KRAUSE’S GROVE, 2 Beach Road, Halfmoon, NY


1:00 PM TO 6:00 PM ~ RAIN OR SHINE

$30.00 per adult ticket at gate - $20.00 for children under 12

includes donation to Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

5 hour picnic with soda, beer, games, raffles, 50/50, live music




Abundant food and dessert being served 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Those who wish to join a pre-picnic motorcycle cavalcade around the beautiful Tomhannock Reservoir in Ali’s honor will meet at the Troy Plaza on Hoosick Street at 10:00 A.M. for sign up and the cavalcade will kick off at 11:00 A.M. sharp.

For more info: https://www.facebook.com/Rally4Ali

For Further Information


For the Run, Wally Urzan


For the Picnic & Cause

Alison Fisk


Friday, December 31, 2010

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: A Debate

Two US Companies made history in 2010 when they got approval to start the first experiments using embryonic stem cells on humans suffering from spinal cord injuries and blindness.
Researchers say stem cells can transform into nearly any cell in the human body. Supporters of the research believe that will lead to cures for everything from Parkinson’s Disease to paralysis to heart disease.

Opponents say that when the cells transform, they could form tumors and lead to other problems.
This is an issue with controversy rooted in medicine, ethics, politics and religion.
Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick spoke to two men on opposite sides of the debate – Senator Arlen Spector and Princeton University professor Robert George. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ring in 2011 with a stem cell calendar

Need a last minute gift? Try a calendar of stem cell scientists, which will also support the research

[Published 23rd December 2010 02:02 PM GMT]

For yet another last minute Christmas gift for the scientifically inclined -- one that will not only help keep track of the coming year but also support stem cell research in the U.S. -- consider the CELLebrity Doctors calendar. 

July: Robert LanzaImage: Megan O'Neil Photography
Brainchild of Sabrina Cohen, a Miami native who heads the Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research, the calendar features 12 researchers who are pushing the boundaries of stem cell research on a variety of human diseases including diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease, among others. 

The glossy pages include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute neurologist Lorenz Studer, Nicholas Maragakis from Johns Hopkins, Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Gary Hammer, director of the endocrine oncology program at University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

Images: (from left to right) December: Gary Hammer, February: Joshua Hare, and October: Hans Keirstad 

Cohen and the director of business development for the foundation, Bernis Katz, spent the better part of this year wooing the 12 researchers from across the U.S. away from their busy schedules and putting them right in front of the cameras. 

They were met with giggles and a few replies of the "I-don't-think-I'm-calendar-material"-sort, but for the most part the researchers were highly enthusiastic about the idea, Cohen said. 

By selling the calendars at $18 a pop, Cohen hopes to rake in from $15,000 to $20,000, which will go toward a $25,000 grant funding a stem cell researcher that will be awarded in 2011. The foundation has already awarded two grants since its inception in 2006. 

Sabrina CohenImage: Neox Image
The promise of stem cell research strikes a deeply personal chord in Cohen, who has been a quadriplegic ever since she was in a car accident in her high school sophomore year. 

"Sabrina is an amazing person," said cardiologist Joshua Hare, who runs an interdisciplinary stem cell research institute in the University of Miami, and graced the calendar as February. "She's got so much energy. She's devoted her life to support stem cell research." 

"I'm really proud to be associated with this project and bringing all these amazing scientists together," said Cohen, who will soon start working on a 2012 calendar. 

Calendars are available at cellebritydocscalendar.com 

Related stories:
  • Scientific stocking stuffers 
    [9th December 2010]

  • Super Stemmys, a stem cell story 
    [8th April 2010]

  • Benefits of the stem cell ban 
    [8th June 2009]

  • Read more: Ring in 2011 with a stem cell calendar - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57902/#ixzz192XWpPro

