Scientists at Yale School of Medicine design a virus to treat ovarian cancer

Marisa Peryer, Senior Photographer

A new Yale study showed that certain genetically modified viruses can cure ovarian cancer in mice. It may be of use in the treatment of ovarian cancer in humans.

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have tested a chimeric virus — containing genes from two different viruses — that can selectively infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in mice. Their findings represent a potential breakthrough in the long-term treatment of ovarian cancer in humans. The study was published in the journal Virology on Nov. 12, two weeks after the death of the paper’s lead author Anthony Van den Pol, former professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry at Yale.

“Every year, around 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is a smaller number compared to cancer types such as breast cancer,” said Gil Mor, the scientific director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at Wayne State University and a co-author of the paper. “However, unfortunately only around 4,000 of those women can survive the disease.”

The main reason behind the lethality of ovarian cancer is the lack of treatments preventing the recurrence of the disease. In 80 percent of cases, patients who respond positively to chemotherapy still experience a return of the disease, according to Mor. He explained that once the cancer comes back and begins to spread, there is little that doctors can do.

The inspiration for the study was born out of a collaboration between Van den Pol and Mor many years ago, when they worked in adjacent labs at the Yale School of Medicine. Van den Pol, a research scientist in the Neurosurgery Department, had concentrated his research on the long-term treatment of brain tumors. Mor, on the other hand, had been working on treatments for ovarian cancer. The two scientists decided to collaborate to find an alternative treatment for ovarian cancer through oncolytic viruses, which selectively infect and kill cancer cells.

In the experiment’s in vitro phase, in which the research takes place in laboratory tubes or petri dishes without a living component, researchers made a virus called Lassa-VSV in the laboratory. Lassa-VSV consists of three parts: the Lassa virus, the vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, and a fluorescent label to facilitate tracing, according to Nazli Albayrak, a scientist who was involved in the in vitro phase. During this phase, the team infected different ovarian cancer cell lines, eventually choosing the ones that were infected most frequently to proceed with the research. 

Then, after deciding on the cell line, the team injected tumor cells into the bodies of the mice, the paper explains. As the tumor cells began to replicate, the team then injected the Lassa-VSV virus into the tumor clusters. They observed that the virus infected the tumor cells very effectively yet did not harm the healthy cells

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Museo building to merge medicine and modern design in the Museum District

The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed construction in Houston, as concrete trucks traverse the freeways and cranes add layers to the Jengalike structures that ultimately become midrise and high-rise buildings.

There’s one underway now on Fannin Street next to the Mann Eye Institute at the point where Midtown gives way to the Museum District. Dr. Mike Mann goes to work each day and keeps track of the building — his latest project — by looking out his window.

From a conference room in his medical office building, Mann talks about his dream for a three-building complex that will include a new medical office building — the 10-story Museo, which broke ground earlier this year and has an anticipated price tag of $77 million — and, someday, a five-star hotel and then a residential high-rise, all centered around a parklike setting.

The three-story main office for his ophthalmology practice was built in 1979 and was likely thought of as sleek and stylish back then. But architecture has been taken up a notch in recent years, with modern design gaining traction in residential, commercial and hospitality sectors.

Marko Dasigenis, who once worked with architect Philip Johnson in New York and also worked in what is now the PJMD architecture offices in Houston, is the lead designer for Mann’s trio of buildings.

Mann sees Museo — and potentially the whole complex — as creating a beautiful new gateway to what lies beyond: Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Asia Society, Holocaust Museum and other cultural sites within walking distance. Newish modern residential buildings, the 24-story Southmore and the 8-story Mond, both are nearby as well.

On the surface, Museo’s architecture is strictly modern, with panels of blue-green glass for the exterior and, for the interior, slabs of pure white marble that Mann, Dasigenis and architectural colorist Carl Black flew to Macedonia in Greece to personally select. On the environmental side, the building will be Class A LEED certified.

“I love to restore vision, it is a passion. But I have always had a thing for real estate … and I like art,” said Mann, who started his medical practice 43 years ago. “My life has been wonderful, that I can practice ophthalmology and build the practice and now have a place where other people can practice medicine.”

The Mann Eye Institute will occupy the 10th floor of Museo, and the remaining space will be leased to other medical practices. Mann envisions the first floor as having a variety of uses intended to draw in the public.

