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Stem cell therapy triggers tumor

By | February 18, 2009

A neural stem cell transplant from fetal cells performed in Russia led to a brain tumor in a teenage boy, researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine report, raising concerns about the safety of neural stem cells treatments. MRI of brain lesion, courtesy of PLoS MedicineThe researchers confirmed that the cancer originated from the donor tissue, not the boy's own cells. This is the first report of cancer following fetal neural stem cell transplant. However, outside experts raised concerns about th


Misconduct from NIH postdoc

By | February 17, 2009

A Japanese researcher falsified figures in three published papers while working as a visiting postdoc at the NIH's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) linkurl:reported; last week. Kazuhiro Tanaka, a cancer researcher formerly at Kyushu University in Japan, fidgeted with Western blots, Northern blots, and gel shift assay images by duplicating bands in the results of three papers pu


Images faked by UCSF postdoc

By | February 16, 2009

A University of California, San Francisco, postdoc ripped off images from a colleague and jiggered data files, the NIH's Office of Research Integrity (ORI) recently linkurl:reported.; Nima Afshar, a postdoc working with UCSF molecular biologist linkurl:Joachim Li,; falsified microarray scans related to the molecular mechanism of yeast replication initiation. Specifically, she fudged images from another


State schools feeling the pinch

By | February 16, 2009

Most colleges and universities across the US are facing cuts in state funding of up to 20%, and many are preparing by cutting administrative costs, hiring fewer faculty, and focusing their resources on already strong programs. Proposed state budgets aren't final yet; however, despite the fact that it only gets 4% of its $2.9 billion budget from the state, the University of Washington is bracing itself for hard times. The expected 13% cut in state funding, said President Mark Emmert, is "the w


Willem Kolff dies

By | February 16, 2009

Willem Kolff with artificial heart courtesy of the Willem J. Kolff Collection at the University of Utah Marriott Library Willem Kolff, a University of Utah physician who invented the precursor to kidney dialysis and the first artificial heart, died last week a few days shy of his 98th birthday. Kolff received the 2002 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. He died of natural causes, the New York Times reported. The artificial heart that he helped develop "has now been used in ov


Distinctions in prosthetic control

By | February 13, 2009

The popular press was a-buzz this week with reports of a technique that could allow an amputee to move her prosthetic arm with linkurl:her mind.; But in fact, the technology, developed by Todd Kuiken and his group at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, doesn't attempt to read a patient's thoughts -- at least not directly. The type of control Kuiken's group is working on is one step removed. In a w


Cuts in funding at Wellcome

By | February 12, 2009

Due to the tough times, the EU's largest biomedical research charity, the Wellcome Trust, has lost £2 billion in assets, and is therefore cutting its funding for grants by £30 million. Wellcome Trust's Gibbs BuildingIn linkurl:a statement,; the charity announced: "Over the next financial year we will commit around £590 million to support biomedical research in the UK and internationally, as compared to £620 million in 200


HHMI picks student fellows

By | February 12, 2009

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has chosen nine students from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive a fellowship covering $44,000 per year to cover the cost of graduate school. The Gilliam fellowship, named after after James H. Gilliam, a former HHMI trustee who fostered diversity in science education, covers up to five years of a student's graduate training. HHMI draws applicants from former participants of its Exceptional Research Opportunities Program, in which undergrads spend a su


NIH wins stimulus jackpot

By | February 12, 2009

The US Senate and House of Representatives have hammered out the differences between their versions of the economic recovery bill, to the tune of $10 billion for the National Institute of Health, according to early reports. This sum, which was approved in the Senate version of the bill earlier this week, includes $8.5 for research and $1.5 for rebuilding agency facilities, according to linkurl:ScienceInsider,; which stresses


Blood cells filmed in formation

By | February 11, 2009

Researchers have helped resolve a long-standing debate about which precursors in the developing mammalian embryo give rise to blood cells, after tracking the birth of these cells using in-vivo imaging that lasts for days, according to linkurl:a report; in this week's Nature. The study is one of a handful of papers to come out in recent months to examine the question of hematopoietic cell origin. "I would say the nice thing abo



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