— Scientists at UW-Madison are exploring a new potential avenue for cancer treatment that could prove less expensive than existing therapies.
In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Professor Seungpyo Hong and postdoctoral researcher Woo-jin Jeong detailed the design for a new type of nanoparticle that can stimulate the body’s immune response to cancer.
According to the study, these minuscule complex structures were as effective at boosting that response as antibodies, which form the basis of immunotherapy. This type of cancer treatment “boosts the patient’s own immune system to fight against cancer cells better,” Hong said in a release.
But antibodies used in these therapies are costly and difficult to create, he said, which led his team to look for other ways to induce this effect.
By combining a microscopic scaffold with precisely oriented proteins, Hong and collaborators were able to override a defense system employed by cancer cells. These cells can avoid detection and response from the immune system by imitating a biological signal given off by normal cells.
The nanoparticle structure overcame this strategy in laboratory testing, reducing cancer cells’ ability to hide from immune cells tasked with eliminating threats.
“The bottom line is that, for the first time, we developed this peptide-nanoparticle platform for immunotherapy and found clear evidence that this system has great potential,” Hong said.
This new treatment was also shown to improve the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin in similar tests. According to the release, Hong has applied for a patent on the new nanoparticles and has begun testing with animal models.
— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” is with Ross Leinweber, managing director for Bold Coast Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Milwaukee.
As a geographically focused fund, Bold Coast Capital will only be investing in startups based in Wisconsin. The fund recently announced its first closing, and Leinweber discusses the areas of the state he’ll be targeting for investment.
“I think what you see in Madison is a much more mature community,” he said. “You have an entrenched set of investors, advocates that have been engaged with entrepreneurial activities for a longer period of time.”
Milwaukee, on the other hand, has a core manufacturing community that’s helped build up the city’s broader business ecosystem.
“That particular industry, potentially, has been a little bit more reserved or conservative in regards to engaging with some of the newer technologies,” he said. “We’re at a really critical time in which that particular industry is embracing the entrepreneurship movement, so it makes Milwaukee really compelling from an investment perspective.”
Leinweber’s fund is backed by the Badger Fund of Funds, which was the anchor investor for the fund. Other participants included local investors from Wisconsin and outside firms from four different states.
Listen to the podcast here: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/wisbusiness-the-podcast-with-ross-leinweber-for-bold-coast-capital/
See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: http://www.wisbusiness.com/category/podcast/
— Wisconsin had the most farm bankruptcies of any U.S. state in 2019, according to a recent report from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The report shows the state had 57 Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies last year, which was eight more than the previous year and the state’s highest number in a decade. Other top states for farm bankruptcies in 2019 were: Georgia, with 41; Nebraska, 38; and Kansas, 36.
Around 46 percent of Chapter 12 filings from last year were in the 13-state Midwest region.
Over the last 10 years, the United States has seen more than 5,000 Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies. California has had the most with 388 filings since 2010, followed by Wisconsin with 375 filings.
The Farm Bureau says this trend “was not unanticipated” as record levels of farm debt, a “multi-year downturn in the farm economy,” and other factors have forced many out of the business.
See the full report: http://www.fb.org/market-intel/the-verdict-is-in-farm-bankruptcies-up-in-2019
— Two lawmakers have unveiled new legislation aimed at dealing with PFAS, including a provision that would give the DNR up to three years to put in place emergency rules as it addresses the toxic chemical.
Gov. Tony Evers, meanwhile, immediately indicated he’d sign the bill if it reached his desk.
Typically, the DNR has the power to implement an emergency rule for 150 days with a maximum of two renewals of 60 days each. That amounts to a maximum of 270 days. The proposal would allow the emergency rules for groundwater to remain in effect up to three years or until a permanent rule is in place, whichever is sooner.
The agency also would be required to set standards for air emissions and groundwater for PFAS, which have been found in the Marinette-Peshtigo and Madison areas.
Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said the approach would give his constituents peace of mind as they await a solution to address the contamination.
“They want certainty. They want to know what to expect,” Nygren said. “What this bill does is give them more sense of certainty than they have under the current statutes.”
Perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a man-made chemical used in commercial and industrial products since the 1940s. They do not break down easily in the environment or when consumed by animals. And some are known by DNR and EPA to be potential health hazards in humans.
The GOP-controlled Legislature has approved legislation, now awaiting action by the guv, that would limit the use of firefighting foam that contains the chemical. Meanwhile, Dems have pushed for much more expansive action in what they dubbed the CLEAR Act.
Yesterday’s announcement is the result of talks involving Nygren, co-chair of the Finance Committee, and Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay and one of the co-authors of the CLEAR Act.
