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A complement for cancer?

By | September 29, 2008

A protein belonging to part of the immune system that researchers once hoped to harness to attack cancer cells actually spurs tumor growth, according to a study reported in linkurl:__Nature Immunology.__;http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ni.1655.html Researchers knocked out a receptor for one of a group of 30 proteins called linkurl:complement proteins,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23823/ part of the body's normal immune defense repertoire, and observed decrea

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A microbe's surprising defense

By | September 29, 2008

A single-celled phytoplankton has a wily way of resisting viral attack, according to a study out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The organism makes itself invisible to its viral predator by shifting from the diploid to haploid life cycle stage. The findings are the first to show a eukaryote is capable of switching stages in its life cycle to avoid viral attack, and to point to a previously unrecognized role of sexual reproduction in the phytoplankton, Emiliania

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HHMI picks new president

By | September 29, 2008

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has chosen a University of California, Berkeley, biochemist and stem cell researcher to serve as its next president. linkurl:Robert Tjian,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54516/ an HHMI investigator since 1987, will replace outgoing president, Thomas Cech, on April 1, 2009, when Cech linkurl:leaves;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/16016/ his post. HHMI sent an E-mail to its investigators earlier today announcing the decision. "Bob Tjia

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Should conflicts mean no NIH grant?

By | September 29, 2008

If you've been following the news of NIH-funded researchers seemingly entangled in webs of unreported, underreported, or misreported financial ties to industry over the past year or so, you know that the buck often stops at the desk of linkurl:Sen. Charles Grassley;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54832/ (R-IA). You might have also noticed that many of the subjects of Grassley's recent inquiries are psychiatrists who are funded by NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In fa

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Forensic fishing

By | September 26, 2008

How is a kidnapper's text message similar to a jellyfish? Both are tiny points in a sea of data that scientists can use to draw conclusions about a bigger picture -- be it identifying a serial rapist or measuring linkurl:biodiversity,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ according to linkurl:Andrew Price,;http://www.bio.warwick.ac.uk/res/frame.asp?ID=36 a marine ecologist who is working with forensic scientists to apply taxonomic techniques to crime assessment. Ecologists routin

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Safer iPS cells

By | September 25, 2008

Until now, reprogramming fully differentiated cells into a pluripotent state has had a major drawback: the use of genome-integrating linkurl:retroviruses;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54750/ to do the job. But a new study published tomorrow in Science reports on the creation of reprogrammed cells without such integrating viruses. "The number one priority for labs working on iPS translation is to alleviate this problem of integration of viruses into the human genome," linkurl:Ali Bri

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Stem cell banks galore

By | September 25, 2008

In the last several years, stem cell banks and registries have begun springing up across the country and internationally. But are all these facilities helping research, or just duplicating efforts? The latest addition to the list of such facilities is the stem cell registry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, launched earlier this month. That school also has a human embryonic stem cell (HESC) core facility to store and distribute the cell lines. There are plenty of others: the N

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Pfizer embraces stem cells

By | September 24, 2008

Big pharma's interest in linkurl:stem cell research;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54900/ is picking up speed. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is expanding its research into the technology and plans to open a second regenerative medicine unit in Cambridge, UK, this November, Reuters linkurl:reported;http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSTRE48MBY020080923?sp=true yesterday. Pfizer isn't the only one. In July, GlaxoSmithKline entered a linkurl:5-year, $25 million collaboration;ht

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Zerhouni resigns as NIH head

By | September 24, 2008

The 15th head of the National Institutes of Health, linkurl:Elias Zerhouni,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/42733/ will step down from his post, he announced today (Sept 24). In a conference call with reporters today, Zerhouni said that he would be leaving NIH at the end of October as a part of what he called "the natural cycle of tenures for this position." "It's with mixed emotions that I move on," he said. President George W. Bush linkurl:appointed;http://www.the-scientist.com/ar

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A new twist on nanoparticle behavior

By | September 23, 2008

Researchers hoping to develop linkurl:nanoparticles;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15659/ as medicines or carriers of therapeutic molecules have much more to worry about than the type of material they plan on miniaturizing, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0805135105 in this week's issue of the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Science__. Researchers in Ireland found that the corona, or cloud of proteins and other biomolecules that adher

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