Posts Tagged by science PR

MIT Convergence Report, Video Now Available Online

Convergence Report ImageAnharris | Harris Communications Group

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.

images-1Anharris | Harris Communications Group

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.”

National Insitutes of Health

National Institutes of Health

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. 

 

 

HarrisCom Group Consults on MIT Convergence Report, 2016

MIT Dome

MIT Dome

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.

[media-credit standalone=0 name="NIH" align="alignright" width="187"]Brain image [/media-credit]

Brain image

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.

dnaNIH

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

 

Dec. 4 benefit to honor tech education visionary Seymour Papert, in Cambridge

 Our friend and colleague Mark Guay Esq. invites all to attend:
Small Solutions, Big Ideas (SSBI) and One Planet Education Network (OPEN):
 Learning to Change the World© &
Honoring the Legacy of Seymour Papert
December 4, 2013
6 – 9 PM
Cambridge Innovation Center 5th Floor
1 Broadway Street, Cambridge, MA
A panel discussion, demos, celebration, and fundraiser at the Cambridge Innovation Center December 4th 6-9 PM 5th floor, featuring leading education experts and technology and education: innovators Brian Silverman, Artemis Papert, Gary Stager, Mitch Resnick, Walter Bender, Cynthia Solomon and others.
They’ll share their experiences and insights about the latest developments in educational games and other related technology-based learning programs.
 The panel discussion will be followed by nibbles, networking and demos of the latest learning software and games by the Small Solutions, Big Ideas and One Planet Education Network.  (Scroll down to view program)
The event will also honor constructivism pioneer and MIT Professor Seymour Papert for his contributions to education, including his promotion of technology use in classrooms.
The program will benefit OPEN,  a leading provider of online multiplayer adventure learning games that engage and inspire kids to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. OPEN’s mission is to transform teaching and learning by combining the power of 3D virtual video games with educationally rich storylines that challenge children and inspire a 24×7 passion for learning.

Small Solutions (www.smallsolutionsbigideas.org) and OPEN   (www.oneplaneteducationnetwork.com)

Panel Topics & Presenters

Legacy of Seymour Papert
Speakers: Cynthiia, Solomon: Brian Silverman, Artemis Papert, Gary Stager.
Presentation of a Tribute to Seymour Papert to Alan and Artemis Papert
Learning to Change to World
Claudia Urrea and Walter Bender, OLPC movement, its impact and lessons
The Changing World of Learning
Evolving Learning : Gary Stager, Mitch Resnick and Meredith Hamilton
The Role of GamesandOnline Communities
George Newman, Danny Fain and Johnny Ronelus (One Planet Education Network) and Sandra Thaxter (Small Solutions Big Ideas)
Demos & Break Out Meetings Small Solutions Education Program in Kenya: Sandra Thaxter and Alan Papert
One Planet Education Network Game Demos: George Newman, Danny Fain and Johnny Ronelus
BumpBump Books:  Meredith Hamilton

 

 Anita Harris, Managing Director
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm specializing in media relations, content marketing for clients in health, science, biotechnology, technology, education and energy. Based at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting products, ideas and services anywhere. 

Harris Communications Group is PR sponsor for Biotech Tuesday Startup Competition

[media-credit standalone=0 id=1 align="alignright" width="300"]Judges from Lab Central, Novartis and EMD Serono at Biotech Tuesday Awards [/media-credit]

Judges from Lab Central, Novartis and EMD Serno at Biotech Tuesday Awards

We were pleased to serve as PR sponsor for Biotech Tuesday’s first-ever life science innovation competition and event–held Tueday, Nov. 19, at the District Hall in Boston’s Seaport area

At the event,  Boston area  startups Cocoon Biotech, Riparian Pharmaceuticals, Cellanyx Diagnostics, and DavosPharma  were awarded $22K in funds and in-kind services to three Boston area life science companies.

The winners were chosen by Executives from EMD Serono, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and LabCentral  from among pitches delivered by  five finalists.  The five were selected from an initial field of thirteen online entries based, in part, on online feedback from BiotechTuesday members. The three winners were all therapeutics and diagnostics startups proposing solutions to challenging medical problems.

Cocoon Biotech, Inc., led by CEO and founder Ailis Tweed-Kent, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital won the $5000 EMD Serono Innovation Award.  Cocoon Biotech is developing a silk-based gel for injection into the joint to provide long lasting joint support and lubrication in patients with osteoarthritis.  EMD Serono is the biopharmaceutical subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.

