May 1996

News

New EPA Cancer Risk Guidelines Receiving Favorable Reactions
New EPA Cancer Risk Guidelines Receiving Favorable Reactions
Favorable Reactions Researchers and industry representatives are reacting positively to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently proposed revised guidelines for carcinogen risk assessment. That approval is somewhat tempered by warnings sounded by environmental and consumer-education groups regarding the interpretation of certain suggestions in the long-awaited document. OPPORTUNITY: The revisions encourage use of new data notes Bernard Goldstein. The guidelines, released in mid-
Regulations And Poor Communication Slow Pediatric Vaccine Development
Regulations And Poor Communication Slow Pediatric Vaccine Development
Vaccine Development Well-intentioned immunization efforts ignore economic realities, observers contend. By all accounts, the 1990s should be a monumental decade for pediatric vaccines. Wielding new molecular tools like genetic engineering, scientists can craft safer and more creative vaccines than ever imagined. Yet poor communication and disparate desires among industry players plague the vaccine pipeline, according to insiders. As a result, they say, vaccine R&D is taking a hit, investors
Research!America Branches Out To States, Calls For Scientists' Aid
Research!America Branches Out To States, Calls For Scientists' Aid
Scientists' Aid Research!America, an Alexandria, Va.-based national nonprofit advocacy group for biomedical research, is branching out to the states, attempting to form grass-roots support for increased federal funding. Officials of the organization are pleased with the programs' progress: Opinion polls consistently show that the public supports increased biomedical research funding. But they also maintain that the programs could use more help from scientists themselves. OPEN EYES: Student m
National Academy of Sciences' Class of 1996 Sets New Record
National Academy of Sciences' Class of 1996 Sets New Record
Sets New Record A record-breaking number of women highlights this year's group of 60 scientists and engineers selected for membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The new members, elected during NAS's 133rd annual meeting in Washington, D.C., late last month, include 11 women. In addition, 15 foreign associates from eight countries were named (see accompanying story). All 75 will receive one of science's most prestigious honors when they are inducted into the academy at next ye
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - May 27, 1996
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - May 27, 1996
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 "The Behavoir of Organisms" author 6 Thymus or thryoid, say 9 It gets a reaction 10 Element used in catalytic converters 11 Thin, horny, digital plate 12 Killer whale 13 Physician for whom a syndrome is named 16 Banting helped isolate it 17 ____-Barr virus 18 Type of passive transport 21 Kingdom with divisions 23 Third-best electricity conductor 24 RAM unit 25 Prefix meaning order 29 Body + axon + dendrites 30 ____ acid 31 Sort of reaction 3

Clarification

CLARIFICATION
CLARIFICATION
CLARIFICATION Date: May 27, 1996 An item in the Notebook section of the April 29, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 30) reported on a recent presentation by Godfrey Oakley, director of the division of birth defects and developmental disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, discussing folic acid taken by women of reproductive age. Oakley says the currently recommended 400 µg dose of folic acid per day is sufficient to prevent births of babie

Opinion

Increases In Research Productivity Are Not 'Rocket Science'
Increases In Research Productivity Are Not 'Rocket Science'
The president and his men pay ritual homage to science and technology, to be sure. In March, donning electricians' gloves and hauling cables, Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore participated in California's "Netday" effort to give students access to the Internet. More important, last November Gore and the president's science adviser, John Gibbons, sketched out the grandiose federal plan for one of the nation's most promising but challenged fields in the report "Biotechnology for the 21st Ce

Commentary

Patents For Human Therapies: Too Little, Too Late?
Patents For Human Therapies: Too Little, Too Late?
Without a patent, a university or small company may struggle to obtain financial support for expensive animal or human studies needed to develop a drug. But the way to a patent may be blocked by a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) unwilling to accept in vitro data as predictive of human therapeutic usefulness. It is the public who suffers from this dilemma as promising therapies for deadly diseases may never reach the market. During the early 1990s, USPTO sharply limited the is

