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Paul Greengard Discusses Neuroscience and Winning the Nobel Prize

In a recent video from the series Conversations with Giants in Medicine, Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard discusses his work in neuroscience and the Nobel Prize.

In 2000, Greengard was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with two other men. His work paved the way for treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. He established base knowledge for neurotransmitters and slow synaptic transmission that many neuroscientists and neurologists use today.

In the video, Greengard says that he did not get the “bug” of doing scientific research from home because the environment growing up was anti-intellectual. He suspects that going to college was an act of rebellion. Greengard used the G.I. Bill in order to go to college because he served in the military during World War II. He says he studied mathematics and physics. He planned to go to graduate school in order to work in theoretical physics. He states that he changed his mind after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He says:

“Almost immediately after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I felt that [theoretical physics] was not an area that I wanted to be very involved in, just because I thought there were better ways of spending my life than trying to destroy mankind.”

About that time, he learned about the then-nascent field of medical physics, or biophysics, and became interested in studying that. During this time, he says he decided it would be beneficial to learn about the underlying biochemical and molecular properties of nerve cells. He studied at John Hopkins University for his Ph.D before traveling to England and Holland for five years. He worked for nine years at a pharmaceutical company, which shaped the way Greengard did his research.

He explains:

“It gave me an education of the sort that one might’ve gotten in medical school. At the time I was ready to do advanced studies, I decided not to go to medical school because at that time, it was very much of a hands-on profession where the physicians really couldn’t do very much for the patients. They were brilliant clinicians but there were very limited repertoire of tools that they had.”

He says that his key advance to medical science was discovering that the nervous system responded to neurotransmitters the way the endocrine system responded to hormones.

He states:

“People said unkind things [about the discovery]. Like, ‘This is heretical and nonsense.’ The interesting thing about it was that because it was considered so unlikely to be true, I had basically 15 years… to develop this story. By the time people accepted it, my research group had laid a lot of the foundation of the molecular bases for neurotransmission. So we didn’t have this ultra-heavy competition.”

Greengard mentions that in his conversations with other Nobel Prize winners revealed that they, too, contributed an advance that nobody believed at first.

He explains:

“In many instances it was the same thing: They’ve done something very unconventional and nobody believed them for a while, and it was shown to be true. And if you think about it, it’s more or less the only way the thing could work. If you just did something that was very incremental, it wouldn’t be worthy of a Nobel Prize…. Occasionally there are different types of discoveries, but many of the discoveries that have been made were paradigm shifts where somebody did something that people didn’t accept because it was not consistent with a prevailing paradigm.”


Stem Cell Therapies Focus on Causes of Chronic Disease at Neostem

In a recent video, “RedChip Money Report,” President and CEO of RedChip Dave Gentry interviews Dr. Robin Smith, chairman and CEO of NeoStem.

NeoStem is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing and manufacturing stem cell therapies in order to capitalize on the current paradigm shift. It is a New York Stock Exchange company that was ranked No. 7 nationally in Deloitte’s 2012 Technology Fast 500. Smith has been the CEO of NeoStem for at least six years.

In the video, she says that the company creates “novel cell therapy products to treat chronic diseases.” It also has a contract manufacturing business that helps other countries to develop their cell therapy products. Smith says that stem cell treatments started with bone marrow transplants, and that many blood disorders and cancer treatments incorporate cell therapy. Cell therapy focuses more on the causes of disease in order to prolong the quality of life.

She explains:

“We realized these cells of our body are a way to naturally repair itself. And we realized that we can take these cells from the different parts of our body and create therapies or vaccines to help treat differnet patients with chronic diseases.”

NeoStem received grants from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense. Smith says that in addition to cardiovascular therapy, the company is developing therapies in autoimmune disorders and regenerative medicine.

She says:

“Our Vsels, these very small embryonic-like stem cells, we believe have regenerative properties. Using the Department of Defense funding and through different grants, we’re looking to developing therapies for things like wounds—closing wounds more quickly; bones—through osteoporosis or through damage; vision—through retinal disease or macro degeneration. It’s a way to restore damaged tissue.”

Smith states that the Department of Defense is very focused on helping companies with exciting technologies, to develop them and get them into the clinic. This is so cell therapies that are safe, cost effective, and can treat damaged tissue and underlying disease to get into clinics as soon as possible.

RedChip is an international small-cap research firm and an Inc. 5000 company. "The RedChip Money Report" airs on Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Business News and discusses small-cap investing, interviews with Wall Street analysts and executives of public companies, and provides financial book reviews. Dave Gentry is a leading authority on small-cap stocks, has been a consultant to hundreds of public companies, and has made multiple guest appearances on both CNBC and Fox Business News.

