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Cell therapy to power leukemia treatment

A team of researchers, who conducted largest ever study of patients with advanced leukemia, have found that 88 per cent achieved complete remissions after being treated with genetically modified versions of their own immune cells, thus demonstrating that cell therapy is a powerful treatment for patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies.

Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering and one of the study’s senior authors said their initial findings have held up in a larger cohort of patients, and they are already looking at new clinical studies to advance this novel therapeutic approach in fighting cancer.

Adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), a type of blood cancer that develops in B cells, is difficult to treat because the majority of patients relapse. Patients with relapsed B-ALL have few treatment options; only 30 per cent respond to salvage chemotherapy.
In the current study, 16 patients with relapsed B-ALL were given an infusion of their own genetically modified immune cells, called T cells. The cells were “reeducated” to recognize and destroy cancer cells that contain the protein CD19.

While the overall complete response rate for all patients was 88 per cent, even those with detectable disease prior to treatment had a complete response rate of 78 per cent, far exceeding the complete response rate of salvage chemotherapy alone.

Game-winning momentum is merely Illusion

A new study has revealed that when a team goes on a multi-game winning streak, it has nothing to do with momentum.

By examining varsity college hockey teams winning and losing record, Cornell University researchers discovered that momentum advantages don’t exist. “Whether it’s sports commentators or stock analysts who are talking, momentum is routinely assumed to be important on a day-to-day basis. In our evidence, we see that momentum is really just illusory,” Kevin M Kniffin, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, said.

Kniffin and Vince Mihalek, a four-year veteran of Cornell’s men’s ice hockey team, examined 916 games over a six-year period from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (NCAA, Division 1).

Teams in that league regularly play two-game weekend series, which the researchers explain “presents a uniquely ripe environment for momentum to potentially occur.”

The study showed that winning the first game of a two-game series does not affect the probability of winning the second. Further, the researchers discovered that “running up the score” by winning the first game by a large margin, neither increases nor decreases the probability of winning the second game, when quality and talent are considered balanced.

Mathematical formula that cuts energy consumption developed

A team of researchers have devised a mathematical formula that detects unreliable systems and faulty equipment that affects energy consumption in buildings.

Companies lose millions of dollars annually through inefficient heating and cooling systems. Nearly 95 per cent of all U.S. companies don’t monitor their building energy efficiency due to a lack of awareness, existing infrastructure restrictions or the prohibitive cost of commercial monitors.

Li Song from University of Oklahoma, along with her research colleagues, Gang Wang, University of Miami assistant professor, and Mike Brambley, staff scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have invented a method that overcomes these barriers to significantly reduce building operating costs as well as energy consumption.

Her applied research has potential to reduce energy consumption in a single structure by as much as 20 per cent. Depending on the building conditions, Song estimates peak savings could be as much as 30 to 50 per cent. Song’s research team devised a mathematical formula using existing output data, such as pump speed and power, to monitor energy use in heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.

Based on the results, the formula detects unreliable systems and faulty equipment that affects energy consumption. Song’s formula creates virtual sensors to identify energy waste at the air-handling unit as well as at a whole-building level. Besides saving companies money on utility bills, Song’s formula is a low-cost option to commercial monitors, making it easier for more companies to track energy efficiency.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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