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Hopes fade for HIV microbicide

By | December 17, 2009

Despite linkurl:promising early trial results,;http://www.ipmglobal.org/news_room/english/press_releases/2009/20090209_pro2000_buffergel_study.htm another microbicide for the prevention of HIV transmission was deemed ineffective, scientists at the UK Medical Research Council's Microbicides Development Programme (MDP) linkurl:announced;http://www.mdp.mrc.ac.uk/archive.html Monday (December 14). The failure of the PRO 2000 gel is part of a decade-long history of unsuccessful attempts to develop va

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The five hottest biology papers of 2009

By | December 17, 2009

Which papers made the biggest splash this year? linkurl:ScienceWatch,;http://www.sciencewatch.com/ a website that tracks and analyzes trends in basic science research, compiles bimonthly lists of the 10 most cited papers. From those lists, The Scientist pulled the five papers in biology published in the last two years which were some of the most cited papers in 2009. The two topics that dominate the top five papers this year: genomics and stem cells.(*All citation data, both ours and that of

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A windfall year at NIH

By | December 16, 2009

This has been a boom year at the National Institutes of Health. With a $10 billion infusion thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the agency found itself in the unfamiliar position of being flush with cash. As Congress decides how it will fund the NIH and the nation's other federal science agencies in 2010 and 2011, we take a look back at scientists and fields of research that scored big this year. The following are 2009's ten most funded Research, Condition, and Disease

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Cancer genomes sequenced

By | December 16, 2009

Scientists have charted the most complete cancer genomes to date, according to two studies published in Nature this week, providing a catalog of some 90% of all the somatic mutations in melanoma and a type of lung cancer, as well as a starting point for identifying potentially causal mutations common to these types of cancer. Cross section of a human lung with cancerImage: Wikimedia commons"For the first time we have a really quite comprehensive view of two different common tumor types," said l

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27 more hESC lines approved

By | December 15, 2009

National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins linkurl:approved 27 more human embryonic stem cell lines;http://grants.nih.gov/stem_cells/registry/current.htm as eligible for federal funding on Monday, bringing the total number of new lines to 40 -- almost double the number of previously okayed lines under the administration of former President George W. Bush. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"I am hopeful that this will be an important boost to

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2009 in review

By | December 14, 2009

Perhaps more so than most years to date, 2009 has repeatedly raised the specter of misdeeds in research -- both in academia and industry. New year's celebrations in Taipei Image: Wikimedia CommonsWith more and more academic research linkurl:funded by industry;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55506/ and few universities having consistent policies on how their researchers must report their financial ties, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) this year linkurl:continued his probe;http://www.t

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2010 budget on Obama's desk

By | December 14, 2009

Yesterday (13th December), the US Senate linkurl:OKed;http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=6ec79f1e-cf92-489d-8af2-ab90deac394b a proposal to up the National Institutes of Health's 2010 budget by $692 million, or 2.3 percent.Image: Kevin McCoy via WikimediaCommons The joint-committee appropriations conference report passed by a vote of 57-35. The report cleared the House on Thursday, and now the $446.8 billion 2010 linkurl:omnibus appropriations bill,;http://thomas.loc.

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Fake blood 2.0?

By | December 14, 2009

Newly created synthetic particles that mimic red blood cells may one day carry drug molecules and/or oxygen through bloodstreams, according to researchers linkurl:writing;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.090712710 in this week's issue of the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__ (__PNAS__). What's more, the team of scientists in Michigan and California say the particles could also be used to improve the resolution of magnetic resonance imaging.The synthetic red blood cells

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Q&A: Copenhagen's united front

By | December 14, 2009

In the months leading up to Copenhagen, developing world leaders met multiple times to strategize and solidify their position on climate change. Because of their poverty levels, populations in developing regions are generally seen as the most vulnerable to changes in climate and subsequent extreme weather, such as droughts, flood, heat waves and rising sea levels. Calestous Juma Image: Harvard University, Belfer Center But since arriving at the conference, these developing world negotiators hav

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New hope for EU patent plan

By | December 11, 2009

A planned redesign of the European patent system, announced last week (December 4th), could reduce the cost and strengthen the legal weight of European patents -- a change that biotechnology companies have long awaited. Image: WikipediaCurrently, a European patent can cost companies up to 11 times as much as they would pay in the United States, while providing far fewer legal certainties. The existing patent system is simply a bundle of 4-6 national patents; applicants must choose the countries

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