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Elevated cryptic transcription emerges as a common theme in aging mammalian cells – Baylor College of Medicine News

Posted: August 31, 2021 at 2:41 am

Although visible signs of aging are usually unmistakable, unraveling what triggers them has been quite a challenge. At Baylor College of Medicine, the lab of Dr. Weiwei Dang and others at collaborating institutions have discovered that a cellular phenomenon called cryptic transcription, which had been previously described and linked to aging in yeasts and worms, is elevated in aging mammalian stem cells.

In previous work, we showed that cryptic transcription in yeasts and worms is not only a marker of aging but also a cause, said corresponding author Dang, assistant professor ofmolecular and human geneticsand theHuffington Center on Agingat Baylor. Reducing the amount of this aberrant transcription in these organisms prolonged their lifespan.

Cryptic transcription is a phenomenon that interferes with normal cellular processes. Normal gene transcription is a first step in the production of proteins. It begins in a specific location on the DNA called the promoter. This is where the protein coding gene begins to be transcribed into RNA, which is eventually translated into protein.

Gene transcription is a well-regulated cellular process, but as cells age, they lose their ability to control it.

Promoters have a specific DNA sequence that identifies the starting point of the transcription process that is usually located preceding the actual protein coding sequence, explained Dang. But promoter look-alike sequences do exist in other locations, including along the actual protein coding sequence, and they could start transcription and generate shorter transcripts, called cryptic transcripts. Here we investigated whether cryptic transcription increased with age in mammals and potential mechanisms involved in this phenomenon.

The team worked with mammalian stem cells, which have shown to play a significant role in aging. They adapted a method to detect cryptic transcription to determine the level of this transcription in mice and human stem cells and cultured cells. When compared to young stem cells, older ones had increased cryptic transcription. They also looked into other aging cells and found that, in the majority of cells spanning a range of tissues, cryptic transcription was also elevated with age.

Altogether, our findings indicate that elevated cryptic transcription is emerging as a hallmark of mammalian aging, Dang said.

Young cells have mechanisms in place to prevent cryptic transcription. In aged mammalian cells, the researchers found that one such mechanisms, which involves limiting the access to chromatin, the material that makes up the chromosomes, is failing, facilitating the production of cryptic transcripts.

It is still not clear how elevated cryptic transcription contributes to aging, but the evidence is accumulating that it is detrimental to mammals as it is for yeast and worms, Dang said. Future studies may result in ways of reduce the pro-aging effects of cryptic transcription.

Read the complete report in the journalNature Aging.

Other contributors to this work include Brenna S. McCauley, Luyang Sun, Ruofan Yu, Minjung Lee, Haiying Liu, Dena S. Leeman, Yun Huang and Ashley E. Webb. The authors are associated with one or more of the following institutions: Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Stanford University, Genentech and Brown University.

This work was funded by NIH grants R01AG052507, R01AG053268, R01HL134780, R01HL146852 and T32AG000183; CPRIT award R1306 and a Ted Nash Long Life Foundation research grant.

By Ana Mara Rodrguez, Ph.D.

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Cryptic Transcription in Mammalian Stem Cells Linked to Aging – Technology Networks

Posted: August 5, 2021 at 2:24 am

Although visible signs of aging are usually unmistakable, unraveling what triggers them has been quite a challenge. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and collaborating institutions have discovered that a cellular phenomenon called cryptic transcription, which had been previously described and linked to aging in yeasts and worms, is elevated in aging mammalian stem cells.

The team reports in the journal Nature Aging that cryptic transcription occurs because a cellular mechanism that keeps it in check falls apart as cells get old. The findings suggest that strategies that control cryptic transcription could have pro-longevity effects.

In previous work, we showed that cryptic transcription in yeasts and worms is not only a marker of aging but also a cause, said corresponding author Dr. Weiwei Dang, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics and the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor. Reducing the amount of this aberrant transcription in these organisms prolonged their lifespan.

Cryptic transcription is a phenomenon that interferes with normal cellular processes. Normal gene transcription is a first step in the production of proteins. It begins in a specific location on the DNA called the promoter. This is where the protein coding gene begins to be transcribed into RNA, which is eventually translated into protein. Gene transcription is a well-regulated cellular process, but as cells age, they lose their ability to control it.

Promoters have a specific DNA sequence that identifies the starting point of the transcription process that is usually located preceding the actual protein coding sequence, explained Dang. But promoter look-alike sequences do exist in other locations, including along the actual protein coding sequence, and they could start transcription and generate shorter transcripts, called cryptic transcripts. Here we investigated whether cryptic transcription increased with age in mammals and potential mechanisms involved in this phenomenon.

The team worked with mammalian stem cells, which have shown to play a significant role in aging. They adapted a method to detect cryptic transcription to determine the level of this transcription in mice and human stem cells and cultured cells. When compared to young stem cells, older ones had increased cryptic transcription. They also looked into other aging cells and found that, in the majority of cells spanning a range of tissues, cryptic transcription was also elevated with age.

Altogether, our findings indicate that elevated cryptic transcription is a hallmark of mammalian aging, Dang said.

Young cells have mechanisms in place to prevent cryptic transcription. In aged mammalian cells, the researchers found that one such mechanisms, which involves limiting the access to chromatin, the material that makes up the chromosomes, is failing, facilitating the production of cryptic transcripts.

It is still not clear how elevated cryptic transcription contributes to aging, but the evidence is accumulating that it is detrimental to mammals as it is for yeast and worms, Dang said. Future studies may result in ways of reduce the pro-aging effects of cryptic transcription.

Other contributors to this work include Brenna S. McCauley, Luyang Sun, Ruofan Yu, Minjung Lee, Haiying Liu, Dena S. Leeman, Yun Huang and Ashley E. Webb. The authors are associated with one or more of the following institutions: Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Stanford University, Genentech and Brown University.

Reference:McCauley BS, Sun L, Yu R, et al. Altered chromatin states drive cryptic transcription in aging mammalian stem cells. Nat Aging. 2021. doi: 10.1038/s43587-021-00091-xThis article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Insulin-producing implants are being developed to control Type 1 diabetes – Health Europa

Posted: at 2:24 am

Bioengineers from Rice University, in Houston, Texas, will use insulin-producing beta cells made from human stem cells to create an implant that senses and regulates blood glucose levels by responding with the correct amount of insulin at a given time.

The three-year research project is between the laboratories of Omid Veiseh and Jordan Miller and supported by a grant from JDRF, a leading global funder of diabetes research. Veiseh, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has over a decade of experience developing biomaterials that protect implanted cell therapies from the immune system. Miller, an associate professor of bioengineering, has spent over 15 years researching techniques to 3D print tissues with vasculature, or networks of blood vessels.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the level of glucose in the blood to fall or rise to dangerous levels. This happens because the condition prevents the pancreas from producing enough insulin to properly regulate blood glucose. Currently, controlling blood glucose as a Type 1 diabetic requires daily insulin injections or wearing an insulin pump.

Veiseh said: If we really want to recapitulate what the pancreas normally does, we need vasculature.

And thats the purpose of this grant with JDRF. The pancreas naturally has all these blood vessels, and cells are organised in particular ways in the pancreas. Jordan and I want to print in the same orientation that exists in nature.

To test the implants first, the researchers will survey their efficacy in regulating the blood glucose levels of mice for at least six months. To do this, they will need to ensure their engineered beta cells can respond to rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

We must get implanted cells in close proximity to the bloodstream so beta cells can sense and respond quickly to changes in blood glucose, Miller said.

