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MGI: Closing the Cancer Care Gap with the Power of Precision Oncology

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BERLIN, Feb. 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — According to American Cancer Society, Cancer causes about 1 in every 6 deaths globally, more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Today, it is the first or second leading cause of death in most countries around the world. Technological advances in genomics have enabled the identification and improved understanding of causal factors and shed light on precision oncology.

February 4 marks World Cancer Day, an initiative aimed at promoting awareness on cancer as a public health issue and improving access to quality care, screening, early detection, therapy, and palliative care for those affected.

In this new era in precision oncology, researchers like Dr. Marie-Laure Yaspo from ALACRIS Theranostics (“ALACRIS”) and Dr. Xuan Gao and Dr.Huan Fang from GenePlus are working towards closing the care gap with evidence-based strategies in cancer control along the care continuum, from prevention to treatment, with help from MGI’s cutting-edge life science technologies.

ALACRIS innovates with its advanced tumor-agnostic molecular diagnostic test augmenting tailored treatment options

At ALACRIS Theranostics in Germany, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Marie-Laure Yaspo and her team are committed to provide every cancer patient with the highest standard of care through the Comprehensive Molecular Cancer Analysis (CMTA), a unique molecular diagnostic test designed to identify the best personalized treatment options for each patient, based on high-throughput sequencing of the exome (or genome) and transcriptome of their tumor.

“From past research in cancer genomics projects, we learned how complex and unique the molecular landscape of every tumor can be,” said Dr. Yaspo as she recalled her 12+ years in molecular genetics prior to establishing ALACRIS. “Only by collecting comprehensive information on the tumor landscape can we further develop and enhance personalized therapy.”

“Every patient is unique, every tumor is different,” added Dr. Yaspo. To capture this individuality, the CMTA technology integrates two layers of sequence data, DNA (genome or exome) and RNA (transcriptome), for a comprehensive analysis of the clinically relevant alterations in every tumor. In addition to mutations and chromosome copy number alterations, key features such as gene fusions, overexpressed oncogenes, immune microenvironment, and more provide essential information for the evaluation of the best therapeutic options.

“Starting from a tumor biopsy, the end-to-end Alacris-CMTA® process generates high-throughput sequencing data with MGI’s highly accurate and reliable platforms and deploys Alacris’s advanced bioinformatics analysis pipelines to deliver a comprehensive, interpreted tumor profiling report,” said Dr. Yaspo. “We interprete actionable alterations and match those with drug databases”, delivered a concise report guiding oncologists to design personalized therapies. The CMTA® fits the patient’s journey, and is particularly well suited for patients with refractory or rare cancers in need of treatment options.  to improve their outcome.”

Back in 2022, MGI launched a Customer Experience Center at ALACRIS’s Berlin-based facility equipped with MGI’s DNBSEQ-G400* sequencer, MGISP-960 automation system and more. Not long after, in 2023, a new DNBSEQ-T7* sequencer was installed to further support the facility’s sequencing needs, including pediatric leukemias.

“The time that patients have is limited and precious. The faster we get sequencing samples analyzed, the sooner they can receive personalized treatment,” said Dr. Yaspo. “MGI platforms’ high flexibility and quick turnaround enable us to provide reliable diagnostics for a large number of patients. Its cost-effectiveness also makes it easier for more people to benefit from affordable and accessible cancer services, thereby contributing to better healthcare.”

GenePlus’ NGS total solution helps match cancer patients to precise therapy

Meanwhile in China, the team at GenePlus, including Dr. Xuan Gao and Dr. Huan Fang, Assistant Directors of the company’s Genomics Institute, has been studying tumor detection and intervention to help clinicians determine the safest and most effective treatment for cancer patients through clinical and scientific research.

“Having witnessed the pain and torment of someone close who suffered from cancer, I was determined to devote myself to cancer precision medicine,” said Dr. Gao. “In the 6+ years I’ve been in the field, high-throughput sequencing technology has rapidly promoted the development of tumor genomics research, giving us a better understanding of the genetic characteristics and molecular mechanisms of tumors, and thereby providing new targets and combination therapy options to alleviate patients’ suffering.”

Given the inherent complexity and heterogeneity of cancer, as well as its risks of genetic mutation, tumors are constantly evolving, which leads to drug resistance during treatment. Although the stratification of patients has been refined, there still lacks specific, tailor-made therapy options. At the same time, many advances in the field have yet to reach the masses due to high costs and insufficient clinical trial design and data. “MGI’s technology plays a critical role in helping us expanding precise tumor tests and genome-driven drug strategies for patients, including those who currently cannot use targeted therapy,” added Dr. Gao.

