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September 21, 2007

Calorie restriction anti-aging may operate via mitochondria


Mitochondria play an unexpectedly important role in cell survival in the face of stress, according to a paper in this week's Cell.
The authors suggest that this cell stress response may provide clues about how calorie restriction extends lifespan in mammals. This research also confirms one of the seven parts of the SENS strategy for life extension.



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Sinclair, working with colleagues at his company, at Cornell University in New York and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, identified the actions of two more sirtuin genes called SIRT3 and SIRT4. They found the enzymes controlled by these genes help preserve the mitochondria -- little organs inside of cells that provide their energy.

Researchers report in the journal Cell that the phenomenon is likely linked to two enzymes—SIRT3 and SIRT4—in mitochondria (the cell's powerhouse that, among other tasks, converts nutrients to energy). They found that a cascade of reactions triggered by lower caloric intake raises the levels of these enzymes, leading to an increase in the strength and efficiency of the cellular batteries. By invigorating the mitochondria, SIRT3 and SIRT4 extend the life of cells, by preventing flagging mitochondria from developing tiny holes (or pores) in their membranes that allow proteins that trigger apoptosis, or cell death, to seep out into the rest of the cell.

"We didn't expect that the most important part of this pathway was in the mitochondria," says David Sinclair, an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and a study co-author. "We think that we've possibly found regulators of aging."

"As long as the mitochondria are physiologically active, the cell can otherwise be depleted of energy, but it stays alive," Sinclair said.

"I think SIRT3 is the next most interesting sirtuin from a drug development standpoint," Sinclair says. "It does protect cells, but there's growing evidence that it may mediate the benefits of exercise as well."

Sinclair's lab is now working on developing what he calls a possible "supermouse" with elevated levels of NAMPT to see if it lives longer and is more disease-resistant than normal mice.

Sinclair is eager to see the results of his experiments with the supermouse. "Depending on how this mouse turns out," he says, "we may put NAMPT on the list of drug targets, as well."


The recent SENS3 (on using engineering approaches to life extension) conference discussed several methods to repair and preserve mitochondria Mitochondrial damage is one of seven kinds of damage resulting from aging which if the damage was prevented or greatly reduced or repaired could result in lifespans increasing by several decades. This study also provides more evidence that the SENS approach is likely to succeed because one of the seven causes of damage identified by SENS has been separately confirmed as having an antiaging effect when modified.

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals shares rose 11% after release of the study results

FURTHER ACTION:
How you can help support SENS

Donate to SENS research

>Over 4.5 million has been committed for the Mprize fund and 4.6 million has been committed for SENS research

Some clarification of my CRN presentation and bad choices past and future limit gains from technology

The Register discusses the CRN conference, where I was one of the presenters

I need to correct some misunderstanding from a lack of clarity in one of my presentation slides.

Register person had stated I was saying molecular manufacturing would happen in 2015. My prediction for a nanofactory level of capability in molecular manufacturing is 2015-2023 If a lot of bad choices are made and the development work turns out to be surprisingly difficult then 2024-2030 is very possible. However, the almost molecular manufacturing capability will be getting better and better so I am not clear what would be preventing someone from bootstrapping to the full capability for the longer time frame.

One of my presentation slides gave the impression that societies energy problems would persist for decades after the arrival of full blown molecular manufacturing.
Energy, space and infrastructure problems which are some of the biggest problems now and will take the longest to fix, will potentially be very easy to solve after molecular manufacturing arrives. The expection is whatever ongoing bad choices we are making as a society can continue to prevent problems from being solved.

This is currently the case with many of todays problems. The technical capability has been available to solve energy and space access, however the collective choices made in different parts of society have prevented us from getting over the hurdles needed to implement solutions.

For example, corruption and violence in Africa prevents those countries from experiencing an economic boom similar to China and Vietnam and other countries.

The Africa-lite levels of corruption and violence in countries like the United States and Europe and China could prevent the full potential of molecular manufacturing from being realized. Just as current bad funding choices are delaying the development of molecular manufacturing.

The technology can enable the fixes. It is we who could continue to screw it up as we have up to this point under-utilizing possible solutions.

Technology, even powerful technology such as molecular manufacturing is not beyond the power of bad choices to screw it up. I am somewhat less concerned about the bad choices that could lead to extinction (although those are a concern) than I am about massive civilization underperformance. Massive civilization underperformance has been a persistent problem throughout history, which I would like to see reduced. Also, if it was reduced civilization would be more robust and better able to handle and prevent extinction risks as well.

We marvel at the 50 trillion world GDP (70 trillion a purchasing power parity basis). However, bad governance and bad choices throughout even relatively recent history have caused the underperformance of the world economy. China did not have to be a basketcase economy from 1900 to 1975 (and even from 1500-1900). India also could have started its climb out of poverty decades or centuries earlier. The people in India who cling to a stifling bureaucracy and the systems which encourage that behavior could have been removed and bureaucracy reduced sooner. The world economy could easily be two to three times bigger than it is now.

The United States could have been building nuclear plants for power without the 30 year gap. 400 more nuclear plants would have meant having the 80% French level of nuclear electricity generation. $300 billion/year in pollution and health costs could be saved. The reduced medical costs would make medicare more solvent and have reduced taxes and better balanced budgets. There would also have been fewer wars for oil.

Even the measurement of size of the world economy does not address how much useless busy work or destructive work there is. Using 40% of the railway and 10% of freight to move 1 billion tons in the USA of coal (6-7 billion tons worldwide) generates a lot of GDP activity. However, this is including a lot of destructive and unnecessary activity as a positive.

The lost opportunity cost from bad research and development choices and from research and development funding system inefficiencies are very high. Alan Shalleck discusses how the first few years and billions of dollars in nanotechnology budgets have gone to
establishing nanotechnology laboratory facilities, outfitting these laboratories with nanotech capable instrumentation, finding and recruiting nonscientists who were fascinated by the nanotechnology opportunity and funding basic nanoscience research.


There was no expectation of any nanotechnology product. There was no goal or plan by design. No stated goal means no standard of achievement to be held accountable No stated goal or objective meant that there could no specific genetically modified food controversy, because there would not be nothing made and no stated plans for production there could be no controversial impact. This is a systemic wasteful and underperforming behavior. My main hope and expectation is that increasing true competition from other countries will force more productive behavior and bolder efforts and plans.

