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, October 21, 2011

Stem cells needed from ethnic communities


Registration takes only a cheek swab is all that is needed to register and donation is often as simple as giving blood

Ethnically diverse stem cell donors are needed to help Canadian patients with cancer and blood diseases such as leukemia.
When University of B.C. biochemistry student Bonita Ma heard about the need, she and some other students decided their campus would be a good place to attract such donors, who need to be aged between 17 and 50. UBC will hold a donor drive on October 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the student union building.
The campaign, which is happening at universities throughout the country, is called Get Swabbed because getting a cheek swab is all that’s required to register to become a donor. The saliva is tested for DNA and put on a national registry which can then be searched by doctors. If a donor is found to be a match for a patient in need, the donation process is often as simple as collecting blood, said Olga Pazukha, spokeswoman for the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, which recruits donors and coordinates collection and delivery of stem cells.
About 30 per cent of the time a donor match can be found within a patient’s family, but when this is not possible, patients are matched to donors through specific genetic markers that make them unique. This is where ethnicity becomes important, Pazukha said.
“A lot of those things would come from their ethnic background. So, say if I’m of South Asian descent and I need a match, my potential donor would also be someone from the South Asian community.”
There are more than 300,000 potential donors registered throughout Canada, but 77 per cent of them are of European descent, while 23 per cent are from other ethnic backgrounds, Pazukha said.
“It’s really important to get a very diverse donor pool so that we are able to help all of the patients that are looking for matches in Canada.”
Ma, who is of Chinese descent, said many people from that community don’t realize how easy the donation process is and have a misperception that it is very painful. OneMatch is reaching out to ethnic communities across Canada to educate people about the need for donors and the relatively simple nature of the process, Pazukha said.
There are 957 patients across the country in need of a match.

Read more:http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Stem+cells+needed+from+ethnic+communities/5582967/story.html#ixzz1bRp2xonl

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stem cell breakthrough could bring cure for genetic diseases

By Laura Shin | October 16, 2011, 7:16 PM PDT
One of the most common genetic mutations can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, and the only cure is a liver transplant, which creates its own problems: The recipient must, for the rest of his/her life, take drugs that prevent organ rejection.
But scientists have now achieved a breakthrough that means that patients with genetic diseases could someday be treated with their own cells.
The technique combines two of the most powerful medical technologies — stem cell technology and gene therapy — and could usher in a new era of personalized therapies for genetic disorders.
While the achievement marks an important step, years of trials are needed before any such treatments are available for humans.

How the therapy works

Currently, people with genetic diseases cannot be treated with their own stem cells, because those cells would also contain the genetic mutation.
But scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge took skin cells from a patient with metabolic liver disease, and fixed the mutation in them by excising the incorrect DNA letter and inserting the correct one.
They then turned those skin cells into liver cells that one of the lead researchers, David Lomas, said “functioned beautifully with normal secretion and function.”
They inserted the new liver cells into mice, and six weeks later, the cells were still working correctly.
Lomas told the BBC that the technique was “ridiculously hard.” He and his colleagues published their results in Nature.

Remaining hurdles

While the technique is extremely promising, a number of safety concerns remain before it can be widely used.
First, stem cells cultured in labs tend to develop mutations. In this experiment, the researchers compared the corrected line to the genome of the original skin cells and found a few extra mutations in the corrected cell lines. (However, there were many fewer mutations in the corrected lines than in the stem cells that had not been corrected.)
Also, the scientists can always screen each stem cell line to choose the ones with the fewest extra mutations.
Another concern is the cost of developing personalized therapies, although this technique could also save money because it obviates the need for a lifetime anti-organ rejection drugs.
The scientists are now aiming to work with a pharmaceutical company to eventually hold trials in people.
Photo: Human embryonice stem cells (Nissim Benvenisty/Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Seeking Superior Stem Cells

