Author Archive for Pharmboy

Immunotherapy: Training the body to fight cancer

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Immunotherapy: Training the body to fight cancer

Courtesy of Balveen KaurThe Ohio State University and Pravin KaumayaThe Ohio State University

Image 20170202 1665 nzadz6

An oral squamous cancer cell (white) being attacked by two T cells (red), part of a natural immune response. NIH Image Gallery, CC BY-NC

The human immune system is powerful and complex.

It can identify and destroy invaders of nearly infinite variety, yet spare the more than 30 trillion cells of the healthy body.

Unfortunately, the broken cells of cancer are able to retain, and boost, the “recognize and ignore me” signals of undamaged cells, letting them evade detection by the immune system. As a result, these damaged cells grow unmolested, destroying the normal physiological functioning of tissues and organs.

Armed with new insights into the interactions between cancer and the immune system, research teams are developing novel treatments to harness the full potential of the body’s natural defenses. This is called immunotherapy.

In animal models and clinical trials, breakthrough immunotherapies are emerging, techniques that train the immune system to recognize and attack cancer as the enemy.

One way is through drugs that help the immune system find and destroy cancer cells. Another way is through vaccines that can teach the body to recognize cancer cells.

Recently, studies have paired immunotherapies with modified viruses that attack tumor cells and keep them from returning.

With promising results, such new weapons are providing hope that cancer can ultimately be defeated.

Harnessing the immune system

When foreign cells – like viruses or bacteria – infect the body, the immune system springs into action. It produces antibodies that bind to proteins called antigens on the surface of the foreign cell. Sometimes this is enough to neutralize the foreign cell. In other cases the antibodies bind to the antigen and mark the cell for destruction by T-cells, or both.

Cancer cells also produce antigens. But even though cancer cells are not normal and would otherwise be marked for destruction, antibodies don’t…
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We have a vaccine for six cancers; why are less than half of kids getting it?

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

We have a vaccine for six cancers; why are less than half of kids getting it?

Courtesy of Electra D. Paskett, The Ohio State University

Early in our careers, few of us imagined a vaccine could one day prevent cancer. Now there is a vaccine that keeps the risk of developing six Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers at bay, but adoption of it has been slow and surprising low.

Although it’s been available for more than a decade, as of 2014 only 40 percent of girls had received the full three doses of the vaccine, while only 22 percent of boys had received all three. That is far lower than the 87 percent vaccination rates for the Tdap vaccine, which prevents tetanus, diptheria and acellular pertussis. Rates of uptake are low in all population groups.

Some of the reasons include misinformation about the vaccine and why it’s administered to children. Because it is transmitted sexually in almost all cases, many parents assume their children do not need it until they are sexually active. Some believe that giving it will encourage early sexual behavior. Three separate doses on three separate doctor visits place a burden to many working parents. And, of course, there are those few who believe that vaccines are not good for children.

Now, however, with the approval of a two-dose regimen for children under age 15, we have an opportunity to revisit the conversation with providers and parents and reinvigorate efforts to expand HPV vaccination. If successful, we may save tens of thousands of Americans from cancer every year.

A common virus with an uncommon risk

Oncologists and cancer control researchers, including my colleagues at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, regard HPV as the leading cause of many cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile and oropharynx cancers, or head and neck cancers. In fact, studies are now revealing how HPV damages the genes in our cells and triggers the mutations of cancer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease…
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Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

Courtesy of Greg HallCase Western Reserve University

File 20170616 537 1l34by2

Digitized strand of DNA. Mathagraphics/From www.shutterstock.com

With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as “23andMe” and “Ancestry DNA,” more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA.

Geneticists, meanwhile, are also getting more tailored information about disease risk and prevalence as genetic testing in medical research centers continues.

Physicians accept that cystic fibrosis, for example, is much more common in people with Northern European ancestry and that sickle cell disease occurs dramatically more often in people with African origins. These commonly accepted racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at clinical differences that vary based on genetics.

But there’s a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested.

Overall, physician focus groups “asserted that genetics has a limited role in explaining racial differences in health,” the authors added.

As a primary care physician who teaches urban health to medical students and as a state minority health commissioner who advocates for health equity, I see this as a problem that health care systems, and their providers, need to address.

The state of the science

Commercial DNA tests, such as those provided by 23andMe, not only give people their racial and ethnic lineage but also can provide a weighted risk for diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer and many other diseases. In April, the FDA granted approval to 23andMe to sell reports to consumers that tell them whether they may be at heightened risk.

These companies already have the data that describe the risks for health problems based on the percentage of their…
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Expert conversation: using open source drug discovery to help treat neglected diseases

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Expert conversation: using open source drug discovery to help treat neglected diseases

Courtesy of Gaëll MainguyCentre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires (CRI)

File 20170614 15456 3fcw3z

Professor Samir Brahmachar: ‘Why should drug discovery be kept in the Wright brothers’ era of trial and error?’ Alchetron.com

The Open Source Drug Discovery project, launched in 2008 by biophysicist Samir Brahmachari, aims to develop low-cost treatments for neglected diseases using an open-source approach. Brahmachari is founding director of India’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. He was interviewed by Gaëll Mainguy, director of development and international relations for the CRI (conversation has been edited and condensed for publication).

Gaëll Mainguy: Professor Brahmachari, can you introduce yourself in a few words?

Samir Brahmachari: I have dedicated most of my career to DNA structure and function, and in particular to repetitive sequences – long before the discovery of trinucleotide repeats, a major cause of neurological and neuromuscular diseases. I got hooked to the subject of the potential functions of the so called “junk” portion of the genome when I was a post-doc in Paris in Jacques Monod’s laboratory. The field was virtually blank and not yet competitive – a real bonanza for a young researcher looking to start a scientific career. This uncharted territory was fascinating.

In 1997, I moved to Delhi and founded the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, associated with a large number of hospitals and doctors, to annotate and analyse the functions of genome variations. I led the Human Genome Variation project for Asia and mapped the Indian genomic diversity to identify predictive markers for complex diseases and pharmacogenomics studies.

That’s when I decided to move to bacteria: as people were discussing the need for modelling an entire human genome, I realised that the complexity of our species and the paucity of data would preclude such an endeavour for a long time to come. The question was: is it possible to build a computational model of 4,000 genes?

Right now I’m in Paris as a member of the Scientific Advisory…
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How ‘cannibalism’ by breast cancer cells promotes dormancy: A possible clue into cancer recurrence

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

How 'cannibalism' by breast cancer cells promotes dormancy: A possible clue into cancer recurrence

Courtesy of Thomas BartoshTexas A&M University

Image 20170305 29017 s8nb4v

Cancer cells, in red, cannibalize a type of stem cell, shown in green. The red cells with small specks of green are breast cancer cells that have “eaten” the stem cell. Author provided. 

Breast cancer death rates overall have steadily declined since 1989, leading to an increased number of survivors. But while breast cancer survivors are grateful their bodies show no trace of the disease, they still face anxiety. Breast cancer can and does return, sometimes with a vengeance, even after being in remission for several years.

By studying the “cannabilistic” tendency of cancer cells, my research team has made some progress in finding out why.

The chances of recurrence and disease outcome vary with cancer subtype. About one-third of patients diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive subtype, may experience a recurrence in another part of the body. This is called distant recurrence.

It has been difficult, if not impossible, to predict if and when the same cancer will recur – and to stop it. Recurrent disease may arise from just a single cancer cell that survived the initial treatment and became dormant. The dormancy allowed it to hide somewhere in the body, not growing or causing harm for an unpredictable amount of time.

Determining what puts these dormant cells to “sleep” and what provokes them to “wake up” and begin multiplying uncontrollably could lead to important new treatments to prevent a demoralizing secondary cancer diagnosis.

Recently, my research team and I uncovered several clues that might explain what triggers these breast cancer cells to go dormant and then “reawaken.” We showed that cell cannibalism is linked to dormancy.

How do bone stem cells affect breast cancer?

Breast cancer can recur in the breast or in other organs, such as the lungs and bone. Where breast cancer decides to grow depends largely on the…
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As scientists train the immune system to fight cancer, others look to combat costs

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

As scientists train the immune system to fight cancer, others look to combat costs

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170513 3682 14mgxoi

Poison, radiation or surgery.

For decades now, these have been the only weapons available in the war against cancer. But everyone who has known cancer up close – patients, their loved ones and physicians – has longed for a better way.

Immunotherapy is emerging as the so-called fourth pillar of cancer therapy, alongside chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Unlike these older approaches, immunotherapy works with your body by boosting your immune system’s natural ability to detect and eliminate cancer.

“Boosting your immune system” might sound cheap, but with a foe like cancer, simply upping your vitamin C intake won’t cut it.

Billions of research dollars, including from the Obama administration’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, are being poured into finding new, molecular tools to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight cancer of all types. Now that these new therapies are starting to work, some researchers are turning their attention to something else: driving down costs.

Engineering antibodies to better recognize cancer

Antibodies are a natural part of the immune system. Their job is to physically adhere to specific molecules, including to proteins found on the surface of cells. If antibodies are able to stick to their target, they can (in some cases) recruit other parts of the immune system to take it out.

Perhaps the most famous anti-cancer antibody drug available today is trastuzumab, or Herceptin. In certain forms of breast cancer, a growth-related protein called HER2 is extra abundant on the surface of cancerous cells. Herceptin is engineered to bind to HER2, which not only slows down tumor growth, but also allows the rest of the immune system to mount an attack.

Cancer cells displaying an Achilles’ heel – the HER2 biomarker (red dots). Journal of Pathology Informatics CC-NC-SA

Herceptin has proven effective…
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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170531 23531 1sfeuqi

Laboratory mice are among the first animals to have their diseases treated by CRISPR. tiburi via Pixabay.com

A new research paper is stirring up controversy among scientists interested in using DNA editing to treat disease.

In a two-page article published in the journal Nature Methods on May 30, a group of six scientists report an alarming number of so-called “off-target mutations” in mice that underwent an experimental gene repair therapy.

CRISPR, the hot new gene-editing technique that’s taken biology by storm, is no stranger to headlines. What is unusual, however, is a scientific article so clearly describing a potentially fatal shortcoming of this promising technology.

The research community is digesting this news – with many experts suggesting flaws with the experiment, not the revolutionary technique.

Unwanted DNA changes

The research team sought to repair a genetic mutation known to cause a form of blindness in mice. This could be accomplished, they showed, by changing just one DNA letter in the mouse genome.

They were able to successfully correct the targeted mutation in each of the two mice they treated. But they also observed an alarming number of additional DNA changes — more than 1,600 per mouse — in areas of the genome they did not intend to modify.

The authors attribute these unintended mutations to the experimental CRISPR-based gene editing therapy they used.

Cas9, the CRISPR enzyme that snips DNA, in contact with its target. rcsb.org | PDB: 5FW2 | doi:10.2210/pdb5fw2/pdb, CC BY-ND

A central promise of CRISPR-based gene editing is its ability to pinpoint particular genes. But if this technology produces dangerous side effects by creating unexpected and unwanted mutations across the genome, that could hamper or even derail many of its applications.

Several previous research articles have reported
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Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170512 32578 1hmhoo8

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR. The Conversation

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene editing technology will someday do.

CRISPR was Science magazine’s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year; it’s been featured prominently in the New Yorker more than once; and The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Jennifer Lopez will be the executive producer on an upcoming CRISPR-themed NBC bio-crime drama. Not bad for a molecular biology laboratory technique.

Two of the CRISPR co-inventors, Emmanuelle Charpentier (middle-left) and Jennifer Doudna (middle-right), rubbing elbows with celebs after receiving the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Breakthrough Prize Foundation, CC BY-ND

CRISPR is not the first molecular tool designed to edit DNA, but it gained its fame because it solves some longstanding problems in the field. First, it is highly specific. When properly set up, the molecular scissors that make up the CRISPR system will snip target DNA only where you want them to. It is also incredibly cheap. Unlike previous gene editing systems which could cost thousands of dollars, a relative novice can purchase a CRISPR toolkit for less than US$50.

Research labs around the world are in the process of turning the hype surrounding the CRISPR technique into real results. Addgene, a nonprofit supplier of scientific reagents, has shipped tens of thousands of CRISPR toolkits to researchers in more than 80 countries, and the scientific literature is now packed with thousands of CRISPR-related publications.


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CAR-T & CRISPR – the Future is Now

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members….it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T – stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar, an Israeli immunologist at the Weizmann Institue of Science.  The basic steps are noted below in picture.  The insertion of different 'components' and the way the replication of the protein happens (Step 2; Step 2 subitem 4) yields the clinical variations that are competing in this area by the companies.    

KITE, JUNO and Novartis all have CD19 directed CAR-T technologies.  CD19 was attractive as a CAR-based target therapy because most B-cell leukemias and lymphomas express it, but normal tissue other than the B cell lineage do not.   The companies therefore have focused on CD19 first, and there are subtle difference in the way the T-cells are made.

Any modification of the immune system comes with risk, and CAR-T was no exception.  Even thought the CAR-T was hailed as a wonder treatment due to is successes in blood born cancer, it also caused some complications.  Last year, JUNO hit the wall with their lead, as it caused severe cerebral edema – cytokine storm??  This caused all the CAR-Ts to be evaluated, but in the end, only JUNO's lead was halted. Companies are continually making progress on the CAR-T front, and BLCM seems to be on the cusp of one way to get around a side effect.  

BLCM also has a CD19 directed CAR-T program, with a twist that…
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The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com





 
 
 

ValueWalk

Pakistan Economy In Crisis: Enormous CAD In Financial Year 2017

By Polina Tikhonova. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Pakistan economy suffers from the enormous current account deficit (CAD) increase, sending shockwaves across the nation.

OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

As China and India remain locked in what appears to be the most volatile situation on the Indian subcontinent in recent years, Pakistan enters the political crisis spurred by the ongoing investigation into the government’s corruption, leaving the country’s economy in tatters.

The ...



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Phil's Favorites

Why the US doesn't understand Chinese thought - and must

 

Why the US doesn't understand Chinese thought – and must

Courtesy of Bryan W. Van NordenYale-NUS College

Plato, Confucius and Aristotle. Ancient Greek philosophy is widely taught in American universities, but classes in Chinese philosophy are few and far between. Public domain

The need for the U.S. to understand China is obvious. The Chinese economy is on track to become the largest in the world by 2030, Chinese leadership may be the key to ...



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Zero Hedge

This Recovery Isn't All That Resilient, Here's Why

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Danielle DiMartino Booth via Bloomberg.com,

When adjusted for inflation, credit card usage has grown faster than incomes for 18 months...

Are Federal Reserve stress tests leading economic indicators? That...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) Nears All-Time High on Spike Above Daily Chart Downchannel Resistance

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) crushed shorts yesterday, smashing above the daily chart's downchannel resistance and soaring towards the all-time high around 3000. With yesterday's massive rally, the negative weekly MACD crossover has been proved a false signal.  Odds are quite good that a sustainable longer term BTC/USD bottom was found last week, especially with ETH/USD also strongly rebounding this past week.  Some consolidation can be expected today with daily RSI and Stochastics tiring, although with daily MACD just having positive...



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Insider Scoop

Bank Of America Says Expectations For Groupon Are Still Too High

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related GRPN Benzinga's Option Alert Recap From July 18 Watch These 7 Huge Call Purchases In Monday Trade ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Chart School

Small Caps Breakout

Courtesy of Declan.

It has taken a few days for Small Caps to make their move but today was the day the Russell 2000 joined other indices in mounting a breakout. It was a clean breakout supported by positive technical strength - putting to bed the June 'bull trap'. Watch for the second round of stop-whips with an intraday move (and recovery) below 1,430.


Other indices added to their breakouts. The S&P gapped and pushed on, backed by higher volume accumulation. Watch for a tag of upper channel resistance.

...

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Members' Corner

Why we need to act on climate change now

 

Why we need to act on climate change now

Interview with Jan Dash PhD, by Ilene Carrie, Editor at Phil’s Stock World

Jan Dash PhD is a physicist, an expert at quantitative finance and risk management, and a consultant at Bloomberg LP. In his thought-provoking book, Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, A Physicist's Approach, Jan devotes a chapter to climate change and its long-term systemic risk. In this article, Ilene interviews Jan regarding his thoughts on climate change and the way it can affect our futu...



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OpTrader

swing trading portfolio - week of July 17th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Biotech

Immunotherapy: Training the body to fight cancer

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Immunotherapy: Training the body to fight cancer

Courtesy of Balveen KaurThe Ohio State University and Pravin KaumayaThe Ohio State University

An oral squamous cancer cell (white) being attacked by two T cells (red), part of a natural immune response. ...



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Mapping The Market

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

This would be excellent news for AAPL and GOOG to a lesser extent although not inconsequential:

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years 

In five years, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion last year, according to a report released today by app measurement company App Annie. What explains the growth? More people are spending more time and -- crucially -- more money in apps. While on average people aren't downloading many more apps, App Annie expects global app usership to nearly double to 6.3 billion people in the next five years while the time spent in apps will more than double. And, it expects the...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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