“કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”: (6)દર્શના વારિયા નાડકરણી


Originally posted on શબ્દોનુંસર્જન:

Breakup & Makeup –

બેઠક નો આ મહિનાનો વિષય છે “કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”.  નાના બાળકો માટે કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા ખેલ સમાન છે તો ક્યારેક આ નાજુક વાત મોટાઓની ઝીંદગી હચમચાવી નાખે છે. એક સંવેદના થી તરબોળ વાર્તા. 

રમોલાનો જન્મ થયો ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ની ખુશી નો પાર નતો રહ્યો.  તે પોતે ઘરે ઘરે પેડા આપવા ગયેલા.  રમોલા તેમની આંખ ની કીકી સમાન અને તેને ક્યારેય કોઈ બાબતમાં ઓછું આવવા નતું દીધું.  રમોલા ઉપર જેટલો પ્રેમ તેટલીજ તેના ઉપર કડક નજર રાખેલી.  એટલે જયારે રમોલાએ ભાગીને નાત બહાર જ નહિ પણ યહૂદી સાથે  લગ્ન કરી લીધા ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ને તો જાણે કોઈએ દિલમાં કટાર મારી હોય તેવું લાગ્યું.  સગા વહાલામાં મોઢું કેમ બતાવવું?  ઘડીકવાર તો એમ થયું કે હવે જીવવામાં કંઈ રહ્યું નથી ને આવા જીવતર કરતા તો આપઘાત કરવો સારો.  તેમનો ગુસ્સો તુરંત જુદી રીતના નિર્ણય માં બદલાઈ ગયો.  રઘુકાકા આવ્યા ત્યારે રમ્નીક્લાલે કહી જ દીધું કે “રમોલા સાથે હવે મારે…

View original 733 more words

Leave a comment

Data Economy Creating a New Rule Book for Entrepreneurs


Toshiba TG01

Toshiba TG01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Entrepreneurs, will you thrive in the near future, that is under construction right now?  Experts say, if you want to scale your business in the new digital age, you need to get serious about data.  As consumers are going digital in nearly every area of their lives, data is expanding at an unprecedented rate.  Cheaper and faster next-generation data stacks, further augmented by machine learning capabilities, keep growing.

Inherent in the data driven economy are many opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs.  Digital technologies and access to data can help businesses connect with customers and markets and help reshape management systems.  It can even help in innovation of new products and services.

Success will depend on how well businesses meet the challenges.   These may pertain to source of data, where it is obtained from and how biased the data is.  Often data use has failed to deliver expected results and we need to better understand use, misuse, and non use of data.  Surrounding political and legal landscape may also influence data driven economic activities in unexpected ways.

Successful entrepreneurs will have to quickly digest the rules of the data driven economy.  Phil LIbin is co-founder of Evernote, a company launched just 5 years ago and now valued at over $5B.  Evernote is an electronic notepad that you can access on your mobile phone or computer and it now has over 90M users.  Libin will give a keynote address in Data Economy track at TiEcon 2015.  If you are an entrepreneur, don’t miss TiEcon 2015, largest entrepreneurship conference, in mid-May, in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Come to network, learn, and get inspired.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Breakup & Makeup – “કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”: Gujarati Story


બેઠક નો આ મહિનાનો વિષય છે “કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”.  નાના બાળકો માટે કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા ખેલ સમાન છે તો ક્યારેક આ નાજુક વાત મોટાઓની ઝીંદગી હચમચાવી નાખે છે.  તો સાંભળો નીચેની વાર્તા.  બીજી સર્જનાત્મક રચનાઓ http://www.shabdonusarjan.wordpress.com blog ઉપર જરૂર વાંચશો

