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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: January 2019

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MyoStim ED Announces First Patient Enrolled in 2nd Study of Erectistim Bioelectric Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Team hopes to improve on 85% success of first study. First study to focus on precise controlled protein expressions via bioelectric signaling sequences intended for mature blood vessel, muscle and nerve regeneration.

Press Release – Los Angeles, California, Salt Lake City, Utah, Pittsburgh, PA and Porto Alegre, Brazil – January 30th, 2019 – MyoStim ED www.erectistim.com is a clinical stage company within the Leonhardt’s Launchpads accelerator focused on bioelectric and biological treatment of erectile dysfunction. The bioelectric stimulator Erectistim is being tested first as a stand alone treatment of 15 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.

Dr. Leslie Miller, Chief Medical Officer said: “We are pleased to announce the first patient enrollment in our second MyoStim ED Erectistim study examining bioelectric stimulation for erectile dysfunction recovery. This study will be double blinded, randomized and placebo controlled. This is an important milestone for MyoStim ED and its product Erectistim, building on the success of the previous published study where 85% of treated patients experienced significant improvement and no placebo patients recovered”.

“The first study utilized our previously patented bioelectric signaling sequence for VEGF expression which we know produces small new blood vessels that sometimes leak and sometimes retreat. The new study includes a full suite of angiogenic signals which may include controlled expressions of HGF, EGF, HIF1a, SDF1, PDGF, IGF1 and eNOS which we know from previous studies create more mature and larger diameter new blood vessels that do not leak and do not retreat with true mature endothelium linings. The new study will also include bio-electric signaling sequences intended to control release of SDF1 and PDGF for stem cell homing, for managing fibrosis, regenerating nerve tissues and neuro modulation. One of the most important adds in the new study is our patent pending bioelectric signaling sequences for controlled release of Follistatin intended for smooth muscle regeneration and myostatin/follistatin balancing, intended to reverse fibrosis.” stated Howard J. Leonhardt, Executive Chairman & CEO of MyoStim ED and co-inventor of many of bioelectric signaling sequences being used in the study.

“In our previous studies we demonstrated that erectile dysfunction, due to the decrease of blood flow or progressive vascular/penile corporal fibrosis leading to venous leak in the penile corpora cavernosa, resulting from the impairment of smooth muscle function may also be affected by the imbalance of the myostatin/ follistatin ratio, which in the penile corpora cavernosa may be essential for its healthy function. Therefore, reducing this ratio with signals increasing follistatin may help smooth muscle cells recovery and counteract fibrosis by inactivating myostatin expressed in the corporal smooth muscle. This new study, if successful, will lead a path to a product being available for the patients that do not respond to other therapies directed only towards improving blood flow and retention, or even to a novel early non pharmacological therapy.”, stated Dr. Nestor Gonzalez-Cadavid, Chief Scientific Advisor to MyoStim ED, and who holds academic positions not involved in this trial (Director of the Urology Research Laboratory, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LABioMed) at Harbor UCLA, Urology Research Laboratory Director, and Professor at the Department of Urology, UCLA School of Medicine)

Results of the previous single bioelectric signal study were published in a peer reviewed paper – An initial study on the effect of functional electrical stimulation in erectile dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial International Journal of Impotence Research ( IF 1.517 ) Pub Date : 2018-05-22 , DOI: 10.1038/s41443-018-0024-8

To evaluate the impact of FES on erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. Twenty-two patients with ED participated in this randomized clinical trial. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention (IG) or control (CG). IG participants underwent FES therapy (50 Hz/500 µs) for a total of 4 weeks, divided into two weekly sessions lasting 15 min each, with intensity lower than the motor threshold. CG participants were treated with placebo FES and followed the same routine as the IG. Erectile function was assessed by the validated International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) and Erection Hardness Score (EHS), applied before and after treatment, and quality of life, by the WHOQOL questionnaire. Statistically significant differences in IIEF-5 and EHS were found between the IG and CG after treatment (p < 0.05), as well as a within-group difference in the IG when comparing the post-treatment periods (p < 0.0001).

“This new study will not only have additional bioelectric signaling sequences directed towards a more lasting affect but importantly addresses both muscle and nerve regeneration in addition to improving blood flow. For these reasons we entered the collaboration with the team at MyoStim ED that developed the Erectistim product.” stated M.S. Cristiane Carboni of Department of Health Science and Rehabilitation, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre-UFCSPA, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Manager Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos em Sexualidad Humana (Coordinator of the pelvic flood rehabilitation post graduation, University Inspirar of Port Alegre. Secretary of the Brazialian Society of Studies on Human Sexuality, and lead author of the original study published in the Internationa Journal of Impotence Research whom has now joined MyoStim ED also as Chief Scientific Officer.