October 12, 2011
Seeking Superior Stem Cells
New technique produces one hundred-fold increase in efficiency in reprogramming human cells
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have recently announced a new technique to reprogramme human cells, such as skin cells, into stem cells. Their process increases the efficiency of cell reprogramming by one hundred-fold and generates cells of a higher quality at a faster rate.
Until now cells have been reprogrammed using four specific regulatory proteins. By adding two further regulatory factors, Liu and co-workers brought about a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of reprogramming and the robustness of stem cell development. The new streamlined process produces cells that can grow more easily.
"This research is a milestone in human stem cells," explains Wei Wang, first author on the research from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "Our technique provides a foundation to unlock the full potential of stem cells."
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that are able to renew themselves through cell division and can be induced to become functional tissue- or organ-specific cells. It is hoped that stem cells will be used to replace dying or damaged cells with healthy, functional cells. This could have wide-ranging uses in medicine such as organ replacement, bone replacement and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
With more than 20 years of research, gold standard stem cells are derived from mice, largely because they are easy to work with and provide accurate and reproducible results. The team's aim was to develop human cells of equivalent quality to mouse stem cells.
"The reprogrammed cells developed by our team have proved to have the same capabilities as mouse stem cells," states Pentao Liu, senior author from the Sanger Institute. "Our approach will enable researchers to easily engineer and reprogramme human stem cells to generate cell types for cell replacement therapies in humans."
Retinoic acid receptor gamma (RAR-Y) and liver receptor homolog (Lrh-1), the additional regulatory factors used by Liu and co-workers, were introduced into the skin cells along with the four other regulatory proteins. The team's technology produced reprogrammed cells after just four days, compared to the seven days required for the four-protein approach. Key indicators of successfully reprogrammed cells, Oct4 and Rex-1 genes, were seen to be switched on much faster in a much higher number of cells, demonstrating increased efficiency in reprogramming.
"This is the most promising and exciting development in our attempt to develop human stem cells that lend themselves in practical applications. It bears comparison to other technologies as it is simple, robust and reliable," says Allan Bradley, Senior Group Leader and Director of Emeritus at the Sanger Institute.
About The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.
About The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.
SOURCE: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The jab that will let you grow a new knee: Stem-cell treatment could end the agony of arthritis

Last updated at 8:37 AM on 4th October 2011
A jab that helps arthritis sufferers is being developed by British experts (posed by model)
A jab that helps arthritis sufferers is being developed by British experts (posed by model)
A jab that helps arthritis sufferers ‘grow’ new knee or hip joints is being developed by British experts.
Given in a person’s 40s or 50s, just as arthritis begins, the injection could remove the need for hip or knee replacements in some cases. 
Arthritis Research UK, which is part-funding a £6million project to develop the jab, said it could ‘revolutionise’ the treatment of osteoarthritis, the most common form of the condition.
It is caused by wear and tear of cartilage that helps our joints take the strain of bending, lifting, gripping and kneeling, and affects more than eight million Britons.
With no cure, painkillers and physiotherapy are the main forms of treatment. Joint replacement surgery can help, but it is a complicated and lengthy process and is not successful in every case.
This means it is usually seen as the last resort and many patients struggle on in pain for years before getting the operation.
The new technique, which could be in use within five years, will harness the power of stem cells – ‘master cells’ that can turn into other cell types – in patients who are still in their prime. 
Scientists already know how to turn stem cells into cartilage and can regrow small pieces of the cushioning material inside joints.
But the amounts currently replaced are tiny – less than an eighth of an inch.
The new project brings together stem cell and arthritis experts and surgeons from four universities and hospitals to work out how to regrow enough cartilage for an entire joint.
In future, someone whose cartilage is wearing away could go to hospital to have a sample of stem cells drawn from their bone marrow, fat or muscle.
The cells would then be fed a cocktail of vitamins and chemicals that trick them into becoming cartilage cells.
These would be injected into the patient’s joint on a second visit to shore up the ailing knee or hip.
Another possibility being investigated is ‘switching on’ a person’s stem cells when they are still inside their joints, so they can be turned into cartilage without leaving the body.
Andrew McCaskie, professor of orthopaedic surgery at Newcastle University, which will lead the research, said: ‘Every patient has their own “repair kit”.
‘Whereas joint replacement uses metal and plastic to replace the severely damaged joint, we’re trying to treat at an earlier stage and assist the body to repair itself.’
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said the ease of the technique should make it possible to treat people while they were still relatively young.
He added: ‘One of the problems is that it is often felt that people have to “earn” their joint replacements. 
‘We have people with osteoarthritis cope with years of pain and disability before they reach the point where surgery becomes a viable option.
‘Osteoarthritis starts in a person’s 40s or 50s, so if there is a treatment that works relatively simply and is affordable, it could be given earlier.’ 
He said the stem cell treatment was likely to be cheaper for the NHS, which spends around £1billion a year on knee replacement surgery alone.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2044914/The-jab-let-grow-new-knee-Stem-cell-treatment-end-agony-arthritis.html#ixzz1a0F1tvG7

