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


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jonathan D. Moreno


Can Romney Be a Stem Cell Statesman?

Posted: 08/28/2012 2:45 pm

Is Governor Romney a statesman on the scale of John McCain? Like McCain, he has an opportunity to break with the more extreme elements of his party on an issue that has consistently shown to be important to the American people, and one that he supported for a time as governor: federal embryonic stem cell research.
The stem cell controversy was a top-line issue for the last three presidential elections, but at a time when Americans are understandably preoccupied with the future of the American economy, it has receded as a values question that defines the candidates.
That may be about to change. Not only has the Akin controversy reignited cultural concerns, but the Republican Party platform states hard-line opposition to embryonic stem cell research. And the legal challenge to the National Institutes of Health policy that allowed funds to be used to do research on the products (called cell lines) derived from using derivatives of unused and freely donated embryos, but not to cause harm to the embryos themselves, has been defeated on appeal.
The policy that was being challenged had been accepted by presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, even though the number of embryonic stem cell lines (the scientifically valuable products of embryos), that could be used in federally funded research was limited. This limit was challenged by the scientific community, and even by his own NIH director, as severely hampering the research. President Obama allowed more lines to be funded once the ethical nature of their donation had been checked.
Then in 2009 two scientists who worked on "adult" stem cells argued that they were subject to unfair competition from their peers in grants competition. The 1996 Dickey-Wicker amendment to the NIH budget banning research that could harm embryos was being violated, they said, putting them at a disadvantage in obtaining funding for their non-embryonic stem cell line work.
This argument had already failed before one three-judge panel last year, and on August 24 an appeal court panel agreed with the lower court that no harm was being done to embryos using federal funds. Notably, the panel was chaired by a Reagan appointee and the other members were both appointed by the presidents Bush.
The apparent end of this case (further appeals are possible but almost certainly futile) should help to establish that basic medical research on all types of stem cells, including embryonic, is now part of normal laboratory practice. However, a new presidential administration could again revise the policy, even though the many new cell lines authorized under President Obama are now being integrated into important medical studies.
Opponents argue that a process that appears to make adult stem cells resemble embryonic stem cells is replacing the controversial cell lines, but it is uncertain whether the non-embryonic cells can be made to function in the ways that make the embryonic cell lines so valuable. Scientists are working on that now. But the "induced pluripotent stem cells," the adult-derived kind, still must be compared to embryonic stem cells to test their potency. Ironically, the more-controversial embryonic cells are needed in order for the new uncontroversial cell lines to be made useful.
This subtlety can't be reduced to a bumper sticker, but the bottom line can. President Obana's position has been clear, as was Senator McCain's four years ago, that federal funding of embryonic stem cell research on diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimers, diabetes and multiple sclerosis should be continued.
Romney's position so far is unclear. His campaign website reads like we're back in 2008, promoting non-embryonic sources, without seeming to realize that the state of the science in 2012 relies on various sources of cell lines in the same research study.
It's not a hard question to ask: As president, would Governor Romney support a federal law that banned embryonic stem cell research, regardless of funding source? Or would he ban federal funding and let states and the private sector proceed?
Either would be harmful, but at least the voters should know how much damage would be inflicted.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Judge OKs stem cell cure for 2-year-old girl

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 - 3:37 am
Doctors are preparing an emergency one-off stem cell treatment for 2-year-old Venetian girl suffering a severe muscular disease after a judge revoked an order blocking the cure.
Brescia hospital officials said Thursday the treatment for Celeste Carrer would begin within days. Carrer suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, which has a life expectancy of about two years. Her family reported marked improvement after beginning the experimental treatment this winter.
But the stem cell lab was shut down in May after Italy's drug agency determined it was not hygienic and had violated procedures. A judge in Venice has allowed one treatment pending a final ruling, expected next week, on the family's appeal.
Besides reactivating the lab, doctors must determine if the stem cells from the girl's mother remain viable.