Watch the full video here.


Dr. Jeffrey Friedman Discusses Obesity and His Discovery of Leptin

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, award-winning scientist who discovered leptin, recently sat down to be interviewed as part of the “Giants in Medicine” series. Friedman, who grew up in New York City, first came to science from a medical background. While he was in medical school, he realized he didn’t want to be a doctor. A series of happenstance events placed him in a laboratory on a “gap year”, studying addiction and how it relates to molecules.

He says, “At the time, I was in a bit of a quandry. All my colleagues were out practicing, starting their lives, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.” However, after some soul searching, he joined the phD program at Rockefeller. The ob/ob mouse fascinated him, and he worked to discover why this particular mutation had occurred. What he found, in the end, was leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and even plays a role in obesity.

Friedman points out that, while leptin could potentially be used as a treatment for obesity, the answer is more complicated. Leptin simply allows people to maintain a relatively healthy weight. Some people, who are leptin-deficient, lose weight when given leptin treatments. “Normal” people, however, who do not have that mutation, may become leptin-resistant, which is harder to treat. Friedman says, “We have this biological system that maintains body fat within a particular range. In the ob mouse and similarly affected humans, there’s a mutation in the gene so there’s no signal that’s ever generated that there are adequate fat stores and animals and humans who have leptin mutations overeat voraciously. In both cases, if you replace the leptin the body weight normalizes. So, leptin as a treatment for leptin deficiency is very robust.”

Friedman explains that “Most obese humans and most obese animals are obese for other reasons that lead them not to be leptin deficient, but rather, leads them to be leptin resistant.” He says that lower doses of leptin may be more effective than larger ones, and that combining leptin with amylin, another hormone, could be most effective.

When asked about the obesity epidemic, Friedman says, “Whether or not there’s an obesity epidemic depends on how you look at the data.” He points out that, while the increase in obesity rates is a medical condition that needs to be addressed, the data may be sensationalized. He explains that when you assign a fixed point to obesity, that any shift in this data would lead to a seemingly-large shift. He says, “Over the same intervals where obesity rates are said to increase over ⅓, you see maybe a 7 to 10 pound weight change.”

And what advice does Friedman offer to those who may be obese? “Eat a heart healthy diet, exercise, and if you are overweight and have a co-morbidity, do your best to lose a modest amount of weight - say, 7 - 10 pounds, because that’s often enough to improve your health.”


NEW YORK, January 2, 2012 - Consulting For Strategic Growth 1, Ltd. (CFSG1), an investor relations, corporate development agency specializing in domestic and international companies new to American financial markets, today continues its tradition of naming a "Stock Pick" from selected CFSG1 clients and announced today its first stock picks for 2013. With anticipation of strong positive growth in the coming year, CFSG1 is pleased to name Neostem (NYSE MKT: NBS) and Medifocus, Inc. (TSX-V: MFS, OTC: MDFZF) as its first stock picks for the New Year.   

CSFG1 has represented NeoStem, Inc. in various capacities since 2006 and has seen the Company grow under the leadership of its CEO, Dr. Robin Smith, MD, MBA, from a single focus business to an international biopharmaceutical company with multiple revenue streams. Today, Neostem is a clear leader in the development and manufacture of cell-based therapeutics with continued growth opportunities in the future.   


NeoStem Ranked Number 1 Fastest Growing Company in the Tri-State Region on Deloitte's 2012 Technology Fast 500(TM)

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NBS) ("NeoStem" or the "Company"), an emerging market leader in the fast growing cell therapy industry, today announced it ranked number 1 in the Tri-State region and number 7 nationally on Deloitte's 2012 Technology Fast 500(TM), a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.

Dr. Robin L. Smith, NeoStem's Chairman and CEO, said "We are proud to be recognized for this achievement as we build NeoStem into a top tier biopharmaceutical company and thrilled to be honored alongside such fast-growing, successful companies such as Celgene, LinkedIn, and Google. On behalf of the entire NeoStem team, I would like to thank Deloitte & Touche, LLP for their recognition of our efforts." 

NeoStem is emerging as a market leader in the fast growing cell therapy industry. The Company's multifaceted business strategy combines a state-of-the-art contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with a medically important cell therapy product development program providing for near- and long-term revenue growth opportunities. We focus on developing cell therapy products around a strong IP portfolio. These products target large markets such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders and regenerative medicine. 

