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Vaccinating Against Atherosclerosis

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

An interesting example of how immune therapies can eliminate or reduce some of the ways in which the aging body damages itself: "Cholesterol is transported in the blood in LDL particles, which are a kind of fat drops that can accumulate in the walls of blood vessels. LDL activates the immune defence and triggers an inflammation in the blood vessels that leads to atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerosis). When the atherosclerotic plaque finally ruptures, a blood clot is formed that in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke. It was previously thought that the inflammation in the blood vessels arises when the T cells react to oxidised LDL particles located in the atherosclerotic plaque. Now, however, [researchers have found] that the opposite is true, namely that the T cells react to components in the normal LDL particles, and that they no longer recognise LDL once it has been oxidised. ... Since reactions to LDL can be dangerous, T cells are normally held in check by inhibitory signals. The body's own control works well as long as the LDL keeps to the blood, liver and lymph glands. But when it accumulates in the artery wall, this inhibition is no longer enough, the T cells are activated and an inflammation arises. ... Vaccination against the receptor that the T cells use to recognise LDL can block the immune reaction and reduce the disease by between 60 and 70 per cent."

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Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

A Trial for Viruses Versus Brain Cancer

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

Viruses can be used as a form of targeted anti-cancer therapy, and human trials are soon set to start: "Particular parvoviruses normally infect rodents, but they are also infectious for human cells. However, they do not cause any disease symptoms in humans. Most importantly, these viruses have an astonishing property: They kill infected tumors cells without causing any damage to healthy tissue. ... Many different viruses have been tested before in cancer therapy, particularly for treating those types of cancer for which there are no effective established treatment methods. The [researchers] realized early on that parvovirus H-1 has important advantages over other viruses. Now they have been the first to prove that malignant glioblastomas regress completely as a result of treatment with these viruses. ... Parvoviruses pass the blood brain barrier so that they can be administered via the blood stream. In addition, they reproduce in cancer cells, which is particularly important for successful treatment of glioblastoma with its diffuse growth. Thus, the second generation viruses reach and eliminate even those cancer cells that have already settled at some distance from the primary tumor. ... researchers [expect] to be able to admit the first patients to the trial by the end of the year."

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Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

You Are Here Poster

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

Show your love to someone by giving them this hand-printed letterpress poster by Etsy artist rollandtumblepress. $25.00!  So sweeeeet.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Original Fritz Kahn Posters and Key Booklet, Sotheby’s Vintage Posters Auction, May 13

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

Morbid Anatomy reader Gotthold is a long time collector of Fritz Kahn books and posters. He is currently selling two of his original posters (as pictured above) along with a "key booklet" as part of Sotheby's May 13 Vintage Posters Auction.

I asked Gotthold to tell me and the Morbid Anatomy readership a bit about this special collection he is actioning off in the hopes of helping it find a proper and loving home; here is his response:

Dear Morbid Anatomy readers:

I have been a keen reader of this blog since I discovered it about a year ago when searching for information on anatomical posters I bought for use in an art project.

My personal artistic fascination with death, pornography, science and religion has taken me on a strange and fascinating journey over the past year through the cavernous bookshop cellars of Vienna, the seedy sex shops of London’s Soho, and the wonderful Morbid Anatomy blog in search of new materials and ideas. In my search for materials to use for my work, I spend a seemingly senseless amount of time and money looking for rare, obscure, and interesting materials to use and take inspiration from. It was on one of these escapades when visiting Vienna that I first stumbled upon the wonderful works of Fritz Kahn whose unique mechanical anatomy illustrations have earned much attention on this very blog (recent posts here, here, and here).

Since this initial discovery, I have managed to amass an extensive collection of Fritz Kahn's books, all featuring his wonderful illustrations, and have also had the luck to acquire a few original posters, including the famed ‘Der Mensch als Industriepalast’ or 'Man as Industrial Palace' of 1926 as seen above, top; you can found out more about that piece here.

Conducting more commercially oriented research around these works, I stumbled upon Morbid Anatomy for the first time to read a post on a Christies ‘Anatomy as Art’ auction in New York where this poster sold for some $3,500. The financially conscious side of myself forced me to reluctantly get in touch with Christies in London regarding a sale. I was informed by their experts there was no specialist auction coming up anytime soon but that I could still consign the poster to a ‘Vintage Posters’ auction in May. I chose to sell the two posters and a ‘key’ booklet together as a lot; I still believe this is extremely unique, given that the key booklet acts as an index to the numerical and alphabetical indicators on the poster without which it is difficult to fully comprehend the intended meaning of the illustrations.

The marketing around this auction has been weak, and there isn’t much explanation of the uniqueness of the key booklet or even an image of the second poster in the lot (as seen above, bottom). When I looked at the other posters for sale at this the auction I realized that my item is out of place and I doubt that it will strike the right chord with the bidders.

I have still however decided to proceed with the auction, not in the least because I need the proceeds of this sale to help further my artistic pursuits. I therefore implore anyone who knows relevant collectors to spread the word about the auction, and encourage anyone who’s interested to bid on these items as they are impeccable (the nice thing about Christies auctions is that anyone can place bids from anywhere in the world online). You can see the lot on the auction website by clicking here.

So please, any and all of you medical art aficionados out there, check out (and bid on!) Gotthold's Sotheby's lot on May 13th; you can find out more about the lot by clicking here and more about the auction by clicking here. And yes, online/remote bidding is very much a possibility! Also, please feel free to forward this post to any interested parties!

If you are interested in learning more about Fritz Kahn and seeing more of his incredible work, I highly recommend the beautiful, lavishly illustrated book Fritz Kahn: Man Machine / Maschine Mensch, which comes complete with a frame-worthy poster-sized reproduction of ‘Der Mensch als Industriepalast’ ('Man as Industrial Palace'). Good stuff!

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Tonight!!! "Experimenting with Death: An Introduction to Terror Management Theory," Lecture, Observatory

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

Tonight! Michael Johns on all things Terror Management Theory! 8:00! Observatory!

Full details follow. Hope to see you there!

Experimenting with Death: An Introduction to Terror Management Theory
An Illustrated Lecture by Michael Johns, Former Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wyoming
Date: Thursday, May 6
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Denial of Death, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker attempted to develop a unified theory of human behavior. He argued that it was the human capacity to grasp and contemplate our own mortality–and our need to suppress this knowledge–that was at the root of human culture and behavior, from genocide to altruism, religion to philosophy. Terror Management Theory (TMT) is a psychological theory directly based on Becker’s work, developed by a group of social psychologists interested in testing Becker’s assertions about death as a core motivator of human behavior. Over the last 25 years, psychologists in the North America, Europe and the Middle East have conducted hundreds of studies to test hypothesis derived from Becker’s work and the Terror Management Theory it inspired. This body of research compellingly supports Becker’s thesis and reveals the ways in which mortality salience influences behaviors ranging from aggression and stereotyping to creativity and sexuality. Using segments from the documentary “Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality,” this lecture will introduce Terror Management Theory and discuss the often clever experiments that have been conducted to test its tenets.

Michael Johns is a social psychologist and works as a research scientist in the NYC Department of Health. He has published numerous research articles and book chapters on a variety of topics, including Terror Management Theory. Before moving to Brooklyn, Mike was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wyoming.

You can find out more about this presentation here. For more on Ernest Becker's wonderful book Denial of Death, click here; for more on the film "Flight From Death - The Quest for Immortality," click here. You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

MedTech: A great bioscience resource for folks in New York

Posted: May 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

Whether you are working on a medical device company, a biotechnology company or a pharmaceutical company, and regardless of your size, you will always need resources. You may not want to "fly" someone in a few times a year and fret about the bills. Everyone talks about networking, but it is always good to have a backbone to rely on.

Recently, I was contacted by Jill Zimmerman, the director of marketing and communications at MedTech, a non-profit trade association serving bioscience companies in New York. MedTech has an interesting model. There is a very clearly laid out strategy to serve bioscience companies in New York. Memberships are collected from participating organizations, rather than from individuals, which I guess makes for a more sustainable model with better outreach.

MedTech also has an impressive strategy to serve it's members, including public outreach, marketing and promotion of the industry and networking.

So, if you are moving to the New York Area and starting afresh, it may not be a bad idea to check out and see if your organization already participates in MedTech.

Events and Such

You can never have enough life science events, ever. So, looking at the rather impressive roster of events that MedTech, I am a bit jealous, positively speaking :).

You can find out more here:

If you are new to CAPA or just need a refresher, events like this might be for you:

They also listed a webcast coming up for 5/12. I almost never have time for these things even though I promise myself I will. I still signed up, and will try my best to make it to this one.


Networking in interdisciplinary bioscience fields is very, very important. Find organizations such as MedTech that serve you locally, and when you find them, don't let go. Do you know of other resources that would be useful to folks? Please share them with me!


Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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