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Comment Re: Wouldn't the new cells have the same diseases? (Score 5, Informative) 40

In most cases they would, the thinking is that once you can grown custom neurons outside of the body, you can also modify them to be resistant to or able to reverse the disorder. For example, what if you could re-engineer normal neurons from a patient with Huntington's disease. Injecting them back in, maybe they would replace some of the dying neurons and at least diminish the effects of the disease. If you could engineer glial cells that can properly transport beta-amyloid or are hyper effective at it, maybe they can compensate for cells that can't and slow down the progression of Alzheimer's to push it back beyond reasonable human lifespans. The other key idea is now you have a way of producing cells that carry the disease genes without having to cut open someone's brain to get at them. This is one of the first necessary tools to study and develope new treatments to fight these diseases for which no human-derived models exist. This is probably the likliest short term benefit of such technology (ie benefit in 10-20 years rather than 20-50 year timeframe) accelerating the pace of drug discovery.

Comment Re:The research is very interesting (Score 3, Interesting) 61

Printed parts are still by far inferior to more conventionally produced alternatives. For organs with 3D architecture, by far the most successful approaches have been to basically seed the relevant cell types in layers on a gel or degradable fiber based scaffold. Anthony Atala's group at Wake Forest (no association, just a fan of their work) has made replacement urethras and bladders among many others that have actually been implanted in patients. I believe the bladder work is currently in a phase II clinical trial on its way to becoming more widely available. Sangeeta Bhatia's group has done amazing work on liver tissue, although their focus has been on laboratory samples for drug testing rather than implantation for the time being. They actually do use a 3D printing approach to their work but only to build a sugar-based scaffold that can dissolve away and leave space for blood vessels to be engineered. The tissue itself is just dumped onto the scaffold in a gel slurry and organizes itself.

I think 3D printing tissues is a rather short-sighted approach to assembling structures whose function and shape is self-organized. The most successful approaches thus far (in terms of having products on the market or organs in people) have been strategies that rely on the intrinsic self-organization of tissues. Even more complex structures such as the colonic epithelium can be generated this way.

Comment Re:Real Unix makes the difference. (Score 3, Informative) 308

Our entire development team uses Macbooks - and of 12 users, only two of them run OSX. One of them is even geeky enough to paste a Tux logo over the light-up Apple logo.

The last time I visited Google HQ (about 5 years ago) the most common setup I saw was Thinkpads running Linux with Macbooks running Linux in a close second.

Comment Re: It's true. (Score 1) 214

Not in the slightest. I'm one of (seemingly many) people who seem to believe that the payment Google offers in exchange for access to my personal information is quite fair. Just because you don't doesn't mean that other people are somehow ignorant for not having realized what "the game" is, it just means that they have slightly different ideas of what different types of privacy mean to them, which aspects of their privacy they are willing to put a price on and what that price might be.

Comment Re:I wonder.. (Score 2) 358

Apples to oranges comparison here, but this happened to me when I ran the first few alpha builds of CyanogenMod that were built from 4.3, subsequent updates fixed the problem. I never ran stock 4.3 so YMMV

Comment Re:Simple (Score 2) 189

Generally yes, although the specific restrictions may vary. From the link (PMC = PubMed Central):

The PMC Open Access Subset some or all openaccess content is a part of the total collection of articles in PMC. Articles in the PMC Open Access Subset are still protected by copyright, but are made available under a Creative Commons or similar license that generally allows more liberal redistribution and reuse than a traditional copyrighted work. Note, however, that the license terms are not identical for all of the articles in this subset. Please refer to the license statement in each article for specific terms of use. We also provide a search-by-license feature, described below, which enables finding articles with specific reuse rights.

Comment Re: Ends? (Score 3, Insightful) 999

Right, this has nothing to do with the fact that a no strings attached version of the bill had enough Republican votes in the house to pass from the get go but the republican caucus in the house changed the parliamentary rules so only the majority leader could bring the bill to vote, ie boehner, who proceeded to refuse to do so to begin this whole charade of brinkmanship to begin with. Citation: http://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-77802818/

Comment Re:Applications (Score 4, Interesting) 170

Exactly, in my lab we work primarily on bone and colon tissue (although generated from adult stem or induced pluripotent stem cells). It would not be exaggerating to call these technologies the next generation of medical research. There are tons of genetic and developmental disorders that are either too rare to study readily in vivo or just impossible to study in-vitro. We're nearing the point where we can start with IPSC's either engineered to carry mutations of interest or derived directly from patients carrying these mutations and turn them into all sorts of tissues: liver, colon, neural, vascular, muscular, etc. In many cases it's not even necessary to get to the stage of organoids, simply having true human tissue with the right pathophysiology will be a tremendous boon to in-vitro drug screening and discovery and far more relevant than animal models.

Comment Re:Just keep in mind the tradeoff (Score 1) 556

A valid point, perhaps one mitigating bit of information worth noting is that compulsory licensing does not mean that the generic manufacturer can violate the patent. Under TRIPS (the international treaty governing intellectual property rights) what the Indian government has done is to deem the asking cost of a drug combined with the asking cost or unwillingness of the manufacturer to license the drug to generic manufacturers to be damaging to public health (I forget the precise phrasing used). As a consequence they've issued a "mandatory license" by which the generic manufacturer can pay Bayer a licensing fee established as reasonable by the government exercising its right to compulsory licensing, essentially granting a license to the patent it issued to Bayer to generics manufacturers for domestic production and consumption in order to ensure access to the drug. Hence the 6% licensing fee on revenues (not profit) referenced in the article. Arguably, Bayer stands to make that money for free considering the vast majority of the consumption of that drug will be by patients who could not have afforded the treatment previously.

Certainly there are potential negative consequences of such an action, but the calculus of such a decision would involve weighing these potential future costs of "decreased innovation due to perceived risk of diminished monopoly" against the very immediate human cost of not having access to treatment. In this case it seems that the government of India decided that the immediate cost outweighed the potential future cost.

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga