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


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UCLA research discovers new lung stem cell

  • June 27, 2011 11:35 am PT
On June 27, 2011, UCLA researchers announced that they identified a new stem cell that participates in the repair of the large airways of the lungs. This process plays a vital role in protecting the body from infectious agents and toxins in the environment. The airways protect the body by producing and clearing mucus from the airways. The mucus is largely produced by specialized mucus glands in the airway and the mechanisms of normal and excessive mucus production are not well understood. However, this newly discovered lung stem cell for the mucus glands will likely yield new insights into this critical process. The study, by scientists with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, represents the first time anyone has found the cell of origin for the many types of cells that make up the mucus glands and that can also repair the surface epithelium. The finding, the study states, is of “major importance to the field of lung regeneration.” 
“We’re very excited that we found this population of cells because it will allow us to study mechanisms of diseases of the upper airway,” said Dr. Brigitte Gomperts, an assistant professor of pediatrics and hematology/oncology and senior author of the study. “For example, there currently are no treatments for excess mucus production, which we see in cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But if we can understand the mechanisms of how these stem cells repair the mucus glands, then we may be able to find a way to put the brakes on the system and prevent mucus over production.” 
Once the researchers proved that the lung stem cells existed and found where they “lived,” they set out to isolate them and confirm that they could self-renew, or grow more of themselves, and differentiate, turn into the cells that make up the mucus glands and surface epithelium. They created model systems in which these isolated stem cells did, in fact, make mucus glands with all the types of cells required to make mucus and repair the surface barrier of the large airways.
“Our ability to identify the stem cells and their regenerative ability has implications for the possible identification of novel therapeutic targets for airway diseases and potential cell-based therapies in the future,” the study states. The stem cells also may play a role in tumor initiation in lung cancer when the repair goes awry, although further study is needed to confirm this, said Gomperts, who is also a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Continue reading on Examiner.com UCLA research discovers new lung stem cell - Los Angeles health | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/health-in-los-angeles/ucla-research-discovers-new-lung-stem-cell#ixzz1QbdSq2f9

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty with the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine's research director Dr. Gordon Keller at Wednesday's website launch. - Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty with the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine's research director Dr. Gordon Keller at Wednesday's website launch. | Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Website launch gives stem-cell research a boost

From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Click Here
At first click, and even after several more, a new science website might seem simply to be a slick multi-media hub to school the public on stem-cell biology and research.
But joinstemcellcity.com, a creation of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine launched with great fanfare Wednesday in Toronto, has a much grander aim. It is intended to rally enough public support that the progress of stem-cell science will not be slowed by political chill or poor funding.
In a field dogged by ethical controversy, confusion, court battles and stop-and-go government grants, the new website has been designed to foster a powerful social network of patients and their advocates to fight for the cause.
“If you have a groundswell of public support, the work will have support,” said Heidi Forman, the McEwen Centre’s director of marketing and operations. “We learned from the lesson of California.”
In California, stem-cell research garnered enough public backing to allow scientists there to do an end-run around the restrictive U.S. funding policies in place in 2004. Under the famous Proposition 71, Californians voted to support the research with bond sales that raised enough money to create the $3-billion California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
Ms. Forman said the team at McEwen had a “think-tank” meeting with staff at CIRM before launching the site and conducted research that showed people tend to donate “into an abyss … not really sure how to give, or where to give.”
Clicking through the new site after the press conference, Ms. Forman said it includes a virtual tour of the lab so people can see the potential of the work. Those who join will also be able to submit questions to researchers and to receive stem-cell research updates for the disease they are interested in. The site also allows donations for specific projects.
Gordon Keller, a leading stem-cell scientist and director of the McEwen research team, said the site “is partly to raise money.” But, he said, it is also to educate – “I would say there is still a big gap in knowledge [about stem cells].”
Robert Klein, the California real estate developer who spearheaded the bond-sale proposition and went on to chair CIRM, was also on stage to launch the Toronto-based website, saying he “hopes [the website] will provide the knowledge for people to reach out and push their governments.”
Mr. Klein, whose son has Type 1 juvenile diabetes, is among more than 3,000 stem-cell research advocates and scientists in Toronto this week for the annual meeting of the International Society of Stem Cell Research. In a speech later in the day, he stressed the importance of researchers having patient advocates.
“The critics can no longer say this is just for the benefit of scientists [looking for funds],” said Mr. Klein, who received an ISSCR public service award for his efforts. “They’re faced with human suffering, they’re faced with the hopes of families.”
Few areas in medicine have generated as much hope – and hype – as the potential of stem-cell research. With the ability to grow into most of the tissue types in the body, stem cells have, theoretically, the potential to be used to replace or repair damaged tissues – growing into insulin-producing cells for people with diabetes, for instance, or new brain cells for people with neurological disorders.
Embryonic stem cells are the most powerful type of blank-slate cell. But since a human embryo is usually destroyed to harvest them, those who believe life begins at conception are morally opposed to research in the area. While scientists are increasingly investigating stem cells from other sources, those taken from embryos remain a prime area of research. In Canada, embryonic stem-cell research must be conducted under tight restrictions on donated embryos considered surplus at fertility clinics.
Rob and Cheryl McEwen, whose philanthropy created the centre that bears their name in 2003, have made at least two donations of $10-million to support stem-cell research. Mr. McEwen, CEO and chairman of US Gold Corporation, said on Wednesday that the deaths of his sister and mother four months apart, and the looming health care demands of aging baby boomers, inspired him to support regenerative medicine.
The Ontario government has given $27-million for stem-cell research, including the backing of the new Ontario Stem Cell Initiative, a collaboration of stem-cell scientists in the province. Premier Dalton McGuinty, who also attended the website launch, said, “This enterprise gives us moral purpose.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