I think there are some trends that will force a higher standard of competence and rational evidence based thinking. The flattening of the world and increasing global competition will mean less places for incompetence to persist and dominate. Open hypercompetition lets the winner win faster and prevents the idiots from letting screw ups persist.

The shape of the future will be decided by an ongoing battle between incompetence and selfish corrupt decision making versus super-technology and efficient and rapid assessment and analysis with evidence based choices.

Simple and cheap way to make carbon nanotube based computer chips

Scientists in Israel are reporting the first simple and inexpensive method for building the large-scale networks of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) needed for using these microscopic wisps in a future generation of faster, smaller, and more powerful computers and portable electronic devices.


Photo and illustration (inset) of carbon nanotube circuits. (Credit: Courtesy of Ze'ev Abrams and Yael Hanein, Tel-Aviv University, Israel)

The study describes a method to manufacture and assemble large arrays of SWCNTs into an integrated circuit format. It can be used on a variety of surfaces and produced on an industrial scale. The process involves creating networks of nanotubes suspended between silicon pillars, which are then transferred onto other surfaces by direct stamping, the researchers say.

Update on new cancer treatment reported at SENS3

From the Telegraph, cancer sufferers could be cured with injections of immune cells from other people within two years. Dr Zheng Cui, of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, has shown in laboratory experiments that immune cells from some people can be almost 50 times more effective in fighting cancer than in others. The treatment is called "GIFT" (Granulocyte InFusion Therapy).

The Fight Aging blog indicates that Dr Cui's work is important, and an impressive technology demonstration, but still pre-trial and one of dozens of just as effective demonstrated means to kill cancer. I think that because this treatment is so simple and similar to other methods that the delay until it is shown to work and optimized and until it is used should be far shorter than some other methods. FDA approval of some drugs is as long as 17 years.

I think one of the best ways to provide this immune system boost is before there is any cancer. Just as there is 80% survival for stage 0 cancer versus 2% survival for stage 5, getting the GIFT boost similar to a vaccination could prevent cancer from getting a toe hold. Other treatments like chemo therapy kill even higher percentages of cancer cells but are applied later in the disease progression and have side effects. If the immune system boost can applied without causinggraft versus host disease, then this could be a prevention for cancer. Wikipedia discusses transfusion associated graft versus host disease

This is a follow up to my article a few days ago on this treatment which was announced at the SENS3 conference


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Dr Cui is confident patients could benefit from the technique quickly because the technology used to extract granulocytes is the same as that already used by hospitals to obtain other blood components such as plasma or platelets.

Last year Dr Cui caused shockwaves in the cancer research community when he identified granulocytes as the cells responsible for the mouse cancer immunity – because they are among those which act automatically.

Prof Gribben said: “This is surprising because it goes against how we thought immune system works against cancer. It makes us think again about our preconceived notions.”

Prof Cui injected granulocytes from immune mice into ordinary mice, and found it was possible to give them protection from cancer.

Even more excitingly he found the transfusions caused existing cancers to go into remission and to clear them completely within weeks.

A single dose of the cells appeared to give many of the mice resistance to cancer for the rest of their lives.

Prof Gribben warned the US researchers would have to be careful to avoid other immune system cells from the donor proliferating in the patient’s body.

He added: “If they’re using live cells there is a theoretical risk of graft-versus-host disease, which can prove fatal.”

Dr Cui said he is working on ways to minimise this risk



How the cancer treatment would work

UPDATE:One drawback for Dr Cui GIFT method of cancer treatment is that it requires 10 donors for every recipient. I speculate, we will probably need to use telomeres and culturing of cells to increase the volume of cells for donation.

FURTHER READING:
New Scientist has a video of granulocytes killing cervical cancer cells

The abstract of Dr Cui's SENS 3 conference presentation

While most of the research attention has been focused on the question, why cancer occurs in about 25% of humans, a less frequently asked question has been why the other 75% of humans do not get cancer. Cigarette-smoking is a highly reliable way for humans to expose themselves to known carcinogens, causing a 100-fold increase of lung cancer rates from 0.08% in the general population to 8% in smokers. Why do the other 92% of smokers not get cancer? It has long been speculated that there is a cancer surveillance system in humans. There must be something that protects healthy humans from getting cancer, even after repeated exposures to carcinogens... Based on these findings and the ability to screen for cancer-resistant humans as allogenic white cell donors, we proposed a new cancer treatment strategy, termed "GIFT" (Granulocyte InFusion Therapy), that will soon enter phase II clinical trials


Dr Cui's homepage


Dr Cui and his cancer resistant mice

99% effective early detection of lung cancer could also boost survival rates. Early detection survival rates 80% vs late detection at 2%

Futurepundit also speculates on this cancer treatment

New Lung cancer test for 99% effective early detection

esearchers at a Gaithersburg, MD, pharmaceutical company say they have found that 99 percent of patients with all stages of lung cancer have detectable levels of a particular protein in their blood that healthy individuals do not. The company, Panacea Pharmaceuticals, is reporting encouraging preliminary results for its test for the protein this week at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Lung cancer survival rates are as high as 80% for stage 0 lung cancer If all lung cancer was detected early then survival rates would be far higher.

Stage 0 Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is localized
Five-Year Survival Rate = 70 - 80%

Stage I Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is confined to the lungs and surrounded by normal tissue.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 50%

Stage II Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 30%

Stage III Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to the chest wall, diaphragm, or other nearby organs or blood vessels.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 5 - 15%

Stage IV Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to more distant sites in the body.
Five-Year Survival Rate = Less than 2%

RELATED NEWS
Genetic screening for breast cancer is making breast cancer testing faster and a lot cheaper

Genetic tests for prostate cancer are also being developed. Doctors hope that it will make diagnosis of the disease more accurate and reduce the number of biopsies (removal of tissue samples) that are obtained through painful procedures.

September 20, 2007

Carnegie Mellon Building Robot for Lunar Prospecting

Researchers in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science are building a robotic prospector for NASA that can creep over rocky slopes and then anchor itself as a stable platform for drilling deep into extraterrestrial soils.


Called "Scarab," this four-wheeled robot will never leave the Earth. But it will demonstrate technologies that a lunar rover will need to find concentrations of hydrogen, possibly water and other volatile chemicals on the moon that could be mined to produce fuel, water and air that are essential for supporting lunar outposts.

Scarab is equipped with a Canadian-made drill for obtaining meter-long geological core samples and features a novel rocker-arm suspension that enables the robot to plant its belly on the ground for drilling operations.

To optimize efficiency, the robot must be as light as possible. But to operate the coring drill, the vehicle also has to be massive enough to apply sufficient downward pressure on the drill and counter the torque of the rotating drill. Researchers estimate it must weigh at least 250 kilograms, or about 550 pounds.

The suspension allows Scarab to make the most of its weight by enabling it to lower its 5 1/2-foot-by-3-foot body to the ground for drilling operations. "One of the design innovations was to put the drill in the center of the robot," Wettergreen said, rather than attaching it to an arm. "Scarab can apply its entire mass onto the drill, so that everything is assisting the drilling operation."

Whittaker has announced that he is assembling a team to compete for the Google Lunar X-Prize and its $20 million grand prize for operating a privately funded robot on the moon by 2012. That effort is separate and distinct from the NASA-funded Scarab project, which is developing technologies that could be used on the moon but are being tested on Earth.


I wish his team good luck on winning the X-prize. They would definitely have a very capable rover. I had posted my own outline of how to win the Google XPrize

Winning is buying a rocket ride to orbit, earth orbit to lunar orbit low energy transfer, lunar lander (several are available) and rover.

Di-positronium > Gamma Ray Lasers > Laser ignition nuclear fusion

A US team has created thousands of Di-positronium molecules by merging electrons with their antimatter equivalent: positrons. The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, is a key step in the creation of ultra-powerful lasers known as gamma-ray annihilation lasers.

Gamma ray lasers would have a lot of uses. The progress with Bose condensates and with positron traps has proceeding fairly quickly. This could be a fairly rapid technological progression with a lot of other new technological possibilities along the way. It also sounds like it will be fairly compact and lightweight, which would be good for any fusion propulsion system.


The ultra-high vacuum target chamber, where the intense positron pulse is implanted into the porous silica film. The magnet coils carry a current of 1000 amps for a few hundred milliseconds to generate the strong magnetic field needed to compress the positron beam. (Credit: David Cassidy, UC-Riverside)


To make the molecules, Dr Cassidy and his team used a specially designed trap to store millions of the positrons.

A burst of 20 million were then focused and blasted at a porous silica "sponge".

"It's like having a trickle of water filling up a bath and then you empty it out and you get a big flush," said Dr Cassidy.

As the positrons rushed into the voids they were able to capture electrons to form atoms. Where atoms met, they formed molecules.

By measuring the gamma-rays that signalled their annihilation, the team estimated that up to 100,000 of the molecules formed, albeit for just a quarter of a nanosecond (billionth of a second).

Dr Cassidy believes that increasing the density of the positronium in the silicon would create an exotic state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

"At even higher densities, one might expect the material to become a regular, crystalline solid," wrote Professor Clifford Surko, of the University of Californian, San Diego, in an accompanying article.

Taking it one step further, scientists could use the spontaneous annihilation of the BEC, and the subsequent outburst of gamma-rays, to make a powerful laser.

He highlighted an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in the US where scientists envisage using 192 lasers to heat a fuel target to try to kick-start nuclear fusion.

"Imagine doing that but you no longer need hundreds of lasers," he said.

Lasers for purifying blood and detecting cancer

Businessweek indicates that new short pulse lasers can also shatter the outer membranes of viruses, which suggests they can be used to purify donated blood. A father-son team of scientists--one a laser expert at the University of Arizona, and the other an immunology student at Johns Hopkins University--built one that emits pulses of light at a frequency that kills viruses without harming normal cells.

Another new laser device could let doctors peer through the skin and into the veins of patients' wrists to spot cancer cells in the blood.

Middle east war possibilities

The International Herald Tribune discusses a Middle East literally in flames from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean is by no means a distant or unrealistic prospect.

On the face of it, neither country has anything to gain from war, since neither can possibly prevail. Syria is too weak reconquer its lost territory and Israel is too small to take and hold much more of Syria.

Both, however, have more subtle objectives in view. Israel wants to restore the prestige and deterrent credibility lost last year in its ill-conceived invasion of Lebanon. Syria wants to sustain pressure upon Israel via its Lebanese proxies with a view to boosting its stature in the region and ultimately ending the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

The real issue is what Washington has to gain from another Middle East war. The Bush administration has acknowledged that Israel attacked Syrian last week, but has not given any indication that the United States sought to prevent it, or discourage a repetition.

Finding out exactly what the United States is doing to forestall a war between Israel and Syria would seem important.


Washington Post on the Israeli bombing of Syria

Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said.

The United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence before Israel proceeded with the raid, which hit the Syrian facility in the dead of night to minimize possible casualties, the sources said.

Unlike its destruction of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Israel made no announcement of the recent raid and imposed strict censorship on reporting by the Israeli media. Syria made only muted protests, and Arab leaders have remained silent. As a result, a daring and apparently successful attack to eliminate a potential nuclear threat has been shrouded in mystery.

"There is no question it was a major raid. It was an extremely important target," said Bruce Riedel, a former intelligence officer at Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. "It came at a time the Israelis were very concerned about war with Syria and wanted to dampen down the prospects of war. The decision was taken despite their concerns it could produce a war. That decision reflects how important this target was to Israeli military planners."


Washingpost Oped: Israel Attacks Syria and Everyone Wins

The Times online tracks the possibility of war with Iran.

Why government nanotech initiatives have no point

Dexter at the IEEE spectrum blog asks "What’s the point?" of all of the billions being spent in the name of something called nanotechnology

He talked also about the nanotechnology funding race and asks what is at the finish line

My answer around the policies of not having a point for the programs. It is a specific choice for the funding not to be accountable to deliver on any visions. No goal then they cannot be criticized for not meeting the goal. No goals then no controversy over positives and negatives of the goal.:

This is one of the side effect problems of creating an overly broad definition of nanotechnology. You have a lot of trouble measuring and defining real progress.
Also, without clearly defined goals that would have large societal impact, one cannot define the point of doing it.