The provisions include $3.4 million annually that would be drawn from the state’s environmental fund, which is comprised of solid waste and tipping fees. Much of that money would go toward remediation.
There also would be nearly $1.4 million in one-time money from the environmental fund to largely go toward testing municipal water supply systems.
As part of the proposal, a fund would be created for any money received from PFAS-related litigation or settlements. Nygren said the goal is for costs related to PFAS work to be born by that account down the road rather than the environmental fund.
That structure is similar to what the state did with PCB cleanup years ago.
Tyco Fire Products, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, is the largest known source of PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area, according to the DNR. It has tested firefighting foam at its training facility in Marinette.
The provisions are being broken into two bills, separating the spending from the policy. That approach would restrict the guv’s ability to use his veto powers on the bills. The partial veto can only be used on bills that include spending.
Evers said in a statement, “I asked Republicans and Democrats to work together on the pressing issues facing our state, so today I’m glad to see a bipartisan effort to address PFAS in Wisconsin. I hope this legislation passes with broad, bipartisan support and will be sent to my desk for my signature.”
See an overview of the proposal: http://www.wispolitics.com/2020/overview/
See the release:
— Phoenix LLC, a Madison-based nuclear technology company, has landed a $10 million U.S. Army contract to analyze ammunition and other components of weapons systems.
The company combines a scanning method known as neutron radiography with X-rays to discover potential defects in “critical components with high costs of failure,” a release shows. That includes things like missile payloads and other munitions.
Phoenix will also be developing software packages and training programs under the contract with the goal of helping U.S. Army radiographers identify issues more easily.
The company had previously been operating in a similar capacity under a $3 million Small Business Innovation Research contract with the U.S. Army. According to Phoenix President Evan Sengbusch, moving to the new contract “represents an important stepping stone” in the company’s growth.
“With the increasing complexity of future defense systems, a variety of inspection tools will be needed to continue to meet the challenge of providing safe and effective assets for the warfighter,” Sengbusch said in a release.
— The committee putting on the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this summer has launched a registration portal as it looks to sign up 15,000 volunteers to help.
The portal will advertise volunteer opportunities and include applications for shifts, among other things.
The committee said so far more than 10,000 people have expressed an interest in volunteering for the convention.
— The African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin has received a $300,000 gift from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
The donation from Abele is going toward the chamber’s Legacy Campaign, which involves renovating a new coworking space in Milwaukee. The Chris Abele Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space is expected to be completed by spring.
Chamber President and CEO Ossie Kendrix says Abele has “gone above and beyond” in supporting the development of the new space.
“Chris understands the importance of opening spaces where African Americans have traditionally been shut out,” she said in a statement.
Along with a co-working space and private offices for entrepreneurs, the building will also include a shared commercial kitchen, a coffee shop and retail space.
See more about the Legacy Campaign: http://www.aaccwi.org/legacy
# Wisconsin manufacturers with plants, customers in China respond to coronavirus outbreak
# Bill in the works to set later bar time during Democratic convention includes wedding barn measures
# Dairy owner accused of stealing from Wisconsin farmers
# Republican bills would allow Wisconsin residents to block tech companies from collecting personal data
– Wisconsin farm groups praise signing of USMCA
– Space, funding drive plans for new business school facility at Marquette: Slideshow
– CAFO update meeting to be held at Marshfield Ag Research Station
– PDPW planning for annual Cornerstone Dairy Academy
– MSO taps Levy to co-develop food, hospitality operations for new Symphony Center concert hall
– UW researcher uses sound to examine health of rainforests
# HEALTH CARE
– Rogers Behavioral Health receives anonymous donation for new Sheboygan clinic
– Milwaukee-based seltzer business gets investment from Constellation Brands
– Amazon near move into another large building near I-94, creating 300 more jobs
– Rowland, Salzwedel, Williams-Smith selected to national list of executives to watch
– Potential for at least $195 million asset sale would help Briggs & Stratton simplify focus
– Rockwell Automation to restart manufacturing at Milwaukee plant within weeks
– Entrepreneurs unveiled for fourth season of Project Pitch It
– DNC host committee launches portal to recruit 15,000 volunteers
– State Senate bill would raise retirement age for some public workers
– Democrats debate health care, dairy crisis ahead of 7th District special election primary
# REAL ESTATE
– Dematic to move regional office to The Mayfair Collection
– Milwaukee County sales tax referendum not on April ballot
– As a member of Madison’s alcohol license committee, Michael Donnelly is not looking to entertain
– MSO, Chicago-based company partner on hospitality services at new Symphony Center
– Port Milwaukee cargo volume grew in 2019
– Lawmakers call $10 million plan to safeguard Wisconsin water a starting point to build on
– Erik Paulson: Wisconsin could implement a smarter wheel tax
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: