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FDA head chosen, NIH names swirling

By | March 12, 2009

Former New York City health commissioner Margaret Hamburg seems to be the Obama administration's pick to head the embattled Food and Drug Administration, with Baltimore health commissioner Joshua Sharfstein slated to serve as FDA's deputy commissioner, according to linkurl:__The Washington Post__.;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031103570.html?wpisrc=newsletter Hamburg served as NYC health commissioner for much of the 1990s, after a brief stint at the Natio

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In bed with big pharma

By | March 12, 2009

As accusations of undisclosed financial conflicts among university researchers swirl, drug makers and academics are entering a new stage of closer collaboration. Instead of striking traditional licensing deals with academic labs that produce commercializable results, companies are starting to reach farther back, all the way to the inception of basic research projects. The motivation from both sides is obvious: Pharma has a pipeline problem, and universities are clamoring for research dollars as

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3% boost for NIH passed in Senate

By | March 11, 2009

US Senators last night (March 10) passed the long-delayed $410 billion omnibus spending bill that includes $30.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health in FY09. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation today. The NIH allotment would be a $938 million boost over the agency's FY08 budget - a 3% increase, which roughly tracks inflation. The National Science Foundation is set to get nearly $6.5 billion in FY09, a 5.9% increase over its FY08 budget. In addition, the Departm

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Doctor faked pain studies

By | March 11, 2009

A world-renowned Massachusetts anesthesiologist appears to have perpetrated what may be one of the most extensive cases of medical fraud, faking data and even making up entire studies in at least 21 cases. Scott Reuben, the former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., admitted that he falsified data in 10 articles in Anesthesia and Analgesia, as well as an additional 11 articles in journals including Acute Pain, Anesthesiology, and others. The studies all relat

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How to starve a tumor

By | March 11, 2009

Calorie-restricted diets are thought to protect against cancer and slow tumor growth, and a new study published in this week's Nature begins to tease out why the measure works for some tumors, and not for others. Chubby, and more cancer prone Image: Gaetan_lee/flickr For almost a century, researchers have known that fasting helps animals live longer and avoid some cancers, "but which type of cancers would be amenable to this approach, from a therapeutic standpoint, is still an open question,"

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UCLA scientist's car firebombed

By | March 11, 2009

A car belonging to a University of California, Los Angeles, researcher who uses primates to study drug addiction, schizophrenia and other disorders was targeted by animal rights activists early Saturday morning (March 7). The Animal Liberation Front, an animal rights group that has been connected to acts of vandalism and violence in the past, has posted on its website a message from the Animal Liberation Brigade claiming responsibility for the firebombing. According to __The Los Angeles Times_

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UK unis want spin-off fund

By | March 11, 2009

Britain's top universities have asked the government for £1 billion ($1.4 billion) to finance university spin-off companies, a measure that could help bolster the faltering UK economy and prop up the biotech industry, according to__ linkurl:Education Guardian.;http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/mar/10/research-funding Image: flickr/a.drian__The call was spearheaded by Imperial College London with backing from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh, as well as the linkur

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Cornell settles NIH fraud lawsuit

By | March 10, 2009

Cornell University's linkurl:Weill Medical College;http://www.med.cornell.edu/ has agreed to pay the federal government $2.6 million to settle civil claims that it defrauded the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense in connection with research grants between 1991 to 2007. The dispute related to allegations that an unnamed Weill researcher failed to disclose all of his or her financial support in grant applications and annual reports. Funding agencies regularly use this inf

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Fertilizers shape plant genomes

By | March 10, 2009

Spraying plants with nitrogen-rich fertilizers does more than just make crops grow bigger; it also molds the chemical composition of their genomes and proteomes, according to a linkurl:study;http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/msp038 published online last week (Mar. 2) in the journal __Molecular Biology & Evolution__. "This tells us how modifications in the environment can have a big effect on a species and its genome, and how quickly it can happen," said linkurl:Sudhir Kumar,;ht

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Industry set for stem cell profits

By | March 9, 2009

As President Barack Obama lifts eight-year-old restrictions that have kept scores of researchers from receiving federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research, some life science entrepreneurs are readying for an uptick in business. Michael West, CEO of California based biotech linkurl:BioTime,;http://www.biotimeinc.com/ told __The Scientist__ that he's been preparing for Obama's announcement for the past year. Knowing that the next US president would likely overturn the 2001 Bush ban on gover

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