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Anatomic Fashion Friday: Bones Brigade Tee

Posted: May 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

Check out this oversized and hand-painted ribcage jersey shirt by Sass & Bide.  Of course it isn’t cheap ($100)… butttt it’s sexy!

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

"The Secret Museum," Photography Exhibition, Observatory, Closes June 6th

Posted: May 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

As many Morbid Anatomy readers already know, for many years now, I have been traveling the world with my camera, in search of obscure medical museums, cabinets of curiosity, dusty natural history museums, privately-held cabinets, untouched collections, and idiosyncratic assemblages of all sorts, front-stage and back, public and private. Some of the fruits of my labor make the way to the pages of this blog, or into various exhibitions such as 2007’s Anatomical Theatre and last years Private Cabinets.

My latest project utilizing this material is photo exhibition at Observatory gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition, entitled “The Secret Museum,” will be on view until Sunday June 6th, and features photographs of public and private, front-stage and back-stage collections from The United States, England, France, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy, and more. You will find in this exhibition photographs of taxidermied animals and humans (!), a life-sized breathing wax doll from the 19th century, Anatomical Venuses and Slashed Beauties, a fetal skeleton tableau from the 17th Century, backstage views at a number of natural history museums, an overlooked cabinet of curiosity in Paris, the untouched Teylers Museum of Haarlem, and much, much more.

Above are a just a very few of the many photographs included in the show (captions below); you can see a full collection of photographs (and some installation views as well!) by clicking here. Many photographs–all limited edition and signed giclée prints, handsomely framed and matted–are still available for sale, and quite reasonably priced! Please email me at [email protected] if you are interested in finding out more.

Also, if you are interested in a guided walk-through of the collection, why not come out for Atlantic Avenue Artwalk, which will be taking place over the weekend of June 5th and 6th? I will be on hand all day at Observatory and its next-door-neighbor The Morbid Anatomy Library, and happy to guide any interested parties through the exhibition.

Full details follow; hope you can make it!

The Secret Museum
April 10 – June 6th
3-6 Thursday and Friday
12-6 Saturday and Sunday

An exhibition exploring the poetics of hidden, untouched and curious collections from around the world in photographs and artifacts, by Joanna Ebenstein, co-founder of Observatory and creator of Morbid Anatomy.

Photographer and blogger Joanna Ebenstein has traveled the Western world seeking and documenting untouched, hidden, and curious collections, from museum store-rooms to private collections, cabinets of curiosity to dusty natural history museums, obscure medical museums to hidden archives. The exhibition “The Secret Museum” will showcase a collection of photographs from Ebenstein’s explorations–including sites in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Austria, England and the United States–which document these spaces while at the same time investigating the psychology of collecting, the visual language of taxonomies, notions of “The Specimen” and the ordered archive, and the secret life of objects and collections, with an eye towards capturing the poetry, mystery and wonder of these liminal spaces.

To download press release, which includes sample images, please click here.

To see the entire exhibition in a virtual, on-line fashion, click here. To find out more about Observatory, including directions, click here. For more about the Atlantic Avenue Artwalk, click here. For more about the Morbid Anatomy Library, click here. For more on Anatomical Theatre, an exhibition about medical museums, click here. For more about Private Cabinets, an exhibition about privately held collections, click here.

Click on images to see much larger image; full collection to be found here, caption list here:

  1. Femme à barbe (Bearded Lady), Musée Orfila, Courtesy of Paris Descartes University
  2. Tim Knox and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Collection, Private Collection, London, England
  3. Wax Department Store Mannequin, Early 20th Century; From the Home Collection of Evan Michelson, Antiques Dealer, New Jersey
  4. Wax Model, Musée Orfila, Paris. Courtesy Université Paris Descartes
  5. Venus Endormie (breathing model), Spitzner collection Collection Spitzner, Musée Orfila, Paris Courtesy Université Paris Descartes
  6. Bird Collection, “La Specola” (Museo di Storia Naturale), Florence, Italy
  7. Natural History Museum Backroom, Netherlands
  8. Natural History Museum Backroom, Netherlands
  9. Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Rouen, Rouen, France
  10. Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France, Established 1793
  11. Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands, Established 1778
  12. Plaster Models in Pathological Cabinet, The Museum of the Faculty of Medicine at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Biotech tax credit appears perfectly designed for cell therapy companies to recoup research dollars spent in 2009-10

Posted: May 22, 2010 at 5:04 am

Stewart Lyman of Lyman BioPharma Consulting posted a great article in today’s Xconomy summarizing some key points and links to more information about the rules governing the Therapeutic Discovery Project Credit which have now been released by the US Treasury Department. Today, a detailed fact sheet was released about the tax credit program and it seems almost perfectly designed for most cell therapy companies.

Lyman points out a few important details about the application schedule including:

1. The Formal IRS applications (Form 8942) will not be available until June 21st or thereabouts.

2. The application period opens on June 21 and ends on July 21. The postmark on the application is deemed to be the date of delivery. Preliminary review of the applications is to be completed by Sept. 30; this is to ensure that applicants are eligible taxpayers and that their applications are complete. Applicants will receive determinations as to whether or not they qualify for credits and/or grants, and how much they will receive, by Oct. 29.

By way of a little more background, the following is excerpted from a March article by Dean Zerbe:

What does the credit cover?

The credit/grant covers research in tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. The taxpayer is provided a 50% credit/grant for qualified investments in “qualifying therapeutic discovery projects.” What expenses count as qualified investments? The aggregate amount of costs paid or incurred in the taxable year for expenses necessary for and directly related to the conduct of a qualifying discovery project. What doesn’t count? The pay of employees covered by 162(m)(3) of the tax code–think CEOs–doesn’t count. Other excluded items: interest expenses; facility maintenance expenses (e.g. mortgage or rent payments, insurance, utility and maintenance and costs of employment of maintenance personnel); and certain indirect costs (basically general and administrative costs) as defined in the Treasury Regulations at 1.263A-1(e)(4).

What is a qualifying therapeutic discovery project?

According to the legislation, it’s a project designed to do one of three things:

–Treat or prevent diseases or conditions by conducting pre-clinical activities, clinical trials and clinical studies, or carrying out research protocols for the purpose of securing federal government approval by the FDA.

–Diagnose diseases or conditions or to determine molecular factors related to diseases or conditions by developing molecular diagnostics to guide therapeutic decisions.

–Develop a product, process or technology to further the delivery or administration of therapeutics.

Finally, to qualify, a venture may not have more than 250 employees in all businesses of the taxpayer–meaning a small biotech project at a big company wouldn’t qualify.

Which biotech companies might benefit?

Those that are investing significant resources in pre-clinical or clinical studies, which may take years to come to fruition to ultimately satisfy FDA requirements, could now recoup a significant portion of their expenses. Additionally, biotech start-ups focusing on the development of diagnostic assays or applications to advance therapeutics and treatments can also benefit. Finally, companies currently engaged in basic or applied research which may ultimately contribute to curing caner within the next 30 years may also be excellent candidates. Along these lines, companies studying signal transduction pathways, gene therapy and stem cell research seem like prime candidates.

The Cell Therapy Group will be collecting more information about the tax credit and service providers who might be recommended to assist in the application if needed. Contact CTG for more details or watch here for more information.

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

The Cost of Excess Fat Tissue

Posted: May 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

Another paper looks at some of the consequences of becoming obese. In a more fair and productive world, medical costs would be an individual responsibility rather than being socialized as they are at present: “The prevalence of adult obesity has increased in recent decades. It is important to predict the long-term effect of body weight, and changes in body weight, in middle age on longevity and Medicare costs in older ages. … We predicted longevity and lifetime Medicare costs via simulation for 45-year-old persons by body weight in 1973 and changes in body weight between 1973 and 1983. … Obese 45-year-olds had a smaller chance of surviving to age 65 and, if they did, incurred significantly higher average lifetime Medicare costs than normal-weight 45-year-olds ($163,000 compared with $117,000). Those who remained obese between ages 45 and 55 in 1973 to 1983 incurred significantly higher lifetime Medicare costs than those who maintained normal weight. … Chronic obesity in middle age increases lifetime Medicare costs relative to those who remained normal weight. As the survival of obese persons improves, it is possible that Medicare costs may rise substantially in the future to meet the health care needs of today’s obese middle-aged population.”

View the Article Under Discussion:

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary:

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Transforming Brain Cells

Posted: May 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

From the Technology Review: “Support cells in the brain called astroglia can be turned into functioning neurons. … Researchers found that they could transform the cells into two different classes of neurons, and that the neurons could form connections with one another in a dish. Although the research is at an early stage, the finding suggests that scientists could someday recruit existing cells in the brain to repair the brain and spinal cord after a stroke, injury, or neurodegenerative disease. … The addition of one specific gene generated excitatory neurons, which promote activity in other cells. By adding a different gene, they generated inhibitory neurons, which dampen cell activity. In principle, [you] could generate other types of neurons if you choose the appropriate factors … The study adds to growing evidence that certain cell types can be transformed directly into other cell types without first being converted into stem cells. … one of the next challenges is to determine whether these reprogrammed neurons can survive and function in a living brain. Fortunately, the brain seems to have a ready source of astroglia. When the brain is injured, these cells proliferate, similar to the way the skin repairs itself after a wound. The researchers found they could also derive neurons from injury-induced astroglia taken from the brains of adult mice.”

View the Article Under Discussion:

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary:

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

An evolving concept of CSC in tumor biology

Posted: May 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

An evolving concept of cancer stem cells in tumor biology: a lecture (34:38 min) by Jeremy N Rich. Webcast of the initial presentation at an Educational Session on Cancer Stem Cells and Treatment Resistance, AACR 101st Annual Meeting, April 17, 2010. [FriendFeed entry].

Comment: Dr. Rich’s research has a primary emphasis on Glioma Cancer Stem Cell and Brain Tumors. An example of a recent publication: Integrin Alpha 6 Regulates Glioblastoma Stem Cells by Justin D Lathia and 10 co-authors, including Jeremy N Rich, Cell Stem Cell 2010(May 7); 6(5): 421-32. [PubMed citation][FriendFeed entry].

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

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