રમોલાનો જન્મ થયો ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ની ખુશી નો પાર નતો રહ્યો.  તે પોતે ઘરે ઘરે પેડા આપવા ગયેલા.  રમોલા તેમની આંખ ની કીકી સમાન અને તેને ક્યારેય કોઈ બાબતમાં ઓછું આવવા નતું દીધું.  રમોલા ઉપર જેટલો પ્રેમ તેટલીજ તેના ઉપર કડક નજર રાખેલી.  એટલે જયારે રમોલાએ ભાગીને નાત બહાર જ નહિ પણ યહૂદી સાથે  લગ્ન કરી લીધા ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ને તો જાણે કોઈએ દિલમાં કટાર મારી હોય તેવું લાગ્યું.  સગા વહાલામાં મોઢું કેમ બતાવવું?  ઘડીકવાર તો એમ થયું કે હવે જીવવામાં કંઈ રહ્યું નથી ને આવા જીવતર કરતા તો આપઘાત કરવો સારો.  તેમનો ગુસ્સો તુરંત જુદી રીતના નિર્ણય માં બદલાઈ ગયો.  રઘુકાકા આવ્યા ત્યારે રમ્નીક્લાલે કહી જ દીધું કે “રમોલા સાથે હવે મારે કઈ લેવા દેવા નથી.  મારે માટે છોકરી મરી જ ગયી છે”.

Crystal Blouse with Broad Back Neck | Saree Blouse Patterns

સવિતાબેને તો રમણીકલાલ ને સમજાવવાની કોશિશ કરી “કે ગમે તેમ તો પણ આપણું લોહી છે, તેની સાથે થોડી આખી ઝીંદગી અબોલા કરશું”, પણ તેમનો ગુસ્સો જોઇને વાત પડતી મૂકી.  થોડા વખત પછી જયારે  સવિતાબેન રમોલાને મળવા ગયા અને જોયું કે દીકરી સુખી છે પછી તેમણે રમોલા પાસે વાત મૂકી કે દીકરા હવે તું પપ્પા પાસે જા અને સમજાવ.  પણ રમોલા પણ તેના પપ્પા જેવીજ હઠીલી.  થોડાજ વખતમાં રમોલાને મહિના રહ્યા અને સવિતાબેને પાછી  બંને ને સમજાવવાની કોશિશ કરી અને પાછી  વાત જવા દીધી।  છેલા દિવસોમાં છોકરી ઘરે આવે તેની બદલે સવિતાબેન જ રમોલાને ત્યાં રહેવા ગયા અને ડીલીવરી પછી તુરંત ફોન માં રમણીકલાલ ને સમાચાર આપ્યા.  પછી તો સવિતાબેન અવાર નવાર રામોલની નાની બેબી ને સંભાળવા રમોલાને ત્યાં જાય અને આવે ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ને રીન્કી ની મીઠી મીઠી વાતો સંભળાવે.

એવામાં એકવાર રમોલાના હસબંડ ને નાની ચાર દિવસ ની ટુર નું ઇનામ મળ્યું.  સવિતબેન ક્યે “તમે બંને ફરી આવો, હું રીન્કી પાસે રઈશ”.  રમોલાને પપ્પાની ચિંતા થઇ પણ સવિતાબેન બોલ્યા “પપાનું  હું સાંભળી લઈશ. ને મને ચાર દિવસ રીન્કી સાથે મળશે”.  સવિતાબેન રીન્કી ને સંભાળવા ગયા અને આ બાજુ રમણીકલાલ ને થોડો દુખાવો શરુ થયો અને પાડોશી તેમને હોસ્પિટલ માં લઇ ગયા.  ફોન ઉપર સમાચાર સાંભળ્યા એવા રમોલાબેન રીન્કી ને લઈને હોસ્પિટલ પહોચી ગયા.  બધી તપાસ પછી ખબર પડી કે ગેસ ને લીધે દુખાવો થયેલ અને ડરવા જેવું કઈ હતું નહિ.  સમાચાર સંભાળીને રમોલા પણ ડરી ગયેલ અને તેણે તુરંત પાછા આવવાનો નિર્ણય કર્યો.  પણ સવિતાબેને કીધું કે “હવે રીન્કી ને હું ઘરે જ લઇ જાવ છું અને પપ્પાની તબિયત સારી છે એટલે તમે આરામ થી રયો અને પાછા આવવાની ઉતાવળ કરશો નહિ”.

