Treat your iPad Pro to a discounted Twelve South BookBook case

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Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Twelve South makes a ton of high-quality accessories for Apple devices, and its BookBook case is no exception. These cases are designed to not only protect your iPad Pro while it’s not in use but also while it is in use.

Right now you can pick one up for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro for $ 67.99, or grab one for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro for $ 84.99. These normally sell for $ 79.99 and $ 99.99 resepctively.

Each case has a safe place to store your Apple Pencil while it’s not in use. The inside is lined with a felt material to prevent scratches and abrasions, and the case actually fully zips so that nothing will get inside of it while you have it in another bag.

iMore – Learn more. Be more.

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Apple to Launch Medical Practices to Treat Its Own Employees

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What if your employer was really invested in your health? I don’t mean just providing you with insurance. I mean operating the clinic itself.

Well, Apple employees will soon find out: the company plans to launch new medical practices, named AC Wellness, to treat Apple employees in spring 2018, CNBC reports. The company will start with two clinics in Santa Clara County, California, near its headquarters in Cupertino.

“AC Wellness is an independent medical practice dedicated to delivering compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee population,” according to the AC Wellness homepage.

There are already numerous job listings for an acute care physician, primary care physician, exercise coach, nurse coordinator, and more. According to CNBC, Apple is also looking for “designers” to create programs focused on preventing disease and promoting healthy behavior. Furthermore, the clinics will serve as a testing ground for various health-related products and services.

Homepage for Apple's AC Wellness. Image Credit: AC Wellness
Homepage for Apple’s AC Wellness. Image Credit: AC Wellness.

Apple isn’t the first company to try its hand at healthcare — last month Amazon announced that it intends to create a healthcare company of its own with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Amazon, however, hasn’t announced when its company will go live, so chances are Apple’s initiative will open first.

The two corporate giants’ moves towards commandeering their employees’ healthcare bring the future of the U.S. healthcare landscape into question. Companies already exert a modicum of control over their employees’ healthcare options and other benefits, and companies like Google have begun adding on-site wellness centers, physicians, and chiropractors for their workers.

Companies don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. Health issues cause 69 million workers to skip work each year, reducing economic output by $ 260 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthier employees also cost less in the long run because their insurance is cheaper. In short, lower healthcare costs equals higher profits.

So all these benefits, this new corporate obsession with subsidizing healthcare? It’s employers looking out for their bottom line.

So far, none of the reports have discussed the potential privacy issues that may arise from an employer that operates the clinic where an employee seeks care. There are strict laws governing patient privacy, which Apple will have to be sure not to violate as it both employs and treats people.

Amazon and Apple don’t have their own healthcare companies up and running just yet, so we can only speculate. Hopefully their moves might change employee health benefits for the better.

The post Apple to Launch Medical Practices to Treat Its Own Employees appeared first on Futurism.


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Chinese Doctors Are Using Modified T-Cells to Treat Advanced Forms of Cancer

According to China’s National Central Cancer Registry, Esophageal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in China. Like many other types, cancer of the esophagus can be treated with chemotherapy. But, as is also true of other forms of cancer, chemotherapy isn’t always successful. In China, and around the world, there’s a great need for the development of new treatments.

Dr. Shixiu Wu, president of the Hangzhou Cancer Hospital, has tested a somewhat new treatment that takes a patient’s T-cells from the body, genetically edits them to target cancerous cells, then puts the altered cells back. If the process sounds at all familiar, it’s probably because using T-cells in this manner was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in August 2017.

We reported on a pair of CAR-T studies in December that used T-cells to fight cancer, as will the first CRISPR trial set to take place in the United States.

The other research involving modified T-cells to fight cancer doesn’t diminish the impact of Wu’s work, though. In fact, Wu believes the study is one of the most advanced involving CRISPR in China. Currently, Wu’s T-cell treatment is being tested on 21 people with advanced Esophageal cancer that didn’t respond to other treatments. So far, 40 percent of his patients have responded positively to the new treatment.

