Posts Tagged by cambridge
|September 13, 2016||Posted by Anharris under Events|
Our colleague Christina Inge is offering a 40% discount for her September 24 writing workshop to HarrisCom friends–Our codeword is HARRIS. Great if you’d come…and help spread the word!
–Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning public relations firm based in Cambridge, MA.
Attend Sleek’s Business Writing Bootcamp
September 24th, Impact Hub Boston
A Full Day of Sessions to Improve Your Writing:
|July 5, 2016||Posted by Anharris under HarrisCom News, Health, Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science, Video|
A landmark MIT Convergence report entitled “Convergence: The Future of Human Health”– released on June 23, 2016– and a video of launch proceedings are now available online.
The Convergence report and related materials may be downloaded from http://www.convergencerevolution.net/ . The launch proceedings, held on June 24 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, are available at https://vimeo.com/album/4020692 .
The Convergence report, chaired by former MIT President Susan Hochfield, Nobel Laureate Philip Sharp and Koch Institute Director Tyler Jacks, outlines progress and challenges regarding Convergence science since the group’s 2011 report, “Convergence, The Third Revolution.” The new report defines Convergence as “the merging of approaches and insights from historically distinct disciplines such as engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences” to transform biomedicine and human health.
It argues that bringing Convergence to fruition requires strategic and sustained support from government, industry and academe.
It is is available for download at: http://www.convergencerevolution.net/, along with other materials on Convergence issues.
The Convergence report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as on input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. Their efforts have produced a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but the report emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.
“Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue,” says Sharp. “Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report’s authors call for increasing NIH funding for convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.
A video of the launch proceedings at the National Academies is available at https://vimeo.com/album/4020692 .
Harris Communications Group’s Anita Harris and Linda Grace-Kobas are pleased to have worked on the writing and editing of the report; we’re looking forward to viewing the videos–and will report back when we’ve done so! In the meantime, we hope you’ll take a look.
–Anita M. Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning public relations and marketing firm specializing in outreach for health, science and technology, worldwide. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, technologies and companies anywhere.
|June 23, 2016||Posted by Anharris under HarrisCom News, Health, Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science, Technology|
Anita Harris and Linda Grace Kobas of the Harris Communications Group played key roles in the writing and editing of “Convergence: the Future of Health,” a report released today by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Convergence report is aimed at accelerating a “Convergence Revolution,” in which the tools, technologies, methods and insights of physical sciences, information technology and engineering are increasingly being employed in the life sciences to transform biomedicine, promising to enhance human health and well-being.
The Convergence report was chaired by Susan Hochfield, former president of MIT and a neuroscientist; Tyler Jacks, Director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT; and Nobel Prize Laureate Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT.
“It was a privilege to work with such a brilliant team on a project that holds the potential to transform biomedicine in the US,” Harris said.
The Convergence report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. It includes a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.
As Sharp explained, “Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue. Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report calls for increasing NIH funding for Convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.
Harris, aided by MIT graduate and post doctoral students, wrote the sections covering education and policy; a second author, Al Hammond, a former editor at Science Magazine, wrote the scientific and technical sections. Linda Grace-Kobas, former Cornell University News Director and a member of the Harris Communications Group, served as copy editor. Kate Stoll of the MIT Washington office was the project manager.
A forum on “Convergence: the Future of Health” will be held at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 24.
The report is available at http://www.convergencerevolution.net/2016-report .
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. Managing Director Anita M. Harris is a former journalist who covered health, science and technology for the MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now the NewsHour) of PBS. Linda Grace Kobas, also a former science journalist, served for many years as the Cornell University News Director
|September 17, 2015||Posted by Anharris under Uncategorized|
Harris Communications Group
|August 3, 2015||Posted by Anharris under Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science|
Optimized for analysis of SNPs, mutations and copy number changes in 500+ cancer gene targets
Rapidly customizable for discovery, validation and highly-targeted clinical diagnostic testing in a single assay
NuGEN Technologies, of San Carlos, CA, today launched a sample preparation product that allows NGS detection of multiple changes in more than 500 individual genes implicated in cancer.
The reagent kit, based on NuGEN’s Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), is called the Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System. The new kit updates NuGEN’s well-established Ovation Cancer Panel Target Enrichment System both by enriching for an improved and larger selection of cancer-related genes, and by enabling the detection of gene level copy-number variations (CNV) in addition to SNPs, mutations and indels, in a single workflow. It can be used with either fresh or FFPE tissue sections to deliver sensitive and reproducible targeted genomic analysis.
The method can also be rapidly customized to provide target enrichment kits for any gene sets defined by the researcher within a target size range that may include thousands of genes or just a few.
The new product is the latest release in the company’s drive to offer tools for targeted resequencing that provide basic and clinical researchers with a holistic view of the underlying molecular biology of disease.
“We’re excited by this latest product introduction,” said NuGEN CEO Elizabeth Hutt. “The Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System enables a more comprehensive picture of the biology of a particular sample. And by making it possible to analyze mutations, SNPs and gene copy number changes in a single assay, the new system will save researchers time and money and allow more efficient use of samples.”
Typically, to analyze single nucleotide mutations and copy number changes in a sample, researchers have had to employ completely different analysis platforms. NuGEN’s new method allows simultaneous targeted analysis of both types of changes, from a single sample preparation, on a choice of Illumina NGS systems.
According to Robert P. Sebra, Ph.D., Director of Technology Development at the Icahn Institute and Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York: “The underlying cause of cancer involves critical alterations in the genome. These alterations may include point mutations, changes in gene copy number, combinations of these, and other genomic changes. Having a common NGS workflow to simultaneously detect multiple types of variations would be invaluable because it would conserve precious patient samples and offers the ability to reproduce or validate results.”
Hutt added: “For cancer research, combined mutation and CNV analysis is a valuable complement to NuGEN’s recently released Ovation Fusion Panel Target Enrichment System, which also uses SPET to detect both known and unknown gene fusions in all exons of a 500 gene panel.”
NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company providing innovative products and systems for the preparation of biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis. Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types. NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies in 40 countries.
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and digital marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA.
|July 28, 2015||Posted by Anharris under Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science, PR, Uncategorized|
MULTI-SITE STUDY VALIDATES END-TO-END RNA-SEQ SAMPLE PREP WORKFLOW FOR HUMAN WHOLE BLOOD CLINICAL SAMPLES
System integrates PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies innovations to ensure reliable, reproducible, cost-effective RNA-Sequencing analysis. Corporate study alliance model critical to standardization, bringing genomics to the clinic.
San Carlos, CA and Piscataway, NJ, July 15, 2015— A multi-site study has clinically validated an end-to-end workflow for the collection, storage, transport and preparation of human whole blood samples for RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq). The study, initiated in January 2015, integrated products from PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies, which worked collaboratively with RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers University to measure the system’s efficacy for transcriptome profiling with clinical samples.
“We have determined that the PreAnalytiX/NuGEN integrated workflow ensures reproducible, accurate and sensitive results in RNA-Seq of whole blood. Importantly, this integrated workflow enables gene expression from total RNA, allowing researchers to study both protein coding and regulatory transcripts from human whole blood,” said Dr. Andrew Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, who led the study. Brooks is also an associate professor of Genetics at Rutgers University and directs the Bionomics Research and Technology Center at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute there. Brooks will outline the study results on Tuesday, July 14 at the International Leaders in Biobanking Conference, in Toronto.
“This study is critical for clinical researchers because it demonstrates that by using the combined PreAnalytiX and NuGEN workflow, scientists in laboratories around the world can confidently share not only their data but also their samples,” Brooks said. “And, by joining forces to validate the combination of their proprietary technologies, PreAnalytiX and NuGEN have taken the lead with RUCDR to deliver the standardization needed for broader adoption of genomics in the clinic.”
Brooks explained that total RNA derived from patient blood samples is used for a myriad of clinical genomics applications—such as discovery and analysis of disease-related biomarkers, identification of new therapeutic targets and monitoring disease progression and treatment. But there are factors that present challenges to data integrity when using whole blood. Collection, storage, purification, handling and transport methods may vary. Nucleic acids can degrade during handling and processing, resulting in unreliable results and bias in transcript abundance. Whole blood also contains high levels of uninformative ribosomal RNA and reticulocyte globin RNA, which can reduce sequencing efficiencies and increase costs. Moreover, variation between sites and operators makes it difficult to standardize results among researchers and laboratories. “If researchers across multiple sites obtain different results, we need to be sure the variations are attributable to changes in the biology and not the technology,” he said.
At the Biobanking Congress, Brooks reported tight correlation in results across three sites in New Jersey with multiple operators, using several nanograms of total RNA from each of 10 subjects. That is, using PreAnalytiX technology for extraction, storage and transportation of samples and NuGEN technology for library formation and depletion of ribosomal RNA and globin prior to whole transcriptome analysis, the study team found high reproducibility of results across sites, operators and equipment. “The combined workflow led to reproducible whole blood collection and storage; reproducible and robust RNA extraction; reproducible and consistent library creation; and tight performance correlations across and within sites,” he said.
“This integrated sample prep workflow will be important for scientists seeking new genetic biomarkers for disease. It will be valuable to pharmaceutical clinical trials for determining if a therapeutic leads to genetic changes in a particular cancer. And it is important to the future of clinical research because it allows the development of guidelines and standards for scientists who want to share samples, not just data, globally, across sites and experiments,” Brooks said. “Without such standardization, many results might never advance to the clinic.”
The study used the PreanalytiX PAXgene Blood RNA System for whole blood collection, storage and RNA extraction and NuGEN’s Insert Dependent Adaptor Cleavage (InDA-C) technology from the NuGEN Ovation Human Blood RNA-Seq System to prepare strand-specific RNA-Seq libraries and for ribosomal/globin depletion. RUCDR Infinite Biologics oversaw sample collection, processing and data analysis.
NuGEN Technologies is the leader in providing solutions which make biological samples accessible for genomic analysis, enabling scientists to capture the truest biology achievable, independent of the quantity or quality of the samples. The company has commercialized numerous proprietary DNA and RNA sample preparation products for use in research and diagnostic applications. Founded in 2000, NuGEN Technologies, Inc. is privately held and headquartered in San Carlos, CA. For more information please visit www.nugen.com
About RUCDR Infinite Biologics
RUCDR offers a complete and integrated selection of biological sample processing, analysis and biorepository services to government agencies, academic institutions, foundations and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies within the global scientific community. RUCDR provides DNA, RNA and cell lines with clinical data to hundreds of research laboratories for studies on mental health and developmental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and digestive, liver and kidney diseases. RUCDR completed an $11.8 million expansion and renovation of its facilities in May 2013. Read more at www.rucdr.org
NuGEN and Ovation are registered trademarks of NuGEN Technologies, Inc.. PreAnalytiX and PAXgene are registered trademarks of PreAnalytiX GmbH.
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning Life Science PR and thought leadership firm based in Cambridge, MA.
|July 1, 2015||Posted by Anharris under Client Releases, Highlight 2, Innovation, Life Science, PR, Press Releases, Technology|
Pleased that HarrisCom life science PR client, NuGEN Technologies, has published an article in the journal PLOS ONE on a technology that allows scientists to use targeted next generation sequencing to screen for fusion events–gene abnormalities related to certain cancers. They believe their new method could help accelerate cancer research and development of treatments and diagnostic tests. Here’s the press release:
San Carlos, June Scientists at NuGEN Technologies, Inc. have simultaneously surveyed RNA of more than 400 targeted genes in a single assay, using next generation sequencing (NGS) to detect fusions known to be key drivers of tumor growth in several cancer types. The scientists, who employed an innovative method of targeted sequence library preparation, also discovered low-frequency fusions that had not previously been reported.
The new method, which allows the simultaneous interrogation of multiple, specific genes for RNA sequencing, significantly simplifies fusion detection when compared with standard RNA sequencing approaches.
Based on NuGEN’s Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), the method “can greatly enhance scientists’ ability to understand the underlying oncogenic impact of a variety of genomic disruptions,” according to Elizabeth Hutt, the NuGEN CEO. “Applications based on this exciting new technology promise to speed up cancer research and lead to more effective diagnoses and treatments.”
As described in the June 1, 2015 issue of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, the scientists used the new method to prepare cancerous and normal tissue samples for targeted RNA sequencing. The goal was to detect the presence of genes that had joined together or “fused”—resulting in disruption of regulatory mechanisms. Through NGS, the scientists were able to identify multiple known and previously unreported fusions from fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.
By targeting specific RNAs for sequencing, the scientists report, they were able to reduce the number of sequencing reads and increase the sensitivity of gene fusion detection, when compared with standard RNA-Seq methods.
“Traditional methods require a much larger number of sequencing reads in order to detect fusion events in a background of some 20,000 transcripts,” said Douglas Amorese, NuGEN Vice President of Research and Development. “Other focused methods cannot survey the entire repertoire of previously recognized fusions; they are limited to detection of small numbers of potential events.”
Additionally, the scientists write in PLOS, “The SPET-based assay is easy to use, has low RNA input requirements and can be used with RNA from formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue, which is important for clinically relevant samples. “ The assay is fully customizable to target any gene or set of genes in any genome.”
The new technology is one in a suite of sample preparation products NuGEN continues to develop in light of new scientific understanding about the shared molecular mechanisms underlying cancers originating in different tissues, according to Amorese. While a tumor might appear to originate in a specific organ, the molecular mechanism or change involved may also play a role in cancers originating elsewhere. (For example, certain breast and ovarian cancers exhibit similar genetic disruptions). This means that therapeutics effective in treating one type of tumor may also be useful in treating other tumors exhibiting similar molecular changes.
“Our technology allows researchers to better understand the cellular pathways that are disrupted,” Amorese said.
NuGEN’s new technology, offered in easy-to-use reagent kits, will initially be employed by researchers and clinical oncologists seeking to group tumors by genomic signature. “Such classifications will make it possible to develop and target therapies more effectively,” Amorese said.
The new, SPET-based technology will also be used by laboratories developing diagnostic tests and by pharmaceutical companies to develop, test and predict the efficacy of specific therapeutics for individual cancer patients. All of the above will contribute to the realization of precision medicine, Hutt said.
Amorese likened the new SPET method to “a microscope with greater power to detect fusions than has ever before been available.” Now, he said, “you can look for potential fusion events among hundreds of genes known to be associated with tumors just as easily as you can look at a single gene. Tests that narrowly focus on small subsets of potential fusions can be misleading and fail to take advantage of the power of next gen sequencing. Those tests are just scratching the surface as it relates to understanding what is happening in the cell. ” Amorese said.
The complete article, “An Efficient Method for identifying gene fusions by targeted RNA sequencing from fresh frozen and FFPE samples,” is by Jonathan A. Scolnick, Michelle Dimon, I-Ching Wang, Stephanie C. Huelga, and Douglas A. Amorese, all of NuGEN Technologies. The article will be available free of charge at 2 pm July 1, 2015 at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128916 http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128916 . For an advance copy, please contact Anita Harris, anita.m.harris at harriscom.com.
NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company that provides innovative products and systems used to prepare biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis. Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types. NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies in 40 countries.
|October 27, 2014||Posted by Anharris under Books, Events, HarrisCom News, Thought Leadership|
– How to get a publisher to buy your book
– Self-publishing in the internet age
– The value of e-books
– What every winning book proposal MUST include today
– Crowdfunding, pricing your book, and other money matters
– How to market your book
–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA.
|October 23, 2014||Posted by Anharris under Cool Companies, Events, Innovation, Technology|
On Wednesday, October 8, I was pleased to attend a “nano road show” highlighting tiny technologies and expansive R&D capabilities of the Czech Republic came to Boston.