માત્ર અઢી વર્ષની થયેલ રીન્કી રમોલા જેવી જ બોલકી.  રમણીકલાલ તો તુરંત તેને બાગ માં લઇ ગયા, આઈસ્ક્રીમ અપાવ્યો અને રમકડા લઇ આપ્યા.  એકજ દિવસમાં દોસ્તી પાકી થઇ.  રીન્કીએ નાના ને છોટુની વાત કરી, “નાના બાજુમાં છોટુ રયે છે ને તેની સાથે મારા કિટ્ટા છે.  કેમકે તેના કાકા એક રમકડું લાવ્યા હતાને તે દિવસે હું ગઈ ને તો છોટુ એ મને રમવા ન આપ્યું.  છોટુ ક્યે આજે તો હુજ રમીશ.  પણ હવે હું બુચ્ચા કરું? હવે તો બીજો દિવસ થયો એટલે તો મને આપશે જ ને?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “રીન્કુ બેટા એવા કજિયા ન કરાય.  તું બુચ્ચા કરી લે.  પછી સાથે રમવાની કેટલી મજા પડે?  છોટુ તો તારો દોસ્ત છે ને?”  રીન્કી પૂછે “નાના તમે અને મારી મમ્મી દોસ્ત નથી?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “એવું કોણે કહ્યું?”  રીન્કી ક્યે “મને ખબર છે કે તમારા કિટ્ટા ચાલે છે અને તમે તો અમારી ઘરે ક્યારેય નહિ આવો ને મમ્મી અહી નહિ આવે”.

રીન્કી ના કાલા કાલા શબ્દોમાં હમેશ ના કિટ્ટા ની વાત સાંભળીને રમણીકલાલ ની આંખમાં આંસુ આવી ગયા તે સવિતાબેને હળવેકથી જોઈ લીધું ને મનોમન બોલ્યા આ બંને બાપ દીકરી એવા હઠીલા છે કે હવે તો ભલે આ નાની છોકરી જ બેય ની સાન ઠેકાણે લાવે, મારે તો કઈ બોલવું જ નથી.  સાંજે નાના નાની સાથે છુપા છુપી રમતા રીન્કી ક્યે “નાના તમને ખબર છે, નાની તો મારા બેસ્ટ ફ્રેન્ડ છે”.  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “લે રીન્કી તને તો ઈંગ્લીશ બોલતાય આવડે છે?”.  રીન્કી બોલી “આ તો મારી મમ્મીએ શીખવાડ્યું છે.  મમ્મીએ કીધું કે એ નાની હતી ત્યારે તમે મમ્મીના બેસ્ટ ફ્રેન્ડ હતા”.  રીન્કી ક્યે “મારી મમ્મી મારા માટે રમકડું લાવશે ને તે હું છોટુ ને રમવા આપીશ ને પછી હું અહી તમને રમવા માટે લઇ આવીશ, પણ મારી મમ્મી ખીજાશે નહિ ને?”  નાની ક્યે “તારી મમ્મી એમાં શા માટે ખીજાય?”  રીન્કી બોલી “નાના ને મમ્મીના કિટ્ટા ચાલે છે ને?”

સવિતાબેન રસોડામાં ગયા ત્યાં ફોન રણક્યો.  મોટે ભાગે આ સમયે રમોલા નો ફોન હોવો જોઈએ પણ રમોલા તો તેમને મોબાઈલ ઉપર જ કરે ને આ તો ઘરનો ફોન રણકી રહ્યો હતો.  સવિતાબેને રમણીકલાલ ને કહ્યું “જરા ફોન લ્યોને, હું કામમાં છું”.  રમોલાએ પપ્પાનો અવાજ સંભાળ્યો ને તરત પૂછ્યું, “કેમ છે પપ્પા હવે તમને?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “સારું છે બેટા. બધા પાસે ખોટી ચિંતા કરાવી.  પણ આ બાને રીન્કુ સાથે બહુ મજા પડી ગયી”.  રમોલા ક્યે “અમે સાંજે આવવાના છીએ ને  મમ્મી કામમાં હોય તો તેને કેજોને કે કાલે જ રીન્કી ને લઇ આવે”.  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “આજે સાંજે આવવાના છો તો પછી સીધા અહી જ આવજો અને જમીને નિરાતે ઘરે જજો, હું તારી મમ્મીને કહી દવ છું”.  સવિતાબેન રસોડામાં આ સાંભળી ને આટલા વર્ષોના ઝઘડામાં બધા આંસુ પી જતાતા તે  આજે ધ્રુસકે ધ્રુસકે રોઈ પડ્યા”.

