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News Article | May 9, 2017

People who have received organ transplants are at higher risk of developing and dying of cancer than the general population. Yet their rates of cancer screening do not meet existing guidelines, a new study has found TORONTO, May 4, 2017--People who have received organ transplants are at higher risk of developing and dying of cancer than the general population. Yet their rates of cancer screening do not meet existing guidelines, a new study has found. The study, published online today in the American Journal of Transplantation, examined the health records of 6,392 patients who had organ transplants in Ontario between 1997 and 2010. "Most of the organ transplant recipients had periods when they were not up-to-date on colorectal, cervical or breast cancer screening," said senior author Dr. Nancy Baxter, a colorectal surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital and senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. In fact, a sizeable portion of them had no cancer screening at all during the study, said Dr. Baxter. "Many patients don't see cancer screening as a high priority, because their main health concern is their transplant," she said. "Transplant recipients should be aware they have a heightened risk of developing and dying from cancer and should advocate with their health-care providers to be screened." Current cancer screening guidelines for transplant recipients in Canada generally parallel the guidelines for the general population. Researchers identified 6,392 solid organ transplant recipients who were eligible for cancer screening: 4,436 for colorectal cancer screening, 2,252 eligible for cervical cancer screening, and 1,551 eligible for breast cancer screening. Of those, 3,436 (78 per cent), 1,572 (70 per cent), and 1,417 (91per cent) were not continuously screened for colorectal, cervical and breast cancer, respectively. Dr. Sergio Acuna, the study's lead author and a PhD candidate in clinical epidemiology and health-care research at St. Michael's, said transplant recipients who were routinely seeing their family physician were more likely to be screened for cancer than those followed by a transplant specialist alone. Comorbidities--additional conditions including heart disease and diabetes--and life expectancy also had an effect on recipients' likelihood of being screened, according to the authors. The study found that patients with more comorbidities were less likely to be up-to-date with cancer screening. Previous work by Drs. Baxter and Acuna found that people who had organ transplants were three times more likely to die from cancer than the general population and that cancer was a leading cause of death among these patients. It is well known among clinicians and researchers that cancer screening leads to the detection of cancer at early stages, according to Dr. Acuna. "We have evidence of increased incidence of cancer in transplant recipients, we have some good evidence for the performance of screening tests in transplant recipients, and although we have no direct evidence of the effect of treatment on outcomes, it is likely that early detection in this population would lead to improved outcomes," said Dr. Acuna. Although there are no clinical trials demonstrating that this screening benefit applies to organ transplant recipients, it is unlikely to change given that clinical trials require large numbers of people to provide accurate data and the transplant population is relatively small, he said. In another study, Drs. Baxter and Acuna found cancer screening guidelines for this group are inconsistent as is the use of these guidelines. Their review found only 13 sets of clinical practice guidelines--recommendations for optimizing patient care generally based on evidence--for cancer screening of transplant recipients. Most were for kidney transplant recipients as kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ. Dr. Acuna said this inconsistency could be one reason for low screening rates in this population, and patients and their physicians should be aware of the need for cancer screening. "In Canada, the guidelines are not comprehensive, and there are no specific guidelines for most types of solid organ transplant," he said. "Family doctors, transplant specialists and transplant recipients should all be aware that cancer screening guidelines for the general population should also apply to them or their patients." Today's study received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of health care issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting health care needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy. For the latest ICES news, follow us on Twitter: @ICESOntario For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Deborah Creatura Media Advisor, ICES (o) 416-480-4780 or (c) 647-406-5996

News Article | September 11, 2017

NASA recently released a video of an in-depth look into a cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where the ICESat-2 satellite is currently being monitored. To view the video, click here. Here, engineers and technicians take special precautions to make sure the instrument's lasers, mirrors, and other components stay perfectly clean. ICESat-2's sole instrument called the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, or ATLAS, is being put to the test in a cleanroom and in a nearby thermal vacuum chamber before engineers attach it to the rest of the spacecraft. ICESat-2 launches in 2018 to monitor Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, and other frozen regions. The satellite will use six laser beams to take detailed measurements that will help scientists study change in these remote locations.

Fiaschi D.,University of Pisa | Gianmoena L.,Marche Polytechnic University | Parenti A.,ICES Inc
Spatial Economic Analysis | Year: 2017

Asymmetric macroeconomic volatility in European regions. Spatial Economic Analysis. This paper investigates, on the basis of a theoretical spatial model, the determinants of macroeconomic volatility of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in a panel of 257 NUTS-2 European regions in 1992–2008, considering positive and negative fluctuations separately. Evidence is found of strong positive spatial dependence, and of considerable asymmetric effects on macroeconomic volatility of sectoral output (its composition and concentration), of composition of aggregate demand, and of other regional/country characteristics. In particular, while public expenditure exerts a stabilizing effect on both types of fluctuations, financial depth amplifies negative fluctuations. Finally, inflation fluctuations and participation in European Monetary Union (EMU) appear to have no effect on macroeconomic volatility. © 2017 Regional Studies Association