Letter

Baboon Marrow Transplant
Baboon Marrow Transplant
I am compelled to respond to the recent commentary by Michal Jasienski entitled "Wishful Thinking And The Fallacy Of Single-Subject Experimentation" (The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 10). The commentary presents a viewpoint regarding the appropriateness of the attempt to use baboon bone marrow for AIDS treatment involving a single patient (S. Benowitz, The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 3). Contained in the commentary are misinformed statements regarding single-subject experimentation. The m
Making Contact
Making Contact
In her commentary ("Survival In Today's Tight Funding Climate Depends On Following Agencies' Rules," The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 11), Susan Fitzpatrick says that "the only point on which [her] advice differs from that provided in [my] article [L. Reif-Lehrer, "Following Instructions Is Critical To Success Of A Grant Application," The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 15] is on 'networking' with program officers." This refers to a quote from Janet Rasey, head of the Research Funding Servic

Research

Most-Cited Research Articles, Top 'Hot Paper' Authors of 1995
Most-Cited Research Articles, Top 'Hot Paper' Authors of 1995
Editor's Note: Each year since 1993, the newsletter Science Watch has identified the preceding year's hottest scientists and research papers. Based on citation records compiled by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), analysts prepared the rosters for 1995. For the last three years, Bert Vogelstein, a molecular biologist from Johns Hopkins University, has accumulated more "hot papers" in one year than any other researcher. Molecular biologist Kenneth Kinzler, Vogels

Hot Paper

Telomere Biology
Telomere Biology
N.W. Kim, M.A. Piatyszek, K.R. Prowse, C.B. Harley, M.D. West, P.L.C. Ho, G.M. Coviello, W.E. Wright, S.L. Weinrich, J.W. Shay, "Specific association of human telomerase activity with immortal cells and cancer," Science, 266:2011-5, 1994. (Cited in nearly 80 publications through April 1996) Comments by Jerry Shay, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas END RUN: Texas' Jerry Shay, left and Woody Wright developed a telomerase activity assay. Although telomeres-the tips of chro
Plant Disease Resistance
Plant Disease Resistance
B. Vernooij, L. Friedrich, A. Morse, R. Reist, R. Kolditz-Jawhar, E. Ward, S. Uknes, H. Kessmann, J. Ryals, "Salicylic acid is not the translocated signal responsible for inducing systemic acquired resistance but is required in signal transduction," Plant Cell, 6:959-65, 1994. (Cited in 40 publications through April 1996) Comments by Bernard Vernooij, Ciba-Geigy Corp., Research Triangle Park, N.C. Plants have evolved a host of defense mechanisms for fighting infection by viruses, bacteria, an

Profession

Biotechnology Patent Boom Offers Career Opportunities For Scientists
Biotechnology Patent Boom Offers Career Opportunities For Scientists
Opportunities For Scientists The number of biotechnology patent applications filed in the United States has grown about 10 percent per year since 1990, reaching 15,600 for fiscal 1995. In contrast, the total number of patent applications has risen only about 2 percent annually. As the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) scrambles to find qualified examiners to analyze and rule on the patentability of these biotech inventions, scientists in genetics, immunology, molecular biology, and rela

Leaders of Science

Howard Bleich
Howard Bleich
HOWARD L. BLEICH, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School Howard Bleich came to Boston's Beth Israel Hospital in 1967 to study electrolyte physiology. When he discovered that the hospital's animal farm could not accommodate dogs-the animal model needed for his study-he developed a computer program to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of electrolyte- and acid-based problems. Later, he developed PaperChase, a computer program to help physicians and scientists sear

Technology

Convenient, Performance-Boosting Products Put PCR On The Fast Track
Convenient, Performance-Boosting Products Put PCR On The Fast Track
PCR On The Fast Track The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revolutionized researchers' ability to manipulate DNA and RNA. With PCR-an amplification procedure that mimics DNA replication-molecular biologists no longer have to painstakingly purify large quantities of DNA for genetic experiments. The growing number of plastics and laboratory disposables, combined with the advent of reagent kits designed expressly for PCR, are making it easier for scientists to apply the technology in new areas. PC

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
HERE WE GO AGAIN: More breast cancer genes are likely, says Duke's Futreal. A recent report in Nature Genetics (C. Phelan et al., 13:120-2, 1996) suggests that mutations in BRCA2, the second breast cancer susceptibility gene identified, may not be involved in as many cases of inherited breast cancer as first thought, but it may play a role in some pancreatic cancers. At the same time, the work implies that a third breast cancer gene-and perhaps more-may lurk in human DNA. Researchers at Duke