Obesity Biggest Risk Factor for Diabetes Among Poor: Study

Lifestyle changes key to decreasing disease rate among the disadvantaged

August 22, 2012 RSS Feed Print
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes among poor people, according to a new study that also says lifestyle changes are the key to reducing diabetes in this population.
Poor people have higher rates of type 2 diabetes than more wealthy people and lifestyle-related risk factors are believed to be a major reason for that difference, according to the international team of researchers who reported the findings Aug. 22 in the BMJ.
In the study, researchers examined long-term data collected from about 7,200 British civil servants to assess the link between socioeconomic status and several major risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Socioeconomic status was assessed through participants' job position and associated education, salary, social status and level of responsibility at work.
During an average follow-up period of 14 years, more than 800 people in the study were diagnosed with diabetes. Those in the lowest job category had a 1.86 times greater risk of developing diabetes than those in the highest job category.
Health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and physical activity) and body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight) accounted for 53 percent of this socioeconomic difference. BMI was the single most important factor, accounting for about 20 percent of the socioeconomic difference, the authors pointed out in a journal news release.
"Given the increasing burden of type 2 diabetes and the observed increase in social inequalities in prevalence of type 2 diabetes, further efforts to tackle these factors are urgently needed," the researchers concluded.
More information
The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program outlines ways toprevent type 2 diabetes.
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heart tissue derived from embryonic stem cells doesn't skip a beat

Injured hearts repaired with stem cells maintain normal rhythms.

Cardiac muscle cells derived from human embryonic stem cells
The promise of embryonic stem cells lies in their ability to develop into any type of cell in the human body, which should allow us to replace tissues lost due to injury or disease. But it's one thing to generate replacement cells; it's another thing to generate entire tissues and integrate them into a functioning organ. A paper released by Nature now reports some success with turning human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into cardiac cells and getting them to beat in synchrony with a damaged heart.
The blockage of blood vessels in the heart, either through clots or occlusion, causes the cells that rely on the blocked vessel to die off. This both weakens the heart structurally and changes the ability of the heart to beat in an organized manner, since the scar tissue that develops doesn't conduct electrical impulses. Serious arrhythmias can develop as a result of this changed activity, and these can sometimes end up causing the heartbeat to be lost entirely.
Embryonic stem cells have been used to try to repair damaged hearts for a while, starting with simple experiments where the stem cells themselves were injected. More recently, researchers have induced hESCs to form cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) before implanting them in a damaged heart (typically that of a mouse or rat). This treatment tends to increase the ability of the heart to pump blood, indicating that stem cells can reverse the weakening of the heart.
But it has been harder to get at the electrical integration of these stem cells, in part because the rodents that the researchers used have a very fast heartbeat—on the order of 400-600 beats a minute. (The human heart rate is normally under 100 beats per minute.) So, the new work relied on the guinea pig, which apparently has a heart rate that is only about 200-250 beats per minute.
The authors took an hESC line and induced it to form cardiomyocytes, which were injected into injured hearts and then allowed to integrate with the injured heart for a while. Rather than focusing on blood flow, the authors tracked the development of arrhythmias. It turns out that the hESC-derived cardiomyocytes suppressed them. The guinea pigs treated with them had the lowest rate of premature ventricular contractions, or PVCs, which occur when the lower chambers of the heart beat ahead of schedule. They also went into tachycardia, or a run of rapid heartbeats, less often.
To track the behavior of the hESC-derived cardiac cells, the authors inserted a gene for a protein that becomes fluorescent in response to changes in calcium, which accompany the electrical impulses that drive a heartbeat. By tracking whether a cell was glowing, the authors could determine whether the human cells were tied to the regular guinea pig heartbeat.
Here, the results were a bit mixed. In areas where the hESC-derived cells were stuck in an area with lots of scar tissue, they tended to contract on their own, without significant influence from the guinea pig's rhythm. But in other areas where the cells were clear of nearby scar tissue, they tended to tie in nicely with the heart's overall rhythm—even when they weren't necessarily close to any guinea pig tissue.
The results are very promising, in that they show that embryonic stem cells can be used to create a large population of cardiomyocytes that can then function normally when placed back into a heart. But they also make it clear that scar tissue remains a problem in damaged hearts. Even if muscle tissue gets replaced, it won't integrate well if there's a significant amount of scar tissue around. This provides researchers with an obvious target for future efforts.
Incidentally, a number of the researchers involved in this work were based at US institutions. Early in the history of stem cell research, legislation was considered that would ban the creation of human-animal hybrids. Although it was probably written with Frankenstein-like chimeras in mind, some of it was so broadly worded that it would have banned basic safety and efficacy research such as the work described by this paper. Fortunately, it never passed, so US researchers are still able to contribute to work like this.
Nature, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nature11317  (About DOIs).