    Saturday, December 18, 2010


    sternThe first person ever successfully cured of HIV, thanks to the miracle of stem cells? Aidsmap reports:
    Doctors who carried out a stem cell transplant on an HIV-infected man with leukaemia in 2007 say they now believe the man to have been cured of HIV infection as a result of the treatment, which introduced stem cells which happened to be resistant to HIV infection.
    The man received bone marrow from a donor who had natural resistance to HIV infection; this was due to a genetic profile which led to the CCR5 co-receptor being absent from his cells. The most common variety of HIV uses CCR5 as its ‘docking station’, attaching to it in order to enter and infect CD4 cells, and people with this mutation are almost completely protected against infection.
    The “Berlin patient,” Timothy Ray Brown, a US citizen who lives in Berlin, was interviewed this week by German news magazine Stern.
    His course of treatment for leukaemia was gruelling and lengthy. Brown suffered two relapses and underwent two stem cell transplants, as well as a serious neurological disorder that flared up when he seemed to be on the road to recovery.
    The neurological problem led to temporary blindness and memory problems. Brown is still undergoing physiotherapy to help restore his coordination and gait, as well as speech therapy.
    Friends have noticed a personality change too: he is much more blunt, possibly a disinhibition that is related to the neurological problems.
    On being asked if it would have been better to live with HIV than to have beaten it in this way he says “Perhaps. Perhaps it would have been better, but I don’t ask those sorts of questions anymore.”
    Timothy Brown is now considering a move from Berlin to Barcelona or San Francisco, and, reports Stern magazine, enjoying a drink and a cigarette.
    Stern also interviewed Dr Gero Hütter, who was in charge of Timothy Brown’s treatment. Dr Hütter told Stern that as a scientist he was “in the right place, at the right time” and that “for me it is important to have overthrown the dogma that HIV can never be cured.  Something like this is the greatest thing one can achieve in medical research”.
    If a cure has been achieved in this patient, it points the way towards attempts to develop a cure for HIV infection through genetically engineered stem cells.
    The German researchers and San Francisco-based immunologist Professor Jay Levy believe that the findings point to the importance of suppressing the production of CCR5-bearing cells, either through transplants or gene therapy.
    Scientists were sufficiently intrigued by the Berlin patient that they met in Berlin in 2009 to discuss how they could coordinate efforts to identify CCR5-delta32 homozygous donors and expand the supply of stem cells from these donors, for example through sampling blood cells from the umbilical cord of babies born to mothers who are homozygous for CCR5-delta32, in order to eventually facilitate stem-cell therapy.
    Gene therapy techniques which can transform stem cells – and all their descendents – into cells resistant to HIV entry may be a more practical option than looking for matching donors.
    Several US research groups announced in October 2009 that they had received funding to explore techniques for engineering and introducing CCR5-deficient stem cells.
    If these approaches prove successful they will be expensive, so in the early stages it is likely that they would be reserved for people with no remaining treatment options or a cancer requiring bone marrow or stem cell transfer.
    As Timothy Brown’s experience shows, curing HIV infection through ablative chemotherapy, immunosuppressive drugs and stem cell transfer is not a course of treatment for the faint-hearted. It has required courage, determination and a lot of support to become the first person to be pronounced `cured` of HIV infection.

    Monday, November 29, 2010


    Bret Michaels tells Diabetes Forecast the inside story of his health crisis


    Dayle Kern703-549-1500 ext. 2290
    Listen to  this page using ReadSpeaker
    Musician and reality-TV star Bret Michaels has been through a lot this year, from an emergency appendectomy to a life-threatening subarachnoid hemorrhage, followed by a mild stroke that led to the discovery of a hole in his heart – all within six weeks. Michaels, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was six years old, took time to open up to Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association, and share the details of his experience. The December issue of Diabetes Forecast also includes an interview with Michaels’s brain surgeon, Joseph Zabramski, MD.
    Bret Michaels on the Dec 2010 Cover of Diabetes ForecastMichaels stayed strong through the appendectomy and through the subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding at the base of the brain) – even when his doctor told him that his chance of survival was about 50-50. It wasn’t until the discovery of a hole in his heart that he started to feel down about his health.  "Now I’m a guy who fights, fights, fights,” Michaels says, “but that one took the wind out of my sails... Normally I deal with pain by laughing at a lot of it, but this one depressed me."

    But Zabramski told Michaels that the heart defect could be corrected (surgery has been scheduled for January), and Michaels regained hope about his future. "When I got back from the hospital," says Michaels, "I went out on my property and took a walk and got straight with God and with myself. I said, 'Listen, I’m going to make every effort to get better, just give me a chance.' That was it. I just mentally got myself positive, and that is exactly what helped me get through it."

    Several times throughout his hospital stays, Michaels found his blood glucose levels higher than he liked. "I literally wrote down, on a legal form, ‘I will take my own injections,’ to release the hospital from any liability," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "I just knew I needed to take responsibility for whatever was going on with my blood sugar, and I finally got it down, with enough insulin, to the 140, 150 area."

    It wasn’t long before Michaels appeared on Oprah and the Celebrity Apprentice, and even performed on American Idol. "I didn’t decide to make a comeback," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "It was all already planned; it was just a matter of whether I could make it or not."
    From his goal for A1C tests to his musical, TV, and book projects for 2011, this is Bret Michaels, in his own words, and this is the inside story of just what happened in all those hospital rooms, what he did when things hit rock bottom – and how his diabetes, paradoxically, helped him pull through.
    There are many heroes in the world of diabetes, so the December issue ofDiabetes Forecast also features "Doing Well and Doing Good," more success stories about people living with diabetes who actively give back to the diabetes community. These heroes range from age 9 to 70, have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and are making a difference in their own way.
    This issue also includes:
    • A New Shine on an Old Medication: The story of metformin’s past, present, and possible future
    • How to Craft a Casserole: A step-by-step guide to updating this retro comfort food
    • A Victory to Celebrate: An Atlanta event promotes prevention in the African American community
    Diabetes Forecast has been America's leading diabetes magazine for more than 60 years, offering the latest news on diabetes research and treatment to provide information, inspiration, and support to people with diabetes. 
    The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visitwww.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in Englishand Spanish.

    Sunday, November 28, 2010


    DURANGO — U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette says she has enough bipartisan support to pass an embryonic stem-cell research bill. However, it's not clear whether Congress will take up the issue when members return from Thanksgiving break. Passing the defense authorization bill, food safety reform and addressing the expiring Bush tax cuts may not allow time for other issues.
    DeGette told the Durango Herald that if Congress takes up stem cells, she thinks her bill would pass.
    Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who opposes the bill, said, "There is no reason to use what many Americans consider unethical and immoral — and that is the destruction of embryos for scientific research.
    In March, President Barack Obama issued an executive order easing restrictions on federal research on human embryos but a federal judge said that violated a 1996 law prohibiting the use of tax dollars in work that harms embryos. An appeals court is now considering the issue.
    A similar bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Colorado's Sen. Michael Bennet.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010


    Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan discovered so-called iPS cells, which pave the way for pursuing regenerative medicine therapies without destroying embryos.

