"L’Oreal needs human skin. Lots of it. That’s why the French cosmetics giant earlier this month announced that it’s partnering with bioprinting startup Organovo to figure out how to 3D print living, breathing derma that can be used to test products for toxicity and efficacy."

"This isn’t L’Oreal’s first foray into skin production. Looking to avoid animal testing, the company started farming derma back in the 1980s. In Lyon, France, it runs lab facilities the size of three Olympic swimming pools, dedicated entirely to growing and analyzing human tissues."

"L’Oreal uses roughly half the skin it produces and sells the rest to pharmaceutical companies and rivals in the cosmetics industry. The company wouldn’t provide current prices but in 2011 told Bloomberg that samples cost $70.62 (U.S.) a pop. Nine skin varieties are available, covering a range of ages and ethnicities."

"With San Diego-based Organovo’s help, L’Oreal aims to speed up and automate skin production within the next five years."

"L’Oreal, which is more of a tech company than many people realize, spends about 3.7 per cent of its revenue – more than $1-billion annually – on research and development. That’s about twice the industry standard, says Bloomberg analyst Deborah Aitken. An army of about 3,800 L’Oreal scientists in about 50 countries work on creating beauty breakthroughs."

From +The Globe and Mailhttp://ow.ly/N7drZ 

L’Oreal’s plan to start 3D printing human skin
The French cosmetics giant earlier this month announced that it’s partnering with bioprinting startup Organovo to figure out how to 3D print living, breathing derma that can be used to test products

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"How did Cuba end up with a cutting edge immuno-oncology drug? Though the country is justly famous for cigars, rum, and baseball, it also has some of the best and most inventive biotech and medical research in the world. That’s especially notable for a country where the average worker earns $20 a month. Cuba spends a fraction of the money the US does on healthcare per individual; yet the average Cuban has a life expectancy on par with the average American."

"Despite decades of economic sanctions, Fidel and Raul Castro made biotechnology and medical research, particularly preventative medicine, a priority. After the 1981 dengue fever outbreak struck nearly 350,000 Cubans, the government established the Biological Front, an effort to focus research efforts by various agencies toward specific goals."

"The thing about making such great cigars is, smoking is really, really bad for you. Lung cancer is the fourth-leading cause of the death in Cuba. Medical researchers at the Center for Molecular Immunology worked on Cimavax for 25 years before the Ministry of Health made it available to the public—for free—in 2011. Each shot costs the government about $1. A Phase II trial from 2008 showed lung cancer patients who received the vaccine lived an average of four to six months longer than those who didn't. That prompted Japan and some European countries to initiate Cimavax clinical trials as well."

"To be fair, Cimavax probably won’t be a game-changing cancer drug in its current form. The vaccine doesn’t attack tumors directly, instead going after a protein that tumors produce which then circulates in the blood. That action spurs a person’s body to release antibodies against a hormone called epidermal growth factor, which typically spurs cell growth but can also, if unchecked, cause cancer. (Although most people normally think of a vaccine as something that prevents a disease, technically a vaccine is a substance that stimulates the immune system in some way.) So the point of Cimavax is to keep lung tumors from growing and metastasizing, turning a late-stage growth into something chronic but manageable."

From +WIREDhttp://ow.ly/MRTl1 

Cuba Has a Lung Cancer Vaccine—And America Wants It | WIRED
Researchers will bring the vaccine stateside and track it for the FDA so it can be manufactured and sold in the US.

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"If this happened to every human on Earth at the exact same time, what consequences would ensue? This thought experiment not only explores the impact humanity has on the planet, but also the incredible resilience of nature."

From Web Boxes: http://ow.ly/MItp8

What would happen to Earth if all humans disappeared tomorrow?
If this happened to every human on Earth at the exact same time, what consequences would ensue? This thought experiment not only explores the impact humanity has on the planet, but also the incredible resilience of nature.

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This is part of a Globe series that explores Canada's growing dependence on credit — from the average household to massive institutions — and the looming risks for a nation addicted to cheap money.

From +The Globe and Mailhttp://ow.ly/MU0YN

In deep: The high risks of Canada’s growing addiction to debt
Rising real estate costs are the strongest driver in our appetite for household debt

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"Congress has over the past few decades passed a series of special approval pathways for important drugs that treat life-threatening or rare diseases. This week, a new bill introduced in the House could add two more."

"You might expect these existing special programs to represent a small fraction of new and unusual drugs. But data from the Food and Drug Administration show that a majority of recent drug development has been in therapies that qualify for at least one of these programs. About a third of recently approved drugs qualify for two or more of five special approval programs."

"Dr. Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the popularity of the expedited programs could be worrisome; the expedited pathways typically require less evidence of a drug’s efficacy or safety than the standard process."

From +The New York Timeshttp://ow.ly/Myj0X 

Speedy Drug Approvals Have Become the Rule, Not the Exception
Most recent drug development in the U.S. has been done through specially approved pathways, and two more may be added.

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