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The Nutshell

Daily News Roundup

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HIV vaccines: Plan B

By | May 20, 2008

linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13734/ director of NIH's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is apparently making good on the promise to "turn the knob towards discovery" in HIV vaccine research, which he made at a linkurl:meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54488/ this March. The NIAID today (May 20) linkurl:announced;http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2008/niaid-20.htm a five-year, $15.6 million project to fund rese

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Mitotic cells: separate but unequal

By | May 19, 2008

Mitotic cell divisions, long thought to produce two identical daughter cells, are not entirely equal, according to a new linkurl:study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0803027105 published this week in __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__. Proteins destined for degradation are preferentially inherited by one cell over the other, the researchers found. "We hit on an observation that people had missed for 100 years," said linkurl:Eddy De Robertis;http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/de

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Monkey model for Huntington disease

By | May 19, 2008

Scientists have created the first transgenic monkey model of Huntington disease (HD), according to a linkurl:report;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature06975.html that appeared yesterday in Nature. But it's unclear how closely the model represents the disease in humans. The study, led by Anthony Chan, at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, successfully bred five rhesus macaques with the repeated amino acid sequence CAG in the human huntingtin gene -- the tellt

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Still hope for NIH funding boost?

By | May 16, 2008

There still may be hope for a boost to National Institutes of Health funding in 2008. Yesterday the US Senate snuck some $400 million into a bill approved by the House earlier this week for funding the Iraq war. At the end of last year, President Bush linkurl:vetoed a 2008 appropriations bill;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53858/ that would have raised NIH funding by about $1 billion. In order to get the bill approved, Congress slashed $760 million of proposed NIH funding, resultin

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First embryonic stem cell trial stalled

By | May 15, 2008

The FDA has delayed approval of an application for the first human embryonic stem cell clinical trial by Geron Corporation, the company linkurl:announced;http://www.geron.com/media/pressview.aspx?id=840 yesterday. Geron's compound, GRNOPC1, is a cell-based therapy to treat spinal cord injury. Yesterday, the FDA told Geron verbally that they were placing the Investigational New Drug submission of the treatment under a clinical hold. The company is awaiting a formal letter. Thomas Okarma, Ge

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Hwang Woo-suk's new pet project

By | May 15, 2008

Disgraced South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk has set up a biotechnology firm in Seoul for cloning animal pets and producing organs for transplant, according to Agence France Presse. Hwang was banned from research using human eggs following claims that he cloned the first human embryo that were later shown to be faked. He is currently on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges, but is not barred from conducting research on animals. Still, Hwang insists his

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Mutant p53 thwarts cancer therapy

By | May 14, 2008

Some potential cancer therapies may do more harm than good: A class of compounds intended to boost tumor suppressor p53 activity may actually promote mutant versions of the gene, a linkurl:study;http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/10/1337 published tomorrow in Genes and Development reports. p53, the tumor suppressor found in roughly half of all human cancers, works by signaling cell death, thus keeping cell growth in check. But p53 can be deleted during transcription or mutated by

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That's misconduct, eh?

By | May 13, 2008

A researcher in linkurl:Canada;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15054/ has been living high on the government hog, spending thousands on toys and personal effects with federal money meant to fund his research. According to a linkurl:story;http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=a6179ad9-ea00-4bce-b5be-1b2fa04427a2 from the Canwest News Service that ran in the __Vancouver Sun__ yesterday, the scientist spent more than $20,000 on top-of-the-line linkurl:cell phones,;http

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UK embryo bill past 1st hurdle

By | May 13, 2008

British parliamentarians voted to allow the controversial human embryo bill to continue to the next stage of debate yesterday (May 12), according to Agence France Presse. Just nine members of the governing Labour party voted against the bill, which passed by 340 votes to 78. On Sunday (May 11), it also emerged that a team at Cornell University's Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility led by Nikica Zaninovic added a green fluorescent protein to a human embryo to create what is believed

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Get political, scientists

By | May 12, 2008

A former Congressman, speaking at a meeting of researchers, policy makers, and advocates last Friday (May 9), urged scientists to become intimately involved in the political process. And he encouraged the nation's scientists to do much more than just cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in upcoming elections. "Get inside their campaigns and then press to get science in their messages to voters," said linkurl:John Porter,;http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=P0

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