Cystic fibrosis links to diabetes

Researchers from Hong Kong, Chengdu, Beijing and Tokyo recently reported a functional link between diabetes and cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis occurs when mutations in the CFTR gene hamper the function of the Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. This leads to a “tough mucus” secretion in the lungs, and its most acute symptoms are therefore shortness of breath. Indigestion is also a serious symptom, as organs in and around the gastrointestinal tract are affected as well. Without proper management, the respiratory and metabolic consequences of this disease are fatal at young age.

Despite the high frequency of diabetes in adult cystic fibrosis patients, the relationship between the two diseases is still hardly understood. Now, a consortium of Chinese/Japanese institutes has shown that the conductance regulator also regulates glucose-dependent electrical signaling in insulin-producing Beta cells. In other words, defects in the gene that lead to problems in mucus secretion also affect insulin secretion. As most Cystic Fibrosis patients develop insulin deficiency (belonging to the Type I Diabetes category), this finding indeed resolved an important missing link.

Whether the new insights also lead to new treatment options is not clear yet. The investigators have been able to focus at one specific gene mutant. Extrapolating their findings to known >1900 mutations in the Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene in humans is a daunting task. Nevertheless, in their mice model, they have not witnessed a destruction of pancreatic islets, where the Beta cells are located that produce insulin. If in patients, insulin secretion would also be decreased before islet are destroyed, timely anticipation could potentially provide leads to effective non-invasive treatment options.

A summary of the paper has been published here.

Cystic Fibrosis organs - from Wikipedia

China announces 9 pilot Smart Cities

Sim City

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASG, formerly known as SBSM) yesterday announced a Smart City pilot program with nine cities throughout China.

The nine cities mentioned are Taiyuan, Guangzhou, Xuzhou, Wuxi, Linyi, Zibo, Zhengzhou, Henan, Chongqing, and Huhan. Li Weisen, deputy director of NASG believes that “the first nine cities are expected to finish Smart City construction within about three years”. Every pilot city will reportedly invest more than CNY 36 mln yuan in the program each year.

The Smart City program aims to solve current urban challenges such as traffic congestion and pollution through the use of technology in the design and operation of infrastructure and buildings.

Although the source article (China Daily) does not mention specific details, the fact that the NASG is behind this pilot program leads one to believe that the geospatial information infrastructure will play an important role in the aforementioned cities. This is confirmed in this Chinese language news article on NASG’s website.

Earlier this year NASG signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch Kadaster in which both parties agreed to explore collaboration on geo-information (see earlier post here).

Chinese Government Invested 200 million RMB in Setting up 3D Printing Research Institute

cemB145UBlbtIThe 3D Printing Research Institute of China was launched on August 8th 2013 at Zijin Hightech Zone of the Nanjing city, Jiangsu Province. The Institute is planned to carry out applied 3D printing research and seek for opportunities for its commercialization and industrialization.

The Institute will combine forces of some best Chinese 3D printing research teams from Tsinghua University, Xian Jiaotong University, Northwestern Polytechnic University and Central China University of Science and Technology. Chinese Academy of Engineering Academician Prof. Lu Bingheng will work as the Project Coordinator. Research will focus on 3D printing technology, equipment, materials, applications in various fields including medicine, civil aviation, aerospace technology, automotive industry and biological manufacturing. The aim is to build China’s 3D printing leading force and forester a group of companies around the industry.

The institute will be none-profit public research entity with 200 million RMB investments from the government in its first phase.

Dutch Innovators in Science & Technology 2013

Last Friday evening 8 speakers gave outstanding performances at the Dutch Innovators in Science & Technology (DIST2013) event in Shanghai.

The evening was excellently moderated by Professor Mark Greeven of Zhejiang University.

If you couldn’t be there on Friday, this is what you missed out on:

Levien de Legé, ECN. ‘Real cheap solar energy’

Sander van Deventer, uniQure / Forbion. ‘A major therapeutic breakthrough’

Hugo Leijtens, Nexocial. ‘Social, mobile, cloud’

Kirvan Pierson, TomTom. ‘The connected car’

Abe Bonnema, ISIS Space. ‘Launch of nano satellites (live on phone)

Martijn Tideman, TNO Automotive Safety Solutions. ‘Automated vehicles’

Danny Wilms Floet, Teijin Aramid. ‘Carbon nanotube fibers’

Bas Lansdorp, Mars One. ‘Human settlement on Mars’


Fortunately for those who couldn’t be there; the presentations, photos and videos will be put online later.

We thank all the sponsors, volunteers and trainees for making this event a success. The event was part of Dutch Days Shanghai.

World’s cleanest, most efficient, lightweight, and lowest cost internal combustion engine

Zhongding Power and EcoMotors yesterday announced a commercial agreement to produce the opoc® engine, a breakthrough technology that has the potential to be the world’s cleanest, most efficient, lightweight, and lowest cost internal combustion engine. One of the largest automotive component conglomerates in China, Zhongding will finance and construct the first opoc® plant in the Anhui Province. The plant represents an investment by Zhongding of over US $200 million and will have a capacity of about 150,000 engines per year – over US $1 billion in revenue potential. High-volume production is expected to begin in 2014.


Source: EcoMotors