Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2016 Contents A26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, February 6, 2016
GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PETROLEUM, INVESTMENT,
TRADE AND COMMERCE
REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Consultancy Services to Design, Build, Pilot and Install a Public Sector
Investment Programme Management Information System (PSIP-MIS)
The Government of Belize (GOB) has received a grant from the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF)
in an amount equivalent to US$338,750.00 towards the cost of the Strengthening the Public Sector
Investment Programme (Ministry of Economic Development) PSIP-MIS project, and intends to apply
a portion of the proceeds of this grant to eligible payments under a contract for which this
invitation is issued. Payments by CDF will be made only at the request of the GOB and upon
approval by CDF, and will be subject, in all respects, to the terms and conditions of the Grant
Agreement. The Grant Agreement prohibits withdrawal from the Grant Account for the purpose of
any payment to persons or entities, or for any import of goods, if such payment or import, to the
knowledge of CDF, is prohibited by a decision of the United Nations Security Council taken
under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. No party other than the Government of
Belize shall derive any rights from the Grant Agreement or have any claims to the proceeds of
The Ministry of Economic Development is mandated to oversee the GOB's PSIP, which consists pri-
marily of programmed capital investment projects being implemented in support of national and
sectoral development objectives. Currently, a formal institutionalised system that governs PSIP
processes is absent, limiting the MED's ability to effectively execute its mandate. The Ministry is
seeking to enhance its capacity in this regard and now invites proposals for the provision of
services to design, build, pilot and install a Public Sector Investment Programme Management
Consultants from all jurisdictions are eligible to participate.
Interested firms are asked to contact the Ministry in writing at the addresses below by
4:30 pm on 15th February, 2016 and request the documents necessary to prepare their
Chief Executive Officer
Ministry of Economic Development
Ground Floor, Sir Edney Cain Building
The correspondence must have as its subject "Consultancy to Design, Build, Pilot and Install a
PSIP-MIS" and contain the name and address of the applicant. The full Request for Proposal
and any further instructions will be forwarded by email to those interested on 16th
MED shall not be bound to assign any reason for not selecting any applicant and will not defray any
costs incurred by the applicant in the preparation and submission of proposals.
Mice were much healthier and lived about 25 per
cent longer when scientists killed off a certain kind
of cell that accumulates in the body with age.
What s more, the mice didn t seem to suffer any
ill effects from losing their so-called senescent cells.
These are cells that have stopped dividing, though
not necessarily because the cells themselves are old.
"It s a normal cell that experienced an unusual
amount of stress, and it decided to stop dividing,"
says Jan van Deursen, who studies senescent cells
at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester,
Older creatures have a lot more of these cells than
young uns. And even though the cells aren t dividing,
they do keep busy---they secrete a mixture of chem-
icals that can trigger inflammation, which seems to
be involved in just about every major age-related
So van Deursen and his colleagues wanted to
know: What would happen if you simply got rid of
senescent cells? That s tough to do in humans, but
possible in mice.
The researchers created mice that were genetically
altered so that giving them a drug would trigger
senescent cells to kill themselves. Then they waited
until the mice reached middle age, and gave some
of them the drug.
At first, wiping out the senescent cells didn t seem
to make much difference. But as the mice got older,
the research team could see that the treated mice
"And then when we started to record the life span
of the animals, we saw that there was about a 25
per cent extension in life span of animals that had
their senescent cells removed from one year of age
on," says van Deursen.
What s more, the treated mice had fewer cataracts,
hearts with better stress tolerance, and improved
kidney function. And losing the cells didn t seem
to cause them any problems, the researchers reported
in the journal Nature.
The bottom line, says van Deursen, is that "it
seems like we re accumulating a cell type that we
really don t need for anything and that makes us
more unhealthy and reduces the length of our healthy
Needless to say, the hunt is already on for drugs
that could eliminate these cells in people. That s not
going to happen tomorrow, of course, and useful
drugs might never materialise. But the findings in
mice provide researchers with a new place to look.
Van Deursen himself is working with a new com-
pany, Unity Biotechnology in San Francisco, that
has some promising candidates.
A scientist named Judith Campisi, who studies
senescent cells at the independent Buck Institute
for Research on Aging, also works with Unity. She
thinks the findings of the latest study are significant.
"The impressive thing is those mice not only lived
longer but they lived healthier," says Campisi.
But she cautions that removing these cells isn t
going to be a magic bullet against aging.
"Obviously, even in the Nature paper, those mice
got old and died," she points out.
And some research shows that these cells may
have a useful role to play in our bodies. For example,
there s evidence that senescent cells aid wound heal-
ing and that cellular senescence helps protect against
"One needs to move forward with care about
trying to just kill off senescent cells with the antic-
ipation that things will be wholly beneficial," says
Dominic Withers, a researcher at the MRC Clinical
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Boosting life spans by
killing 'senescent' cells?
Sciences Centre, Imperial College London.
He says it looks like these cells do contribute to
aging, but it s too soon to say what to do with them.
"I think it s early days at the moment," Withers
says. "There s still quite a lot to learn about whether
you would want to try and kill senescent cells or do
something to the senescent cells that exist, such as
stop them secreting this cocktail of potentially bad
them a drug
cells to kill
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