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UK approves chimeric embryos

By | January 18, 2008

A British regulatory agency this week granted two universities permission to develop human-animal linkurl:hybrid embryos;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22210/ for stem cell research. Scientists intend to use the embryos, developed from human DNA in linkurl:non-human mammalian eggs,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15405 for neurodegenerative and diabetes research. According to a linkurl:statement;http://www.hfea.gov.uk/en/377.html from Britain's Human Fertilsation and

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What should NIH peer review look like?

By | January 18, 2008

Lawrence Tabak, who is spearheading the NIH's review of peer review, has read every single one of the thousands of responses submitted to the NIH last year, after the agency asked the biomedical community to weigh in on how it should linkurl:improve;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54100/ peer review. Last month, I sat down with him to talk about what he plans to do with this information. For starters, the "village vote" won't work, linkurl:Tabak;http://intramural.nidd

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Human cloning achievement?

By | January 17, 2008

A linkurl:report;http://stemcells.alphamedpress.org/cgi/reprint/2007-0252v1.pdf published online today that researchers have cloned human embryos is not that much of an advance, according to one stem cell expert, Douglas Melton, at Harvard University. Researchers at Stemagen Corporation in La Jolla, Ca, reported that they cloned human embryos from adult oocytes using linkurl:somatic cell nuclear transfer,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53224/ according to a report published online

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Your candidates on science

By | January 17, 2008

If you're interested in how your elected representatives feel about science, Scientists and Engineers for America have just launched a new wiki-type site that tracks how politicians have behaved. The network already includes more than 500 Web sites, and at least one for every senator, congressman, and Presidential candidate. "Not sure what your congressman has said or done about global warming? Look it up on their SHARP page. If it's not there, then you can help by adding it," a

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Cilia link seeing and peeing

By | January 16, 2008

I've officially heard my favorite one-liner here at the Keystone symposium on the molecular basis for biological membrane organization. In her presentation on the molecular link between polycystic defects such as retinopathies and linkurl:polycystic kidney disease,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14662/ Angela Wandinger-Ness of the University of New Mexico offered this gem: "There is a connection between seeing and peeing." After the giggles subsided, linkurl:Wandinger-Ness;http://

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Race drug marketing dropped

By | January 16, 2008

The company that sells linkurl:BiDil,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15896 the first drug to be marketed specifically for linkurl:one race of patients,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53869 is pulling its marketing and sales support for the drug. While the approval of the drug just for African American patients was met with controversy, the company, Nitromed, cites a "challenging capital market environment" as the reason for pulling its marketing efforts, according to a l

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Calcium signaling: STIM revisited

By | January 15, 2008

In cell signaling, calcium is king. The flux of calcium ions across cell membranes regulates cellular activities from muscle contraction to neuron firing to immune cell function. A talk I saw here at the Keystone symposium on the molecular basis for biological membrane organization in Big Sky, Montana, presented some significant steps forward in understanding the molecular pathway whereby the cell senses the depletion of calcium from stores in the endoplasmic reticulum and in order to allow the

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Folkman remembered as creative, kind

By | January 15, 2008

This afternoon, I spoke with Harold Dvorak, a colleague of Judah Folkman's at Harvard, who reacted to his colleague's linkurl:sudden passing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54173/ yesterday. He said that he's spent the day thinking back over Folkman's generosity as a physician, not only his achievements as a pioneer in anti-angiogenesis therapy for cancer. Hundreds of patients contacted Folkman with problems - an incurable case of cancer, for instance - and he stayed i

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Judah Folkman dies

By | January 15, 2008

Judah Folkman, a proponent of the idea that halting angiogenesis could starve tumors, died yesterday at the age of 74. According to news reports, the cause of death was a heart attack. The promise of anti-angiogenesis therapies led to many high hopes for Folkman's work, particularly when the New York Times ran a linkurl:1998 story;http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Folkmans-War-Angiogenesis-Struggle/dp/0375502440 quoting James Watson's prediction that Folkman would cure cancer in two years. Folkman "wa

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Let's grow organs

By | January 15, 2008

This week's news about researchers growing a new heart from baby cells was exciting, no doubt - a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota, led by Doris Taylor, grew a beating rat heart by adding heart cells from newborn rats to the scaffolding of a dead rat's heart. After only two weeks, the authors report in this month's Nature Medicine, the organ began conducting electrical impulses and pumping blood. The achievement, researchers said, suggests scientists could one day linkurl:gr

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