In a challenging economy with risk adverse capital markets, we have fashioned a management team that is both flexible and opportunistic. PCT, acquired in 2011, expands our revenue growth and gives us unique insight into the clinical and commercial cell therapy manufacturing market while we simultaneously develop our own clinical products. This service business and pipeline of proprietary cell therapy products work in concert, giving us a competitive advantage that we believe is unique to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. 

NeoStem is focused on organic growth and continuously evaluates strategic opportunities. We look forward to achieving success for our future patients, our PCT clients, employees and shareholders. 

About Deloitte's 2012 Technology Fast 500(TM)

Technology Fast 500, conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies -- both public and private - in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2007 to 2011. 

In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company's operating revenues. Companies must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years, and be headquartered within North America. 

About NeoStem, Inc. 

NeoStem, Inc. continues to develop and build on its core capabilities in cell therapy, capitalizing on the paradigm shift that we see occurring in medicine. In particular, we anticipate that cell therapy will have a significant role in the fight against chronic disease and in lessening the economic burden that these diseases pose to modern society. We are emerging as a technology and market leading company in this fast developing cell therapy industry. Our multi-faceted business strategy combines a state-of-the-art contract development and manufacturing subsidiary, Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC ("PCT"), with a medically important cell therapy product development program, enabling near and long-term revenue growth opportunities. We believe this expertise and existing research capabilities and collaborations will enable us to achieve our mission of becoming a premier cell therapy company. 

Our contract development and manufacturing service business supports the development of proprietary cell therapy products. NeoStem's most clinically advanced therapeutic product candidate, AMR-001, is being developed at Amorcyte, LLC ("Amorcyte"), which we acquired in October 2011. Amorcyte is developing a cell therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and is enrolling patients in a Phase 2 trial to investigate AMR-001's efficacy in preserving heart function after a heart attack. Athelos Corporation ("Athelos"), which is approximately 80%-owned by our subsidiary, PCT, is collaborating with Becton-Dickinson in the early clinical exploration of a T-cell therapy for autoimmune conditions. In addition, pre-clinical assets include our VSEL TM Technology platform as well as our mesenchymal stem cell product candidate for regenerative medicine. Our service business and pipeline of proprietary cell therapy products work in concert, giving us a competitive advantage that we believe is unique to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Supported by an experienced scientific and business management team and a substantial intellectual property estate, we believe we are well positioned to succeed. 

For more information on NeoStem, please visit www.neostem.com .  

CFSG1 and/or its principals have represented Medifocus, Inc. in various capacities since 2008, and have witnessed the Company's growth under the leadership of Medifocus's CEO, Augustine Cheung, from a clinical, trial level company with a single application to now possessing an approved therapeutic system. Medifocus is currently generating revenue and rapidly advancing its Phase III trial in its original asset.      


Medifocus Inc. Announces Update on the Prolieve(R) Acquisition and the Hiring of the Prolieve(R) Management Team

COLUMBIA, MD and TORONTO--(Marketwire - Sep 27, 2012) - Medifocus Inc. (OTCQX : MDFZF ) ( PINKSHEETS : MDFZF ) ( TSX VENTURE : MFS ) is pleased to announce the following update on the recently announced purchase of all the Prolieve® business assets from Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX). 

Prolieve® is approved by the FDA for the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Medifocus has successfully begun the transition from a research and development company to a revenue generating business. Medifocus has already begun selling and shipping Prolieve® from its Columbia, MD facility; thus will be reporting revenue in the current quarter for the first time in its history.

To fully capitalize on the Prolieve® business opportunity, Medifocus has hired key personnel to expedite the transition and future revenue growth. Mr. Kurt B. ONeill, CPA was formerly the Business Development Manager for the Prolieve® system at BSX and was hired by Medifocus as V.P. of Sales and Finance. Mr. Timothy P. Heyer, formerly the Prolieve® Business Manager and Rocky Mountain Mobile Services (RMMS) Manager at BSX, was hired by Medifocus as Director of Sales. Ms. Stacey Kjeldgaard, formerly Manager of the RMMS business unit at BSX was hired by Medifocus as the Administrative Manager for the Prolieve® System. Together they bring over 50 years of experience in the industry. 

Prolieve® is a patent protected device that utilizes intra-cavitary catheters to deliver a combination of microwave heating and balloon dilatation of the prostatic urethra which leads to the relief of BPH symptoms. Treatment with Prolieve® is a minimally invasive non-surgical in-office procedure which offers patients clinically documented immediate reduction of BPH symptom scores. Prolieve® is the only microwave device to be randomized to drug therapy during its pivotal trial. The BPH drug market is an $8 billion market and growing. BPH patients can be treated using Prolieve® in urologic offices throughout the United States. In addition, the Prolieve® treatment is also made available to physicians using a nationwide mobile service provider, Rocky Mountain Mobile Services, which was part of the asset purchase. 