તો થઇ ગયાને  બુચ્ચા?  દોસ્ત ન હોય તો રમવાની મજા ન પડે અને ઉપરવાળાએ ચાર દિવસ રમવા આપેલ એવી આ જિંદગીમાંથી અઢી દિવસ કિટ્ટા કરવામાં બગાડવાનો શો અર્થ?  

, , , ,

Leave a comment

“Fire on the Mountain” – Play Review


Miners digging coal

Miners digging coal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fire on the Mountain is a history lesson/ docu-drama/ musical that tells a gripping story of Appalachian coal miners.  This Bluegrass musical is also a heart pounding, feet stomping celebration of mountain people who had pride and character, even when they lost lives and livelihood.

And there’s fire on the mountain, lightnin’ in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waitin’ for me there

A user's photo.

Playwrights Randal Myler and Dan Weetman, creators of Broadway’s “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues”, weave a tapestry of life of the miner families in Appalachia.  The production is based on the text of “Fire on the Mountain”, composed entirely from the authors’ interviews with coal miners and their families.  Fabulous cast of Molly Andrews, Harvey Blanks, Nik Dugan, Karen Celia Hall, David M. Lutken, Tony Marcus, Robert Parsons, Marie Shell and Harvy Yaglijian bring to life experiences of a miner wife, a child of a miner, a miner who goes blind in a mining accident and is then a mere “blind fiddler”, and others.  Only authentic dialogue from interview transcripts and coal mining museum records are used, along with bluegrass rhythm, to bring to life this heart rending saga, woven around lives of men who spent six days a week, underground.

It’s dark as a dungeon
Damp as the dew
The danger is double
And the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls
Where the sun never shines
It’s dark as a dungeon
Way down in the mine

And then there are playful songs like the one sung by a miner’s wife

When I was single my shoes they did squeak,
But now I am married my shoes they go leak.
O-o-oh, I wish I was a single girl,
O-o-oh, I wish I was a single girl again.
When I was single I dressed very fine,
But now I am married I go ragged all the time.

With a plethora of interesting and unique instruments including fiddle, banjo, mandolin, dobro, bass, and guitars, the music is exceptional.  Prior to working underground in the mines, the Appalachian Indians earned their livelihood above ground, and made a farming community.  The land was purchased from the miners’ gullible ancestors, for 25 cents an acre, by the Europeans, who descended from the North, in the 1700s.  The newly purchased land extended for 200,000 square miles from New York to Northern Mississippi and was labeled “America’s first frontier”.  Families living in self-sufficient farming communities, now rendered landless, were offered work in coal camps and were allowed to live there as tenants, forbidden to own any private property, and banned from purchasing anything from stores other than company owned stores on the site.

Coal companies’ abominable disregard for human life, led to the miners developing black lung and other diseases, and led to tragic accidents causing death of scores of miners. When the mines were finally closed, the destruction of the land made it useless for farming, and towns lay barren, as young people were driven to the cities, in search for work.  As the show goes on, snippets from history are projected on two large screens hung on both sides of the stage.  Kudos for staging and scenic design to Joe Ragey, Gregg Rehrig and Emily Anderson Wolf.  When the miners finally begin to question the utter disregard for safety of the miners, after the tragic accident that led to scores of death and entombing others, the scenes of the strike, sorrowful dialogues, and powerful lyrics sung beautifully, all blend together and tug at the heart, on seeing how a proud community of people were driven to extinction.

Now some men pass with family around
And linens and blankets so clean
But seldom a miner goes underground
Without his tin of morphine

Chorus
But now here’s a word, an explosion is heard
The miners are trapped far below
If any survived down there alive
I’m certain we never will know
Although our families have vainly appealed
No rescue attempt can be seen
Our hope for loved ones in the dark earth sealed
Now lies in a tin of morphine

Many thanks to Artistic Director Robert Kelley for bringing this priceless piece of history through the medium of brilliant and inspirational, sorrowful and joyous, boot stomping and heart-rending melodies. I select “Fire on the Mountain” playing till April, 26 at www.theatreworks.org as the must-see-play of this theater season in South Bay, CA.

2 Comments

Identification of Mechanism of Resistance to Current Melanoma Therapy


Neel Fofaria, PhD candidate at Texas Tech University, talked on “Identification of Mechanism of Resistance to Current Melanoma Therapy” at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Melanoma is a devastating form of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes, or pigment containing cells in the skin.  It is not restricted to the skin but also occurs in eyes and intestinal mucosa.  Mutation of BRAF gene is implicated in 40-60% of melanoma development. This mutation is believed to activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and BRAF has been validated as an important target, said Fofaria.

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pa...

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, designed and donated to Wikpedia by Abgent, graphic execution by User:kosigrim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vemurafenib (marketed as Zelboraf) is a commonly prescribed treatment for advanced metastatic melanoma. However, only about 50% of cancers with BRAF mutation, respond to this line of therapy.  Resistance to apoptosis is a common challenge in many malignancies that result is both aggressive progress of the cancer and resistance to conventional regimens.  Certain abnormalities in a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic molecular mechanisms of the cell lines that promote the tumor formation have lately generated a lot of focus.  Mcl-1 from a family of Bcl-2 proteins, has been implicated in aggressive melanoma that does not respond to traditional therapy.  Mcl-1 is a highly expressed pro-survival protein in these cancers.

English: Structure of the BRAF protein. Based ...

English: Structure of the BRAF protein. Based on PyMOL rendering of PDB 1uwh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies have indicated that Vemurafenib treatment induces Mcl-1 expression in certain melanoma cells, said Fofaria.  Vemurafenib is an effective line of treatment in about 50% patients with certain BRAF mutation, but in others the drug stimulates normal BRAF and possibly promotes tumor growth.  Fofaria shared that studies at their lab at Texas Tech indicated this to be the case.  Therefore, they further hypothesized that combination targeted therapy with Vemurafenib and Mcl-1 inhibitor (like TW-37), might overcome this resistance and lead to a better outcome.  

This was confirmed in several studies.  Combination targeted therapy of Mcl-1 inhibitor (TW-37) and Vemurafenib increased apoptosis and resistance to Vemurafenib was overcome with this combination.  Additionally, involvement of Mcl-1 was confirmed in the resistance to the recent FDA approved combination of Dabrafenib (BRAF inhibitor) and Trametinib (MEK1/2 inhibitor).  Further studies confirmed that only Mcl-1 was playing a crucial role and no other protein was implicated in a signficant subset of resistant tumors.  Additionally, TW-37 is a small molecule, can be easily administered orally, and was found to be safe in mice studies.  These results were further confirmed in patient tumor biopsy samples obtained from collaboration with Mass General, said Fofaria.

Indeed, one size fits all is no more a workable solution in case of malady like cancer.  Administering more personalized medicine and combining agents that target different mechanisms in divergent cancers, may be the way of the future.  The talk was followed by Q&A.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Johan Lodenius – Opening Keynote, “Internet of Things” at TiEcon 2015


Internet of Things is a hyped up buzz word but it is not without challenges.  First and foremost it requires innovative ways to sense and deliver information from the physical world to the cloud.  Power is also a critical element.  Many IoT applications need an ability to run for years over batteries and reduce overall energy consumption.  MediaTek is one of the largest chip-design companies providing system-on-chip solutions for the global market.    Johan Lodenius, Corporate VP and Chief Marketing Officer at MediaTek, will give an opening keynote in IoT track at TiEcon 2015.

