ALSO NOTED: ESC labs keep focus; New target for prostate cancer; Genetic mutation traced to 1630 arrival;

Stem Cell Research

The Jennifer Estess Laboratory for Stem Cell Research is just one of a group of labs funded by states and private charities that are carrying on their research work in embryonic stem cells, unimpeded by the breakthrough work announced on adult skin cells. Harvard University stem-cell biologist Kevin Eggan, who also works to raise private funds for ESC work, notes that the skin cell approach requires that they be modified in a way that raises serious concerns about safety risks. By changing a cell's genetic structure, you raise the risk of cancer. ESCs, which may be politically volatile, are more stable to work with. In addition to a number of states, private donors have contributed more than $190 million to advance embryonic stem cell work--and there's no sign that that spigot of cash will be turned off anytime soon. Article

Doctors in Dallas recently injected stem cells from a boy's banked umbilical cord blood in a last-ditch effort to save him from a rare and deadly form of cancer. Report

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics and scientists at Rutgers University are collaborating on a stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries. Release

Iran's first cloned sheep, Royana, is thriving 15 months after its birth, according to scientists in the country. Iran has set out to become a high-tech mover and shaker in west Asia. Report

Biotech boosters in Connecticut say that stem cell and other research programs in the state will spur innovation in the state after a year highlighted by closings and layoffs. Report

Cancer Research

Scientists at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia have found that a signaling protein that is key to prostate cancer cell growth is turned on in nearly all recurrent prostate cancers that are resistant to hormone therapy. If the findings hold up, the protein, called Stat5, may be a specific drug target against an extremely difficult-to-treat cancer. Release

An anti-tumor compound found at Emory University appears to target a variety of growth signals at once, a strategy that one researcher says was more like disabling a transformer box rather than try to switch off one light at a time in a home with all the lights burning. Report

PhytoMedical Technologies says that in vitro studies of the company's anti-cancer compounds have demonstrated their ability to kill a strain of drug-resistant human brain cancer cells. Release

Patients with cirrhosis of the liver who overexpress epithelial growth factor in the liver have a significantly increased risk of developing liver cancer. Release

A new comparison of normal stem cells and cancer stem cells reveals that the cancer stem cells are abnormally trapped at an early stage of development. Release

Genetics

A unique genetic mutation linked to colon cancer arrived in the United States in 1630 in a single family that passed the deadly legacy on to a long line of descendants. Report

Researchers have decoded the genome of the strain of Chlamydia that causes the most severe, invasive form of the disease. Release 

Children with cancer have a higher prevalence of body abnormalities, such as asymmetric lower limbs and curvature of the spine, suggesting that the genetic defect responsible for the abnormality may play a role in the development of cancer, according to a new study. Release

A research team at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City has identified two genes that may be crucial to the production of an immune system cytokine called interleukin-10 (IL-10). Release

More Research

Investigators at the University of Rochester Medical Center have uncovered a promising drug therapy that offers hope for children with the rare neurodegenerative Batten disease. Release

A class of chemicals in red wine grapes may significantly reduce the ability of bacteria to cause cavities, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Release

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Antibiotics dubbed odilorhabdins (ODLs), inspired by soil-dwelling nematodes, hold promise for treating antibiotic-resistant infections.

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.