Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 FLAME CONFERENCE - Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials

Losses caused by fire are disastrous. Most notable are the victims and firefighters who are killed and injured. Displacement and devastation of property can be significant. Economic losses are huge; countries globally spend a not-insignificant portion of their GDP on loss, prevention, and firefighting. Accordingly, there are people and companies worldwide dedicated to fire prevention and protection, and the development of fireproof, non-burning, flame retardant, and flame resistant materials, without whom the losses would be orders of magnitude greater. We salute them.

For 25 years, BCC Research has hosted “the Flame Conference,” as a forum for people in the fire retardant (FR) industry to meet, share, and learn from each other. The conference – called Annual Conference on Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials – focuses on the development of flame retardant chemicals and materials such as plastics, textiles, and surface coatings that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire.

Now in its 26th year, the Flame Conference is the premier fire retardant (FR) event in the United States. It brings together scientists and other technical specialists for an intensive seminar that fosters learning and networking among the industry’s best and brightest. The single track of sessions covers both the government/academia and commercial/industrial sectors.
“If you want to know about the latest breakthrough in flame retardant research, the Flame Conference is the conference to attend,” said one of the Conference’s attendees in 2014. Another commented, “…it was very good to hear from companies… that offer real world products that are cost effective.... Everything starts in the lab but at some point it has to be viable for the market not just in efficacy but in cost, processing, and value in use.”
The 2015 Flame Conference is scheduled to be held from May 17th to 20th, 2015 in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. Register now to take advantage of this opportunity as seating is limited. Each year this intelligent and intimate conference brings back many of the same attendees, who rely on it as an irreplaceable and on-point source of knowledge about the science, technology, design, and manufacture of flame-retardant materials and coatings.
For information on the 2015 Flame Conference, visit http://www.bccresearch.com/conference/flame
For information on a BCC Research report on the flame retardant chemicals market, visit
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Will Gene-edited Stem Cells Hold the Key to Fighting HIV/AIDS?

In a research conducted at Harvard University, a new gene-editing technique was used to create what could prove to be an effective method for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients' immune systems. The work was led by Chad Cowan and Derrick Rossi, Associate Professors in Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB). 
This is the first published report of the Harvard researchers using CRISPR/Cas technology to efficiently and precisely edit clinically relevant genes out of cells collected directly from people, in this case human blood-forming stem cells and T-cells, researchers said. 

In theory, such gene-edited stem cells could be introduced into HIV patients via bone marrow transplantation—the procedure used to transplant blood stem cells into leukemia patients, to give rise to HIV-resistant immune systems. 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is one of the most catastrophic threats to human health in the world. Improved treatment options and methods of diagnosis have helped to moderate the growth of the epidemic, presenting opportunities for companies prepared to engage actively in this field. However, the management of HIV/AIDS is still, in many respects, a very significant threat, and there is an ongoing, urgent need for promising new research as well as optimal exploitation of the treatment and diagnostic options already developed.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), there were 35 million people across the globe living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2012. In 2012, 1.6 million people died of HIV/AIDS, including 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a BCC Research report, in 2012 the HIV therapeutics market was worth $17.5 billion. The global market is expected to peak at $20.9 billion in 2016 and will shrink back to $19.6 billion in 2018, representing an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5%. The patent expiration of leading antiretroviral drugs and the subsequent introduction of generic drugs will create cost pressures that will drive overall revenues down, resulting in suppressed market revenue growth.
Though this new approach to HIV therapy might be ready for human safety trials in less than five years, the researchers are still cautious about celebrating victory. Even if this new approach works perfectly, further developments need to be carried out before they are introduced in the global market.
For more information on a BCC Research market report about HIV therapeutics and diagnostics, visit the following link:

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Growing Prevalence of a Silent Killer— Diabetes

The number of people around the world suffering from diabetes has skyrocketed in the last two decades, from 30 million to 230 million, claiming millions of lives and severely taxing the ability of health care systems to deal with the epidemic, according to data released by the International Diabetes Federation. The demographics of the diabetes epidemic are also changing rapidly at the same time. While the growing problem of diabetes in the United States has been well documented, the federation’s data shows that 7 of the 10 countries with the highest number of diabetics are in the developing world.