Miller added that insulin-producing cells should be no more than 100 microns from a blood vessel.

Were using a combination of pre-vascularisation through advanced 3D bioprinting and host-mediated vascular remodelling to give each implant several shots at host integration, Miller said.

The insulin-producing cells will be protected with a hydrogel formulation developed by Veiseh, who is also a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar. The hydrogel material, which has proven effective for encapsulating cell treatments in bead-sized spheres, has pores small enough to keep the cells inside from being attacked by the immune system but large enough to allow for the passage of nutrients and insulin.

The researchers noted that, if the implant is too slow to respond to high or low blood sugar levels, the delay can produce a roller-coaster-like effect, where insulin levels repeatedly rise and fall to dangerous levels.

Addressing that delay is a huge problem in this field, Veiseh said. When you give the mouse and ultimately a human a glucose challenge that mimics eating a meal, how long does it take that information to reach our cells, and how quickly does the insulin come out?

By incorporating blood vessels in their implant, Veiseh and Miller hope to enable the beta-cell tissues to behave in a way that more closely mimics the natural behaviour of the pancreas.

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Overview of DLBCL – Targeted Oncology

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LorettaNastoupil, MD: Hello, and thank you for joining this Targeted Oncology presentation, entitled, CD19 asaTherapeutic TargetinDiffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma [DLBCL]. Patients with relapsed/refractory [R/R] diffuse large B-cell lymphoma DLBCL who are ineligible for autologous stem cell transplant have relatively few treatment options and poor outcomes. CD19 [cluster of differentiation 19] has become a therapeutic target of increasing interest, and both CAR [chimeric antigen receptor] T-cell therapy and [use of] monoclonal antibodies directed at CD19 have shown promise in this patient population. In today's Precision Medicine and Oncology discussion, we will talk about the role of CD19 in the therapeutic landscape for patients with transplant-ineligible, R/R DLBCL. I'm Dr LorettaNastoupil, associate professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Joining me today is my colleague, Dr John Burke, a hematologic oncologist at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Aurora, Colorado. Thank you so much for joining.

John, how common is DLBCL?

John Burke, MD:Hi, Loretta. DLBCL is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma [NHL]. There are about 80,000 or so cases of NHL diagnosed each year in the US, and about one-third of these are DLBCL. It puts it around 25,000 cases per year in the US. The incidence is in the ballpark of 6 new cases per 100,000 per year, and it's slightly more common in men than in women. It's the most common of the NHLs, so I think most community oncologistsdefinitely seea fair amount.

LorettaNastoupil, MD:We spent the last probably 10-plus years talking about germinal center versus non-germinal center subtypes. How does this distinction impact prognosis, and do you use it for treatment selection?

John Burke, MD:Yes. We've known for more than 20 years that one can divide DLBCL into a couple of different groups based on the expression of genes within cancer cells. This can be done via a technique called gene-expression profiling. When you apply gene-expression profiling to large cell lymphoma, you can classify it as either a germinal-center B subtype or an activated B-cell subtype. Gene-expression profiling is a technique that's not widely used in practice. Several years after [this advance], it was discovered that using immunohistochemical staining canserve as an estimate of the gene expression profilerelated classification of these lymphomas.

What's usually done in clinical practice now is that pathologists will use immunohistochemical staining and algorithms to describe DLBCL as germinal center B or non-germinal center B subtypes. Then the question is, Does this impact your treatment? The answeris thata lot of attempts have been made in the last couple of decades to target therapies toward different subtypes of DLBCL, and really none of those has stuck or proven to be truly beneficial. At this point, at least in my practiceand I'm curious to hear about yoursit really hasn't affected treatment. As for prognosis, we do know that the activated B-cell subtype generally has a less favorable prognosis than [does] the germinal center B subtype when conventional treatments are used. How about you? Isthis something that affects your practice at all day-to-day?

LorettaNastoupil, MD:No, not really. And, as you mentioned, its not likely, because there has beena number ofrandomized studies that have failed to demonstrate an improvement over R-CHOP [rituximab, cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunorubicin, vincristine sulfate (Oncovin), prednisone]. Well, it probably had the biggest impact, as we've just had more trials, generally speaking, forthe nongerminal center subtype. Moving forward, our trials have become agnostic to this.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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The True Crime Junkies and the Curious Case of a Missing Husband – VICE

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My husband (since last Sat)... is now a missing person, read the Facebook post. I cant believe the love of my life, my soulmate isnt here holding me.

It was July 17, 2019, and Tatiana Badra was frantic. In a series of posts, she recounted that 30-year-old Ethan Rendlen, her partner of four years, had been driving them back after a few errands to their home in The Colony, a suburb in Dallas, Texas. Rendlen, she said, had pulled over, jumped out of the car, and abruptly vanished three days ago.

Badra canvassed the businesses at the intersection. At each, patrons and staff told her that they had seen Rendlen, and that he was searching for her. After waiting by the car for hours, Badra eventually drove home alone. She had been pleading for help on Facebook ever since, posting on the pages of local Texas news affiliates and national missing persons groups.

Police think he ate the Adderall bottle, Badras Facebook post continued. But why? Badra, who claimed to be four months pregnant, said that Rendlen had just been offered a lucrative job, and that the pair were closing on an 87-acre property with a house and lake. I just wish people would help me find the...father of our child. He deserves his life back!!!

In the accompanying photos, Rendlen is tall and trim, with sandy hair and a gentle smile. In his eyes is a look of calm, of peace. Badra, a petite strawberry blonde, either cuddles lovingly beside him or mugs for the camera, working her angles and making liberal use of duck face.

Melania Boninsegna, a co-moderator of a true-crime Facebook group, found Badras post shortly after it went up. She had been searching the phrase missing person on the social-networking site. A 28-year-old stay-at-home mom, Boninsegna had started the True Crime Junkies in 2018, along with a co-administrator (who wished to remain anonymous in this story). It served as a private discussion group requiring permission to join, and now has 12,000 members. As new cases emerged, Boninsegna and her co-administrator created private subgroups, each linking back to the True Crime Junkies hub.

After reading Badras post, Boninsegna sent Badra a message to see if she could help. Badra responded, both to thank Boninsegna and share her fears about Rendlens safety. Girl, I wont lie, she wrote. Im about to lose it. I just cant stop imagining awful shit and crying. On July 23rd, 2019, Boninsegna started a Facebook subgroup dedicated to the case: True Crime Junkies-Ethan Rendlen-Case discussion.

Back in the days of CourtTV and the OJ Simpson trial, this kind of civilian involvement in a potential criminal caseparticularly the general public communicating with a victims familywould have required much more effort. But social media has turned viewers into users whose attention and help is often welcomed by friends and family of victims (especially when cases are solved via social media, as with the 2004 murder of Deborah Deans). The True Crime Junkies Facebook group is one of many places in a vast digital landscapeincluding the WebSleuths site, which launched in 1999, and Reddits r/TrueCrimewhere thousands of like-minded crime enthusiasts can gather to dissect the finer points of, for example, blood evidence. The ripped from the headlines style of the Law & Order and CSI franchises have brought forensic crime scene analysis into our living rooms. Discussion groups picked up where the shows left off.

Something isnt right with this lady. Too many things dont add up.