    Perhaps no scientist has had a greater impact on stem cell research than Dr. Shinya Yamanaka. While most of his colleagues were looking for ways to grow human embryonic stem cells into replacement tissues for treating patients, the Japanese researcher took the opposite approach and figured out how to rewind mature body cells to a flexible state in which they could again become many types of cells. His 2006 discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, paves the way for pursuing regenerative medicine therapies without the need to destroy embryos.

    Yamanaka's primary lab is at Kyoto University in Japan, but he spends part of the year at UC San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the 1990s. On Nov. 10 he received the $610,000 Kyoto Prize, which recognizes "significant contributions to the betterment of humankind," for his stem cell work. He has also won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Shaw Prize and the Robert Koch Prize. He recently spoke with The Times.

    What prompted you to start working on iPS cells?

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    In 2000, I became interested in how embryonic stem cells maintain their ability to develop into different kinds of cells. At the time, many laboratories were trying to turn embryonic stem cells into various functional cells. I thought the field was highly competitive, so I decided to go the opposite direction — [turning body cells] back to the embryonic state.

    What advantages do iPS cells have over embryonic stem cells?

    IPS cells can circumvent two obstacles faced by embryonic stem cells. One is the ethical controversy — we have to destroy embryos to isolate embryonic stem cells. The other is the risk of immune rejection when cells derived from embryonic stem cells are transplanted into a patient's body.

    Do they have any disadvantages?

    The safety of the cells. They are made by using retroviruses to introduce genes into mature cells, but the process can cause iPS cells to grow tumors if the retrovirus is inserted in the wrong part of the genome.

    What is the long-term potential of these cells?

    IPS cells can become an effective research tool for modeling drugs, screening drug compounds and testing for side effect or toxicity. In the future, when the safety and other issues are solved, iPS cell-derived functional cells may become sources for cell transplantation therapies.

    What surprised you most about your research as it unfolded?

    When our group succeeded in generating iPS cells, I never imagined so many researchers would begin working on this new technology — or that the research would advance at such a rapid pace.

    What are the primary scientific hurdles that remain with iPS cells?

    Scientists need to find out the methods to generate safer iPS cells, how to turn those cells into functional cells, and how to transplant resultant cells into a body. We also need to figure out how to use the cells to study diseases in the lab.

    In the United States, the first clinical trial involving a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells has just gotten underway. How do you feel about the pace of translating research into actual treatments?

    The clinical trial using embryonic stem cells took a long time partly because use of the cells has caused an ethical controversy around the world. It is also true that it generally takes many years to turn basic research into clinical applications.

    Some question why human embryonic stem cell research should continue when your discovery allows scientists to generate similar cells without destroying human embryos. What do you think?

    Embryonic stem cells are still important for the development of iPS cell research. Findings from research on embryonic stem cells, such as methods to create various types of cells, have been applied to iPS cell research. That's why iPS cell research has evolved so rapidly. In addition, embryonic stem cells are used as control [comparison] materials when researchers conduct experiments on iPS cells and analyze their quality.

    Many people speculate that you will win a Nobel Prize one day. Does that make it hard to get your work done?

    I know some people have high expectations, but my concern is not thinking about winning a Nobel Prize. I worry about what I should do to bring iPS cell technology from the laboratory to the bedside as soon as possible.


    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Alison Fisk Urzan

    Our 2nd Annual Rally for Ali was a fabulous success this September! The Picnic for a Cause generated significantly more publicity this year when Ali’s good friend Mary Dubois was interviewed by The Troy Record and Ali’s husband Wally Urzan was interviewed by the Albany Times Union. Both had excellent featured articles about Ali’s life cut short by diabetic complications and about this years picnic at Krause’s Grove with their photograph included in the interviews. Just as wonderful this year an additional 80 people, including the Capital District Scooter and Moped Club Riders, joined us to support diabetic research at Harvard Stem Cell Institute by attending our picnic. The CDSMC also made a great video, CDSMC Rides With The Big Boys found on Ali’s Blog. http://rally4ali.blogspot.com

    Gary at Krause’s Grove has already received down payment for our 3rd Annual Rally for Ali and it is confirmed that our Picnic for A Cause will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2011. Please Save the Date! Wally has already established Blue Hand Luke will be playing at the 2011 Rally and Bill of the Green Mountain Pranksters and John of the John Morse Band have both also confirmed with Ali Mama next year’s gig.

    Ali enthusiastically attended her beautiful picnic and all those there who know her best, and some who knew her not at all, felt her joyous presence amongst us.