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease; it appears in childhood, is lifelong, and currently must be treated with insulin. Type II diabetes typically appears in middle age. It is linked to obesity and therefore is more prevalent in developed countries with relatively affluent lifestyles, sedentary occupations, and dietary overindulgence. 
According to the American Diabetes Association's journal, Diabetes Care, Asia accounts for 60% of the world's diabetic population. In recent decades, Asia has undergone rapid economic development, urbanization, and transitions in nutritional status. China now has the largest number of diabetics over age 20, around 39 million people or about 2.7 percent of the adult population, according to the federation. The group also mentions India with the second largest number of cases with an estimated 30 million people, or about 6 percent of the adult population.
There are many factors driving the growth in diabetes worldwide, but most experts agree that changes in lifestyle and diet are the chief culprits, in addition to genetic predisposition. As developing countries rapidly industrialize, people tend to do work involving less physical activity. At the same time, the availability of food that is cheap but high in calories becomes more common.

Typically, type II diabetes occurs after a person becomes obese, when insulin resistance occurs;  the diabetes comes next. When this occurs, the cells do not respond properly to insulin; glucose does not enter the cells and blood glucose (sugar) levels rise. When fat is stored in the "wrong" places (blood vessels, heart and muscles) in the body, insulin resistance is much more likely to occur. Experts are not sure exactly how the association works.

The most common treatment for type II diabetes today involves initially placing the patient on a special diet; sometimes they may need to take pills that increase insulin secretion and also make the cells more sensitive to insulin. Occasionally they are given tablets to bring down the production of glucose. However, after a few years, for about one-third of all patients these treatments gradually lose their efficacy and insulin injections are needed. 

The most effective treatment today, however, to prevent type II diabetes onset among very obese patients is bariatric surgery.

World-renowned British specialist Dr David Cavan, Director of policy at the International Diabetes Federation, hands patients a lifeline with a simple regime that can reduce the devastating effects of type II diabetes. His plan includes adopting a healthy diet, getting support from your family, boosting exercise, assessing current diabetes drugs, keeping up to date with monitoring the condition – and, finally, being realistic about what you want to achieve.
According to Dr Cadan, people with type II diabetes will be motivated to change their lifestyle if they realize that it is possible to become free from diabetes rather than if they think that whatever they do, they will always have it. He added that reducing sugar and understanding that some starchy carbohydrates have almost the same effect as eating sugar can bring about swift changes.
According to the International Diabetes Federation and other major professional organizations, the global population of individuals with diabetes (type I and II) was about 240 million in 2010, and is expected to rise to 300 million by 2025.  The corresponding market of products used to diagnose and treat diabetes was $118.7 billion for 2012, and is expected to rise to almost $157 billion over the next five years.  The market for monitoring equipment stands at approximately $14 billion and is set to rise toward $21 billion by 2017.

Working towards introducing innovative solutions in this area, French pharmaceutical company, Servier, is planning to pioneer a tiny drug-loaded implantable pump, developed by a Boston-based start-up, Intarcia Therapeutics Inc., which is anticipated to transform the global market for patients with diabetes.

Servier has agreed to pay Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. $171 million up front, with potential additional payments that could increase the total to more than $1 billion, for rights to co-develop the device for most markets outside the U.S., the companies said. Closely held Intarcia retains full rights to the treatment for the U.S. and Japan. The pump hasn’t yet been approved for sale; the companies plan to submit it to regulators in the first half of 2016.

In Sweden, the researchers from Stockholm University say that they have uncovered a new mechanism that encourages glucose uptake in brown fat. They explain that brown fat's main function is to create heat by burning fat and sugar. By using this new knowledge, the researchers say they may be able to stimulate this signalling pathway with drugs, lowering blood sugar levels and potentially even curing type II diabetes.
The brown fat is active in adults, acting as one of the bodily tissues that can be encouraged to take up large amounts of glucose from the bloodstream to use as a fuel source to create body heat, the researchers said. As such, increasing the uptake of glucose in brown fat can quickly decrease blood sugar levels, they added.
In a person with the condition, the body's tissues are unable to respond to insulin, rendering them unable to take up sugar from the blood. Because insulin is released after eating to regulate blood sugar, when the insulin signal no longer functions properly, blood sugar levels rise. Very high blood sugar levels are dangerous to organs in the body and can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral nervous system damage, amputations and even early death.
"This is completely new and groundbreaking research," Prof. Tore Bengtsson of Stockholm University's Department of Molecular Biosciences said.
On December 20, 2006, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to designate November 14 as World Diabetes Day. The occasion aimed to raise awareness of diabetes, its prevention and complications and the care that people with the condition need. World Diabetes Day was first commemorated on November 14, 2007, and is observed annually.
For BCC Research market reports on diabetes, visit the following links:
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Impact of DNA Vaccines on the Biotechnology Industry