‘Patient A’ proud to carry hopes

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
CHATOM, Ala. — Every now and then, Timothy J. Atchison thinks he feels a little something when rubbing his legs.
But he knows to temper any feelings of excitement or optimism. Left paralyzed from the chest down after a car crash last fall, the baby-faced 21-year-old reminds himself that it could be simply phantom feelings.
A lot rides on his immobile legs — they carry the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of severely injured people. Atchison is Patient A, the formerly anonymous person who volunteered to have embryonic stem cells injected into his spine. It was the first such human trial; the start of a long, uncertain process that one day could lead to treatments that reverse paralysis.
News of the ground-breaking medical experiment that took place last October in Atlanta quickly shot around the world, thrilling many, but troubling others who feel using embryonic cells is destroying human life.
Atchison, a Southern Baptist who until recently remained anonymous because of concerns about such controversy, said he has come forward because his course of treatment is nothing to be ashamed of or to keep secret.
“How can you be upset with anyone being able to walk?” he said from his home near Chatom, an outpost in the sandy pine forests of southwest Alabama. “People are rooting for me.”
Atchison, a nursing student everyone calls T.J., was vaguely aware of stem-cell research before all this. But the monumental implications of it struck him as he lay in his hospital bed, recuperating from the procedure, and flipped on the TV.
“We turned on the news, and it was everywhere. I’m watching it and [thinking,] ‘They’re talking about me.’ I had no idea how big a deal it was.”
Eight months later, after a stint at the Shepherd Center, Atchison is back at home with his mother and stepdad and younger siblings. His days lately are unremarkable: watching his little sister, visiting with his cousin, piddling with his computer, maybe catching a movie. The low-key Atchison can’t wait for fall, when he will return to his friends and nursing studies back at the University of South Alabama. He can’t wait to get his life started again after this terrible hiatus.
Phase 1 progress
He receives his experimental treatment at Shepherd. It is funded by Geron Corp., a California company that describes embryonic stem cells as “immortal,” able to “divide endlessly in tissue culture,” according to its website. The cells come from unused frozen embryos at a fertility clinic and have the potential to produce a substance called myelin, which would recoat spinal nerve cells and transmit impulses.
But Atchison knows he might not see any benefit from the treatment. He is in Phase 1 of the trial, which is being conducted to determine whether the cells will be accepted by his body and grow normally. Doctors are monitoring him to see whether any tumors develop. There have been none, he said.
Dr. Donald Peck Leslie, Shepherd’s medical director, said the first step, while historic, is still relatively simple. “First, do no harm. We’re not out to save the world or cure paralysis in this phase.”
About 10 patients are needed for the first phase. If the injections successfully take, researchers will use a higher dose in the next phase, hoping to generate sensation and movement.
But the process has been slower than anticipated. Only one other patient is taking part in Phase 1. That patient is being monitored by Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago.
“We thought we’d have 10 in a year,” Leslie said. “But here we are coming in on nine months” with only two patients.
The problem is not a lack of volunteers, he said. It’s the lack of patients who qualify for the study’s stringent guidelines. The injured patient must be injured mid-spine, and treatment must occur before there’s scarring.
Atchison’s mother, Anita McDonald, sensed something was up when she called Shepherd just days after the accident, hoping to get him admitted. She had heard it was hard to get into renowned spinal center, but she sensed the woman on the line was deeply interested in her son.
“They asked for his level of injury, his age and his health,” said McDonald, who runs a day care in Chatom. “He fit in those categories. They kept asking me questions.”
McDonald’s cellphone kept cutting out because of her area’s remote location. But, on her home phone, Shepherd had left messages. Doctors there wanted to see her son.
Nothing to lose
In his room at Shepherd, Atchison, who suffered a complete break at the T7 disc in his upper back, was approached by a team of doctors.
“They asked me if I was willing to go into research. I said yes. I figured everyone there was in research,” he said.
He was surprised when they mentioned the stem-cell therapy, thinking it was years, if not decades from reality.
“They said this could be the best thing for you to get better,” Atchison said. “To anyone who’s paralyzed, that’s what you want to hear.”
His mother concurred.
“The doctors said [his spinal break] was complete, that he can’t walk again. His feeling was, ‘What do I have to lose?’ ”
The family was vaguely aware of the stem cell debate. Right to Life groups and others contend using embryonic stem cells is taking a life. Others argue that it’s a “slippery slope” toward creating life to be used almost as spare parts.
“We thought it was God’s will to get in there, that they approached him,” said McDonald. “How could it be so perfect if [God] wasn’t involved?”
Atchison cut in, “We’re not destroying any life with embryonic stem cells. They’d be destroyed anyway.”
Atchison hasn’t heard any negative comments about his choice, although he has read some online. He shrugged when asked about such opinions. He doesn’t want to dwell there. He has tried to remain positive and upbeat from the start, comforting devastated family members and friends who came to visit him in the hospital.
His demeanor has impressed his doctors and his fellow Chatom residents, who have known Atchison’s secret since last fall and who have rallied in support. The local hardware store donated lumber for a wheelchair ramp that a Christian group built for him. A large banner hangs in a restaurant: “Pray it Forward for T.J.” It carries a couple hundred signatures and well-wishes.
Atchison, who four years ago was a feisty 135-pound strong safety for the Washington High football team, realizes he is carrying the hopes of thousands, if not millions.
“I had no idea I had touched so many lives,” he said.
But he knows any improvements to his own situation are a longshot. His place in the experiment is simply to wait to see if his body accepts the injection.
“They’re making big steps. Hopefully, 10 to 15 years from now, people can walk again,” said Atchison. “It’s exciting I made history, I guess.”