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First embryonic stem cell trial stalled

By | May 15, 2008

The FDA has delayed approval of an application for the first human embryonic stem cell clinical trial by Geron Corporation, the company linkurl:announced;http://www.geron.com/media/pressview.aspx?id=840 yesterday. Geron's compound, GRNOPC1, is a cell-based therapy to treat spinal cord injury. Yesterday, the FDA told Geron verbally that they were placing the Investigational New Drug submission of the treatment under a clinical hold. The company is awaiting a formal letter. Thomas Okarma, Ge

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Hwang Woo-suk's new pet project

By | May 15, 2008

Disgraced South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk has set up a biotechnology firm in Seoul for cloning animal pets and producing organs for transplant, according to Agence France Presse. Hwang was banned from research using human eggs following claims that he cloned the first human embryo that were later shown to be faked. He is currently on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges, but is not barred from conducting research on animals. Still, Hwang insists his

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Mutant p53 thwarts cancer therapy

By | May 14, 2008

Some potential cancer therapies may do more harm than good: A class of compounds intended to boost tumor suppressor p53 activity may actually promote mutant versions of the gene, a linkurl:study;http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/10/1337 published tomorrow in Genes and Development reports. p53, the tumor suppressor found in roughly half of all human cancers, works by signaling cell death, thus keeping cell growth in check. But p53 can be deleted during transcription or mutated by

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That's misconduct, eh?

By | May 13, 2008

A researcher in linkurl:Canada;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15054/ has been living high on the government hog, spending thousands on toys and personal effects with federal money meant to fund his research. According to a linkurl:story;http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=a6179ad9-ea00-4bce-b5be-1b2fa04427a2 from the Canwest News Service that ran in the __Vancouver Sun__ yesterday, the scientist spent more than $20,000 on top-of-the-line linkurl:cell phones,;http

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UK embryo bill past 1st hurdle

By | May 13, 2008

British parliamentarians voted to allow the controversial human embryo bill to continue to the next stage of debate yesterday (May 12), according to Agence France Presse. Just nine members of the governing Labour party voted against the bill, which passed by 340 votes to 78. On Sunday (May 11), it also emerged that a team at Cornell University's Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility led by Nikica Zaninovic added a green fluorescent protein to a human embryo to create what is believed

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Get political, scientists

By | May 12, 2008

A former Congressman, speaking at a meeting of researchers, policy makers, and advocates last Friday (May 9), urged scientists to become intimately involved in the political process. And he encouraged the nation's scientists to do much more than just cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in upcoming elections. "Get inside their campaigns and then press to get science in their messages to voters," said linkurl:John Porter,;http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=P0

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Plagiarism detection 2.0

By | May 12, 2008

Publishers are getting a new tool in the fight against plagiarism in scientific manuscripts. The Scientific business of Thomson Reuters linkurl:announced;http://scientific.thomsonreuters.com/press/2008/8452130/ on May 1 that they would be offering their clients - the publishers of many well-read science journals - the option to employ iThenticate, a tool that checks submitted manuscripts for potential copy-catting against databases of previously published work. According to Logan Hutchinson,

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Neurogenesis drug hits trials

By | May 9, 2008

BrainCells, a company that stakes its existence on the once-heretical notion of linkurl:adult neurogenesis,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12172/ is finally taking its novel treatment for depression into a phase II trial, CEO Jim Schoeneck told me at a neurotechnology meeting in Boston yesterday (May 8). Researchers have recently begun to suspect that treating depression requires neurogenesis. Drugs such as Prozac, though, stimulate nerve growth via the serotonin pathway, which

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News, numbers of neuroscience

By | May 9, 2008

The third annual Neurotech Industry meeting in Boston kicked off yesterday morning (May 8) with some big numbers: * Two billion people each year are affected by brain-related illnesses, from stroke to depression to chronic pain, with an economic loss worldwide of about $2 trillion. * Venture capital companies invested about $1.77 billion in neuroscience-related research last year. * Worldwide, neuro-related industry profits hit $130.5 billion in 2007-- a growth of 8% from the previous year.

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US postdoc fabricates DNA data

By | May 9, 2008

A former postdoc at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) falsified and fabricated DNA sequences and methylation status in unpublished data about a tumor suppressor gene, a UNMC investigation, in conjunction with the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), has found. From 2002-2005, Lois Bartsch worked in James Shull's laboratory at UNMC, researching the tumor suppressor gene, p16Cdkn2a, in rats. The investigation concluded that Bartsch altered the nucleotide sequence of the p16Cdkn2a pr

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