It isnt uncommon for civilians to do legwork for lower-profile cases in advance of law enforcement, according to Boninsegna. Texas locals, some of them members of missing-persons Facebook groups, covered a wide swath of the Dallas suburbs with missing-person flyers. While going real lifepestering victims family members for updates or visiting their homes to gather evidencewas forbidden by the True Crime Junkies, posting flyers was a noninvasive way for members to get involved. Every case that we have followed that had an adult male, theyre kind of just put on the back burner. Women are different, and if theyre a mom, then they get a lot of media attention, Boninsegna said. I believe that most police officers dont take missing men particularly seriously.

This certainly seemed to be the case with Rendlen, at least according to Badra. The Colony Police department wasnt doing shit, she wrote in a July 18, 2019 post on Dallass NBC affiliate Facebook page; they say bcs [sic] he has his wallet on his pants theyd call them [sic] if they found him.

But in the days following Badras first post, things took a dark and strange turn. Her claims began to morph. She first characterized her last interaction with Rendlen in the car as a normal conversation, and later wrote that Rendlen had a small psych fit of nonsensical ramblings. Badra couldnt remember where they had stopped just before Rendlen ran off, and the prior destinations she mentioned kept changing: Whole Foods, a Mexican restaurant, and a nature preserve more than 250 miles from The Colony. Drugs werent involved, then Badra claimed Rendlen had been on a bender.

The shifting stories made many True Crime Junkies suspicious. They began to scrutinize every detail: Badras alleged accidental melatonin overdose (impossible, many said) after Rendlen disappeared; the pregnancy claim; her recent marriage to Rendlen, which Rendlens mother, Laura, told the True Crime Junkies had not happened. Something isnt right with this lady, one member commented. Too many things dont add up.

As activity in the Rendlen True Crime subgroupwhich today has 5.3k membersgained steam, locals who had encountered the couple before Rendlens disappearance began to join, too. Xaviera Crockett, then a clothing-store manager in Plano, posted a photo her employees had taken of Rendlen and Badra just hours before his disappearance on July 14, 2019. Badras strange behavior had employees on alert, said Crockett. Shed entered the store barefoot, with her nipple hanging out of her wedding dress, and wandered in and out of the changing rooms, which she left a mess, in just her bra. One of the employees took the photo after Rendlen threw away a bottle of Clonidine, a blood-pressure medication, declaring, I wont need this anymore.

Members of the subgroup started speculating about what had happened to Rendlen. Some thought he had fled and was hiding out, others blamed Badra. She killed him was a frequent comment. People flocked to the threads; choruses of any update? followed. Moderators cautioned the group to respect the Rendlens privacy and not to go real life. But word had spread. Badras Instagram posts were flooded with comments. WHERE IS ETHAN? What did you do to him??

Phil LaFayette, Rendlens best friend, was also wondering what had transpired between Rendlen and Badra before his disappearance. For years, he had watched as his smart and savvy friend fell further under Badras influence. Rendlen and LaFayette, both science-minded kids, grew up across the street from one another in Glen Ellen, IL, and Rendlen went on to earn a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 2014. He always wanted to be a chemist, LaFayette said. To him, it was the closest thing to doing magic, to being a wizard.

Rendlens relationship with Badra had worried LaFayette from the start. At first, Rendlen was unusually cagey about his new girlfriend, and then what he did say about her was concerning. Badra was a successful molecular biologist from a wealthy Brazilian family, Rendlen first told LaFayette, but he later revealed that she sought drugs by moving from ER to ER to avoid detection, and bought research chemicals off of the dark web. LaFayette would later find out that the two had been introduced by a former friend who allegedly met Badra during a stay at an inpatient psychiatric facility.

LaFayette was confounded by Badras ability to manipulate his intelligent best friend. While she professed to have a large inheritance, and would treat Rendlen to fancy meals and new electronics, Badra was often in financial crisis and relayed fantastical stories about familial strife involving political corruption that she said prevented her from accessing her funds. Rendlens father, Jeffrey, recalls that Badra said she would gain control of her funds when she turned 31, which was in September of 2017. And then the line was, oh, Im not really 31, Im really two years younger. Jeffrey Rendlen said he asked his son, youre buying this?

The couple was evicted from an apartment in 2018, and eviction notices were filed for their Texas apartment at the time of Rendlens disappearance in 2019. Badra had also, according to LaFayette, allegedly borrowed $10,000 from Rendlen, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy shortly before his disappearance.

Rendlens family found that Badras stories ranged from implausible to impossible. Determining fact from fiction was legitimately difficult, says Chelsea Rendlen, Ethans sister. There was a kernel of truth in everything. It was so hard to make heads or tails of any of it. But Rendlen seemed to believe everything. During a pause in their relationship, Badra alleged that she had been kidnapped by masked men who mutilated her and left her for dead. The story grew more outlandish from there.

Rendlen told LaFayette that the kidnappers had forcibly cut the unborn child from Badras body in a deserted cornfield. Chelsea and Laura Rendlen got a slightly different version of events from Badra. She said she had lost the baby, but that it had cured her cancer, Chelsea recalled. Laura added, I was told that she was pregnant with Ethans child, and got taken outslave-tradedto a farmhouse, that they stabbed her and so she lost the baby. But the stem cells cured her. None of them believed these stories. It just gets to the point where its not about reason or facts anymore, said Chelsea of her brothers relationship. Rendlen told LaFayette that he loved Badra and thought he could save her.

It was a maddening situation for the family. Rendlen was unable to see what those who loved him found obvious: he was being conned. But, like any good scam, Badras had begun with developing a powerful psychological hold over Rendlen. Those mechanics of manipulation dont happen overnight, said Alexandra Stein, a visiting research fellow at London South Bank University who specializes in the study of cults and dangerous social relationships. This is a process. You get the initial come-on, which is very nice and flattering, and creates rapport and starts building trust.

Badras seeming generosity with her inherited money, coupled with constant tales of distress, made for a persuasive lure: a love-bomb, in which the victim is showered with attention, affection, and sometimes gifts. Rendlens appointment as a knight in shining armor to her constant distress was the clincher. Badra also kept Rendlen isolated from his family, managing to convince him that he had been molested as a child by a relative. Scammers work with fear, Stein explained. A corollary relatedness is urgency: if you dont help me now, Im going to lose my child, my house, my life. And also the threat that you might lose a relationship that purports to be beneficial to you, but is actually causing you chronic stress. That creates a trauma bond. All of these things work to prevent you [from] using your systematic thinking.

This girl is telling him crazy things, and hes just eating it up. Somethings gonna happen; something bad is gonna happen.

Family and friends were hopeful whenRendlenwho had mostly held short-term positions as a quality technician and geotechnical engineerlanded his dream job as a chemical engineer after he and Badra moved to Texas in 2018. He was like, I finally made it, bro, LaFayette said. He had his own cubicle, they gave him his own company credit card. His bosses were coming to him with projects to work on. They wanted his direct input and he was so excited about that.

Then Rendlen called LaFayette with the news that he and Badra were moving to Florida. The details of the plan didnt seem to track. Badra, with no prior experience, was planning to set up a real-estate business, backed by a mysterious uncle who suddenly wired her inheritance payments. Rendlens burgeoning career would be left behind. This is the part that really got me because it was so unlike Ethan, LaFayette remembered. He told me he was going to drop everything and he was going to try and be a crab fisherman. I said, Ethan, thats crazy The fact that he would be willing to drop his childhood dream to be a crab fisherman? It was insane. This girl is telling him crazy things, and hes just eating it up. Somethings gonna happen; something bad is gonna happen.

