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Past News Items - September 2012

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In the News

Epigenetics Holds Key to Healthier Future

Global Health Group Identifies Alarming Trend in Childhood Obesity

Hypertension Is Not So Simple

ProteinSimple Charges Ahead with the Simple Western

'Regenerative Medicine Market Will Reach $1.4 Billion in 2012' States Visiongain Report

Parkinson's Brain Chemistry Changes Now Trackable in Man

Autism Breakthrough: Uncovering New Comorbidities That Complicate Autism

New optical instrument helps diagnose, monitor peripheral arterial disease

Released: 09/17/12

Epigenetics Holds Key to Healthier Future

Recent research shows potential of disease prevention through nutrition

The sequencing of the human genome was once hailed by scientists to be the harbinger of medical miracles. Yet, deciphering our DNA brought us no closer to understanding — much less finding effective preventive approaches for — major chronic diseases.

But new groundbreaking research is uncovering a higher level of complexity beyond genetic variation. Even better news: proper nutrition can produce positive changes at this higher level.

A recent article by the Associated Press highlighted new data the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project recently published in Nature – the international weekly journal of science.

"The scientific establishment has finally acknowledged that there is more than just DNA or the genome to explain how chronic diseases develop and how the environment, like nutrition and lifestyle, can have profound effects in altering our health," said Dr. Alfredo Galvez, renowned research scientist at the Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics at UC Davis and lead scientific advisor at the Missouri Plant Science Center.

What is the epigenome? The genome is your body's complete set of DNA and genes. We have more than 300 cell types — skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, etc. — that look and function differently even though they have the same DNA.

The epigenome is made up of the DNA packaging material called histones and chemicals that tell the genome what to do. These chemicals can turn different genes on or off to create different types of cells. For example, the epigenome tells your skin cells to behave like skin cells, liver cells like liver cells, and so on.

Nutrition's Effect on DNA The chemical compounds that comprise and affect the epigenome come from natural sources such as food, or man-made sources such as medicines. Research shows that changes in the epigenome can trigger diseases such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes.

Our food provides nutrients necessary for methylation of DNA, an essential biochemical process that affects the expression of genes. DNA methylation can be improved or inhibited by our nutritional intake. For example, choline — a micronutrient found in cauliflower — can improve fetal brain development by improving DNA methylation.

The release of genes that cause inflammation can also be affected by nutrition. For example, resveratrol — a micronutrient found in grapes — can reduce symptoms of colitis by reducing the effect of inflammatory genes.

Lunasin: The Future of Nutritional Genomics One of the most exciting discoveries in nutritional genomics is a soy peptide called lunasin.

Dozens of clinical studies have already documented lunasin's positive effects on the epigenome. A recent study from Purdue University showed how lunasin enhances innate immunity – the ability of the body to resist damaging effects from chemical, bacterial and viral toxins. Many more clinical studies are in the works as lunasin research continues at top institutions across the country.

"Changes in the epigenome can cause serious diseases. Lunasin attaches to the histones and helps the epigenome function properly, so that these changes do not occur in the cells," explained Galvez.

How Lunasin Works Lunasin nourishes - provides the nutritional fuel to promote optimal expression of genes required for normal cell function.
Lunasin protects - reduces inflammation and cell damage caused by free radicals and other environmental hazards. Provides protection in two ways:

1. Preventions. Activates the expression of genes that help reduce cell damage and prevents the expression of genes that can cause cell damage.
2. Maintenance. Helps remove damaged cells from the body that may cause chronic health problems.


Released: 09/13/12

Global Health Group Identifies Alarming Trend in Childhood Obesity

The online dialogue about childhood obesity falls surprisingly short considering its prevalence, according to a recent research initiative sponsored by GLOBALHealthPR. IHSMS, in its second year, is a calculated, cross-cultural social media listening approach that focuses on different public health issues across the globe. This year, the IHSMS analysts discovered that while childhood obesity is a global problem, it's not exactly a global conversation. Today, GLOBALHealthPR, the largest independent public relations organisation dedicated exclusively to health and scientific communications worldwide, released an infographic on the shortcomings of the childhood obesity conversation online.

GLOBALHealthPR, which is represented in the United States by the full-service communications firm Spectrum, revealed that while one in 10 children worldwide is obese, there were only 15,189 online conversations in one month –one per 23,440 obese children. Also, GLOBALHealthPR analysts uncovered that while obesity rates of many nations are quite comparable, the bulk of conversation still occurs in the US. Included below are key insights revealed through the IHSMS 2.0 initiative:

Given that child obesity is a preventable but widespread condition, GLOBALHealthPR analysts were surprised to find that the levels of conversation around prevention and treatment are extremely low, compared to less common diseases with few or no treatment options. For example, leukemia is connected with 7,813 times as many conversations as childhood obesity, despite the fact that leukemia affects fewer people per capita and is not preventable. Listening has shown that there is huge opportunity for growth with respect to the childhood obesity conversation. Opportunity begins with simple steps, such as parents, health care providers and school leadership collaborating more closely within online communities, as well as engaging with outside online influencers to share how their fitness and nutrition initiatives are succeeding.

In many regions, particularly within South America, almost no conversation about childhood obesity exists, despite its rise in prevalence. In these areas, there is an opportunity to develop this conversation, driving awareness and helping to prevent childhood obesity from becoming as widespread as it is in the United States.

In the United States, many mommy bloggers are talking about how to tackle the issue within their own families through diet and exercise. Content, however, is not reaching families who need the guidance, accounting for this considerable gap in the level of conversation versus the incidence of this condition.

"While levels of childhood obesity are rising worldwide, the levels of conversation around this disease are not sufficient to effect change," said Anthony LaFauce, Director of Digital Strategy for GLOBALHealthPR US. "Healthcare providers, policymakers, industry and advocacy groups have the opportunity and the obligation to use social media to increase targeted education and awareness around childhood obesity."

The IHSMS 2.0 team employed the Social Framework™, GLOBALHealthPR's online listening, evaluation and strategy development methodology, and took a one-month survey of seven countries across the globe. The group looked at how the digital conversation around child obesity stacked up in Argentina, Australia, India, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Mexico and the US. The new infographic is available online and can be embedded on other sites with credit to GLOBALHealthPR.


Released: 09/13/12

Hypertension Is Not So Simple


A recently published editorial in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension (JASH), Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Should Be Included in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES)- Vol 6, No 5, 2012, recognizes the importance of this national survey instrument but questions the efficiency of its diagnostic methods in assessing hypertension in the population*.

Since the 1960's, CDC has utilized traditional blood pressure screening using a sphygmomanometer to measure the brachial artery pressure (a diagnostic instrument used since 1880). Drs. William B. White, President of the American Society of Hypertension, Inc. (ASH), Thomas D. Giles, a Past President of ASH and colleagues have expressed concern regarding this methodology and its limitations in accurately detecting hypertension in patients. Their editorial strongly recommends that the CDC utilize a more sensitive and specific tool for assessing blood pressure in its national surveys.

Their recommendation for improving national statistics on hypertension is the inclusion of ambulatory BP monitoring in the NHANES' methodology. Among many physicians and hypertension specialists, ambulatory BP monitoring has been recognized as a superior and accurate method for detecting hypertension. The utilization of this advanced diagnostic method may bring to light many mitigating factors that affect the proper diagnosis of this condition, such as white coat hypertension, resistant hypertension, and nocturnal hypertension. Leading Hypertension Specialists around the country recognize that ABPM can not only detect hypertension in cases when the disease actually exists but also identify who is really in control and who is not.

As a supplement to clinical office blood pressure measurements, ABPM allows physicians and health care providers to properly diagnose patients. As a screening tool used in national health surveys, ABPM will provide for a more accurate representation of the hypertension epidemic in America, thus allowing for the development of more appropriate national health initiatives to decrease rates of uncontrolled hypertension.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified hypertension as the leading cardiovascular disease risk factor in its most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The numbers presented in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) report painted a rather worrisome picture of the nation's health status in relation to hypertension and its deleterious effects, noting that:

  • roughly 36 million people have uncontrolled high blood pressure, about 26 million with uncontrolled blood pressure have seen a doctor at least twice the past year
  • nearly 22 million know they have high blood pressure, but don't have it under control
  • 16 million take medicine, but still don't have their blood pressure under control


Released: 09/13/12

ProteinSimple Charges Ahead with the Simple Western

ProteinSimple today introduced Peggy as the next member of the Simple Western product family. Peggy is the first Simple Western product to not only replace the traditional slow, inconsistent Western Blot, but to enable further in-depth characterization of proteins via charge-based separation.

The Simple Western is a Western with none of the hassle. No messy gels, no transfer tanks, no blots, no imaging and no manual analysis. Simply load up to 96 samples, push a button, walk away and come back to fully analyzed data. The system automates everything. Now, with Peggy, the Simple Western system separates proteins by size or charge, detects your target proteins and tells you their molecular weight or pI.

In today's instrumentation market, researchers are forced to choose between platforms that perform individual assays. Peggy eliminates that painful decision by enabling two distinct assays in a single high throughput system. With Peggy, a biopharmaceutical researcher can perform 96 Simple Westerns in a single automated experiment to identify lead candidates and further characterize any heterogeneity in those candidates using Peggy's dual-mode capability. The ability to combine analytical approaches within a single automated instrument is of tremendous value.