Prolieve® was originally developed and commercialized by the current Medifocus management, product development, clinical and regulatory teams. The assets acquired by Medifocus include all Prolieve® hardware inventories, Rocky Mountain Mobile Services and its mobile distribution assets, as well as the intellectual property portfolio associated with the Prolieve® technology. The Prolieve® design is based on a platform technology from which other disposable microwave heating catheters for various deep seated anatomical sites can also be developed. 

About Medifocus 

Medifocus owns a patented microwave focusing technology platform (the Adaptive Phased Array ("APA") technology), which precisely targets and controls microwave energy to cause heating in cancerous tumors anywhere in the body reliably and repeatedly. The ability to target tumors with a precision controlled dose of heat can be used to destroy tumors at higher temperatures, to treat tumors in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiation at moderate temperatures for increased effectiveness and reduced toxicity and to trigger the targeted release of therapeutic drugs and genes at tumor sites at lower temperatures. While the core technology has been licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Medifocus has further refined the precision of the microwave focusing and control ability and developed a commercial system dedicated exclusively for the treatment of Breast Cancer. With the acquisition of Prolieve®, Medifocus now owns in addition, a revenue generating commercial BPH heat treatment product generating cash flow to support the development and commercialization of other catheter based or APA based external focused heat systems for targeted thermotherapy of deep seated tumors anywhere in the body. Please visit www.medifocusinc.com  for more details.

About Boston Scientific 

Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com .    

About Consulting for Strategic Growth 1, Ltd.

 Consulting For Strategic Growth I, Ltd. ("CFSG1") provides consulting, business advisory, investor relations, public relations and corporate development services to public and private companies. In connection with these services, CFSG1 prepares press releases, corporate profiles, and other publications on behalf of and regarding its clients. Certain statements contained in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believes", "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "estimates", "could" and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of CFSG1 or its clients to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. CFSG1 receives cash and/or restricted stock/warrants to purchase shares in the future. 


Conversations with Giants in Medicine - Dr. Eugene Braunwald

In a new video installment of Conversations with Giants in Medicine, interviewer Ushma Neil with the Journal of Clinical Investigation speaks with Dr. Eugene Braunwald from Harvard Medical School about his life and career. Dr. Braunwald, who has often been called the "Father of Modern Cardiology," spent an "idylic childhood" in Austria until the arrival of the Nazis and the outbreak of World War II forced his family to flee first to London, and then to America with "only the shirts on their backs." Despite this experience, he notes that he doesn't consider himself to be a child of the Holocaust. "I came close to a cliff," he says. "But never went over the cliff."

In New York, Dr. Braunwald attended Brooklyn Tech, where he initially leaned towards engineering but at the last minute decided to pursue medicine. He explains the shift:

"I think there was a push and a pull. I think the push was that there were a lot of courses in shop, and drafting which I was not really very good at. I did well in mathematics and physics but not in the manual courses which of course weren't really necessary for engineering but that's the way the school was designed. So I became uncomfortable about that. And then I thought that [engineering] was quite impersonal. And so those are the two things that [drove me to medicine]."

"But when I went to medical school," he continues, "I had an early interest in cardiology because cardiologists were either electricians or plumbers - either electrical engineers or mechanical engineers. So cardiology is the closest thing in medicine to engineering."

Dr. Braunwald goes on to discuss how he came to land as the Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

John Bonfiglio, president and CEO of Orgenics Inc., explains lantibiotics and probiotics

In a recent video, Orgenics Inc.’s President and CEO John Bonfiglio explains various biotech products and projects that his company is undertaking.

He says he joined Orgenics over a year and a half ago because he saw the company as a “rough gem” in the world of biotech.

He states,

“Here’s a company that had a pipeline full of very exciting and interesting products—potentially blockbuster products—in the area of antibiotics and probiotics. I felt that my expertise in the areas of developing drugs and in marketing products would lend itself to this company in a great fashion and produce a great deal of value for shareholders and potential customers.”

Bonfiglio lists off lantibiotics—a class of antibiotics for the use of resistant forms of diseases—and probiotics as two projects that Orgenics is working on. He says that the company is developing lantibiotics for use against antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis, for example, alongside Intexon Corp., which is owned by Randal J. Kirk.

