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News in a nutshell

NIH tweaks stem cell rulesThe US National Institutes of Health on Friday (Feb 19) proposed a change to its definition of a human embryonic stem cell. Presently, stem cell lines are defined as being derived from a blastocyst-stage embryo. The proposed revision would amend that wording to "up to and including the blastocyst stage." The policy, published in the linkurl:Federal Register,;http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-03527_PI.pdf is open for public comment. The issue was rais

By | February 22, 2010

NIH tweaks stem cell rules
The US National Institutes of Health on Friday (Feb 19) proposed a change to its definition of a human embryonic stem cell. Presently, stem cell lines are defined as being derived from a blastocyst-stage embryo. The proposed revision would amend that wording to "up to and including the blastocyst stage." The policy, published in the linkurl:Federal Register,;http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-03527_PI.pdf is open for public comment. The issue was raised when stem cell company Advanced Cell Technology submitted applications to include five stem cell lines derived from earlier stage embryos in the NIH database, linkurl:ScienceInsider reports.;http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/02/nih-expands-definition-of-human-.html The agency's director of the Office of Science Policy, Lana Skirboll, linkurl:told Reuters;http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1919518220100219 it was a "relatively small technical change" and noted, "This changes none of the ethical requirements in the guidelines."
Bruce Ivins
Image: Wikipedia
To bank or not to bank
Stanford University stem cell scientist linkurl:Irving Weissman;http://med.stanford.edu/profiles/Irving_Weissman/ linkurl:told reporters;http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/sciencehealthstemcellfraud at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego on Saturday that umbilical stem cell banks are shams that fleece consumers out of thousands of dollars. Case closed for Bruce Ivins
The US Bureau of Federal Investigations (FBI) on Friday linkurl:closed the posthumous case;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/us/20anthrax.html?hp against army pathogen researcher Bruce Ivins, deeming him solely responsible for the anthrax attacks in 2001 which killed five people and created national panic. In a newly released report, investigators revealed they believed the anthrax letters contained coded messages referring to two female colleagues with whom Ivins was obsessed. How Nature selects papers
Over at the Grantsmanship blog, the writer and her readers linkurl:dissect;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/nature-journal-editors-are-well-meaning-and-insightful/ an editorial in last week's Nature which defends how the journal chooses which papers to publish. linkurl:The editorial addresses;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7283/full/463850a.html "a number of false impressions that we have become aware of in and beyond the research community," such as trying to inflate its impact factor by cherry-picking papers destined for a high citation rate and allowing one negative referee to kill a paper. Texas health officials passed samples to feds
Texas state officials who were ordered by the court last December to destroy a collection of 5 million infant blood samples weren't just using those samples in research, linkurl:an investigation;http://www.texastribune.org/stories/2010/feb/22/dna-deception/ by the Texas Tribune reveals. Apparently, they were also passing some of those samples to an armed forces lab, which aimed to create a national forensics database of mitochondrial DNA to identify missing persons and track leads in cold cases. Africa ramping up drug R&D
African policymakers are formulating a strategy on how to boost pharmaceutical research and development, linkurl:reports SciDev.net.;http://scidev.net/en/news/africa-plans-leap-into-drug-r-d.html A report presented at a meeting on pharmaceutical innovation in South Africa last week noted that there are more than 120 projects involved in researching or delivering medicines on the continent, but little coordination between them. Check out linkurl:our January article;http://www.the-scientist.com/2010/1/1/52/1/ on the biotech industry in Africa. Got TB? Go ahead, board that plane
Finally, linkurl:a paper;http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099%2810%2970028-1/fulltext in the March issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases says there's little evidence to show that airplane passengers infected with tuberculosis can infect their co-travelers, and suggests that current regulations preventing potentially infectious people from flying are unnecessarily strict. CDC officials, though, object to some of the article's conclusions, linkurl:the Washington Post reports.;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/21/AR2010022103395.html
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Banking on hope;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57148/
[18th February 2010]*linkurl:Bush stem cell line ok for approval;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57093/
[22nd January 2010]*linkurl:Consent issues nix blood samples;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56230/
[23rd December 2009]*linkurl:Anthrax suspect commits suicide;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54907/
[1st August 2008]
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