Specific projects and the details of the work that is being developed by scientists needs to be considered.

Currently the increasing nanotechnology research budgets have no more meaning than increasing science research budgets. Good stuff can randomly happen but you don't know when or what.

There are clear plans of development pathways with specific kinds of nanotechnology, which would have high impact if developed. However, as is commonly known almost all of those plans and planners have been marginalized.

Collectly the mainstream choice has been "let us not rally to those plans". So you are left with the "what's the point" problem or the "the give me the money and I am going to make whatever I want, then occasionally if we like any of the things that comes from X billion per year we will publicize a victory".

The lets spend billions for some short camping trips to the moon. Hey look we got Tang, isn't that wonderful and of course pretty pictures, great stories, bragging rights and a psychological edge in some geopolitics. The main goals came up short of real clear broad impact, but spin offs we got spin offs. Let us put political spin on the spin offs. There are space satellites for communications etc.. but those who did go to the moon and spent less money also have those things too.

Clear is we invent combustion engines and mass production. The impact is loads of cars and trucks and transformed transportation and transformed product production. There are plenty of spin off effects and products, but the focus is less on the better cup holders.

Even with the lack of a "what's the point" goal or set of clearly defined goals then each of the thousands of projects in each country needs to be examined to understand its potential. Many do not have and will not have a point or impact so those can be filtered out fairly quickly.

The NNI and others have chosen not to make a big deal about any truly high potential societal transforming goals or possibilities.

They do not want to overcommit in case it does not pan out.
http://www.nano.gov/html/facts/hype_promise.html

Thus they spin the things (which have so far been not much different from other non-nanotech products) as they happen or as they become slam dunkable.

The do not overcommit policy means that any point has to be a super-conservative objective based on existing work and progress.

Next generation of chinese leaders taking the world stage

Businessweek reports that new financially sophisticated leaders are being promoted to higher positions in China

An example:

Zhou Xiaochuan, currently head of the People's Bank of China. The former economics professor and fluent English-speaker is a strong contender for vice-premier in charge of finance. One of China's most sophisticated economic minds, he can hold his own with the likes of Alan Greenspan, Ben S. Bernanke, and other central bankers. He has already grappled with intransigent rivals opposed to his campaign to clean up China's notoriously shifty equity markets: His drive to crack down on stock manipulators earned him the nickname "The Flayer." He shares major responsibility for opening China's financial sector to big Western banks and brokerages.

Nanoparticle drug delivery, part 1

I am going to be starting an ongoing series of articles on some of the near term nanotechnology. I am spinning it off in its own blog.

Here is the nanoparticle drug delivery site

The Drug delivery is a multi-billion dollar business. Some calculate it as a 9.8 billion business. Led by the strong growth of biotechnology drugs requiring novel delivery technologies, the injectable/implantable drug delivery market reached revenues of $9.8 billion in 2006

Nanotechnology in drug delivery

A drug delivery website

Drug delivery stocks

The 9th annual drug delivery symposium coming Dec 16-20, 2007 is only about $600 versus $5000 or more for some market reports

Advance Nanotech Singapore Pte. Ltd. owns 75% of Nano Solutions Limited (Imperial College, London) which is developing Nanovindex. Nanovindex is a nanoparticle-hydrogel composites for drug delivery.

From 2005, 10Q
Nanotechnologies have already begun to change the scale and methods of drug delivery and hold huge potential for future developments in this area.
Nanotechnology can provide new formulations and routes for drug delivery that
broaden their therapeutic potential enormously by allowing the delivery of new
types of medicine to previously inaccessible sites in the body. Novel composites
incorporating nanoparticles are particularly exciting for these applications. A
key to gaining competitiveness within the market is to develop next generation
composites which are extremely sensitive to a variety of environmental stimuli.
NanoVindex aims to achieve this by utilising expertise in rational peptide
design to incorporate specific pH, enzymes and temperature triggers within the
composites enabling a new level of control over the release of encapsulated
drugs.

Technology

NanoVindex is seeking to develop a platform technology of nanoparticle-hydrogel
composites for tailored drug delivery applications. The development shall
leverage the research of Imperial College London in rational design of
self-assembling peptide systems, control over the nanoscale organic/inorganic
interface, and physiologically responsive bio-nano materials. Revenues to drug
delivery companies were $1.3bn in 2002 and projected to increase to $6.7bn by
2012. With the focus evermore on emerging nanotechnologies and the improvements
these may offer over more conventional systems, the market for new
nanotechnologies in drug delivery is poised to be a multi-billion dollar arena.
These technologies have the potential to revolutionise the pharmaceutical
industry.


FURTHER READING
Abstract on Hydrogel-Nanofiber Composite Systems For Drug Delivery

2003 patent, Composite hydrogel drug delivery systems

google search of hydrgel composites drug delivery

Google search on nanoparticle drug delivery

Other drug delivery market studies by Kalorama

Canadian dollar and US dollar are at parity

Something of interest to me being a Canadian and a US citizen. The Canadian dollar and the US dollar are trading at virtual parity It is taking about 1.002 Canadian dollars to buy one US dollar. This is the result of the weaknesses in the US economy, the US wasting a lot of money on the war, the increase in oil and commodity prices which Canada has a lot. The last time the Canadian dollar was stronger than the US dollar was at the end of the Vietnam war.


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The AP also reports on the the Canadian and US dollars reaching parity

Known as the loonie because of the bird pictured on the one-dollar coin, the Canadian dollar has been gaining ground on its American counterpart since hitting an all-time low of 61.79 U.S. cents on Jan. 21, 2002
.



Bloomberg also discusses the Canadian dollar briefly exceeding the US dollar in value. 1.0002 US dollar equalled one Canadian dollar in intraday trading



How high will the Canadian dollar go? Current guesses are another 2-5 more cents higher for the C$ after a pause around parity. How much can Canada's central bank lower canadian interest rates to keep the canadian dollar from rising to much ? How much can Canada's central bank lower interest rates before triggering inflation in Canada ?

Predicting the bottom for the US dollar is
"As we say in foreign exchange, it's like trying to catch a falling knife."


Benjamin Tal, senior economist at CIBC World Markets:

The loonie will likely rise a few more cents above the greenback, given its strong momentum that reflects surging commodity prices and the possibility of a recession south of the border, Mr. Tal said.