    In the past two years there have been many stories related to me, not only by Ali’s family but also by her many good friends, about how they felt Ali’s palpable presence at different times in their lives since she crossed over ~ whether at a concert attended by her friends, at the beach with the all-time summertime girl, at work or home, or simply driving in their car and a special song comes on while they were thinking of Ali. Some of her friends tell me that they think of her every single day, and know that she’s with them when they need her…

    Someday I’m going to put all their stories together as such hints, symbols, and sometimes downright attention-getting happenings let us know that our loved one is still with us, visits us, sends us messages (if we pay attention) and gives us signs all the time that they’re around us still. The signs and symbols, the dreams and lucid dreams Ali has been sending us have been going on for over two years now and she continues to make herself known at different times, perceiving that her family and friends will share their stories so that others will be on the lookout for the same meaningful coincidences or synchronicities. Meaningfulness, that gives the person receiving such a message not only a subjective experience, but more importantly an inner “knowing” – when our outer world and our inner worlds connect. The most important thing is we keep an open mind to receiving such experiences when they occur and even more importantly noting when they do happen. When synchronicities are noted they seem to happen more frequently for some reason even though we can’t MAKE them happen.

    Just weeks after Ali crossed over, on the day of her initial Rally in 2008, a motorcycle/car cavalcade gathered together in the Troy Plaza to pay tribute to Ali’s memory by riding around her favorite haunts. There were dozens of white/cream-colored butterflies soaring all around the Plaza that day; some people noticed them, others didn’t. Butterflies represent a visitation of a loved one crossed over. They are symbolic of Imagine, the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation.

    Two of the beauteous Ali Baba’s most recent visitations happened in May and in August of this year, 2010. The May visitation by Ali was at Ms. Jane’s annual Cinco de Mayo party. When one of Jane’s long-time friends was arriving at the festivities, she told Jane that she “caught a glimpse of Ali out of the corner of her eye” as she got out of her car. Ali was standing in the midst of a group of friends and was laughing. The sighting was only for a nanosecond in time and then it was gone. But Jane’s friend knew that Ali was thoroughly enjoying herself there that day. In Jane’s email to me: “My friend Barbara…she's the writer and a bit of a psychic, told me when she got out of her car to come here she saw Ali out of the corner of her eye, and that Ali was here and having fun (Of course I knew that already)”.

    The August visitation by Ali was to her mother (me) and to her beloved niece Meaghan who was expecting her first child; both of whom have had Ali visitations before. It happened as they were going to an OBGYN appointment just before Maggie’s baby was born on August 23rd and involves the Karner Blue Butterfly. The butterfly itself has long been a Christian symbol of resurrection, for it disappears into a cocoon and appears dead, but emerges later far more beautiful and powerful than before. As a symbol of Christ's resurrection after three days in the grave it is also a symbol of every Christian's hope of resurrection from the dead. I won’t go into that visitation in this newsletter because I don’t want to bore the skeptics among us, but will send it via another email entitled Ali and the Karner Blue Butterfly: A Synchronicity to those of us who believe that indeed there are more astounding things twixt heaven and earth than this world dreams of…

    …Our Annual Rally for Ali envisions a time in which future generations will never again suffer from the killer diabetes that persistently pounded away at our gorgeous, gutsy little Ali in the very prime of her incredibly compassionate life. And finally, as we again recall how Ali’s diabetes marched tenaciously onward for 25 years before cruelly snatching her from us, we collectively pledge that this year, and every year hereafter, we will rally for Ali until her insidious destroyer is utterly defeated ~ by US ALL.

    Ali is always very excited to celebrate with us the unwavering certainty that LIFE triumphs over death as she blissfully joined us at this years event in her honor ~ Our Cause ~ the 2010 SECOND ANNUAL RALLY FOR ALI ! She very much looks forward to overseeing the preparations for the 3rd Annual Rally for Ali as life, on both sides of the veil, marches on!


    God Bless and Much Love, The Family of Alison Fisk Urzan

    "How does one become a butterfly?" she asked.

    "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

    One of the very last “just because” cards I ever received from my beautiful daughter Ali featured a drawing of two ladies on the front of the card wearing sunhats and carrying pocketbooks and bags and they appeared to be on their way to the beach (where else?). Her multitude of friends will appreciate the expressions in the card as they capture exactly the grand spirit Ali was born with and also the relationship Ali and I have always had all our lives and still continue to have. The verse reads…

    The kind of friends we’ll always be…

    We’ll go where we want and we’ll do what we like.

    We’ll say what we mean. We’ll mean what we say.

    We’ll question authority. We’ll push the envelope.

    We’ll go out a limb. We’ll fall.

    We’ll pick ourselves up and try again.

    But we’ll be there for each other. And we’ll survive.

    We’ll become. We’ll unravel.

    We’ll roll up our sleeves and roll with the punches.

    We’ll hurt. We’ll heal.

    We’ll weep and feel.

    And then in Ali’s own handwriting…


    And we’ll grow stronger - because we are a “we,”

    Because we are FRIENDS,

    And we will be FOREVER!