About MyoStim ED:

MyoStim ED www.erectistim.com is a startup founded in 2016 incubating within Leonhardt’s Launchpads innovation and startups accelerators in California, Utah, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Australia. The focus is on development of bioelectric and biologics solutions for erectile dysfunction.

About Leonhardt’s Launchpads:

Leonhardt’s Launchpads http://www.leonhardtventures.com founded in 2008 is the innovation and startup accelerator arm of Leonhardt Ventures LLC focused on organ regeneration and recovery technologies. The accelerator has labs and other research and startup launch related resources in both Northern and Southern California, Utah, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Australia. The accelerator is served by more than 140 experience advisors and mentors in all areas of expertise – https://leonhardtventures.com/team/ + https://calxstars.com/scientific-advisory-board/. The headquarters Leonhardt’s Launchpads by Cal-X Stars Business Accelerator, Inc. located in Los Angeles with close collaborations with Mettler Electronics and DeviceLab and Hoag Hospital in Orange County, UCLA, USC , LABioMed, QIG Greatbatch, Pacific Neurosciences Institute, John Wayne Cancer Institute and Caltech in Los Angeles County. In Utah is Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah, Inc, with two dedicated research labs a whole team of bioengineers, chemists, startup launch specialists and biologists and access to research collaborators at the University of Utah, BYU and Utah State University. Leonhardt’s Launchpads Pittsburgh launched in 2018 and works out of LifeXLabs. Leonhardt’s Launchpads Australia PTY also launched in 2018 and works in research collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and St. Vincents Hospital, Sydney. Leonhardt’s Launchpads has had an affiliated office in Minneapolis since its founded and works in close collaboration with Biomerics Advanced Catheter there as well as the University of Minnesota. Dr. Leslie Miller the Chief Medical Officer of Leonhardt’s Launchpads was formerly for more than a decade Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Minnesota. 30 startups are currently in the 2019 portfolio class in the areas of (1) Heart & Cardiovascular, (2) Brain, (3) Cosmetic & Personal Care, (4) Major Organ Regeneration and (5) Cancer – https://leonhardtventures.com/development-pipeline/ + https://leonhardtventures.com/our-companies/ + https://leonhardtventures.com/regenerative-medtech/. The innovation accelerator business model is to accelerate each organ specific innovation and corresponding startup through first-in-man studies and then find a strategic partner.

About Leonhardt Ventures LLC:

Leonhardt Ventures LLC (Leonhardt Vineyards LLC DBA Leonhardt Ventures) founded in 1982 and formed into and LLC ins 2005 is the commercialization arm of inventor Howard J. Leonhardt. Howard Leonhardt has over 21 issued U.S. patents and over 180 new patents claims pending with the USPTO at this time – https://patents.justia.com/inventor/howard-j-leonhardt. In the 1980’s Leonhardt and team led the development of patented predictably compliant cardiovascular balloon catheters and the first bioelectric and vibrational energy treatments for leg ischemia and deep vein thrombosis. In the 1990’s they developed the leading stent graft system for aortic aneurysm repair and the first percutaneous heart valves, intravascular lung catheters and biological pacemakers. In the 2000’s the team accomplished the first ever non-surgical repair of a human heart with muscle stem cells and went on to developed a full portfolio of bioelectric, micro pump and mixed composition based organ regeneration technologies. Leonhardt Ventures LLC is the leading shareholder of all 30 startups in the Leonhardt’s Launchpads organ regeneration and recovery accelerator. It also owns Leonhardt Vineyards www.leonhardtvineyards.com that has been producing grapes and wine in Sonoma Country, California since 2000 and leading share positions in a host of social good impact startups.

About Dr. Nestor Gonzalez-Cadavid:

Dr. Gonzalez-Cadavid has made significant research contributions in several fields of cellular and molecular biology approaches to pathophysiology, and he has focused for the last 3 decades in translational sexual medicine research, mainly androgen dependence of penile growth and erectile function, and the effect of risk factors for erectile dysfunction, such as aging, diabetes, and smoking, on the nitric oxide/cGMP control of the erectile response. His group reported the first demonstration of the correction of erectile dysfunction in an animal model by gene therapy, and more recently showed that long-term continuous administration of nitric oxide donors and PDE5 inhibitors corrects in animal models the underlying corporal and arterial fibrosis associated with aging, diabetes and radical prostatectomy, as well as the fibrotic plaque of Peyronie’s disease. Lately, he has extended those studies to the modulation of multipotent and stem cell differentiation by nitric oxide, cGMP, and myostatin, and its application to the therapy of erectile dysfunction and other forms of urogenital disease and other conditions associated with tissue fibrosis. He is currently funded for some of these studies by NIH and other agencies and private companies. He serves as reviewer of many journals and member of several academic and research committees, and has three patents awarded.