Riparian Pharmaceuticals, led by Will Adam, Chief Scientific Officer and President, won both the $10,000 in-kind Novartis Innovation Award and the $3000 in-kind Pharmatek Innovation Award. Riparian Pharmaceuticals is focused on therapeutics that induce an anti-inflammatory response in cells to address diseases such as atherosclerosis.  Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc. discovers and develops new and innovative medicines. Pharmatek Laboratories, Inc. is a premier pharmaceutical chemistry development and manufacturing organization supporting the pharmaceutical & biotechnology industries.

2013-11-19_19-09-56_272 Foreground Carlos Martinez-Vela, Executive Director, Venture Cafe Foundation
Background: Seth Taylor, cofounder, Biotech Tuesday

Anharris | Harris Communications GroupAnharris | Harris Communications GroupCellanyx Diagnostics, led by Co-Founder and CEO Ashok Chander, won the $4000 in-kind LabCentral Innovation Award.  Cellanyx is developing a prostate cancer diagnostic based on culturing tumor biopsy cells that promises to be much more accurate than current diagnostics.  LabCentral provides fully functional lab space, permits, waste handling, plus all reasonably common lab equipment for bioresearch.

In addition to awarding startups, the event also acknowledged the contribution of life science products and services in enabling cutting edge research for new therapeutics.  DavosPharma won the Most Innovative Product or Service Award in recognition of its Anthem-GenTox product. This product offers scientists a high throughput genotoxicity assay based on human cells with greatly improved accuracy over conventional methods.

Full disclosure: Biotech Tuesday co-founder Seth Taylor serves on our advisory board.

–Anita Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR firm specializing in strategy, content, media relations for clients in health, science, technology and energy. 

 

Reimbursement, Regulatory Expert Edward Berger Joins HarrisCom Advisory Board

I’m more than happy to announce that Ed Berger, CEO at Larchmont Strategic Advisors,  has joined the Harris Communications Group Advisory Board.

Ed has worked for nearly 30 years in healthcare , medical technology and  life science fields.  His expertise encompasses biomedical regulatory and reimbursement policy as well as corporate communications.

He  brings a wealth of experience  and insight to our group and to our clients.

As a member of the senior management teams of Fresenius Medical Care, Thermo Cardiosystems and ABIOMED, Dr. Berger exercised responsibility for strategically sensitive communications with government agencies, news media and investors and served as principal corporate spokesperson through numerous crises and other high visibility events.

Through his consultancy, Larchmont Strategic Advisors, he helps life sciences companies create and implement integrated strategies to address the obstacles and opportunities they face in their efforts to secure public and private insurer coverage and optimal reimbursement for new or evolving technologies.

Focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of public policy, corporate strategy development, and internal and external advocacy, Dr. Berger helps clients to deal effectively with the strategic challenges posed by the rapidly evolving healthcare regulatory and policy environment.  His clients have included companies in fields such as mechanical circulatory support, cardiology, orthopedics, neural monitoring and neuromodulation, gastrointestinal surgery, pulmonary medicine, nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory testing, and personalized medicine.

Dr. Berger is a member of Mass Medical Angels, a mentor in Boston University’s IGNITE program, and Past President of the Medical Development Group, a 400 member professional association of individuals professionally committed to the medical device and related life sciences business sectors.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard College, and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University, where he was later Assistant Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Urban Affairs and Planning program.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is the founder and managing director of the Harris Communications Group — an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership   for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology and energy, worldwide.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, HarrisCom  on the pulse of some of the most innovative ideas, technologies and products,  anywhere. 

 

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Essential Social Media for PR Professionals: A PRSA/IPN Event 3-28-13

Do you think social media is: a) A major time sink?b)Not useful for you or your clients? c) Better left to kids?                   

If so, you could be:  limiting your clients’ ability to communicate their stories; delaying responses in a crisis; limiting your brand and losing out on a potential profit center.

HarrisCom Group is  pleased to be organizing:

ESSENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA FOR INDEPENDENTS AND SMALL AGENCIES

A Public Relations Society of America Boston Chapter – IPN Event  

Luncheon and Talk  

with

 Todd Van Hoosear

Founder of the Social Media Club of Boston and a HarrisCom Group Member

                                                                    

Noon-1:30 Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lincoln Public  Library

3 Bedford Road (2.5 miles from 128  exit 28b (Trapelo Rd))

Directions http://www.lincolnpl.org/Directions.html

                                                                                 $10 PRSA Members; $15 Guests 

Networking & Pizza 

SEATING IS LIMITED.  PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.  

