University of Kabianga Career Fair Day 2015

Hello

Please take a minute to register for The University of Kabianga Career Fair Day 2015 that will be held on the 30th of January 2015 at The University of Kabianga. Deadline for registration is on the 25th of January 2015.

http://goo.gl/forms/IEFNg13q9J

Thank you.

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Chuka University 2015 Career Fair Day

Hello,

Please take a minute to register for the Chuka University 2015 Career Fair Day that will be held on the 23rd of January 2015 at Chuka University Main Campus. Deadline for registration is on the 18th of January 2015.

http://goo.gl/forms/H6lyqB4YOJ

Thank you.

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ENVIRONMENT AND BIOTECHNOLOGY

The quality of life on earth is linked to the overall quality of the environment sustaining it. Pollution is a condition which disturbs this harmony. The effects of “misplaced resources” generate unfavorable conditions that threaten the very existence of life on earth. Although pollution is associated with the growth of industries, it has in the past not caused any concerns as it does today. We have entered into a new millennium without much a care and as a result causing threat to the degraded environment with little consideration of the future generations.

Right at the onset when the environment through increased population growth rate exerting pressure from overpopulated demand on the arable land and exerting pressure on the limited water and threatened biodiversity, destruction coupled with pollution created endangered environment. This continues to pose challenges to environmentalists, scientists, technologists, policy decision makers and social economic reformists. This calls no doubt less demand and on fewer development activities for the environment to recover from damage alongside sustainable exploitation, use, conservation and management of environment.

Although it took thousands of years to build and establish this environment, it has taken less than a decade to destroy the environment and bring it to its knees. However, science and technology can restore the environment not to its former glory but recover the essential form to support life. Biotechnology can with new dimension of bio-surveillance, bio-sensing and bio-abatement assess the loss and bring about better understanding on pollution and transformation from harmful substances and develop ecofriendly processes to renew lost life by removal of toxicants to achieve and reclaim land areas polluted with heavy metals to petroleum. The benefits of biotechnology is yet to be tapped in bio-reclamation and rehabilitation of polluted aquatic reservoirs and land area fouled with pollutants besides, possible benefits in agriculture, health care and food industry to improved well being of the Kenyan citizens and to build enhanced small scale businesses.

Apart from possible benefits and vast potential still waiting to be tapped for reclamation and rehabilitation of polluted aquatic and land contaminated with toxic metals from industrial effluents, the danger of long term impending danger and side effects could be arrested through such timely remedial interventions ,

By Peter Munyaka[1] and Dr. Ndhine Edwardina[2]

[1] Kenya Youth Biotechnology Network

[2] Biotechnology Awareness Secretariat

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Points to Consider in Biotechnology and Diabetes in Kenya

Biotech pharmaceutical industries have an ethical obligation to develop safe and effective drugs and biologics and make them available to all patients as quickly as possible. Over the last several months there has been increased media coverage of “compassionate use” cases – or the treatment of seriously ill patients with experimental drugs or biologics outside of the traditional clinical trial process, when either other treatments are not working or spikes of deaths are overwhelming.  There can be no illusions that these cases are always difficult and painful for everyone involved – the patients, their families, and the companies working to find cures and as quickly as possible products to relive the condition.

Today’s diabetes is amongst those diseases estimated to affect 1.6 million people living with the condition in Kenya. The social media campaigns on certain stories have made more visible certain individual than others, making the difficult decisions which still must be made about which patients will get access to the limited support even more challenging. These are issues of great concern to people in biotechnology companies, to regulators, and to patients and their families.  All of the people concerned with public health, as well as the health of their own loved ones, want to ensure that safe and effective treatment is available as quickly as possible to people in need.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causing elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin is necessary in the conversion of excess glucose to its inactive form, glycogen. The moment this conversion process has failed, there must be mechanisms to maintain low blood sugar level for survival of an individual. It is against this backdrop that scientist did come up with a process of producing insulin in vitro and administering the same into diabetics systems. There are two types of diabetes; Type 1 which affects predominantly adolescents and young adults and is dependent on insulin, and Type 2 which affects people above the age of 40 years. Type 2 must not necessarily be insulin dependent.