That phone conversation was less than a week before Rendlen disappearedone ofseveral strange calls that had his family and LaFayette concerned and confused. A few days before he had gone missing, Rendlen called his father and told him that he had been robbed at knifepoint in his apartment and needed emergency money. After Rendlen had disappeared, Badra called Laura Rendlen in tears. Rendlen had wanted to call off the wedding, she said. This was news to the family, who had not heard about any plans to marry. (Though, according to Rendlens past relationship status updates on Facebook, the pair had already married in 2018).

Now, 900 miles away in Illinois, LaFayettes mind was spinning. Something bad had happened. His best friend was missing, and nothing about the circumstances made any sense. The primary source of information was Badrauntil Rendlens family and Lafayette joined the True Crime Junkies group. Rendlen, LaFayette would learn, had not been Badras first mark.

In just 24 hours after its creation, the Rendlen True Crime Junkies group was buzzing with information. Most of it was about Badra.

Members and admins posted their finds in rapid fire succession. One was an archived GoFundMe from 2013 that Badra had allegedly launched to pay for various medical bills. She listed seizures, bone marrow issues, cancer, and a blood-clotting disorder as her diagnoses, and raised $1,100 of her $7,000 goal, according to an archived page. Users surfaced multiple social-media profiles with photos of Badra under a variety of names (many of them derivatives of her legal name), and several hints at pregnancy Badra had made on Instagram in 2017 and 2018, not to be mentioned again. In all of the posts, not one, have I seen her actually pregnant, one True Crime Junkies member commented. What is happening to these babies (if she is actually pregnant)? Several members also discovered that photos Badra had included in a Facebook post of the 87-acre house she and Rendlen were allegedly purchasing were of a $55 million dollar home in Floridas affluent Gables Estates.

Alice, who did not want their real name used, was watching as this unfolded. Alice had known Badra, not as Tatiana, but as Anya, a creator of online support groups for Brazillian survivors of sexual assault and eating disorders. Badra was also, Alice contends, a ruthless cyberbully. From 2007 through 2012, Badra formed secret groups in which she would routinely leak nude photos of friends and acquaintances, and instigate online fights. In all of these groups, Badra would solicit money for medical treatments that she seemed not to have undergone, according to Alice and multiple sources who knew her during this period.

I went from thinking, my friend Anya has big boyfriend problems to all of Anyas boyfriends have big Anya problems.

On July 24th, 2019, Alice made a post in the True Crime Junkies and other Facebook groups alleging that Badra trashed the Chicago apartment they shared briefly in 2012, did not seem to work or attend school, and told elaborate lies. I have received, over the years, messages of her boyfriends... and others that came after telling me how they felt victimized bye [sic] her, how she scammed them of THOUSANDS of dollars, got them hooked on drugs, was hooked on drugs, faked pregnancies, faked suicide attempts, etc etc, Alice posted to the Facebook group. Shes not a cancer survivor... she's currently an American resident because of her fake story of being a survive [sic] of abuse, shes dangerous, abusive and manipulative.

After Alice spoke out, the dam broke. Screenshots from other social-media platforms surfaced, posted by the True Crime Junkies members, and more of Badras former acquaintances began commenting in post threads about their own alleged experiences. Many were from Badras ex-boyfriends, and followed a similar pattern of dubious pregnancies and medical conditions, chronic drug use, threats, manipulation, and stolen money.

I went from thinking, my friend Anya has big boyfriend problems to all of Anyas boyfriends have big Anya problems, Edward Grabowski, a former friend of Badras, wrote in a comment thread. Grabowski had known Badra for about a year between 2012 and 2013, during which time he gave her money, bought her a phone, and helped her after chemotherapy treatments that he said turned out to be fabrications. Grabowski alleged that Badra had been heavily abusing Norco (a pain reliever) and Klonopin (a benzodiazepine), and routinely used hospitals as her sources for these drugs.

While most most of her ex-associates had known Badra as Anya, shed also gone by Tatiana Nikolaevna, Pippa Althofen, Tatiana Lyubov, Tatiana Lebedeva, Aniia Lilya, Lilja L., Stazia K., and Lavinia Badra.

In ten years, 34-year-old Badra may have been at least ten different people. As Anya, she was a chemotherapy patient. As Aniia, she engaged in discussions on DNA and racial purity on the white-supremacist website Stormfront. Tatiana Lebedeva was a radical feminist; Pippa Althofen a sugar baby.

Badra also appears to have been involved with identity fraud. Documents obtained by VICE indicate that she has been associated with at least six different Social Security numbers. Some belong to other people entirely, according to database records. In my 30+ years of conducting tens of thousands of background investigations, I have rarely seen this many SSNs linked with a single subject, wrote the private investigator who reviewed the documents for VICE, via email. I cant definitively say that she is committing fraud, but the fact that she is associated with so many... unexplained SSNs seems to lend credence to the fact that it could be for fraudulent purposes.

Most of these identities shared a history of dramatic claims: tragic beginnings as an orphan in radiation-riddled Chernobyl, then her adoption by a wealthy Brazilian family into an elite, pampered childhood marred by various forms of abuse. Badra claimed to have genius abilities in science and music, which brought her to study first in London and then the United States. Then there was the inheritance, with a spiteful uncle presiding over her funds. Badra also said she had been a model, a cancer survivor, and the mother of a young daughter back in Brazil. At various points, she claimed she was working at high-paying jobs as a financial analyst, a senior sales engineer, and multilingual translator. She was about to become a doctor.

Very little of this would turn out to be true. Chernobyl, cancer, and her work history were all allegedly fictions, as several of her former friends had confirmed years ago after speaking with Badras adoptive mother. None of the schools she claimed to have degrees fromNorthwestern University, University of So Paulo, and The University of Texas, Dallashave records of Badra having attended. While Badra was adopted at birth, she, according to several sources who allegedly confirmed this with Badras mother years ago, was not born in Ukraine. Former close friends say Badra had no signs of the significant scarring and other physical trauma that would have resulted from the forced removal of a fetus via amateur C-section (just an appendectomy-like scar above her right hip of about two inches, according to one ex-boyfriend). And as the True Crime Junkies had suspected, Badra and Ethan Rendlen were never legally married.

Con artists give us a complex sort of villain, an antihero: even if a con artist is a wholly unsympathetic character, theres titillation to be found in their gumption.

When con artists start out online, it begins a grooming process to actually desensitize you to some of the things that come after that, said Martina Dove, author of The Psychology of Fraud, Persuasion and Scam Techniques. By the time you are asked for money, or asked to believe something thats ludicrous, you're invested. You know somethings wrong, but you just cant pull back.

The internet was Badras home base for a reason: in an online relationship of any kind, intimacy is built quickly. She was able to be anyone on social media with little effort, forging connections online before transitioning them to in-person meetups. As soon as those around her became more than casually suspicious, Badra would be onto the next identity, and her next set of marks, leaving the shells of her former selves behind in abandoned accounts, purged blogs, and a handful of avatars.

While the intricacies and intimacies of a scam are what hooks a victim, these are also the elements that simultaneously hook us: the readers, the viewers, the writers. Scams have all the markers of a good dramamystery, suspense, plot twists, and bad guys.

Con artists give us a complex sort of villain, an antihero: even if a con artist is a wholly unsympathetic character, theres titillation to be found in their gumption (and, in some cases, outright genius). Scammers, according to Alaleh Kamran, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney with 30 years of experience, are smart enough to have succeeded in any area, but one-upping the systemtheres a thrill to that. Even more compelling is the razor-thin line between brazen and foolish, which works out better for some than others, particularly those preying on less-sympathetic victims.

