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"Study ethics, NIH!"

By | November 17, 2009

The government agency tasked with funding crucial life science research needs to focus more attention on ethical quandaries and nefarious business practices that often obscure the path from discovery to public benefit, says a strongly worded linkurl:letter; to linkurl:Francis Collins,; the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), signed by more than 100 biomedical researchers, journal editors, and healt


deCODE files for bankruptcy

By | November 17, 2009

Iceland-based genomics pioneer deCODE linkurl:announced this morning; (November 17) that it has filed for bankruptcy. It will sell some of its holdings, but plans to continue operating its business and managing its properties as it does now. Image: Wikimedia commons, Jerome Walker, Dennis MytsIn the filing, deCODE listed total assets of $69.9 million and total debt of $313.9 million, as of June 30, 2009. deCODE, launched in 1996, quickly became a leader

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EU trial rules stall research

By | November 17, 2009

European clinical trial guidelines meant to make trials safer and more efficient are actually slowing down studies that could help patients, and even dissuading researchers from launching trials at all, according to an opinion published online today (November 16) in PLoS Medicine. Image: Wikimedia commons, S. Solberg J.The European Union's Clinical Trials Directive, adopted in 2004, says that trials evaluating investigational medicinal products should follow Good Clinical Practice (GCP), an in

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HIV trial vector specter

By | November 17, 2009

Did patients in a failed HIV vaccine trial halted in 2007 become more susceptible to the virus due to the adenoviral vector used to deliver the experimental vaccine? Researchers have speculated this may have been the case, and a new study proposes a mechanism for how this could have occurred. The in vitro linkurl:study,; published in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__ (__PNAS__) this week, reports that immune cells from


New head for US genome institute

By | November 17, 2009

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins today (November 17) announced a successor to fill his vacant post as head of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). linkurl:Eric Green,; who has served as NHGRI's scientific director since 2002, will take over the top spot. Eric Green Image: NIH It's the first time in NIH's history that an institute's director has appointed his own successor. "Green is the perfect choice to be NHGRI director,"


China reaches for African science

By | November 16, 2009

China took on a new role in African science last weekend (November 8), announcing plans to promote research in agriculture, medicine, and clean energy as part of its $10 billion investment in the region. Image: US AID At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Egypt, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told attendees that the country would create a science and technology partnership with Africa, which would entail carrying out 100 joint research projects and training 100 African postdocs in China, link

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When does oversight overstep?

By | November 16, 2009

When vascular biologist linkurl:John Cooke; of Stanford University received a grant in 2007 from the linkurl:California Institute for Regenerative Medicine; (CIRM) to launch stem cell research in his lab, he never expected the agency to linkurl:take back the money; -- especially not when his research was just starting to take him in some exciting new directions. Human embryonic stem ce


Docs that rock

By | November 13, 2009

On a recent Monday night at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, four bands took to the stage to determine who ruled rock. But manning the mics, guitars, and drums weren't your typical hipsters -- the members of these bands were students and administrators from Philadelphia's premier medical schools, and their scientific credentials are almost as hot as their licks. For example, the nine members of funk band the linkurl:Freaks of Nurture; are publishing in prest


Q&A: Gene therapy turnaround

By | November 12, 2009

Judging by the stream of studies in the last few months, it seems the field of gene therapy is beginning to replace its troubled history with the beginnings of a promising future. Mark Kay Image: Stanford University In September, linkurl:researchers reported; that viral delivery of a pigment gene allowed colorblind squirrel monkeys to see red and green for the first time, providing hopes that the technique could be used to treat colo


Family versus science

By | November 11, 2009

The pressures of family obligations and child-rearing are pushing young female researchers out of science, according to a new study released this month by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think tank based in Washington, DC. linkurl:The report; provides a contrast to an earlier report by the National Academies of Sciences that focused on dissecting the linkurl:subtle biases against women;


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