Haiku about Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.)

Haven’t written in a long time. The right reason never presented itself until now 🙂

This haiku is about the greatest champion of Islam, or even of the world, to have ever lived. It is about the battle of Khandaq.

“Sun high, trenches deep

Dark champion, struck, fallen

Ali, Lion of God!”

Of this blow, Muhammad, Prophet of God, (p.b.u.h) said: “Ali’s strike on the day of the trench, is worth the combined worship of all of mankind and Jinns”

 

 

Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMOs) Are Safe And Beneficial

potatoes cutting board wooden cooking
Photo by Ela Haney on Pexels.com

GMOs have been the subjects of very heated debates for decades, and now more than ever in Nigeria. GM technologies hold great benefits in order to boost food yield, quality, feed a growing population of any country and play a pivotal role in the fight against the spread of new infectious diseases. This subject is particularly important for Africa where the population is expected to climb from 1.2 billion to 2.4 billion by 2050. Without concrete solutions to answer this reality, Africa faces a future of increased malnutrition, be more at risk to disease propagation and reliance on food and medicine imports. This would result in strong economic pressure on many African countries due to higher food and medicine prices and increase dependence on international food and health aid to fill the gap between domestic production and demand. In this address, the author intends to examine the objections to adopting GM technologies by the most vocal organizations and provide real answers to their claims.

What are the objections to adopting GM technology?

The most vocal organizations against the adoption of GM technology are Non-Profit Organizations (NGOs) such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Genewatch, ActionAid and GM Freeze and their affiliates and allies in Africa have urged countries not to commercialize GM crops. Opponents claim it would mortgage their agricultural sector to large multinational agri-businesses, harm biodiversity, undermine small farmers and expose their populations to the potential health hazards of consuming GM food, that can vary from organ damage to risk of cancer.

These claims were all proved wrong and, in fact, there is no scientific evidence suggesting GMOs to be more dangerous to human health or the environment than conventional or organic foods. This conclusion was confirmed in May 2016 by the US National Academy of science. The Academy of Sciences of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and the International Society of African Scientists (ISAS) also confirmed these findings.
Additionally, a paper published by Gent University in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America in May 2015 showed evidence that sweet potatoes are actually GMOs issue of plant-microbe interactions. The same technology used today in labs to create modern day GMOs. Sweet potatoes have been eaten for millennia and are not only considered safe for the environment and consumption but have also been shown to provide health benefits to consumers.
Furthermore, 129 Nobel Laureates have joined in a campaign to convince the Green Parties and the public that they should support the use of GMOs, especially for the sake of the developing world. This letter was published in the Journal of Innovation & Knowledge in the May-August 2018 issue.

The only scientific argument regarding GMOs in Europe is the so-called gene flow risk, where an unwanted gene is inadvertently transferred to other populations, i.e. GMO crops intended for industrial use finds it foreign gene into crops intended for humans. This concern however is safely dealt with the use of buffer zones. The recent success of the field trials in Nigeria of two GM soybean seeds is the proof of that.
Since GM technologies from a scientific point of view are safe and sound, one is entitled to ponder as to why they haven’t adopted them as of yet?

The main opposition comes from the European Union. EU environmental non-profits and EU politicians have all opposed the adoption of GM crops in Africa. EU has adopted a precautionary approach to GMOs, with the main blockers being France and Germany. The principal reason for this is of course monetary. Indeed, most of the African agricultural produce is destined for the EU. The EU is trying to protect its farmers against the more productive GMOs producers, the U.S.A. GMOs produced in Africa are not barred from EU imports by law, however, constraining labeling laws is a scare factor for buyers. Indeed, the EU food labeling system forces companies to indicate if the food or feed they produce contains GMOs. This labeling applies when GMOs account for at least 0.9 percent of the food or the feed. As such, much of Africa refuses to grow GMOs scared to lose the wealthy EU buyers.

The stance of the EU on African GMOs also led to the refusal by Africa of the American food aid because it contained GMOs. The reason behind this refusal was that the American food aid might inadvertently “contaminate” Africa’s crops, which would lead to the refusal of the EU to buy African agricultural produce. Recently, scholars in a study published in journal PLoS On in the July 2017 issue have concluded that these delays in introducing GMOs led to significant economic and human health costs, including malnutrition and stunting. They even determined for example that a one year delay in approval of the pod-borer resistant cowpea in Nigeria will cost the country about 33 million USD to 46 million USD and between 100 and 3,000 lives.

The incurred losses due to trade wars between the EU and the USA determined by the study are only the tip of the iceberg. The costs of banning GMOs also extend to the country’s economical growth, research and development sector and competitiveness of the country in a booming new industry. CropLife Canada estimates that the use of biotech crops and pesticides has enabled farmers to produce 47 percent more grain worth an added CA$ 9.8 billion on an annual basis. Those numbers are only for GMO crops intended for consumption and do no take into account the revenues generated by GMO industry and technologies. GMOs are also used to produce complex pharmaceuticals such as anti-HIV drugs made in GM tobacco in the EU, the same Europe that is banning GMOs. The revenues from this industry would not only benefit farmers by allowing them to diversify production for a very lucrative return but would also allow local industry to emerge. It would allow a country like Nigeria to be the leader in the field and considerably increase its competitiveness across the world.

Indeed, Biopharming, which has created a new generation of GM crops, has the prospect of becoming a cheaper and more efficient alternative to producing pharmaceutical products for human use. Biopharming is the cultivation of crops for a pharmaceutical purpose, giving them the ability to produce desired therapeutic proteins that are then extracted, purified, and used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce large-molecule, protein-based drugs. Corn, rice, tobacco, and alfalfa are among the top candidates for being widely used in biopharming. This new utilization of GMOs has opened the door to an entirely new type of industry with new revenues and technologies. Nigeria and Africa could benefit a lot from this technology.

In summary, GMOs have been proven safe and beneficial in more ways than one by the scientific community and by the people who have been using them for years and even millennia. Nigeria should be praised for taking the endeavor to lead Africa to innovative future in agriculture, biopharmaceuticals and science that will result in the ability to sustain the people in adequate and human conditions while improving its economy. Last year, big wins by the Nigerian government in getting the commercialization of Bt cotton approved and in beginning the process of deregulating Bt cowpea will without a doubt lead to great benefits for the Nigerian people. Those milestones also opened the door for significant progress to the Nigerian biotechnology sector. In other words, Nigeria has now a real opportunity to become a leader in the field and not only apply solutions to manage its growing population but also to develop its own ones uniquely designed to its beautiful environment and culture. Let us all hope that the opponents to GMOs wrongly guided by EU interests will see the light and help Nigeria grow into the leader it aspires to be.

By Dr. Yasser S. Hassan

Interesting facts about GMOs

Interesting video about GMOs, especially the bit about sweet potatoes. Too bad they didn’t cover “good” GMOs, those with improved overall values such as nutritional, medicinal, etc. GMOs that are not profit driven. Like the one I developed 😁. A transgenic medicinal plant having enhanced defense against plant pathogens and enhanced medicinal effect upon consumption, i.e. beneficial to the environment, to wildlife and farm animals and of course to humans. You can read more about it in the patent application by clicking here.

I guess a few more posts before I leave

Hello Dearest Readers,

I am writing few more posts because I would like to share with you some additional informations that will be useful to you. First, my latest research article got published in a top tier biotechnology journal and is open access. You can find a link to it in the menu. It got more than 6000 accesses in less than 5 months and is in the top 17% of most accessed articles of the same source and age. So a big thank you to you all! It took a lot of efforts and faith to get there as I am an independent researcher working with very dependent researchers and very uptight entities called government regulating bodies!

if you have questions about the article, do not hesitate to contact me as it describes an efficient and affordable way to produce a broad range antiviral fusion protein that was found to be particularly potent against chronic hepatitis b virus infections among others.

if you have questions about the nature of my theosophical doctorate in molecular biology and biotechnology, then, you are free to ask away but I won’t answer unless you can tell me first how the below sigil was constructed:

Feel free to wear it any way you see fit (on phones, T-shirts, etc), it will augment the impact of your good deeds by tenfold, for believers. It is monotheistic and an actual authentic talisman (it sums up my thesis of 6 years!), and is called Star of YA.

Thanks!

Last Post

Hello all,

I am writing to you in order to explain a little bit more the purpose of this blog and why it is coming to an end. Everything you can access on this site has been produced during the many years I spent studying (either at an University, or directly under renown scholars) in order to perfect my knowledge of the world, acquire a certain degree of wisdom and polish my soul. This blog was created to share with you, the readers, some of the knowledge I acquired along the way with the little reasoning I was able or/and allowed to do on my own. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

It is important to note that I have done all of this out of my own pocket for the most part and I must say it was very expensive, but well worth it. On this note, I would like to thank all those who supported me during the years, mainly, Family, Friends and Believers (with a particular thank to Believers). This is not the reason however as to why it is coming to an end.

As you have noticed, I just added my latest research paper on biotechnology of medicinal plants and the associated published sequence (that you can access freely). This paper marks the end of my years as a student and the beginning of my career as an erudite scholar, and, as such, this site must come to an end. I will leave it up and running of course, but will no longer contribute anything new to it.

Thank you all for your support!

Y.S.H.

 

 

 

 

Neuralstem Announces Topline Results Of Phase II ALS Trial

GERMANTOWN, Md., March 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE MKT: CUR) announced top line data from the Phase II trial of NSI-566 spinal cord-derived neural stem cells under development for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study met primary safety endpoints. The maximum tolerated dose of 16 million transplanted cells and the surgery was well tolerated.

Secondary efficacy endpoints at nine months post-surgery indicate a 47% response rate to the stem cell treatment, as measured by either near-zero slope of decline or positive slope of ALSFRS score in seven out of 15 patients and by either a near-zero decline, or positive strengthening, of grip strength in seven out of 15 patients. Grip strength is an indicator of direct muscle strength of the lower arm. ALSFRS is a standard clinical test used to evaluate the functional status of ALS patients. The average ALSFRS score for responders at 9 months after treatment was 37. Non-responders scored an average of 14. These scores represent 93%, versus 35%, of the baseline score retained, respectively, by the responders versus non-responders at 9 months, which is a statistically significant difference. As measured by an average slope of decline of ALSFRS, responders’ disease progression was -0.007 point per day, while non-responders’ disease progression was -0.1 per day, which was again statistically significant. Lung function as measured by Seated Vital Capacity shows that responder patients remained within 94% of their starting scores, versus 71% for non-responder patients. The trial met its primary safety endpoints. Both the surgery and cells were well-tolerated, with one patient experiencing a surgical serious adverse event.

“In this study, cervical intervention was both safe and well-tolerated with up to 8 million cells in 20 bilateral injections,” said Karl Johe, PhD, Neuralstem Chief Scientific Officer. “The study also demonstrated biological activity of the cells and stabilization of disease progression in a subset of patients. As in the first trial, there were both responders and non-responders within the same cohort, from patients whose general pre-surgical presentation is fairly similar. However, we believe that through the individual muscle group measurements, we may now be able to differentiate the responders from the non-responders.

“Our therapy involves transplanting NSI-566 cells directly into specific segments of the cord where the cells integrate into the host motor neurons. The cells surround, protect and nurture the patient’s remaining motor neurons in those various cord segments. The approximate strength of those remaining motor neuron pools can be measured indirectly through muscle testing of the appropriate areas, such as in the grip strength tests. We believe these types of endpoints, measuring muscle strength, will allow us to effectively predict patients that will respond to treatment, adding a sensitive measure of the therapeutic effects after treatment. Testing this hypothesis will be one of the primary goals of our next trial.” The full data is being compiled into a manuscript for publication.