Forward looking statements

This announcement may contain certain forward-looking statements. Whilst the Directors believe all such statements to have been fairly made on reasonable assumptions, there can be no guarantee that any of them are accurate or that all relevant considerations have been included in the directors’ assumptions; accordingly, no reliance whatsoever should be placed upon the accuracy of such statements, all of which are for illustrative purposes only, are based solely upon historic financial and other trends and information, including third party estimates, and may be subject to further verification. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations as of the date of this announcement and should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These and other important factors, under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s recently issued circular to shareholders in relation to its proposed fundraising, available upon request, and under the heading “Principal risks and uncertainties” in the Company’s last annual report, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this announcement. Neither the Company nor its Directors makes any representation or warranty in respect of the accuracy, completeness or verification of the contents of this announcement. Warning: Products mentioned have not yet been proven to be safe or effective by properly sized and powered Phase II/III clinical trials. Patents issued may not be maintained. Patents pending may not be issued. Company does not have sufficient resources on hand at this time to reach its stated goals. The company is understaffed and underfunded compared to similar competitors in the fields. A small staff maintains the updating of over 40 related web sites and all other materials and leaves the company prone that some information in some documents and web site pages may be significantly outdated. If you are considering an investment in any of these startups mentioned they must be regarded as no other than extremely high risk due to the early stage nature of the developments, the uncharted territory of paving new technologic pathways and the lack of funding and resources available to complete all essential tasks to being the products to commercial success in any form.


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One Every Three Seconds: Groundbreaking New Tool Provides Access to Valuable Data on Arrest Trends Nationwide

Vera’s new tool and accompanying report outline early insights on high rates of arrests & racial and gender disparities that fuel mass incarceration.

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – Over 10 million arrests are made each year in the United States, amounting to an astounding one every three seconds. Are all these arrests necessary? What are they for, and have they changed over time? Who are the people being arrested? And where? Are arrests “equitably” distributed, or a function of where police are deployed?

The answers to these questions are critical, because mass arrests are inextricably linked to mass incarceration. And because mass arrests disproportionately occur in communities of color, they exacerbate the disparities in the larger criminal justice system and, when unjustified, are counterproductive to public safety.

Yet the lack of easy-to-access data means these answers are hard to find and makes it nearly impossible to understand police practices and implement meaningful reform. To help unlock this critical information, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) today launched Arrest Trends, a groundbreaking tool that provides an extensive yet easy and accessible way to answer fundamental questions about American policing. By organizing publicly available datasets into one easy-to-use data platform, users can access, customize, and analyze decades of policing data, including comparisons between places – data that previously had been disparately located and difficult to interpret.

The release of the tool coincides with a new report, Every Three Seconds: Unlocking Police Data on Arrests, which includes information about the need for greater access to policing data, an overview of the Arrest Trends tool, initial findings gleaned from it, and potential areas for growth and evolution of this tool. For example, of those 10 million arrests, only 5 percent are for serious violent crimes. Instead, the majority of arrests are for low-level offenses, including drug offenses which have increased by 171 percent since 1980, and disproportionately impact people of color. Also, arrests of men have decreased by 7 percent since 1980 while arrests of women increased by 78 percent.

“American policing is in need of radical change. Mass arrests embroil people in the justice system and fuel mass incarceration, disrupting the lives of people of color, and eroding the community trust necessary for law enforcement to meaningfully promote public safety”, said Nick Turner, president of Vera. “Over the last five years, the deaths of black people at the hands of police – and the crises they generated – woke much of a somnolent nation to issues that communities of color have experienced for generations: racism, excessive use of force and over enforcement. We hope Arrest Trends can be an important source of information on this last problem, something that has been hard to take measure of, until now.”