Anna Sorokin, better known as Anna Delvey, rose to notoriety, if not outright fame, after bilking socialites, celebrities, the Beekman Hotel, and other bastions of luxury out of $275,000 by pretending to be the heiress to a $70 million trust fund. Her story fascinated the public and news outlets dubbed 2018the year multiple stories about Sorokin brokeThe Summer of Scam. This bizarre twist on underdog popularity led to an Anna Delvey episode of HBOs Generation Hustle, followed by a life rights deal with Shonda Rhimes for her upcoming film Inventing Anna starring Julia Garner. Even her victims did well; Rachel Deloach Williams, a former photo editor whom Sorokin stuck with a $62,000 hotel bill, wrote a tell-all that made TIMEs best 100 books list for 2019. Sorokin, who served just under four years in prison, doesnt seem at all derailed by her life of crime. She was paid $320,000 for her story ($45,000 more than she stole) and seems to be enjoying life on the outsideat least it appears so on her Instagram.

But as much as we love to watch someone like Delvey buck the system andall things consideredwin, focusing on the moment when a scheme absolutely fails can be even more of a thrill. This set-up is at the heart of shows like ABCs The Con, which premiered in October of 2020 to 2.6 million viewers and is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. The more spectacular the scam, the harder the fall; in Episode 5, we learn how 50-year-old Anthony Gignac, raised in Michigan, managed to convince the richest in Miami that he was a Saudi prince by affecting an accent and a flashy style. Gleefully, Goldberg details the undoing of this ruse: a replica diplomatic license plate Gignac affixed to his car, which he bought online for $79.

There might be a hint of gleeful schadenfreude when scammers like Delvey or Gignac scam the ultra rich, using outrageous tactics to do so. But there are, of course, much more sobering cases of deception.

On July 23, 2019, Phil LaFayette and Laura Rendlen arrived in Texas, determined to find something that would lead them to Ethan Rendlen. Nearly two weeks had gone by since his disappearance, and there had still been no communication from him. They spent most of their time driving from location to location, trying to find a match based on Badras versions of events. Five days later, the two left Texas to return to their jobs, without a conclusive answer.

It took four Dallas localsall civilians, who had connected via a now-defunct Facebook group on Rendlens caseto put it together. One of them was Amber (who did not want her last name used), then a substitute teacher and off for the summer. Amber was able to spend several days in her car, driving to any location on her GPS that matched Badras limited descriptions. On July 26th, she was able to locate the car wash, the gas station, and the bar where Rendlen had last been seen and verify, with others, that Badra had been there. Another civilian helping with the searchwho did not wish to be identifiedspoke to several people who had seen the couple. The car wash guy said, yeah, there was this couple here, they were fighting, [and] he ran off that way towards the woods, Amber said. They were both high as a kite. She runs around looking for him, trying to find him, basically all night. And they cant find each other.

The group located the embankment, behind a gas station, that Badra had mentioned, and notified the Dallas police. Responding officers did not see any direct evidence linking Rendlen to the area, but passed the information on to The Colony Police Department. The officers urged the search team not to return to the area, which they said was an extremely dangerous hotspot for drug activity.

On July 29th, 12 days after Rendlen had disappeared, The Colony police located his body in the embankment. The case was then turned over to the Dallas police department. The girlfriend stated that her [sic] and the comp [Rendlen] were in the area of Rosemeade Pwky [sic] and Marsh Lane using drugs on 7/14/19, reads page 10 of the Dallas Police incident data sheet Report for Rendlens case, obtained by VICE. The girlfriend states that her [sic] and the comp had gotten into a verbal dispute and he got out of the vehicle and left walking in an unk [sic] direction. In the report, Badra seemed to have a better recollection of their last known location than she had previously admitted.

The last Chelsea and Laura Rendlen saw of Badra was on August 3rd, 2019, when they went to gather Rendlens personal items from his and Badras apartment. That day, Badra, wearing a red wig, biked up to the apartment complex, and the building manager, who denied Badra access to the apartment due to the eviction notice, notified the Rendlens. The manager said shed been going around burying Ethans stuff all weekend, Laura recalled. They called the police, and watched from the street as Badra was arrested on four open warrants for traffic violations (no other charges seem to have been filed against her).

This was Badras only arrest during this time period, and, according to police records, she spent less than an hour in police custody. We have heard from one of the detectives we are working with that she was released into the custody of a police officer, said Chelsea. And thats kind of where that part of the information ended.

Sergeant Jay Goodson of The Colony Police Department and Detective Guy Curtis of the Dallas Police Department, both of whom were assigned to the case in their respective departments, did not respond to repeated interview requests. There was no indication from the police report provided to VICE whether or not Badra was ever under investigation by law enforcement.

Rendlens death was ultimately ruled as accidental/unknown by the medical examiner, whose final sign-off on the autopsy was dated October 30th, 2019. Part of the problem is because of decomposition, and the length of time, even the medical examiner said that drowning cant be ruled out, said Anita Zannin, a forensic scientist, who reviewed documents pertaining to Rendlens case for VICE. Once the organs start autolysingturning to mush, essentiallyits harder to make those determinations. Their hands are kind of tied when the medical examiner comes up with accident as manner of death.

Yes, I did rebuild my life away from her. I try my very best to forget that ever happened to me.

After Rendlens body was found, Boninsegna and her True Crime Junkies admin team received private messages from more victims, many of whom wished to remain anonymous. Some alleged they had been coerced into providing Badra with money, others that they had been blackmailed into purchasing items for Badra, who had threatened to make false allegations against them to police.

Francis Silva, Badras ex-husband, thought she was likely connected with Rendlens death. Their relationship, which began online in 2006, resulted in disaster. Silva alleges he discovered she was lying about a cancer diagnosis and threatened to divorce her, to which Badra responded with a false domestic violence claim against him in order to obtain a Green Card via asylum. On July 10, 2012, Badra sent him an email in which she confessed to having fabricated the abuse. So be it, I lied about what happened, she wrote. I perjured myself. I was angry, I was scared I LIED AND I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY. Silva did not respond. In August of 2012, Badra rescinded the charges, for which Silva had been indicted by the Texas District Attorney at a grand jury trial in 2011.

While there have been a battery of accusations leveled against Badra by her former friends and romantic partnerslies, theft, coercion, physical abuseshe has never been formally charged with any of these crimes in either Illinois or Texas. None of the ex-associates who spoke with VICE have brought charges. Yes, I did rebuild my life away from her, Silva said of his experience with Badra. I try my very best to forget that ever happened to me.

Badra declined an interview request for this article. I apologize, but no, she wrote via email, calling the allegations against her Absolut (sic) insane, all of it. She did not deny involvement in Rendlens death, which she described as a tragic accident and the worst trauma I carry with me, for many reasons. Badra was adamant that the online discourse surrounding the case had been particularly hurtful and damaging after such a loss. I could spend forever talking about him and how much I miss him and love him, and what type of person he was, Badra wrote. These people, these sleuths, have caused me enough grief for enough lifetimes already.

When VICE reached out to Badra again for comment in this article, she denied using multiple Social Security numbers, stating: Ive obviously never used anyone elses SSN other than my own. In a follow-up email, she declined to comment any further. I have retained legal counsel and have been advised by my attorney to not make any statements to you. You and your editor should be hearing from them soon, she wrote. We never heard from legal counsel on Badras behalf.

In the months after Rendlens death, bits and pieces of information about Badra surfaced sporadically in posts in the True Crime Junkies groupan arrest for D.U.I.; photos of an Amazon package addressed to her old Texas apartment; a stay at an ayahuasca retreat. Behind the scenes, Boninsegna and her moderation team received more private messages from those who had encountered Badra.

In August of 2020, longtime friends Davis Trent, then 26 years old, and Tiffany Harris, who was 25 years old, came forward with harrowing accounts of having met Badra, known to them as 28-year-old Anya Audi (Badra was 34 at the time). They had learned Badras true identity from a misplaced medical form, and a Google search led them to the True Crime Junkies group. When Trent and Harris called The Colony Police Department with this information, they said they were told that Badra was dangerous and to change the locks to their apartment.

I watched him die, they said she would say, over and over. I watched Ethan die.

Trent claims that, while he was under the influence of ketamine, Badra convinced him that he had been molested by a family member (as she had with Rendlen), and that she played him interviews with serial killers like Ed Kemper and 911 calls of rapes in progress. She comes up with these outlandish, horrifying lies about people, then plants them in your brain while youre tripping, Trent said. And you've got to understand that she didnt just say things. She has done her research. She knew terminology that she could use to make you think it was real. Harris also alleged that Badra dosed her with methamphetamine, and then psychologically manipulated her.

But even more peculiar is that both Trent and Harris relay Badras recounting of Rendlens death. On several occasions, they said she broke down completely, bursting into uncontrollable bouts of tears to confess that she had witnessed his last moments. I watched him die, they said she would say, over and over. I watched Ethan die.

As of this writing, Badra uses Tatiana on Facebook Dating, where she claims to be 29 years old, and Tanya (a diminutive for Tatiana) on Instagram. On both platforms, she has claimed Jewish familial lineage, despite her past activity on Stormfront and Catholic upbringing (an event program obtained by VICE lists Badra as completing her first Holy Communion in 1997). Occasionally, Badra will post about Rendlen. Davis Trent found her Reddit account still logged in on his computer (the account was also sent to VICE by another independent source and deleted after VICE reached out for comment). I was present when my fianc had a psychotic break and made a run for it, Badra wrote in r/eyeblech, a subreddit dedicated to gore and post-mortem photographs. Some absolute psychopaths on Facebook gave me the gift of spamming my email with his autopsy photos. (The Dallas Police Departments Open Records Division was able to confirm the release of autopsy records, but not the requestors identity).

Even recently, Badras life, as she recounts it, is filled with stories of high drama and suffering. Members of the True Crime Junkies group posted screenshots of Badra celebrating the sixth month of a pregnancy on her Instagram account, a claim that most members suspected was untrue. But on March 3rd, Badra posted a photo of her newborn daughter, born 19 months after Rendlen went missing, to her Instagram.

The True Crime Junkies started buzzing again. I believe it is her baby and hope that being a mother at last for real will make her change her ways, one member commented. Others were less optimistic. Oh snap! another member wrote. I was team shes faking this pregnancy!

A few weeks later, Badra wrote a sobering post about her babys hospitalization for seizures. Still no answers to the why of the epilepsy, it read. We have an appointment with genetics on Monday to go over the epilepsy gene panel, then neuropeds on Wednesday. Send good vibes her way!

RF Jurjevics does research consulting work for a New York City-based private investigator. They were previously a staff writer at the San Diego Reader, and have written for Allure, GOOD, and Real Simple.

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FROM THE LABS: Hispanic Heritage Spotlight: Interview with Dr. Nino Rainusso – Baylor College of Medicine News

Posted: November 13, 2020 at 4:59 am

From the Labs sat down with Dr. Nino Rainusso, assistant professor of pediatrics hematology/oncology and a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Rainusso shared what inspired him to become a pediatric oncologist, his experience finding a research position in a Baylor lab and something few know about him.

I was born and raised in Per where I attended medical school at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Early in my training I realized that if I wanted to better understand the medical conditions of my patients, I had to be involved in biomedical research. I wanted to become a physician-scientist in the field of pediatric neurology. This changed when I met my wife. Her brother had neuroblastoma, a common pediatric cancer that frequently develops in nerves associated with the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. When he died of the cancer, my career took a different path. Instead of spending my life as a pediatric neurologist, I became a pediatric oncologist.

During my rotations in medical school, I saw that doctors were exceptionally good at providing medical care for their patients but didnt have time to do research. That motivated me to come to the U.S. where I would have opportunities to continue my career as a physician-scientist.

After I completed my residency in general pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I was accepted at Baylor for my fellowship in pediatric oncology. I dove into research in the second and third years. Having many patients with different types of tumors for which the treatment outcome has not significantly changed for the last 30 years meant that there was a wealth of research opportunities. One day, I attended a talk about cancer stem cells that inspired me to apply that approach to pediatric solid tumors.

I joined Dr. Jeff Rosens lab at Baylor. I liked his lab for its open-minded environment and collaborative atmosphere that many Baylor labs have.

I was not sure about what his response would be when I proposed to work in his group.

He has spent his entire life doing research in breast cancer and I, with little lab experience under my belt, was proposing to do research in osteosarcoma stem cells. Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and young adults. I was expecting that he would try to change my mind, but instead he said, OK, welcome! I loved it! I am very grateful that I ended up working in Jeffs lab. He has been a wonderful mentor, and I learned a lot working in his group.

When it was time for me to have my own lab, I joined Dr. Jason Yusteins group at Texas Childrens Cancer & Hematology Centers. We took a new approach to study osteosarcoma. One limitation of studying this condition is working with cell lines, which do not seem to recapitulate most of the characteristics of tumors in patients.

We decided to generate patient-derived tumor xenografts models of pediatric sarcomas where the tissue from a patients tumor is implanted into immunosuppressed mice. These tumors closely resemble the characteristics of the original tumor allowing to have better understanding of cancer biology and to evaluate novel therapies.

We collaborate with other investigators to test new treatments such us immunotherapy in these xenograft models, which may put us a step closer to bringing more effective therapies to patients. I believe that our research would not be possible without the participation of multiple colleagues at Texas Childrens Hospital and the nurturing scientific environment provided by Baylor College of Medicine.

My close friends Alicia and Miguel are superb science teachers in a high school that serves economically disadvantaged communities.

Their schools have many dropouts and one of the reasons seems to be lack of opportunities for students to know what they could become.

Most students, not only Hispanics, are not aware of what scientists do or what a research lab looks like.

One idea could be to sponsor science fairs in these schools and award prizes that also include student tours of Baylor or Texas Childrens lab facilities. Students also need to be aware of scholarships they could apply for to pursue a higher education.

Finally, academic institutions and researchers may also participate in school talks to promote a better understanding of science and its direct repercussions in our daily life and to reduce the mistrust in science, which is a growing topic of significant concern.

I am a Star Wars fan so my office has many items from a galaxy far, far away.

By Ana Mara Rodrguez, Ph.D.

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UPMC nurse practitioner hailed ‘healthcare hero’ on live TV – Altoona Mirror

Posted: October 31, 2020 at 2:55 am

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski / Johnathan Dodson, an intensive care unit nurse practitioner who treats COVID-19 patients at UPMC Altoona, recently met the woman who donated the stem cells that helped him overcome leukemia.

