Scientists Discover Bt Toxins Found In Monsanto Crops Damage Red Blood Cells


Studies are showing that Bt toxins found in Monsanto crops are harmful to mammalian blood by damaging red blood cells and more. RBC’s are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues through blood flow.Bacillus thuringensis (Bt) is a bacterium commonly used as a biological pesticide. It is a microorganism that produces toxic chemicals. It occurs naturally in the environment, and is usually isolated from soil, insects and plant surfaces. Prior to this study, Bt was thought to be toxic only to insects, but recent studies are proving otherwise.

Dr. Mezzomo and his team of Scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology and the Institute of Biological Sciences, at University of Brasilia recently published a study that involved Bacillus thuringensis (Bt toxin) and its effects on mammalian blood. According to the study, the “Cry” toxins that are found in Monsanto’s GMO crops like corn and soy, are much more toxic to mammals than previously thought. The study was published in the Journal of Hematology and Thromboembolic Diseases(1).

We do not support animal testing, and think it is unnecessary. It should really be a no brainer that GMO crops cause significant damage to human health. Studies that don’t require animal testing have already proven the dangers of GMO consumption. This study unfortunately required the use of Swiss Albino Mice if Bt was to be properly examined. At the same time, most of us know that the existence of GMOs is completely unnecessary.

Advances in genetic engineering promise the expression of multiple Cry toxins in Bt-plants, known as gene pyramiding. Therefore, studies on non-target species are requirements of international protocols to verify the adverse effects of these toxins, ensuring human and environmental bio safety.

Due to its growing use in agricultural activities, Bt presence has already been detected in different environmental compartments such as soil and water. Consequently, the bio availability of Cry proteins has increased, and for bio safety reasons their adverse effects might be studied, mainly for non-target organisms. Studies are therefore needed to evaluate Bt toxicity to non-target organisms; the persistence of Bt toxin and its stability in aquatic environments; and the risks to humans and animals exposed to potentially toxic levels of Bt through their diet.(1)

Thus, we aimed to evaluate, in Swiss albino mice, the hematotoxicity and genotoxicity of four Bt spore-crystals…

Scientists tested levels ranging from 27 mg to 270 mg over a seven day period, it was remarkably evident that the Cry toxins were hemotoxic, even at the lowest doses administered. Hemotoxins destroy red blood cells, disrupt blood clotting and cause organ degeneration and tissue damage.

The number of RBC’s, (red blood cells) as well as their size, were significantly reduced, and so were the levels of hemoglobin for oxygen to attach to. Every factor regarding RBC’s indicated some level of damage for all levels of toxin administered and across all cry proteins. The tests clearly demonstrated that Cry proteins resulting from the Bt toxin were cytotoxic (quality of being toxic to cells) to bone marrow cells. Studies contiually show that these proteins kill blood cells by targeting the cell membranes of RBC’s.

Cry1Ab (the protein produced in common Bt corn and soy) induced microcytic hypochromic anemia in mice, even at the lowest tested dose of 27 mg/Kg, and this toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet [34]. These data, as well as increased bio availability of these MCA in the environment, reinforce the need for more research, especially given that little is known about spore crystals’ adverse effects on non-target species (1)

Dr. Mezzomo and his team are not the only group of scientists to discover the harmful effects of Bt toxins. Professor Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario has also studied it (2)(3)(4). He concluded that that there is sufficient evidence that the Bt toxin will impact directly on human health through damaging the ileum, which is the final section of the small intestine that is responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12. He also points out that the Bt cry toxin gene has not been proven to be the same as the natural bacterial gene. As mentioned in the first paragraph, it occurs naturally in the environment, usually isolated from soil, insects and plant surfaces.

It seems that everyday brings forth new information regarding GMO’s. We have so much evidence that points to just how harmful these foods are, yet they continue to be mass produced and the corporations that develop them are constantly protected. The truth still remains, you still have a choice as to what you put into your body. I encourage everybody reading this to further their research, most ‘industries’ we have on the planet today really aren’t necessary, we are just made to believe that they are.

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Discovery of new gene regulator could precisely target sickle cell disease.


A research team from Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and other institutions has discovered a new genetic target for potential therapy of sickle cell disease (SCD). The target, called an enhancer, controls a molecular switch in red blood cells called BCL11A that, in turn, regulates hemoglobin production.

The researchers — led by Daniel Bauer, MD, PhD, and Stuart Orkin, MD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s — reported their findings today in Science.