Arrest Trends collates information from eight major data series, so that users can easily explore how the police use arrests. Early use of Arrest Trends has already uncovered important trends regarding drivers, disparities, and effectiveness of arrests, including:

  • Across the United States, an arrest occurs every three seconds. Today’s estimated total arrest volume—approximately 10.5 million arrests annually—has dropped to historic lows not otherwise seen since the early 1980’s, yet the number remains unnecessarily high The detrimental effects of arrests on mass incarceration, diminished public health and economic prosperity, racial inequities, and unwieldy levels of bureaucratic work for officers make reform an urgent issue.
  • Black people now make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but an estimated 28 percent of all arrests. The estimated volume of arrests of black people across the country rose by 23 percent from 1980 to 2014. In 2014, black people were an estimated 2.39 times more likely to be arrested for “drug abuse violations” than white people—despite the fact that research suggests that black people and white people use drugs at similar rates.
  • Only 5 percent of arrests are for violent offences. The majority of arrests are for low-level offenses such as “drug abuse violations” and “disorderly conduct”, which make up over 80 percent of arrests. The overreliance on arrests for low-level offenses may translate into issues of fractured police-community relationships and mistrust, further impairing police effectiveness and public safety as a whole.
  • Drug arrests increased by 171 percent from 1980 to 2016, and now account for over 1.5 million arrests annually—the vast majority of which are made for possession of marijuana. This stark increase suggests that policing practices remain largely punitive in nature. In light of the rising opioid epidemic—and the abundance of research suggesting that justice system involvement exacerbates rather than solves substance use disorders—it is imperative that we question our response to what is fundamentally a public health problem.
  • Suburbs within metropolitan areas have the highest average arrest rates than any other area. To date, there has been limited research on suburban arrest trends, making this finding particularly worthy of exploration. This is especially true given that a number of high-profile police enforcement-related events in recent years that resulted in deaths—of black people in particular—have occurred in suburbs such as Ferguson, MO, Falcon Heights, MN, and Balch Springs, TX.
  • Arrests of women increased from 1980 to 2014 by 83 percent, while arrests of men decreased 7 percent over the same timeframe. In 1980, women accounted for an estimated 16 percent of all arrests, but in 2014 they accounted for 27 percent. Women are more likely than men to be arrested for low-level, non-violent offenses such as drug possession. These types of offenses are exacerbated by life challenges such as poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, and significant physical or behavioral health struggles that also disproportionately impact women.

“At a time when confidence in the police is low—particularly within communities of color — increased transparency and access to information about police practices is more important than ever, said Rebecca Neusteter, director of Vera’s Policing Program. “We hope that Arrest Trends will generate dialogue about the role of policing, support police agencies on their path to reform, and be used to highlight the extent to which local decisions about arrests create disparity and may act as a primary driver of mass incarceration.”

Looking ahead, Vera will publish subsequent reports that dive into additional findings and insights of note from Arrest Trends, such as which agencies most contribute to high arrest volumes, which have shown marked improvements and why, and where the greatest racial disparities exist. Perhaps most importantly, this tool will help identify agencies with which to collaborate in developing and testing alternative-to-arrest policies and practices.

“Arrest Trends highlights the fundamental challenge facing policing in the 21st century”, said Sheriff Jerry Clayton from Washtenaw County, Michigan. “Too many agencies are devoting their resources to responding to non-violent behavior and arresting people for minor crimes, while many of the more serious offenses go unaddressed. This timely and valuable tool will help create alternatives to arrests that improve public safety while building strong and sustainable relationships within our communities.”

To transform the nation’s policing practices, we must first understand them. Arrest Trends seeks to unlock this important information and make it accessible for all people who are involved with and care about the American criminal justice system.

Arrest Trends is supported by the Vera Institute of Justice’s Capital Campaign, Microsoft Cities Team, and the Charles Koch Foundation.

** VIDEO: How to use the new Arrest Trends Tool **


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JK Moving Honored with Two Community Leadership Awards by Loudoun Chamber for Work to Alleviate Hunger and Preserve Land

Press Release – STERLING, Va. (January 31, 2019)JK Moving Services, a global moving, storage, relocation, and logistics enterprise, has won two of the prestigious Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership awards. JK CEO Chuck Kuhn was recognized with the Executive Leader of the Year Award and JK Moving Services as Community Leader (Large Organization) for charitable initiatives launched this year, including starting the JK Community Farm, an effort designed to alleviate hunger by growing and harvesting crops and livestock and donating them to Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR), as well as for its efforts to protect Loudoun landscapes by placing land into a conservation easement.

“Being recognized by other Loudoun business leaders means a lot to my company and family,” said Kuhn. “We believe in treating our customers and community with care and respect. Increasingly we do this through the land—by protecting it for future generations and using it to help feed those in our region facing food insecurity. That’s the kind of company we aim to be—the kind that cares about our neighbors.”

The Loudoun Chamber announced the winners for the 2019 Community Leadership Awards this past Friday, January 25, 2019, at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Community Leadership Awards event at The National Conference Center. The Community Leadership Awards honor businesses and community leaders that have shown outstanding leadership and commitment to support the Loudoun community and its citizens during the past year.

