Biomedical Breakthrough

Friday, December 02, 2011

Nancy Kelley, founding executive director of New York Genome Center and Thomas Maniatis, chair of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University, one of the NYGC founding institutions, talk about the launch of the New York Genome Center, a public-private coalition of universities, medical centers, technology partners and philanthropists.


Nancy Kelley and Thomas Maniatis

Comments [7]


nicole from manhattan - the east river science park is about 1/3 built... and what has been built is fully occupied.

Mar. 03 2012 10:35 PM
NIcole from Manhattan

I'd like to know what's going on with Nancy Kelley's last venture, the East River Science Park. This was supposed to be the new nexus of biotech activity that would put NYC on the world map of research and innovation.

I've seen nothing but promotional press releases on that project for over 2 years. Where's the activity?

Dec. 02 2011 10:59 AM
gary from queens

Whichever mechanism ultimately becomes the explanation for cancer, and other mutagenic diseases, we at least know that the process doesn’t commence until the internal environment of the host becomes toxic to normal, healthy cells. During the 1970’s, many virologists were hoping to attribute the cause of cancer solely to the presence of oncogenic retroviruses—independent of the cellular environment of the host. However, these viruses are most often subsequently found in healthy people who never get cancer. Despite billions of taxpayer dollars spent over a 15-year period known as Nixon’s War on Cancer, molecular biologists at the NCI utterly failed to prove that a virus can cause cancer in humans. (In simpler species, it can.)

Many of these same “scientists” went on to invent another “viral” disease in the early 1980’s—AIDS (referred to elsewhere). Geneticists in that decade were promising, by implication, that once they are able to identify and manipulate (through gene therapy) the correct tumor suppressor genes, we could then continue to pollute our bodies and still avoid cancer. This was wishful thinking at best. Because over two decades later, and many unnecessary deaths from gene therapy experiments, there’s nothing to show for it. Genes have turned out to be far more complex, and interactive with environment, than they thought. The expression of any gene is, in fact, dependent upon the environment it’s in. Everything, from the food you eat to the cosmetics you apply to your skin, alters this environment, and hence the genes and germs therein.

Eventually, billions of cells may poses this new genetic message. But it is the environment inside your body that determines how cells use their genetic information. The result may be appropriate for the cell, but not necessarily for you: A toxic state, over time, can effect an increasing number of body cells causing them to mutate. Perhaps this triggers a survival reaction by causing them to over-proliferate, as in cancer. Or perhaps the poorly oxygenated environment induces certain cell organelles, which were at one time invaders of the cell who eventually stayed to take refuge from oxygen (which was toxic to them), to fall out of line and to assert their independent tendencies. Over a period of years, with increasing toxicity, an increasing number of healthy cells find applicability in the new viral instructions that they’ve acquired, leading to mutations.

Dec. 02 2011 10:59 AM
John A.

Could this organization exist without patents on Human genes?

Dec. 02 2011 10:57 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Speaking of hiring, will you be needing any medical/science editors (freelance or otherwise)?

Dec. 02 2011 10:56 AM
Dr. Yo from Manhattan

Will you be sequencing the epigenome? mRNA and microRNA?

Dec. 02 2011 10:54 AM

I smell a cash cow...

Dec. 02 2011 10:51 AM

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