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UK eases proposed stem cell rules

By | February 5, 2008

In response to a petition from researchers, the UK government has backed down on linkurl:restrictions;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54198/ to stem cell research proposed in a new bill. The revision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, stipulates that tissue donors must give explicit consent for use of their cells in embryonic stem cell research. But objections from scientists, including a linkurl:letter;http://www.timesonline.co

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Bush's budget cuts life science dollars

By | February 4, 2008

In his FY 2009 linkurl:budget,;http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/ released this morning, President George W. Bush calls to freeze the National Institutes of Health's budget at linkurl:last year's level;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54032/ of about $29 billion while shaving more than $370 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2008 budget. The president's budget also suggests decreasing research funding at the US Department of Agriculture by more than

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Joshua Lederberg dies

By | February 4, 2008

Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist who shaped the field of bacterial genetics, and served as chair of The Scientist's advisory board since 1986, died on Saturday (February 2). He was 82. Lederberg shared a linkurl:Nobel Prize;http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1958/index.html in physiology and medicine in 1958 for the discovery that certain strains of bacteria reproduce by mating, thereby exchanging their genetic material. This overturned the idea held

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Varmus votes - how will you?

By | February 4, 2008

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, so who are you going to vote for? Yesterday, Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Wired that he linkurl:plans to cast his ballot;http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/harold-varmus-e.html for Senator Barack Obama on Tuesday, February 5. Obama represents "a new kind of leader, one without ties to a divisive past and one who portrays through his personal history a global perspective that is both crucial and unprec

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Is autoimmunity like cancer?

By | February 2, 2008

The first keynote presentation of this week's Keystone meeting on autoimmunity and transplantation tolerance ended in a rather surprising way -- the speaker was actually heckled during the question answer session for comparing autoimmunity to cancer. When the mechanisms that keep the immune system from attacking itself break down, diseases like diabetes type 1, lupus, and psoriasis can result. Many in the field have focused on how particular inherited mutations change the immunological landsca

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A rare malaria victory

By | February 1, 2008

I've been looking into how global health programs evaluate the effects of their interventions for a story that will appear in our March issue. Public health experts have told me again and again that too little attention has been paid to evaluation across the board. This morning (Feb.1), both linkurl:__The Washington Post__;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/31/AR2008013101943.html?wpisrc=newsletter and linkurl:__The New York Times__;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/he

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Journal vs. docs: malnutrition spat

By | February 1, 2008

The editor of __The Lancet__ has banned members of international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medicins sans Frontieres or MSF in French) from publishing articles in the journal, according to a linkurl:story;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/319/5863/555 in __Science__ magazine today (Feb. 1). Did members of the aid organization break an linkurl:embargo?;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53943/ Fail to disclose conflicts of interest? Fabricate data? Nope. They just posted

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More delay for Boston biolab

By | February 1, 2008

Additional safety studies for Boston's planned Biosafety Level 4 lab, demanded by the Massachusetts Supreme Court last year, will further delay the opening of the facility, according to court documents filed by the NIH this week. In November, 2007, an outside scientific panel linkurl:concluded;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53944/ that the NIH had flubbed the safety evaluations for the lab, and in December, the Massachusetts Supreme Court linkurl:ruled;http://www.the-scientist.com/bl

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New drug hopes for RNAi?

By | January 31, 2008

Researchers linkurl:report;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5863/627 that they have overcome one of the major roadblocks to using small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutically - they have developed a new method to linkurl:deliver siRNA;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53307/ to silence genes in specific cells in vivo, according to this week's Science. "I'm really actually quite excited about the paper," said linkurl:John Rossi,;http://www.coh.org/Researchers/RossiJ

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Should trial sponsors pay for treatment?

By | January 31, 2008

What is the linkurl:responsibility of a company sponsoring a clinical trial;http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/01/31/when-drug-trials-go-wrong/ when one of its participants gets sick? That's the theme of a linkurl:story;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120173515260330205.html in today's Wall Street Journal. As Sarah Rubenstein reports, the family of a woman who took part in a clinical trial of a drug for Parkinson's disease is suing the sponsors and university organizers of the trial. They say the

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