Prior work by Orkin and others has shown that when flipped off, BCL11A causes red blood cells to produce fetal hemoglobin that, in SCD patients, is unaffected by the sickle cell mutation and counteracts the deleterious effects of sickle hemoglobin. BCL11A is thus an attractive target for treating SCD.

The disease affects roughly 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States and millions worldwide.

However, BCL11A plays important roles in other cell types, including the immune system’s antibody-producing B cells, which raises concerns that targeting it directly in sickle cell patients could have unwanted consequences.

The discovery of this enhancer — which regulates BCL11A only in red blood cells — opens the door to targeting BCL11A in a more precise manner. Approaches that disable the enhancer would have the same end result of turning on fetal hemoglobin in red blood cells due to loss of BCL11A, but without off-target effects in other cell types.

The findings were spurred by the observation that some patients with SCD spontaneously produce higher levels of fetal hemoglobin and enjoy an improved prognosis. The researchers found that these individuals possess naturally occurring beneficial mutations that function to weaken the enhancer, turning BCL11A’s activity down and allowing red blood cells to manufacture some fetal hemoglobin.

“This finding gives us a very specific target for sickle cell disease therapies,” said Orkin, a leader of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s who serves as chairman of pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate chief of hematology/oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Coupled with recent advances in technologies for gene engineering in intact cells, it could lead to powerful ways of manipulating hemoglobin production and new treatment options for hemoglobin diseases.”

“This is a very exciting study,” said Feng Zhang, PhD, a molecular biologist and specialist in genome engineering at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who was not involved in the study. “The findings suggest a potential new approach to treating sickle cell disease and related diseases, one that relies on nucleases to remove this regulatory region, rather than adding an exogenous gene as in classic gene therapy.”

Source:DFCI

 

 

 

Physician Groups Recommend Steps to Limit Overuse of Five Treatments.


A physician consortium convened by the American Medical Association and the Joint Commission has released recommendations aimed at reducing the unnecessary use of five interventions. Here’s a quick look at the targeted interventions, including steps to limit their use:

  • Antibiotic therapy for viral upper respiratory infections: Develop clinical definitions for viral versus bacterial URIs.
  • Over-transfusion of red blood cells: Create a toolkit of educational materials for clinicians, broaden education on transfusion alternatives.
  • Tympanostomy tubes for short-duration middle ear effusion: Develop performance measures to assess appropriate use.
  • Early-term, nonmedically indicated elective delivery: Educate patients about the risks, standardize how gestational age is determined.
  • Elective percutaneous coronary intervention: Encourage patient understanding of both the benefits and risks.

“The recommendations … will raise awareness that will help both doctors and patients make better decisions going forward, and ultimately improve quality and patient safety,” the president of the Joint Commission said in a news release.

Source: Joint Commission news

Lasers Could Help Identify Malaria and Other Diseases Early.


Combining lasers with a principle discovered by Alexander Graham Bell over 100 years ago, researchers have developed a new way to collect high-resolution information about the shape of red blood cells. Because diseases like malaria can alter the shape of the body’s cells, the device may provide a way to accurately diagnose various blood disorders.

The study relies on a physical principle, known as “the photoacoustic effect,” originally discovered by Bell in 1880. The famed inventor observed that when a material absorbs light from a pulsing light source, it produces sound waves. Since then, scientists have learned that the effect occurs because the object heats up as it absorbs light; the heat causes the object to expand, and this physical change leads to the emission of sound waves.

Today, researchers can induce the photoacoustic effect by using lasers. The most advanced lasers can pulse in the nanosecond range (once every 100 of nanoseconds), generating sound waves from cells and tissues that are at very high frequencies. The higher the frequency, the more information scientists are able to glean about the shape of the object.

Michael Kolios, a photoacoustics scientist at Ryerson University in Toronto, wondered whether he could use the photoacoustic effect to determine the shape of red blood cells. His team developed a laser that pulses every 760 nanoseconds to induce red blood cells to emit sound waves with frequencies of more than 100MHz, one of the highest frequencies ever achieved. Testing the laser on blood samples collected from a group of human volunteers, Kolios and colleagues showed that the high-frequency sound waves emitted by red blood cells in the blood samples revealed the tiniest details about the cells’ shapes. The approach could accurately distinguish samples from a person with malaria, which is characterized by the swelling of red blood cells, from samples from a person with sickle cell anemia, in which the red blood cells distort into a serrated crescent shape, the team reports today in the Biophysical Journal.

The method requires as few as 21 red blood cells. Standard blood tests, in contrast, need more than one drop of blood, and red blood cells need to be analyzed manually by pathologists with a microscope, a task that is slow and prone to human error. The faster diagnosis with Kolios’s technology allows doctors to quickly determine whether the donor’s blood is disease-free immediately prior to blood transfusion. The speed of the approach outperforms standard blood tests by hours, a key advantage for life-saving blood transfusions where every second counts.

Kolios hopes to bring this new device into the clinic. But Nicholas Au, a hematopathologist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital of British Columbia in Vancouver, says the new technique cannot replace the standard blood test, which reveals more information about the shape of white blood cells and platelets. The shape change in these cells is indicative of diseases like cancer or clotting disorders. Kolios’ team’s method works best with red blood cells because of their biconcave shape, which gives them the unique ability to absorb light better than platelets and white blood cells.

Still, Kolios’ technology holds enormous promise, says Li Hong Wang, a photoacoustics scientist of Washington University in St. Louis. “What’s exciting is the potential application of this method in identifying not only abnormal red blood cells, but also circulating tumor cells,” he says. The latter could be done, he notes, with a pulsing ultraviolet laser, which could accurately measure the amount of a light-absorbing pigment (known as melanin) inside cells using sound waves, allowing scientists to identify circulating tumor cells based on their abnormally high melanin content. While Kolios’s device could be costly, with a price tag of $100,000 for just the laser, Wang is optimistic that the price would go down in light of the growing biomedical demand.

Source: sciencemag.org

 

GI Bleeds: Benefits of Conservative Transfusion Strategy Seem Confirmed .


A conservative transfusion strategy for acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding appears to confer a greater survival benefit than liberal treatment, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

Investigators randomized some 900 patients either to a conservative strategy (transfusion when hemoglobin fell below 7 g/dL) or to a liberal strategy (transfusion when hemoglobin fell below 9). About half those treated conservatively received transfusions, as opposed to 85% of those assigned to the liberal strategy.

Those on conservative treatment showed a 45% relative risk reduction in all-cause mortality at 45 days (absolute mortality, 5% vs. 9% on liberal treatment). Similarly, further bleeding was less frequent on conservative treatment, as was the rate of adverse events. However, patients with severe cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class C) did not show a survival benefit.

An editorialist, noting that the findings “justify current recommendations,” concludes that “most patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding, with or without portal hypertension, should have blood transfusions withheld until the hemoglobin level drops below 7.”

Source: NEJM

Novartis drug Exjade® recommended by CHMP for EU approval to treat patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia syndromes .


  • Exjade would be the first oral treatment approved specifically for patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) syndromes 

 

  • Clinical data show Exjade significantly decreases iron burden in NTDT patients compared to placebo, with similar overall adverse event rate[1] 

 

  • NTDT patients accumulate excess iron, increasing their risk of complications, including liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, blood clots and bone and vascular disease[2]

 

 Novartis announced today that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) adopted a positive opinion for Exjade® (deferasirox) for the treatment of chronic iron overload requiring chelation therapy when deferoxamine therapy is contraindicated or inadequate in patients aged 10 years and older with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) syndromes. Exjade would be the first oral treatment in the European Union (EU) specifically indicated for the treatment of iron overload in patients with these types of thalassemia.

 

Results from the first prospective placebo-controlled study of iron chelation in NTDT patients, THALASSA, showed a significant dose-dependent decrease in iron burden compared to placebo[1]. In this pivotal study, Exjade was well tolerated, with an overall adverse event rate similar to the placebo arm[1].

 

Thalassemia refers to a diverse group of genetic disorders that affect red blood cell production, causing anemia. Unlike patients with other types of thalassemia, those with NTDT syndromes can live without regular transfusions, a significant cause of iron overload. However, even without transfusions, NTDT patients still accumulate excess iron through intestinal absorption, leading to debilitating health complications like liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, blood clots, bone disease, pulmonary hypertension and vascular and endocrine diseases[2],[3].

 

“Patients with NTDT have suffered the effects of iron overload without accurate diagnosis, clear treatment guidelines or specifically approved oral therapies,” said Hervé Hoppenot, President, Novartis Oncology. “The CHMP recommendation is an important step toward improving the outcomes of patients with this type of thalassemia.”

