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FDA mulls embryonic stem cell therapy

By | April 11, 2008

With biotech companies inching up on clinical trials for human embryonic stem cell-based therapies, the US Food and Drug Administration held a meeting yesterday to discuss scientific issues in properly deriving and characterizing the cells, as well as appropriate clinical trial monitoring. Three biotechs, Geron Corporation, Advanced Cell Technology, and Novocell presented some of their scientific work on spinal cord injury, vision impairment, and diabetes, respectively, at the meeting. Geron

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Germany eases stem cell law

By | April 11, 2008

The German parliament voted today (April 11) to ease restrictions on stem cell research, according to linkurl:Reuters.;http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL1147196720080411?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0 The linkurl:existing law in Germany;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/22923/ requires researchers to limit importation of human embryonic stem cell lines to those created abroad before 2002. Under the new bill, which was decided by a 346-228 vote in the Bundestag lower ho

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Plagiarists beware

By | April 11, 2008

We here at __The Scientist__ do our best to keep an eye out for instances of scientific misconduct and publishing irregularities. In the past we've not only reported on linkurl:Woo-suk Hwang's;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53460/ fraudulent human cloning research, but we've brought you news of other misconduct, such as the Egyptian paleontologist who allegedly linkurl:plagiarized;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20040922/02/ previously published photos. We may have a lot less scand

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Thousands of NIH laptops unprotected

By | April 11, 2008

Earlier this week I posted a linkurl:blog;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54534/ on the digital security problems at NIH, which revealed the agency cannot encrypt sensitive data, such as the personal information (including social security numbers) of clinical trial patients, on Macintosh laptops used by NIH employees. So how many Mac laptops do NIH employees use? I had a hard time uncovering that number, until I got a call today from NIH spokesperson, Don Ralbovsky, who gave me a "bal

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Arabidopsis evolution study pulled

By | April 10, 2008

Plant biologists have withdrawn a study on linkurl:__Arabidopsis thaliana__;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54194/ evolution published in a 2004 issue of __Science__, saying one of its conclusions was marred by contamination, according to a retraction appearing today (Apr. 10) in the journal. The original linkurl:paper,;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/306/5704/2081 authored by then North Carolina State University genomicist linkurl:Michael Purugganan;http://www.the-s

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Bacteria blending into single species?

By | April 10, 2008

Two bacterial species found in the guts of chickens, pigs and other animals are merging into a single species after the domestication of livestock brought the two microbes together, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5873/237 published today in Science. The research indicates that "despeciation" can be an important consequence of environmental changes in bacterial evolution. Bacteria linkurl:swap genes;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54429/

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Giuseppe Attardi dies

By | April 10, 2008

linkurl:Giuseppe Attardi,;http://biology.caltech.edu/Members/Attardi the California Institute of Technology researcher who identified all the genes in human mtDNA and uncovered the mitochondrial genome's role in degenerative diseases and linkurl:aging,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23324/ died Saturday (Apr 5), linkurl:according;http://mr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR13125.html to the university. He was 84 years old. Caltech said that Attardi died at his Altadena, CA home but

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Security risks at NIH?

By | April 10, 2008

The National Institutes of Health this week warned its employees that Apple Macintosh laptops cannot be encrypted using the agency's software, leaving unprotected sensitive data such as personal information (including linkurl:social security numbers);http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/09/AR2008040903680.html from thousands of clinical trial participants. In February, a laptop containing the unencrypted personal information from more than 3,000 patients participating in

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Takeda acquires Millennium

By | April 10, 2008

When I profiled Millennium Pharmaceuticals' chief scientific officer, Joe Bolen, in last month's issue of __The Scientist,__ he described some amusing airport foibles that had taken place during a linkurl:recent trip to Japan.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54340/ Now the whole company is going to Japan - at least on paper. Today, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, one of the first genomics companies in the US, was linkurl:acquired;http://investor.millennium.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=80159&p=ir

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Visa woe pushes scientist out of US

By | April 10, 2008

Last August, I reported on Mohammad Sajid, a UK citizen who was barred from returning to the US pending several months of linkurl:background checks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53418/ - twice. On Monday I got an e-mail from Sajid saying he is leaving his lab in the US, where he works on anti-malarial drugs, to take a job at Leiden University in the Netherlands. "It's been a really tough choice," Sajid said. "The main reason is the travel. It's as simple as that." When I last spo

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