He does not expect the Bank of Canada to move its rates "anytime soon," which is positive for the Canadian dollar.

Reid Farrill, executive director foreign exchange at CIBC World Markets:
From a trading point of view the loonie still has momentum, Mr. Farrill said. Parity is somewhat of a psychological barrier, because many traders in the market have not seen it before, and it will take some while for the market to grow accustomed to the new reality, he added.

"It's all happened very quickly," said Mr. Farrill, of this week's surge, which makes predictions difficult.

Ted Carmichael, chief Canadian economist at JP Morgan Chase:
As long as concerns remain about the health of the U.S. economy the Canadian dollar could rise another two to five cents versus its American cousin, Mr. Carmichael said. But it all depends on Canada's central bank.

Carnival of Space - week 21, the XPrize edition

The Carnival of Space Week 21 is up at whyhomeschool

My article on how to win the Google Xprize is included

Discoery Enterprise also summarizes various reaction to the Google Xprize

September 19, 2007

Femtoseconds changes in reflexivity useful for optical switching

In a recent experiment short laser pulses, falling on an organic salt target, momentarily changed the material from an insulator (a bad reflector of light) to a semi-metal (good reflector of light).
The change in reflectivity this large---more than 100%-has never been achieved before in a photonic material; photo-induced changes are usually more like a few percent. The laser pulse required doesn’t even have to be particularly intense to cause the change.

Thus gigantic photo-response work began as a Tokyo-Kyoto collaboration but now includes also LBL and Oxford. The new advance is that the change in reflectivity can be brought about in tens of femtoseconds rather than 150 ns. The dramatic reflectivity changes will be useful in bringing about direct ultrafast optical-to-optical switching.
It could also be useful for faster optical computing.

Trying to make the manufacturing chain more efficient

Ponoko is an attempt at an online network of people and companies of the total manufacturing chain

Currently this version of the concept seems targeted at small producers.

There are other attempts to leverage the internet to source components and alternative suppliers.

hat tip to futurismic

Next generation USB vs next generation Firewire

USB 3.0 could hit communication speeds of 4 Gbps and next generation Firewire might be 3.2 Gbps or 10 Gbps USB2 has a speed of 480 mbps.

The USB3 spec probably will have to reduce the five-meter reach of USB 2.0, perhaps to as little as two meters.

The 1394 has been studying use of Firewire over distances as great as 100 meters on Category 5/6 cable and optical fibre, Snider noted. It is also exploring versions for use in the home and car over coax cables.

Challenge to Tim Harper's (of Cientifica) accusations and name calling

Tim Harper at cientifica has put up a name calling article with accusations that those who believe in mechanosynthesis are ignoring science

Here is his article:
The mechnosynthesis fans at places like the Centre for Irresponisble Promotion of Unfeasble Nanotechnologies always get a bit hot under the collar when criticised, and the first line of attack is always to quote Lord Kelvin’s famous 1882 remark that “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”

I am not convinced that this is a valid argument when looking at molecular nanotechnology as we have had almost twenty years of proponents saying that some kind of Utopian singularity is just around the corner - surely this would be also worth quoting as an example of a failed prediction?

Kelvin based his opinion on prevailing scientific opinion at the time, whereas the Drexlerians ignore scientific opinion in the same way that advocates of intelligent design and creationism ignore the evidence of the fossil record. That probably explains why they are given short shrift by the mainstream scientific community, and resort to dismissing two and half thousand years of science for the sake of a bunch of beliefs backed up with no evidence.

Perhaps this is a job for renowned sceptic and arch debunker Richard Dawkins?


Here is my response:
1. What relevant specific science has been dismissed ?

2.Here is a link to theoretical and experimental work that supports mechanosynthesis as a possible and promising approach
http://www.molecularassembler.com/Nanofactory/AnnBibDMS.htm

Also, molecular manufacturing is not and has not been only about mechnosynthesis. There were papers by Drexler and others about protein pathways and other means to achieve molecular manufacturing. This information is publicly available from the Foresight conferences and publications.

3. Certain predictions with dates attached may have been wrong. Open ended predictions that X is impossible are wrong when X happens regardless of when it is. A prediction that Y will happen is not wrong after Z years if there was no time limit attached to it. A Y prediction without date ranges and conditions like actual effort being expended to achieve Y are not that useful.

4. If the mechanosynthesis view is so obviously flawed, then come on Tim Harper, why do you need Richard Dawkins. Bring on your specific issues and criticisms. I, Brian Wang, am calling you out. Cite what it is that you believe are the "justifiable and worthy scientific predictions or projects".

I think your name-calling is without proper basis and justification. I think your accusation that science has been dismissed is false. I think that the belief that molecular manufacturing and mechanosynthesis is feasible has evidence.

I will return the name calling favor. I think that your site and organization should be call UNscientifica.

I think that if you cannot back up your accusations and then do not then retract them, that you are a useless name calling punk.

You call yourself one of the world's foremost experts on commercialisation of technologies [on his profile at this website]. We can put that to the test. We can put up a public bet on whether molecular manufacturing or mechanosynthesis of the type that you criticize gets commercialized. Certainly something that the "world's foremost expert" can handle.


Tim says the nanotechnology that CRN describes is unfeasible. Unfeasible should mean that it never will happen. So Tim should feel fairly comfortable looking at some minor milestones in the 30 to 50 year timeframes.

UPDATE:
Note: I am perfectly willing to be polite, but since Tim has initiated the level of the discourse then he needed to get a taste of his own abuse. I wonder why he got hot under the collar from my criticism ?

Tim replied to my comment of his posting via email. He claims he does not want to publish "such histrionics" as were in my comment. My interpretation is that he only publishes his own histrionics.

I say that this shows that he can dish out insults but cannot take it.
I say that this also shows that he is unwilling to defend what he claims. He does not defend his own attacks against mechanosynthesis or molecular manufacturing or his claim to be one of the world's foremost experts on technological commercialization.

ANOTHER UPDATE
The only comment that Tim is willing to have is a link to his own articles He claims that he does not want to spend the time to engage in debate. He points to another one of his old articles which he calls a past debate on this which he does not want to spend more time. However, looking at that link we see that he took the time to toss around insults and accusations that have no evidence. So the pattern is that every so often Tim Harper decides to toss out insults and baseless accusations, but he has never engaged in a debate where he provides any scientific evidence to back up his claims of lack of science for molecular manufacturing.