The GenePlus NGS total solution, which includes certified kits, library workshops, genetic sequencers, and the GeneBox informatic platform, facilitates faster, simpler and more reliable cancer sequencing. Benefitting from DNBSEQ’s high quality, accuracy and cost-effectiveness, the solution creates a pipeline of tumor precision medication, whole-process case, and pathogen detection. To date, it has been deployed in more than 30 key hospitals in China, where it is applied to the analysis of tumors and pathogens, serving over 550,000 patients in need of accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“Based on MGI’s DNBSEQ technology, our solution has low amplification error rate and high data utilization rate, which are crucial for ultra-deep sequencing of low-concentration or low-quality oncology samples,” said Dr. Fang. “We leverage this for targeting and immunotherapy guidance in advanced patients and drug sensitivity prediction and cancer minimum residual disease monitoring.”

The development of precision oncology has transformed how we approach the cancer care continuum – from prevention to detection, to diagnosis and treatment – for patients who are not only looking to survive but also to do so with an optimal quality of life. Supported by MGI, both CMTA® by ALACRIS and the GenePlus NGS total solution are laying the foundation for precise cancer control and ensuring all patients can enjoy effective, reliable, and affordable care for improved outcomes.

About MGI

MGI Tech Co. Ltd. (or its subsidiaries, together referred to MGI), headquartered in Shenzhen, is committed to building core tools and technology to lead life science through intelligent innovation. Based on its proprietary technology, MGI focuses on research & development, production and sales of sequencing instruments, reagents, and related products to support life science research, agriculture, precision medicine and healthcare. MGI is a leading producer of clinical high-throughput gene sequencers, and its multi-omics platforms include genetic sequencing, medical imaging, and laboratory automation. MGI’s mission is to develop and promote advanced life science tools for future healthcare. For more information, please visit the MGI website or connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn or YouTube.

  • For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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Validation Cloud Secures $5.8 Million in Inaugural Funding to Propel Web3 Infrastructure

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ZUG, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant stride towards revolutionizing Web3 infrastructure, Validation Cloud has proudly announced the successful closure of its first external investment round, amassing $5.8 million. Spearheaded by San Francisco-based Cadenza Ventures, this funding round exceeded expectations with contributions from an impressive roster of international investors, including Blockchain Founders Fund, Bloccelerate, Blockwall, Side Door Ventures, Metamatic, GS Futures, and AP Capital.

Alex Nwaka, Co-Founder of Validation Cloud, expressed enthusiasm about the funding, “This investment marks a pivotal moment for Validation Cloud as we aim to address the urgent demand for scalable and compliant Web3 infrastructure. We’re honored to collaborate with our investors who are instrumental in propelling the global adoption of our platform among cutting-edge networks, developers, and asset managers.”

Validation Cloud is at the forefront of Web3 technology, having developed an innovative system architecture that paves the way for significant advancements in the sector. Known as the “Cloudflare of Web3,” the company offers a robust, scalable, and intelligent platform providing Staking, Node API, and Data services, drawing inspiration from Cloudflare’s transformative impact on Web2 infrastructure.

Founded by veterans in the Proof-of-Stake domain, Validation Cloud boasts a team of highly experienced professionals from renowned organizations such as Uber, Workday, Deloitte, Citadel, Morgan Stanley, Binance, Crypto.com, Figure, R3, and more, emphasizing a talent-first approach with a worldwide workforce.

Kumar Dandapani, Managing Partner at Cadenza Ventures, highlighted the strategic vision behind their investment, “At Cadenza, we do not invest in just any company; we invest in the future of transformative technologies. Validation Cloud’s pioneering role in Proof-of-Stake and their relentless pursuit of next-generation Web3 infrastructure have set them apart as leaders in the Web3 space.”

Aly Madhavji, Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund, shared his thoughts on the investment, “We believe in the transformative power of Web3 and its ability to redefine how businesses operate. Investing in Validation Cloud aligns perfectly with our vision of supporting innovative platforms that are ready to lead the next wave of digital transformation.”

Validation Cloud has earned a reputation for its close partnerships with networks from their nascent stages, supporting a wide array of ecosystems from established ones like Chainlink, Hedera, and Stellar to emerging networks such as Aptos, Eigenlayer, and Berachain. Their platform lays the groundwork for the enterprise adoption of networks, positioning Validation Cloud as a key player in the Web3 infrastructure landscape.

For further details on Validation Cloud and its offerings, please visit www.validationcloud.io.

Please contact: Kelly Clark, Director of Communications | [email protected] 

Funding Announcement for Validation Cloud by Alex Nwaka

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Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people

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The Swedish fintech, which was criticized for its handling of a dramatic staff reduction in 2022, is touting new efficiencies powered by OpenAI.

Klarna is bullish on bots.

One month after taking its OpenAI-powered virtual assistant global, the Swedish buy-now, pay-later company has released new data touting its ability to handle customer communications, make shoppers happier, and even drive better financial results.