“If they have not received this treatment they will die — most of them will die in three to six months,” Wu told NPR.

There are those, like Lainie Ross a bioethicist at the University of Chicago, who are worried about the experiments in China; primarily because the country’s medical research isn’t as regulated as it is elsewhere. Ross told NPR there is concern that Chinese doctors and researchers could be rushing the experiment along, putting their patients at risk.

“My concern is: Are we really ready? There so much about CRISPR that we don’t understand,” Ross explained to NPR. “We could be doing more harm than benefit. We need to very, very cautious. This an incredibly powerful tool.”

In response to concerns expressed about the research, Wu has made clear that patients are told about the risks of the treatment beforehand — and many of them consent to receive it despite them. “Chinese patients want to be cured very much,” Wu said. “There’s a Chinese saying: A living dog is better than a dead lion. So patients are willing to try new cures. That’s why the ethics committee and the lab are very positive about this.”

Wu has since started treating patients with other forms of cancer as well, specifically pancreatic cancer. “We [are] just beginning. We should improve it to get more benefits for the patients,” he said. “If you don’t try it, you’ll never know.”

The post Chinese Doctors Are Using Modified T-Cells to Treat Advanced Forms of Cancer appeared first on Futurism.


Treat yourself to 10% off Speidel Twist-O-Flex bands for Valentine’s Day [Watch Store]

Note: For Valentine’s Day only, all of Speidel’s iconic Twist-O-Flex Apple Watch bands are 10 percent off! Perfect for him or her. Today’s all about showing the one you love just how much you care. I say it’s a great opportunity to throw a little love your own way. Speidel — purveyor of the original stretchy, […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Treat yourself to 10 percent off Twist-O-Flex bands this Valentine’s Day [Watch Store]

Note: For Valentine’s Day only, all of Speidel’s iconic Twist-O-Flex Apple Watch bands are 10 percent off! Perfect for him or her. Today’s all about showing the one you love just how much you care. I say it’s a great opportunity to throw a little love your own way. Speidel — purveyors of the original stretchy, […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

These termite-hunting ants lick the severed legs of their friends to treat them

Termite-hunting ants in sub-Saharan Africa treat each other’s wounds by licking them, according to new research. It might sound icky — but the treatment actually saves lives.

The ant, called Megaponera analis, specializes in raiding termite nests. These hunts, however, are dangerous: The ants can lose legs or antennas, and sometimes they die. A study last year showed that the ants rescue their injured friends in the battlefield, taking them back to the nest. Now, researchers have shown what exactly happens in the nest after those rescue operations. In hour-long sessions, healthy ants take turns licking the injured mate’s severed legs, treating the open wounds. And that reduces mortality by 70 percent, possibly by fighting off infections,…

Continue reading…

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Researchers treat ear defect by growing implants from cells

While scientists have been working on growing organs and body parts like ears for some time, researchers in China have taken it one important step further. They've grown new ears for five children with microtia — an ear defect that results in small,…
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A Robotic Implant Could Treat Congenital Disorders in Babies

Robotic Implant

When implanted, a new robot is able to promote tissue growth by pulling and tugging at organs. It may sound alarming, but this new device could revolutionize the way doctors treat esophageal atresia, a congenital defect in which part of the esophagus is missing at birth. With future developments, the robotic implant could also promote growth in other organs.

Developed by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, this robot has so far only been tested in pigs, but the researchers hope to one day use this in regular medical practice.

In the study, which was published in the journal Science Robotics, the robot was implanted in live pigs and then slowly and gradually stretched tubular organs like the esophagus while the animals remained active. The pigs showed no discomfort and were even able to continue eating as the robot lengthened the esophagus by around 77 percent.

Additionally, cell multiplication was shown as a result of this technique. “This shows we didn’t simply stretch the esophagus — it lengthened through cell growth,” Pierre Dupont, the study’s senior investigator, said in a press release.

Expanding Applications

The use of this robot would be in place of existing treatment methods which require the patient to be put into a medically-induced coma for four weeks during which the esophagus has to be surgically and manually manipulated.