BTW: Don't buy his nanoparticle drug delivery market study. Some simple online research can provide all of that information and save you $5000.

Abraxis Oncology, a division of American Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. made the first nanoparticle drug delivery system.

The market leader in nanoemulsions, Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc., has developed a nano-crystallisation system for milling drug compounds to nanometre scale particles to improve biological uptake into patients. The system had been successfully applied to the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. Rapamune drug for use in immunosupression during transplant surgery and the Merck & Co., Inc. Emend drug for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.


AlphaRX has a TB nanoparticle drug delivery treatment

Google search on nanoparticle drug delivery

Nanotechnology in drug delivery

Drug delivery site

Drug delivery stocks

The 9th annual drug delivery symposium coming Dec 16-20, 2007 is only about $600 versus $5000 for the report

September 18, 2007

Next Carnival of Space due

For those who have a space article submit it to CarnivalOfSpace@gmail.com
by Wednesday evening, 6:00 PM PST.

Here are more details for sending a post.

Where is mechanosynthesis? In progress but underfunded.

IEEE Spectrum asks where is my mechanosynthesis?

Richard Smalley proposed a carbon nanotube energy grid back in 1995


del.icio.us




Where is this carbon nanotube energy grid ?
Where is there even one test of commercial carbon nanotube quantum wiring ?
They received at least $11 million to work specifically on this project. Billions have been spend working on carbon nanotube research and development.

Billions of dollars and thousands of people have been spent decades working on commercially viable nuclear fusion. Where is the first commercially purchased watt of power from nuclear fusion ? Is this science supposed to be believed ?

I know that there are difficult challenges that are worth doing, that take a lot of time and money. The question is what is the best plan to achieve goals. The questions that I posed against tokomak nuclear fusion and a carbon nanotube energy grid are unfair, but they are less unfair than the questions posed about mechanosythesis. Also, narrowing the concept of molecular manufacturing to only mechanosynthesis is also unfair.

The focus on mechanosynthesis is like someone predicting powered flight with the eventual superiority of jet engines, but also mentioning powered blimps and prop planes. When the other things are developed and dominate for some decades, the question comes in 1920 where are the jet planes ?
1. It is still coming
2. Get a well funded project together and if that has cost overruns or delays or has development issues then more informed questions can be made about the end goal.

The IEEE Spectrum article discusses head scratching about the less than expected progress towards molecular manufacturing. It is obvious why it has not developed further. There has not been enough direct funded effort made to try to develop it.

The conference presentations and liveblogging transcript show very little discussion about the topic of the events of the last two decades pace of progress.

The IEEE article asks has not James Von Ehr spent $100 million towards developing mechanosynthesis ? No he has not. Von Ehr has a lot of money but he did not use it all to fund a direct to MNT effort. He has created Zyvex which provide tools, instrumentation, and applications to serve the semiconductor and advanced research markets.

Zyvex has an atomically precise manufacturing effort, but it has been a fraction of the overall funding and effort. Going forward it will be focused on atomic layer deposition for the next few years.

Zyvex plan: start with hydrogen passivated silicon surface, depassivation, self-limited deposition, despassivation, repeat. We want to make this more engineering-oriented, repeatedly, with higher yields. We have a few products in mind for single-probe operations. We can make money even with this, with the right products. Next: MEMS arrays.

Atomically precise manufacturing will lead to “digital matter” which will deliver similar benefits as digitization of information.

It is a prudent plan given the resources available to Zyvex and Von Ehr.

Also, molecular manufacturing can and should be achieved through means other than mechanosynthesis (at least initially). Please look at the conference paper from
Toth Fejel on the various ways to reach the goal.


FURTHER READING:
Here are the technical challenges still to be overcome to mechanosynthesis

Here is the theoretical and experimental work that shows that it should work

Donations to support the work towards mechanosynthesis can be made here.

How to donate to the IMM Freitas Research Fund:

Phone 650-917-1120 with Visa/Mastercard info
Fax 650-917-1120 with same
Email admin@imm.org with same (not secure)
Mail info or check to Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, 555 Bryant Street, Suite 354, Palo Alto, CA 94301 USA

September 17, 2007

Reviewing some of my predictions on the Future

I had made about 156 prediction back in March 2006 in the nanotech-now article. 15 of the predictions appear either to have come true, are partially true or are coming true. Most of the other predictions are for events that were projected to be many years into the future.

Three appear to be correct but one require confirmation

Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008
Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008
Cellular life found on Mars 2010+ (being confirmed)

Four appear to be partially correct.

Syria war 2008 (Israel, US ally, bombed Syria using 8 planes, tensions increasing)
Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012
Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018

Eight are on track to being accurate predictions:
100 qubits 2010-2014 [expect 2008]
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014 (close, synthetic life work)
80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012 (close new hybrids and high mileage diesels, mass priced electric cars)
10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013 (Japan, IBM, Sun micro products and projects)
Clean fission (possible, projects underway)
Nuclear Fusion (several promising projects)
Thousand CPU [processor/cores] workstation mainstream chip vendor 2009-2012
US War with Iran 2007 (on track in regards to ratcheting tensions, hope I am wrong but just tracking it)


Correct Prediction: Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008

The RAMP Blue v3.0 rack, with 21 BEE2s, each with 48 cores, for a total of 1008 MicroBlaze cores

When the new TEAM microscope is delivered to Berkeley in 2008 then I would consider it a fulfillment of my prediction
Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008


Prediction: Cellular life found on Mars 2010+
If the Mars soil turns out to be 0.1% extremophile then that would definitely be a hit for my prediction that

Another prediction is getting a partial hit very soon:

Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
Dayjet is starting service in Florida in about Sept, 2007 to Oct 2007

There is progress towards :
Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012

What we have now is the gekkomat


Here is the gekkomat.

If they get this improved with smaller canisters and better adhesion, so that it has some adoption by some military and enthusiast users then I would count this as a successful prediction.

Some could feel that the extra suction is a cheat and I can see that is valid in terms of human gecko wall crawling but not for a practical form of human wall crawling in general.

