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FDA clears goat-made drug

By | February 6, 2009

The US Food and Drug Administration today approved the first-ever drug manufactured via a genetically engineered animal, opening the door for the wider use of such methods for producing drugs in the future. The drug, ATryn, is a protein replacement treatment for people afflicted with a rare blood-clotting disorder called hereditary antithrombin deficiency, who are at risk of thrombosis. It is made by genetically engineering goats to produce the human version of the protein in their milk. ATry

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Anti-open access bill is back

By | February 5, 2009

A bill aimed at undoing the NIH's mandate to make federally-funded research manuscripts freely available on PubMed Central within a year of publication was re-introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday night (Feb. 3). The legislation claims that the NIH policy breaches existing copyright laws that protect academic publishers. If passed, the bill would stop federal agencies from requiring the transfer of copyright as a stipulation of investigators receiving taxpayer-backed grants.

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NIH may start policing conflicts

By | February 5, 2009

Two US Senators have introduced an amendment to the economic stimulus bill currently being debated in Congress that they say would better protect federally-funded biomedical research from potential bias. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) said in a linkurl:statement;http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=19157 that the amendment centers on how the National Institutes of Health polices financial conflicts among its researcher-grantees. The amendme

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Single-factor stem cells

By | February 5, 2009

In the latest milestone on the road toward reprogramming cells to pluripotency without permanent genetic modification, researchers have successfully turned the clock back on adult stem cells using only a single transcription factor, according to a study published today (Feb. 5) in__ linkurl:Cell.;http://www.cell.com/ __Ever since Kyoto University's linkurl:Shinya Yamanaka;http://www.frontier.kyoto-u.ac.jp/rc02/kyojuE.html showed in 2006 that the overexpression of just four genes -- c-Myc, Sox2,

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Senate OKs big NIH bump

By | February 4, 2009

The US Senate, which is furiously debating the details of the economic stimulus package making its way through Congress, passed an amendment yesterday (Feb. 3) to add $6.5 billion in National Institutes of Health funding on top of the $3.5 billion already allotted to the agency in the bill. Science advocacy groups praised passage of the amendment, which was sponsored by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). linkurl:Richard Marchase,;http://main.uab.edu/show.a

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Spread the global health wealth

By | February 4, 2009

A bevy of diseases common in the third world aren't receiving adequate attention from funders, despite $2.5 billion spent by philanthropic organizations, governments, and pharmaceutical companies in 2007, according to the most comprehensive survey of global health spending conducted to date. That's because approximately 80% of that money went to developing products targeted towards just three diseases -- AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. "When you look at all the diseases in developing world, th

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Broad cuts 24 genomics staff

By | February 3, 2009

The Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard laid off 24 of its MIT employees last week, citing an upgrade to next-generation, high-throughput, genome sequencing technologies that made those jobs obsolete. "It's purely related to changes in technology," Nicole Davis, a Broad Institute spokesperson, told __The Scientist__, and not a result of a dwindling endowment in the weakened economy. The linkurl:Broad,;http://www.broad.mit.edu/ which was founded in 2003 wit

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Daschle withdraws as HHS nom.

By | February 3, 2009

Tom Daschle, the much lauded pick for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced this afternoon that he'll be withdrawing his nomination in light of tax irregularities that have cropped up during the review. "I will not be the architect of America's health care reform, but I remain one of its most fervent supporters," Daschle said in a statement, according to the linkurl:Washington Post.;http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/02/03/daschle_withdraws.html News

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Journal plays with peer review

By | February 3, 2009

Ever wondered it would be like to tell a journal "nah, I don't think I want reviewers to re-review my manuscript"? Well, now you can -- in a new experimental policy, the linkurl:Journal of Biology;http://jbiol.com/ is giving authors the option of asking the journal to publish their revised paper without the okay of reviewers. In other words, once they have revised the manuscript, they can bypass a second review, a process that typically tacks on extra time. According to the journal's publishe

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CIRM grants delayed

By | February 2, 2009

The governing board of the California stem cell agency is delaying $58 million in new grants until March to wait out the poor economy and credit market. The linkurl:California Institute for Regenerative Medicine;http://www.cirm.ca.gov/ was created in 2004 with $3 billion in borrowing power to push stem cell research forward in the state. Since then, it has awarded almost $700 million in research and training grants to universities, institutes and research companies. On Friday, CIRM's board mem

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