    Dear Sookie ~

    Thank you so much for being my daughter first and, at your request, forever best friends second. For letting me know, and through me, letting your circles and circles of friends know, along with all others who are interested in meaningful coincidences by way of your Karner Blue butterfly synchronicity that you’re ALIVE AND WELL and that you’re still with us every single day! I Love you, forever. ~ Mom

    Alison Fisk Urzan

    Saturday, October 30, 2010


    Search Over 47,000 People and Over 4,000 Cancer Stem Cell Research Organisations

    DUBLIN -- Maven Semantic (http://www.mavensemantic.com) announces updates to their Cancer Stem Cell research database.
    The new database is now available to marketing, business development, competitor intelligence, KOL, medical affairs and related departments in the life sciences sector.
    The database currently tags 47,000 individuals working in Cancer Stem Cell. http://bit.ly/cDtRZO .
    Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cancer cells (found within tumors or hematological cancers) that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells, specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in a particular cancer sample. CSCs are therefore tumorigenic (tumor-forming), perhaps in contrast to other non-tumorigenic cancer cells. CSCs may generate tumors through the stem cell processes of self-renewal and differentiation into multiple cell types. Such cells are proposed to persist in tumors as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors. Therefore, development of specific therapies targeted at CSCs holds hope for improvement of survival and quality of life of cancer patients, especially for sufferers of metastatic disease.
    Top 10 Countries for Cancer Stem Cell Research (ranked by number of senior Cancer Stem Cell researchers)
    . United States Of America (19,200)
    . Japan (4,447)
    . Germany (3,100)
    . United Kingdom (2,437)
    . Italy (2,164)
    . Canada (1,680)
    . France (1,629)
    . China (1,484)
    . The Netherlands (968)
    . Australia (843)
    Leading organisations in Cancer Stem Cell research include:
    . Harvard Medical School
    . National Institutes of Health
    . University of California
    . Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    . Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    . National Cancer Institute
    . Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    . Duke University Medical Center
    . Washington University School of Medicine
    . Baylor College of Medicine
    . Indiana University School of Medicine
    . Stanford University School of Medicine
    . The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
    . Massachusetts General Hospital
    . Kyoto University
    . Terry Fox Laboratory
    . University of Cambridge
    . University of Pennsylvania
    . St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    . Karolinska Institutet
    . Leiden University Medical Center
    . Osaka University
    . Medical College of Wisconsin
    . Keio University
    . University of Ulm
    The database also includes pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, CROs, hospitals, government labs and other organisations active in the Cancer Stem Cell research field.
    Next Page

    Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/10/29/2594199/maven-semantic-cancer-stem-cell.html#ixzz13rED3KyK

    Monday, October 11, 2010


    (CBS/AP) A California bio-tech company has begun testing an embryonic stem-cell drug treatment on a patient with spinal cord injuries, marking the first time a drug made with embryonic stem cells has been used on a human.

    The patient was enrolled at Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation center in Atlanta.

    In order to participate, the patient had to have been injured within the last two weeks. The company, Geron, hopes to enroll another eight to 10 patients in the study.

    The stem-cell drug, known as GRNOPC, contains cells that turn into oligodendrocytes, a type of cell that produces myelin, a coating that allows impulses to move along nerves.

    When those cells are lost because of injury, paralysis can follow. If GRNOPC1 works, the progenitor cells will produce new oligodendrocytes in the injured area of the patient's spine, potentially allowing for new movement.

    Because this is an early stage study, researchers are primarily concerned with the safety of the treatment.

    "When we started working with human embryonic stem cells in 1999, many predicted that it would be a number of decades before a cell therapy would be approved for human clinical trials," Dr. Thomas B. Okarma, president and chief executive officer of Geron said in a statement.

    Embryonic stem cells have been at the center of funding controversies because the research involves destroying human embryos, which some have argued is akin to abortion.

    But, many researchers consider embryonic stem cells the most versatile types of stem cells, as they can morph into any type of cell.

    While a milestone in the technology, the drug is still a long way from being proven and reaching the market. It still faces many years of testing for effectiveness if all goes well in the early stage study.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010


    Hotmail Active View
    CDSMC Rides with Big Boys

    Hi Everyone ~

    Capital District Scooter and Moped Club Rides With The Big Boys attached. Love it.

    Our thanks to Arthur "Jerry" Dunn for bringing his club into the Rally for Ali ride this year. Our picnic for a Cause is in search of a cure for diabetes with all donations going to Harvard Stem Cell Institute and we thank the members of the club for attending the Rally and for their donations to the Cause. We understand that they thought the Rally was great and Jerry will try to bring even more club members to ride in the Rally next September.

    They had 13 scooters; 10 made the full journey. The ones that did stay with the bikes had a great time and two that couldn't keep up, made it to the Rally by a different route, anyway.
    Of the 10 that made it all the way 4 did not come into the Rally, and instead sent checks totaling $120.00 to Jerry for the Cause which I received yesterday and will be forwarding their checks along with all the rest to HSCI with our covering letter.
    We certainly look forward to seeing CDSMC again at the Rally next September at Krause's. They were a great addition. Thanks again guys!

    Ali Mama

    p.s. We had 80 more people attend the Rally this year than last year, thanks to the very hard work of the Rally for Ali Committee. That additional number is just fantastic and Ali's family really, REALLY, appreciates the Committees wonderful dedication to the Cause and for their unswerving loyal support of our beautiful little Ali. She LIVES. She continues to Rock On! And so do we.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010


    Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The government should be allowed to continue funding embryonic stem-cell research while it appeals a lower court order banning the programs, the Justice Department said in a court filing.