Here is some info on how a gecko does it. (13 page pdf)

There is other work on pure reusable adhesive by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Center and others.

Hybrid glue work from Northwestern University in Illinois. They built an array of nano-sized pillars from a soft flexible polymer. They then dip-coated these arrays in solutions containing different polymers designed to mimic the mussel proteins.

Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person's full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.

Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion

This prediction may have been half fulfilled:

Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018
Superthread made by Los Alamos may have over 50Gpa of strength

In terms of the second half of the prediction of inexpensive carbon nanotube fiber, this could be resolved by 2010. Production of carbon nanotubes could ramp up from the 60 tons per year now in 2007 Bayer has scaled up its production pilot plant from 30 to 60 tons/yr. The next step reportedly will be to boost capacity to 200 tons/yr in the next two years, with an industrial-scale 3000-ton (6.6-million lb) plant envisioned for 2011-12. This could reduce prices from $250-1000/kg now down to $10-50/kg in 2012.


From bionano:
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014
I would count the successful creation of synthetic life as fulfilling this prediction We are pretty close.

dwave Systems of Vancouver could fulfill my prediction of Quantum computing 100 qubits 2010-2014 a bit early in 2008.

In the wildcard predictions was:
US War with Iran 2007
US War with Syria 2008

The recent news that Israel bombed Syria on Sept 6, 2007 is a fairly close hit for one of my predictions from Mar, 2006

Predictions were made at nanotech-now back in March 2006

I would view a US proxy war where Israel (as a US ally and in some view proxy for the USA) has a war with Syria as counting as a reasonably successful prediction for US war with Syria. I would count this bombing run with eight planes as a partially successful prediction already. My prediction is way more specific and accurate than any Nostrodamus.

A US ally, Israel, bombed Syria with a bombing run of 8 planes. This is a lot more than nothing but is some portion of a hit in the prediction of US war with Syria.

The prediction with Iran is not true, but there was the British hostage incident.
If the US or any of its allies bombs Iran then I would consider this a fulfilled prediction. I don't think that a US or US ally bombing of Iran would be the end of the matter, so marginal hair splitting may not be necessary in judging whether I was correct.

Prediction: Clean nuclear fission technology developed
I would consider the development of thorium nuclear reactors or any of the Gen IV nuclear reactors as completing my prediction of a
breakthrough in handling or reducing long term waste from nuclear fission - makes nuclear fission "clean" 2010+. Those advanced nuclear reactors can handle the most of the long term radioactive materials -Uranium and leave only materials with 30 years or less halflife and making up about 5% of the material by weight.

If Robert Bussard's Inertial Electrostatic fusion system is made to work that would definitely fulfill my prediction:

Develop useful power generation from forms of nuclear fusion 2020+

As would Trialpha Energy's colliding beam fusion

or
a rapid fire Z-machine system
or the laser fusion plan or ITER if they reach net positive energy generation capability.


Almost all fish (for food) comes from massive ocean ranches (over 100 ranches, each larger than a cubic mile in area) 2015-2025

Almost all fish comes from fish farming. So fulfilling this prediction would be to shift the bulk of fish farming from fresh water farms to the ocean.

Sun Microsystems and IBM have announced multi-petaflop computers Japan has funded a ten petaflop supercomputer project with an expected delivery of 2010 or 2011
There are several competitors who could achieve my prediction of a
10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013.

Prediction: Thousand+ CPU workstations- mainstream chip vendors 2009-2012
Nvidia's Tesla GPU has 128 cores and has been made into a supercomputer workstation
The Tesla D870 deskside supercomputer is a PCI Express workstation powered by two 128-processor computing core GPUs. The Tesla S870 GPU computing server is a 1U form factor server with four 128-processor computing core GPU. (512 processors).

If the 3U rack mount with eight Tesla GPUs is built that would be 1024 processor cores. A 12 Teraflop system (24 GPUs) that will cost $60,000-70,000 will be selling soon from Evolved Machines would have 3072 processor cores.

When Toyota releases its next Prius or the one after with 80+ mpg or one of the competing car companies then this prediction would get fulfilled. There is already 80mpg cars in Europe.
80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012
There are other diesel and electric cars that could fulfill this prediction if they achieve enough commercial success to be considered mainstream options with widespread availability.

New phase change memory 1000 times faster than Flash memory

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have developed nanowires capable of storing computer data for 100,000 years and retrieving that data a thousand times faster than existing portable memory devices such as Flash memory and micro-drives, all using less power and space than current memory technologies.

This is interesting but other versions of phase change memories are in the commercial development pipeline. Improved versions of flash are also in the works. Therefore this interesting laboratory development may not end up having a big commercial impact. Aspects of the work will inform and guide the research in the other methods.

Researchers used self-assembly, a process by which chemical reactants crystallize at lower temperatures mediated by nanoscale metal catalysts to spontaneously form nanowires that were 30-50 nanometers in diameter and 10 micrometers in length, and then they fabricated memory devices on silicon substrates.

Tests showed extremely low power consumption for data encoding (0.7mW per bit). They also indicated the data writing, erasing and retrieval (50 nanoseconds) to be 1,000 times faster than conventional Flash memory and indicated the device would not lose data even after approximately 100,000 years of use, all with the potential to realize terabit-level nonvolatile memory device density.

Tracking an interesting idea for cheap solar power

Here is a transcript of a PBS discussion which includes comments from Nathan Lewis, professor at the California Institute of Technology. Dr Lewis discusses his ideas for using titanium oxide to generate solar power TiO is currently about 10% efficient in converting solar power to energy.

Nathan Lewis says:
TiO2 is an incredibly common cheap chemical. It's in toothpaste. It's the pigment in white paint, these little tiny particles.


He has to make the material cheap and embeddable into house paint and other building material and have it not increase the maintenance costs.

Here is another transcript discussion from Caltech

Here is a recent podcast interview with Dr Lewis

This is part of a larger series of podcasts on nanotechnology

Towards Mitochondrial Repair

From the SENS3 conference via the Methuselah Foundation blog, several researchers presented their recent work aimed at advancing this and other potentially useful approaches to mitochondrial damage.

Mitochondrial damage is one of seven kinds of damage resulting from aging which if the damage was prevented or greatly reduced or repaired could result in lifespans increasing by several decades.