“Loudoun County is truly privileged to have so many outstanding leaders and businesses that are willing to invest their time, talent and treasure to serve our community. The Loudoun Chamber is privileged to honor these great Community Leaders for the hard work and valuable contributions to help make Loudoun a world-class community in which to live, work, raise a family and grow a business,” said President & CEO Tony Howard.

The JK Community Farm began this past year when Kuhn wanted to expand the breadth of his family and company’s philanthropic investments in a way that upheld the company values and had lasting impact. After purchasing land in Purcellville, Va. and putting the land into a conservation easement, four acres were initially used to grow more than 16 types of vegetables. In addition, the Kuhn family donated beef, pork, and venison. The farm also provided volunteering opportunities for the JK Moving staff and others in the community. In all, the farm produced enough food to provide for 25,000 meals for those facing food insecurity in Loudoun County.

ABOUT JK MOVING SERVICES

For 35 years, JK Moving Services – the largest independently owned and operated moving company in North America – has provided local, long distance, and global relocation services to a variety of commercial, residential, and government clients. Headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, the company maintains a full-time, professionally trained staff of relocation and move management experts committed to providing the highest level of customer care. www.JKMoving.com


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Herbert Joins Bipartisan Group of Governors Working to Increase Access to K-12 Computer Science Education

Press Release – January 31, 2019 – Governors Asa Hutchinson (R – Ark.) and Jay Inslee (D – Wash.) welcome Governor Gary Herbert (R – Utah) to the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, a collaboration among states focused on advancing legislation and policy to expand access to high school computer science courses, develop high-quality K-12 computer science learning standards, and provide comprehensive professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders.

Governor Herbert announced his commitment to joining Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science today at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit. In his 2019 budget proposal, Governor Herbert set aside set aside $3.9 million for grants, administered to school districts, to implement computer science in every school by 2022. Additionally, Governor Herbert has directed the Talent Ready Utah Center to create a committee that will build a four-year state strategic plan for computer science as well as oversee the grant funding strategy and distribution.

“Computer Science is important to the success of Utah’s economy. In order for our economy to continue to grow and prosper, we need more students to take computer science courses,” said Governor Herbert. “In Utah, we have just under 5,000 open computing jobs, and, in 2015, we only had 366 computer science graduates. I am committed to addressing the root cause of this problem and ensuring every student in Utah has the option to take computer science courses in school.

“Governor Herbert is such an incredible leader with a clear vision for expanding access to computer science education for all Utah students,” said Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of enterprise technology learning platform Pluralsight, Inc. “Joining the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science Education further demonstrates his commitment to computer science education at the state and national level and will be an important platform to advance our goal of having computer science education in every Utah school by 2022.”

In Utah, the average salary of a computing job is $84.395, significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($46,460). The existing open jobs alone represent a $419,191,852 economic opportunity in terms of annual salaries.


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Wicked Audio Donates Over 500 Headphones to Children’s Hospital of Nevada at UMC Following CES 2019

Popular lifestyle brand gifts collection of headphones and earbuds to children of Nevada in an effort to bring smiles to their faces during time of illness

Press Release – Salt Lake City, UT — January 31, 2019Wicked Audio, the ultimate lifestyle audio brand founded in 1994 to design and manufacture topline headphones, earbuds and portable speakers at affordable price points, used the end of this year Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as an opportunity to do good with its showcase products.

Rather than supplying show attendees with product, as most exhibitors do at the final day of the show, Wicked Audio decided its headphones and earbuds would be far more meaningful for neighboring sick children at the local hospital. At the conclusion of CES, the entire team drove to the hospital to drop off over 500 earbuds and headphones totaling an approximate value of $13,000 worth of product.

“Our brand is founded on the idea that music fuels your soul with energy,” said Paul Marshall, founder of Wicked Audio. “We create our products to give our youth a sense of self and offer a way for music to soundtrack their lives. We’re so hopeful that a small gesture like this will bring some joy to these kids.”

“We were thrilled to get the call from Wicked Audio when they explained their strong desire to bypass the traditional CES overhaul and instead do something to make our patients feel good,” said of Children’s Hospital of Nevada. Well over 500 children will benefit from this donation and now hopefully bring a little good into their hospital experience with music powered by the Wicked Audio team.”

Following the donation from Wicked Audio, hospital coordinators will be supplying their young patients with various headphones and earbuds over the course of the next few months as they are admitted and being treated in the hospital.