"Peggy brings together two critical requirements in biopharmaceutical research, identification and characterization," commented Tim Harkness, CEO at ProteinSimple. "The dual-mode capability of Peggy will further simplify protein research and we are extremely proud and excited to offer a product that delivers enhanced sample characterization in the fully automated, quantitative format our customers expect from us."

Meet Peggy and the Simple Western family on October 13-17 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana or visit


Released: 09/12/12

'Regenerative Medicine Market Will Reach $1.4 Billion in 2012' States Visiongain Report

A new report by visiongain predicts that the overall world market for translational regenerative medicine will reach $1.4 billion in 2012. That revenue forecast and others appear in Translational Regenerative Medicine Market Prospects 2012-2022, published in September 2012. Visiongain is a business information provider based in London, UK.

Visiongain forecasts that the overall regenerative medicine market will multiply in size from 2012 to 2022. The regenerative medicine industry is in its infancy; however marketed products have achieved commercial success. Visiongain believes the strength of the regenerative medicine market is its potential to treat a plethora of diseases. Growth of the market will be driven by targeting serious, prevalent disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In these areas, the potential for regenerative medicine technologies is vast, and regulatory and cultural uncertainties about the field will not derail its progress from 2012 to 2022.

Dr Peter Williamson, a pharmaceutical industry analyst in visiongain, said: "Regenerative medicine is a market with huge potential. The key to its future lies in the successful approval and commercialisation of new products. We have already seen commercial success in the tissue engineering sector with products such as Dermagraft and Apligraf. It is important that companies, reimbursement agencies and regulatory authorities learn lessons from these achievements, ultimately guiding efficient developmental processes. In addition, advances in the scientific understanding of cellular mechanisms and how they aid and influence regeneration will strengthen these processes.

"Our study notes that widespread commercialisation will be challenging during the forecast period 2012 to 2022. However, these challenges will be overcome by the maturing market, investment from pharmaceutical companies and the creation of regenerative medicine centres. In addition, there are growing numbers of regenerative medicine start-up companies and research and development (R&D) for regenerative medicine is strong."

Visiongain's report shows revenue forecasts to 2022 at overall world market, submarket, product and regional level. It forecasts these world-level submarkets:

  • Tissue-engineered products
  • Stem cell applications
  • Gene therapy
  • Other uses.

The investigation predicts revenues of leading products in the market: Apligraf, Dermagraft, DeNovo NT and Osteocel Plus. Research, data and analyses cover activities of Shire Regenerative Medicine, Advanced Cell Technology, Athersys, Mesoblast, Geron and other companies.

For sample pages and further information concerning the Translational Regenerative Medicine: Market Prospects 2012-2022 please visit:


Released: 09/11/12

Parkinson's Brain Chemistry Changes Now Trackable in Man

KineMed, Inc. announced today the publication of a novel discovery in biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases from a study funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation. The absence of meaningful biomarkers has remained a roadblock in the development and clinical application of treatments for neurological disorders. The publication describes in detail a unique class of biomarkers that measure the transport efficiency of key cargo molecules through neurons in the living human brain. Biomarkers of this pathogenically causal process may be used for the development of drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The study published in the current edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation extends the use of KineMed’s proprietary “heavy water” (2H2O)/protein dynamics mass spectrometric platform that provides real-time measurements of the flow of molecules through specific biochemical pathways in vivo.

Researchers, led by Dr. Patrizia Fanara at KineMed, Inc., and Dr. Marc Hellerstein at the University of California, Berkeley and KineMed, Inc., working with collaborators at the University of California San Francisco and the University of Osnabruck, Germany, used the 2H2O labeling approach to specifically track, for the first time, the movement of cargo proteins that rely on axonal transport prior to release into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

The results demonstrate that the axonal transport of cargo proteins is impaired in preclinical models of ALS and Parkinson’s disease and correlates with disease severity. Moreover, treatments targeting this malfunction in preclinical models delayed or reversed disease symptoms. The study further revealed that similar abnormalities in axonal transport can be tracked through a single CSF sample in Parkinson’s patients, which makes this method easy to apply in clinical settings.

In the same issue of JCI, the distinguished author, Dr. William Z. Potter, Co-Chair Emeritus, Neuroscience Steering Committee for the Biomarkers Consortium of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health; Sr. Advisor to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, discusses the uses of this biomarker approach and the implications of using this technology to track brain processes in a commentary article entitled “Mining the secrets of the CSF: developing biomarkers of neurodegeneration.”

Dr. Patrizia Fanara, Vice President, Neuroscience at KineMed, Inc. said, “This is a breakthrough in translational science, bridging basic neurobiology and clinical medicine. We are enabling physicians and researchers to answer clinical questions such as: 'How fast is the disease progressing?' and 'Is this drug delaying or reversing the underlying disease?'”