Dasigenis said that the beauty of designing and constructing a medical office building now is that they’re able to accommodate the new, high-tech future that lies ahead. The formula of a building with 25,000 square feet per floor and a boxy exterior are a thing of the past.

Although Museo is the first of Mann’s ideas to be built, Dasigenis actually first designed the potential residential high-rise and established its design vocabulary based on analytical cubism,

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Honor’s next cheap fitness tracker is coming soon, with a big design improvement

Honor has just teased its newest affordable fitness tracker, the Honor Band 6, and unlike previous models it looks set to arrive with an all-screen display.

The company posted a teaser naming the Honor Band 6, the anticipated follow-up to 2019’s Honor Band 5, on Chinese social media platform Weibo, along with a key piece of information about the new wearable’s design.

Apparently, the Honor Band 6 fitness tracker will be a ‘full-screen bracelet’ – that’s machine-translated from the original Chinese, but we assume it refers to the fact that the new Band will have a display that covers the entirety of the body.

Previous Honor Band models have had small screens, with physical buttons below them, as the picture above shows.

The Honor Band 6 is set to launch on November 3, and given the nature of this announcement we’d expect it to be a China-only launch initially, with a global one soon afterwards.

Not Band here

You might be aware of Honor through its parent company Huawei, and both have been subject to recent trade disputes – the biggest consequence of which is that smartphones from both companies ship without Google apps.

That doesn’t affect wearables though, as they don’t use Google apps, and we’ve found recent offerings from Honor to be very impressive. The Honor Watch ES is a great fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid with loads of health tools, while the Honor Watch GS Pro is a feature-packed rugged smartwatch that we’re still in the process of testing.

The Honor Band line of fitness trackers are value options that give you all the core features you need (sleep tracking, step counting, exercise monitoring and so on), but in a small body and at a low price. They’re perfect for people who don’t need loads of fitness tools but want the basics to keep them going.

Hopefully the Honor Band 6 will again hit this low-cost, high-function tradition sweet spot, and we’re sure to find out soon. And when the fitness tracker gets launched globally we’ll bring you everything you need to know.

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Meet The US-Based Fitness Brand Using Data To Design The Perfect Workouts

US-based fitness brand P.volve has designed its workout programmes so they can be done anywhere. And behind all of the training is a simple idea: workouts should translate to real-life movements. Why should we go to the gym and move our bodies in a way we never do in our daily life? Despite a hugely varied repertoire of classes and streaming workouts, don’t expect to see any burpees or old-fashioned crunches. The goal is to work with your body not against it. It’s all about toning, lengthening and developing long and lean muscles. And many of the workouts are designed for busy schedules, with no shortage of high-intensity classes lasting 10, 20 or 30 minutes. But what really makes P.volve different is its well-targeted equipment range, much of which tucks neatly into a suitcase or weekend bag.

Tell me about the new LA studio and what you were looking to achieve? What about the Chicago studio?

Rachel Katzman, CEO and co-founder of P.Volve: Because we’ve built this global streaming community since day one, we have been able to connect with our members around the world and understand exactly what they want. Immediately after opening our New York studio, we knew Chicago would be the next market for us, given our streamer base there. Because of the pandemic, opening in Chicago last month in the West Loop neighborhood was all about providing a support system and wellness community for Chicago citizens, with safety, of course, at the forefront. Hosting both limited-capacity indoor classes, as well as classes on the sidewalk outside our studio really has been amazing.

In today’s world, we know that people want a hybrid approach to fitness—workout in-studio with their close friends and accountability partners, stream from home for a quick 15-minute burn when their schedule is tight, and have the option to train privately. And that’s what we strive to do at P.volve.

How has the virus changed the way P.volve runs its business and classes? Do you think these will be permanent changes? We had to follow all of the guidelines and shut down our NYC studio and production studio in March—but we knew that we couldn’t stop producing fresh content, especially given how many people were now stuck at home and facing challenges on finding ways to move.

We sent all of our trainers tripods and lighting equipment, so they could easily produce videos from their homes. We produced content for our 0n-demand platform but then also released free content on our Instagram channel daily, so that anyone had access to ways to workout from home—even if they weren’t already a member with us. We also quickly launched a seven-day reset program, which included nutritional tips.

We’ve always been a data-obsessed company, but now more than ever, we are really listening and watching what specific content people want. We spend countless hours a week watching our members and our trial participants,

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