May 20, 2013 |
It is vanishingly rare for an experimental treatment to wipe out advanced, recurrent cancer, then keep the disease from coming back. Yet therapies driven by CARs have been doing exactly that in a small but growing number of blood-cancer patients at the University of Pennsylvania and other centers. In simplest terms, a CAR - chimeric antigen receptor - is a synthetic genetic structure that programs the patient's immune cells to recognize and attack cancer. But there is nothing simple about these molecular taskmasters.
May 17, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Scientists have finally recovered stem cells from cloned human embryos, a goal that could lead to new treatments for such illnesses as Parkinson's disease and diabetes. A prominent expert called the work a landmark but noted that a different, simpler technique now under development may prove more useful. Stem cells can turn into any cell of the body, so scientists are interested in using them to create tissue for treating disease. Pancreatic tissue, for example, might be used to treat diabetes.
May 2, 2013 |
CHICAGO - A 2-year-old born without a windpipe now has one grown from her own stem cells, the world's youngest patient to benefit from the experimental treatment. Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink, or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at an Illinois hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there had told her parents there was no hope. The stem cells came from Hannah's bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone.
April 19, 2013 |
An affiliate of South Jersey Industries Inc., the Folsom energy company, is buying an $8 million fuel cell that will convert natural gas into electricity and steam for a Connecticut hospital. Hartford Steam Co., which is partly owned by South Jersey, will install the 1.4-megawatt fuel cell at Hartford Hospital. Fuel cells electrochemically convert a fuel-like natural gas into electricity and heat in a process that emits virtually no pollutants because there is no combustion. FuelCell Energy Inc., the manufacturer of the power equipment, says a unit that produces electricity and steam can achieve 90 percent efficiency by effectively recycling the waste heat.
April 8, 2013 |
University of Pennsylvania researchers believe they are making headway in boosting the immune system to fight a formidable foe - late-stage ovarian cancer. On Saturday, the scientists presented results from the first 31 patients to receive experimental immune therapies made from their own cells, plus anticancer drugs. Distinguishing the effects of the novel therapies from conventional drugs is tricky, especially since two women who have remained cancer-free were in remission when they joined the study.
April 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama on Tuesday proposed an effort to map the brain's activity in unprecedented detail, as a step toward finding better ways to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. He asked Congress to spend $100 million next year to start a project to explore details of the brain, which contains 100 billion cells and trillions of connections. That's a small investment for the federal government - less than a fifth of what NASA spends every year just to study the sun - but it's too early to see how Congress will react.
March 22, 2013 |
Nora Situm, the 5-year-old Croatian girl whose homeland raised money for her to seek experimental leukemia therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died early Wednesday while the tailor-made treatment was still being produced. "We are very sorry for the loss of Nora Situm, and express our deepest sympathies to her parents, family, and many friends and supporters in Croatia," the hospital said in a statement. "During the time Nora was in our care, we were in awe of the tremendous courage and spirit displayed by her and her parents.
March 12, 2013 |
HUNDREDS of mentally ill inmates in Pennsylvania languish for months and even years in isolated cells, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Monday that says the "Dickensian" practice only exacerbates their condition. The federal lawsuit accuses state prison officials of punishing the mentally ill for headbanging, hallucinations and other psychotic behaviors instead of getting them needed medical care. About one-third of the 2,400 inmates kept in restricted custody across the state suffer from serious mental-health problems, according to the suit.
March 10, 2013
Hillary Linardopoulos is a third-grade teacher at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Philadelphia Sometimes, a message of hope and optimism comes from an unlikely place. It has been a trying time in the world of Philly education. Massive budget shortfalls, school closures, depleted resources, and extraordinary changes in the proposed teachers' contract are all sources of unease in our community. But amid all of that uncertainty, something extraordinary happened in my third-grade classroom recently that gave me hope, joy, and a renewed sense of purpose.
February 22, 2013
By J. Larry Jameson As a scientist and leader of an academic medical center, I call on Congress to approach proposed debt-reduction negotiations by trimming with a scalpel rather than a saw. Blunt cuts will have life-threatening consequences and dampen the tremendous economic benefits of the biomedical research engine. The pace of biomedical research is accelerating. Examples of recent breakthroughs at Penn Medicine underscore why we should be apprehensive about losing research momentum.