Saturday, April 12, 2014

Isolating a Possible Inhibitor for Triple Negative Breast Cancer


Triple negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, highly metastatic and causes about 20% of breast cancer incidences worldwide. Unlike estrogen or progesterone cell surface receptor- type breast cancers, isolating an effective receptor for triple negative breast cancer has yet to be found—to develop a blocking molecule or inhibitor. Recently however, a renowned medical team collaborating with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and with the ongoing support of science philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein, have identified a possible triple negative receptor to target for blocking.

Published in the journal Cancer Cell, the research team used several mouse models to see what predominantly fueled the growth of triple negative breast tumor cells. The study revealed that the tumor cells were heavily dependent on, and fueled by increased levels of cytokines and chemokines, proteins which play a key function in balancing immune responses and cell signaling.

The study then went a step further and tested a preliminary molecule to block the cytokine pathway. So far the therapy has shown promising results on causing triple negative necrosis or cell death.

"Finding a unique receptor for triple negative breast cancer has been an elusive battle," Jeffrey Epstein remarked, whose foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, provides ongoing funding to Mount Sinai’s work. "Isolating the pathways that regulate cytokines and chemokines could be the major breakthrough for an effective inhibitor drug."

Today, triple negative breast cancer accounts for about 15 to 20% of breast cancer incidences worldwide, effecting mostly younger women of Hispanic and African descent. And interestingly, about 80% of women with the more widespread BRCA1-positive breast cancer are found to have triple negative breast cancer cells as well.

In addition to funding key research at Mount Sinai, Jeffrey Epstein is also the founder of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University which has published groundbreaking studies on the evolution of cancer and infectious diseases such as HIV. The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation also supports innovative science research around the world including the work of numerous Nobel Laureates.

Recent Press from the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation:

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Launching Radical Emotional Software


Science Funder Jeffrey Epstein Launches Radical Emotional Software For The Gaming Industry

Jeffrey Epstein
Virtual gaming is about to warp through a black hole, thanks to a band of scientists in Hong Kong and a hedge funder with a zealous science background, called Jeffrey Epstein. Indeed, game programming is moving away from algorithmic robots to a twilight realm of emotional thinkers, taking online, video and toy entrepreneurs, one step closer to Star Trek’s ‘Holodeck’.
For years, in virtual gaming, the only intelligent player was the person playing the game, responding to non-reactive obstacles. At most, opponents could blow up or morph into something else. Whatever the reaction, it was a simple linear or algorithmic response (if A, then B, if A+D, then C).
By the 1970’s, opponents became more complex with the development of virtual chess, where the program responded to a vast network of algorithmic possibilities: up to 10123 chess board variations to be exact. But even in those scenarios, the program remains purely reactive and deterministic: it does not have any goals, nor does it aim for check mate, but simply responds to a series of steps that lead to that direction.

Today’s gaming characters from virtual soldiers to Tinkerbell are also vastly more complex than their dash line tennis, Pac Man or Pong forbearers. Like the chess program, virtual soldiers can react to a wide variation of landscape scenarios and respond in a myriad of ways, based on each case.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) group in Hong Kong behind this new emotive software is called Open Cog. As an open-source foundation, Open Cog (‘Cognition for All’) lead by co-founder Ben Goertzel, develops programming language for the AI community to share, in what is still a very fragmented field. However, in efforts to map the architecture of the human mind, Open Cog also programed three game characters, a ghost, a robot and a girl that push past traditional gaming algorithms:
Each character has programmed into them a database called an AtomSpace. AtomSpace consists of hundreds of ‘atoms’ which are knowledge concepts such as objects (chair, table, shelf), actions (sitting, running, singing) and feelings (anger, joy, fear). Every time an algorithm, called MindAgents, leads a character to more than one an atom, the associative link gets stronger, influencing the characters’ future pathway choices. In this sense, a character builds and incorporates associative memory. At the same time, links can decay over time if not used by algorithms, weakening a character’s memory.

Another unique feature is the use of several algorithms functioning at the same time, called, “cognitive synergy”.  The theory behind this synergy is that humans have multiple thought processes going on simultaneously, prioritizing one’s over others in order to function.
OpenPsi, inspired by AI scientist Joscha Bach in Berlin, is another program built into these novel characters. OpenPsi governs a character’s basic needs and thus which pathway to take. OpenPsi is based on German psychologist Dietrich Dörner’s theory that animal behavior is driven by five basic needs: existence preservation (food, water, body integrity—avoidance of pain), species preservation (sexuality, reproduction), affiliation (need to belong to a group, social interaction), certainty (need to predict events and their consequences), competence (capacity to master problems and taks). Each of these needs gets filled or depleted based on time and interaction with various atoms. The status of a need has a significant impact on which pathways a character chooses to take. For example, if the need for water is extremely high, a character will prioritize a water atom in its pathway choice.
For entrepreneurs, Open Cog, together with M Lab from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, supplies a software toolkit to incorporate their characters into whatever applications the market is using: from virtual landscapes to toys and even robots. As a showcase, Open Cog has also developed its own 3D landscape for its characters to function in, inspired largely by the popular building game called Minecraft.
Open Cog’s goals differ from the gaming industry which is already lining up to exploit the new software. While it intends to make a profit, they are primarily interested in using a virtual platform to test their hypothesis about the mind. “The disparity between these models and our experience of the mind is an invaluable guide to follow,” Jeffrey Epstein remarked, the financial guru behind this effort, along with the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “It’s somewhat like building a car, with no instructions, but our impression of what a car can do.”

Over the last ten years, Jeffrey Epstein has become one of the largest backers of cutting edge science around the world. According to New York Magazine, Epstein has donated up to $200 million a year to eminent scientists, including: Stephen Hawking, Marvin Minsky, Eric Lander, George Church, and Nobel laureate physicists Gerard ’t Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek. Like Open Cog, Epstein is motivated by learning more about the mind, versus creating a new start-up product. He currently sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard. In 2003, Epstein founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, with a $30 million dollar gift to the university. The Program studies the mathematical evolution of micro-biology and has made key discoveries into the treatment of cancer, HIV and other infectious diseases.

While Open Cog’s game software has not yet been commercialized, it is aimed for the market by the half of 2014.  The software has already had an impact however on the robot industry where companies such as Hanson Robotics, developed by David Hanson, are incorporating it to advance the way their human-like robots function and interact with people.
While far from being a replica of the human mind, the result of Open Cog’s software are characters that have needs, continuously adjusting and even evolving. And as scientists get closer to mapping the mechanics of the human mind, it’s possible that we’ll discover that we are more pre-determined than we think: that pain is just an electrical impulse, and that free will, though weighing a million different neural filaments or ‘atoms’, is set in genetic stone—but it’s also known that the mind, as in the virtual world, changes its own architecture, and thus will continue to change our destiny.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jeffrey Epstein Backs the First Real Prevention for Crohns Disease

Jeffrey Epstein Backs the First Real Prevention for Crohns Disease
NEW YORK, March 12, 2014 Crohns and Colitis Disease is a chronic disease of the lower intestinal track, causing inflammation and a host of crippling symptoms from ulcers to intestinal rupture. The disease affects approximately 700,000 Americans and many more suffer from undiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome. To date, not much is known about the ultimate cause of Crohns but for the first time in its history researchers are targeting the bacteria that cause the inflammation.
Founded by the science and Harvard philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein , the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has been an avid supporter of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America's (CCFA) initiative to identify the bacteria that cause bowel inflammation. Specifically, the CCFA backs pivotal research called the Microbiome Initiative—which identifies 14 bacterial metabolic profiles associated with IBD.
To tackle these 14 bacteria types, researchers are developing the first line of inhibitors to block specific bacterial metabolic pathways, along with dietary supplements to redirect bacterial metabolites.

"This is the first time that a treatment for Crohns and Colitis addresses the cause, instead of the symptoms," Jeffrey Epstein remarked. "Even though we don't know the root cause of the disease, except for a possible genetic disposition, drugs will soon block the bacteria that cause inflammation."

"We anticipate that in the next three to five years, we will have isolated microbial targets and develop strategies that will form the basis for new therapeutic interventions," Dr. R.Balfour Sator stated, who is CCFA Chief Medical Advisor and Midget Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, and Director of the UNC Multidisciplinary IBD Center.

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation also supports the CCFA's Genetics Initiative which focuses on the more than 100 internationally-identified genetic factors that contribute to IBD risk. To date, seven high-priority genetic pathways that regulate immune function or the intestinal lining cell response to injury have been targeted for intensive investigation for inhibitor therapy.

Jeffrey Epstein is the founder of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University. He is also a former board member of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard and a former board member of Rockefeller University.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AI in the Huffington Post:

There is a virtual new world in Berlin that is one step closer to replicating the human mind. Thanks to funding from a maverick New York science investor called Jeffrey Epstein, virtual and robotic models of the human brain are moving away from traditional algorithms with deterministic pathways, towards a realm of emotional, less predictable androids.
The engineer behind these new replicas is called Joscha Bach, a young cognitive scientist, specializing in artificial intelligence. For the last few years, Bach has been a professor, cognitive researcher and software entrepreneur at Humboldt University in Berlin.  He is also the author of Principles of Synthetic Intelligence (Oxford University Press). Bach's newest humanoid venture, called MicroPsi Project 2, is not to duplicate the human mind, as it is to see what artificial intelligence can reveal about human cognition.
The exploration of the mind has been a longstanding focus of Jeffrey Epstein, a private hedge funder in New York with an extensive resume in science philanthropy. In addition to founding the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics with a $35 million gift to Harvard University, which studies the mathematical evolution of micro-systems and diseases, Epstein's foundation, The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, has become one of the largest funders of independent scientists around the world. According to New York Magazine, Epstein has donated up to $200 million a year to prominent scientists. His roster of luminaries includes Stephen Hawking, Marvin Minsky, Martin Nowak and Nobel laureate physicists Gerard 't Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek. Epstein also regularly finances cutting edge research in neuroscience.  A former board member of Rockefeller University and the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard University, Epstein plays an active role in brain institutes around the world.
Joscha Bach's MicroPsi 2 Project is a software program that creates goal and sensory driven agents in a virtual computer platform: specifically three characters that roam around a tropical island.  The program is transferable to actual robots but for now, Bach prefers the flexibility and conceptual focus of a virtual platform.
To create his agents, MicroPsi has a series of 'node nets' built into each one, where conceptual, associative and sensory information is received and processed. As each character wanders through its landscape, information is sent to its node nets, which in turn influence the character's choices.
The structure of the node processing system is algorithmic but uniquely embodies preferred or weighted pathway choices, based on physiological needs, sociological needs, associative memory encapsulation and many other features.  For example, three types of drives are written into each character's nodes: physiological (i.e., hunger), social (i.e., affiliation needs), and cognitive (i.e., reduction of uncertainty and expression of competency). As these drives or 'reserve tanks' get depleted or filled based on time and an agent's interactions, they influence the agent's pathway choice. So a character that is low on water for example, will prioritize a pathway to a water element in its environment. To support all of this, the environment is rich with hundreds of fundamental elements written into it, such as temperature, food and water.
Associative memory is another critical factor that drives these characters. As sequential pathways are experienced, the sequence, and no longer just a single element, becomes a part of that character's sense, which in turn influences pathway choice. So if a character encounters element A and then B, and if B represents pain, that character will prioritize another pathway upon encountering A. Repeated sequences also increase the associative memory and decay if pathways are not routinely connected, which is true for human neural connections as well.
The first MicroPsi Project built roughly between 2003 and 2009, has more than 60,000 lines of Java code with a set of plugins for Eclipse IDE. MicroPsi 2 is written in Python; and unlike standard code (domain specific language with a set of rules and representational items), Python uses graphical and spatial definitions for its characters. The graphical paradigm better highlights weighted associations, allows the programmer to visualize conceptual hierarchies, pathway activation spreading, perceptual schemata and parallelism.
"The use of a virtual platform to explore the workings of the human brain provides optimal flexibility," Jeffrey Epstein remarked, who also supports MicroPsi's AI collaborators in Hong Kong, an open source AI foundation called OpenCog. "Scientists need to focus on the concepts and not get bogged down with the mechanics of a robot."
Bach does not see his new MicroPsi Project as anywhere close to being a valid cognitive model but rather as an evolving effort to provide a unified theory of cognition. And as more variables are built into these agents, MicroPsi will undoubtedly shed new light into the expansiveness or even limitless nature of the human brain. It might even surpass it into something else: a realm of unknown intelligence (UI).

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