English: Mediatek MT1389DE, a chipset for DVD ...

English: Mediatek MT1389DE, a chipset for DVD player. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MediaTek excels in achieving tight integration of components, rendering technology more efficient, enabling rich set of features, with less resources, and making it more affordable.  The company began with designing chipsets for optical drives and later expanded into chip solutions for DVD players, digital TVs, mobile phones, smart phones, tablets and so on.  In about seven years from launch, the company has gained huge market share worldwide.  In 2014, the company posted revenues of 213.1 B TWD, about USD $ 6.88 B.

The company has been known to provide extensive system engineering assistance that enables many smaller players and new entrants to enter a mobile market that has been thus far dominated by large corporations.  Looking forward to words of wisdom from Lodenius on how entrepreneurs can overcome the challenges of IoT market and better understand areas of opportunities.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Vein Visualization for Better Stick Outcomes


Ron Bucher, Director of Worldwide Customer Service at AccuVein, talked on “Mapping Vasculature for Better Outcomes” at www.bio2devicegrou.org event.

Many of us have experience with being poked more than once on account of the nursing professional not being able to find a vein immediately.  There are serious consequences of a missed poke.  Patient satisfaction goes down and with new changes in healthcare laws, patient satisfaction is becoming very important indicator, and is increasingly being tied to many incentives.  More attempts at poking patients also increase cost of supplies and equipment, and take up more staff time as different staff members have to be called after some unsuccessful attempts.  There is also increased potential for infection, as well as other complications, and potential delays in treatment, as well as possibility of compromise of optimal therapy.

Almost 3 million sticks per day take place in the US.  As high as 70% of medical decisions are made by blood tests, and IVs are used in 95% of hospital admissions, said Bucher.  Liabilities and challenges of missed sticks are particularly important in cases of more vulnerable populations; including pediatric patients, the elderly, among diabetic or obese patients, among chemotherapy patients, and the very sick.

English: Blood draw for genetic studies

English: Blood draw for genetic studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AccuVein is a vein visualization product that increases the success rate with first stick by 350%.   This is a portable, non contact product that illuminates the veins, for easy stick, with first attempt.  Advantages of getting it right on first attempt are many, including increased patient satisfaction and reduction in pain related negative comments by patients, by 59%.  AccuVein use also leads to reduction in cost, reduced hospital stays, and reduction in time to complete a procedure.  Return on investment would be in less than a year’s time.  The percentage of procedures completed within 15 minutes, with AccuVein, went up to 97% from earlier 53%.  This also enhanced confidence among nursing staff.  Most nursing staff gets a bare minimum of 1 hour of training for venal puncture; often they learn on patients through trial and error, said Bucher.  AccuVein product is easy to use and requires minimum training and reduces escalations by 45%.  It is a point and click product that works in light and dark, works on all skin types and is non orientation sensitive. 

Bucher shared extremely high patient satisfaction data.  With high patient satisfaction, greatly reduced cost in terms of resources and time, and increased staff confidence, clearly AccuVein type product should become a standard of care in all healthcare facilities.  The talk was followed by Q&A.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

M. Butterfly – Play Review —– March, 2015


At individual level, M. Butterfly is incredibly fascinating, seductive, true account of a strange relationship between a French diplomat and Mhis Chinese mistress.  Convicted of espionage, the relationship brings him to his ruin.  Despite being in a romantic relationship, the lack of awareness of true identity of his mistress, on the part of the diplomat, Rene Gallimard (played by Kit Wilder) is baffling, scary, and confusing.  There is however, little point in arguing that such a relationship is not possible, considering that it is based on true events that transpired.  Love is truly blind in this story!

