Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Four simple steps to contain COVID-19   Leave a comment

Last week I wrote a debate article of approximately 9000 spaces length, sent it to Expressen, the biggest Swedish evening newspaper, they asked it to be shortened to 3500 spaces, and then it got published. YAH. Why? They probably get 20-40 proposals a day. Well, I guess a lot of those other ones are negativist angry pieces, that there are too many off in these crazy days. So what did we propose?
1) Close all schools immediately. Even though kids do not get very sick, they do catch the virus and do spread it. Kids of parents with key jobs exempt of course…

2) massive testing to isolate cases (a no brainer, still people are arguing against it, scary)

3) fever scanning, to further target testing of anyone with typical symptoms

4) continued social distancing over many months to come, no shaking hands, meetings at a distance.

Pretty straight forward.

Read it here:
https://www.expressen.se/debatt/fyra-krafttag-som-kan-stoppa-corona-i-maj/

Posted April 1, 2020 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

SARS-Cov-2 – COVID-19 national responses, China solved it in six weeks   Leave a comment

I am following the COVID-19 development carefully, partly for personal reasons, partly as a curious scientist with sometimes an epidemiological mindset. Today, 12th March 2020, we received the news that Trump blocks travel from Europe, except the UK, to avoid importing COVID-19 cases to the country. At the same time, the domestic response is apalling.

China, on the other hand, took drastic measures on the 23rd January, and now, about six weeks later, they have almost NO NEW CASES in the country. Because they acted.

Taiwan also took very drastic measures very quickly. When I checked today, they have 49 confirmed cases and one death. Their approach was well described here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762689

Also the containment of cases in Singapore was exceptional.

But when it comes to Europe, it takes 10000 cases in Italy for the country to react.

Seems we need to take three measures:
1) No shaking hands

2) Disinfect your hands regularly

3) Don’t meet if you really don’t need to

4) Use mask when in public places. This measure has not been popular because scientists claim it isnt proven it works. Well, it seems to have worked in China, in combination with measures 1-3… So why not? It might not be important for the individual, but perhaps for the population.

OK, I am ready to hybernate if necessary, but will do so reaching out by blogging and perhaps VLOGGING 🙂

Posted March 12, 2020 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

COVID-19 reduces the number of scientific meetings, shall we meet virtually?   Leave a comment

Not a single blogpost since 2015. Shame on me. BUT, now it is time to come alive again. The focus of this blog will be on Extracellular Vesicles (EV: exosomes, microvesicles and beyond). Just recently, a lecture of mine on the topic of EV diversity was posted on youtube, and you can see it here:

There is so much to discuss around extracellular vesicle research right now. We are starting to understand their diversity, even if they come from a single cell, and there are likely to be many subpopulations of vesicles released from cells by different mechanisms, and with different biological function. EV are also becoming important clinically, with a lot of biomarker discovery being presented, and clinical medicines being developed soon to be tested in patients.

What is exceptionally important is that we maintain communicating within the scientific community. I was invited to the AACR meeting in San Diego in April to give an educational lecture. Now the meeting is “postponed” (www.aacr.org). Further, an ISEV.ORG workshop coming up very soon in Paris is postponed. I just think we should meet and talk, and if travel and other factors prevents us to meet face-to-face, let’s just meet on the internet.

I will soon set up my youtube channel, where I will discuss EVs in general, but hopefully also interview people about their science and development of EV research. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Posted March 11, 2020 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

Obama’s precision medicine initiative – insufficient and off target?   Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, Barack Obama presented a “precision medicine initiative”. But is what the money go to really “precision medicine”?

It seems that a major sum, $130 million, will go to the NIH to develop a database of 1 million individuals with genomic data and hospital records. That is $130 per included individual. How can that be even a remotely sufficient investment, as genome sequencing is $1000 per person?

$70 million will go to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer, supporting novel more personalized medicines. Now, that is obviously a “precision medicine” initiative, as more effective and hopefully less toxic medicines will be developed.

$15 million will go to database searchability and protection of personal data. Nothing to be said about that…

In summary, I have mixed feelings about this initiative. Specifically, I am skeptical that sequencing a million genomes will help the development of precision medication. Understanding the diversity in the genome may be an interesting question in its own right, but the last twenty years of genome research has shown that very few diseases are directly connected to specific sequences or “single-nucleotide polymorphisms” in our DNA.

