Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cure Aging or Die Trying

Lunch and Lecture- Dr. Bill Andrews, CEO of Sierra Sciences

Friday, November 6th, 2009 (12 pm to 1 pm) at McCormick & Schmick's - 11:30 a.m. Check-in, 12 p.m., Lunch & Lecture ($35)
335 Hughes Center, Las Vegas, NV 89169
Please RSVP by e-mail jlaub@regenmd.org

Can We Slow Down the Aging Process?

Yes - By Reversing the Telomeres Shortening Process

Reno-based Sierra Sciences is a company devoted to finding ways to extend our lifespans beyond the theoretical maximum of 125 years.

Scientific research has shown that this theoretical maximum is limited because of the length of our telomeres which shorten as we get older. Our reproductive cells don't experience this shortening, and thus don't age, because they contain an enzyme called telomerase that re-lengthens the telomeres as they shorten. Sierra Sciences is searching for pharmaceuticals that will induce the production of telomerase in all our cells.

On November 6th, 2007 Sierra Sciences found its first telomerase inducing chemical; called C0057684. This chemical is the first ever discovered that activates the telomerase gene without killing the cells. Efforts are presently underway to learn everything possible about C0057684. But, in addition, C0057684 has provided Sierra Sciences with the first positive control ever for detection of telomerase gene activity in normal human cells. This has served as a very powerful tool for the development of robust high throughput screening assays for finding additional telomerase inducing chemicals. As such, in the last year Sierra Sciences has discovered an additional 62 chemicals that activate the telomerase gene. This now enables the scientists at Sierra Sciences to design better chemicals with increased potency and specificity. Additional screening for even more chemicals is also underway.

As of October 20th, 2009: Sierra Sciences has screened 158,244 compounds. They have found 470 telomerase inducers which represent 33 distinct drug families. The company is screening 4,000 compounds per week.

Science Can Cure Aging

Bill Andrews, Ph.D. - President & CEO of Sierra Sciences

Dr. Andrews leads the scientific research and development function of Sierra Sciences. Under Dr. Andrews' direction, Sierra Sciences has discovered and filed patent applications on many previously unknown, key elements of the regulation of telomerase. Dr. Andrews' team at Sierra Sciences is now pursuing direct molecular approaches to temporarily activate telomerase expression, and is performing high-throughput screening and drug discovery efforts.

While Director of Molecular Biology at Geron Corporation, Dr. Andrews was one of the principal discoverers of the telomerase genes. He was awarded 2nd place as "National Inventor of the Year" in 1997 for this work, with his name appearing on numerous related patents and publications.

Dr. Andrews earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Population Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1981. He was a Senior Scientist at Armos Corporation and Codon Corporation, Director of Molecular Biology at Codon and at Geron Corporation, and Director of Technology Development at EOS Biosciences.

As of April 2006, Dr. Andrews' name appears on 23+ issued US patents specifically related to telomerase, as well as 10 other patents in molecular biology. He has more than 25 refereed publications and abstracts. At Sierra Sciences, he has been responsible for all aspects of research, all of Sierra Sciences' patent applications, and all R&D facility and equipment matters.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dr. Robin Herlands, Professor at Nevada State College to Talk - Wednesday, July 22nd - NevBio Mtg

Robin Herlands earned her PhD in Immunology at Yale University and a BS in Biology at Haverford College where she was also the Captain and MVP of the Field Hockey team.

She joined Nevada State College in July 2008 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. In addition to her teaching, she has been mentoring students for graduate school in microbiology, genetics, and immunology. She is currently completing summer research in collaboration with at UNLV with intentions of bringing some undergraduate research opportunities to NSC.

Her presentation "Bringing Biotechnology to the Classroom" will address the necessity of teaching Nevada students experimental approaches and practical techniques in the field.

July 22nd, Wednesday, 11:30 check-in; Lunch & Presentation at Noon. Cost is $35. Make checks payable to NevBio. All credit cards taken at the door or online.

Measuring Metabolic Rate: John Lighton's Presentation to NevBio

John Lighton, CEO of Las Vegas-based Sable Systems, spoke at the May 27th NevBio meeting about measuring metabolic rate. Lighton said that the measurement of metabolic rate can aid future medical and scientific developments in the areas of exercise and fitness, reperfusion injury, suspended animation, discovery science, and obesity and diabetes.