    “Disruption of ongoing research will result in irreparable setbacks and, in many cases, may destroy a project altogether,” the department wrote in a filing today with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. Arguments are set for Sept. 27.

    The appeals court said on Sept. 9 the government can keep funding embryonic stem-cell research at least in the initial stages of its challenge to a judge’s ban on taxpayer support for any activity using cells taken from human embryos. The Justice Department argued that District Judge Royce Lamberth’s order cutting off funding would cause irreversible harm to researchers, taxpayers and scientific progress.

    Foes of U.S. funding for embryonic stem-cell research said a ban won’t have any permanent impact on the research and should remain in effect while the federal government appeals. U.S. arguments are “speculation, misinformation, and hyperbole,” the opponents, adult stem-cell researchers competing for funds, said in legal papers filed last week.

    The case is Sherley v. Sebelius, 10-5287, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).


    Banner Sun Health Research Institute is on the front line of nature-inspired research that could put an end to heart failure.
    One million Americans die from coronary artery disease each year, making it the nation’s No. 1 killer, according to Banner’s announcement of $2.6 million in funding backing research led by Dr. Mohamed Gaballa.
    “The heart can rebuild tissue, that is a fact,” said the Banner institute senior scientist and lead investigator for the adult-stem-cell research project. “Our technique using adult stem cells simply mirrors the work of nature. We’re providing the resources that allow the complex mechanisms of the body to heal itself.”
    Sun Health Foundation is providing $2 for the current research with the other $600,000 coming from Banner Health.
    Human trials using adult stem cells to build new heart tissue are expected to begin within a year and a half, however, that step brings challenges in funding, Gaballa said. Without patentable drugs or tools that could provide profits, investors often ignore this type of project, according to Banner.

    Read more: Stem cell research gets $2.6M seeking cure for heart failure - Phoenix Business Journal

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010


    Five Questions for Sept. 8, 2010: Mary DuBois
    Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    No comments posted. | Email to a friend | Print version | ShareThis | RSS Feeds

    By Siobhan Connally

    Mary DuBois is a Capital District busi¬

    ness woman and committee chairwoman,

    corporate donations and master of cere¬

    monies for the second annual “Rally for

    Ali,” an annual event honoring Alison

    FiskUrzan, who died Sept. 21, 2008 from

    complications of diabetes. The event takes

    place Sept. 25 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Krause’s

    Grove in Halfmoon.

    Q What is the Rally for Ali?

    A The 2nd Annual ‘Rally for Ali’, a

    Picnic for a Cause is a fundraising

    event in search of a cure for Diabetes.

    All donations raised in Ali’s memory

    will go to Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

    Because Ali and her husband, Wally

    Urzan, were avid motorcycle enthusiasts,

    a pre-picnic motorcycle rally around the

    beautiful Tomhannock Reservoir in Ali’s

    honor will meet at the Troy Plaza on

    Hoosick Street at 10 a.m.

    Q How did you become involved in the


    A I became involved in the organiza¬

    tion initially because of my lifelong

    friendship and love of Ali and wanting

    to lend my support to the hard working

    committee of family and friends working

    on the cause. I remain committed to the

    organization for the same reasons as

    well as wanting to make a difference in

    the lives of so many people who are

    afflicted with this disease.

    Q How much has the event raised

    since it began?

    A To date we have raised nearly


    Q What events are planned for this

    year's rally?

    A In addition to the motorcycle rally

    and picnic, there will also be live

    entertainment; raffle tickets for fabulous

    prizes donated by local businesses,

    artists, and crafters; a 50/50 raffle will

    be held, as well as door prizes will be

    given out. Joanie Colarusso, a represen¬

    tative of Silpada Jewelry, has graciously

    offered to hold a book party with all of

    her profit going to the Rally for Ali.

    Q You said your assumptions about

    stem cell research had changed since

    your involvement. Can you explain what

    they were and how they changed?

    A In the beginning I knew very little

    about stem cell research other than

    the view I received through the media

    and was concerned with this contempo¬

    rary moral issue. As I became involved

    with the Rally for Aliorganization and

    did some research, I was impressed with

    the dedicated scientists at Harvard Stem

    Cell Institute (www.hsci.harvard.edu/)

    who are moving beyond traditional

    methods and will have a significant

    impact to benefit not only diabetes, but

    many other chronic diseases and illness¬

    es such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,

    spinal cord injury, heart disease, stroke,

    arthritis, cancer, and burns to name a


    Wednesday, August 11, 2010



    AND MORE..........





    KRAUSE’S GROVE, 2 Beach Road, Halfmoon, NY

    SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 (Date Final)

    1:00 PM TO 6:00 PM ~ RAIN OR SHINE

    $30.00 per adult ticket at gate - $20.00 for children under 12

    includes donation to Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

    5 hour picnic with soda, beer, live music, games, door prizes, raffles.

    Abundant food and dessert being served 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Those who wish to join a pre-picnic motorcycle and car cavalcade around the beautiful Tomhannock Reservoir in Ali’s honor will meet at the Troy Plaza on Hoosick Street at 10:00 A.M. for sign up and the cavalcade will kick off at 11:00 A.M. sharp.

