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The Nutshell

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A new epigenetic cancer

By | May 11, 2009

Researchers have discovered a new category of cancer caused by chromatin recognition gone awry. An aberrant protein that binds to activated DNA-winding proteins drives up gene expression leading to unchecked cell growth, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature08036.html published online yesterday (May 10) in __Nature__. Chromatin wound on histone proteinsImage: Eric Smith, DFCISeveral forms of the blood cancer linkurl:acute myeloid leukemia;htt

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Journals speed up flu studies

By | May 11, 2009

Many top tier science journals are going into overdrive to publish data about the emerging swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus epidemic, compressing what is often a multi-month process into just a few days or weeks. Influenza virusImage: National High Magnetic Field Laboratory,Florida State UniversityAn international research team led by linkurl:Neil Ferguson;http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/people/neil.ferguson/ of Imperial College London published a linkurl:report;http://www.sciencemag.

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NIH finally takes on conflicts

By | May 11, 2009

After several months of intense scrutiny, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is considering stricter rules on managing financial conflicts among its grantees. The research and funding body put out a call for comments on changing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conflict of interest rules via an linkurl:entry;http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-10666.pdf in the Federal Register on Friday (May 8). The rules under consideration would involve all applicants for funding f

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Elsevier published 6 fake journals

By | May 7, 2009

Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship, the company has admitted. Elsevier is conducting an "internal review" of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the "journal" was corp

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Home of immune memory found

By | May 7, 2009

New findings overturn a major model of where immune memory is stored. Rather than circulating throughout the body, as researchers had thought, memory T-cells actually reside in a comfortable niche in the bone marrow waiting for the next chance to fight infection, according to a linkurl:new article;http://www.cell.com/immunity/abstract/S1074-7613(09)00187-3 published online in __Immunity__ today (May 7th). "It's very exciting data," said Antonio Lanzaveccia from the Institute for Research in B

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New protein offers inside view

By | May 7, 2009

New labeling proteins that fluoresce in the infrared spectrum allow scientists to see deep inside the body of living mammals without lifting a scalpel, according to a study published in Science tomorrow (May 8). Image: Xiaokun Shu, UCSD Researchers in the lab of linkurl:Roger Tsien,;http://www.tsienlab.ucsd.edu/ who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in the development of green fluorescent protein (GFP) to label tissue, have now come up with a new marker, called infrared-f

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Science scores in 2010 US budget

By | May 7, 2009

Overall, federal science fares well in President Barack Obama's recently announced FY2010 linkurl:budget,;http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview/ but the National Institutes of Health would net a pretty paltry increase under the president's plan. In the proposal, the NIH stands to get slightly more than $30.8 billion in 2010. This would represent a $443 million, or 1.5%, bump over the NIH's 2009 budget. Kathleen Sebelius, our newly crowned Department of Health and Human Services Secretar

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Hobbit origins from head to toe

By | May 6, 2009

Ever since 2003, when researchers found the skeletal remains of a diminutive, human-like creature--dubbed the Hobbit--on an island in Indonesia, a debate has raged over whether the find represents a new species or a just deformed population of an existing species. Two papers appearing in __Nature__ today--one addressing the shape of its feet and the other the size of its head--confirm that __Homo floresiensis__ is in fact a separate species, but each posits slightly different evolutionary origin

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EU OKs primate research

By | May 5, 2009

Research involving non-human primates was given the go-ahead today (May 5) in an initial vote by the European Parliament, although legislators called for most basic testing on great apes to be outlawed. Image: Understanding Animal ResearchThe new parliamentary directive "strikes a compromise between ensuring that research can continue in the EU and improving animal welfare," linkurl:Neil Parish,;http://www.neilparish.co.uk/ a Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the UK, sai

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A new path for HIV entry

By | April 30, 2009

A new study overthrows a long-held theory on how HIV finds its way into host cells. Rather than fusing directly with the host cell membrane, the virus is first engulfed by it to form a vesicle that releases its contents into the cytoplasm, a study published tomorrow (May 1) in __Cell__ reports. linkurl:The findings;http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(09)00268-2 may suggest other therapeutic avenues for targeting HIV, the researchers say. A single virus (yellow) co-labeled with amembrane (r

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