“The technology that we’re using will help us produce large quantities of these lantibiotics, which can be used to treat diseases in many different countries around the world and many different disease states,” he says.

Bonfiglio explains that “probiotics are defined as giving a dose of a living organism to a person in a quantity that will allow it to elicit some sort of beneficial effect.” He says that Orgenics has developed Probior 3, which is a mixture of three different strains of bacteria that are specifically designed to work on the mouth instead of the stomach. He states that the probiotic area has a huge opportunity in developing countries where people do not have access to toothbrushes or tooth paste, and not everyone brushes their teeth.

He explains the concept behind this probiotic:

“The idea behind this is that in any human there is about 850 different species of bacteria. A lot of them are very bad players that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. The reason why they don’t cause more damage is because there are beneficial bacteria that actually help to keep those bacteria in check. The idea behind Probior 3 is to actually overwhelm the mouth with these beneficial bacteria and displace the bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease overtime.”

Bonfiglio says that the probiotics can be easily distributed worldwide, and that the lantibiotics and probiotics are being sold in the United States as a food supplement to whiten teeth and improve breath and general oral health.

Watch the full video below.

Bonfiglio worked as the president, CEO and director for Transdel Pharmaceuticals Inc. He also worked as the president and CEO of Argos Therapeutics in Durham, NC, as well as the CEO of The Immune Response Corporation in Carlsbad, Calif. He was also the CEO of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals and held senior management positions with Cypress Biosciences, Baxter Healthcare and Allergan Inc.


Robin L. Smith, M.D., of Neostem on the Vatican, regenerative medicine, and women's empowerment

NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE: NBS; Stock Twits: $NBS) is engaged in the development and manufacturing of cell-based therapies in the U.S.   

NeoStem, continues to develop and build on its core capabilities in cell therapy, capitalizing on the paradigm shift occurring in medicine. We anticipate that cell therapy will have a significant role in the fight against chronic disease and in lessening the economic burden that these diseases pose to modern society. We are emerging as a technology and market leading company in this fast developing cell therapy industry.

In this interview, Dr. Robin Smith, CEO of NeoStem and Chairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation discusses a range of topics including regenerative medicine, stem cell research, the Vatican's involvement with Neostem, and Neostem's potential in developing countries:



A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Starzl: A Giant in Medicine

In a recent video, Dr. Thomas Starzl of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center answers questions about his career as the “Father of Modern Transplantation.”

Throughout his career, Starzl invented techniques and models for managing heart blockages, performing transplants, and working with immunosuppressants. He performed the first successful liver transplant in 1967 and refined the use of immunosuppressive drugs. Due to his efforts over the last 50 years, thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease have been able to live long and active lives.

Starzl describes his career as beginning in 1945 after he was discharged from the navy. He used the G.I. Bill to go into medical school. He says that he pulled inspiration from his mother, who was a nurse and of whom he thought highly. In 1947, he received his BA and went off to medical school at Northwestern University. He explains why he dropped out of school for almost a year: to do “pure research” in neuroscience, in which he received his Ph.D. After joining John Hopkins, he delved into “another side alley of cardiac physiology.”

He says:

“After we had encountered complete heart block in some of the early heart operations, and needed to develop some way to deal with that complication, I developed a model of complete heart block in dogs, studied the complete physiology, figured out how to do pace making, and solved the problem.”

He then became interested in metabolism. He explains that he developed models of transplantation that involved either the liver alone or the liver with other abdominal viscera, and then became interested in transplantation biology. He says that the real opportunity in this field of clinical studies was to study rejection patterns in liver allographs for the first time. 

Starzl faced so much uncertainty about the nature of his research at the time that it was difficult to receive funding. He says that somehow he thought that everything would turn out all right, and that his greatest source of anxiety was actually the uncertainty of not knowing what to do.

He says,

“I referred to myself at one time as a missile searching for a trajectory. I was bursting with energy. I really wanted to do something that wasn’t conventional, that wasn’t bread and butter surgery as a means of making money; I wanted to do something important that would have a life of its own—that would endure. But what to do? I had come to be regarded as a dilatant, having gone through a Ph.D. in neuroscience and then a Ph.D. equivalent in working out the heart block problem, and now here I was wondering around, not pursuing either field. I just didn’t know what to do with myself.”

He went on to travel across the country and continue conducting clinical trials in order to work with liver transplants, realizing that a successful liver transplants and functions required healthy kidneys. He says he remembers his patients from clinical trials as if they were family members.

Watch the full interview below.