This condition in 1921 was corrected by administering insulin derived from the pancreas glands of abattoir animals. Although bovine and porcine insulin are similar to human insulin, their composition produced in a number of patients antibodies against these types of insulin leading to inflammatory reactions at the sites of injection and consequent neutralization of their effect. This lead to uncertainties in the development of complications resulting from continual use of such insulin and coupled with projected unsustainability in production of abattoir animal derived insulin.

These factors led researchers to consider synthesizing humulin by inserting the insulin gene into a suitable vector, the Escherichia coli bacterial cell, to produce insulin that is chemically identical to its naturally produced counterpart. This has been achieved using and is a more reliable and sustainable method than extracting and purifying the abattoir by-product.  This method involved inserting 2 human genes that encode for the two polypeptide chains one containing 30 amino acids (Insulin side B) and the other 21 amino acids (Insulin side B). These two polypeptides are joined by disulfide bonds to form the active insulin protein. The shortcoming of this method is that this active enzyme must be administered into the body systems of the diabetics in a strictly regulated manner depending on the age, weight or rather body mass as well as the physical activity of the patient. Borrowing from the inhaler technology of asthmatic patients, scientists have been able to design the insulin in a way that makes it be possible to be administered in gaseous form. This is a major discovery that alleviates the pain experienced during daily dosage injections. However, the method is still at its trial stages, it is expected to help more diabetic patients get less painful medication.

Recently, a group of researchers at Harvard University’s Stem Cell Institute managed to generate glucose- sensing, insulin secreting beta cells. These cells are equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning beta cells in the kind of large quantities needed in cell transplantation for pharmaceutical purposes. This biotechnological breakthrough into therapeutic intervention in diabetes can never be overemphasized as it shows an indispensible role biotechnology plays in treatment of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases by extension.

The scientists and researchers in biotech industry have dedicated their lives to helping others by conducting years of research to find cures for disease.  Yet they know that even very promising early results do not mean that the experimental drug will help all patients in need or ultimately be approved as safe and effective; indeed the opposite may be true, and this is why further testing is always required. This implies that public confidence and equally compelling ethical considerations to the drug, a biotech product or delivery devices require in totality information available regarding safety or efficacy as compared to the risk of morbidity or death from a disease indicates a patient may obtain more benefit than risk if treated.

In August 2010, Kenya became the first African country to develop and launch a National Diabetes Strategy to prevent or delay the development of diabetes and to improve the quality of life of the Kenyan population and reduce complications and premature mortality in people with diabetes. It also is essential to consider whether the development and administration of such compassionate use program will be able to serve fairly all the patients potentially in need, and whether this mega milestone in combating the adverse effects of diabetes in Kenya will make diabetes management a won battle in the country.

By Calvince V Onyango[1] and Dr. E. Ndhine[2]

[1] Kenyatta University Alumni, formerly Chair of KU Students Biosciences Association and founder member of Kenya Youth Biotechnology Network (KYBNET) established to engage the youth in Public Education and Awareness Programme under BioAWARE Programme

[2] BioAWARE Secretariat hosted at the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI)

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Agricultural Biotechnology Capitalizing on Vision and Strategy for the Application of ICT

Common experience tells us that information and communication Technologies (ICTs) are critically important in sustainable economic growth. The presence of supportive local institutions that enhance knowledge spillover through formal and informal communication channels require public confidence and trust for demand-driven opportunities in the ongoing socio–economic transformation. One might, therefore, expect that today, the Department of e-Government and the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) mandated to co-ordinate the ICT sector influence economic downturn as part of performance stimulus effect.

Noting that progress and many innovations in the field of information and communications technologies, such as mobile Internet, social networking and cloud computing contribute to a dynamic landscape continuously of influence on fastest growing population of youths, deeply connected to reforming the banking industry, media access on digital services. In the foregoing sectors, the estimated real growth rates of ICT became extremely high and their growth created value in the national economy. Agriculture being the backbone of Kenya’s economy and central to the Government of Kenya’s development strategy, accounting for both directly and indirectly for approximately 51 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is necessary to urgently build youth, women and special groups’ ICT links to agricultural potential growth with strong emphasis to advances in enabling technologies for productivity growth and helpful to spur economic prosperity.

If Kenya is to benefit from enabling technologies and successfully manage life sciences and biotechnology knowledge to kick economic systems, disparities to available information blocking equal public education and awareness, require a consistent communication platform for information on R&D, workforce, social issues to readily available innovations of greater comparative advantage and global competitive growth path. This is an interesting challenge but important if indeed novel agricultural applications and innovation is to drive Knowledge Society growth envisaged in Vision 2030 for this country to be a middle-income industrialized country

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Biotechnology and Cancer

By Dr. Edwardina Ndhine and Calvince Onyango.

It is reported that globally, cancer causes more deaths than HIV, TB and malaria combined. With 70 percent burden of global cancer burden is in low and medium income countries most of these deaths are as a result of late detection. In Kenya 7 percent cancer deaths are reported per year estimating 39,000 new cases of cancer each year and 27,000 percent deaths. In Kenya Cancer as a disease rank third highest as a cause of deaths after infectious and cardiovascular diseases, unfortunately, there is scarcity of data on distribution and factors or caused of cancer.

Cancer is a disease caused by alterations of the genome as well as the proteome. These changes allow the cancer cell to perform similar functions to those normal cells but have an increased rate of cell divisions per unit time to start growing uncontrolled. The major goal of cancer research is to identify these molecular defects and use this knowledge to develop effective diagnostic, treatment and prevention regimens.

Changes in four types of genes are particularly important for cancer to develop: oncogenes which encourage cells to grow and multiply; Tumour suppressor genes that control cell growth and tell the cell when to stop growing (multiplying); Angiogenic genes: genes that control a cell’s blood supply; and Metastasis genes: controlling the spread of cancer. Too many people who use alcohol harmfully, eat unhealthily and use tobacco among men, prostate and lung cancers are the most common types of cancer, and among women breast and cervical cancer are at the top of the list. Treatment of cancer indicates various disease states — each requiring unique treatment and diverse expertise from fields such as bioinformatics, nanotechnology, proteomics, transcriptomics, cancer genetics and tumor cell biology oncologists targeted to the specific biology of the tumor, and the patient. Kenyan researchers should be on the fore front on these dicussions and generate information on the growing understanding of the complex relationship between immunotherapies to improve patients’ ability to to destroy cancer cells and speak effective treatment options and develop tools for early diagnostics and potentials to derail melanoma, kidney cancer, and certain types of lung cancer.

The gene and protein signatures which have predominantly used in cancer types and stages diagnosis include; APC, CDK4, p16, p63, BRCA1, BRCA2, HER2, Rb1, MLH1, MSH2, and CMM1. These advances are not only changing the dynamic for melanoma patients; they are also showing tremendous promise for people suffering from other types of cancer. At a glance, biotechnology could provide both antibody and vaccine cancer therapies and explores the immunology of the tumor host interface to be of direct benefit to the patient. Early diagnosis of cancer has an enormous cost-saving potential, especially given the age profile of the population and of special interest to pharmaceutical industry.

What we need is leadership dedicated to fighting cancer, committed to shaping development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products

 

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Creating a market for innovative biotechnology products and services

Common experience tells us that information and communication Technologies (ICTs) are critically important in sustainable economic growth. The presence of supportive local institutions that enhance knowledge spillover through formal and informal communication channels require public confidence and trust for demand-driven opportunities in the ongoing socio–economic transformation. One might, therefore, expect that today, the Department of e-Government and the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) mandated to co-ordinate the ICT sector influence economic downturn as part of performance stimulus effect.

Noting that progress and many innovations in the field of information and communications technologies, such as mobile Internet, social networking and cloud computing contribute to a dynamic landscape continuously of influence on fastest growing population of youths, deeply connected to reforming the banking industry, media access on digital services. In the foregoing sectors, the estimated real growth rates of ICT became extremely high and their growth created value in the national economy. Agriculture being the backbone of Kenya’s economy and central to the Government of Kenya’s development strategy, accounting for both directly and indirectly for approximately 51 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is necessary to urgently build youth, women and special groups’ ICT links to agricultural potential growth with strong emphasis to advances in enabling technologies for productivity growth and helpful to spur economic prosperity.

If Kenya is to benefit from enabling technologies and successfully manage life sciences and biotechnology knowledge to kick economic systems, disparities to available information blocking equal public education and awareness, require a consistent communication platform for information on R&D, workforce, social issues to readily available innovations of greater comparative advantage and global competitive growth path. This is an interesting challenge but important if indeed novel agricultural applications and innovation is to drive Knowledge Society growth envisaged in Vision 2030 for this country to be a middle-income industrialized country.

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