January 1997

News

Off-Label Reprints Still A Hot Issue In FDA Reform
Off-Label Reprints Still A Hot Issue In FDA Reform
A Senate bill dealing with dissemination by drug firms of articles describing alternative uses of approved medications could be reintroduced soon. Sidebar: Off-Labels Reprints -- For Further Information CURRENT THINKING: "These are guidelines for companies to follow, says FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein. "It’s not a regulation." As the 105th Congress gets down to business this month, reform of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to be a lively topic of debate, especially in
Plan For NCHGR Receives Mixed Reaction
Plan For NCHGR Receives Mixed Reaction
An initiative is under way to make the center an NIH institute; critics, however, argue that unnecessary redundancy would result. The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR), which directs the National Institutes of Health's part in the Human Genome Project (HGP), is poised to become an institute. The necessary steps to change the center's status are already in motion, according to director Francis Collins, who supports the move. PROS AND CONS: Supporters note progress in NIH̵
Hispanics At HHS Note Progress, But See Problems With Action Plan
Hispanics At HHS Note Progress, But See Problems With Action Plan
Sidebar: HEO's Priorities For Action SKEPTIC: Henry Stevenson-Perez says HHS's agenda offers few services to Hispanic members of the public. For years, Hispanic health professionals have contended they are severely underrepresented in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a situation that they say jeopardizes HHS's ability to serve a rapidly increasing Hispanic population in the United States. HHS itself conceded this in a document released last September, "Hispanic Agenda for Ac
New Alzheimer's Drug Signals A Coming Increase In Research
New Alzheimer's Drug Signals A Coming Increase In Research
Sidebar: For Further Information A mere two drugs currently are available for people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and the second, Aricept, was approved only recently. Observers call Aricept a clear improvement over the first medication, Cognex, and are optimistic that it will spur more research into Alzheimer's treatments, opening up more job opportunities for scientists studying the catastrophic brain disease. But they caution against high hopes, as there still is no way to stop its pr
For Further Information
For Further Information
The following resources are available online: October 1996 guidelines on the distribution of journal reprints and medical texts by drug companies issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): http://www.fda.gov/cder/guidance/fr8oct96.htm Transcripts of an FDA-sponsored public meeting held last October on the promotion of FDA-regulated medical products on the Internet: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/morechoices/transcript1096/fdainet.html Full text of the Coalition for Healthcare Communicati
HEO's Priorities For Action
HEO's Priorities For Action
More than 100 federal employees, administrators, and community-based organizational leaders attended a Sept. 7, 1996, Hispanic Leadership Retreat to discuss how to improve services offered to Hispanics by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the working environment at HHS for Hispanic employees. Retreat participants set priorities for a new vision of the Hispanic Employee Organization (HEO), a group that represents Hispanic employees of HHS. Members narrowed the list, and HEO l
For Further Information
For Further Information
Alliance for Aging Research 2021 K St., N.W. Suite 305 Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 293-2856 Fax: (202) 785-8574 E-mail: agecom@aol.com Alzheimer’s Association 919 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1000 Chicago, Ill. 60611-1676 (800) 272-3900 Fax: (312) 335-1110 World Wide Web: http://www.alz.org Eisai America Inc. Glen Pointe Center East 300 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Teaneck, N.J. 07666 (888) ARICEPT Fax: (201)-287-9744 Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert Co. 201 Tabor Rd. Morris Plains, N.J. 07950 (201) 540-
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - January 20, 1997
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - January 20, 1997
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Pertaining to hidden blood 6 Infection response 9 Cursor controller 10 Prefix for quintillion 11 Tonsillitis pathogen 12 Type of acid used in making explosives and fertilizers 13 Thiamine-deficiency result 15 Secondary structure for a protein 18 Helper in polypeptide-chain building: abbr. 20 Neuron appendage 21 Structure appearing during cell division 23 Flat area of bone between the eyebrows 25 Pathogen transmitter 29 Thin, flat, horny plat

Leaders of Science

Jim Buss
Jim Buss
The Scientist Date: January 20, 1997 THE SCIENTIST® The Newspaper for the Life Sciences Professional (609)-786-7207 For Fast Service "Toxicology is a highly interdisciplinary science that taps a wide variety of scientific disciplines from biology, immunology, and biochemistry to the applied sciences. THE SCIENTIST keeps me up to date very nicely in terms of critical funding activities in Congress that affect these disciplines." JIM BUSS President, Society of Toxicology, Reston, VA Tech

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
The article "Biotech Companies, Researchers Venture Into Functional Genomics" (K.S. Brown, The Scientist, Nov. 25, 1996, page 1) inaccurately reported the history behind the coining of the term "functional genomics." In the interview, Corey Goodman correctly stated that the term was coined and trademarked by a team at Exelixis Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., several years ago.

