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New drug target for cancer

By | November 11, 2009

Scientists have developed a new drug that blocks a transcription factor -- previously thought to be un-blockable -- that has been causally linked to leukemia and several other cancers of the lungs, ovaries, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract, they report in linkurl:Nature; this week. Bone marrow smear showing acute lymphoblastic leukemia Image: Furfur, Wikimedia Commons The Notch transcription factor regulates cell-cell communication in the Notch signal


The blogopharmasphere?

By | November 10, 2009

This year has been a busy one for Big Pharma: Billion dollar legal settlements, game-changing mergers, and labor cutbacks of epic proportions have kept the industry (and industry watchers) off balance for much of 2009. But all the turmoil hasn't stopped a few of Big Pharma's giants from communicating directly with the internet-browsing public through official blogs of their own. The newest addition to the Big Pharma blogosphere is AstraZeneca's linkurl:__AZ Health Connections__,;http://www.azh


Paul Zamecnik dies

By | November 9, 2009

Paul Zamecnik, a Lasker award-winning biologist who co-discovered transfer RNA, died late last month at the age of 96. Zamecnik died at his Boston home after battling cancer. Paul ZamecnikImage: Massachusetts General HospitalIn the mid-1950s, along with molecular biologists Mahlon Hoagland and Mary Stephenson, Zamecnik linkurl:discovered; the molecule responsible for


Early stress alters epigenome

By | November 8, 2009

Scientists have figured out how stress experienced early in life can cause long-lasting changes in physiology and behavior -- via epigenetics. Image: Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, MunichSpecifically, early stress appears to induce epigenetic changes in a specific regulatory region of the genome, affecting the expression of a hormone important in controlling mood and cognition into adulthood, according to a study published online today (November 8) in Nature Neuroscience. This is the fi


New mechanism for nano damage?

By | November 5, 2009

Nanoparticles can damage DNA even in cells that are not directly exposed to them, according to an in vitro study published online today (November 5) in Nature Nanotechnology -- raising further questions about the safety of nanomaterials used in clinical therapies. Image: Wikimedia commons, Jerome Walker, Dennis Myts"DNA damage due to nanoparticles has been described for many types of nanoparticles, but that's done in a primary or direct sense," said linkurl:Andre Nel,;


Scientific song and dance

By | November 5, 2009

What started as a creative idea for a video contest about nanotechnology is now growing into a full-fledged science music video production team. Composed of four University of California, Berkley, students and one alumnus, linkurl:The Sounds of Science; is making a quite a splash with its Broadway-style musical numbers, which enliven the realities of the laboratory through song, dance, and puppetry. Glory Liu and her puppet studentsImage: The Sounds of S


Genetic steps to adaptation

By | November 4, 2009

Researchers for the first time have tracked the specific genetic mutations -- occurring over just a few generations -- that allow bacteria to respond to environmental changes, they report online in Nature today (November 4). Image of Pseudomonas fluorescens Image: Courtesy of Hubertus Beaumont"We showed how evolution happens in real time," said linkurl:Hubertus Beaumont,; a biologist from Leiden University in the Netherlands


3 Calif stem cell grants revoked

By | November 3, 2009

California's stem cell funding agency giveth and it taketh away: Just last week, the agency awarded more than $250 million to stem cell researchers -- the largest research grant round in its five-year history -- but it also terminated three grants awarded in a previous round due to slow progress earlier this year. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyThe California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) identified the underperforming projects by reviewing gr


Malaria vaccine hits Phase III

By | November 3, 2009

The first-ever Phase III trial for a malaria vaccine has officially begun.


One stop research shopping

By | November 3, 2009

Ever spent days combing the internet for that one reagent or cell line that could take your research to the next level --- to no avail? A new linkurl:effort,; funded by a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources, aims to fix that by centralizing catalogs of reagents, cell and tissue banks, and model organism lines so that researchers can spend less time scouring

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