Sable Systems specializes in indirect calorimetry, the best way to determine human metabolic rate. Direct calorimetry, discovered by Antoine and Marie-Ann Lavoisier, is best for measuring the metabolic rates of smaller animals. To calculate metabolic rate, indirect caliometry measures the oxygen consumed and the CO2 produced by the subject. Studies in indirect calorimetry have revealed that there is a very small range between when the body is burning fat alone vs. when the body is burning carbs alone. If people want to lose weight, they must burn fat deposits in their body; if they are exercising at too high of an intensity, they are subsequently burning only carbs and not exercising in the correct way to lose weight.

Lighton also advocates the use of the fruit fly Drosophila to study reperfusion injury. Strokes are the most common reperfusion injuries, damage that occurs after tissue is cut off from oxygen and then re-exposed. He explained that the lack of oxygen is not the problem, but the reperfusion of oxygen is. 83% of Drosophila genes match human genes, and studying reperfusion in fruit flies makes for accurate and cheap ways to address this problem in humans. Scientists can also use fruit flies to study obesity and fat storage, aging and senescence, diabetes and insulin-related issues, gene expression, cell proliferation and apoptosis, stem cells, heart disease, and psychological disorders.

Metabolic rate measurements are also currently used in experiments in suspended animation at Roth Lab in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle. Suspended animation is the slowing down of life processes, such as breathing and heartbeat, through external sources. Suspended animation is induced by adding hydrogen sulfide to air, to produce a semi-hiberation state. In this state, the body temperature and metabolic rate drop. Research is still being developed in suspended animation for humans. Suspended animation would be especially helpful on the battlefield in keeping soldiers alive longer until they can receive the appropriate medical care.

Discovery science in the area of metabolic rate is rapidly developing, exploring the speculative applications of respirometry and osteopathic manipulation. Commissioned scientific research for the Department of Defense, DARPA is exploring much of the open options in relation to metabolic rate.

Measuring metabolic rate is extremely relevant to today's obesity epidemic. These measurements can be used to combat the epidemic. For scientists to understand how fat storage is controlled, they must research animal models other than humans. To halt the epidemic, scientists need to determine the root causes and address biological solutions. Ability to measure the metabolic rate is a helpful tool for balancing energy intake against energy expenditure, better enabling scientists to explore options for slowing down this nation-wide epidemic.

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and Cleveland Clinic Team Up

In February 2009, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and Cleveland Clinic announced their partnership, forming the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The center's goal is to combat degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson, and provide medical care for patients. The center also has a program to provide support for caregivers.

At the February 17th press conference, Dr. Randolph Schiffer, Director of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Brain Health, said "These disorders change the social fabric of these families. The future of brain health clinics is changing. These centers must go beyond the diagnosis, providing ongoing care and support to patients and caregivers. If the Ruvo Center wants to provide quality care, it must evaluate existing programs and integrate the best of the best." Which programs the center will utilize remains undetermined, Schiffer said.

Cleveland Clinic's Center for Brain Health has operations in Cleveland. It is focused on research and will provide an integrated treatment program to about 200 patients and their families at the Cleveland and Las Vegas locations. Cleveland Clinic also has operations in Florida and Abu Dhabi and might expand its brain treatment to those locations also.

Sable Systems: Furthering Biotechnology in Nevada

Sable Systems International was founded by scientists and teachers in 1987. Sable Systems creates products for scientists by scientists, selling general research instrumentation suitable for field work or laboratory research at a low cost. More than three-fourths of their sales comes from instruments that measure the consumption of oxygen in both organisms and inanimate materials. Their instruments, cited in all of the leading scientific journals, are used worldwide and in all the leading universities and research institutes. With only 14 employees, the company is entirely self-funded and headquartered in both Las Vegas and Berlin.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. John Lighton, Sable Systems to Talk - Wednesday May 27th - NevBio Mtg

Dr. John Lighton is the President of Sable Systems International, a local firm that designs and manufactures scientific instruments. He is also an adjunct professor in biological sciences at UNLV.

He is an author of over 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers in metabolic physiology.

Oxford University Press recently published his definitive textbook on metabolic measurement.

He has received over $1.5 in funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the Packard Foundation. His company is currently developing innovative projects for metabolic measurements of animals and humans in several areas of biomedical research.

His presentation is "What's Cool About the Fire of Life: Measuring the Metabolism of Fruit-Flies, Mice & Rats and People Can Impact Basic Science, Biomedicine and Public Policy."

May 27th, Wednesday, 11:30 check-in with lunch & presentation at noon. Cost is $35. Make checks payable to NevBio. All credit cards taken at the door or online.

