained that the company is developing an IV formulation intended for hospital patients and an IM formulation for outpatients.In the animal studies, four groups of mice were infected with an H5N1 virus and then were treated with either a single IM injection of peramvir, five daily IM injections, oral oseltamivir for 5 days, or an IM placebo injection daily for 5 days, according to the news release. The single-injection group had a 70% survival rate and the five-injection group a 80% survival rate, compared with 36% for the placebo group and 70% for the oseltamivir group.In the ferret experiment, one group received a daily IM injection for 5 days, while a second group received an IM placebo daily for 5 days. Eighty-six percent of the treated group survived, versus 43% of the placebo group, according to the news release.Bugg said treatment was started an hour after the animals were infected with the virus. He said additional studies will involve longer time lapses between exposure and the start of treatment.Results of the clinical studies were presented by flu expert Frederick Hayden, MD, of the University of Virginia. Three groups of volunteers received different IV doses of peramivir, and a fourth group received increasing IM doses once a day for 3 days, the company release said. “Preliminary safety results indicate that in the four studies, all doses were well-tolerated with no adverse laboratory events or ECG findings reported,” the statement said.”I think peramivir looks very promising,” said Hayden, as quoted in a Sep 29 Bloomberg News report. “It’s proven to have very good activity in single doses.”In an interview, Hayden told Bloomberg that injecting peramivir into the bloodstream or into muscle can produce blood levels 100 times higher than those seen with oral oseltamivir, now considered the most promising treatment for H5N1 infection.Last January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave injectable peramivir fast-track status for regulatory approval, according to BioCryst. But Bugg said it would take at least several more years to gain FDA approval.”We’ll do a clinical trial this flu season, and then two more next season,” he said. “We’re looking at several more years.” He said the company will be meeting with the FDA soon to review the program and may have a better idea of the timeline after that.Bugg said plans also call for testing the drug in human H5N1 patients at sites in Thailand and Vietnam and also to make it available in Turkey, which had human cases early this year.”We’ll be trying to collect data from H5N1-infected patients in Southeast Asia in collaboration with the World Health Organization,” he said. “We’ll be on the front line to capture H5N1 if it occurs. But realistically we won’t have enough [patients] for a meaningful statistical analysis.”In a Sep 29 Reuters report, Bugg said peramivir is easier to make than Tamiflu. One Swiss manufacturer can make 1 metric ton of the drug in a month, enough to treat an estimated 8 million people, he said.See also:Oct 2 BioCryst release on peramivirhttp://investor.shareholder.com/biocryst/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=213054last_img read more

Men’s tennis chasing Big Ten run

first_imgAfter snapping a five-match losing skid, the Wisconsin men’s tennis team (9-10, 1-6 Big Ten) will look to put a conference winning streak together as it travels to the state of Indiana this weekend to face the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers.The Badgers were finally able to break through with their first Big Ten victory April 8 against a struggling Penn State team, which possesses an identical conference record to Wisconsin’s.As the Badgers fight to climb out of the dungeon of the Big Ten standings, head coach Greg Van Emburgh is relieved to have notched the first win of the conference season.“It was just huge, as far being able to turn the season around, that was a huge win for us,” Van Emburgh said. “It was a great confidence booster for the guys, the morale after the match was so much better.”The confidence of the team will prove to be an important factor this Saturday against the Boilermakers, as they lead the Badgers by just a single game in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin has owned Purdue as of late, winning the last eight matches.The Boilermakers are in a comparable spot to the Badgers at this point in the season – Purdue was similarly stunted by a Big Ten losing streak before defeating a weaker conference opponent.Sophomore Rod Carey understands that attacking two conference opponents this weekend is crucial to salvaging the regular season.“They’re really important to the team because it’s a way for us to get some momentum,” Carey said. “If we could get two wins there that would be good for the team.”Carey was able to individually bounce back from a five-match losing streak with a three-set victory against Penn State’s Russell Bader in the No. 2 position, a spot he has played in the past five matches. The Bahamas native was originally starting at the No. 5 slot, but his consistent effort has improved his rank in the lineup.An additional alteration to Wisconsin’s lineup has been an involuntary one due to the injury suffered by junior Billy Bertha. The captain hasn’t seen action since April 1 in a loss at Northwestern, in which he partnered up with sophomore Alex Robles in their second consecutive match as a pair.Van Emburgh is looking forward to seeing his captain back on the court.“We’re hopefully going to get Billy back in there … at least in the doubles, if not the singles as well,” Van Emburgh said.As the Badgers hit the road this weekend, they will be mindful that they have only earned one victory away from the Nielsen Tennis Center. That win came against an Idaho squad that held an 8-6 record at the time of the match.Solving the equation for road success will be pivotal for the Badgers, as three of their last four opponents will be played on the road before they participate in the Big Ten tournament.The team is confident about its opportunity to win away matches down the final stretch of the regular season.“They should take a lot of confidence into the remainder of the season,” Van Emburgh said. “I think from here on out, the matches that we’re playing are really going to be winnable matches and tennis is really a mental sport.”After its contest with Purdue, Wisconsin matches up with a more dangerous Indiana club that defeated Notre Dame, a top-40 team that Wisconsin fell to early in the non-conference season.Despite a steep hill to hike, the Badgers know they have much room for improvement. A slate of underclassmen has yet to hit its full potential and none of the Badgers are scheduled to graduate before the 2012-2013 campaign.“We shouldn’t give up; we should work hard, keep doing the right things on and off the court,” junior Alexander Kostanov said. “Even if we wouldn’t succeed in this season, it is going to pay off during next season.”last_img read more

Friday July 10th “The Midday Report”

first_imgKGLO News · Friday July 10 — 12:06 PM Listen to “The Midday Report” from Friday July 10thlast_img