    For further info: rally4ali.blogspot.com/Email:AFisk10302@aol.com


    Location: 289 10TH ST TROY
    it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

    PostingID: 1893130151

    Monday, July 19, 2010


    Call to action,volunteers needed,for the second annual rally for ali,i would appreciate thirty volunteers to help in the upcomeing event,pick one of the following categories in which to assist our team leaders relative to our september twenty fifth rally at krauses grove in halfmoon,yard sale,august fourteenth,for start upexpenses, solicitation of gift certificates,door prizes and corporate sponsors. Setting up of raffle bags, media and publicity. Anyone who can spare alittle time to help in this very noble Cause seeking to find a cure for diabetes in Ali's memory, can contact me on my wall on FB regarding which category they would care to assist us in, or send an e-mail to me at Wallybaba@gmail.com or to Alice Fisk, secratary at, AFisk10302@aol.com. Thank you for all your help and God bless.

    Saturday, June 26, 2010


    Sight-restoring treatment shows promise for some of the millions of Americans expected to be blind by 2015.

    Doctors are saying stem cell transplants are a promising new treatment to restore sight to individuals who have suffered severe eye damage. Dozens of patients whose eyes were injured after being splashed with caustic chemicals were able to see again after receiving a transplant

    Italian researchers reported that the transplants had worked completely in 82 of 107 eyes, including in one patient who sustained severe eye injuries some 60 years ago and has had his sight almost completely restored. The transplant worked at least partially in 14 other eyes, and the benefits have lasted for up to 10 years.

    "This is great work, an absolutely great way to do it," said Dr. Douglas Lazzaro, chairman of ophthalmology at Long Island College Hospital. "It can only increase the success rate of these types of procedures."

    Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, chief of low-vision programs at Lighthouse International, a nonprofit that fights vision impairment, called the stem cell transplants a very promising treatment. The procedure bypasses the risk of rejection posed by corneal transplants because the patient’s own stem cells are used.

    "This is a major step in returning vision to someone who has lost it," Rosenthal says.

    University of California ophthalmologist Ivan Schwab, who is not involved in the study, called the research "a roaring success."

    Each year, stem cell transplants could offer the promise of healing to thousands of people who sustain chemical burns on their corneas, although they would not help those with macular degeneration, which involves the eye’s retina, or those with damage to the optic nerve. People who are blind in both eyes also would not be candidates for the transplant because some healthy tissue is required to undergo it, doctors explained.

    The researchers who performed the transplants for the study, which was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, removed stem cells from the patient’s good eye, grew them in the lab and put them back in the injured eye. There, they grew new corneal tissue that replaced the damaged tissue. None of the patients needed anti-rejection drugs.

    For many years, adult stem cells have been used to treat disorders as varied as leukemia and sickle cell anemia. But fixing damaged eyes with a stem cell transplant is relatively new - and so far is not being done here.

    "The U.S. is pretty stringent," Rosenthal says. "They won’t allow these procedures until they are FDA-approved and have gone through a lot of clinical testing. But even though it’s not ready for prime time, there is a lot of hope for the future."

    Some 61 million Americans are at high risk for serious vision loss, according to Lighthouse International, and about 61 million individuals age 45 and older will have vision loss by 2015. A Lighthouse survey revealed that fewer than half (46%) of Americans get an annual eye exam.

    Sunday, June 20, 2010


    2010 Rally for Ali Planning Committee Meeting

    Minutes of June Meeting

    The 2nd Annual Rally for Ali Planning Committee meeting was held on Wednesday, June 15, 2010 at the home of Wally Urzan, Committee Chairman, who presided.

    The 2nd Annual Rally for Ali ~ Picnic for a Cause ~ will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010, 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM, rain or shine, at Krause’s Grove in Halfmoon, NY with a pre-picnic motorcycle and car cavalcade kicking off at 11:00 AM sharp.

    Team Leaders for the Yard Sale, Rosalie Repp and Alicia Young, announced the date of Saturday, August 14 for the yard sale with a rain date, in case of a deluge, of August 21. Drop off of yard sale items including new, unused clean clothing, etc., can be made between August 7th through the 14th in Randy Smith’s front hall or driveway, located at 289 10th Street, just off Hoosick St. in Troy, where a canopy tent will be set up. The Yard Sale will be from 8AM to 3PM and volunteers are needed to help with setup and sale. Please contact Rosalie or Alicia if you wish to help out on that day, or email Alice Fisk at the address below.

    Mary Collins DuBois, Team Leader in setting up all the Raffle Bags will again be mailing out letters of the event to previous sponsors and will also be making the rounds of prospective corporate sponsors and those who wish to contribute gift certificates. Judy Collins and Angie Krough volunteered to assist her in this and also in the Raffle Bags setup. More volunteers are asked to assist them in this endeavor. Mary also announced that her friend Deb Watkins will once again be contributing a piece of her beautiful art work to the event for the raffle, possibly a beach scene in honor of Ali. Mary will also be contacting Silpada Jewelry again relative to their stunning line of jewelry.

    Jane Barnard, Volunteer Coordinator of the event will contact the Times Union and Metroland about the Committee paying for a large advertisement in Metroland newspaper this year featuring the 2nd Annual Rally for Ali flyer. She will also contact radio and TV stations for publicity and Babs will help her with publicity by contacting Jim Barrett of the River Street Beat Shop, etc., among others. Volunteers are needed to contact Jane regarding helping her coordinate the various Rally categories. Jane volunteered John Lundgren to be signup sheet moderator at the Rally.

