ALSO NOTED: Cord blood cells rejuvenate hippocampus; Genetic variations linked to longer lives;

Technology

Inspired by new material found in sea cucumbers, researchers at Case Western have developed a new polymer that can morph between flexible and rigid states, depending on the level of solvents it's exposed to. The lead scientist suggested that the new polymer could be particularly useful for use with neural implants. Report

Stem Cell Research

Blood stem cells that later become all types of blood cells originate in the placenta, according to new research. That work could be helpful in growing new blood stem cells in a lab for use in treating a variety of illnesses, including leukemia. Report

When human umbilical cord blood cells were injected into aged laboratory animals, researchers at the University of South Florida found improvements in the microenvironment of the hippocampus region of the animals' brains and a subsequent rejuvenation of neural stem/progenitor cells. Release

Brazil's Supreme Court has decided to delay on a ruling on whether stem cell research should be allowed in the country. Report

Cancer Research

A leading cancer researcher, Professor Daniel Tenen of the Harvard Medical School, will run the cancer facility at the National University of Singapore. Report 

A novel drug that fully eliminated brain tumors from mice in a dramatic 2004 study has shown a darker side--causing permanent bone damage in younger mice. Release

Genetics

Researchers at the Institute for Ageing Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York say that rare genetic variations found in centenarians explain why they were able to live far longer than the norm. Report

A new gene therapy shows promise against muscular dystrophy. Release

A new study from Johns Hopkins highlights how different diseases can have the same genetic origin. "We're finally beginning to blur the boundaries encompassing some of these diseases by showing that they share the same molecular underpinnings," says Nicholas Katsanis, Ph.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins. Story

A colorectal cancer gene has been identified, offering a new biomarker that could be used to identify people who need early screening tests. Report

Gene analysis at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh has pinpointed a gene linked to a higher risk of gout, offering a new target for drug developers. Story

The Vatican has added genetic manipulation to its list of sins. Report

More Research

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, CA say that by inhibiting the enzymatic pathway engaged in disabling the body's sugar-off switch, they could lower glucose levels and reduce symptoms of diabetes. Article

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have found a protein called tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) responsible for forming fat cells. The work points to new ways to treat obesity. Story

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A PureTech startup is developing an immune-responsive hydrogel that releases a corticosteroid into arthritic joints based on their level of inflammation.

A trial of a retinal implant built from embryonic stem cells produced encouraging results in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration.