Mesoblast cell treatment shows promise in rheumatoid arthritis : study

Mesoblast Ltd on Monday said its experimental stem-cell treatment led to significant improvements of symptoms and disease activity in patients whose rheumatoid arthritis had stopped being helped by widely used biotech medicines, according to data from a mid-stage trial.Treatment with the Australian company's mesenchymal precursor cell (MPC) product, MPC-300-IV, was deemed well tolerated with no serious side effects or infusion-related adverse events in the 48-patient, 12-week Phase II study, the company said.Among patients previously treated with at least one biologic drug, the common measure of 20 percent relief of signs and symptoms of the arthritis, known as ACR20, was achieved by 55 percent of those who received an infusion of 2 million cells per kilogram of weight. That compared with 33 percent in the placebo group who achieved ACR20.The higher bar of ACR70, or 70 percent improvement, was achieved by 36 percent after one infusion of the Mesoblast treatment, compared with no patients in the placebo group who reported such an improvement. The cell treatment also led to improvements in measures of physical function and overall disease activity versus placebo, the company said. "The safety and efficacy results of this study are very encouraging and suggest that Mesoblast’s cell therapy has the potential to fill the major unmet medical need" for patients who cannot take biologic treatments, Dr. Allan Gibofsky, rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said in a statement.Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, often painful autoimmune disease affecting about 1 percent of the global population. It causes inflammation and potentially destruction of multiple joints. Mesoblast, which is 14.6-percent owned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, said it plans to line up a partner to help it move the treatment into larger Phase III trials.About one third of patients either do not respond sufficiently or cannot tolerate popular biologic treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, such as AbbVie's Humira, the world's top-selling prescription medicine, creating a need for new therapy options. To be competitive with current medicines, new treatments must address both pain and disease progression. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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McCain slams Trump over attack on dead Muslim soldier's parents

WASHINGTON Decorated war veteran and U.S. Senator John McCain denounced Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday for his attack on the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army officer killed in the Iraq war.The Arizona Republican, a leading voice on military matters in Congress, waded into a snowballing dispute between his party's controversial nominee and Khizr and Ghazala Khan, issuing the strongest rebuke yet to Trump from a senior Republican on the issue."While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us," McCain, who was a prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War, wrote in a long statement.Trump's dispute with the Khans has dominated the election campaign in recent days after Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, with his wife standing at his side.The Khans' son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed by a bomb in Iraq in 2004, and the father spoke emotionally of the sacrifice his son had made for the country as an American Muslim, specifically criticizing Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.In response to the speech, Trump said he had also made sacrifices in his life. He also said that Ghazala Khan might not have been "allowed" to speak, implying her silence reflected restrictions placed on women by some traditional Muslims. The parents bristled at that suggestion and, in numerous television appearances over the weekend, have said Trump is ignorant about Islam and about their family's sacrifice.Several leading Republicans have weighed in to express support for the family.The dispute is the latest in a series of missteps by the freewheeling, unorthodox campaign of the New York businessman, who has never held elected political office but who beat 16 rivals to become the Republican presidential nominee for the Nov. 8 election. Trump's off-the-cuff insults and controversial proposals such as the ban on Muslims and a plan to keep illegal immigrants out by building a wall along the Mexican border, have made many in the party establishment reluctant backers of his White House bid.RUNNING INTO DANGERIn his statement, McCain recalled how Humayun Khan died, saying that when a suicide bomber aimed his vehicle toward a building housing hundreds of U.S. soldiers, the captain told his subordinates to stay away, then ran toward it.McCain thanked the Khans for coming to America, saying "your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten." In a remarks to television networks on Monday, Khizr Khan said Trump lacked the empathy to be a leader and chided him for throwing the first salvo in their exchange.Trump responded simultaneously on Twitter to the parents' morning television appearances, saying he was being "viciously" attacked.Asked on CNN what message he could give Trump, the father said he wanted to maintain his family's dignity and convey to Trump "that a good leader has one trait ... empathy.""It is basic character, realizing, feeling the pains, the difficulties of the people that you wish to lead," Khan said. "And that is missing."Trump has tried to shift focus from the Khans. "This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!" Trump said Monday on Twitter. He has accused Mr. Khan of "viciously attacking him."Ghazala Khan wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post on Sunday saying that she had remained silent during her husband's remarks to cope with making her grief public during the convention.In their interviews on Monday, the Khans described the outpouring of support they have received during their very public exchange with Trump. On Sunday, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton said Trump had scapegoated the parents. Leading Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued statements in support of the family. Trump drew similar opprobrium a year ago when he said McCain, who as a naval aviator was shot down and taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, was not a hero since he had been captured.In an open letter, nearly a dozen so-called Gold Star families - families who lost relatives in wars - said Trump cheapened their sacrifice and called for an apology."This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency," it said. "That kind decency you mock as 'political correctness.'" (Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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BRIEF-Triangle Capital Corp announces commencement of public offering of common stock

July 25 Triangle Capital Corp* Triangle Capital Corporation announces commencement of public offering of common stock * Says commencement of an underwritten public offering of 6.25 million shares of common stock * Intends to invest net proceeds of public offering in lower middle market companies in accordance with its investment objective and strategies Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Bengaluru Newsroom: +1-646-223-8780)

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Turkey widens post-coup purge, demands U.S. hand over cleric

ISTANBUL/ANKARA Turkey purged its police on Monday after rounding up thousands of soldiers in the wake of a failed military coup, and said it could reconsider its friendship with the United States unless Washington hands over a cleric Ankara blames for the putsch.Nearly 20,000 members of the police, civil service, judiciary and army have been detained or suspended since Friday night's coup, in which more than 200 people were killed when a faction of the armed forces tried to seize power.The broad crackdown and calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters drew concern from Western allies who said Ankara must uphold the rule of law in the country, a NATO member whose cooperation in the fight against Islamic State is crucial to Washington.Some voiced concern President Tayyip Erdogan - who said he was almost killed or captured by the mutineers - was using the opportunity to consolidate his power and further a process of stifling dissent which has already caused tensions with Europe.Turkey's foreign ministry said criticism of the government's response amounted to backing for the bid to overthrow it.A senior security official told Reuters that 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday's abortive coup.About 1,500 finance ministry officials had been suspended, a ministry official said, and CNN Turk said 30 governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants had been dismissed. Annual leave was suspended for more than 3 million civil servants, while close to 3,000 judges and prosecutors have been suspended.Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 7,543 people had so far been detained, including 6,038 soldiers. Some were shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. A court remanded 26 generals and admirals in custody on Monday, Turkish media said.Officials in Ankara say former air force chief Akin Ozturk was a co-leader of the coup. The state-run Anadolu agency said on Monday he had confessed, but private broadcaster Haberturk contradicted this, saying he had told prosecutors he tried to prevent the attempted putsch.The Turkish government says it was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in the United States who has a wide following in Turkey. He denies any involvement. Ankara has demanded Washington hand Gulen over, and Erdogan told international broadcaster CNN on Monday that an extradition request would be filed this week. Washington says it is prepared to extradite him but only if Turkey provides evidence linking him to crime. Yildirim rejected that demand."We would be disappointed if our (American) friends told us to present proof even though members of the assassin organization are trying to destroy an elected government under the directions of that person," Yildirim said."At this stage there could even be a questioning of our friendship.".Yildirim said 232 people were killed in Friday night's violence, 208 of them civilians, police and loyalist soldiers, and a further 24 coup plotters. Officials previously said the overall death toll was more than 290.Around 1,400 others were wounded as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and warplanes in their bid to seize power, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul. Erdogan's decision to allow the resumption of flights at the Incirlik Air Base, which hosts a number of U.S. intelligence facilities and plays a strategic role in the fight against Islamic State militants, has averted an immediate confrontation between the two allied countries.But U.S. officials have been rattled by the extent of Turkey's response to the failed coup and say the relationship will now depend on how Erdogan pursues Gulen and how far the crackdown extends.Significantly, the commander of Incirlik, General Bekir Ercan Van, was among those detained over the abortive coup."We believe Turkey has gone beyond what we wanted to see," said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.ERDOGAN: I WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLEDThe coup crumbled after Erdogan, on holiday with his family at the coastal resort of Marmaris, phoned in to a television news program and called for his followers to take to the streets. He was able to fly into Istanbul in the early hours of Saturday, after rebel pilots had his plane in their sights but did not shoot it down. He said on Monday that he might have died if he had left Marmaris any later. "Two of my close bodyguards were martyred, they were killed," he told CNN in an interview. "Had I stayed 10 or 15 additional minutes there, I would have been killed or I would have been taken." He repeated his call that parliament must consider his supporters' demands to apply the death penalty for the plotters. "The people have the opinion that these terrorists should be killed," he said. "Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come, that's what the people say."Turkey gave up the death penalty in 2004 as part of a program of reforms required to become a candidate to join the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said reinstating it would "in no way" be compatible with Turkey's goal of EU membership.The bloodshed shocked the nation of almost 80 million, where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago, and shattered fragile confidence in the stability of a NATO member state already rocked by Islamic State suicide bombings and an insurgency by Kurdish militants.Since the coup was put down, Erdogan has said enemies of the state still threatened the country and has urged Turks to take to the streets every evening until Friday to show their support for the government. Thousands heeded his words and took to squares in Turkey's three biggest cities on Monday, the third day in a row, to show their support. Western countries said they supported Erdogan's government but Ankara should abide by the rule of law. "We stand squarely on the side of the elected leadership in Turkey. But we also firmly urge the government of Turkey to maintain calm and stability throughout the country," U.S. Secretary of State Kerry told a news briefing in Brussels where he attended a gathering of European counterparts."We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that."Referring to Gulen, Kerry called on Turkey to furnish evidence "that withstands scrutiny", rather than allegations.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also called on Ankara to avoid steps that would damage the constitutional order.Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition, parliament's third largest party, said it would not support any government proposal to reintroduce the death penalty. The main CHP opposition said the response to the coup attempt must be conducted within the rule of law and that the plotters should face trial. 'HEAVY BLOW' TO MILITARYTurkish security forces are still searching for some of the soldiers involved in the coup bid in various cities and rural areas but there is no risk of a renewed bid to seize power, a senior security official told Reuters.The official said Turkey's military command had been dealt "a heavy blow in terms of organization" but was still functioning in coordination with the intelligence agency, police and the government. Some high-ranking military officials involved in the plot have fled abroad, he said.Erdogan has long accused Gulen of trying to create a "parallel state" within the courts, police, armed forces and media. Gulen, in turn, has said the coup attempt may have been staged, casting it as an excuse for Erdogan to forge ahead with his purge of the cleric's supporters from state institutions.The swift rounding up of judges and others indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said."I'm very concerned. It is exactly what we feared," he said in Brussels. (Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels, Francois Murphy in Vienna, Ece Toksabay, Gulsen Solaker and Dasha Afanasieva in Ankara, Orhan Coskun, Can Sezer, David Dolan, Ayla Jean Yackley and Asli Kandemir in Istanbul, and Lesley Wroughton, Jonathan Landay and Yara Bayoumy in Washington; Writing by Nick Tattersall, Peter Graff and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Peter Millership and Tom Brown)

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Judge rejects new trial for Sumner Redstone's ex-girlfriend

LOS ANGELES An ex-girlfriend of media mogul Sumner Redstone will not be granted a new trial over her lawsuit that challenged the 93-year-old's mental competence, a California judge said in a tentative ruling on Monday.Former companion Manuela Herzer argued that recent developments surrounding Viacom Inc (VIAB.O), one of the media companies that Redstone controls, provided new evidence to support her claim that the billionaire mogul was being manipulated. "There are no grounds for a new trial under the facts presented," Judge David Cowan wrote in a tentative ruling. California judges often issue tentative rulings, which are then finalized after a hearing with few major changes.Viacom shares dropped 1.8 percent in afternoon trading to $44.37 on Nasdaq. In a lawsuit filed last year, Herzer had challenged her removal as Redstone's designated healthcare agent in October 2015. In May, Cowan dismissed Herzer's case after one day of testimony. Less than two weeks later, Redstone removed Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and another board member from the trust that will control Viacom and CBS Corp (CBS.N) after Redstone dies or is declared incapacitated, according to Redstone's spokesman.Judge Cowan noted that Redstone, in a videotaped deposition presented at Herzer’s original trial in May, “has vehemently indicated he does not want her in his life." “The proceeding is not reasonably necessary to protect Redstone’s interests as a patient,” Cowan wrote.Herzer's attorneys will appeal the dismissal of her lawsuit, lawyer Pierce O'Donnell told reporters on Monday. O'Donnell said he would file the appeal within a day or two and ask to have it expedited. Herzer and Dauman have argued in court documents that Redstone suffers from diminished mental competency and is a victim of undue influence exerted by his daughter, Shari. She denies that allegation, saying her father makes his own decisions. Redstone's attorneys also say the mogul is fully aware of his actions.Dauman is challenging his removal from the trust in separate litigation in Delaware. Fred Salerno, Viacom's lead independent director, also has filed suit in Delaware to challenge the removal of Viacom board members in June. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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