"It's about time," Jeffrey Epstein remarked who donated substantial funds to the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) over the last few years. Based in Washington DC, the MRA is the largest private funder of melanoma research and has awarded more than $49 million to researchers around the world.
A key area of research that the MRA funds is the use of inhibitor drugs to block melanoma cancer cells. Inhibitors are molecules that bind uniquely to a cancer cell's surface and block an aspect of that cell's functionality. For example, PARP inhibitors bind to an enzyme pathway found distinctly on breast cancer cells with a BRAC genetic mutation. The PARP molecule's attachment prevents the cell from performing DNA repair, leading to its death.
What researchers are realizing however is that a simultaneous cocktail of inhibitors is the most likely way to tackle the real problem of resistance. Indeed, the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, along with Johns Hopkins University, has mathematically shown how cell resistance to a drug can quickly evolve from a tiny mutational pool to tumor level.
The inhibitor cocktail that was approved by the FDA is Dabrafenib and trametinib, which block certain BRAF enzyme pathway genetic mutations. These mutations occur in approximately 50% of melanoma patients and can be identified with a diagnostic test.
"Side effects need to be monitored. But many more combination drugs need to pass through the FDA's Accelerated Program," Jeffrey Epstein remarked, who heads the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, which funds science research around the world. Indeed, the FDA only started to approve cancer inhibitors as a combined pill a few years ago. Prior to that, inhibitors had to be approved separately.
The situation is still dire. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 16% survive fully metastasized melanoma.
Jeffrey Epstein is a former board member of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard.
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: cont...