    Randy Smith and Bob Collins, Team Leaders in charge of the Gate at Krause’s will expedite matters there with two tables at the Gate this year instead of only one. One table on one side of the entrance for those who have prepaid for their tickets and another table on the other side for those who will be purchasing tickets at the Gate. Joan Smith and Maureen McGinis will be assisting them. Bob Collins, Team Leader in charge of coordinating time lines for the bands to play and for the raffle tickets to be drawn between the times that the three bands play their sets is setting up a schedule and announced he will telephone the band leaders to discuss what time frame they will each be playing in. Like last year, musicians only will be permitted in free at the gate for volunteering their time and talents.

    Scott Demers volunteered to be the Team Leader of the Motorcycle and Car Cavalcade and John Gileta volunteered to help with the signup sheets.

    Ali Mama emailed the 2nd Annual Rally for Ali flyer to Goat Brothers, Old Saratoga, NY which is already posted online. She has also emailed the flyer to the following sites which have already posted it on their Events Calendars:

    STATELINE RIDERS MOTORCYCLE CLUB: http://www.statelineriders.org;



    BIKER PLAZA http://www.bikerplaza.com/event-RallyAli.html;

    NY-BIKER http://www.nybiker.com/events/new-york/september.htm.

    We also received an email from Glenn at Adirondack Harley Dealers stating that he would post our flyer on their site and that he’d be happy to provide us with a gift of some sort for the raffle. More biker sites will be emailed the flyer to post in the weeks to come including to the Town of Halfmoon website which posted it last year too. Maggie McNally of the Irish Riders Motorcycle Club emailed that she will get the word out to the clubs she deals with and also see about whether the motorcycle safety folks will set up an informational vending space as a community service at the Rally. Ali Mama also contacted Joann of the Sight Society of Northeastern New York, Lions Eye Bank of Albany, and they thanked us for inviting them to have an information booth at the Rally for Ali and said they would love to participate. Ali had donated her eyes to that organization and was honored by them for her thoughtfulness in doing so at their Donor Memorial Service on October 4, 2009. Ali’s photograph along with the song “I Will Remember You” was also on their beautiful CD called Reflections of Love presented to the family. Joann is also having Ali’s flyer posted on their Sight Society of NENY, Lions Eye Bank of Albany, website.

    Kerri Connors will be the Troy Plaza Coordinator for the bike ride around the Tomhannock and will be needing volunteers to help her with that.

    Carrie Rudebush suggested that we sell Rally for Ali beer/soda Koozies at the event to raise more money and she and Denise Plunkett are looking into that. Margie Collins, Team Leader in the sale of merchandise, our T-Shirts, etc., will add the Koozies to her list of Rally merchandise for sale at the event. Denise and Meaghan Davis will be putting stickers with the new September 25, 2010 date on them onto the Rally tickets. Denise also had more Rally flyers made for distribution. She is having a handmade quilted tote added to the raffle too. Kathy Klinger will again donate one of her beautiful handmade quilts to be raffled off at the Rally for Ali

    Nancy Wright volunteered to be the Team Leader in charge of decorating the Grove the Friday night/Saturday morning of the event with a possible Beach theme being suggested in honor of Ali’s favorite venue in summertime. Mary and Angie volunteered to help her.

    It was agreed that all committee members will assist Laurie Smith, Team Leader in charge of the raffle tickets, in handling Raffle Ticket sales on the day of the event.

    In the immediate future Wally will be posting a Call to Action for up to 30 Volunteers to help our Team Leaders on his Facebook page to be forwarded to friends, co-workers, etc. It will also be posted on Ali’s Blog and Cause page.

    The date of the July meeting is Tuesday, July 13 @ 6:30 p.m. at Wally’s house, 288 ½ Tenth Street, Troy, NY. Have a Sunshiny Day!

    Saturday, June 5, 2010


    Stem Cell Markets ; A stem cell is an extraordinary type of cell that has the ability to self-renew for long periods of time and to differentiate into specialized cells under appropriate physiological or experimental conditions.

    Traditionally, stem cells have been classified as either embryonic, adult (tissue-specific or cord blood) stem cells. Recent understanding of stem cell biology may

    provide new approaches for the treatment of a number of diseases as well as tissue/organ injuries, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, musculoskeletal disease, diabetes and hematopoietic disorders.

    Stem cell fate is determined by both intrinsic regulators and the extra-cellular environment (niche), and their expansion and differentiation ex vivo are generally controlled by growing them in a specific configuration (monolayer or three-dimensional culture). This process, which is vital to enable stem cells to be used for therapeutic purposes, is called differentiation. Differentiation is a process involving unspecialized cells progressing to become specialized cells with restricted developmental potential. The purpose of this TriMark Publications report is to describe the specific market segments of the medical research space using stem cells for research and development (R&D) purposes. This study reviews all of the generally accepted analytical methods that are currently in use today for preparing and using stem cells. It examines the use of stem cells in developing new therapies for disease.

    Click for report details: www.companiesandmarkets.com/Summary-Market-Report/stem-cell-mark ..