NevBio Attends BIO's Fly-In into Washington DC

The Director of the Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium, John Laub, traveled to Washington DC for the two-day Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Fly-In, joining 200 other biotechnology advocates.

The 2009 Fly-In started on March 31st with a 4:30 PM briefing on BIO's key legislative issues. On April 1st, NevBio visited the offices of Dean Heller, John Ensign, Dina Titus, Shelley Berkley and Harry Reid. The visit to Harry Reid's office involved a meeting with the office's chief policy advisor. In that meeting, several other biotech companies joined NevBio to brief the staff on the issues facing the industry.

This is the second year that NevBio has participated in the BIO Fly-In. It is important that our legislators know that Biotechnology is important to Nevada's future.

NevBio at UNR Biotech Symposium

John Laub, President of Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium, was one of two speakers at UNR's Annual Biotech Symposium on May 14, 2009.

For the last five years, Dr. David Shintani of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as organized a Biotechnology Symposium for students graduating from his BS/MS Biotechnology Degree Program.

John Laub opened the Symposium with a talk on the biotechnology industry, followed by Dr. Trent Spencer from Emory University who spoke on starting a biotech company. The students then gave presentations on their research.

Afterwards, a number of students told John that they wanted biotechnology to grow in Reno so that could stay in Nevada. We hope someday all of our Biotechnology and Bioscience students can stay in Nevada.

NevBio Talks Biotech at Board of Regents Meeting

John Laub, Executive Director of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium, gave a twenty-minute talk presentation at the University of Nevada Board of Regents meeting on February 6, 2009.

John gave a brief background on biotechnology and Nevada's role in the upcoming Biotech century.
A good portion of the speech was focused on UNLV's College of Sciences and their research. John made the case that Nevada is building a base for a biotechnology with a strong College of Sciences, well-trained bio-workers from the colleges, and a growing cluster of companies and institutes in Southern Nevada such as DSX Therapeutics, CardioVascular BioTherapeutics, Sable Systems, Nevada Cancer Institute, Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and Touro Medical School.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dr. Joseph Nika, Pre-Health Advisor for UNLV Colleges of Sciences to Talk Friday -January 30th-NevBio Mtg

Dr.Joseph Nika, Pre-Health Advisor will talk about UNLV's program to prepare students to apply for health science professional schools (medical, dental, , veterinary, pharmacy, etc.). Accompanying Dr. Nika will be several pre-med students to talk about their successeses with the Pre-Med Program.

(Pictured Left to right Dr. Ron Gary and Dr. Joseph Nika)

Joseph Nika is part of the UNLV College of Life Sciences (2005). He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Dallas, an MS from University of Texas at Dallas and his BS at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Nika will give his presentation, "Preparing Students for Health Science Careers" at 12 Noon on Friday, January 30th, Friday, at the NevBio mtg: 11:30 check-in; Lunch & Presentation at Noon. Cost is $35. Make checks payable to NevBio. All credit cards taken at the door.

Since the UNLV College of Sciences started a Pre-Health Science Advisor Program in 2005 to help students with admission to medical, dental and other schools. The admissions to Med Schools in 2006 jumped to over 80% from the 40% in 2005. In 2007 the acceptances stayed over 80%. The national average is approximately 40%.

Dr. Joseph Nika was hired in January 2005. Since then, he has developed a substantial Health Science Pre-Professional Program (HSPP). The HSPP hosts health science professional schools annually which include admissions officers from medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary, optometry, and physical therapy programs.

During these visits, the students have the opportunity to go to lunch with many of these admissions officers and make a favorable impression prior to entry into the application cycle.

In addition to providing the opportunity to interact with the admissions officers for the schools above, HSPP also provides a number of services that allow students to procure all the non-curricular requirements for admission to medical school.

Pre-dental students must acquire a substantial amount of clinical experience and a letter of recommendation from a healthcare provider. HSPP has set up a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), a pre-health honor society that has both dental and physician shadowing committees.

These committees will arrange dental shadowing experiences for students, thus affording students the opportunity to acquire clinical experience and secure a letter of recommendation from a healthcare provider in one fell swoop.

In addition to this, students need to acquire humanitarian service experience. AED also has a humanitarian service committee that maintains contact with many organizations in the greater Las Vegas Area.

AED students have volunteered worked with Opportunity Village, Shade Tree, the Polycistic Kidney Disease Foundation, Candle Lighters Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.