Dr. Marc Hellerstein, Professor (Calloway Chair) at University of California Berkeley and Chief of the Scientific Advisory Board at KineMed, added, “As Dr. Potter’s editorial noted, the absence of biomarkers of the pathologic processes driving neurodegenerative diseases has impeded therapeutic discovery. The diagnostic biomarker approach described here may provide a major addition to the clinical tool-kit for managing Parkinson’s patients and discovering effective, new treatments.”

“KineMed’s researchers have made important progress in the search for a Parkinson’s disease biomarker, which could in the future play a critical role in the development of novel therapies to slow or even stop the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Mark Frasier, Vice President of Research Programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation.


Released: 09/05/12

Autism Breakthrough: Uncovering New Comorbidities That Complicate Autism

A worldwide breakthrough in the clinical evaluation of autism will be announced at a news conference in Denver, Colorado Friday, September 7th. The announcement will reveal surprising results of brain scans on over 1200 individuals with autism. The news conference will be held in conjunction with the US Autism & Asperger Association World Conference.

J. Michael Uszler, MD, Medical Director of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California and Assistant Clinical Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, has identified brain region over-activity compatible with co-occurring conditions (co-morbidities) that can complicate the management of this devastating disorder. This new information can provide significant help to practitioners for optimizing treatment strategies. Dr. Uszler will be presenting his findings from pediatric and adolescent autism brain SPECT scans for the first time worldwide.

The four-day conference, September 6-9, will also highlight Keynote address speaker Dr. Martha Herbert, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a Pediatric Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Dr. Temple Grandin one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism in the world and a Professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University.

“The conference will be streamed live in its entirety and anyone registered for the LIVE broadcast will be able to not only view the entire conference, but also see Dr. Uszler present his surprising findings,” said Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD, Chairman of USAAA.

“While parents and professionals can always gain the most by experiencing the USAAA conference firsthand, this year we will be providing a unique online viewing opportunity,” said Dr. Kaplan. “It will be the most comprehensive live stream of an Autism and Asperger conference ever.”

For more information, please visit

or call 1-888-9AUTISM.



Released: 09/01/12

New optical instrument helps diagnose, monitor peripheral arterial disease

For many diabetics, monitoring their condition involves much more than adhering to a routine of glucose sensing and insulin injections. It also entails carefully monitoring the ongoing toll this disease takes on their body.

An innovative new optical diagnostic tool created by Columbia University researchers and reported today in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express may soon make it easier to diagnose and monitor one of the most serious complications of diabetes, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD, which is marked by a narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque accumulation, frequently results in insufficient blood flow to the body’s extremities and increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke.

This new noninvasive imaging technique – known as dynamic diffuse optical tomography imaging (DDOT) – uses near-infrared light to map the concentration of hemoglobin in the body’s tissue. This mapping can reveal how effectively blood is flowing to patients’ hands and feet.

“Currently, there are no good methods to assess and monitor PAD in diabetic patients,” explains Andreas Hielscher, PhD, professor of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering and Radiology, and director of the Biophotonics and Optical Radiology Laboratory at Columbia University.

“Patients with PAD experience foot pain, called ‘claudication,’ while walking,” adds Gautam Shrikhande, MD, assistant professor of surgery, and director of the Vascular Laboratory at Columbia’s Medical Center. “This pain continues, even at rest, as the disease progresses. In more advanced stages, PAD patients develop sores or ulcers that won’t heal. Then, cell death, a.k.a. ‘gangrene,’ occurs and amputation is often the only solution. It’s extremely important to diagnose PAD early, because medication and lifestyle changes can alleviate the disease.”

This is where DDOT can help. “We’ve successfully used DDOT to detect PAD in the lower extremities,” says Michael Khalil, a PhD candidate working with Hielscher at Columbia. “One key reason why DDOT shows so much promise as a diagnostic and monitoring tool is that, unlike other methods, it can provide maps of oxy, deoxy and total hemoglobin concentration throughout the foot and identify problematic regions that require intervention.”

“Using instrumentation for fast image acquisition lets us observe blood volume over time in response to stimulus such as a pressure cuff occlusion or blockage,” said Hielscher.

To map and monitor the presence of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood, red and near-infrared light is shone at different angles around areas that are susceptible to arterial disease. These specific wavelengths of light are then absorbed or scattered, depending on the concentration of hemoglobin.

“In the case of tissue, light is absorbed by hemoglobin. Since hemoglobin is the main protein in blood, we can image blood concentrations within the foot without using a contrast agent,” Hielscher points out. Contrast agents pose the risk of renal failure in some cases, so the ability to monitor PAD without using a contrast agent is a great advantage.

Since more than 25 million people—or 8 percent of the population—in the United States are diabetic, this diagnostic tool has the potential to make it significantly simpler to diagnose and monitor diabetics with PAD in the future.

Khalil, Hielscher, and colleagues hope to bring their diagnostic tool to market and into clinics within the next three years.


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