Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Acid Bath Offers Easy Path To Stem Cells

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the horror-movie-turned-science dept.

Japan 71

ananyo writes "In 2006, Japanese researchers reported a technique for creating cells that have the embryonic ability to turn into almost any cell type in the mammalian body — the now-famous induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In papers published this week in Nature, another Japanese team says that it has come up with a surprisingly simple method — exposure to stress, including a low pH — that can make cells that are even more malleable than iPS cells, and do it faster and more efficiently. The work so far has focused on mouse white blood cells but the group are now trying to make the method work with cells from adult humans. If they're successful, that would dramatically speed up the process of creating stem cells for potential clinical applications."

cancel ×

71 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

oh man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099623)

there goes my best argument. Jenny's sure to have the baby now.

Re:oh man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46103579)

Did you get her number on the wall?

Embryonic ability (5, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46099649)

What a loaded phrase. These are pluripotent adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cell treatments have never panned out; yet we have hundreds of adult stem cell treatments. This is extending the adult stem cell treatment into what people--political people--have theorized embryonic stem cells could be used for, but which has never actually worked out well.

The term "embryonic" is often crammed into positive stem cell research in any way possible so that people can have a stronger pro-stem-cell argument base to argue for embryonic stem cell research. The term "adult" is often dropped when that's not possible, so we can just say "stem cells". You'll see research that allows us to create cells "like embryonic stem cells" or make cells "behave like embryonic stem cells" to achieve things we've never honestly achieved from embryonic stem cells not because of lack of research, but because they just don't fucking behave--ESS aren't just pluripotent, but they're essentially seeds that are pre-programmed (metaphor) to grow into whole bodies... or tumors.

If you want to regrow tissue, adult stem cells are the way to go. If you want to regrow a variety of tissue, pluripotent adult stem cells are the way to go (or as close to it as you can get). If you want to regrow organs... that's going to be tough; you need not just pluripotency, but you need to induce the mechanisms executed after embryonic stem cells start to differentiate, but before they become simply pluripotent--you need to not grow a whole body, but grow an arm or a kidney rather than just a sheet of tissue. That's an intermediate state that's going to be hard to trigger from either end.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 months ago | (#46099779)

Interesting I thought they had done away with the need for Embryonic Stem Cells for at least five years by Expressing cells with the same properties from Skin Cells. Obviously I could be way out here.

Mod Parent up!

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 7 months ago | (#46113697)

Apparently there's some problems with that method or it's a pain in the rear to do so.

This new method seems to offer promise to be both cheap and easy to do so at scale.

Re:Embryonic ability (4, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | about 6 months ago | (#46099787)

I would certainly prefer a treatment made with my own cells, with my own DNA over one made from some embryo.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Anti-Social Network (3032259) | about 6 months ago | (#46103169)

What about stem cells, taken as an embryo, but that can be used later on the then-grown adult? I daresay it's the best of both worlds. Doesn't apply to us participating in the thread right now obviously, but why shouldn't it be possible in a decade?

That is unless, of course, the adult stem cells are equally as useful as the embryonic ones, but even so I'd worry about radiation-induced genetic copy-errors as I get old. So, keep the "original" genes pure in some ultra-hardened bio-vault. Hell, keep the line alive and grow me a new body every 30-40 years or so; sounds like a future I'd want to survive to see. But we need to test it to find out if the adult-stem cells really are just as good for a multitude of purposes (and for those of us that didn't get the biopsy in pre-birth checkup), and for that we need at least a control group of embryonic cells to test with.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 7 months ago | (#46111427)

I don't know how these compare to actual embryonic stem cells but there are services that take stem cells from the umbilical chord at birth. We wanted to do this for my daughter when she was born a few years ago. Unfortunately the cost of storage was too high. I believe they are stored in liquid nitrogen until they are needed.. x number of decades later.

Wouldn't it be awesome if our dna could be sequenced, stored digitally and then reconstituted into new stem cells as needed by a machine? Then again... unless you wanted to grow a twin after the original body is completely gone I suppose with that kind of technology you could just use an adult cell at the time it is needed and skip that whole storage stage.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Anti-Social Network (3032259) | about 7 months ago | (#46114763)

That would be awesome, but I don't think the tech is nearly ready for that. We have yet to produce a proper human clone - and until we at least get that process right, it's never gonna happen. I also wonder at how much the mitochondrial DNA matters as well - something a basic DNA sequence wouldn't tell you. The important thing, I think, is to catch the DNA at its original state, before it drifts as these things tend to do with age. Adult stem cells are never going to get around that issue, but they may be the next-best thing for awhile.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 6 months ago | (#46099861)

Most people will have some sort of idea what the difference is between any regular old human body cell and an "embryonic stem cell" and what the latter was supposed to be used for.
It's easier to just refer to any cell that has a similar use/purpose as "embryonic stem cell" than having to re-educate people on what "pluripotent adult stem cells" are.
Also; newspapers will attract a lot more attention with "embryonic" in the headline than "pluripotent adult".

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100077)

Most people will have some sort of idea what the difference is between any regular old human body cell and an "embryonic stem cell" and what the latter was supposed to be used for.
It's easier to just refer to any cell that has a similar use/purpose as "embryonic stem cell" than having to re-educate people on what "pluripotent adult stem cells" are.

It's odd that you can have both of those beliefs at the same time.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 6 months ago | (#46100245)

Also; newspapers will attract a lot more attention with "embryonic" in the headline than "pluripotent adult".

Well, yes; lying to your audience is what a lot of "journalists" do to get more readers. Just take a look at the supermarket checkout line sometime.

Re:Embryonic ability (3, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46100315)

No, the problem is most people know they've been told "embryonic stem cells will cure every disease" or "you can make anything out of embryonic stem cells." Most people just know "stem cells" and are unaware that there's a difference; the word "embryonic" is just attached. Whenever non-embryonic stem cells are brought in, the only purpose of attaching "embryonic" is to groom your audience to follow your political opinions.

Then you get the year 2000, with everyone arguing over stem cell bans that don't exist (Clinton banned embryonic stem cell research; Bush lifted the ban, with large restrictions). Big political issue, nobody understands the difference, they don't understand the medical position, the legislative position, or even that they're discussing a subset of a type of research--embryonic stem cell research is research into manipulating stem cells, just as adult stem cell research, but using a different starting point; this makes the issue much smaller than people ever believed.

Then you get a voter base with incomplete knowledge. Then they may select the worst candidate because they believe all the minimally important issues are incredibly important, while all the maximally-important issues are dismissed or simply unknown.

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100053)

so it's just like the term "Cloud Computing", over hyped and over used and after Bush Jr. banned federal funds for Stem Cell Research, we now have viable methods that are rapidly improving so I'm now wondering how long it will take before we begin Rejuvenation of select individuals thru cloned organs and such?

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100055)

Notice that this is JAPANESE team, not an American. Bush set stem cell research in the US back by about 10 years.

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100477)

Thank you for proving his point

Re:Embryonic ability (2)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#46101555)

Please point out to me where Bush did anything to stop research on adult stem cells, such as those mentioned in TFA. If anything, he (though for the wrong reasons) stopped work on the less promising form of stem cell research. As someone else has already said in this thread, "I would certainly prefer a treatment made with my own cells, with my own DNA over one made from some embryo."

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46103055)

Please point out to me where Bush did anything to stop research on adult stem cells, such as those mentioned in TFA. If anything, he (though for the wrong reasons) stopped work on the less promising form of stem cell research. As someone else has already said in this thread, "I would certainly prefer a treatment made with my own cells, with my own DNA over one made from some embryo."

As someone who posts on Slashdot, you should understand the idea of pipe lining. Experiments with embryonic stem cells help lay the foundation for experiments with adult stem cells that have been made more embryonic, which didn't exist at the time and still don't exactly exist. This should be obvious, but for some reason you need it pointed out to you. There was no reason to every ban using embryonic stem cells that would have been destroy anyway. It's just some "person hood" propaganda.