To develop novel precision medicines we rather need to understand the diversity of specific diseases, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases and inflammatory diseases, which scientists today call “disease phenotypes” or “endotypes”. By understanding molecular mechanisms involved in subgroups of disease, more personalized and efficient precision medications can be developed for future generations. Genetics will not be the answer, but more comprehensive and translational approaches are necessary, first describing molecular mechanisms of subgroups of disease, thereafter developing treatments targeting those specific mechanisms. That would be a true precision medicine investment.

Posted February 15, 2015 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

I have been quiet   1 comment

Over the last few years I have been quiet here on the WordPress blog, after having been quite active on http://www.isevmeeting.org and facebook, primarily in relationship to the extracellular vesicles scientific community. I hope to revive this blog though, with more personal comments on science and personal reflections on life in general.

Right now, I am looking very much forward to lead a course specifically focusing on extracellular vesicles, at University of Palermo (July 8-12). Is this the first real university course on extracellular vesicles (“exosomes and beyond”), directed towards university students and not PhD students or scientists??? Thank you Riccardo Alessandro for inviting me to Palermo!

After that, a few weeks of rest awaits… LOOKING FORWARD!! The first half of 2013 has been quite intense…

Posted June 30, 2013 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

Celebrating 100 years of immunotherapy by giving price to 99 year old Bill Frankland   Leave a comment

It was such a fantastic moment to hand over a once in a lifetime award to Bill Frankland during the openinig  in Istanbul. Bill is almost 100 years old, and the price was a celebration of 100 years of immunotherapy (3 minutes 52 seconds into the clip).

Thank you Bill for making the effort to come to Istanbul to receive this acknowledgement, and to celebrate the history of immunotherapy together with the EAACI family.

Posted August 23, 2011 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

The Presidential Opening of the 30th EAACI congress in Istanbul 2011   Leave a comment

It has been great to be the President of EAACI, and it was a pleasure of opening the 3oth congress, acknowledging the long efforts in immunotherapy by Professor Bill Frankland (Albert William Frankland), and awarding Gabrielle Pauli, Tony Frew (Anthony J Frew), Erika von Mutius and Gianni Marone.

Here is a movie of my opening words, and below the scribble that I had on my iPad to remember what to say…

FILM CLIP:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fx_tWzdq8c

MY OWN NOTES:

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guest, dear colleagues,

I warmly welcome you to the 30th congress of the european academy of allergy and clinical immunology in Istanbul.

One word that comes to mind INSPIRATION

to stand here in front of you all.

YOU the closest friends

YOU   the body and soul of EAACI,

YOUR presence here  makes EAACI great.

ACTUALLY the purpose congress is INSPIRATION

Inspired by each others

By leader – to interact

Most importan YOUNG scientists

There are several individuals especially acknowledge for developing the EAACI congress.

Ömer and turkey team

Cezmi, christian, lars paulsen

The hq susanne congrex team

2011, is INSPIRATIONAL YEAR

exactly 100 years ago

10th 1911, Leonard Noon the Lancet.

EAACI is celebrating many ways

the scientific programme, plenary session, events and schools

Today, special day

We will present the Noon Award.

Once only

A process of nomination and voting:

One of the most inspirational individuals in the field of allergy ever, a past secretary general of eaaci, a past president of eaaci, our grandfather of allergy, who published the first controlled study in immunotherapy.

Who am i talking about? Of course a person that himself is turning 100 years old next year, Professor William Frankland.

Bill:

true inspiration to us all,

true allergist,

grew your own allergens in the early days. You built the base of our specialty,

for this we will be thankful for ever.

