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Tackling peer review bias

By | July 28, 2008

New statistical analyses of the National Institutes of Health's peer review process suggest that the current system may be missing the mark on funding the right proposals. Reviews of as many as 25% of all proposals are biased, according to a study led by linkurl:Valen Johnson,;http://gsbs.uth.tmc.edu/tutorial/johnson_v.html from MD Anderson Cancer Center to be published tomorrow (July 29) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Johnson collected about 14,000 reviewers' scoring data

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Duke investigating misconduct?

By | July 25, 2008

The Duke University Medical Center has agreed to conduct an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Duke protein biochemist linkurl:Homme Hellinga,;http://www.biochem.duke.edu/faculty/homme-hellinga according to a linkurl:letter;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7203/full/454397b.html Hellinga wrote to Nature, which was published in the journal this week. Hellinga retracted two papers earlier this year that claimed to have redesigned ribose-binding protein (RBP) to catalyze trio

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Fauci lays out HIV research plan

By | July 24, 2008

A week after suspending a major HIV vaccine trial set to commence soon, linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13734/ head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has laid out a plan for reshuffling priorities in HIV/AIDS vaccine development in an article appearing in Science tomorrow (July 25), coauthored by a slew of HIV vaccine researchers. "The general trend will be funding a bit more fundamental discovery research," Fauci said,

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Founder of medical genetics dies

By | July 24, 2008

Victor McKusick, who founded the field of medical genetics at Johns Hopkins University, died on Tuesday, July 22, at his home outside Baltimore. He was 86 years old. "Victor's vision is reflected in his early recognition of the inherent value to medicine of mapping the human genome," said Aravinda Chakravarti, director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute in a 2002 linkurl:statement.;http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/MAY/020509.htm "His contributions to the practice of genetics in medicin

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Rethinking aging

By | July 24, 2008

Aging may not be caused by the accumulation of cellular damage, as a linkurl:prominent theory;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54281/ suggests. Instead, the process may result from the deterioration of crucial developmental pathways, according to a study published tomorrow in Cell. "What we found is, I think, a different way to think about aging," linkurl:Stuart Kim;http://cmgm.stanford.edu/~kimlab/ of Stanford University, main author of the study, told The Scientist. Kim and his coll

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Biotech bailing on stem cells?

By | July 23, 2008

The announcement last week of Advanced Cell Technology's imminent closure is evidence that embryonic stem cell technology may be linkurl:too nascent;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54544/ for fruitful biotech innovation, according to some industry analysts. For the past 10 years Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) has been a spotlight company for linkurl:endeavors;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24363/ in embryonic stem cell research and cloning. But in a Securities and Exchange

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Another biotech buy for Roche

By | July 22, 2008

After making a $43.7 billion offer linkurl:yesterday;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54841/ (July 21) to buy the 44% of Genentech stock it didn't already own, the Swiss pharmaceutical company announced another biotech purchase today. Roche will acquire linkurl:Mirus Bio Corporation;http://www.mirusbio.com/ for $125 million. Roche's half-year financial linkurl:results,;http://www.roche.com/home/figures/fig_halfyearrep_2008.htm released on Monday but eclipsed by the Genentech offer,

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"Pharmed" vaccine passes early test

By | July 21, 2008

A team of researchers has completed human tests of the first plant-produced vaccine for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The successful linkurl:results;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0803636105 of a phase I clinical trial suggest that plants could provide a safe, inexpensive reservoir to "grow" vaccines for the common human cancer, according to a study published tomorrow (July 22) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The trial "builds upon all the advances in immunology t

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FDA funding future brightens

By | July 21, 2008

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a whopping budget of more than two billion dollars for the FDA in 2009. On Thursday (July 17), the committee unanimously passed the markup, which would represent an increase of more than $324 million over the FDA's 2008 budget and the first time the agency's budget would breech the two billion dollar mark. The FDA budget boost is part of a larger bill, totaling almost $20.5 billion, that also contains provisions for global food assistance, rental ass

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Pharma gets friendly

By | July 21, 2008

The biggest drug makers are known for cut-throat competition, not collaboration. But last week Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly bucked that trend, announcing the creation of a joint company called Enlight BioSciences to help fund and develop enabling technologies to speed drug development. The company, formed with the help of PureTech Ventures, a venture capital firm in Boston, will seek out and fund linkurl:inventions from academic institutions;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54666/ aro

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