Vaccines are considered a standard preventive treatment in many clinical situations today. They work by inducing an immune response against an inert pathogen to protect against future infection.
A new type of vaccine – DNA vaccines – provide an alternative method to produce immunity in organisms. First developed during the 1990s, DNA vaccines use genetically engineered DNA to produce an immune response. They work by causing the body to translate the injected DNA sequences into pathogenic proteins. The body then creates antibodies specific to the proteins, which creates immunity without causing infection. This is important for immune-compromised patients, including those infected by HIV; conventional vaccines can potentially trigger an actual infection in weakened immune systems. 
Though currently still in the experimental stages, DNA vaccines have several advantages over conventional vaccines. Conventional vaccines cover only a small number of diseases, but DNA vaccines are relatively easy to design for a range of difficult pathogens. DNA vaccines will target a wide range of diseases, such as cancers and allergies, as well as infectious diseases. Studies over the past decade suggest that DNA vaccines can be used for immunity against infections and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria that kill millions worldwide every year.
DNA vaccines are also easier to distribute than traditional vaccines because they are more stable, avoid the risk of accidental infection by the pathogen, and require no refrigeration. Conventional vaccines can potentially become inert when stored in improper environments, while DNA vaccines are less susceptible to damage due to environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures or humidity. They can be administered safely to people who live in areas where regular vaccines are difficult to maintain or may be compromised due to the lack of proper storage facilities.
DNA vaccines, if integrated into the body appropriately, can produce a sustained immune response, making booster vaccinations unnecessary. After receiving a single DNA vaccine, an individual can have lifelong immunity to a disease, decreasing the need (and cost) for booster shots.
In addition to the general medical benefits, DNA vaccines can provide a large economic benefit. Due to the decreased restrictions in the production and storage of DNA vaccines compared to regular vaccines, the cost of producing and maintaining DNA vaccines is much lower. This can be especially beneficial to people in developing countries. According to certain case studies, the cost of developing and manufacturing a successful and beneficial conventional vaccine can range from $500 million to $1 billion. Comparatively, the development and manufacturing of a DNA vaccine ranges between $200 and $300 million.
Currently there is limited knowledge of the effects of DNA vaccines on humans, since most tests have been conducted only on lab animals. Potential side effects could include chronic inflammation, because the vaccine continuously stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies. Other concerns include the possible integration of plasmid DNA into the body’s host genome, resulting in mutations, problems with DNA replication, triggering of autoimmune responses, and activation of cancer-causing genes.
A 2014 market research report published by BCC Research forecasts the global market for DNA vaccines will grow from $305.3 million in 2014 to $2.7 billion in 2019, yielding an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.8%. While research tools and animal health applications currently comprise the commercialized market, human clinical DNA vaccines will make up the vast majority of this market by 2019.
In the age of genomics where DNA can be sequenced and created more quickly, accurately, and cheaper than ever before, and where safety and handling live pathogens is fraught with risk and difficulty, further research on DNA vaccines is surely a worthwhile pursuit when addressing modern food security, animal health and perhaps even human healthcare challenges.
For our market research report on DNA vaccines, visit the following link:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Transforming the Future of Lighting Systems with Led Technology

Although the origin of Light Emitting Diode or LED technology can be traced back to 1927, it did not enter the commercial arena until much later. This was largely due to its high production cost; it is, however, rapidly gaining ground in more recent times. With the increasing demand for greener, more energy-efficient products, as well as the worldwide environmental strain on energy resources, is LED technology the answer to our lighting needs? What does the future hold for LED technology and does it have what it takes to overpower the traditional light bulb, which was perhaps the most lifechanging invention in human history?
LED lights are likely the most environmentally friendly lighting options available in the current scenario. So what makes it the leading choice in industrial, architectural, and horticultural applications around the world? LEDs last as much as 20 times longer than other lighting sources, and therefore don’t need to be replaced as often. This reduces the impact of manufacturing, packaging, and shipping. LEDs are also designed to provide more than a decade of near maintenance-free service. Less servicing also reduces environmental impact.
Additionally, LEDs consume much less energy than incandescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. LED lights use only 2–17 watts of electricity, which is 25%–80% less energy than standard lighting systems. And while compact fluorescent lights are also energy-efficient, LEDs burn even less energy. LEDs contain no mercury, unlike their HID counterparts, whose mercury-laden remnants can seep into the water supply and adversely affect sea life, and those who consume it. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 terawatt hours (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.”