Sponsored by “CzechInvest,” the Czech Republic’s investment and business development agency, and by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, the “road show” featured six companies and research institutions with expertise in nanotechnology–a branch of engineering focused on the design and manufacture of extremely small devices built at the molecular level of matter.
At a reception held at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston, I had the opportunity to speak with Jan Slunsky, the CEO of a company called Nano Iron–which produces tiny iron particles used to treat ground water contaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbons from industrial waste. “Our nano particles are “very reactive” and may clear an area of pollutants in months-to-years—unlike other ‘in-situ’ reagents that can take 10-to-20 years to reduce contaminants,” Slunsky said, “And because Nano Iron particles are composed of a naturally occurring mineral, they do not add toxicity when injected into a substrate.” Other remediating processes may involve the costly transport of polluted water to distant filtration plants, he added. Nano Iron currently partners with environmental consultants and remediation companies in the Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Nano Iron recently launched a pilot project in South Carolina.
- Another presenting company was Advanced Materials-JTJ, which introduced its own industrial process of manufacturingofphotocatalytic multifunctional paints for air purification. The company has also patented large-scale technology toproduceTiO2nanoparticles withhigh efficiency. Advanced MaterialsJTJ works with several universities and international companies on variety of R&D and commercial projects. With technologies are in material science,photocatalysis and energy accumulation, ADvancedMaterials-JTJ participates in EC grant consortia onphotocatalytic water decontamination.I also met Martin Navratil, chairman of the board of SYNPO, a commercially-oriented, privately held R&D center which arose in 1992 from a government-owned research center. Today, SYNPO offers new technologies and products such as coatings adhesives, composites and binders based on applied polymer science. It focuses on contract research and development, manufacturing, process development, and nanostructured polymers and polymers from renewable raw materials. It also provides specialized analytic services, helps client companies scale up production, and trains students. SYNPO’s clients range from small Czech and European companies to some of the world’s largest multinational chemical companies, including DuPont, in the US, Navratil said.
Featured educational and research and development institutions included:
- The Central European University of Technology (CEITEC) — a multidisciplinary science center focused on life sciences and advanced materials and technologies.
- The Technical University of LIberec Department of Nonwovens, which offers patented process of industrial-scale production of nanofibers (including nanofiber scaffolds for use in tissue engineering, and composite nanofibers).
- The Technical University of Liberec – Institute for Nanomaterials, Advanced Technologies and Innovation (CxI), which provides long-term support of industrial research activities and utilization of new technologies and technological production methods. Its foci include competitive engineering, robotics and mechatronics, and applications of nanofiber materials.
After the meeting, Abi Barrow, director of the Boston-based Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, said: “Nanotechnology is changing the world. It will change the way everything operates, because of the new materials people are now developing. The Czech’s have exhibited some ‘very interesting’ technology and research skills in the nanotech arena. And New England, with its own great nanotech base, has real interest in finding cost-effective ways to contract out research development and testing.”
Agt the event, I learned that, t in the 1930´s Czechoslovakia was ranked among 10 most developed countries in the world and that Czech scientists were instrumental in developing contact lenses and anti-HIV drugs.
Jan Fried, director of East Coast operations for CzechInvest tokd me that today, “the Czech Republic offers the best conditions in Central and Eastern Europe for international partnership, with US firms major investors in Czech companies.” Additionally, CzechInvest has sponsored “CzechAccelerator” for the past three years. One such program, was based in Silicon Valley; the other at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita M. Harris is Managing Director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning marketing and public relations firm based in Cambridge, MA.
This post was adapted from a sponsored post originally written for New Cambridge Observer.