 

According to published studies, at least three quarters of a million people worldwide have NTDT syndromes, although as understanding of the disease increases, it is probable the number will grow[4],[5],[6]. Because NTDT patients are not symptomatic at birth, when most thalassemias are diagnosed, they are often underdiagnosed and undertreated[7]. Many complications associated with iron overload begin to appear as early as age 10 and become increasingly common as patients reach their 20s or 30s[8]. Most NTDT patients are of South and Southeast Asian, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern origin, with immigration broadening the global prevalence[7],[9].

 

The European Commission generally follows the recommendations of the CHMP and usually delivers its final decision within three months of the CHMP recommendation. The decision will be applicable to all 27 EU member states plus Iceland and Norway. Exjade has been approved to treat chronic iron overload in patients with NTDT in Canada and several other countries; further regulatory submissions are ongoing.

 

About Exjade

Exjade is an oral iron chelation therapy indicated for the treatment of chronic iron overload due to frequent blood transfusions (>=7 ml/kg/month of packed red blood cells) in patients with beta thalassemia aged 6 years and older). It is also indicated for the treatment of chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions when deferoxamine therapy is contraindicated or inadequate in the following patient groups: patients with beta thalassemia major with iron overload due to frequent blood transfusions (>=7 ml/kg/month of packed red blood cells) aged 2 to 5 years; patients with beta thalassemia major with iron overload due to infrequent blood transfusions (<7 ml/kg/month of packed red blood cells) aged 2 years and older; and patients with other anemias aged 2 years and older[10].

 

It is approved in more than 100 countries including the US, Switzerland, Japan and countries comprising the EU. The approved indication may vary depending upon the individual country.

 

Exjade important safety information

Exjade is contraindicated in patients with an estimated creatinine clearance <60 mL/min, with hypersensitivity to the active substance or any of the excipients, or in combination with other iron chelator therapies. Exjade is not recommended in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

 

There have been postmarketing reports of acute renal failure, hepatic failure and cytopenias. Renal failure requiring temporary or permanent dialysis, renal tubulopathy and interstitial nephritis have been reported. Upper gastrointestinal ulceration and hemorrhage, sometimes fatal, have been reported. Caution should be used in elderly patients due to a higher frequency of adverse reactions. Exjade is not recommended in patients with a short life expectancy (e.g., high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes), especially when co-morbidities could increase the risk of adverse events.

 

Skin rashes, serious hypersensitivity reactions, decreased hearing and lens opacities have been reported. The most common adverse reactions are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, non-progressive increases in serum creatinine, increased transaminases, abdominal distension, constipation, dyspepsia, proteinuria and headache.

Please visit www.exjade.com for more information.

References

[1] Taher A, Porter J, Viprakasit V, et al. Deferasirox significantly reduces iron overload in non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia: 1-year results from a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Blood. 2012. Published online before print May 15, 2012.

 

[2] Musallam KM, Cappellini MD, Wood JC, et al. Iron overload in non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia: a clinical perspective. Blood Reviews. 2012:26S:S16-S19.

 

[3] Musallam KM, Cappellini MD, Wood JC, Motta I, Graziadei G, Tamin H, Taher AT. Elevated liver iron concentration is a marker of increased morbidity in patients with ß thalassemia intermedia. Haematologica. 2011 Nov;96(11):1605-12.

 

[4] Vichinsky E. Hemoglobin E syndromes. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2007;79-83.

 

[5] Weatherall DJ. The definition and epidemiology of non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia. Blood Reviews. 2012:26S:S3-S6.

 

[6] Vichinsky EP. Changing patterns of thalassemia worldwide. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2005;1054:18-24.

 

[7] Thalassaemia International Federation. The Thalassaemia International Federation’s (TIF) New Focus: Addressing the Management of Non-Transfusion-Dependent Thalassaemias (NTDT). Position Paper 5.2. March 20, 2012. Accessed at: http://www.thalassaemia.org.cy/pdf/NTDT_Position_Paper_Final.pdf.

 

[8] Taher AT. Age-related complications in treatment-naïve patients with thalassemia intermedia. Brit J Haematol. 2010;150:486-489.

 

[9] Taher A, Cappellini MD, Musallam KM. Recent advances and treatment challenges in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia. Blood. 2012;26S:S1-2.

 

[10] EMC. Summary of product characteristics: EXJADE 125 mg, 250mg, 500mg dispersible tablets. Last updated January 13, 2012. Accessed at: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/18805.

 

Source: Novartis newsletter.