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Application of Stem Cells in Stroke: A Multifactorial Approach


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Stroke has a debilitating effect on the human body and a serious negative effect on society, with a global incidence of one in every six people. According to the World Health Organization, 15 million people suffer stroke worldwide each year. Of these, 5 million die and another 5 million are permanently disabled. Motor and cognitive deficits like hemiparesis, paralysis, chronic pain, and psychomotor and behavioral symptoms can persist long term and prevent the patient from fully reintegrating into society, therefore continuing to add to the costly healthcare burden of stroke. Regenerative medicine using stem cells seems to be a panacea for sequelae after stroke. Stem cell-based therapy aids neuro-regeneration and neuroprotection for neurological recovery in patients. However, the use of stem cells as a therapy in stroke patients still needs a lot of research at both basic and translational levels. As well as the mode of action of stem cells in reversing the symptoms not being clear, there are several clinical parameters that need to be addressed before establishing stem cell therapy in stroke, such as the type of stem cells to be administered, the number of stem cells, the timing of dosage, whether dose-boosters are required, the route of administration, etc. There are upcoming prospects of cell-free therapy also by using exosomes derived from stem cells. There are several ongoing pre-clinical studies aiming to answer these questions. Despite still being in the development stage, stem cell therapy holds great potential for neurological rehabilitation in patients suffering from stroke.

Introduction

Stroke is one of the leading causes of chronic disability and mortality, with 102 million disability-adjusted life years lost annually (Steven, 2008). The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD 2015) reported a shift from communicable diseases toward non-communicable diseases like cerebrovascular events. While the incidence of stroke is decreasing in the developed world, it has peaked in low- and middle-income countries like India due to demographic transition and rapid shifts in the socioeconomic milieu (Thomson, 1998). The estimated adjusted prevalence rate of stroke is reported to have a range of 84–262/100,000 in rural and 334–424/100,000 in urban India (Wichterle et al., 2002; Nagai et al., 2010).

The only neuroprotective agent developed for stroke in clinical use is recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), which is employed for thrombolysis and has a therapeutic window of merely 3–4.5 h. There is thus a compelling need to develop therapeutic agents that extend beyond the first few hours after onset of stroke. This requires a paradigm shift to the usage of new strategies from neuroprotection to neuro-restoration that treat the injured or compromised brain tissue.

The majority of stroke survivors are left with some degree of disability, particularly upper limb dysfunction, despite several neurorehabilitation therapies. Physical therapy incorporating exercises, motor learning principles, motor cortex stimulation (using rTMS, TDCS), and assistive technologies aid the restoration of functional movements (Tae-Hoon and Yoon-Seok, 2012. The emergence of regenerative medicine has fueled interest across readers and clinicians to study its potential. Over the last decade, an enormous amount of work has been done exploring the potential of a variety of cells like adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells from adipose tissue and skin. 

Pattern of Stroke Recovery

The recovery after stroke has been explained as a rich cascade of events encompassing cellular, molecular, genetic, demographic, and behavioral components. Such factors have been proven as covariates in therapeutic trials of restorative agents with a sound neurobiological basis. Advances in functional neuroimaging and brain mapping methods have provided a valuable parallel system of data collection for stroke recovery in humans. The recovery in a stroke-affected individual will largely depend on the size of lesion, the internal milieu of the brain injury, and the age and comorbid status of the patient. In general, the first epoch encompasses the initial hours after a stroke, when rapid change occurs in blood flow, edema, pro-inflammatory mechanisms. A second epoch is related to spontaneous behavioral recovery, which begins a few days after stroke onset and lasts several weeks. During this epoch, the brain is galvanized to initiate repair, as endogenous repair-related events reaching peak levels, suggesting a golden period for initiating exogenous restorative therapies. A third epoch begins weeks to months after stroke, when spontaneous behavioral gains have generally reached a plateau, and this stable state is responsive to many restorative interventions (Steven, 2008).

Mechanisms of Action of Stem Cells in Neural Repair

Stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into all types of cells. Exogenously administered cells appear to stimulate endogenous reparative processes and do not replace injured cerebral tissue. It was once thought that intravenously administered cells would home in on the injured site and replace the dead neurons, but the current ideology for the use of these cells holds that these cells release many trophic factors like VEGF, IGF, BDNF, and tissue growth factors that stimulate brain plasticity and recovery mechanisms. Upregulation of growth factors, prevention of ongoing cell death, and enhancement of synaptic connectivity between the host and graft are some of the common pathways through which intravenous stem cells work as “chaperones.” Regarding the timing of transplantation, preclinical studies have shown that cell therapy increases functional recovery after acute, sub-acute, and chronic stroke (Bliss et al., 2010), but few studies have compared different time windows, with differing results according to the model system and cell type studied. All of the possible modes of action of stem cells have been described in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1

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Figure 1. Mechanisms of action of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in treating stroke.

Translational Approach for the Development of Regenerative Medicine in Brain Stroke

The unique capacity of stem cells of self-renewal and differentiation has been exploited to devise cell-based therapy for various neurodegenerative diseases, including brain stroke. There have been several studies, which will be discussed in the upcoming paragraphs, that report the use of stem cells in the treatment of various diseases. These studies have used stem cells of various kinds, such as adult stem cells (mesenchymal stem cells and neural stem cells), embryonic stem cells, and the latest kind, induced pluripotent stem cells. Apart from using different types of stem cells, scientists have also reported distinctive modes of action to support their study outcomes. Besides these variable points, there are other considerations like the dosage of stem cells, mode of administration of stem cells, and whether or not booster doses are required, depending upon the magnitude of the disease. Various groups have attempted to answer these vital questions through their research.

Ischemic stroke causes severe damage to the brain cells by destroying the heterogeneous cell population and neuronal connections along with vascular systems. The regenerative potential of several types of stem cells like embryonic stem cells, neural stem cells, adult stem cells (Mesenchymal stem cells), and induced pluripotent stem cells have been assessed for treating stroke. The outcomes and observations in these studies are not consistent. Most of the studies have only commented on the homing, survival, proliferation, and differentiation of stem cells on the site and their limited neuro-restorative ability. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent cells derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. There have been a few studies where engraftment of murine ESCs in mouse models of ischemia has led to the restoration of behavioral deficits, synaptic connections, and damaged
neurons (Thomson, 1998; Wichterle et al., 2002; Nagai et al., 2010).
However, the use of ESCs in the clinical setting is argued against by
many other groups due to their immunogenic nature and teratoma-forming
tendency (Fong et al., 2010; Kawai et al., 2010; Ghosh et al., 2011).
Hence, scientists are now trying to establish the neuro-restorative
ability of other stem cell types. Neural stem cells (NSCs) are
theoretically the most appropriate cell candidates for neuro-restoration
as they belong to the same tissue source and have a natural tendency to
differentiate into neuronal cells. NSCs are multipotent cells that are
generally found in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the
hippocampus (Toda et al., 2001).
Engraftment of NSCs has been reported to lead to the reformation of
synaptic connections and improvement in the electrophysiological
properties of mature neurons in the damaged brain (Polezhaev and Alexandrova, 1984; Polezhaev et al., 1985; Cho et al., 2002; Oki et al., 2012). They do so by improving the extracellular microenvironment and hence encouraging neuronal circuit plasticity (Ourednik et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2007; Redmond et al., 2007; Jeyakumar et al., 2009).
NSCs restore neuronal functions as they secrete several neurotrophic
factors like BDNF and VEGF, which help in maintaining the health,
generation, proliferation, and survival of the neurons, along with the
maintenance of ECM (Emanueli et al., 2003; Jung et al., 2008; Lee H. J. et al., 2010; Smith et al., 2012). VEGF specifically helps in angiogenesis and vascular restoration of the blood vessels damaged due to ischemia (Song et al., 2015; Ryu et al., 2016).
CNTF, GDNF, NGF, and other such factors secreted by NSCs also play
vital roles in the protection, maintenance, and proliferation of neural
cells (Abe, 2000).

Another type of cells with amazing neuro-restorative
potential and that have several other desirable properties, like being
immunologically naive, easy to extract and maintain and expand in vitro, and not having associated ethical concerns, are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) (Baksh et al., 2007; Uccelli et al., 2008; Russell et al., 2018).
MSCs are multipotent stem cells that have their niche in body tissues
like bone marrow, adipose tissue, umbilical cord, umbilical cord blood,
dental pulp, etc (Uccelli et al., 2008; Singh et al., 2017; Russell et al., 2018).
Extracting MSCs from these tissues is a very well-established and easy
process and has been very widely used in various clinical trials (Nandy et al., 2014; Singh et al., 2017).
MSCs lead to neuro-restoration by one or more modes of action such as
the release of paracrine factors, cell replacement, mitochondrial
transfer, etc. MSCs also have an angiogenic effect. They have been
reported to induce angiogenesis by the release of vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEGF) (Li et al., 2000, 2001; Chen et al., 2003; Shen et al., 2007).
The only issue to be considered for using bone marrow-derived MSCs is
the surgical intervention to obtain the bone marrow. Adipose
tissue-derived MSCs have proved to be equally effective in
neuro-regeneration, with the added advantages of being easily accessible
and more abundant (Yang et al., 2012; Moore and Abrahamse, 2014; Singh et al., 2017).
Adipose tissue-derived MSCs have been known to play a protective role
through the release of extracellular vesicles. There are studies
reporting the safety and efficacy of extracellular vesicles derived from
adipose tissue-derived MSCs (Ra et al., 2011; Zhang Y. et al., 2015; Chen et al., 2016; Bang and Kim, 2019). However, more detailed studies are required to establish MSCs as therapeutic agents.

Another type of stem cell that has been explored for its
translational value recently is the induced pluripotent stem cell
(iPSC). There has been a boom in research into iPSCs after the
groundbreaking discovery by Takahashi and Yamanaka (2006).
iPSCs have the edge over other types of stem cells due to being
non-immunogenic, easy to access, and non-interventional and not giving
rise to ethical concerns. However, their generation is still an
unresolved issue, as the reprogramming efficiency is still very low.
Additionally, some studies have reported the formation of teratoma in
the mouse brain, which implies that the tumorigenicity of iPSCs needs to
be addressed and resolved before taking them into the clinical setting.
iPSCs seem to be formidable stem cells for tissue regeneration (Israel et al., 2012; Fernández-Susavila et al., 2019).

 

Bioactive Constituents in Brain Stroke: Combination Therapy

The use of complementary and alternative medicine along
with stem cell therapy also plays an important role in the recovery of
brain stroke patients. During the stroke episode, most of the
pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved, and many polyphenol compounds
extracted from different parts of medicinal plants have been shown to
protect against cerebral ischemia in pre-clinical models. Glycrrhizin
extracted from the licorice root, Glycrrhiza glabra, protected
against the rat brain injury induced by stroke. Intraperitoneal
administration of Glycrrhizin pre- and post-stroke helped inhibit the
infarction by ameliorating the IFN-γ mediated T-cell activity, which was
partially modulated by high mobility group box-1 (Xiong et al., 2016).
The use of intravenous administration of recombinant plasminogen tissue
activator (rtPA) was approved half a decade ago, but the limitations to
rtPA treatment include a narrow therapeutic window of 4.5 h post-stroke
and a high risk for hemorrhagic transformations. MSC transplantation in
brain stroke patients is an existing approach, but inflammation has
sometimes been observed in MSCs due to oxygen glucose deprivation during
treatment. One study showed that a nano-formulation of gelatin-coated
polycaprolactone loaded with naringenin, a strong anti-inflammatory,
protected the MSCs against oxygen glucose deprivation-induced
inflammation and also reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines
(TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-β) and of the anti-inflammatory biomarkers COX-2,
iNOS, and MPO (Ahmad et al., 2019). The active compound Eugenol, isolated from Acorus gramineus,
was tested in a cerebral ischemia perfusion rat model. Pre-treatment
with Eugenol in the rat model showed that it was prompt in attenuating
cerebral ischemic injury by inducing autophagy via the AMPK/mTOR/P70S6K
signaling pathway. In another study, the neuroprotective effect of
quercetin was demonstrated in mice, and the findings suggested that the
quercetin helped reduce apoptosis in the focal cerebral ischemia rat
brain and that the mechanism may be related to the activation of the
PI3K/Akt signaling pathway (Yao et al., 2012).
The intragastric administration of berberin and glycyrrhizin showed
neuroprotective effects in mice subjected to transient middle cerebral
artery occlusion. The co-administration of glycyrrhizin and berberin
showed more potent suppression on the HMGB1/TLR4/NF-kB pathway in
comparison to treatment with either alone. The results of the study
suggested that the administration of these compounds protects the brain
from ischemia-reperfusion injury and that the mechanism may rely on
their anti-inflammatory effects and, moreover, also by suppressing the
activation of the HMGB1/TLR4/NF-kB signaling pathway (Zhu et al., 2018).
Medicinal plants contain several important bioactive constituents that
help in several modalities. Numerous pre-clinical studies have been
performed using plant-derived products that help modulate the
proliferation and differentiation of MSCs, as well as being useful in
the field of biomaterials. Therefore, the new combination therapy of
phytochemicals along with stem cell therapy may become a new perspective
in stem cell-based neuro-regeneration.

 

Pre-Clinical Studies With Stem Cells in Brain Stroke

The experimental evidence of the benefits of stem cells in treating stroke has been provided over the course of several years (Abe, 2000; Mays et al., 2010).
The usefulness of various types of stem cells has been proclaimed in
various neurological diseases, along with their safety and efficacy at
both pre-clinical and clinical levels. The pre-clinical validation of
stem cells in treating stroke has been instrumental. Various study
groups have validated the use of stem cells in terms of various
parameters such as type of stem cells, number/dose of stem cells, mode
of administration, homing and tracking of stem cells, and safety and
efficacy of stem cells (Zheng et al., 2018; Borlongan, 2019).

The most commonly used and most widely explored stem
cells in the treatment of stroke are MSCs. Among the various tissue
sources of MSCs, the most common and widely explored are bone marrow and
adipose tissue, with bone marrow being the oldest of all (Andrews et al., 2008; Xin et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2014; Zhang Y. et al., 2015). However, neural stem cells and bone marrow-derived mononuclear stem cells have also been explored (Taguchi et al., 2004; Darsalia et al., 2007; Takahashi et al., 2008). In most of the pre-clinical studies, autologous bone marrow-derived MSCs have been used (Zhang et al., 2006; Khalili et al., 2012; Otero et al., 2012; Bao et al., 2013; Vaquero et al., 2013)
to investigate the various aspects of stem cell transplantation in
stroke. Several other studies report the use of MSCs from other tissue
sources, like adipose tissue, umbilical cord, placenta, etc (Yang et al., 2012; Zhang Q. et al., 2015; Xie et al., 2016).
MSCs are characterized for transplantation based on surface marker
profiling, which includes the presence of markers like CD29, CD44, CD73,
CD90, and CD105 and the absence of CD34/45, CD14, and HLA class II.
Other critical factors that need to be considered for pre-clinical
studies are the number/dose of cells to be administered and the mode of
administration. Transplantations of MSCs range from 1 × 106 to 8 × 106 cells and are accomplished through different modes, including intravenous, intranasal, and intra-arterial (Chen et al., 2001; Shyu et al., 2006; Zhang et al., 2006; Yang et al., 2012; Ma et al., 2016; Rodríguez-Frutos et al., 2016; Borlongan, 2019).
While there is evidence that the transplanted MSCs have homed and
differentiated into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes upon
administration through intravenous, intranasal, and intracerebral modes,
there are doubts on the migration of MSCs in the brain by the
intravenous mode (Díez-Tejedor et al., 2014).
Also, there are mixed reports on whether the transplantation of coaxed
and naive stem cells can achieve the desired outcome in terms of
functional recovery, BBB function, increased angiogenesis and
vasculogenesis, and tissue regeneration (Laso-García et al., 2019; Turnbull et al., 2019). More detailed studies need to be done to establish a definitive stem cell therapy regime for stroke.

 

Clinical Trials of Regenerative Medicine in Brain Stroke

Cerebrovascular strokes can cause morbidity and mortality
and induce long-term disability that affects quality of life. Stroke is
associated with neuroinflammation, which plays a key role in the
pathophysiology of cerebrovascular accidents of different types. We
performed a rigorous search of a database on clinical studies with
stroke and found more than 56 clinical trials on the use of regenerative
medicine (autologous or allogeneic) for cerebrovascular stroke. Most of
them used mesenchymal stem cells, adipose tissue, bone marrow-derived
cells, and spinal cord and umbilical cord cells. Table 1
presents a few clinical trials involving stem cell therapy (autologous
and allogeneic), giving their study design, dose, route of
administration, and outcomes. Our experience with regenerative medicine
in stroke emphasizes the safety and tolerance of cells, whereas efficacy
still needs to be addressed. More recovery in clinical and functional
patterns was observed in patients administered with autologous bone
marrow-derived cells than in the group with physiotherapy alone. We also
tried to elucidate correlations between functional MRI and outcome
after stroke, with increased activation in premotor and primary motor
areas (PM and SMA), and contralesional M1 over activation. Our present
randomized controlled trial studying the paracrine effects of autologous
mononuclear stem cells in interim showed increased VEGF and BDNF
post-treatment in all stroke patients, suggesting endogenous recovery
after restorative therapies like stem cells and a structured
neuro-rehabilitation regime. To counter the progression of the cerebral
vascular disease post-stroke and repair the damage induced in different
regions of the brain, various clinical trials with different stem cells
like mesenchymal stem cells, adipose tissue-derived stem cells, and bone
marrow mononuclear stem cells are ongoing (Table 1) that investigate potential efficacy and safety, without the occurrence of any adverse or severely adverse events.

TABLE 1

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Table 1. List of Clinical trials using Stem cells in treating stroke.

An open-labeled observer-blind
clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the long-term safety and
efficacy of autologous MSCs. Post-transplantation with MSCs, clinical
improvement in patients was observed in the MSC-treated patient group,
which was associated with the serum level of stromal cell-derived
factor-1 and the degree of involvement of the sub-ventricular region of
the lateral ventricle. No serious adverse effects were observed during
long-term follow up of patients. The occurrence of comorbidities was
similar in comparison to the control group (Lee J. S. et al., 2010).
In another single-blind controlled phase I/II trial, patients with
middle cerebral artery stroke were enrolled in the study. Autologous
bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM-MNCs) were injected 5–9 days
post-stroke. A higher plasma β-nerve growth factor level was observed
post-injection, and no adverse events were observed for 6 months apart
from two patients in whom partial seizures were observed at 3 months of
follow up. The study result suggested that intra-arterial administration
of BM-MNCs is safe and feasible (Moniche et al., 2012).
A non-randomized observational controlled study with autologous bone
marrow mononuclear cells in chronic ischemic stroke showed better
efficacy and did not observe any adverse effects or neurological
abnormalities during long-term follow up of patients (Bhasin et al., 2012).
Intravenous administration of autologous BM-MSCs was also shown to have
better safety in a randomized, phase II, multicentric trial group in
patients with subacute ischemic stroke (Prasad et al., 2014).
On the basis of the findings of pre-clinical studies with peripheral
blood stem cells (PBSCs), randomized single-blind controlled studies
were conducted in patients with middle cerebral artery infarction.
Patients were enrolled as per the inclusion criteria of the study and
received subcutaneous G-CSF injection for 5 consecutive days prior to
stereotaxic implantation of immune-sorted PBSCs. No adverse events were
observed during the study procedure or the follow up of the study.
Clinical outcomes of the PBSC-treated and control groups were observed
in terms of changes in NIHSS, ESS, EMS, and mRS from baseline to 12
months. Moreover, this study also provided important evidence on the
efficacy of PBSCs in improving stroke-related motor deficits, the
reconstruction of injured CST, and the rebuilding of electrophysiology
activity from the brain to the limbs (Chen et al., 2014).
Intravenous administration of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells from
adipose tissue in a phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo
controlled single-center pilot clinical trial in patients 2 weeks
post-acute stroke showed better efficacy without the occurrence of
adverse events. Moreover, the use of allogenic MSCs could be an
alternative therapy for the treatment of stroke because it has been
demonstrated that they lack class II HLA antigens (Díez-Tejedor et al., 2014). Another study (Bhasin et al., 2016)
reported the paracrine mechanism of bone marrow-derived mononuclear
cells in chronic ichemic stroke patients. CD34+ was counted in BM-MNCs
for each and every patient. Intravenously administered BM-MNCs secrete
glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor and BDNF, IGF-1, and VGEF, which
may protect against the dysfunction of motor neurons. The trial results
suggested that the administration of BM-MNCs is safe and feasible for
stroke patients. In another phase I, open-label, prospective clinical
trial, patients with acute ischemic stroke received a single i.v.
infusion of allogeneic human umbilical cord blood cells within a window
of 3–10 days. Post-UCB infusion, graft-vs.-host disease, infection, and
hypersensitivity were analyzed at patient follow up visits at 3, 6, and
12 months. Adverse events and severe adverse events (AE/SAE) in the
patients that were directly or indirectly related to the investigational
treatment were reported (Laskowitz et al., 2018).

A single-arm, phase I clinical trial study of autologous
bone marrow mononuclear cells for acute ischemic stroke showed a
promising new investigational modality that may help widen the
therapeutic window for patients with ischemic stroke. AEs/SAEs were
observed post-transplantation, some of which may have been associated
with the intervention but others of which may not have (Vahidy et al., 2019).
In another single-site phase I study, the feasibility and safety of
NSI-566 primary adherent neural cells derived from a single human fetal
spinal cord were observed. Three different doses were investigated in a
cohort study of patients, and it was shown that the transplantation of
human spinal cord-derived neural stem cells into the peri-infarct area
of stable stroke patients is beneficial. The mechanism potentially
behind it is that the stem cell-derived tissue is largely composed of
interneurons and glial cells, and these promote regeneration and act as
bridges between regenerating neuronal fibers (Zhang et al., 2019).
A phase I/II preliminary safety and efficacy study of allogenic MSCs in
chronic stroke patients showed the dose tolerability to be 1.5
million/kg body weight in phase I and phase II study. The primary
outcome of intravenous administration of allogenic MSCs in patients was
measured for 1 year, and secondary outcomes were measured in terms of
behavioral changes. AEs/SAEs were observed in 13 patients that were
probably not related to the intervention, and two mild AEs related to
the study intervention were observed, urinary tract infection and
intravenous site irritation. However, other mechanisms have also been
shown that involve cell replacement, immunomodulatory action, and
endogenous repair of brain damage post-stroke. The stem cell therapy in
cerebrovascular accident depends overall upon their differentiation,
inflammation, and ability to repair of endogenous processes. This
regenerative medicine has emerged as an important tool in modern
neurology, with potential efficacy in neurodegenerative disorder (Thwaites et al., 2012; Yu et al., 2013).
After extensive findings of pre-clinical research, the clinical trials
have conducted with different stem cells in stroke, in which the
AEs/SAEs observed during or post transplantation may be directly or
indirectly related to the intervention. The studies suggest that there
must be a further continuation of pre-clinical and clinical studies of
regenerative medicine in stroke patients to further elucidate the
safety, efficacy, and toxicity pre and posting transplantation and their
capacity to deliver potent efficacious regenerative medicine for stroke
patients. Further clinical trials of regenerative medicine in
cerebrovascular stroke are complete, with more results awaited.

Future Prospects

Regenerative medicine is looking increasingly more
enticing as we capture more evidence from past and current clinical
trials in stroke (Bhasin et al., 2016, 2017).
The neurophysiology describing stem cells and their concatenated
mechanisms suggests that restoration of brain function may be a
realistic goal. There are several cellular labeling techniques
available, including simple incubation, use of transfection agents,
magnetoelectroporation, and magnetosonoporation. MR tracking with SPIOs
and nanoparticles in a MCAo occlusion model of stroke has proven
flawless in tracking cells but still needs clinical validation (Cromer Berman et al., 2011).
To make this research a therapeutic boon in stroke, certain questions
still need answers, such as the optimal cell delivery route, the initial
engraftment and distribution pattern of injected cells, and how
effectively injected cells migrate toward the affected sites.

While stem cells have proven to be a great resource for
treating stroke, there are still several obstacles to be conquered in
the near future. A variety of stem cells with multiple parameters have
been under trial for the treatment of stroke. Starting from the kinds of
stem cells in use, there are pluripotent stem cells (ESCs and iPSCs),
neural stem cells, and adult stem cells (MSCs from various tissues).
There are ethical concerns associated with pluripotent stem cells.
Additionally, NSCs have limitations in their in vitro expansion
(in terms of the number of NSCs required to be transplanted). MSCs are
capable of combating this concern. Another issue is immunological
tolerance between the host body and transplanted stem cells. This issue
can be resolved by using the patient’s own cells to derive iPSCs of MSCs
(as they are devoid of HLA class II). Besides these concerns, there are
several other concerns, such as whether the efficiency of cell
extraction, expansion, and differentiation is sufficient for
transplantation, as well as the best mode of injection and optimal
number of injections. While there are several challenges to bringing
stem cell therapy in the mainstream of treatment for various diseases,
stem cell therapy has been established for treating several degenerative
and other kinds of diseases. In future, all these points of concern
need to be addressed to make stem cell therapy an abiding treatment
regime for stroke.

Author Contributions

MS, AB, and PP: drafting and refining the manuscript. SM,
MS, and AB: critical reading of the manuscript. All of the authors have
read and approved the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in
the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be
construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Acknowledgments

We thank Ms. Sonali Rawat, Ph.D. scholar, Stem Cell
Facility, AIIMS, New Delhi, for helping us with the generation of the
figure and graphical abstract.

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Keywords: stroke, stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, clinical trials, pre-clinical studies

Citation: Singh M, Pandey PK, Bhasin A, Padma MV and Mohanty S (2020) Application of Stem Cells in Stroke: A Multifactorial Approach. Front. Neurosci. 14:473. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00473

Received: 04 February 2020; Accepted: 16 April 2020;
Published: 09 June 2020.

Edited by:

Syed Shadab Raza, ERA’s Lucknow Medical College, India

Reviewed by:

Niyaz Ahmad, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
Mohd Farooq Shaikh, Monash University, MalaysiaFDA
Saif Ahmad, Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI), United States

Copyright © 2020 Singh, Pandey, Bhasin, Padma and Mohanty. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted,
provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited
and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in
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reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Sujata Mohanty, drmohantysujata@gmail.com

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Do you know about Malaysia Day?

All steady on the home front in Penang residential properties


Tweet #Rightways

Sales done: According to Knight Frank Malaysia, there are pockets of success by some developers reporting bookings and sales for their affordable homes during the movement control order period despite the fact that physical viewings were disallowed.
 

DEMAND for residential properties in Penang is expected to remain steady during the second half of 2020, especially if the homes are from renowned developers with good quality products.

Knight Frank Malaysia executive director Mark Saw says there are pockets of success by some developers reporting bookings and sales for their affordable homes during the movement control order (MCO) period (from March 18 to May 3), despite the fact that physical viewings were disallowed.

“In this challenging environment, developers with a strong brand name and good delivery of quality products should still achieve decent returns and the gap between higher and lower quality properties will become more evident with better sales for those able to deliver.

“These factors will play a critical role in determining the success of developments. It has become a buyer’s market and many deals are being offered by developers to attract first-time buyers as opposed to investors who have been temporarily sidelined, ” he tells StarBizWeek.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Saw says buyers’ preferences and timings may change, with decisions being put on hold due to job security, ample choices and rentals being more competitive.

CBRE|WTW director Peh Seng Yee says the pandemic’s impact has been softened in the second half of the year with the recovery MCO (which was implemented from June 10).

CBRE|WTW director Peh Seng Yee says the pandemic’s impact has been softened in the second half of the year with the recovery MCO (which was implemented from June 10).CBRE|WTW director Peh Seng Yee says the pandemic’s impact has been softened in the second half of the year with the recovery MCO (which was implemented from June 10).
 

“As housing is a necessity and with the bank loan moratorium, the residential property sector has been cushioned from the worst impact.

“Hence, the residential market is expected to remain resilient for the second half of 2020. Significant growth is not expected yet as the issue of property overhang, lack of spending confidence by consumers and stringent lending policies by banks are expected to still linger for the remainder of the year.”

Additionally, both Saw and Peh agree that the reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) was a much-needed boost to the local property market. The government reintroduced the HOC in June under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

Mark Saw: In this challenging environment, developers with a strong brand name and good delivery of quality products should still achieve decent returns and the gap between higher and lower quality properties will become more evident with better sales for those able to deliver. 
Mark Saw: In this challenging environment, developers with a strong brand
name and good delivery of quality products should still achieve decent returns and the gap between higher and lower quality properties will
become more evident with better sales for those able to deliver.
 

Peh says the HOC is expected to continue to spur the buying momentum for residential properties in Penang over the short term.

“Developers are experiencing a pick-up in bookings by buyers compared with the first half of 2020, which was mainly affected by the MCO.

“However, the encouraging bookings have yet to be fully translated into good actual sales, due largely to stringent lending policies by the bank and the challenges and uncertainty in the economy and job market.”

Saw also believes the HOC will be a short-term reprieve for the local property market.

“The HOC initiatives will only be a temporary measure. For the long term, developers should carry out proper feasibility studies to determine the marketability of their products before commencing developments and ending up with unsold units.”

According to Saw, the volume of residential transactions in Penang decreased 19.7% to 2,748 units in the first quarter of 2020 compared with 3,422 units in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The value of transactions in the residential sub-sector during the first quarter (RM1.06bil) indicated a drop of 17.2% compared with RM1.28bil in the fourth quarter of last year, ” he says.

Under the HOC, stamp duty exemption will be provided on the transfer of property and loan agreement for the purchase of houses priced between RM300,000 and RM2.5mil.

Meanwhile, the exemption on the instrument of transfer under the HOC is limited to the first RM1mil of the home price, while full stamp-duty exemption is given on loan agreement effective for sales and purchase agreements signed between June 1 and May 31,2021.

The government has also announced real property gains tax (RGPT) exemption for Malaysians for the disposal of up to three properties between June 1,2020 and Dec 31,2021.

The HOC was kicked off in last January to address the overhang problem in the country. The campaign, which was initially intended for six months, was extended for a year.

It proved successful, generating total sales of RM23.2bil in 2019, surpassing the government’s initial target of RM17bil.

Meanwhile, Knight Frank in its Real Estate Highlights Research for the first half of 2020 says that amid the current global recession, Invest Penang has revised downwards its foreign direct investment (FDI) target for 2020 to RM5mil.

“This will be supported by the shift towards Industry 4.0 and the various tax incentives and reinvestment allowances as announced under Penjana that seeks to promote Malaysia as a choice destination for FDIs.”

To clear RM2.6bil worth of 3,043 overhang units in the state, Knight Frank says the Penang local government, housing, town and country planning committee has announced that the state will reduce the minimum price threshold for foreign property ownership by up to 40% starting from June 11,2020.

“Ceiling prices for stratified properties on the island will be reduced by up to 20% from RM1mil to RM800,000 and on the mainland, from RM500,000 to RM400,000.”

In the high-end condominium segment, Knight Frank says IJM Perennial has put on hold the development of The Light City.

“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the group had indicated that it would resume development in August 2020. To be developed over a period of more than four years, Phase 1 will feature a mall with 680,000 sq ft net lettable area, the Penang Waterfront Convention Centre, a four-star hotel with 500 rooms, offices and the ‘Mezzo’ residential condominiums.

“Meanwhile, for Phase 2, there are plans for a 300,000-sq-ft mall, a five-star hotel with 250 rooms, offices, the ‘Essence’ residential condominiums and possibly an experiential theme park. It is worth noting that the commencement of Phase 2 will be determined by the sales of the Mezzo condominiums and the occupancy of the mall.”

As for the office sub-sector in Penang, Knight Frank says the average occupancy rate for four prime buildings monitored in George Town remained stable at 89%.

“According to the latest National Property Information Centre report, the average occupancy rate in the state continued to hold steady at 81.4% in the first quarter of 2020 (compared with 81.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019).”

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Educated yet amoral: GPT-3 AI capable of writing books sparks awe


Tweet #Rightways

An AI technology has won praise for its ability to generate coherent stories, novels and even computer code. — AFP Relaxnews


 

An artificial intelligence (AI) technology made by a firm co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk has won praise for its ability to generate coherent stories, novels and even computer code but it remains blind to racism or sexism.

GPT-3, as Californian company OpenAI’s latest AI language model is known, is capable of completing a dialogue between two people, continuing a series of questions and answers or finishing a Shakespeare-style poem.

Start a sentence or text and it completes it for you, basing its response on the gigantic amount of information it has been fed.

This could come in useful for customer service, lawyers needing to sum up a legal precedent or for authors in need of inspiration.

While the technology is not new and has not yet learnt to reason like a human mind, OpenAI’s latest offering has won praise for the way its text resembles human writing.

“It is capable of generating very natural and plausible sentences,” says Bruce Delattre, an AI specialist at data consulting agency Artefact.

“It’s impressive to see how much the model is able to appropriate literary styles, even if there are repetitions.”

GPT-3 is also capable of finding precise responses to problems, such as the name of an illness from a description of symptoms.

It can solve some mathematical problems, express itself in several languages, or generate computer code for simple tasks that developers have to do but would happily avoid.

Delattre tells AFP it all works thanks to “statistical regularities”.

“The model knows that a particular word (or expression) is more or less likely to follow another.”
 

Billions of web pages

Amine Benhenni, scientific director at AI research and development firm Dataswati, tells AFP that “the big difference” compared to other systems is the size of the model.

GPT-3 has been fed the content of billions of web pages that are freely available online and all types of pieces of written work.

To give an idea of the magnitude of the project, the entire content of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia represents just 3% of all the information it has been given.

As such, it does not need to be retrained to perform tasks, as previous models did, when a new subject is introduced like medicine, law or the media.

Give it just a handful of examples of a task to do, such as completing a sentence, and it will then know how to complete any sentence it is given, no matter what the subject – a so-called “few-shot” language model.

“It’s amazingly powerful if you know how to prime the model well,” Shreya Shankar, an AI-specialised computer scientist, said on Twitter after having used GPT-3.

“It’s going to change the ML (machine learning) paradigm.”

Despite the hype, however, GPT-3 is only 10th on the SuperGLUE benchmark that measures the language-understanding of algorithms.

And that’s because some users demonstrated that when asked absurd questions, the model responds with senseless answers.

For instance, developer Kevin Lacker asked: “How many eyes does the sun have?”

“The sun has one eye,” it responded, Lacker wrote on his blog.


Fake reviews, fake news

Claude de Loupy, co-founder of French startup Syllabs that specialises in automated text creation, says the system lacks “pragmatism”.

Another major problem is that it replicates without a second thought any stereotype or hate speech fed during its training period, and can quickly become racist, anti-semitic or sexist.

As such, experts interviewed by AFP felt GPT-3 was not reliable enough for any sector needing to rely on machines, such as robo-journalism or customer services.

It can however be useful, like other similar models, for writing fake reviews or even mass-producing news stories for a disinformation campaign.

Concerned about “malicious applications of the technology”, OpenAI, which was co-founded in 2015 by Musk who has since left, and is financed by Microsoft among others, chose not to release the previous version of the model, GPT-2, in February 2019.

Originally a non-profit, OpenAI then became a “capped profit” company, which means investors get a capped return.

And in June, the firm changed tack and opened its GPT-3 model to commercial use, allowing for user feedback.

A step Claude de Loupy says could yield big profits.

There is “no doubt that the amount of text generated by AI is about to explode on the Web”. – AFP

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GPT 3 Demo and Explanation – An AI revolution from OpenAI

Half Ideas – Startups and Entrepreneurship 
4.89K subscribers

GPT 3 can write poetry, translate text, chat convincingly, and answer abstract questions. It’s being used to code, design and much more. I’ll give you a demo of some of the latest in this technology and some of how it works.

GPT3 comes from a company called OpenAI. OpenAI was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman (former president of Y-combinator the startup accelerator). OpenAI was founded with over a Billion invested to collaborate and create human-level AI for the benefit of society.

GPT 3 has been developed for a number of years. One of the early papers published was on Generative Pre-Training. The idea behind generative pre-training (GPT) is that while most AI’s are trained on labeled data, there’s a ton of data that isn’t labeled. If you can evaluate the words and use them to train and tune the AI it can start to create predictions of future text on the unlabeled data. You repeat the process until predictions start to converge.

The newest GPT is able to do a ton. Some of the demos include: 
 – GPT 3 demo of how to design a user interface using AI
– GPT 3 demo of how to code a react application using AI
– GPT 3 demo of an excel plug-in to fill data using AI
– GPT 3 demo of a search engine/answer engine using AI
– GPT3 demo of command line auto-complete from English to shell commands

And more. I’ve posted all the embedded tweets and videos on my site:
https://gregraiz.com/gpt-3-demo-and-e…

You can also follow me on twitter here:
https://www.twitter.com/graiz

The paper on Language Models are Few-Shot Learners is available to read:
 https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.14165

Caption author 英语爸爸
(Chinese (China))

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 https://youtu.be/tsuxlU5IwuA
 

OpenAI GPT-3: Beginners Tutorial

OpenAI has released GPT-3, a state-of-the-art language model made up of 175 billion parameters. In this video, I’ll create a simple tutorial on how you can use OpenAI’s API to use the GPT-3 model.

The previous OpenAI GPT model that is GPT-2 had 1.5 billion parameters and was the biggest model back then. GPT-3 can write poetry, translate text, chat convincingly, and answer abstract questions.

Link to Shreya’s Repo :  https://github.com/shreyashankar/gpt3…

Link to the Notebook :  https://github.com/bhattbhavesh91/gpt…

Link to Request for API Access :  https://lnkd.in/eUTisGR

If you do have any questions with what we covered in this video then feel free to ask in the comment section below & I’ll do my best to answer those.

If you enjoy these tutorials & would like to support them then the easiest way is to simply like the video & give it a thumbs up & also it’s a huge help to share these videos with anyone who you think would find them useful.

Please consider clicking the SUBSCRIBE button to be notified for future videos & thank you all for watching.

You can find me on:

Blog – http://bhattbhavesh91.github.io

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/_bhaveshbhatt

GitHub – https://github.com/bhattbhavesh91

Medium –  https://medium.com/@bhattbhavesh91

#GPT3 #NLP

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TikTok Owner ByteDance to Spend Billions in Singapore After U.S. Ban


Tweet #Rightways


TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2020, as quarantines have spurred more and more users to hop onboard and learn about the latest dance trends and memes. But the app also faces a slew of regulatory hurdles, privacy concerns, and allegations of censorship, issues experts say will be new CEO Kevin Mayer’s top priority.


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Jul.07 — President Donald Trump says he is considering banning TikTok in the U.S. over threats to national security as tensions continue to rise with China. Bloomberg’s Selina Wang reports on “Bloomberg Markets: China Open.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-09-11/tiktok-owner-to-spend-billions-in-singapore-video >

  • ByteDance looks to add hundreds of jobs in the nation: people
  • Chinese company wants Singapore to be base for rest of Asia


ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese owner of video-sharing app TikTok, is planning to make Singapore its beachhead for the rest of Asia as part of its global expansion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Beijing-based company is looking to spend several billion dollars and add hundreds of jobs over the next three years in the city-state, where it has applied for a license to operate a digital bank, said the people, who asked not to be identified because of confidentiality.

The investment would come at a crucial time as the technology firm is forced to sell TikTok operations in the U.S. under pressure by the Trump administration.

ByteDance, the world’s most richly valued startup, is plowing ahead with plans to take its social media services deeper into Asia after setbacks in India and the U.K. as well as the U.S.

The internet phenomenon controlled by billionaire Zhang Yiming has long eyed Southeast Asia’s 650 million increasingly smartphone-savvy population, a region where Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are also making inroads.

Read how TikTok becomes part of U.S.-China flashpoints

The plans for Singapore include establishment of a data center, the people said. Its operations there include TikTok and Lark, an enterprise software business.

ByteDance currently has more than 200 job openings in Singapore, for positions in everything from payments to e-commerce and data privacy, according to its job referral site.

The company already has 400 employees working on technology, sales and marketing in the city-state, one of the people said.

A ByteDance representative offered no comment.

Shopping Spree

Southeast Asia’s e-commerce is on track to top $150 billion in 2025
2015 $:5.5B 2019: $38.2B 2025: $153B
Source: Google & Temasek / Bain, e-Conomy SEA 2019
Gross merchandise value

Southeast Asia is rapidly evolving into a critical location for China’s largest tech corporations from Alibaba to Tencent in the face of growing hostility from the U.S. and other major developed markets. Singapore is becoming a regional base for both Western and Chinese companies because of its developed financial and legal system, and as Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong.

“Singapore is highly attractive to tech firms looking for a hub to address the Southeast Asian markets due to geographic proximity,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling.

“The workforce is highly educated, tech savvy and multilingual.”

In China, ByteDance also runs news aggregation app Toutiao, and TikTok’s Chinese twin Douyin. Collectively its stable of products have more than 1.5 billion monthly active users.

ByteDance is said to have generated more than $3 billion of net profit on more than $17 billion of revenue in 2019.

U.S. Deadline

Asia is a growth area for the company, especially when it is increasingly likely to miss the U.S. government’s deadline for the sale of its TikTok U.S. operations. President Donald Trump said Thursday he won’t extend his Sept. 15 deadline for the deal.

In India, TikTok is among more than a hundred Chinese-made consumer apps that are banned by the government on concerns about security. SoftBank Group Corp. is exploring gathering a group of bidders for TikTok’s India assets.

The U.K. government will likely ban TikTok from moving local user data out of the country, Bloomberg News has reported.

Gateway

Singapore, in particular, offers ByteDance the opportunity to explore an area it’s had relatively little exposure to. The company is leading a consortium that has applied for a digital-bank license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Other members of that group includes a private investment firm owned by a member of the Lee family that founded Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.

The regulator will award as many as five such permits to non-banks by December. Ant Group and Tencent-backed Sea Ltd. have also applied. The city-state offers a potential gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia, where the digital lending market may reach $110 billion by 2025, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings Pte.

(Updates with details from penultimate paragraph)

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Services fair aims to revive global trade, providing venue for prospective business partners to meet


Tweet #Rightways

People look at an unmanned delivery vehicle at the booth of Meituan at the comprehensive exhibition area of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 8, 2020. Chinese enterprises demonstrated latest innovations and
technologies such as 5G and AI at the fair. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
   

 

China’s first major in-person international trade event since the coronavirus outbreak, where 99 innovations were unveiled and 240 agreements were signed, showed the nation’s resolve to expand opening-up and push for economic globalization, an official with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday.

The six-day gathering incorporates the nation’s prowess in digital technology innovations, which will allow for services trade to expand regardless of the pandemic. It also underscores China’s drive to revitalize global trade, which is caught in raging unilateralism and protectionism, according to event participants.

A national negative list for cross-border services trade and a separate list for the nation’s free trade zones and free trade ports will be rolled out within this year, Xian Guoyi, head of the Department of Trade in Services and Commercial Services of the MOFCOM, told a media briefing at the conclusion of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing.

China’s services trade has ranked No.2 globally for six consecutive years. The event took full advantage of digital technologies to enable business exchanges and negotiations both online and in-person, helping companies explore opportunities to hedge against the impact of COVID-19, Xian said.

Governments at various levels, major centrally administered state-run enterprises and financial firms organized trade groups for the first time at the event to participate in negotiations and procurement, resulting in the signing of 240 agreements, he disclosed.

The amount of contracts of intent signed during the six-day event is still being calculated and will be announced later, Xian said in response to a question from the Global Times after the media briefing.

A total of 22,000 companies and institutions from 148 countries and regions took part in the gathering, including 33 international organizations, 68 embassies in China, 110 overseas business chambers and associations, and 199 Fortune global 500 firms, according to Yan Ligang, head of Beijing’s commerce bureau.

Yan said that 5,372 domestic and foreign companies put on online stalls, and 3D stalls accounted for 2,037 of them, while 1,870 projects were unveiled online and 550,000 negotiations were initiated online.

Many health measures were taken to ensure the meeting’s effectiveness, Yin Yong, vice mayor of Beijing, told reporters on the sidelines of the CIFTIS on Wednesday — pre-attendance health checks, nucleic acid tests for exhibitors and volunteers, regular daily disinfection and nucleic acid testing at exhibit halls, and a cap on daily visitor numbers for key halls.

The event’s registered participants and visitors exceeded 100,000, according to Xian.

Eager to take advantage of the fair to explore overseas markets, a businesswoman was at a booth of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on Wednesday, asking questions about how her electronics business could venture into the Japanese market.

A number of Chinese businesses asked how to build footprints in Japan, Kazuyuki Karasawa, deputy director of JETRO Beijing, told the Global Times, adding that this year’s CIFTIS allowed many Japanese companies, particularly in the elder care area, to showcase their services expertise.

A comprehensive stall for exhibits from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Panama and Colombia also stood out.

For the fourth time, Joshua Sun, CEO of the China Australia Business Industry Centre Group, was participating in the annual services trade fair, the only major gathering for services businesses where he could seek opportunities.

It was the first time that the three Latin American countries took part in the trade fair, according to Sun. He told the Global Times on Wednesday that the China-Australia row won’t deter bilateral business cooperation and the gathering proved to be a platform for talks that might later become actual deals.

The value of deals originating from the services fair during the previous three years has been rising, Sun said.

A key focus of the six-day gathering was the announcement on Friday that the central government will support Beijing city in setting up a pilot international free trade zone for services sector opening, the digital economy and sci-tech innovation.

The creation of the zone “is of particular significance and [will have] a strong demonstration effect,” Yin said.

Japanese money broker Ueda Yagi Tanshi Co’s currency broking venture, the first fully foreign-owned money brokerage in China, was announced on Wednesday to be set up in Beijing’s sub-administrative center.

Daiwa Securities’ majority-owned joint venture in China, the first Japanese-invested securities firm to be granted an underwriting and sponsoring license, was also announced Wednesday to be located in Beijing.

The capital city also unveiled an intellectual property trading center on Wednesday that is intended to become a key facility for the nation’s sci-tech innovation center and a pivotal hub for international intellectual property cross-border trade.

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China ready to launch global data security initiative

To address new problems and challenges in an increasingly digital era, China is ready to launch a global initiative to safeguard gl.

China ready to launch global data security initiative


Tweet #Rightways

 

To address new problems and challenges in an increasingly digital era, China is ready to launch a global initiative to safeguard global data security that welcomes the participation of all parties, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared China’s effort on Tuesday at a seminar on global digital governance.

The initiative comes against the backdrop of Trump administration cooking the so-called data threat from China’s high-tech companies in recent months.

The move could be seen as a Chinese response to counter Washington’s “Clean Network” program that clearly aims to smear and exclude Chinese technology firms, apps and services providers from some US allies.

Actually, Beijing’s move seems more like a Chinese approach on how to properly handle global data security risks.

Data security, which is now under growing regulatory scrutiny, has become a focus of global attention due to the rising geopolitical risks linked to the issue. Over the past months, the Trump administration, without providing any evidence, claimed Chinese high-tech firms and their apps, such as Huawei Technologies, ByteDance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, could pose national security risks because of their access to Americans’ personal data.

In the digital era, data security threat may be real, but politicizing security issues to use it as a weapon to crack down on other countries’ high-tech companies, constitutes a reckless detachment from globally-recognized rules and practices.

Some US politicians may truly believe that suppression of Chinese tech firms by spreading the Cold War mindset to the digital sector will give the US an upper hand, but in fact, it will only undermine investor confidence in the global digital industry. This is because the utilization of data will determine how far we can go in the digital era, and if governments are obsessed with geopolitical games by abusing security issues, it will only lead to isolated islands of data, stalling the progress of the digital age.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that data security is not important, on the contrary, the fast development in global digitalization could only be achieved under the guarantee of data security.

China’s latest initiative calls for an objective and rational approach to data security, which is essential for restoring confidence in global digital sector. For instance, governments should tighten data privacy laws and carry out cooperation over cyber-security issues like encryption. These are the right approaches to better protect each country’s data security while avoiding political discrimination toward companies, wherever they are based.

Only with better rules can development be assured, so that countries can also avoid picking sides or being subject to arbitrary suppression from one or two specific governments.

It is also worth noting that even though China calls on the global discussion on data security, it won’t set the rules. Because only rules that reflect the will of all countries in the world can be accepted and implemented in the long run.

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China develops advanced brain-like computer

The brain-like computer with over 100 million neurons.  Photo/zhejianglab.com Innovation – Chinadaily.com.cn ]
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China develops advanced brain-like computer


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The brain-like computer with over 100 million neurons. [Photo/zhejianglab.com Innovation – Chinadaily.com.cn]

HANGZHOU – A brain-like computer with over 100 million neurons, the first of its kind in China, has been developed by researchers in East China’s Zhejiang province.

Zhejiang University and Zhejiang Lab on Tuesday jointly introduced the newly developed computer named Darwin Mouse.

This high-tech device contains 792 second-generation brain-like Darwin chips developed by Zhejiang University, said Zhu Shiqiang,
director of Zhejiang Lab.

It supports 120 million spiking neurons and nearly 100 billion synapses, which are equivalent to the number of neurons in the brain of a mouse. The average power consumption of the computer comes in at only 350-500 watts.

“Just like building blocks, we integrated the 792 brain-like computing chips into three standard server chassis to form a powerful rack-mounted brain-like computer,” said Pan Gang, leader of the research team, from College of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University.

Meanwhile, the team also developed an operating system specifically designed for brain-like computers, named Darwin OS, which realizes effective management and scheduling of the hardware resources and supports operations and applications of brain-like computers.

According to researchers, brain-like computing refers to the use of hardware and software to simulate the structure and operating mechanism of the brain’s neural network and construct a new artificial intelligence paradigm. It is an innovative computing architecture that is regarded as one of the important ways to solve complex computing-related problems in fields, such as artificial intelligence.

Pan added that this type of brain-like computer has been able to perform a variety of intelligent tasks, such as enabling the collaboration of multiple robots in simulated flood-fighting-and-rescue operations, simulating different regions of the brain and providing faster and large-scale simulation tools for scientific research. Besides, it has also realized “mind typing” through real-time decoding of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals.

“By simulating the human brain, we will be able to understand the working principles of different parts of the brain, which will help cure certain brain diseases that otherwise cannot be diagnosed through biomedical approaches,” said Pan. “In the future, brain-like computers will have broader application prospects including three major areas of artificial intelligence, brain science and brain diseases.”

“Brain-like computing is expected to emerge as an important form of computing in the future,” said Wu Zhaohui, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and president of Zhejiang University.

“It is the latest achievement of the brain science and artificial intelligence research project (referred to as the Double Brain Project). By emulating the structure and mechanism of the brain, this project is expected to develop a new computer architecture that will lead the future,” said Wu.

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