The app-based AI chatbot already handles two-thirds of all customer service chats, the company said Tuesday—some 2.3 million conversations so far—with the virtual assistant earning customer satisfaction ratings at the same level as human agents. Klarna, which is expected to go public this year and will need all the hype it can get at a time when investors have been generally frosty toward IPOs, estimates that the chatbot could help improve its profits by $40 million in 2024.

Announcing a partnership with OpenAI early last year, Klarna said it was one of the first companies to integrate the firm’s groundbreaking ChatGPT technology into a plug-in for shopping. The natural-language interface initially helped customers choose items and make other shopping-related decisions based on personalized queries, a feature Klarna described as “smooth shopping.”

The company has continued to build out its AI offerings since then. Its app-based assistants are now available to customers worldwide and handle a variety of tasks including refunds, cancellations, and even disputes.

Klarna boasted in its announcement on Tuesday that the AI assistant “is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.”

That statement may raise eyebrows for anyone who remembers the middle of 2022, when the company laid off roughly the same number of employees, then about 10% of its staff. At the time, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cited economic uncertainty, inflation, and the likelihood of a recession as reasons for the cuts. He was criticized for his handling of the staff reduction after he shared a public spreadsheet on LinkedIn that contained the names of many of the laid-off workers.

Fast Company asked Klarna how the company arrived at its calculation for its AI assistant’s human-equivalent productivity. The company said the number of equivalent jobs the AI could perform wasn’t related to the layoffs. In a statement, a spokesperson said the company’s customer service is supported by four to five large third-parties that collectively have over 650,000 employees, and that it offers customers the option to speak with human agents if that’s what they prefer.

“This is in no way connected to the workforce reductions in May 2022, and making that conclusion would be incorrect,” the statement read. “We chose to share the figure of 700 to indicate the more long-term consequences of AI technology, where we believe it is important to be transparent in order to create an understanding in society. We think [it’s] important to proactively address these issues and encourage a thoughtful discussion around how society can meet and navigate this transformation.”

Companies have used chatbots for years to handle low-level customer queries and other interactions, although these tools are expected to become more versatile in the wake of advancements in artificial intellegence.

Source: Fast Company

The post Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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KAPSARC Launches Saudi Arabia’s First School of Public Policy

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  • Inspired by His Royal Highness, the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud’s passion for education, human capital development and innovation, the KAPSARC School of Public Policy (KSPP) was founded as the first institution in Saudi Arabia dedicated to graduate studies and executive education in public policy.
  • Through its academic offerings, KSPP empowers individuals to tackle pressing public policy challenges and embrace the promising opportunities shaping the future.
  • KSPP’s facilities will run on 100% renewable energy, setting a precedent as one of the first net-zero facilities in the Saudi educational sector.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has been granted an establishment license for its School of Public Policy (KSPP) after the recent approval by the Council of Ministers, and which was announced during the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) on February 28, 2024, conducted under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the Human Capability Development Program Committee, one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Realization Programs.

Aiming to set new standards in policy studies, the school offers a two-year master’s degree and executive education programs designed to enable and empower future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and globally to address the most pressing domestic and international public policy challenges in the public, non-profit and private sectors.

This significant achievement was announced by His Royal Highness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Minister of Energy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAPSARC: “The vision for KAPSARC School of Public Policy is to develop the knowledge and skills that the new generation needs to shape public policy both locally and globally. Our mission is to empower and equip future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and internationally to make informed socio-economic decisions.”

In a statement on the sidelines of the school’s launch, Fahad Alajlan, President of KAPSARC, stressed the Center’s mission to impact public policy on national, regional, and global levels. “Our new School of Public Policy will equip future leaders with the right skills to create data-driven and evidence-based public policy in line with Vision 2030 goals.”

Dr. Ghadah Alarifi, Founding Dean of KSPP, stated that, “Public policy serves as the foundation of societal progress. At KSPP, we aim to be a catalyst for collaboration, building a robust ecosystem that bridges academia, industry, and government in the public policy arena.”

By leveraging KAPSARC’s network, KSPP provides a platform for global engagement and career growth opportunities, offering practical application and flexible courses tailored to empower policymakers in different tracks including energy policy.

The school is committed to achieving high sustainability standards in the Saudi educational sector, including the goal of running on 100% renewable energy. This dedication ensures that KSPP meets its annual energy needs through on-site renewable resources, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

For more information about KSPP, visit https://www.kapsarc.org/about-the-school/.

Follow KSPP on social media:

  • X: @KAPSARC_SPP
  • LinkedIn: @ KAPSARC School of Public Policy

About KAPSARC:

KAPSARC is a leading think tank dedicated to advancing knowledge on energy, environment, and regional economic issues. Accredited observer of UNFCCC, KAPSARC actively contributes to global climate action. The mission of KAPSARC is to advance Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and inform global policies through evidence-based advice and applied research. For more information about the center please visit: https://www.kapsarc.org/

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