Re:Embryonic ability (2)

Zirbert (1936162) | about 6 months ago | (#46103471)

Please point out to me where Bush did anything to stop research on adult stem cells,

There's also the not-negligible issue that declining to pay for something (which is what Bush did with embryonic stem cell research) is not remotely the same as banning it. I don't know how poorly informed and/or indoctrinated into statism you'd need to be to fail to recognize the distinction, but it's depressing how many of those folks are out there. Worse, many of them vote.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Megane (129182) | about 7 months ago | (#46120141)

I'm just wondering how you can fail to understand the distinction between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Zirbert (1936162) | about 7 months ago | (#46123785)

I do understand it.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm supporting you. You said he didn't do anything to hinder adult stem cell research; my intention was to bolster your argument. I.e.,"Not only did he not hinder adult SC research, he didn't even ban embryonic research."

I'm on your side here. Sorry if that wasn't clear!

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100433)

But, but... pointing out the practical superiority of this technique along with its lack of any ethical encumbrance gives us no opportunity to complain about religion!

Re:Embryonic ability (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 6 months ago | (#46100581)

One thing that I've noticed is that people who are against embryonic stem cell research are aware that there are "adult" stem cells, and people who are for embryonic stem cell research don't seem to be aware of the existence of "adult" stem cells. I know it is selection bias, but it is amusing and sad that people I wouldn't expect to have that knowledge do and the people I would expect to have it don't.

Re:Embryonic ability (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46103575)

My issue with embryonic stem cell research is it's an incredibly bad hack. Essentially you need to jump through all kinds of loopy hoops to make it work, then it tends to run amock (tumors), and even if it did work you have the same rejection issues as organ transplants (fixable by using your own DNA to seed an embryo as a start).

Research into embryonic stem cells has never showed "promise"; it has always been an idealistic on-paper pursuit. There's lots of promise in the Alcubierre warp drive in the same way (all implications). Meanwhile adult stem cell research has consistently produced results, and over time these results have come at an accelerated rate; there is often research into making adult stem cells more multipotent, and in this case pluripotent, which--given the relative ease with which we can apply them to new treatments--just opens the floodgates and allows even more rapid advancement.

To me, embryonic stem cell research at large is a waste of time. It's an academic pursuit, and should be pursued as such; but real research dollars diverted towards real-world applicable medical research should go directly to adult stem cell research. When we research real-world space travel--how are we going to get the next batch of satellites into space?--we research new rocket engines; when we research negative energy and faster-than-light drives, we acknowledge that we're just trying to get the new building blocks to, someday, build new things that we can't possibly do today.

When the decision is made on how much money to send to "fringe research" and how much to send to "applicable research", I don't want to see brainless monkeys sending precious medical research dollars intended to generate miracle cures TOMORROW toward fringe embryonic stem cell research that won't generate anything useful for DECADES. Send your fringe research budget money that way.

Of course, if you hype up embryonic stem cell research enough, that will be where the investors run, where the grants go, and where public opinion (which boosts stock prices) falls. That means you can make a lot of money by luring investors onto your medical venture that's going nowhere, getting grant money for your medical venture that's going nowhere, then taking your company public and holding stock in your medical venture that's going nowhere until it's starting to peak over. That doesn't happen for fringe research; fringe research gets a justifiably smaller budget because it's important next decade, while real research gets a bigger budget because it's important yesterday.

Re:Embryonic ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46106153)

I've noticed the exact opposite myself. Then again in the scientific community there is a selection bias towards science.

Re:Embryonic ability (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#46100667)

It's completely relevant in this case: they've experimentally demonstrated that the cells are equally pluripotent to embryonic cells. That's why they bother to make the distinction between these and "common-or-garden" induced-pluripotent adult cells.

Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099707)

But what if I want to use fetuses?

Re:Damn! (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46099795)

Try the dumpster behind the local abortion clinic.

Re:Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100381)

Nine months after prom night is when the catch is big.

too easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099733)

we have not suffered nearly enough yet? congratulations momskind, little miss dna cannot be wrong proves out time after time

our dna is repairing itself while evolving rapidly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099835)

meeting the needs. what a gig. never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to each other & our new clear options. are monkeys going to grow hymens now? our kids can already see like birds? creational (r)evolution is so sleek

Wait? (1, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46099741)

Wait...I thought that the ban on stem-cell-farming from unborn babies was going to stunt US stem-cell research forever?

I'm certain there were dozens of stories on slashot (at least) excoriating that absurd Luddite Bush for banning such practices, saying that the US would be stuck in a medical Dark Age while the rest of the world leaped forward with stem-cell therapies....hm, it's almost like the ban worked to encourage scientists worldwide to find alternative ways to get stem cells that will ultimately be therapeutically MORE useful?

Re:Wait? (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46099781)

There was no worldwide ban. Just USA.

Re:Wait? (2)

OG (15008) | about 6 months ago | (#46099851)

Exactly. There's always been incentive to use adult stem cells as that means patients could possibly become their own donors for various therapies. Until recently though (possibly, we'll see how this pans out), that was feasible with our knowledge and technology.

It's my understanding that the Japan doesn't have the same strictures on embryonic stem cell research that we have here in the US. I haven't looked over this closely (and frankly don't have the time, I'd love to see someone more knowledgable chime in), but I'm guessing that this current study would not have been possible without prior embryonic stem cell research. There's a possibility that, had the entire world been subject to Bush's edicts, we wouldn't be at this point now. Conjecture, but I don't think unlikely.

Re:Wait? (1)

OG (15008) | about 6 months ago | (#46099855)

"wasn't" feasible -- oh slashdot, why do you still not have an editing feature?

Re:Wait? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46100117)

Because it would be used for trolling.

Re:Wait? (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 6 months ago | (#46100289)

Then why is there a comment system?

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46102999)

"wasn't" feasible -- oh slashdot, why do you still not have an editing feature?

There is, it's marked "preview". Don't blame slashdot for your own mistakes and shortcomings.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100005)

You make a make a statement ( " this current study would not have been possible without prior embryonic stem cell research") and then use that to push some stale political agenda.

Your statement is not supportable. You provided nothing but your uneducated and politically motivated opinion solely to take a pot shot at a previous policies.

In short, you are a troll.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100105)

They also don't have the population growth to support major embroyonic stem cell efforts. What they do have is an aging population that's imploding due to a birth rate that's dropped below the replacement levels.

Fast Turtle

Re:Wait? (1)

Zirbert (1936162) | about 6 months ago | (#46103501)

There was no ban in the USA, just a lack of federal funding. If that's a ban, then the gummint has banned my buying more computer parts because they won't pay for them.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099799)

You don't need to farm stem cells from unborn babies, you can use cord blood for that, during birth. It's done on a wide scale, not just research. Hell, me and my wife are doing it in about a month.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100461)

Just curious, why aren't you planning to give that blood to the 0-day old it belongs to?

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46104061)

What? You think they take all the blood or what? There's plenty of it. It used to be thrown out before.
Read about the method somewhere.

Re:Wait? (4, Informative)

Warbothong (905464) | about 6 months ago | (#46099817)

Wait...I thought that the ban on stem-cell-farming from unborn babies was going to stunt US stem-cell research forever?

TFA confirms that hypothesis: both of the techniques mentioned were discovered in Japan ;)

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100125)

Except for the little fact that these aren't embryonic stem cells.
 
TFA confirms that: To convince sceptics, Obokata had to prove that the pluripotent cells were converted mature cells and not pre-existing pluripotent cells. So she made pluripotent cells by stressing T cells, a type of white blood cell whose maturity is clear from a rearrangement that its genes undergo during development. She also caught the conversion of T cells to pluripotent cells on video. Obokata called the phenomenon stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP).
 
  Nothing about the "stem cell ban" would have prevented this exact research in the US.

Re:Wait? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#46100691)

Nothing about the stem cell ban encouraged it, which was his big "Bush helped science" point.

Re:Wait? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100793)

Regardless of what Bush thought or felt on the subject or even what you think or feel on the subject it is still true that nothing about the ban prohibited this research from being completed in the United States at any point in time.
 
So caw on all you want about how evil Bush is but the point that this was done in Japan still has nothing to do with Bush's policy on stem cell research. Point. Set. Match.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46106177)

Point. Set. Match.

Translation: Let's please end this discussion before someone provides evidence that I'm wrong and embarrasses me.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46103073)

I'd suggest that the US is a huge market for the results of such research. Why wouldn't others want to pursue research that would yield treatments usable in that market?

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099833)

This isn't US stem-cell research. This is Japanese stem-cell research. They are ahead of us.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099887)

Yes... hence this being a Japanese discovery instead of possibly a US one... that is all.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100497)

Not forever.

It just killed off a ~10 year head start using a resource that was being discarded.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46100527)

Wait...I thought that the ban on stem-cell-farming from unborn babies was going to stunt US stem-cell research forever?

The US didn't ban embryonic stem-cell research.

They banned federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

There's a difference.

Re:Wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46102541)

Quick recap:

Clinton banned federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. (sorry don't know the act/bill)
Bush lifted the ban on federal funding for hESC research for 21 existing lines of hESC (these cells could be reproduced without creating an embryo and thus without destroying human life). (Aug. 2001 decision)
Obama completely lifted the ban, although another law still prevented funding for research that creates or destroys embryos. (don't know the act)

So Bush actually opened up some federal money for some research, but with more restrictions than people were hoping for. So the way it stands now (as far as I can tell) is that you have to get private funding for the part of your research that creates the embryos, and once you have your stem cells you can get federal funding for subsequent research. Or get your stem cells from one of the existing federal-approved lines.

So I would say Bush didn't "set the research back" so much as "stunted its growth" ;) Personally I'm opposed to hESC research on moral grounds.

Re:Wait? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#46100687)

Ignoring the inconvenient fact that demonstrating this technique in humans will require comparison with human embryonic stem cells.

As does a BLOOD bath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099757)

Abortions! Do not let them go to waste! Harvest, people! HARVEST!

Don Vito calling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099865)

> Acid bath

I wonder if the method only works on sicilian and italian-american stem cells?

Re:Don Vito calling! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46099909)

> Acid bath

I wonder if the method only works on sicilian and italian-american stem cells?

No the British have a decades lead [wikipedia.org] on this.

Far out, man (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 6 months ago | (#46099891)

Acid has been bringing us good things for years. It's true, just ask Yosemite bear.

end barbaric surgery & ovemedication cabals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099949)

that's a big problem for some? restore our senses & spirits to original condition by ourselves is our job as unchosens?

Telomeres and Telomerase .... ??? (2)

Jizzbug (101250) | about 6 months ago | (#46099961)

In adult cells turned to stem cells, don't they need to give the new stem cells a bath in telomerase to extend their telomeres? Otherwise you have a "new" "young" malleable cell that will deteriorate faster because it has the age of an adult cell.

Acid Bath have ventured into embryonic research? (1)

torsmo (1301691) | about 6 months ago | (#46100033)

Is this why they sang about abortions?

http://www.metal-archives.com/... [metal-archives.com]

Tumor cell de-differentiation (5, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | about 6 months ago | (#46101083)

Now this is rather interesting. Tumor interiors are often low-pH environments, thanks to poor oxygenation and a reliance on anaerobic metabolism (see: arburg effect).

Re:Tumor cell de-differentiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46102439)

Warburg effect (for those who want to learn more about it)- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warburg_effect#Oncology

There is also quite a bit of immune cells that change sub-sets or activation pathways in tumors.

Re:Tumor cell de-differentiation (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 7 months ago | (#46116495)

Warburg effect (for those who want to learn more about it)- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Thanks, it's easy to make typos and hard to make links, when posting from a mobile phone.

Acid Bath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46101177)

Did anyone else think of the 90's band with Dax Riggs when read the headline?

Re:Acid Bath (1)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about 7 months ago | (#46124195)

I did, since I almost joined that band. Those were the days.

Fifth Element prior art? (1)

oe1kenobi (601951) | about 6 months ago | (#46105059)

Instead of an acid bath, have they tried bombarding the cells with slightly-greasy solar radiation?

Thrash Metal RLZ!!! (1)

Optali (809880) | about 7 months ago | (#46118457)

Yeah, I knew this band was fucking awesome, but not that they were alos useful for hte advance of humanity:
http://www.metal-archives.com/... [metal-archives.com]

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>