The electrical maintenance required for lighting systems in public buildings that receive harsh and prolonged use, sometimes 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, is overwhelming. In public building management, time is money, and because changing LED fixtures happens far less often than traditional lighting, public building management will have to spend less time on the ladder changing bulbs. LED lighting contributes to energy savings and sustainability by improving working conditions through deliberately directed light and by reducing the energy needed to power lighting fixtures.
A groundbreaking advancement in this area came to the forefront when Isamu Akasaki, Professor at Meijo University, Hiroshi Amano, Professor at Nagoya University, and Shuki Nakahmura, a Japanese-born Professor currently at the University of California, Santa Barbara won the Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month for inventing the world’s first blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
While red and green LEDs had been around for some time, the elusive blue LED represented a long-standing challenge for researchers in both academia and industry. Without this critical last piece, scientists were unable to produce white light from LEDs, as all three colors needed to be mixed together for this to happen.
The white LED lamps that resulted from this invention emit very bright white light and are superior in terms of energy efficiency and lifespan when compared with incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. LEDs can last some 100,000 hours, whereas incandescent bulbs typically last only about 1,000. “With 20% of the world’s electricity used for lighting, it’s been calculated that optimal use of LED lighting could reduce this to 4%,” said Dr. Frances Saunders, President of the Institute of Physics. “This is physics research that is having a direct impact on the grandest of scales, helping protect our environment, as well as turning up in our everyday electronic gadgets.”
What’s more, these LED lamps have the potential to improve the quality of life for more than 1.5 billion people in the world that do not have access to electricity grids. Since LEDs require very little energy input, they can run on cheap local solar power. 
Steven DenBaars, a research scientist at UC Santa Barbara, has been working on LED lights for 20 years. In his laboratory, he is already onto the next big thing: Replacing a substantial portion of indoor lights, and the archaic bulb and socket infrastructure on which they depend, with lasers.
According to DenBaars, the working of lasers is very similar to an LED lightbulb. “It’s the same materials, but you put two mirrors on either side of the LED and it breaks into a laser. Once you get reflection back and forth, you get an amplification effect, and it goes from regular emission to stimulated emission.”
Simply replacing the light emitting diodes in a typical LED bulb with a laser diode wouldn’t work. This hypothetical laser light bulb would catch on fire from all the waste heat it would generate, not to mention an ungodly amount of light, more than enough to blind anyone who looked at it. Rather, DenBaars imagines using just a handful of tiny but powerful lasers, and then redirecting their light into fiber-optic cables and other types of light-transmitting plastic that could take that light and evenly distribute it into a warm, diffuse glow.

BMW’s “hybrid supercar,” the i8, uses headlights that are the latest example of laser-based lighting technology. Like all lasers re-appropriated for conventional illumination, blue laser diodes were aimed at a phosphor that transforms the blue laser light into more diffused white light. The result is headlights with such a long working life that they could “easily outlive the automobile” in which they’re installed, notes IEEE Spectrum.
Laser lights could solve the problem of how to bridge the gap between traditional light sockets and more radical configurations of new lighting technologies. With just a few point sources of laser light installed in a building, their illumination can be redirected throughout a structure via plastic fiber-optic cables that could run along ceilings and around corners, just as the cable company runs its wires into buildings and through rooms without having to tear holes in walls or interface with the electrical system of a building. “Rather than route the electricity to the bulb you can route the light to the sources. LEDs let you do that too, but lasers would take it a couple steps further,” says DenBaars.
LEDs are helping change the way we light up our world, facilitating the development of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient light sources that offer a dramatic improvement from the incandescent bulbs pioneered at the beginning of the 20th century.

For our relevant BCC Research report on LED, visit the following link:
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Minding Our Brain’s Business: Unravelling The Neuroscience Of The Human Brain