MButterfly_NLouie_banner

Without dwelling therefore too long on the how can one be so clueless, the story takes the audience on a journey of exploration regarding the stereotypes about East and West and about gender roles and behaviors.  Perhaps conquest of women equaled mastering manhood and conquest of countries, rendered the countries “feminine”.  Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution and the Vietnam War (Review of the documentary “Last Days in Vietnam – http://bit.ly/1qFIL28 ), the play provocatively invites the viewers to explore biases that Westerners held of the East, as a culture of servitude and subservience.  Gallimard arrogantly prophecies about Vietnam war that the Vietnamese would “submit to any show of strength” by the Americans. (History proves him wrong, very very wrong). Gallimard most likely subscribed to similar notion in his romantic fantasies that a relationship with an “oriental” would be a perfect one, given her submissiveness.

The political and sexual arrogance prevalent (especially during the early post colonial era) among Western men, easily rendered them susceptible to deception.  The kind of deception that occurs in playwright Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, would take the boldness of a director like Jeffrey Bracco, to bring it on stage, and a cast like Kit Wilder, N. Louie, and Laura Espino to pull it off.  And in the end, it was the genius of Ron Gasparinetti and Lauren Howry’s stage design that helped weave realism, ritual and fantasy, for this bewildering, haunting tale to unfold seamlessly.  For tickets, please contact http://www.cltc.org San Jose or @citylights .

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Novel Approaches to Drug Development – 2015 Eppic Annual Conference


Drug development panel discussed how the technological advancements in Big Data, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing, when paired with focus on combination therapies that include for instance, anti cancer and immuno oncology agents, or paired with next gen sequencing technologies, and advanced companion diagnostics, with relentless focus on patient outcomes, may open new frontiers in cost effective drug development.

Drug development panel was moderated by Dr. Suneel Gupta, Chief Scientific Officer at Impax Pharmaceuticals.  Gupta has over 25 years experience in pharmaceutical R&D, specifically around drug delivery technologies.  Gupta shared the story of how Impax launched RYTARY, an extended-release oral capsule formulation drug, for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and took it in a span of 3.5 years, with $100M, from benchmark to launch.  This is Impax’s first branded drug internally developed and approved for commercialization and it was achieved with “relentless execution”, said Gupta.  Gupta’s advice to the entrepreneurs was to focus on the patient, not technology; to focus on what the product does, not what the product is made of.  He also advised to keep the the focus on the effect and go for big effect size, to get the drug approved faster.

Brandon Allgood, CTO at Numerate began by talking about the challenges of existing computational methods which so far have been strictly dependent on either high resolution crystal structure data or very clean SAR screening data (QSAR).  These models did not work well where computing is most needed, with disparate data, with emerging targets, and in high content, low throughput biology, and for multi target optimizations, said Allgood.  However, with a vast number of technological advancements in cloud computing, big data, and machine learning algorithms, Numerate has overcome major challenges in drug discovery, said Allgood.

Numerate has created a powerful drug design platform that can rapidly deliver novel leads on targets, without the need for a crystal structure and with very limited SAR data.  It can be used with just some ligand data and that is perfect for emerging targets, said Allgood.  Numerate’s machine learning algorithms can integrate and make predictions from small amounts of public data available from patents, literature review etc. and make accurate predictions and give google or netflix type ranking to data design.  It can handle noise and bias and give tolerance windows to address inter lab measurement variance.  Numerate has built 2100 off target models and also has advanced ADME models, said Allgood.  Speaking of some of the challenges in this area, Allgood said, public data is noisy and biased, while private data is private.  He suggested following changes.  1) To spur innovation, big pharma should be encouraged to release data so others can apply machine learning algorithms to more data.  2) There is a need to put in place some standards for machine learning to standardize lab validations.  3) While genomics has received a bulk of funding, there is need to put investment behind research on small molecule drugs; “they still have a future”, said Allgood.