About Wicked Audio

Wicked Audio designs and manufactures aesthetically appealing and visually striking headphones, all of which fuse style and superior sound quality. Wicked Audio distributes its products to over 45,000 retail outlets in 25 different countries. For more product information, please visit our website at www.wickedaudio.com.


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St. Jude’s Global Childhood Cancer Initiative Aims To Cure 60 Percent Of The World’s Children By 2030

St. Jude Global’s work treating young Syrian refugees to be featured during American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting

Press Release – MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Over the past year, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has announced it’s expanding its international reach with St.Jude Global, a more than $100 million investment toward accelerating efforts to improve childhood cancer survival rates worldwide. In addition, as part of this renewed effort to prioritize the global approach to childhood cancer, St. Jude and World Health Organization announced a five-year collaboration – a multi-faceted, coordinated effort to cure 60 percent of children with six of the most common types of cancer by 2030.

In the United States, pediatric cancer survival rates top 80 percent, and most children have access to quality care, regardless of where they live. Around the world, however, the statistics are bleak. More than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, and the overwhelming majority will die from their diseases.

Video – Global Disparities in Childhood Cancer

“During this year’s World Cancer Day, we continue to make great strides in achieving St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a world where ‘no child should die in the dawn of life,’” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Global childhood cancer rates are on the rise as more children worldwide survive infancy. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of those new cases are happening in places where they lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment.”

Young Syrian refugees living in Lebanese camps is one place where St. Jude Global has already made a difference that will be featured during the upcoming American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Annual Meeting – the world’s largest gathering of multi-disciplinary sciences – on Sunday, Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C.

A collaboration between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon at the American University of Beirut Medical Center has led to almost 600 non-Lebanese children receiving cancer-related evaluations, treatment, consultations and referrals. By sharing resources, best practices, insights and infrastructure, more refugees were treated who would have otherwise died because they happened to have cancer at a time when their family was displaced by war.

“During this year’s World Cancer Day, our work in Lebanon is a reminder that it is possible to save the lives of children who would have otherwise died simply because they happen to have cancer when their families were displaced,” said Sima Jeha, M.D., director of St. Jude Global’s East and Mediterranean Region. “Our experience in this region shows that effective pediatric cancer treatment is possible even in crisis situations.”

Jeha will lead a presentation, “Treating Pediatric Cancer in Crisis: Lessons for Delivering Care,” outlining lessons learned from this collaboration across borders and institutions and offering a blueprint to address the needs of children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries, even under the worst of circumstances. During the presentation, a panel of global medical experts will discuss lessons learned from the experience in Lebanon and how institutions and countries can work together to improve outcomes for non-communicable diseases in peace and in crisis.

Additional detail about St. Jude Global’s work to effectively treat young Syrian refugees can be found in St. Jude’s Promise Magazine, here.


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ITIF Ranked World’s Top Think Tank for Science and Tech Policy for Second Consecutive Year

Press Release – WASHINGTON—Today the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) was recognized as the world’s top think tank for science and technology policy in the latest edition of the University of Pennsylvania’s authoritative “Global Go To Think Tank Index.” In addition to earning the top spot globally for science and tech policy for the second year running, the 2018 edition of the annual ranking also places ITIF among America’s top 50 think tanks overall—at number 35, up from 48 in 2017.

“For the past 13 years, ITIF has championed policy solutions that accelerate innovation, encourage competitiveness, and boost productivity around the world,” said ITIF President Rob Atkinson. “We are honored to be recognized by our peers for the quality and influence of our work, and we are committed to continue providing independent, nonpartisan research, analysis, and policy recommendations to advance innovation.”

Founded in 2006, ITIF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute. With staff in Washington and Brussels, its mission is to formulate and promote global policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

“Science and technology policy developments move quickly, and think tanks have a critical role to play in providing specialized knowledge, credible analysis, and innovative and actionable recommendations,” said Atkinson. “Good policy outcomes hinge on having accurate, in-depth information and analysis, and ITIF is committed to providing the high-quality recommendations policymakers and the public can trust.”

Access the 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index.


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JOANN Warms Up Children in Need Through National Partnership with Project Linus

Exclusive Partnership Invites Customers to Make & Donate in Stores to Nation’s Leading Blanket Charity

Press Release – January 31, 2019 – For the millions of children across the nation who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need, a blanket can be much more than that. A handmade blanket can provide not only warmth, but also security, comfort and love. And through a national partnership, JOANN and Project Linus are aiming to wrap this support around every child who needs it most.

Through an exclusive partnership, more than 350 JOANN stores nationwide are now designated collection points for Project Linus, which has donated more than 7 million blankets to children in need since 1995. It is now easier and more convenient than ever to get involved, as customers can purchase their material or yarn, work on their project in a store classroom, and confidently donate their blanket, all in one location.