Monday, October 3, 2011

What is stem cell therapy?

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Q:  What is a stem cell?
A:  Stem cells have the potential to self-replicate and develop into many different cell types.  During development and growth “fetal” stem cells specialize into the various tissues that make up the body.  There are also stem cells in fully developed animals that act as an internal repair system.  These “adult” stem cellsreplenish damaged cells and provide chemical signals to other types of healing mechanisms in the body.
Q:  What is stem cell therapy?
A:  The term “stem cell therapy” can be applied to various medical treatments that utilize stem cells to promote healing.  Due to the vast potential of stem cells, there is currently a great deal of research interest in the subject. 
The procedure involves harvesting a small amount of fat from under the skin.  Fat tissue contains a high number of adult stem cells.  The tissue is sent overnight to a specialized laboratory that extracts and concentrates the cells.  The stem cells are then returned to the veterinarian to be implanted into the area of tissue damage.
Once the concentrated stem cells are in place, they are able to enhance and amplify the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Q:  What conditions can stem cell therapy help?
A:  In horses and dogs, stem cell therapy is becoming more common in the treatment of degenerative joint diseasearthritisosteochondrosissubchondral bone cysts, meniscal damage, and bone, tendon, orligament injuries.  This type of therapy is also available in Europe for people, although it is not yet approved for human use in the United States.
Ongoing research is showing promise for repair of heart, blood vessel, liver, muscle, and even nervous system tissue.  Additional studies are looking into stem cell use for kidney diseaseinflammatory bowel disease, and immune-mediated processes, including allergic skin disease.  Veterinarians who are experienced in stem cell therapy can get approval for experimental treatment of these tissues in some cases, especially when all other areas of therapy have been exhausted.
Q:  How does stem cell therapy help arthritis?
A:  Placing regenerative stem cells within a joint may provide long-term anti-inflammatory effects, stimulate regeneration of cartilage, slow ongoing degeneration, reduce pain, and initiate or accelerate the healing process.  Dramatic improvement can be seen within days or weeks. 
Q:  Can stem cell therapy be used with other treatments?
A:  Absolutely!  The cells can be implanted in association with surgical or medical management ofdegenerative disorders or injuries of joints, tendons, ligaments, or bones.  The only therapies that should not be used with stem cells are steroids, shockwave therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, or tens unit.  Otherwise, the therapy can be added to the other treatments your veterinarian may prescribe.
Q:  Why do some people consider stem cell therapy controversial?
A:  Generally, the controversy involves the use of fetal stem cells.  First, use of human fetus tissue for research or treatment is widely considered immoral.  Second, several animal models using fetal stem cellshave resulted in tumor growth after treatment.
The adult stem cell therapy described above is not subject to these concerns.  First, the stem cells are taken from the very individual they will be used in.  There are no fetuses harmed and there is no risk of tissue rejection caused by donor-recipient mismatch.  Second, when adult stem cells are taken from a patient and returned to the same patient without modification, there have been no reports of tumordevelopment.
Q:  Where can I get more information?
A:  To learn more about veterinary stem cell therapy, or to find a veterinarian who performs the procedure, visit vet-stem.com.  If you live within driving distance of my practice and you are interested in discussing stem cell therapy for your specific pet, you can make a consultation appointment with my office by calling 540-428-1000 or by using the contact form at ClevengersCorner.com.
Dr. Watts is a companion animal general practitioner and owner of Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care. He can be reached through ClevengersCorner.com or by calling 428-1000.