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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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Merck and Schering-Plough to merge

By | March 9, 2009

In yet another merger between two major pharmaceutical companies, Merck will acquire Schering-Plough for $41.1 billion, the two companies linkurl:announced;http://www.merck.com/newsroom/press_releases/corporate/2009_0309.html this morning (March 9). The deal is projected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. The newly formed company will keep Merck's name and its headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ, and Merck's CEO, Richard C. Clarke, will remain head of the combined entity.

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Plotting chimps?

By | March 9, 2009

Chimpanzees may have the ability to plan further into the future than previously thought, according to an article in the online version of Current Biology.Chimpanzee Image: barnoid/flickr The study by Matthias Osvath, a primatologist at Lund University in Sweden, was based on the case report of Santino, a 21-year-old chimpanzee living in on a small island surrounded by a water moat at the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden. For several years, Santino would calmly collect and hoard stones and chunks of conc

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A gene's second coming

By | March 6, 2009

A long-defunct gene that is now involved in Crohn's disease was resurrected over the course of human evolution after being "dead" for millions of years, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1000403 published online today (Mar. 5) in __PLoS Genetics__. "This is probably the first example of a gene coming back from the dead after being gone for 25 million years," linkurl:Evan Eichler,;http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/eichler.htm a gen

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Obama to lift stem cell ban

By | March 6, 2009

President Barack Obama will lift restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research on Monday. linkurl:__The Washington Post__;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/06/AR2009030602285.html?hpid=topnews reports that Obama will announce the executive order at 11:00 AM (EDT), citing unnamed "sources close to the issue." Researchers and science advocates have been anticipating the announcement ever since Obama took office earlier this year. The loosening of

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