Dana G.V.,Dana and Sharpe Risk Associates | Cooper A.M.,ICES Inc | Pennington K.M.,University of Minnesota | Sharpe L.S.,University of Minnesota
Biological Invasions | Year: 2014

Genetic biocontrol of invasive aquatic species proposes to introduce, for control purposes, a genetically modified (GM) version of an invasive fish species to a targeted aquatic environment. Safe deployment and long term use of such technologies will depend on identifying and managing possible unintended effects to the natural environment. Environmental risk analysis (ERA) is a method for identifying the likelihood and consequences of unintended impacts, and for developing risk management strategies. For the unique situation of genetically modified biocontrol organisms (GMBOs), we review the latest thinking in ERA methodologies for GM fish and explore how terminology and assumptions from ERAs of traditional, non-modified biocontrol organisms and GM fish will need to be recast in ERAs of GMBOs. We also outline some special considerations that an ERA of a GMBOs will have to contend with: non-intuitive potential hazards; uncertainty introduced by extrapolating from domestic systems to natural ecosystems; redundancy in risk management options; and challenges of stakeholder engagement related to new technologies. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Lassen H.,ICES Inc | Pedersen S.A.,ICES Inc | Frost H.,Copenhagen University | Hoff A.,Copenhagen University
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2013

The European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) includes four descriptors of Good Environmental Status (GES) which are affected by fishing activity. These descriptors are: biodiversity, fish stocks, foodweb, and seabed integrity. This paper shows how these descriptors can be related to variables within an ecological model and how an ecological model can be used to analyse whether the fishing pressure that is estimated based on bioeconomic criteria is within general sustainable limits. The paper presents an example of such an analysis of the Eastern Baltic cod fishery using two models: a bioeconomic model and an ecological model. The models are calibrated based on historic data. The mapping between the descriptors specified by MSFD and variables available for analysis in the models is incomplete, e.g. genetics and spatial structures are not included in the models. The models can be used strategically, providing a qualitative understanding of the anticipated relative changes. © 2013 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Dickey-Collas M.,ICES Inc | Payne M.R.,Technical University of Denmark | Trenkel V.M.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea | Nash R.D.M.,IMR
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

The use of modelling approaches in marine science, and in particular fisheries science, is explored. We highlight that the choice of model used for an analysis should account for the question being posed or the context of the management problem. We examine a model-classification scheme based on Richard Levins' 1966 work suggesting that models can only achieve two of three desirable model attributes: realism, precision, and generality. Model creation, therefore, requires trading-off of one of these attributes in favour of the other two: however, this is often in conflict with the desires of end-users (i.e. mangers or policy developers). The combination of attributes leads to models that are considered to have empirical, mechanistic, or analytical characteristics, but not a combination of them. In fisheries science, many examples can be found of models with these characteristics. However, we suggest that models or techniques are often employed without consideration of their limitations, such as projecting into unknown space without generalism, or fitting empirical models and inferring causality. We suggest that the idea of trade-offs and limitations in modelling be considered as an essential first step in assessing the utility of a model in the context of knowledge for decision-making in management. © 2014 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. All rights reserved.

Cadrin S.X.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Dickey-Collas M.,ICES Inc
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

This special volume of the ICES Journal compiles contributions from the World Conference on Stock Assessment Methods for Sustainable Fisheries (July 2013, Boston, USA). The conference was the product of a strategic initiative on stock assessment methods that engaged many national and regional fishery management organizations to assure that scientists can apply the most appropriate methods when developing management advice. An inclusive workshop was designed to evaluate the performance of a variety of model categories by applying multiple models to selected case study data as well as simulated pseudo-data that had realistic measurement error. All model applications had difficulties in recovering the simulated stock and fishing mortality trends, particularly at the end of the assessment time series, when they are most important for informing fishery management. This general result suggests that the next steps in evaluating the performance of stock assessment methods should include stock status relative to sustainable reference points, catch advice, multi-model consideration, and alternative management procedures. Recognition of the limitations of conventional stock assessment methods should promote further development of data-limited approaches, methods with time-varying parameters, or spatial complexity, and a more revolutionary shift towards the application of multispecies and ecosystem models. The contributions in this volume address methodological themes that are expected to improve the scientific basis of fishery management. Furthermore, the limitations of stock assessment methods and associated uncertainty should be more extensively considered in fishery management strategies and tactical decisions. Recommendations developed during the conference called for the establishment of a global initiative to synthesize regional advances, form guidance on best practices, promote strategic investments, and highlight research needs for fish stock assessments. © 2014 © International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2014. All rights reserved.