Dr. de Grey first proposed an 'engineering' solution to this form of aging damage in 1998: the use of allotopic expression -- the creation of 'backup copies' of those genes in the safer confines of the nucleus -- in 1998

PhD candidate Mark Hamalainen of Cambridge University presented the initial success in his Methuselah Foundation-funded work on allotopic expression, showing evidence that his allotopically-expressed genes could encode the relevant proteins and that these were taken up into the mitochondria. In this case, the genes encode healthy and defective versions of the protein that is miscoded in Neuropathy, Ataxia and Retinitis Pigmentosa (NARP), a hereditary mitochondrial disease characterized by blindness and weak and uncoordinated muscles.

Now Dr. Corral-Debrinski has leapt forward into a living organism, inserting an allotopic version of the defective human gene that causes the mitochondrial disease Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) into mice retinas. The technique involves shifting the production site of such proteins closer to the mitochondria themselves, allowing the cell's machinery to thread the proteins through the narrow straits of the mitochondria's import channels as quickly as they are produced. Dr. Corral-Debrinski next hopes to take this to the next level, and cure the disease in mice by introducing the healthy gene.

Finally, Dr. Samit Adhya of the Division of Molecular and Human Genetics at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology is pursuing yet another innovative approach. He proposes to dispense with the need for mitochondrial DNA altogether, by instead providing the mitochondrial protein-making machinery directly with the "working instructions" (messenger RNA) that it normally receives in the form of a transcribed copy taken from the mitochondrial DNA originals. This would allow the mitochondria to continue their protein production even if the mitochondrial DNA were completely destroyed: they would still have their marching orders, even if the general himself were incommunicado. Dr. Adhya is accomplishing this goal by borrowing a trick used by a single-celled organism called Leishmania tropica.

While we can't yet draw definitive conclusions, all of Dr. Adhya's results are consistent with success. In some of the most visually arresting presentations of the conference, Dr. Adhya showed how injecting the RIC-linked antisense RNA into the legs of rats quickly caused the same kind of leg muscle degeneration seen in MERRF; when examined under a microscope, muscle cells from such animals showed the death of muscle fibers and the loss of mitochondrial function.

The next step will be to introduce functional RNA into animals with dysfunctional mitochondrial genes. If this restores normal mitochondrial function and blocks the symptoms and pathology associated with the disease, we'll know for sure that the RNA import technology works. This would allow us to sidestep not only the mutations in the mitochondrial DNA of those rare and unfortunate souls who suffer with congenital mitochondrial diseases, but those responsible for the universal mitochondrial failures of aging.


Several methods look like they are on track to repairing mitochondria.

Early word on new cancer treatement from SENS conference

From the methuselah foundation blog: at the SENS3 conference in Sept 2007, Dr. Cui presented the next logical step in his research: work demonstrating the existence of, and characterizing, high-potency cancer-killing granulocytes in humans. This same cancer killing cells provides mice with immunity to cancer

The Granulocytes do exist in humans but to varying effectiveness. A cure for cancer would seem to require finding a way to provide full anti-cancer strength granulocytes cells to all people who need it to fight cancer.

In 2003, Dr. Zheng Cui and his colleagues at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University reported the discovery of mice with immune cells that rendered them invulnerable to cancer

Dr. Cui went on to show that it could resist multiple rounds of such injections, and were so impressed that they used him to father a whole colony of mice, all of whom shared this remarkable invulnerability to cancer. Based on that ability, he calls them spontaneous regression/complete resistance (SR/CR) mice.

In 2006, Dr. Cui electrified the world when he showed that the new strain's cancer-fighting abilities were caused by a particular subset of their immune cells -- members of a class of white blood cell known as neutrophil granulocytes.

Dr. Cui tested the ability of these cells to fight off cancer by transfusing them into normal mice with cancers. Surprisingly, the simple transfusion of the cancer-fighting immune cells from the resistant mice effectively transfered the same remarkable protection to the normal mice. And even more excitingly, the treatment didn't just prevent cancers from forming, but actually fought off existing cancer: when researchers transfused the anti-cancer white blood cells into normal mice with existing skin tumors, the tumors regressed completely in a matter of weeks. Moreover, a single dose of the cancer-fighting immune cells gave the normal animals a cancer immunity that often lasted for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Cui's team first went looking for the existence of potent cancer-killing granulocytes in a group of healthy volunteers. This was done by testing the volunteers' granulocytes' ability to destroy cancer cells in a petrie dish. They found that, unlike in mice (who seem to have an all-or-nothing effect), there appears to be a classical bell-shaped distribution of cancer-killing ability in the granulocytes of people in the population: a few people have white blood cells extremely weak cancer-killing activity, the great majority have an 'average' competence, and a very small group of outliers have the kind of overwhelming search-and-destroy activity (at least in a test tube!) that is seen in the SR/CR mice.

Surprisingly, they found that the ability of peoples' granulocytes to kill cancer is very sensitive to the season, stress levels and age.

Based on these promising findings, Dr. Cui applied to test the transfusion of granulocytes from highly cancer-resistant people into people with existing cancer -- a potential therapy he calls "GIFT" (for "Granulocyte InFusion Therapy"). He now has approval from both the IRB and FDA to move ahead with the trial, and the next step is to raise the necessary funding.

September 16, 2007

Interesting middle east news

The Israeli Air Force Struck Syria, NY Times: N. Korean Nukes Targeted

The U.S.-supplied F-15I "Ra'am" fighters that carried out the alleged September 6 raid to destroy alleged Syrian nuclear cache were bought with raids on such facilities in mind, according to some reports. One of the keys to the bombers' success? Their APG-70 radars, with ground-mapping capability, plus a whole host of special Israeli mods.


The modified Israeli F-15

Israel may have recovered deterrence capability after the Syria strike

The Guardian asks if the Israeli strike on Syria was a dry run for Iran

Others are talking tough about Iran.
Prepare for war against Iran: according to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy had earlier said that a diplomatic push by the world powers was the only alternative to ''an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran''.


Some in the US have indicated the USA could be less than six months from bombing Iran. If the French are talking this tough a line, we could be a lot closer to a war with Iran.

More discussions at the Guardian that time is running out to avoiding war with Iran