Opinion

D
D
"Basic research only" has become a battle cry for those who would like to slash funding for federal scientific research and development programs. But following that war path would be a serious misstep if the goal is-as it should be-to get an effective return on the federal scientific investment. In fact, federal support for the development part of R&D is already woefully insufficient to ensure that the benefits of research advances are fully realized. Basic research is just the first leg

Commentary

New Web Sites Provide Tools For Wading Through The Electronic Information Deluge
New Web Sites Provide Tools For Wading Through The Electronic Information Deluge
Edward B. Jakobovits is president of SciWeb Inc. (http://www.sciweb.com), an Internet-based information and communication service for life science professionals located in Menlo Park, Calif. Information is pouring out electronic pipes. More data, reports, documents, and charts than at any time in history are being created and broadcast electronically to the farthest reaches of the planet at lightning speed. With so much data to access, scientists face an age-old challenge-locating useful infor

Letter

The Eureka Experience
The Eureka Experience
Several items in The Scientist over the past year have caught my interest. The most recent, by Kathryn S. Brown, is on what I have referred to as early as 1975 in lectures and articles as "the Eureka Feeling," which I insist is an example of intuition. In her article entitled "Excitement and Emotion Mark Scientists' Fleeting Moments of Discovery" (K.S. Brown, The Scientist, Nov. 25, 1996, page 16), she calls it the "Eureka!" moment. In the literature I found W.I.B. Beveridge, who discusses int
Science And The Media
Science And The Media
I read with great interest the comments by Ricki Lewis on the problems of conveying science news to the general public [The Scientist, Nov. 25, 1996, page 11]. It concerns me that we have a scientifically illiterate society that cannot make sound public policy choices that directly affect them. Researchers and journalists must share the burden of educating the general public on issues of science. The traditional goal of science, the pursuit of knowledge, has become more broad within the last d
Plant Apoptosis
Plant Apoptosis
There is ample irony in the fact that biologists still argue whether programmed cell death in plants may be defined as "apoptotic cell death" (K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, Nov. 11, 1996, page 13). After all, the term "apoptosis" itself originates from the plant kingdom-describing the shedding of tree leaves in fall. This is precisely why this term was chosen to describe the event of programmed cell death by the authors of the landmark 1972 paper describing it for the first time (J.F. Kerr et al
Creation 'Anniversary'
Creation 'Anniversary'
I was surprised to see the "mock celebration of the historic non-event" of the 6,000th anniversary of creation (in 4004 b.c., according to Bishop James Ussher) by the Center for Inquiry [Notebook, The Scientist, Nov. 11, 1996, page 30]. It seems they were a year premature, because there is no year zero! The speculative October 23 date should probably be attributed to John Lightfoot (1642; reprinted in J.R. Pitman, ed., The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot D.D., vol. 2, London, J.F. Dove,

Research

As Alzheimer's Studies Progress, Debate On Cause Persists
As Alzheimer's Studies Progress, Debate On Cause Persists
Sidebar: Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease -- Further Information At its annual meeting in November 1995, the Society for Neuroscience hosted a lively debate on whether ß-amyloid deposition is the cause of Alzheimer's disease. The debate was light in tone, but that masked real and often rancorous divisions in the field (R. Finn, The Scientist, Oct. 16, 1995, page 14.). Since then, significant advances in this rapidly developing discipline have generated considerable excitement among Alzheim
For Further Information
For Further Information
Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease - Further Information Date: January 20, 1997 For more information on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease, see G.D. Schellenberg, "Genetic dissection of Alzheimer's disease, a heterogeneous disorder," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 92:8552-9, 1995. The Alzheimer's Association (more formally known as the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association) supports research on the disease and serves as a clearinghouse for Alzheim

