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Calif. animal scientists attacked

By | August 4, 2008

A house and car belonging to two University of California, Santa Cruz researchers were firebombed in the wee hours of Saturday (Aug 2) morning. The attacks occurred after linkurl:anti-animal research;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54494/ pamphlets listing the names and personal information of several UCSC researchers were linkurl:discovered;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54908/ in a Santa Cruz coffee shop last week. linkurl:David Feldheim,;http://biomedical.ucsc.edu/Fel

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Anthrax suspect commits suicide

By | August 1, 2008

A biodefense researcher committed suicide this week, just as the US government was about to indict him for the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and caused a national panic. The microbiologist, Bruce E. Ivins, whose death was first reported today (August 1) in the linkurl:Los Angeles Times,;http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-anthrax1-2008aug01,0,2864223.story?page=1, was a top scientist at a US Army biodefense research facility in Fort Detrick, Md., where he worked

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Genome patent overturned

By | August 1, 2008

Yesterday the British High Court overturned a UK genome patent owned by biotech Human Genome Sciences. The patent covered the inflammation-linked protein neutrokine-alpha which is part of the tumor necrosis factor family of cytokines. The court overturned the patent, ruling that at the time its application was filed there was no practical application, the Financial Times linkurl:reported.;http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c2649894-5f54-11dd-91c0-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1 Human Genome Science

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More Calif. animal research trouble

By | August 1, 2008

Biomedical researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz have again been targeted by animal rights activists opposed to their use of experimental laboratory animals. According to the linkurl:__Santa Cruz Sentinel__,;http://www.scsextra.com/story.php?sid=78460 nearly a dozen threatening pamphlets containing the names, home addresses, phone numbers, and photos of several scientists turned up in a coffee shop in the seaside town on Tuesday (July 29) night. The pamphlets read, in part: "A

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Biotech funding bill hits Senate

By | July 31, 2008

After linkurl:clearing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54608/ the House of Representatives in April, a bill meant to extend the life of programs that stimulate innovation at linkurl:small biotech companies;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54816/ has finally found its way onto the floor of the Senate. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship linkurl:passed the bill,;http://sbc.senate.gov/press/record.cfm?id=301536& which tacks on 14 years to the lifespans of

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Diseased cells made pluripotent

By | July 31, 2008

Researchers have for the first time been able to generate a pluripotent stem cell line from the cells of a patient with a genetic disease, according to a study appearing tomorrow (August 1) in Science. The scientists successfully reprogrammed skin cells from an 82-year-old patient with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) into healthy motor neurons. "It's a stunning accomplishment," Neil Cashman, professor of neurology at the University of British Columbia who was not involved in the study, told

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Nerves of sponge?

By | July 31, 2008

The unassuming cells of a sea sponge may hold a clue to the origin of the nervous system, according to a paper published next Tuesday, August 5th, in linkurl:Current Biology.;http://www.current-biology.com/ The detection of proneural pathways in the ancient organism suggests that genes for neurogenesis evolved earlier than previously believed. Researchers have widely believed that nerve cells evolved after the divergence of sponges, which lack organs and nervous systems, from the rest of the a

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A mouse with postpartum depression?

By | July 30, 2008

Researchers have developed a transgenic mouse model for postpartum depression which hints at medical interventions for the mood disorder, according to a study published this week in linkurl:__Neuron.__;http://www.neuron.org/ "For the first time we have a linkurl:useful model;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/7/1/44/1/ to look at therapeutic interventions," said first author Jamie Maguire from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Postpartum depression is thought to be caused when

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Stem cell strength in numbers

By | July 30, 2008

Embryonic stem cells are a tricky business, as evidenced by Advanced Cell Technology's linkurl:recently announced;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54884/ financial woes. The technology is too nascent for guaranteed returns, but potential payoffs could be huge. Increasingly, biotechs are looking to navigate the uncertain funding waters by forging partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Some biotechs working on embryonic stem cells have been able to get start up money from the state

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A micro-microscope

By | July 28, 2008

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology have designed a dime-sized lensless microscope able to capture high-resolution images of cells and pathogens. The low-cost, portable technology could be an ideal tool for use in developing countries, according to the linkurl:paper,;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0804612105 published online today (July 28) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Despite the trend towards miniaturization evident in the popularity of l

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