RSVP by 5 pm Wednesday March 20 to anita.harris @harriscom.com


Todd’s talk,  ESSENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA FOR INDEPENDENTS AND SMALL AGENCIES,  will  cover skills, time management tactics and new tools you need to market yourself and your clients in the interactive, online world.

 

Todd Van Hoosear, a recognized authority on social media, is the founder and former president of the Social Media Club of Boston;  a principal at Fresh Ground; and adjunct professor at Boston University. A professional communicator and technology whiz  with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and technology, he is a Fellow with the Society for New Communications Research; serves on the  board of the Publicity Club of New England, and is an active PRSA member. Todd has spoken about social media and digital communications at Emerson College, Bentley College, the Yankee IABC, New England Women Business Owners, Public Relations Society of America, Mass Tech Leadership Council, NewComm Forum and the American Marketing Association–not to mention numerous social media events.

–Anita M. Harris, Principal, Harris Communications Group
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning agencies specializing strategic digital and traditional marketing  for
companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. Based in Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most innovative concepts and products– anywhere!

TauRx launches Phase 3 Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Drug in 15 countries

 Second-generation Tau Aggregation Inhibitor (TAI) is aimed at halting the progression of Alzheimer

MONTE CARLO, 30 October 2012 – TauRx Therapeutics Ltd announced today the initiation of two global Phase 3 clinical trials in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. These landmark studies could provide the first definitive data on a Tau-based approach to disease-modifying and preventative treatment of Alzheimer’s for at least the next 5–7 years, said Professor Claude Wischik, Chairman of TauRx and Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen, in a press conference at the 5th Clinical Trials Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) in Monte Carlo, Monaco today.The studies culminate three decades of research by Professor Wischik and colleagues, including the original discovery of the Tau protein as the main constituent of the Tangle pathology of Alzheimer’s disease [‘Tau tangles’], the development of the first Tau Aggregation Inhibitor (TAI), and results from an earlier Phase 2 clinical trial involving more than 300 patients that showed a 90% reduction in the rate of disease progression over two years.1“These Phase 3 studies are bringing us closer to finding an effective treatment that can actually arrest the progression of the disease,” said Professor Wischik. “We are building on over thirty years of research, and the encouraging results from our previous Phase 2 clinical trial in Alzheimer’s disease support an approach which targets the abnormal Tau aggregates in the brain.” 

The studies, which have already starting enrolling in the U.S., aim to confirm the disease-modifying effects seen in the Phase 2 studies in mild to moderate patients over an 18-month timeframe. The first study will involve 833 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease over 12 months.2 The second study will include 500 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease over 18 months.3

 

The study drug, LMTX™, is a second-generation TAI that targets the Tau tangles and their precursors, dissolving them in order to halt their harmful effects on memory.4-6 LMTX™ also works on the early stage Tau aggregates (called ‘oligomers’) which are precursors to fully-formed tangles and are thought to be particularly toxic.7

 

“Clinicians devoted to Alzheimer’s disease have been waiting for a promising agent with disease-modifying properties,” said Professor Serge Gauthier of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, Quebec, Canada. “The basic science data for this agent, particularly in the tauopathies, looks sound and the interest among investigators and among families is high.” Professor Gauthier is a clinical investigator and scientific advisor for TauRx.

 

The tangles in the brain were first reported by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1907,8 starting the century-long journey to understand the pathology leading to their formation, their role in dementia, and, ultimately, how to stop their spread through the brain.

 

Professor Lon Schneider, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, a scientific advisor for TauRx, said: “Successfully targeting Tau may be an important approach towards slowing and ideally halting the neuro-degeneration that is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia. Clinicians need these Phase 3 studies to produce clear evidence that such an approach could lead to improved patient outcomes.”

 

Countries in which the Phase 3 clinical trials will be conducted include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, U.S., and U.K.  Patients and caregivers are invited to sign up for study updates at www.AlzheimersStudies.com, as the clinical trials are initiated in the countries selected.

 

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About Alzheimer’s Disease and Tau Tangles:

 

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most important health challenges worldwide, and the most-common type of dementia. According to the Geneva-based World Health Organization, global dementia cases are expected to double within 20 years to an estimated 65.7 million people [more than the entire population of France currently at 63 million people].9 In very early, asymptomatic Alzheimer’s, pre-tangle Tau aggregates (oligomers) and Tau protein tangles are already present in the same regions of the brain where neuronal degeneration and loss of neuronal cells eventually occur.10,11 These changes first appear 20 – 30 years before the disease becomes clinically evident. With time, Tau tangles spread from the entorhinal cortex (responsible for learning, memory, thinking and planning) through the hippocampus to the neocortex (affecting the ability to communicate, recognize family and loved ones and to care for oneself), resulting in neuronal dysfunction and worsening of clinical symptoms.11 The spread is now thought to be due to a prion-like process whereby the oligomers act as ‘infectious particles’ which are able to propagate the abnormal aggregation of Tau protein from one neurone to the next.12 These oligomers recruit normal Tau to produce yet more infectious oligomers which spread neuronal destruction throughout the brain.