Hot Paper

Telomere Biology
Telomere Biology
Edited by: Karen Young Kreeger C.M. Counter, J. Gupta, C.B. Harley, B. Leber, S. Bacchetti, "Telomerase activity in normal leukocytes and hematologic malignancies," Blood, 85:2315-20, 1995. (Cited in nearly 50 publications as of December 1996) Comments by Silvia Bacchetti, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. TALLYING TELOMERASE: McMaster University’s Silvia Bacchetti and Chris Counter were the first to detect telomerase in noncancerous somatic cells. The study of telomeres
TRANSPLANTATION BIOLOGY
TRANSPLANTATION BIOLOGY
Edited by: Karen Young Kreeger FIGHTING REJECTION: William Bensinger and colleagues used recombinant cytokines to stimulate stem-cell production in transplant donors. W.I. Bensinger, C.H. Weaver, F.R. Appelbaum, S. Rowley, T. Demirer, J. Sanders, R. Storb, C.D. Buckner, "Transplantation of allogenic peripheral blood stem cells mobilized by recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor," Blood, 85:1655-8, 1995. (Cited in nearly 100 publications as of December 1996). Comments by Willi

Profession

Scientific Journal Editors Say Polished Prose Clarifies Research
Scientific Journal Editors Say Polished Prose Clarifies Research
Sidebar: 10 Expressions to Avoid Seven Steps to More Stylish Prose Recommended Reading It wasn't an easy job. As a senior editor at JAMA-the Journal of the American Medical Association-in the 1960s, Lester King found himself constantly rewriting submitted manuscripts. He cut vague words. He snipped long sentences. He organized whole sections. TOO MANY WORDS: Scientific journals are plagued by needlessly verbose writing, contends English professor Robert Day. Finally, King had had enough. He

Technology

Technology Advances Marking Milestones In Microscopy
Technology Advances Marking Milestones In Microscopy
Microscopy Sidebar: Selected Vendors Microscopy makes a big deal out of little things. And one of the biggest things to come out of microscopy this year was evidence of life on Mars. Using new tools in high-resolution scanning electron microscopy, researchers peered at tiny structures found deep within fractures of a 4.2 pound, potato-sized meteorite and concluded they had found evidence of "primitive life on early Mars" (D.S. McKay et al., Science, 273:924-30, 1996). But alien microfossils are
Selected Vendors of Microscopy Equipment and Supplies
Selected Vendors of Microscopy Equipment and Supplies
AMRAY Inc. Applied Precision Inc. AutoQuant Imaging Inc. Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. Chroma Technology Digital Instruments Inc. ElectroScan Corp. Hitachi Instruments Inc. JEOL USA Inc. Leica Inc. LEO Electron Microscopy Inc. Life Science Research Ltd. Meridian Instruments Inc. Molecular Dynamics Inc. Molecular Probes Inc. Nikon Inc. Instrument Group Olympus America Inc. Philips Electron Optics Princeton Instruments Inc. Topcon Technologies Inc. Vysis Inc. Carl Zeiss Inc.

New Products

New Products - The Scientist - January 20, 1997
New Products - The Scientist - January 20, 1997
For Detecting Pathogen-Specific PCR Products The DNA Catcher Plate System includes a line of 96-well oligo plate assays for the detection of pathogen-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products. Kits include HIV, HBV, HCV, HCMV, HSV, VZV, HHV-6, Borrelia burgdorferi, and custom applications. The company's method for attaching a high-density capture probe to a 96-well microtiter plate allows single-copy detection of amplified DNA in a reverse dot blot format. Amplification of the target

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
'IRREPRESSIBLE': Carl Sagan died last month. The late Carl E. Sagan was remembered by friends, former students, and colleagues for his research and his passionate efforts to spark public interest in science at a tribute following his funeral December 23 in Ithaca, N.Y. The Cornell University astronomer, who had battled a bone-marrow disease for two years, died December 20 of pneumonia at age 62 in Seattle, leaving the science community in laudatory mourning. Joshua Lederberg, the Raymond and Be