But it will take some time for the current treatment to become obsolete. There is still much research to be done before this robot is used as a medical tool with humans. Additionally, it has only been studied with the esophagus. However, the team has started to test this robot in a large animal model of short bowel syndrome, a condition in which a piece of the bowel is missing.

Pill Robots: The Future of Non-Invasive Surgery [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

If this robot proves effective in more organs, its potential as a medical device will continue to rise. Hopefully, the implant will be shown to be safe for regular use in medical practices, allowing it to replace previous surgical methods that are costly, extremely painful, and — most detrimentally — fraught with risk. If this is the case, then this little robot is well positioned to improve and extend lives.

The post A Robotic Implant Could Treat Congenital Disorders in Babies appeared first on Futurism.


New CAR-T Cancer Studies Aim to Treat Those With No Other Options

Using T-Cells to Fight Back

One of the first line treatments for cancer is chemotherapy, which can be a long, stressful process. While some patients certainly benefit from the treatment and see their cancer go into remission, others may not see the same effect. For those chemotherapy has failed, as well as others for whom other treatments were unsuccessful, the recent publishing of two new CAR-T studies may provide some hope.

The first, called  ZUMA-1, details the results of a clinical trial that treated patients who had certain types of large B-cell lymphoma. The patients had failed to responded to, or had relapsed after undergoing, at least two other treatments.

Led by Sattva Neelapu, MD, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Frederick Locke, MD, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the treatment involved genetically modifying a patient’s white blood cells/T-cells to attack cancer cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of such treatments in August, saying it’s “committed to helping expedite the development and review of groundbreaking treatments that have the potential to be life-saving.”

111 people across 22 institutions took part in the study and were treated with axi-cel (later renamed to Yescarta). Of those, 82 percent were somewhat responsive to the treatment, while 54 percent experienced a complete response. 42 percent were in remission 15 months after treatment was administered, and some were still cancer free 24 months after treatment.

“With the FDA’s recent approval of this therapy, we believe this is a major advance in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma and is likely to save or prolong lives of many patients,” said Neelapu. “This study demonstrated that axi-cel provides remarkable improvement in outcomes over existing therapies for these patients who have no curative options.”

The second study also utilized modified T-cells to combat cancer cells. The study treated 28 of its 38 patients with CTL019 cells between 2014 and 2016. Complete remission occurred in 6 of 14 patients with large B-cell lymphoma and 10 of 14 patients with follicular lymphoma. As of 2017, all patients in complete remission after 6 months have remained in remission.

Adverse Reactions

There are some side effects to Yescarta, however. According to the study, 95 percent of patients who received the therapy had severe side effects including fever, lower white blood cell and blood platelet counts, and anemia. 64 percent of patients experienced neurological events, including encephalopathy, general confusion and difficulty speaking. While those symptoms were troubling, they typically resolved within two weeks.

Patrick Stiff, MD, director of Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center (one of the institutions that participated in the study) explained that Loyola would begin offering Yescarta in 2018, but only to patients who are specifically selected and have had the pros and cons fully detailed to them.

“We are taking a very measured approach to this new therapy, which is effective, but also potentially toxic,” said Dr. Stiff. “The therapy should not be considered a cure-all, since some of the patients did relapse after the therapy.”

Side effects were also present in the CTL019 study: 5 patients experienced severe cytokine-release syndrome, and another 3 suffered from encephalopathy. Encouragingly, the study did note that “no deaths from cytokine-release syndrome occurred.”

Modifying the body’s own cells to address cancer seems to be the way to go when it comes to potential cancer treatments, and it doesn’t just stop with immune cells. In November, researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Tokyo developed a way to use nonimmune cells for the same purposes — though it’s still a long way from being used to treat human patients.

That said, the future of cancer treatment research looks bright, despite the risky side effects. Of course, given the potential for serious side effects, these treatments are only being used as a last resort. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before we find an effective treatment that doesn’t come with additional baggage.

The post New CAR-T Cancer Studies Aim to Treat Those With No Other Options appeared first on Futurism.