For centuries, the mysteries of grey matter have baffled scientists and researchers alike. How can humans manage to store countless moments, past and present, in one single organ? How can animals map their path back and forth? How do we figure out a shortcut to work when there's a big traffic jam? How do we recall where we parked our car? So on and so forth.
The brain, as it turns out, has a GPS-like function that enables people to produce mental maps and navigate the world — a discovery for which husband-and-wife scientists Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser of Norway, and New York-born researcher John O'Keefe were recently honored for breakthroughs in experiments on rats that could help pave the way for a better understanding of human diseases such as Alzheimer's. This solves the problem of how the brain creates a map of the space surrounding us and how we navigate our way through a complex environment. In other words, it reveals brain's internal positioning system and gives clues to how strokes and Alzheimer's affect the brain.
"We can actually begin to investigate what goes wrong" in Alzheimer's, said O'Keefe. "The findings might also help scientists design tests that can pick up the very earliest signs of the mind-robbing disease, whose victims lose their spatial memory and get easily lost," he added.
It was in London in 1971 where O'Keefe, conducting his research on rats, discovered the first component of the brain's positioning system. O'Keefe, now director at the center in neural circuits and behavior at University College London, found that a type of nerve cell in a brain region called the hippocampus was always activated when a rat was in a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was in other positions. O'Keefe, thereafter, concluded that these "place cells" were building up a map, not just registering visual input.
"I made the initial discovery over 40 years ago. It was met then with a lot of scepticism," the 74-year-old O'Keefe said. "And then slowly over years, the evidence accumulated. And I think it's a sign of recognition not only for myself and the work I did, but for the way in which the field has bloomed."
What is vital, however, is that the knowledge about the brain's positioning system can also help understand what causes loss of spatial awareness in stroke patients or those with brain diseases like dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common form and which affects 44 million people worldwide.
In 1996, Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser, now based in scientific institutes in the Norwegian town of Trondheim, worked with O'Keefe to learn how to record the activity of cells in the hippocampus. In 2005, they identified another type of nerve cell in the entorhinal cortex region in the brains of rats that functions as a navigation system. These so-called "grid cells," they discovered, are constantly working to create a map of the outside world and are responsible for animals' knowing where they are, where they have been, and where they are going.
The Nobel Assembly said the laureates' discoveries marked a shift in scientists' understanding of how specialized cells work together to perform complex cognitive tasks. They have also opened new avenues for understanding cognitive functions such as memory, thinking, and planning.
The finding, a fundamental piece of research, explains how the brain works but does not have immediate implications for new medicines, since it does not set out a mechanism of action.
For our relevant BCC Research reports on Alzheimer’s, visit the following links:

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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Changing Face of the Healthcare Industry with Mhealth Technologies

The health industry is increasingly responding to the rising popularity and availability of technological innovations, such as tablets and smartphones. The use of connected devices to collect patient data, monitor ongoing conditions, access health information, and communicate with providers, patients, and peers is a trend that is spreading like wildfire. Health applications have the potential to be adapted and used by healthcare professionals and consumers, helping to revolutionize the sector and reflect the digital age we live in.
Mobile Health (mHealth) can provide cost-effective solutions within the global healthcare environment, which faces budget constraints, an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, and a limited healthcare workforce. mHealth is the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support healthcare systems and achieve healthcare objectives.  After several successful global trials, several mHealth services have entered the commercialization phase and many mobile applications have been launched, stimulating partnerships with software developers, mobile operators, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and leading healthcare players.
Over the next decade innovations within the mHealth market will be driven by evolution of smartphone technologies, improvements in wireless coverage, and remote treatment and monitoring of prevalent chronic diseases. According to a BCC Research report, the global mHealth market reached nearly $1.5 billion in 2012 and $2.4 billion in 2013. It is expected to reach $21.5 billion in 2018 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.9% over the five-year period from 2013 to 2018.
For healthcare professionals, mobile or tablet apps also have enormous potential for training and professional development. Connectivity is built in, facilitating a blended learning platform with easily updatable information, in an accessible format. This allows for a truly flexible and enjoyable teaching and learning experience, ideal for both professionals and students, with information available anytime, anywhere.
Not only do health training and development apps provide more dynamic training tools, but they can also bring huge cost savings. Apps are inexpensive to produce and update, especially when compared to other training tools. Tablets and smartphones are readily available and the technology is relatively low cost when compared to other health technologies and professional training tools.
Apple’s new software, HealthKit, is designed to collect data from various health and fitness apps, making that data easily available to Apple users through the company’s new Health app. HealthKit is being developed to send data directly into hospital and doctors' charts, too.
Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President at Apple, at a conference held earlier this year, said, “Developers have created a vast array of healthcare devices and accompanying applications, everything from monitoring your activity level, to your heart rate, to your weight, and chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. ... [But] you can’t get a single comprehensive picture of your health situation. But now you can, with HealthKit.”
Mobile phone carriers such as Verizon and Sprint are also using their vast and trusted networks to bring mobile patient engagement and data to the forefront. “[Verizon’s] Converged Health Management is a perfect example of how we are using our unique combination of assets like our 4G LTE wireless network and cloud infrastructure to deliver an innovative, cost-effective and game-changing solution to the marketplace,” said John Stratton, President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
For relevant BCC Research reports on telemedicine technologies, visit the following links:
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