Friday, January 21, 2011

Burned Biscuits

English breakfastImage via WikipediaAuthor: Unknown

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own."

So please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” - Proverbs 4:7

“Die beginsel van die wysheid is: Verwerf wysheid en verwerf insig deur al wat jy besit.” - Proverbs 4:7

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Posted: 04 January 2011

Blood samples
WASHINGTON: Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson said Monday it is partnering with US doctors to improve a blood test that could replace biopsies and transform the field of cancer treatment.

The Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) technology, which inventors describe as a "liquid biopsy," has been touted as a revolutionary approach to diagnosing cancer since it was first developed several years ago by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.

It works by detecting cancer cells that have detached from a tumor and are circulating at very low levels in the blood.

But until now, the technology has been unable to do much more than count cells, giving doctors an idea of what is happening with a patient's cancer but not delivering the precision that the latest version can.

"The new technology allows us to not just count them but to understand the molecular changes that lead to the disease progression that is occurring in the cells," said Nicholas Dracopoli, vice president of Ortho Biotech Oncology Research and Development (ORD), a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

With just a single blood draw, the new technology can find and trap a single cancer cell from among a billion blood cells without the patient having to undergo invasive and often painful surgical biopsy procedures.

"That will then allow us to do sophisticated molecular analysis of those isolated cells so that we can then look and see if there are therapies that are optimally suited to a patient with those particular abnormalities," Dracopoli told AFP.

The new technique "allows us... to monitor in real time what is happening in the tumor in a way you never could if you had to do a surgical procedure each time in order to get the samples, as we do today."

In other words, doctors could know a lot sooner whether a therapy for cancer is succeeding or failing, and they could possibly tailor a patient's treatment accordingly.

The partnership brings Veridex -- the company which brought the earlier version of the test to the US market -- together with ORD and clinical researchers to develop an improved version of the current technology.

"This collaboration is an opportunity to apply our past learning to the advancement of a platform that will ultimately benefit patients with cancer," said lead CTC chip researcher Mehmet Toner in a statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the earlier generation technology for use in detecting cancer cells in the blood of patients with metastatic, or advanced stage, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

The planned "next-generation system" would be used by oncologists "as a diagnostic tool for personalizing patient care, as well as by researchers to accelerate and improve the process of drug discovery and development," Veridex said in a statement.

For instance, the test could allow for advances in treatment of lung cancer, where the tumors are not easy to feel and where research has shown certain genetic mutations respond best to specific treatments.

Dracopoli said it could be three to five years before FDA clinical trials produce results that show the technique works for detecting and treating a broader range of cancers.

"A big part of the collaboration over the next few years will be testing the technology in prospectively defined clinical trials and confirming that this information actually helps guide therapies and improves patient outcomes," he said.

"We hope this will be a means of significantly improving the way that patients are treated, in the sense that we can get information about how a patient is responding to therapy in a way that we cannot right now."


Taken from; source article is below:
Blood test for cancer gets US boost

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I will let the news tell it all. What do you think?

Science of man-made life can proceed: White House
Posted: 17 December 2010 0010 hrs

A researcher manipulates drops of stem cells in a laboratory.
WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday said the controversial field of synthetic biology, or manipulating the DNA of organisms to forge new life forms, poses limited risks and should be allowed to proceed.

An expert panel convened by President Barack Obama advised vigilance and self-regulation as scientists seek ways to create new organisms that could spark useful innovations in clean energy, pollution control and medicine.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues "concluded that synthetic biology is capable of significant but limited achievements posing limited risks," it said in its first report.

"Future developments may raise further objections, but the Commission found no reason to endorse additional federal regulations or a moratorium on work in this field at this time."

The 13-member panel of scientists, ethicists and public policy experts was created by Obama last year.

Its first order of business was to consider the issue of synthetic biology after the J. Craig Venter Institute announced in May it had developed the first self-replicating bacteria cell controlled by a synthetic genome.

Critics said the discovery was tantamount to "playing God", creating organisms without adequate understanding the ramifications, and upsetting the natural order.

Announcing the creation of the "first synthetic cell", lead researcher Craig Venter said at the time it "certainly changed my views of the definitions of life and how life works."

But the commission said Venter's team had not actually created life, since the work mainly involved altering an already existing life form.

"Thoughtful deliberation about the meaning of this achievement was impossible in the hours that elapsed between the breaking news and the initial round of commentaries that ensued," it said in its report.

"Of note, many scientists observe that this achievement is not tantamount to 'creating life' in a scientific sense because the research required a functioning, naturally occurring host cell to accept the synthesized genome."

Commission chair Amy Gutmann said the panel considered a range of approaches to regulating the new scientific field, from allowing unbridled freedom to imposing strict government regulation on experiments.

"We chose a middle course to maximize public benefits while also safeguarding against risks," she said.

"Prudent vigilance suggests that federal oversight is needed and can be exercised in a way that is consistent with scientific progress."

As to the risk of releasing modified organisms into nature, a scenario some have warned could spark biological threats or damage to the ecosystem, "scientists and ethicists advised careful monitoring and review of the research," the panel said.

The panel also urged greater cooperation among federal agencies that oversee product licensing and funding of synthetic biology, and collaboration with world governments and global groups like the World Health Organization.

"Educational classes on the ethical dilemmas raised by synthetic biology should be a mandatory part of training for young researchers, engineers, and others who work in this emerging field," it added.

- AFP/al

Taken from; source article is below:
Science of man-made life can proceed: White House

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