 

About TauRx Therapeutics:

 

TauRx Therapeutics Ltd was established in Singapore in 2002 with the aim of developing new treatments and diagnostics for a range of neurodegenerative diseases based on an entirely new approach which targets aggregates of abnormal fibres of Tau protein that form inside nerve cells in the brain, giving rise to Tangles. The TauRx team have since discovered that LMTX™ could also have beneficial effects in several other neurodegenerative diseases associated with Tau pathology, as well as other protein aggregation disorders including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Frontotemporal Dementia [FTD-Pick’s Disease], Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Cortico-Basal Degeneration. While TauRx corporate headquarters are in Singapore, its primary research facilities are in Aberdeen, Scotland.

 

For press enquiries please contact:

 

U.S. media contacts:

Anita Harris +1 617-576-0906 anita.harris@harriscom.com
Outside the U.S. media contacts:

Sylvie Berrebi +44 (0)7795 197271 /+44 (0)7973 950376

Elizabeth Puller +44 (0)208 834 1447

 

Email: after Oct. 29:
press@taurx.com

 

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References:

  1. Wischik CM, Bentham P, Wischik DJ, Seng KM. Tau aggregation inhibitor (TAI) therapy with remberTM arrests disease progression in mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease over 50 weeks. Alzheimer’s and Dementia 2008;4:T167. Abstract available at: http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com/article/S1552-5260(08)00598-0/fulltext. Accessed October 2012.
  2. ClinicalTrials.gov. Safety and efficacy study evaluating TRx0237 in subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Available at: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01689246. Accessed October 2012.
  3. ClinicalTrials.gov. Safety and efficacy study evaluating TRx0237 in subjects with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Available at: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01689233. Accessed October 2012.
  4. Wischik CM, Edwards PC, Lai RYK, Roth M, Harrington CR. Selective inhibition of Alzheimer disease-like tau aggregation by phenothiazines. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996;93:11213-11218. Full article available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC38310/. Accessed October 2012.
  5. Wischik CM, Lai RYK, Harrington CR. Modelling prion-like processing of tau protein in Alzheimer’s disease for pharmaceutical development. In: Brain Microtubule Associated Proteins: Modifications in Disease, eds. Avila J, Brandt R, Kosik KS. (1997) pp. 185-241. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.
  6. Wischik CM, Wischik DJ, Storey JMD, Harrington CR. Rationale for tau-aggregation inhibitor therapy in Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies. In: Emerging Drugs and Targets for Alzheimer’s Disease. Volume 1: Beta-Amyloid, Tau Protein and Glucose Metabolism, ed. Martinez A. (2010) pp. 210-232. Cambridge: RSC Publishing.
  7. Taniguchi S, Suzuki N, Masuda M, Hisanaga S, Iwatsubo T, Goedert M, et al. Inhibition of heparin-induced tau filament formation by phenothiazines, polyphenols, and porphyrins. J Biol Chem 2005;280:7614-7623. Full article available at: http://www.jbc.org/content/280/9/7614.long. Accessed October 2012.
  8. Alzheimer A. On a peculiar disease of the cerebral cortex. Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie und Psychisch-Geritlich Medicin 1907;64:146-148.
  9. World Health Organization News Release. Dementia cases set to triple by 2050 but still largely ignored. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2012/dementia_20120411/en/index.html. Accessed October 2012.
  10. Mukaetova-Ladinska EB, Garcia-Sierra F, Hurt J, Gertz HJ, Xuereb JH, Hills R, et al. Staging of cytoskeletal and beta-amyloid changes in human isocortex reveals biphasic synaptic protein response during progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Pathol 2000;157:623-636. Full article available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1850134/. Accessed October 2012.
  11. Braak H, Braak E. Neuropathological stageing of Alzheimer-related changes. Acta Neuropathol 1991;82:239-259. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1759558. Accessed October 2012.
  12. Soto C. Transmissible proteins: expanding the prion heresy. Cell 2012; 149:968-977. Full article available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412005818. Accessed October 2012.