“One in three items made by our customers is given away to those in need, and that includes millions of blankets and quilts each year,” said Stephen Caution, VP of Business Development at JOANN. “Many of our customers are already involved with their local Project Linus chapters, and evolving this into a national partnership means we can unite and contribute even more. We know Project Linus will get these handmade gifts to children who need them most, and we’re proud to get our stores and customers involved in this cause.”

Those making consistently for the organization can receive specially reduced pricing on fleece and yarn through the JOANN+ program, which has allowed the organization to nearly triple the amount of blankets they make at the same cost. But regardless if a customer makes one or one hundred blankets for Project Linus, they can be sure they are making a difference.

“We founded Project Linus to help children we may never even meet, using our hands and hearts,” said Patty Gregory, National President of Project Linus. “We believe the love and intention our ‘blanketeers’ put into these blankets allow us to give each child a hug, wherever they are. Our volunteers are already purchasing fabric and supplies in JOANN stores, so to bring it full circle and involve JOANN from start to finish is an exciting opportunity for all of us.”

The partnership will kick off with a fun opportunity to get more people involved in the cause, even if they’ve never created a blanket before. Saturday, February 16, Project Linus and JOANN ask customers to consider joining the national Make a Blanket Day along with thousands of other blanketeers nationwide. The day will feature a free no-sew blanket-making event in all JOANN stores from 11am-2pm. Blankets will be donated to local charities including Project Linus.

To find details on Make a Blanket Day, visit joann.com/hands-on-events. For a list of stores that are designated collection locations, visit joann.com/project-linus.


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SC Johnson to Support Development of 40 New Health Posts in Rural Rwanda

Company’s Partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda Provides Better Access to Health Care for Families

Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, visits an SC Johnson-sponsored health post in Rwanda. SC Johnson will support the development of 40 new health posts across Rwanda.

Press Release – RACINE, Wis., January 30, 2019 – SC Johnson today announced plans to support the development of an additional 40 health posts throughout Rwanda, expanding access to health care and malaria education for more than 200,000 people. This expands on the company’s 2018 investment, which established 10 health posts in rural Rwanda in July, bringing the total to 50.

“We want to see an end to malaria and all mosquito-borne diseases,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “We’re continually working to get people educational information and products that may help protect them from mosquito-borne illness. Beyond helping local families, this partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda is providing insights and best practices that will help our efforts to fight malaria in other countries around the world.”

Partnering for Public Health

The health posts will be operated by the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda in an expansion of the successful four-year partnership launched in 2018. Their goal is to help address public health issues in Rwanda including malaria, HIV/AIDS, family planning, access to clean water and nutrition.

“We are thankful for SC Johnson’s investment in the health of our communities, and for the continuing partnership in establishing best practices on issues such as malaria,” said Dr. Diane Gashumba, Rwanda Minister of Health. “With the additional health posts, Rwanda can further support health care needs for the 50 percent of our communities that are in rural, hard-to-reach areas, and significantly reduce the distance families need to travel for care.”

Since opening the initial health posts in 2018, the partnership has created access to health services for more than 60,000 people. Prior to that, it was estimated that the average Rwandan in search of health care needed to walk up to three hours to reach the nearest services.

“I am very excited about our partnership with SC Johnson particularly in the fight against malaria,” said Manasseh Gihana Wandera, Executive Director, Society for Family Health Rwanda. “With the support of SC Johnson, we are able to reach rural communities, educate about ways to prevent malaria and provide a holistic approach to accessing health care services.”

Tackling Malaria Together

Studies have shown that using spatial repellents can reduce the frequency of mosquito bites and may reduce new malaria occurrences – a vital public health need considering that the World Health Organization reported 219 million cases of malaria globally in 2016. By making malaria education and mosquito repellent products available at community health posts, SC Johnson helps more people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

The partnership between SC Johnson, the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda also includes developing national standards to address mosquito-borne diseases and set local safety and efficacy standards for pest products. The national standards will focus on the distribution and use of mosquito spatial and personal insect repellent products, as well as the encouragement of positive behavioral changes to reduce the potential risk of mosquito-borne disease.

“Visiting one of the health posts, the stories I heard from the staff and patients were moving and powerful,” said Johnson. “Access to malaria education is vital and access to health care overall is transformative. We’re thrilled SC Johnson can help as we continue our work to fight mosquito-borne diseases and provide more families with access to a better life.”