A few weeks ago, nurse practitioner and former leukemia patient Johnathan Dodson interrupted a reporters phone interview to give his two young sons a hug and a kiss before they went to sleep.

The interview concerned the Claysburg natives recent appearance as a healthcare hero on Jimmy Kimmel Live, because Dodson treats COVID-19 patients at UPMC Altoona.

The segment also featured Dodsons surprise virtual meeting on the show with his own healthcare hero: the Texas woman who donated the stem cells that enabled Dodson to survive past his early 20s via a transplant.

Theyre here because of her, Dodson, 36, said of the little boys hed just sent off to bed.

In the interaction that followed the on-screen introduction to his donor, Dodson tried to explain his feelings about what the woman had done: how it hadnt been limited to saving his life, but had also kept his parents, siblings and friends from losing him and had spread out to allow for the establishment of his own family, including those kids, Chase, now 7, and Karter, now 4.

I dont think she realized the ripple effects, Dodson said.

He had long thought about a first encounter with Shannon Weishuhn of Rowlett, Texas.

I had kind of prepared this thank-you speech in my head, he said.

(But) how do you thank someone who saved your life? Dodson asked.

For Weishuhn, also a nurse, the donation was an ancient memory, Dodson said, based on an off-screen conversation he had with her, which included a virtual meeting with his family.

She had no idea of the butterfly effect that her action had on his world, he said, speaking of the idea that small occurrences can have big consequences. Thats the message I was trying to convey, he said.

Almost didnt make it

Dodson almost didnt make it to the transplant.

But in the process of getting through his difficulties with leukemia, he found his calling.

He was diagnosed initially in 2003.

He went through chemotherapy to wipe out my immune system, which also wiped out the cancer cells, he said.

The idea was to do an immune system reset, with the hope that the cancer cells wouldnt grow back, he said.

He went into remission, but relapsed at the beginning of 2004, he said.

So he underwent chemotherapy again.

He relapsed again.

The third time he got chemo was in preparation for the transplant.

He nearly died multiple times, and at one point, his survival chances shrunk to about 3 percent, Dodson said.

The cancer had broken into his spine and his brain, he said.

Only a handful of prior cases had been treated successfully when that had happened, he said.

There were three options a shunt in his head and more chemotherapy, spinal taps with chemo or hospice at home, he said.

His parents knew he didnt want a shunt in his head, so that was out of the question, Dodson said.

His parents asked the doctors what theyd do if he was their son, and they recommended hospice, he said.

But a nurse stepped in and said you need to give him a chance, arguing that his survival from two previous crises should merit another try, Dodson said.

Thats when my parents switched and opted for treatment, Dodson said. That sealed the deal.

Once the decision was made, there was talk about sending him to Texas, the only place where the contemplated treatment had been done successfully, he said.

Dodson nixed that.

If I was going to die, I was going to die here, he said.

The reason Im here today

By that time, the nurses who took care of him at West Penn Hospital, now part of Allegheny Health Network, had almost become family, he said.

They along with his donor are the reason Im here today, he said.

The nurses are also the reason hes a nurse himself.

The transplant, however, didnt suddenly make things all better.

He had a really rough go (afterwards), said Dr. John Lister, chief of the division of hematology and cellular therapy of Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute and a member of Dodsons transplant team.

Caring for patients after leukemia transplants is as challenging as anything in medicine, said Lister, who is a descendant of Joseph Lister, a pioneer in antiseptic surgery.

Its challenging because the blood stem cells harvested from the donors blood, when injected into the recipient, create a new white-blood-cell immune system that attacks the recipients diseased white-blood-cell immune system, Lister indicated.

It can be fatal, he said. And extremely debilitating.

Doctors deal with it by giving powerful immunosuppressant medications, he said.

The direction of attack the donor material attacking the recipients is the opposite of the direction of attack with transplants of organs like kidneys, Lister said.

After those other transplants, the recipients immune system attacks the donor organ, he said.

Dodson was kept alive due to the intensive efforts of many people, Lister said.

Eventually, the initial reaction dies down, Lister said.

Hes totally normal at this point, Lister said of Dodson. I would say hes cured.

The donor matched Dodson in certain key genes that make the immune system work, Lister said.

The harvesting of donor stem cells occurs after the donor is given a growth factor that causes those stem cells to leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream, Lister said.

Blood stem cells can become any of the three types of blood cells, given the right conditions.

When injected into the recipient, they home to the marrow where theyre needed, according to Lister.

There they divide and repopulate, he said.

Anyone willing to make a bone marrow or stem cell donation can go to bethematch.org.

Its free to register, Dodson said. More ethnically diverse donors are needed, he added.

Last year, the web site helped facilitate 6,425 transplants, Dodson said.

You could change someones life forever, he said.

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BrainStrom Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BCLI) Enters Agreement With Catalent (NYSE:CTLT) For Manufacture Of Its NurOwn Cell Therapy – BP Journal

Posted: at 2:55 am

BrainStrom Cell Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:BCLI) has announced an agreement with Catalent (NYSE:CTLT) for the manufacture of its autologous cellular therapy, NurOwn. BrainStorms NurOwn is being studied to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrigs disease.

The autologous cellular therapy induces mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to produce high levels of neurotrophic factors that promote neuroprotection and survival of neurons. The therapy targets disease pathways integral in neurodegenerative disorders. The FDA has granted NurOwn Fast Track designation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and it has also received Orphan Drug Status from the EMA and FDA for ALS. Currently, BrainStorm is completing a 200-patient placebo-controlled, double-blind repeat-dosing NurOwn in third phase study in the US.

As part of the agreement, Catalent will transfer the manufacturing process to BrainStorm and offer future CGMP clinical supply of NurOwn from the 32,000 sq. ft. cell therapy manufacturing facility in Texas. After completing the clinical trials and ahead of possible approval of NurOwn, the companies will extend the agreement to include commercial supply from the facility.

BrainStors CEO, Chaim Lebovatis, said that they are proud to enter a partnership with Catalent to support the commercial supply of NurOwn. Lebovits said that there is an urgent need for a new treatment alternative for ALS patients. He added that if the current NurOwn clinical trials are successful, then the agreement with Catalent will be vital in accelerating access for ALS patients.

Manja Boerman, the President of Catalent Cell & Gene therapy, indicated that they have experience in cell therapy development, a capable state-of-the-art facility in Huston to meet manufacturing needs. He added that this will position the company to support BrainStorm in manufacturing its lead therapeutic candidate to treat ALS. Boerman said that they are looking forward to the partnership with BrainStorm and offering their stem cell therapy manufacturing expertise to optimize production and streamline NurOwns commercialization path.

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Dr. Daisy Ayim, Cosmetic Surgeon, ObGyn, Business Owner and Entrepreneur, Is Revolutionizing The Integration Of Women’s Health And Cosmetic Care -…

Posted: at 2:55 am

Womens health and cosmetic care is a combination that simply makes sense. After owning a successful ObGyn practice for more than a decade, Dr. Daisy Ayim felt something was missing from the gynecological and obstetric services she offered her patients. Upon listening to her patients wants and needs, Dr. Daisy Ayim decided to temporarily leave her successful practice to study cosmetic surgery. This decision required years of hard work and sacrifice. Thankfully, Dr. Ayim is no stranger to hard work.

Originally born in Cameroon, Dr. Ayim immigrated to America with her parents at the young age of 13. The family settled in Texas and Dr. Ayim immediately immersed herself in her studies with a dream of becoming a doctor. She attended Louisiana State University (Go Tigers!) and went to medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She went on to complete her ObGyn residency at Howard University Hospital and faculty at the John Hopkins Hospital. Through this entire experience, Dr. Ayim never lost sight of her intrinsic desire to help people, especially if this meant making a positive impact on women. The path to gynecology and obstetrics was a natural fit for Dr. Ayims warm, gentle nature.

Today, Dr. Ayim has delivered over 3,000 babies and performed thousands of gynecologic and cosmetic surgeries at Ayim Aesthetic, a comprehensive cosmetic surgery and womens health practice that offers both surgical and non-surgical solutions, with an emphasis on feminine cosmetic surgery.

An office that offers obstetrics, gynecology, and cosmetics is a rarity, but to Dr. Ayim, It just makes sense! ObGyn and cosmetic surgery may seem very different, but in many ways, theyre integral, especially for women, and having experience in both is very beneficial.

Dr. Ayim and her team at Ayim Aesthetic offer a wide range of surgical and nonsurgical procedures including abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction, body lifts, mommy makeovers, scar revision, facetite, bodytite, fat transfer, and more. She also offers several skin services such as fillers, botox, chemical peels, PRP-platelet rich plasma, facetite, bodytite, and radiofrequency micro-needling, including the famed Morpheus8 treatment. Dr. Ayims feminine cosmetic offerings include stem cells with platelet rich plasma, liposuction, fat transfer, and more. In each unique procedure, Dr. Ayim and her team at Ayim Aesthetic guarantee custom care, while maintaining a high standard of excellence. When Dr. Ayim first founded her practice, she knew that she wanted it to be different from the cold and sterile environments of other gynecological offices shed worked in or visited as a client. From the luxurious leather seats to the lighting and the office staff, the entire experience speaks to Dr. Ayims high standards of care. Dr. Ayim brings innovation and the most up to date techniques and technology to each patient experience while never losing sight of the need for warm, personalized, and custom attention.

New and old patients of Dr. Ayim can expect to instantly feel at ease when they walk into her office. Dr. Ayims careful dedication to treatment plans, procedures, and aftercare ensure optimal results and satisfaction for each patient she works with. Whether a patient is preparing to give birth or wants to regain their confidence after children, Dr. Ayim is committed to empowering women through quality care, exceptional kindness, and elegant transformation.

To visit Ayim Aesthetic or schedule a consultation call, visit: https://www.drdaisyayim.com/cosmetic-surgeon-obgyn-houston.

Media ContactContact Person: Daisy Ayim MD FACOGEmail: Send EmailPhone: 713-640-5922Address:12606 West Houston Center Blvd, Suite 120 City: HoustonState: TXCountry: United StatesWebsite: https://www.drdaisyayim.com

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Five Indian American Researchers Named Among NIH 2020 New Innovator Awardees – India West

Posted: October 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Five Indian American researchers and one Bangladeshi-American have been named among the 2020 Directors New Innovator Award recipients by the National Institutes of Health.

Among the recipients are Anindita Basu, Subhamoy Dasgupta, Deeptankar DeMazumder, Siddhartha Jaiswal, Shruti Naik, and Mekhail Anwar, according to the NIH website.

Basu, of the University of Chicago, was selected for the project, Profiling Transcriptional Heterogeneity in Microbial Cells at Single Cell Resolution and High-Throughput Using Droplet Microfluidics.

The Indian American is an assistant professor in genetic medicine at the University of Chicago and leads a multi-disciplinary research group that uses genomics, microfluidics, imaging and nano/bio-materials to develop new tools to aid in diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Basu obtained a B.S. in physics and computer engineering at the University of Arkansas, Ph.D. in soft matter physics at University of Pennsylvania, followed by post-doctoral studies in applied physics, molecular biology and bioinformatics at Harvard University and Broad Institute.

Her lab applies high-throughput single-cell and single-nucleus RNA-seq to map cell types and their function in different organs and organisms, using Drop-seq and DroNc-seq that Basu co-invented during her post-doctoral work.

Dasgupta is with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and was named for his project, Decoding the Nuclear Metabolic Processes Regulating Gene Transcription.

Dasgupta is an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He earned his B.S. from Bangalore University and M.S. in biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University, India before receiving his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, where, as a Department of Defense predoctoral fellow, he characterized the functions of a novel gene MIEN1 in tumor progression and metastasis.

He then joined the laboratory of Bert W. O'Malley, M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine, where he studied the functions of transcriptional coregulators in tumor cell adaptation and survival, as a Susan G. Komen postdoctoral fellow.

DeMazumder, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, was chosen for the project, Eavesdropping on Heart-Brain Conversations During Sleep for Early Detection and Prevention of Fatal Cardiovascular Disease.

DeMazumder joined the University of Cincinnati in 2017 as assistant professor of medicine, director of the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence and a Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist after completing his doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook in Synaptic Electrophysiology, a medical degree at Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University, internship at Mount Sinai and residency at University of Virginia in Internal Medicine, and clinical and research fellowships at Johns Hopkins University.

His longstanding goals are to transform clinical observations into testable research hypotheses, translate basic research findings into medical advances, and evaluate personalized treatment protocols in rigorous clinical trials, while caring for patients with heart rhythm disorders and improving their quality of life.

Jaiswal, of Stanford University, was named for his project, Clonal Hematopoiesis in Human Aging and Disease.

Jaiswal is an investigator at Stanford University in the Department of Pathology, where his lab focuses on understanding the biology of the aging hematopoietic system.

As a post-doctoral fellow, he identified a common, pre-malignant state for blood cancers by reanalysis of large sequencing datasets.

This condition, termed "clonal hematopoiesis, is characterized by the presence of stem cell clones harboring certain somatic mutations, primarily in genes involved in epigenetic regulation of hematopoiesis.

Clonal hematopoiesis is prevalent in the aging population and increases the risk of not only blood cancer, but also cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. Understanding the biology of these mutations and how they contribute to the development of cancer and other age-related diseases is the current focus of work in the lab.

Naik, of New York University School of Medicine, was named for her project, Decoding Microbe-Epithelial Stem Cell Interactions in Health and Disease.

Naik is an assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine. She received her doctorate in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania-National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program.

There she discovered that normal bacteria living on our skin, known as the commensal microbiota, educate the immune system and help protect us from harmful pathogens.

As a Damon Runyon Fellow at the Rockefeller University, Naik found that epithelial stem cells can harbor a memory of inflammation which boosts their regenerative abilities and established a new paradigm in inflammatory memory, her bio states.

The Naik lab studies the dynamic interactions between immune cells, epithelial stem cells, and microbes with a focus on 3 major areas of research: Tissue regeneration and cancer, host-microbe interactions, and early in life immunity.

Anwar, of U.C. San Francisco, was named for his project, Implantable Nanophotonic Sensors forIn VivoImmunoresponse.

Anwar, whose father is from Bangladesh, is a physician-scientist at UCSF, where he is an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Driven by the challenges his patients face when fighting cancer specifically addressing the vast heterogeneity in treatment response by identifying the optimal treatment to pair with each patients unique biology he leads a laboratory focused on developing integrated circuits (or computer chips) forin vivocancer sensing.

After completing his bachelors in physics at U.C. Berkeley, where he was awarded the University Medal, he received his medical degree at UCSF, and doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where his research focused on using micro-fabricated devices for biological detection.

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Five Indian American Researchers Named Among NIH 2020 New Innovator Awardees - India West

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