Tag Archives: Germany

Marrow transplant may have cured AIDS, German doctors say


Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Patrick Mcgroarty, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nov. 12, 2008
BERLIN – An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said Wednesday.

While researchers – and the doctors themselves – caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims two million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.

Dr. Gero Huetter said his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.

“We waited every day for a bad reading,” Huetter said.

It has not come. Researchers at Berlin’s Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.

However, Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said those tests have probably not been extensive enough.

“A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it’s not present,” Badley said.

This isn’t the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.

Huetter’s patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.

As Huetter – who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist – prepared to treat the patient’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, he recalled that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection. If the mutation, called Delta 32, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.

“I read it in 1996, coincidentally,” Huetter told reporters at the medical school. “I remembered it and thought it might work.”

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Revolutionary plastic e-paper set to hit the high street


By Chris Laker
Last updated at 4:43 PM on 15th October 2008

The era of the traditional newspaper could soon be over as scientists launch production of a revolutionary electronic version – made out of plastic.

The e-reader is the brainchild of students at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory and will be developed by manufacturing plant Plastic Logic at a factory in Germany. The invention is due to hit the high street next year.

Each part of the design will be made from plastic and will be super-thin, as light as the average magazine and able to store and display documents.

Dean Baker, Manufacturing Engineering Manager of Plastic Logic, said the invention of the lightweight e-reader will also drastically reduce the waste that currently comes with the traditional product.

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Free trade Canada – Europe – Secret agreement in the works?


From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

LONDON — Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada’s economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election.

Trade Minister Michael Fortier and his staff have been engaged for the past two months with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and the representatives of European governments in an effort to begin what a senior EU official involved in the talks described in an interview yesterday as “deep economic integration negotiations.”

If successful, Canada would be the first developed nation to have open trade relations with the EU, which has completely open borders between its members but imposes steep trade and investment barriers on outsiders.

The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services.

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Toronto transit looks to reopen streetcar bidding


TORONTO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Toronto’s transit authority said on Tuesday it will recommend to its commissioners that it enter into a new bidding process with three major light rail manufacturers to replace the city’s aging streetcar fleet after the initial process was scrapped last month.

The Toronto Transit Commission said that it will propose starting discussions with Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Canadian arm of Siemens (SIEGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The discussions on technical and commercial requirements will be part of a multi-step bidding process that will include a competitive pricing phase before the C$1.25 billion ($1.19 billion) contract is awarded.

The TTC said it had met with representatives from each of the companies, all of whom said they could build a streetcar that would meet the technical requirements set out in the original bidding process.

One of the terms stipulated by the TTC is that at least 25 percent of the content for the vehicles’ design and construction would have to be Canadian.

The contract for 204 new streetcars had at first looked likely to go to Montreal-based Bombardier, but the process hit a snag in late July when the TTC said the proposal it received from the company did not meet the technical specifications.

The TTC said the design would not be able to handle some of the tight turns on Toronto’s existing track network. But Bombardier disputed the claim and said that it stood behind its bid.

The only other bid submitted at the time was from Britain’s TRAM Power Ltd, which was determined to not be commercially compliant, and the original proposals process was canceled.

Germany’s Siemens and French-based Alstom had expressed interest in the contract, but had not submitted formal proposals.

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