ALSO NOTED: Cloning scientist forecasts new approach to stem cells; Leukemia cell linked to relapse is identified;

Stem Cells

Acclaimed scientist Ian Wilmut told an audience in Connecticut that efforts on embryo cloning--often thwarted by government regulators--may be overtaken by research on reprogramming DNA so that adult stem cells can be used to create new stem cells. Report

NPR reports on state funding for stem cell research, and the researchers angling to use the funds to set up the leading programs that will guide most of the work around the globe. Report

In a first of its kind study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have developed a new technique that transports therapeutic stem cells in a multilayer microcapsule that not only protects the cells from being attacked by the body's immune system but also enables them to be seen on X-ray. Release

In a study in rats, neural progenitor cells derived from human fetal stem cells have been shown to protect the vision of animals with degenerative eye disease similar to the kinds of diseases that afflict humans. The new study appears March 28 in the journal Public Library of Science One. Release

An Australian legal ethicist says that a new law on therapeutic cloning will encourage scientists to stay in Australia rather than emigrate. Having research based in Australia also would lure investments, says Loane Skene, and lead to more training for the next generation of scientists. Report

Cancer Research

Scientists at the Children's Cancer Institute Australia have identified the leukemia cell that is responsible for the most common kind of relapse in children. Report

An Institute of Medicine report says that a lack of standards and confusing regulatory authority have hampered the development of biomarkers needed to fight cancer. Report

A study by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reports short-term success in using percutaneous cryoablation to freeze kidney tumors. Release

Scientists have discovered how an unusual protein helps a cell bypass damage when making new DNA, thereby averting the cell's self-destruction. But they also discovered that this protein, an enzyme called Dpo4, often makes errors when copying the genomic DNA sequence that later might cause the cell to become cancerous. Release

Preliminary results from an on-going multi-center study presented last week by independent researchers in Europe indicate that a new Gen-Probe PCA3-based test for prostate cancer yielded greater diagnostic accuracy than the free prostate specific antigen test on men with previous negative biopsy. Release

By mimicking nature's way of distinguishing one type of cell from another, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists now report they can more effectively seek out and kill cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. Report

More Research

Japanese researchers say they have identified a protein that may contribute to the unhealthy buildup of synovial fluid linked to rheumatoid arthritis. The protein, Decoy receptor 3, offers a new approach to developing a medication to treat RA. Report

A conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health brought together a number of researchers to discuss possible cures for epilepsy. Report

Researchers are developing scaffold-like materials designed to be injected into the body where they will quickly solidify to fit any space, repairing damaged bones, spinal cords, arteries and other tissues. Because the material starts out as a liquid, it fills in the gaps between damaged or missing tissue before hardening into a gel, or "three-dimensional matrix" that eventually disintegrates as it is replaced by healthy tissue, said Alyssa Panitch, an associate professor in Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Release

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children have found identified a protein that contributes to the wound healing process after a heart attack. Release

Soil bacteria could play a role in fighting depression by activating the neurons that create serotonin. Report

In studying the postmortem brain tissue of adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, researchers found that levels of miRNAs were lower among schizophrenia patients than in persons who were free of psychiatric illness. Release

Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease announced they have identified a critical genetic factor in the control of many aspects of heart form and function. Release

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown in a laboratory study that revving up a crucial set of muscle genes counteracts the damage caused by a form of muscular dystrophy. Report

Scientists at Maryland's Johns Hopkins University say they have identified the genetic mutations that trigger a hereditary form of fatal lung disease. Release

The immune system's response against amyloid-beta, the protein that forms plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, appears to protect the brain from damage in early stages of the devastating neurological disorder. A report from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers finds that lack of a protein required for recruitment of the brain's primary immune cell led to increased amyloid-beta deposits and earlier death in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The paper will appear in the journal Nature Medicine. Report

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center received $12.6 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to study cardiac death. Report

The Atlantic Philanthropies is donating $50 million toward the cost of UC San Francisco's new cardiovascular research center. Report

Researchers at Delft University of Technology can predict how nanostructuring--the extreme reduction of structure--will affect the performance of Li-ion batteries. The nanostructuring of battery materials is likely to be common practice in the future, but it is not always performance-enhancing. Report

Preliminary research suggests that use of a novel, potent drug to treat cholesterol disorders decreases triglycerides and increases HDL-C, the "good" cholesterol, but also raises some safety concerns, according to a study in the March 28 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early to coincide with its presentation at the American College of Cardiology's annual conference. Release

Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered that iron-containing nanoparticles being tested for use in several biomedical applications can be toxic to nerve cells and interfere with the formation of their signal-transmitting extensions. Release

Among low-risk middle-aged people with subclinical atherosclerosis, the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin reduces the rate of progression of arterial thickening and stops but does not reverse atherosclerotic disease, according to a study in the March 28 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early to coincide with its presentation at the American College of Cardiology's annual conference. Release

For depressed people with bipolar disorder who are taking a mood stabilizer, adding an antidepressant medication is no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill), according to results published online on March 28, 2007, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Release

A mutation in one gene HNF4A, associated with diabetes in the young, has been shown to be associated with an average increase in birth weight of 790g. Release