Dirk Brockstedt, SVP of R&D at Aduro BioTech, began by saying 2013 brought in a new era in cancer immunotherapy with approvals for Yervoy, Provenge, Opdivo, and Keytruda.  The opportunity exists for rethinking about the biology and cancer treatment and look for combination of anti cancer and immuno oncology agents that can move the cure to the right for an increasing proportion of cancers, said Brockstedt.  The key is to target the immune and not the cancer cell in developing innovative therapies.  We need to also develop new clinical endpoints, develop new trial designs with new statistical methods, and consider novel regulatory paths for accelerated approvals of combination therapies.  When only a subset of patients respond well, we need to apply novel technologies and methods for patient identification and stratification, said Brockstedt.

Brockstedt talked about Aduro Biotech’s novel approach for tackling the disease, with listeria bacteria.  Here is my previous blog on Aduro’s approach http://bit.ly/JqDJ3K  and here’s link to recently aired Scott Pelly’s segment on 60 minutes, on the use of polio bacteria for treatment of glioblastoma http://tinyurl.com/pkspcmz . These potential therapies are in early stage and it remains to be seen how successful the genetic engineering will be to render them useful as cancer drugs.

Eric Peters, Group Leader of Companion Diagnostics at Genentech discussed the challenge of expediting drug discovery and development through the use of next gen sequencing technology.  Currently the cost to bring a new drug to patients (including failures) is around $2.6 B.  There is only 12% success rate in drug development.  However, also the knowledge of disease heterogeneity is rapidly evolving.  Now we speak not of lung cancer but lung cancers, said Peters.  There is a need for large scale biomarker and phenotype datasets.  Access to high quality data from multiple sources is the most essential element.  Patients’ access to complete range of testing and comprehensive diagnostics will play a big role in the future, and will become a standard of care in the future, said Peters.

Here are some additional blog links for your convenience
EPPICon 2015 keynote by Vivek Wadhwa – http://bit.ly/1abPwr5
“EPPICon 2015 Digital Health Panel Preview” http://bit.ly/1EQtd5y
“EPPICon 2015 Keynote by Kim Bush on “Tackling Global Health at Gates Foundation” http://bit.ly/18SV1cx
Feel free to browse my blog for past EPPIC conferences and other articles.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

2015 EPPIC Annual Conference Keynote by Vivek Wadhwa


English: A photo of a robotic surgery facility...

English: A photo of a robotic surgery facility taken by Tewari’s lab members in Weill Cornell Medical College. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Technology will eat medicine”.  EPPICon 2015 Annual Conference began with this prophetic reminder of what is to come, from the opening keynote, Vivek Wadhwa, Fellow at Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.  Wadhwa shared the history of technology and stressed the mind boggling exponential growth that has happened in computing.  Now medicine will be transformed dramatically, said Wadhwa.  Also wide access has empowered innovation.  For instance, robots are built today by google and also by kids and with advance in microfluidics, we now have humans on a chip and Tesla (http://bit.ly/1Fw2qgt) will be driving itself, as robots become our companions (Review of play “Build” with robot companion http://bit.ly/165BOEd).  Perhaps the greatest challenge we will face in the years to come is what do we do with our time on this planet!

English: IBM's Watson computer, Yorktown Heigh...

English: IBM’s Watson computer, Yorktown Heights, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only IBM’s Watson (http://bit.ly/JOZmwH, http://bit.ly/wCobOK), will deliver flawless diagnosis, in the years to come, but patients themselves now buy glucose meter, heart monitor, otoscope and more devices to diagnose themselves to find what ails them, as their phones now have become the most powerful medical research tools. Robotic surgeries are more precise and cost of genomic sequencing has dropped dramatically.  Medical innovation has globalized as access to technology is no more a privilage of the few.  In fact, said Wadhwa, “this is the most innovative period in history; today entrepreneurs can do what only governments could do earlier; solving humanity’s grand challenges”.

Here are some additional blog links for your convenience
“EPPICon 2015 Digital Health Panel Preview” http://bit.ly/1EQtd5y
“EPPICon 2015 Preview of Keynote by Kim Bush on “Tackling Global Health at Gates Foundation” http://bit.ly/18SV1cx
Feel free to browse my blog for past EPPIC conferences and other articles.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,139 other followers

%d bloggers like this: