Mike Capbarat, a senior producer with creative content studio Duke & Duck in Washington, D.C., will soon learn if he’ll be taking home an Oscar®.
Capbarat produced “Burrow,” a Disney and Pixar production that’s been nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category; the 93rd Academy Awards® will be held Sunday, April 25.
“Burrow” is the story of a young rabbit that embarks on a journey to dig the burrow of her dreams, despite not having a clue what she’s doing. Rather than reveal to her neighbors her imperfections, she digs herself deeper and deeper into trouble. After hitting (bed)rock bottom, she learns there’s no shame in asking for help.
Capbarat says, “It was a true honor making this movie with such a wonderfully kind and talented crew. To have our short film receive this huge nomination is beyond exciting. One of our earliest goals was to create something warm and cozy that would inspire kids and families to cuddle up and watch. And we’re so glad that this nomination has given our little rabbit a second wind, bringing an even wider audience a sense of comfort and connection during this unbelievably tough year.”
Capbarat will be going to the Oscar ceremony; he says, “I’ve dreamed of this since I was a kid and it’s hard to believe it’s actually happening. I couldn’t be prouder to be representing our amazing crew, my family and friends, and my wonderful colleagues here in D.C.”
Alex Herder, founder and creative director of Duke & Duck, says, “We’re proud of Mike and all he contributes to each team and production. Stories are at the core of our humanity and, through animation and motion graphics, we work hard to reach the hearts and eyes of key audiences. Mike really exemplifies this philosophy and we’re all hoping he wins!”
At Duke & Duck, Capbarat has lent his Pixar-honed storytelling skills to the “Prepare with Pedro” cartoon series for the American Red Cross, to an award-winning ad series for Nestlé USA and more. These and other examples of the firm’s productions for clients such as Patagonia, Axios, the Biden-Harris presidential campaign and National Geographic can be found at www.dukeduck.com/work/.
Early last year ASPR started working with a client that had faced and overcome many institutional challenges. Initially, we were focused on telling the story of how this nonprofit had overcome the hurdles.
As the assignment continued, our team realized there was nothing wrong with that approach, but a better strategy was to focus on how to turn the page on the story and begin the next chapter. In other words, we believed our target audience would be more interested in current events rather than retrospectives.
Little did we know that a few weeks later COVID-19 would indeed present a new chapter and, with it, an even more challenging example of this client rising to the moment.
Indeed, the events of the past 12 months have been heartbreaking, frustrating and upsetting.
But we should never lose sight of what else is occurring. We like to remember that Apple, the most valuable company ever created, was started during the mid-’70s, a time when many were predicting long-term economic doom-and-gloom.
We don’t know what advancements are being created right now. But we’re on this journey together. How the story evolves and unfolds is in our hands.
We send you all best wishes for health and safety in 2021. Please stay in touch and let us know what’s new with you, your causes, your company.
Alzheimer’s Breakthrough: C₂N First to Offer a Widely Accessible Blood Test
PrecivityAD™Blood Test Answers Calls from Patients, Advocates, and Physicians Who Want Earlier Answers
Patients, advocates, and physicians who have long awaited an easy to administer blood test that can help them better understand Alzheimer’s disease now have a health care innovation that they can rely upon.
A breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease has arrived with the introduction of C2N Diagnostics’ PrecivityAD™ blood test into the clinic. Researchers at C₂N Diagnostics have found the PrecivityAD™ test predicts Alzheimer’s brain pathology in people with memory and thinking issues. Based on data from 686 patients older than 60 years of age with subjective cognitive impairment or dementia, the PrecivityAD™ test correctly identified brain amyloid plaque status (as determined by quantitative amyloid PET scans) in 86% of the patients. The Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) for the analysis had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.88. Further details of the test’s diagnostic performance are provided here.
The PrecivityAD™ test is a highly sensitive blood test using mass spectrometry and is performed in C₂N’s CLIA-certified lab. While the test by itself cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — which is a clinical diagnosis made by a health care provider — the test is an important new tool for physicians to aid in the evaluation process.
The PrecivityAD™ test does not involve any radiation and is non-invasive. These features are expected to make the test more accessible than other diagnostic methods that physicians use to evaluate issues with memory and thinking.
Blood Test Unlocks Alzheimer’s Mysteries
The proprietary test involves a small blood sample from a person’s forearm. C₂N analyzes the blood in its specialized laboratory facility using mass spectrometry to measure the concentrations of amyloid beta 42 and 40 (Aβ42 and Aβ40), and the presence of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) isoforms in blood. The analysis process is automated and allows for C2N to process samples in a routine and repeatable manner.
C2N will send the physician the patient’s lab report. The lab report details the levels of the biomarkers and provides an overall combined score, known as the Amyloid Probability Score (APS), to assess the likelihood of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
A low APS (0-36) is consistent with a negative amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a low likelihood of amyloid plaques. Absence of amyloid plaques is inconsistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and indicates other causes of cognitive symptoms should be investigated.
An intermediate APS (37-57) does not distinguish between the presence or absence of amyloid plaques and indicates further diagnostic evaluation may be needed to assess the underlying cause(s) for the patient’s cognitive symptoms.
A high APS (58-100) is consistent with a positive amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a high likelihood of amyloid plaques. Presence of amyloid plaques is consistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in someone who has cognitive decline, but alone is insufficient for a final diagnosis; clinical presentation and other factors should be considered along with the APS.
Knowing that a patient’s symptoms may be due to Alzheimer’s can help inform a physician to prescribe specific Alzheimer’s treatments or lifestyle interventions in order to aid in the management of the disease. A recent study of patients adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors found a dramatic reduction in risk of dementia, between 37% and ~60%, depending on intensity of the behavioral changes.
Joel B. Braunstein, MD, CEO of C₂N says, “Our mission is to translate exceptional science into unique diagnostics that can help as many people as possible. The PrecivityAD™ blood test introduces a new option for patients, families and the medical community that have eagerly awaited innovative tools to address Alzheimer’s troubling problems.”
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulators have granted C₂N’s lab a certificate; CLIA regulates clinical labs to ensure accurate and reliable test results for patient specimens.
The company is also moving ahead with development of a Brain Health Panel that seeks to detect multiple blood-based markers for Alzheimer’s disease to aid in better disease staging, treatment monitoring, and differential diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s Community Applauds Breakthrough
“This is an exciting and much-needed development,” says George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The advance of blood-based tests for use by physicians in the Alzheimer’s diagnostic process is occurring at a much more rapid pace than many in the field have appreciated. Accessible, affordable, and earlier testing by physicians is essential to understand the underlying cause of any cognitive impairment and to more effectively make or rule out a clinical Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It is equally important that government and private payers fairly reimburse for the costs of any Alzheimer’s test that can aid in a physician’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s so that all Americans, regardless of income, can, if they wish, know whether they have Alzheimer’s or not.”
Jeff Cummings, MD, ScD, founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and research professor, department of brain health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says, “Advances in Alzheimer’s diagnostics are key to more effective identification, diagnosis and clinical trial recruitment. A blood test for Alzheimer’s is a game changer.”
Visit www.PrecivityAD.com or call 1-877-226-3424 to learn more. The test is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; the exceptions are California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York, which require individual state processes for CLIA labs. C₂N is working toward the requisite certificates that will permit the PrecivityAD™ test to be available in these states in the near future. Please periodically refer to the www.PrecivityAD.com or call 1-877-226-3424 for status updates on test availability in these five states.
Details about a financial assistance program and payment plans are also available.
Development of the PrecivityAD™ blood test has been funded partially by the National Institutes of Health, GHR Foundation, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and BrightFocus Foundation.
About C₂N Diagnostics
C₂N’s Diagnostics’ vision is to bring Clarity Through Innovation™. It focuses its therapeutic discovery efforts around mechanism-based approaches to prevent or stop the progression of human neurological disorders. Diagnostic efforts revolve around bringing accurate, widely accessible, and cost-effective blood tests to the clinic for the betterment of patient care and brain health monitoring. Its lead commercial product, PrecivityAD™, is a mass spectrometry-based test that measures in blood multiple analytes including Aβ42, Aβ40, and apolipoprotein E isoforms. This test predicts brain amyloid plaques as determined by PET scan results and in early 2019 it received a Breakthrough Device Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information visit www.C2N.com.
As America marks Constitution Day, research shows most Americans don’t know how many amendments the Constitution includes, one of the questions on the U.S. citizenship test. The National Assessment of Educational Progress also reports that the average U.S. history score for eighth grade students was four points lower in 2018 compared to 2014. One in five students say they have no interest in studying the Cold War. Advocates believe there’s an urgent need to transform the way American history is taught and learned.
The new nonprofit’s initial effort involves creating and distributing a comprehensive American history video series that focuses on what is interesting to high school students. DFI says that video content, accessed by students both in the classroom and out of school, is the most effective underutilized tool available.
DFI’s UNTOLD series on YouTube is the home for new short form videos that will post each week during the 2020–21 school year. All the videos are free. In addition, DFI is making related materials to support learning, whether in a traditional classroom, virtual or hybrid setting, available to educators.
For example, “How the Census Changed America” features eye-catching graphics and an engaging narrator to explain the failure of the first U.S. Census, why that upset Thomas Jefferson and how that led to innovative thinking that helped create an American business that exists today.
Patrick Riccards, founder and chief executive officer of DFI, says, “To make a real difference in the learning of history, we must approach the problem from several angles, exploring different concerns to inject real solutions. As tens of millions of students across the country are forced to shift to virtual learning — and as their teachers look for new engaging learning materials to hold their students’ interests — now is the time to change the teaching and learning of American history.”
DFI is using an integrated set of efforts designed to get at the three legs of the history instruction stool:
Support instruction for current K–12 American history teachers, designed to both improve their own understanding of American history and empower them to better connect with their students and make history an exciting and worthwhile pursuit of study. As an incentive, teachers who successfully participate in DFI will receive micro-credentials and badges that signify they are part of a national network committed to improving American history instruction.
Curriculum design for both traditional classrooms and out-of-school-time environments,
changing the very way American history is taught in communities across the nation; and
Direct-to-consumer engagement, providing interesting and dynamic learning opportunities to students (and by extension, their families) through a digital platform.
To meet these needs, DFI will soon launch a pilot project that will recruit small teams of educators in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This project will help shape the development of the website content, ensuring the most effective utilization possible.
Ultimately, DFI will seek to develop an online professional development platform, a series of “historians’ toolkits,” models for a “flipped” American history curriculum, and an archive of games and simulations for educators to use with students.