The Noon award to Bill Frankland

I must say that just handing over this award was an honour in itself

Four EAACI awards every year

Other inspirations

Four exceptional individuals

gabrielle pauli

Anthony frew

Erika von mutius

Gianni marone

Walking up

Gp Clements von pirquet mol allergol

Ajf charles blackley backbone built much activities EDUCATION and SPECIALTY

erika vM leading epidemiologist, hygene hypothesis

gian Mar mast cell biology naples 2002

Big hand to awardees

OPEN

Posted June 15, 2011 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

A fantastic opening ceremony in Istanbul at the EAACI congress   Leave a comment

We have had an exceptional evening at the 30th EAACI congress, opening ceremony. We have handed out the once in a lifetime award for contributions in immunotherapy to Bill Frankland, to celebrate the 100 years of immunotherapy after the Noon paper in the Lancet. We have had a great opening ceremony in the emotional heart of Turkish society. And we had a welcome reception outdoors without being exposed to the rain the metereologists were talking about…

Thank you Ömer, and Turkey, and all friends of EAACI

Jan Lötvall

Current President of EAACI

Posted June 11, 2011 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

Having ”suicidal ideation” is associated with being a smoking young asthmatic – a key risk factor for having severe asthma?   Leave a comment

Having ”suicidal ideation” is associated with being a smoking young asthmatic – a key risk factor for having severe asthma?

I saw an abstract today on pubmed, linking “suicidal ideation” and smoking in young adults with asthma. This study originates in Korea, and is published locally, but is certainly interesting also from a global perspective.

Suicidal ideation is “a common medical term for thoughts about suicide, which may be as detailed as a formulated plan, but without the suicidal act itself”. The Korean colleagues have gathered data from a very large cohort (>75000 individuals), and identified a large cohort of asthmatic smokers. Indeed, the data showed that smoking was more common in asthmatic youths, than in non-asthmatics, and there was a significant interactions between asthma and suicidal ideation with cigarette use behavior http://1.usa.gov/mdVkCm . The authors conclude that “particular attention should be paid to the awareness of health risks of cigarette smoking and mental health problems among asthmatic adolescents”.

These data certainly support the research line in our research centre, looking at personality traits in relation to adherence to asthma medication http://bit.ly/lxQIOr and http://bit.ly/fZu7WL. Personality, psychology, psychopathology, health behavior and adherence to medication are certainly key factors in some patients with severe asthma. An interesting older paper from the Leiden group with Elisabeth Bel and colleagues http://bit.ly/jYnQr1

Posted May 28, 2011 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized

New England Journal of Medicine paper on asthma, suggesting that remodeling is a result of airway narrowing, not the other way around…   Leave a comment

New England Journal of Medicine paper on asthma, suggesting that remodeling is a result of airway narrowing, not the other way around…

It is generally suggested that airway wall remodeling in asthma is a result of active inflammatory processes. In the current study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine http://bit.ly/kLYWwT , investigators from Southampton suggest that induction of bronchoconstriction by itself can induce some signs of remodeling, without a parallel process of enhanced inflammation occurring. What the investigators did, was to induced airflow obstruction by provocation with allergen, which induces significant eosinophilic inflammation, or with methacholine, which does not induce inflammation. Control groups were given either a bronchodilator or the vechicle for the provocation (saline). Importantly, the challenges were given repeatedly, which is not normally done in clinical research. Different profiles of lung function changes were observed after the challenges, with a late response being induced by allergen, and no late response observed after methacholine.

The key finding reported is that both allergen- and methacholine provocation increased subepithelial collagen-band thickness, to a similar degree. However, the measured changes were really small in both instances, but the photomicrographs shown are impressive. The statistics was based on µg change in “collagen-band” thickness, and on average the change was reported to be around 2µm for each of the challenges. Baseline thickness in asthma has been reported to be around 10µm, but variable between patients. In the current paper, it was reported to be on average 7.47-10.76 in the different groups. Thus, any observed change was in the region of 20%.

The authors conclude that “Bronchoconstriction without additional inflammation induces airway remodeling in patients with asthma. These findings have potential implications for management.” Subepithelial fibrosis has indeed been suggested to be one sign of remodeling in asthma, but its role to induce airway narrowing has been questioned. Furthermore, perhaps other challenges, such as dry air isocapnic hyperventilation or exercise should be tested, to determine whether any bronchoconstricting event can have such results.

I was disappointed that no “primary variable” was reported in the paper. Further, the statistics were allowed to be “one way”, which is unusual in medical research. New England Journal of Medicine usually is tough on those issues…

In summary, yes, the usual. More research is required to confirm these findings…

Posted May 28, 2011 by Jan Lötvall in Uncategorized