“We believe the top-line data are encouraging,” said Eva Feldman MD, PhD, Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute and Director of Research of the ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System, and an unpaid consultant to Neuralstem. “We were able to dose up to 16 million cells in 40 injections, which we believe to be the maximum tolerated dose. As in the first trial, the top-line data show disease stabilization in a subgroup of patients. Perhaps equally as important, we believe the top-line data may support a method of differentiating responders from non-responders, which we believe will support our efforts as we move into the next, larger controlled trial expected to begin this summer.”

“The top-line data look very positive and encouraging. If this proportion of patients doing well after treatment can be corroborated in future therapeutic trials, it will be better than any response seen in any previous ALS trials,” said site principal investigator, Jonathan D. Glass, MD, Director of the Emory ALS Center. “Elucidating which factors define a patient who may have a therapeutic response to the stem cell treatment will be the next key challenge. We are hopeful that a set of predictive algorithms can be established to help pre-select the responders in our future trials.”

“We were very excited to participate as a site in this clinical trial,” said  Merit Cudkowicz, MD, Chief of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Co-Chair of the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS). “We are hopeful with respect to the top-line results and we need to move swiftly and safely forward to confirm the responder effect and identify people who might benefit from this treatment approach.”

The open-label, dose-escalating trial treated 15 ambulatory patients, divided into 5 dosing cohorts, at three centers, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, the ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and under the direction of principal investigator (PI), Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute and Director of Research of the ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System. Dosing increased from 1 million to 8 million cells in the cervical region of the spinal cord. The final trial cohort also received an additional 8 million cells in the lumbar region of the spinal cord.

The company anticipates commencing a later-stage, multicenter trial of NSI-566 for treatment of ALS in 2015. Neuralstem has received orphan designation by the FDA for NSI-566 in ALS.

About Neuralstem

Neuralstem’s patented technology enables the production of multiple types of central nervous system stem cells in FDA GMP commercial quantities. These stem cells are under development for the potential treatment of central nervous system diseases and conditions.

Neuralstem’s ability to generate human neural stem cell lines for chemical screening has led to the discovery and patenting of compounds that Neuralstem believes may stimulate the brain’s capacity to generate neurons, potentially reversing pathologies associated with certain central nervous system (CNS) conditions. The company has completed Phase Ia and Ib trials evaluating NSI-189, its first neurogenic small molecule product candidate, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), and is expecting to initiate a Phase II study for MDD and a Phase Ib study for cognitive deficit in Schizophrenia in 2015.

Neuralstem’s first stem cell product candidate, NSI-566, a spinal cord-derived neural stem cell line, is under development for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The primary endpoints were met in Phase II. In addition to ALS, NSI-566 is also in a Phase I trial in chronic spinal cord injury at UC San Diego School of Medicine. NSI-566 is also in clinical development to treat neurological diseases such as ischemic stroke and acute spinal cord injury.

Neuralstem’s next generation stem cell product, NSI-532.IGF, consists of human cortex-derived neural stem cells that have been engineered to secrete human insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). In animal data presented at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2014 Annual Meeting, the cells rescued spatial learning and memory deficits in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information, please visit http://www.neuralstem.com or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information:
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such forward-looking statements relate to future, not past, events and may often be identified by words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “seek” or “will.” Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. Specific risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Neuralstem’s periodic reports, including the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 and Form 10Q, for the period ended September 30, 2014.

Haiku

I recently discovered Haiku and loved it. It is a very short form of Japanese poetry. A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.

I decided to give it a try, it is not easy at all!

Samurai’s way

Empty shore, full moon

Sharp whistling through the stillness –

Bloody sword unsheathed


In darkness, you shine

Your touch, a deadly embrace –

A samurai’s sword


Scent of fresh meadow

Light in the ahead dark woods –

Fleeing for my life


Light rain, heavy steps

Muddled vision, heightened pain –

I fall to his blade

😛