Walther Y.,ICES Inc
Environmental Development | Year: 2016

ICES has successfully advanced ecosystemknowledge in a framework connecting scientists, managers, and stake holders.The instrumental developing of tools specific to regional ecosystems has proven to overcome national fragmented structures in ecosystem assessments. The framework guiding the international LME network has the explicit aim to assist developing countries in introducing EBM practice to sustain LME goods and services.Both the LME approach and the ICES approach to EBM embrace the importance of collaboration to integrate research and management views and concepts. ICES has much to offer in terms of training and capacity development for LME projects. Areas where ICES can offer scientific support and advice include traditional fish stock assessments as well as the broader IEAs.The systematic development and experience of the IEA framework in ICES could be a model that could be of substantial value to LME projects worldwide.

Dickey-Collas M.,ICES Inc
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

This article considers the approach taken by the ICES to integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs) in the context of the wider evolution of IEAs and the science/policy landscape within the ICES region. It looks forward and considers the challenges facing the development of IEAs, specifically those of scoping for objectives, participatory engagement, developing indicators and targets, risk analysis, and creating tools to evaluate management measures for marine anthropogenic activities. It concludes that expectations that the implementation of IEAs will take an ordered, stepwise approach will lead to disappointment and frustration. This is a consequence of the need to operate in an adaptive manner in a complex system. The ecosystem, the science support infrastructure, and the governance systems are all complex. Plus when engaged in a debate about societal objectives, we expect to encounter a complex and changing landscape. As a community, the challenge is to find leverage mechanisms to encourage IEA efforts to provide insights and tools within resources. We will need to innovate and be responsive to the complexity of the ecosystem and governance structures encountered when performing IEA. © 2014 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. All rights reserved.

News Article | June 2, 2008

A supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) recently piloted a laser to perform prostate surgery on a dog. The operation was done in Houston without the intervention of a human surgeon while the Lonestar supercomputer, a Dell Linux Cluster with 5,840 processors, was in Austin. According to TACC, 'the procedure was the culmination of three years of research and development into the algorithms, computer codes, imaging technology, and cyberinfrastructure.' Please note that even if the intervention was a success, the dog ultimately died. But the researchers are confident that their approach could lead to specific treatments in five to ten years for humans. In fact, they think this is the future of surgery, bringing engineering tools into medicine. Fascinating research!!! But read more... The image above shows the "schematic of the peer to peer communication architecture used to control the laser treatment process. Feedback control is achieved through the continual interaction of the data, compute, and visualization modules." (Credit: David Fuentes, ICES) Even if the HPCwire is informative, a recent TACC news release provides more details. As explained David Fuentes, a post-doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES), and the central developer of the project, "We had a fifteen minute window in which a million things had to go right for this treatment to be successful. There had to be no flaw, no silly bug, everything had to go perfectly. And if that wasn't complicated enough, you add the complexity of a living animal. This is a pretty formidable problem." And J. Tinsley Oden, director of ICES and principal investigator of the project, added, "It's been an extremely challenging problem that's met one unresolved open problem after another, solved it and pushed forward. And now we have a system that's working." But how a supercomputer can be used as a surgeon? "The laser cancer treatment project uses the massive parallel processing power of supercomputers like Lonestar to perform real-time, patient-specific surgery remotely, in a way that responds to data-intensive monitoring methods. Using precise lasers, state-of-the-art thermal imaging technology, and computational methods that synthesize complex information in a fraction of a second, dynamic, data-driven laser treatments are being pursued as a minimally invasive alternative to the standard treatment of cancer. 'We're basically bringing engineering tools into medicine,' Oden said. 'We're making surgery an engineering or mathematical process.'" Please read this long news release for additional details on the process and the treatment summarized by this quote. "The treatment itself is broken into four stages: 1) Lonestar instructs the laser to heat the domain with a non-damaging calibration pulse; 2) the thermal MRI acquires baseline images of the heating and cooling of the patient’s tissue for model calibration; 3) Lonestar inputs this patient-specific information and recomputes the optimal power profile for the rest of the treatments; and 4) surgery begins, with remote visualizations and evolving predictions continuing throughout the procedure." About the communications between Austin and Houston, which were essential for the success of the operation, Fuentes said: "This is a laser treatment where the surgery is ongoing in Houston on the canine, and the laser is being controlled by Lonestar in Austin for the entire duration of the treatment. The data is orchestrated so every time a new set of thermal images is sent from Houston to Austin, the power control for the next five seconds is sent from Austin to Houston, and it's done that way for the duration of the treatment." For more information, please visit the Dynamic Data Driven Application Systems (DDDAS) website. Here are two papers of interest. The first one, "Nanoshell-Mediated Laser Surgery Simulation for Prostate Cancer Treatment" (PDF format, 19 pages, 2.33 MB) has been published in 2007 in Engineering with Computers, a Springer journal. The second document, "A Data Driven Application System for Laser Treatment of Cancer" (PDF format, 18 pages, 3.68 MB) was presented in July 2007 at the 9th National Congress on Computational Mechanics held in San Francisco, California. The above image was extracted from this document. Sources: Michael Feldman, HPCwire, May 27, 2008; and various websites You'll find related stories by following the links below.

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