July 1999

News

The Rodent Wars: Is a Rat Just a Big Mouse?
The Rodent Wars: Is a Rat Just a Big Mouse?
Sometimes it seems as if genome projects are cropping up everywhere.1 But until costs come down, limited resources are being largely concentrated into what Joseph Nadeau, professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, calls "the genome seven," an apples-and-oranges list of viruses, bacteria, fungi, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mouse, with Homo sapiens in its own category.2 Researchers widely acknowledge that in the rod
Gene Therapy Crossroads: Researchers Hitch Their Hopes to Hemophilia
Gene Therapy Crossroads: Researchers Hitch Their Hopes to Hemophilia
Hemophilia is an ideal model for gene therapy, speaker after speaker repeated during the American Society for Gene Therapy's (ASGT) June meeting in Washington, D.C. Successfully providing a single protein a few times should, in theory, cure the disease, they stated. And once introduced via vector, a therapeutic clotting protein need not be continuously produced or regulated, they added. What they did not mention--at least not as openly--was the double-edged nature of that "ideal" status. In oth
Global Warming: Organisms Feel the Heat
Global Warming: Organisms Feel the Heat
Global warming has a strong effect on butterfly populations. Camille Parmesan , assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas in Austin, cares about butterflies, so she's concerned: Global warming is bugging her beloved insects. Three years ago, Parmesan reported that Edith's checkerspot butterfly had moved northward along the west coast of North America over the past century.1 Specifically, local populations were four times more likely to go extinct in Mexico, at the
Debate Heats Up Over Antibiotic-Resistant Foodborne Bacteria
Debate Heats Up Over Antibiotic-Resistant Foodborne Bacteria
Foodborne infections and bacterial antibiotic resistance garner tremendous attention in the public health arena. So it should come as no surprise that a decades-long debate is heating up over whether antibiotic-resistant bacteria from food animals pose a threat to humans. Concerned that you just can't keep antibiotic resistance genes down on the farm, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine has moved to impose regulations to help curb the development of antibi
MMPS May Provide Clues To Multiple Ailments
MMPS May Provide Clues To Multiple Ailments
William Stetler-Stevenson Find a way to control cell movement, and you've got an excellent weapon in the fights against tumorigenesis and inflammation, an excellent clue as to how organisms develop, and an excellent tool in developing tissue-growth and wound-repair therapies. One particular family of enzymes, called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), may hold much of the key to such a weapon. When first studied in the 1940s, matrix degradation was actually more important to the leather indus
From Basic Research to Cancer Drug: The Story of Cisplatin
From Basic Research to Cancer Drug: The Story of Cisplatin
if (n == null) The Scientist - From Basic Research to Cancer Drug: The Story of Cisplatin The Scientist 13[14]:11, Jul. 05, 1999 News From Basic Research to Cancer Drug: The Story of Cisplatin By Ricki Lewis Clinical Trial Results for Treating Cervical Cancer The April 15, 1999 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) brought great satisfaction to Barnett Rosenberg, a retired Michigan State University biophysicist who founded the Barros Resear

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
The Scientist 13[14]:2, Jul. 05, 1999

Letter

Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (1 of 3)
Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (1 of 3)
As a registered nurse, I found the May 10 article "Is Integrative Medicine the Future?" extremely interesting.1 Which of these doctors [Arnold S. Relman or Andrew Weil] would I want to treat me? Let me answer that question. Medicine has come a long way over the last several decades. Why is the American public flocking to alternative medicine? One of the most notable changes in the doctor-patient relationship is that the doctor has been knocked off his pedestal. The public has lost respect for
Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (3 of 3)
Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (3 of 3)
I agree with Dr. Weil.1 In spite of the efficacy of purified medicinals, a new industry has taken root. It is direct use of natural products. Native American Indians did not understand their use of herbs and roots, but they did know what was helpful. That folklore is available today in health food stores. The Old Lady of Shropshire was not a scientist, but she surely was an astute observer of the effects of digitalis plants. Doctors today should find something useful here, even if the supportin
Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (2 of 3)
Relman-Weil Debate: Three Views (2 of 3)
Thank you very much for your inclusion of this stimulating debate from two icons of conventional and integrative medicine.1 Both sides made compelling points in eminently quotable prose. Many ethnobotanists and natural-product researchers would emphasize that the views of these luminaries need not be mutually exclusive. I believe that herbal medicine in particular is wholly compatible with the scientific medicine. Although the information is not easy to find in all instances, modern texts avail

Commentary

Opinion

When Is Expert Testimony Useful to Courts?
When Is Expert Testimony Useful to Courts?
You have been asked to provide expert testimony in a judicial proceeding. Even if you have done so dozens of times, you are slightly anxious. You are a scientist. You take pride in that role and consequently want to do an outstanding job. The task seems simple enough. You are familiar with the topic about which you are to testify, and the attorneys sound pleasant enough. But as you reflect a little more, you have some nagging concerns: Just what do courts expect from me? How can I more eff

Research

Weathering Hantavirus: Ecological Monitoring Provides Predictive Model
Weathering Hantavirus: Ecological Monitoring Provides Predictive Model
Photo: Steve Bunk Dave Tinnin, field research associate in the University of New Mexico's biology department, takes blood samples and measurements of rodents caught on the research station grounds. At the end of a freeway exit near Soccoro, N.M., the hairpin turn onto a gravel road is marked by a sign that warns, "Wrong Way." But it isn't the wrong way if you want to reach the University of New Mexico's (UNM) long-term ecological research (LTER) station. The sign's subterfuge is the first indi

Hot Paper

Cancer
Cancer
The papers listed here, have been cited in a substantially greater number of publications than others of the same type and vintage, according to data from the Science Citation Index® of the Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia. Why have these research reports become such standouts? In conversations with The Scientist, the authors attempt to provide answers. Following protein pathways can lead to unexpected places. In this case, three groups approached b-catenin from separate d

Profession

Merchant Scientists: Deal Structuring and Pavement Pounding Are Part of Technology Transfer
Merchant Scientists: Deal Structuring and Pavement Pounding Are Part of Technology Transfer
Richard Gill Richard Gill runs the biosciences division of a global technology transfer company, calling himself "a mercenary technologist." It's an aggressive line of work--mining unsung discoveries at universities, drug companies, and eccentric inventors' garages; obtaining licensing agreements; and getting finished product out into the marketplace. "I use harsher language to describe what I do than 'merchant scientist,'" the popular moniker for his job, says Gill, the senior vice president

Technology

The Nose Knows: Cyrano Sciences' Electronic Nose
The Nose Knows: Cyrano Sciences' Electronic Nose
A small company in Pasadena, Calif., is commercializing a technology developed by scientists at the nearby California Institute of Technology to put the sense of smell at your fingertips. Using an array of 32 extendable polymers, Cyrano Sciences' handheld electronic nose will someday be capable of sniffing out anything from land mines to halitosis-causing bacteria in humans. Due to be available at the end of the year, this electronic nose will be handheld, easy to use, and fast--with applicatio
Just Passing Through: FALCON(R) HTS FluoroBlok Inserts
Just Passing Through: FALCON(R) HTS FluoroBlok Inserts
Becton Dickinson's Falcon® HTS FluoroBlock Inserts So you're studying the movement of cells toward a chemical gradient. You'll do multiple time-consuming manipulations--cell scraping, transferring membrane inserts, manual fixation, staining, and microscope counting. Or will you? With a new "radiation opaque" membrane insert for real-time fluorescence studies, you could get your information directly in a matter of minutes. FluoroBlok is a proprietary colored PET membrane insert that fits i
Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Labsystems' Solo HT Labsystems' Solo HT (high temperature) Microplate Incubator is a portable unit for incubating a single microplate up to 65°C. The Solo HT has three display modes: set temperature, set time, and current temperature. Visual and audible warnings indicate discrepancies between the set temperature and the current temperature, and a countdown period of up to 240 minutes in 5-minute intervals can be set at any point during operation. Special features of the Solo HT are its l

Technology Profile

Cell-Signaling A Cascade of Kinases, Phosphatases, and Cytokines
Cell-Signaling A Cascade of Kinases, Phosphatases, and Cytokines
Date: July 5, 1999Table of Cell Signaling Tools At today's research pace, new signaling mechanisms within and between cells are emerging not one by one but in a chain reaction. Each new discovery has strong implications for previously established models, sometimes overturning several assumptions at once. With such a large number of interacting systems--from cell adhesion to differentiation and apoptosis--and receptor pathways, keeping up with the wealth of cell-signaling research tools can be l
Postmodern Culture: Maximizing Cell Culture Output At Every Level
Postmodern Culture: Maximizing Cell Culture Output At Every Level
Date: July 5, 1999Products for High-Volume Tissue Culture The Automation Partnership's CELLMATETM Automated Cell Culture Processing System Mammalian cell culture has finally come into its own as a way to produce cells, proteins, or sub-cellular components in large scale. Recent advances in cell culture systems are allowing scientists to better circumvent problems associated with bacterial systems such as incomplete protein expression, toxin contamination, and incompatibility. Today's wide arra

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Contents Trial veteran Resistance in rivers I contain multitudes Chlamydia in heart disease Tomatoes vs. armyworms Look, Ma, no paws Peroxide damage Philip Brunell receives the first injection at NIH of the experimental shingles vaccine from nurse Patricia Hohman. TRIAL VETERAN When Philip Brunell received the first shingles vaccination in a Phase III trial June 17, it was not exactly a shot in the dark. The senior attending physician at the National Institutes of Health clinical center estim