Working to Improve Communities at the Base of the Pyramid

SC Johnson has provided sustainable business solutions for decades to raise the standard of living and provide opportunities for a better quality of life for the 4 billion people who occupy the base of the world’s economic pyramid. Focusing on insect-borne disease education, the company aims to reduce the percentage of malaria cases globally by increasing access to pest control products and insect-borne disease education including:

  • Launching an unprecedented partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda in 2018 to build 10 health care posts and provide health care services in rural areas of Rwanda to help address public health issues like malaria.
  • Partnering with The Coca-Cola Co. in 2017 as a part of the EKOCENTER program. This program provides safe drinking water, sanitation, solar energy and wireless communication to countries including Rwanda and Vietnam. The centers are modular retail experiences, run by women operators, that provide commerce of basic goods including OFF!® mosquito repellent lotion, Baygon® mosquito coils and KIWI® shoe polish.
  • Working with Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise in 2012 to launch the WOW™ club pilot in Ghana to explore new ways to help families reduce the transmission of malaria with a business model that brings repellents and insecticides to rural families. The resulting efforts have helped low-income homemakers care for their homes and families.
  • Administering a study in 2010 with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to determine the effects of spatial repellents in fighting malaria-infected mosquitoes in Sumba, Indonesia.

For more information about SC Johnson and its social corporate responsibility efforts, visit the company on Facebook, Twitter or at www.scjohnson.com.


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The V Foundation Announces Partnership with SAGERSTRONG Foundation to Fund Cancer Research in Memory of Craig Sager

$200,000 V Scholar Grant Awarded for Research Related to Blood Cancers

Press Release – CARY, NC [January 30, 2019] – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, is excited to announce a partnership with the SAGERSTRONG Foundation, Inc., in memory of Craig Sager, to fund research related to blood cancers. Through the partnership, Stacy Sager, Craig’s widow, and the V Foundation are collaborating to achieve Victory Over Cancer®.

“The SAGERSTRONG Foundation is thrilled to be partnering with the V Foundation and Dr. Ami Bhatt on this very important project,” said Stacy Sager, President of the SAGERSTRONG Foundation. “We hope through Dr. Bhatt’s research, cancer patients can glean valuable information early about dietary changes to arm them in their battle.”

The partnership has awarded a V Scholar Grant to Bhatt for her research project titled, “Precisely Shaping the Intestinal Microbiome to Improve Cancer Therapy Outcomes.” Bhatt’s research will explore how dietary changes might improve the intestinal environment in cancer patients. Her goal is to improve therapies with the information she learns. V Scholar Grants are awarded to early career investigators for their work that is either laboratory-based fundamental research or translational research. Bhatt will receive $200,000 over a two-year period. The V Foundation and the SAGERSTRONG Foundation will each contribute $100,000 to the grant.

“I have had the privilege and pleasure of caring for many patients and their families through the course of leukemia treatment,” said Bhatt. “Witnessing their amazing strength, I know that we have made so much progress in treating these tough diseases in the past decade. However, there is so much more that needs to be done. The support of the V Foundation and the SAGERSTRONG Foundation will help me and my lab carry out cutting-edge research that will contribute to transforming how patients, physicians and researchers think about the microbiome and cancer. I am honored to be a V Scholar and am revved up to get to work!”

Craig Sager was a Turner Sports Broadcaster and NBA Sideline Reporter, known for his colorful suits and ties, with a personality to match, and he was a longtime friend of the V Foundation. Sager succumbed to cancer in 2016. A few months prior to his passing, he accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPYS for his courageous fight with acute myeloid leukemia. SAGERSTRONG Foundation was founded in 2016 in hope that, one day, leukemia patients and their families will never face the battle the Sagers endured. Stacy Sager and the SAGERSTRONG Foundation previously collaborated with the V Foundation during the 2018 V Week with a donation of two of Craig’s jackets to an auction benefiting breakthrough cancer research funded by the V Foundation.

“Stacy’s passion for this work is inspirational,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “Her commitment to honoring Craig’s memory through innovative research is a testament to him and to her!”

The V Foundation has proudly awarded more than $225 million for cutting-edge cancer research. The V Foundation holds a 4-star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, and is among the top 3% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is a GuideStar platinum-rated charity.

For more information about the V Foundation or to donate, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

About the V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The Foundation has funded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation awards 100 percent of direct donations to cancer research and programs. The V Foundation’s endowment covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

About the SAGERSTRONG Foundation

The mission of the SAGERSTRONG Foundation is to give hope to those who need it most. Stacy and Craig Sager started the SAGERSTRONG Foundation in the hope that, one day, leukemia patients and their families will never have to go through the battle they have endured. For more information, please visit sagerstrongfoundation.org.


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