Study suggests antibodies may offer protection against tuberculosis

first_imgAntibodies are one of the body’s first lines of defense against infection, but their role in tuberculosis (TB) has gone largely unstudied. Now, by harnessing a unique technology for rapidly analyzing human antibodies, a team of researchers led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard University has uncovered key differences in antibodies isolated from different groups of TB patients—findings that could spur new diagnostic tools and open a new scientific path towards an effective TB vaccine.“Our work shatters some long-standing paradigms on TB,” explains co-senior author Sarah Fortune, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Chan School and director of TB research at the Ragon Institute. “That means we’ll need to think differently about how the body develops natural immunity to the infection and how effective vaccines should be engineered.”About a third of the world’s population carries the bacteria that cause TB, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mtb. In 2014, nearly 10 million people worldwide became newly infected with Mtb and 1.5 million died. Although there are drugs that can treat the infection, drug-resistance is a pervasive problem and the most potent tool for long-term TB control—a vaccine—remains an elusive goal.Fortune and her colleagues set out to answer a couple simple questions about antibodies in TB: First, are they different in people who are actively sick with TB versus those who can control the infection? Read Full Storylast_img read more

RESAVER tenders for investment managers

first_imgRESAVER, the recently launched pan-European pension project for researchers, is tendering for investment managers for the cross-border IORP it is setting up, according to an EU tender notice.The tender is being conducted using the competitive dialogue process, and is being managed by Aon Belgium, which won a four-year contract to provide support services to the project at the beginning of this year.RESAVER, or the Retirement Savings Vehicle for European Research Institutions, is now inviting expressions of interest from companies interested in tendering to provide pension fund investment services to “a second-pillar occupational DC pension multi-country IORP registered in Belgium”. The contract is proposed to last for five years, with the possibility of extending it to eight years. On the basis of the responses to the pre-qualification questionnaires, RESAVER will shortlist at least three applicants to take part in the dialogue stage.Aon said it was not looking for creative solutions at this stage but was at the dialogue stage instead.To achieve economies of scale, Aon said it was intended that RESAVER Insurance would offer the same investment funds to insurance participants as were offered to IORP participants.It said both the RESAVER IORP and RESAVER Insurance vehicles would have to offer “a comprehensive range of investment funds (…) to support the project multi-country, multi-vehicle, multi-currency specificities”.Since the project is starting from scratch, the investment solution must be suitable for any size of assets, it said, which will involve keeping the organisation simple at the beginning, with only a few investment options.At the same time, the organisation will have to be ready to change in the future, when assets under management and number of participants have grown.RESAVER is also tendering for administration services, as well as custody and audit services.The deadline for requests to participate is 2 November 2015 at 5pm, and decisions on the contracts to be awarded are to be made by 28 January 2016.The costs of setting up the IORP are being covered by the European Commission. Aon has said it will take 15 years for the fund to finance itself.last_img read more

Lakers GM Kupchak: ‘There’s time to right the ship’

first_imgHOUSTON >> Mitch Kupchak exuded a sense of calmness over the phone, even as the Lakers general manager addressed a wide-range of issues with this newspaper that plague the purple and gold.The never-ending injuries. The uncertainty leading into the Feb. 20 trade deadline. Whether the Lakers will miss the postseason for only the sixth time in franchise history. But Kupchak still uttered words about Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni foreign to what’s written on message boards and voiced on the airwaves.“Six weeks ago, I thought he would’ve been candidate for coach of the year,” Kupchak said, praising D’Antoni on how he managed a roster full of castoffs despite never-ending injuries. “I know I’ll get criticized and he’ll get criticized. But the coaches in this league can’t win without players.”Kupchak also stayed firm on signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million extension shortly before Bryant fractured his left knee only six games after returning from a torn left Achilles tendon. Kupchak conceded he’ll stay active leading into the Feb. 20 trade deadline, though he declined to say whether everyone outside of Bryant remains up for grabs.“If there’s an opportunity to help us win right away, or an opportunity to help us plan for next year or the year after,” Kupchak said, “then we’ll look at those opportunities.”The Lakers negotiated last week with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a deal involving Pau Gasol, but Cleveland traded Andrew Bynum to Chicago for All-Star forward Luol Deng and several draft picks. The Lakers declined to make the deal because Cleveland refused to offer valued young players and draft picks.The Lakers had no interest in solely waiving Bynum, a move coupled with Gasol’s departure that would’ve trimmed $20 million in luxury taxes. The Lakers’ payroll remains at $78.9 million and the luxury tax threshold stays at $71.7 million.Kupchak downplayed the importance of staying below that number despite giving the Lakers a chance to avoid the so-called “repeater’s tax.” That penalty applies to teams that spend over the luxury tax in four of five seasons since the NBA’s new labor deal was constructed in 2011.“Strategically, it’s a factor,” Kupchak said. “But with Dr. Buss and present ownership, it has never been a driving force that interferes with what is best for the organization in terms of providing for our TV partners, radio partners and our fans.” “His most recent injury had nothing to do with the Achilles,” Kupchak said. “If he had blown out his Achilles, you might think why did he come back so quickly. The knee just hyperextended, and that’s very natural. It’s not a major injury. He’ll be back and better than ever.”Kupchak also scoffed at the Lakers tanking for the sake of maximizing their chances in the NBA Draft lottery.“That’s the worst thing an owner, general manager, coach or player can even consider. I can’t imagine going into a locker room or having a closed-door meeting with a coach to say I want you to lose,” Kupchak said. “It’s almost un-American.”The Lakers have long-term injuries to Bryant (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back), Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow) Jordan Farmar (strained left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (bone bruise in right knee). The Lakers will evaluate Henry sometime next week, but Bryant, Nash, Blake and Farmar aren’t expected back until February.“There’s time to right the ship and get back in the playoff run,” Kupchak said. “The only thing we can do is to play as hard, coach as hard and support the team as much as possible. If we can do that come April, we may not be happy with the record. But I know the team gave everything they possibly could give.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more