Thursday, January 17, 2013

Important medicine...

Almost a vaccination against the second Holocaust    Usually, I don’t begin one of my essays this way, i.e., quoting from someone who may be regarded by Obama supporters as an alarmist. However, my sense of our President is that killing Osama bin Laden may be considered by him to be the crowning achievement in our war against radical Islam. My perception of his having a willfully limited perspective regarding that enemy of peace makes the quote from the following article seem terrifying. The most pertinent sentence has been highlighted:

By Ben Stein on 1.7.13 @ 8:54AM
Obama, Israel, and Chuck Hagel’s nomination.

...As a student of anti-Semitism in Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust, no amount of hatred and loathing for Jews surprises me. Americans who do love Israel should be aware, though, that it is growing much more likely by the moment that there will be a second Holocaust. The only real friends that Israel has on this earth, evangelical Christians, will take note. Whether anyone else will is a big question.

“Second Holocaust”? Although just the thought of that prompts dire images, it also makes me wonder whether the world would allow that to happen…again. Sadly, I must admit that I don’t know the answer. When I see that responses to Iran’s threats to annihilate Israel are, at best, muffled, I simultaneously shudder and scream.

More than one Jewish doctor has done more than that.

“You know I’m a Holocaust survivor, don’t you?” Dr. Roger Loria asked me.

I didn’t. But, days later, I found this: Life lessons: Holocaust survivor visits fifth-graders ...
Dr. Roger Loria, 70, first spoke with Henry’s students in Marguerite Christian’s Center-Based Gifted program (CBG) two years ago during their unit study of World ... -

More than twenty years ago, Dr. Loria moved to the United States from Israel. Currently, he is a professor of virology, immunology, pathology, and emergency medicine at VCU. While talking with him, I asked about a drug he’d developed more than fifteen years ago. That’s when I’d last seen him.

“Nothing came of it,” he said. For a few minutes, we discussed the high cost of getting and maintaining patents. He explained that experimental drugs had to have sponsors to make their development possible.

But that unsuccessful enterprise wasn’t the one that concerned him. Less than ten years ago, he created a drug that could save lives of people who were trapped within the 10-50 miles radius of a nuclear detonation. His treatment could be injected by the person at the time of their exposure. Rather than having to be hospitalized, people could save themselves from certain death at a cost of no more than $75 per dose.

What actually happened to Dr. Loria’s discovery remains a mystery. [please see: Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (HEPH) - NEUMUNE for Harbor ... “We continue to find HHS’ actions quite confusing,” stated Richard B. Hollis, ... We licensed certain patents related to NEUMUNE from Dr. Roger Loria, 3/16/2007]

However, Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, a company whose stock soared to $35 at the news that the Neumune drug it had licensed from Dr. Loria had been awarded a sizable grant  [Hollis-Eden Announces Grant Awarded by  the Office of Naval ...Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. awarded DrRoger M. Loria, ... Eden+Announces+Grant... -], now sells for less than a dollar.

“What happened?” I asked Dr. Loria.

He didn’t know. “So I pitched it to the Israelis,” he said.

They didn’t want it either. Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals abandoned the project, tallied their losses at $90 million, and fired Richard Hollis, the founder of their company. [please see: Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals dismisses  CEO and founder ... Richard Hollis, chief executive of Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, the company he founded in 1994, was fired Wednesday… -]

At least one bio-blogger was inflamed by the Neumune news after watching a 60 Minutes segment [Duck and Cover - and Kiss your Sweet Ass Goodbye ... The main competitors right now are Hollis-Eden, Amgen, and Akorn. ... according to chief executive officer Richard Hollis. ...] that discussed the man mostly responsible for NOT making Neumune available.

Alvira Black, the blogger, wrote:

Here's the 60 Minutes story in a nutshell. (Note: all quoted material unless otherwise noted is from the 60 Minutes transcript).
Hollis-Eden, a "small biotech company in San Diego" which had developed a drug which could serve as a "possible treatment for radiation sickness," was approached by the military in the summer of 2001. According to Bob Marsella, VP of the company, they were told during this visit that "we've been testing your drug and we've been looking for a drug like this for 40 years.'"
Two weeks after 9/11, the military came again and said they'd be interested in developing the drug for civilians as well as troops.

Marsella and his boss, Richard Hollis [my emphasis], did the numbers and realized that the potential market for their product could be huge--in the millions of units. They set about "circulating in Washington" trying to get investors in Washington who would get behind the drug.
But it was no go until President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech. In it, he announced a new initiative.
'Project Bioshield' provided nearly 6 billion to create a biodefense industry. The program gave drug companies a powerful incentive to come up with new drugs to be used in the event of terrorist attacks. For the first time, there would be a guaranteed market for drugs if they tested successfully. It was the assurance Hollis-Eden had been waiting for....
With the prospect of a huge market, investors put money in the company and Hollis-Eden's stock soared from $5 to $35 a share....
Over the next three years, Hollis-Eden spent more than $100 million, with the expectation that the government would buy millions of doses.
And the beauty part? The new drug, Neumune, could actually be self-administered in the event of a nuclear attack.
So how does Simonson the Turtle--the man who oversees Project Bioshield-- shine in? Well, I'll tell you how. This past September, "the Department of Health & Human Services surprised everyone by announcing that it would commit to purchase a radiation drug from whichever company had the best product, but only 100,000 doses." Hollis-Eden's stock, needless to say, quickly plummeted.
"Assistant Secretary Simonson has been under fire for committing nearly a billion dollars to acquire a controversial new anthrax vaccine, but he has been given credit for successfully stockpiling drugs for smallpox."
Representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who chairs the Committee that oversees Project Bioshield, feels that Simonson is "over his head" regarding this issue. Comparing him to Michael Brown, he observes that he has exhibited "the same kind of arrogance, a lack of expertise. This is a serious job at this point, and I think we need to have professionals filling it, not political appointees." As a matter of fact, Davis, who generally supports the Administration, called for the removal of Simonson from Bioshield in this 60 Minutes story.

Years have passed. Boxes of Neumune are not in a locked drawer of the desk of elementary school teachers in high population centers. Finding who is to blame could take much longer to unravel than the Benghazi cover-up. But that may not be necessary.

That’s because of a recent development that may achieve what Dr. Loria wasn’t able to with Neumune. Perhaps you’ll want to follow this story. I know I will.

New Drug Protects Against Nuclear Radiation
New Drug Protects Against Nuclear Radiation. ... protection in the event of nuclear or dirty bomb ... protection as they undergo radiation treatment. ...

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A drug developed with Pentagon approval offers protection from radiation in the event of a nuclear attack, U.S. and Israeli researchers said.
The medication could offer effective protection in the event of nuclear or dirty bomb attacks, an exclusive report published Friday in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth said.
The drug developed by Professor Andrei Gudkov may affect the future balance of world powers, the paper said, and will offer cancer sufferers better protection as they undergo radiation treatment.
The reporter spoke to Gudkov at his research laboratory at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. Israeli scientist Dr. Elena Feinstein, who was involved in the research, said the drug's effectiveness and safety has been proved although it does not offer 100 percent protection…

                                            B. Koplen 1/16/13

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