ALSO NOTED: Iowa opens doors to stem cell research; New gene mutations found for cancer; Postdocs choose best places to work;

Stem Cell Research

Iowa's governor has signed new legislation lifting restrictions on stem cell research, calling for the creation of stem cell lines through cloning. Report

Stem cell banks are growing in popularity, but critics say that there's still more hype than hope involved. Article

Errors in stem cell division can give rise to tumors. By studying stem cells in the fruit fly, scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine have identified one of the mechanisms that govern how these cells divide. The study appears this week in the scientific journal Developmental Cell. Report

Cancer Research

An international research team headed by Michael Stratton of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, Britain, has identified 120 new gene mutations that promote cancer. That's a significant advance on the 350 gene mutations already linked with cancer. The researchers studied 210 samples of cancerous tissue and 500 kinase genes that play a role in cell division and proliferation. Report

Dominik Duelli and Yuri Lazebnik at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York have been researching the role that viruses play in triggering cancer. They conclude that viruses trigger cell fusion, when cells unite by merging membranes, spurring a change that can lead to cancer. Report

Researchers are tracking the role of a protein, PAX8, that's involved in developing fallopian tubes and also present in ovarian cancer cells. Report

Researchers have identified markers unique to the cells of blood vessels running through ovarian tumors. The finding, while preliminary, could one day improve screening, diagnosis and treatment for this disease. Release

At the Institut Curie, INSERM and CNRS researchers have used two-photon microscopy to demonstrate, for the first time in vivo and real-time, how T lymphocytes infiltrate a solid tumor in order to fight it. Report

Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered previously unsuspected mutations that contribute to the formation of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. The discovery not only suggests novel methods for treating pediatric ALL, but also provides a roadmap for the identification of unsuspected mutations in adult cancers. Release

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston, have found that most individuals with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) inappropriately express a protein known as CDX2 in their leukemic cells and that CDX2 has a causal role in the pathogenesis of AML. CDX2 regulates the expression of a number of genes that encode members of the HOX family of proteins, which might provide a new set of targets for the treatment of individuals with AML. Release


The Scientist has come out with its fifth annual survey on the best places for postdoc work. Report

Chemists at the University of Liverpool have designed a unique structure to capture the movement of atoms which may impact on future designs of pharmaceuticals. Release

A new report from the World Health Organization shows that neurological disorders, ranging from epilepsy to Alzheimer disease, from stroke to headache, affect up to one billion people worldwide. Neurological disorders also include brain injuries, neuroinfections, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson disease. Report

A new study from Joslin Diabetes Center may shed light on why some people can eat excessive amounts of food and not gain weight or develop type 2 diabetes, while others are more likely to develop obesity and this most common form of diabetes on any diet. The study, which used two strains of mice with differing tendencies to gain weight and develop diabetes on a high-fat diet, identified genetic and cellular mechanisms that may prevent certain mice on a calorie-dense diet from gaining weight and developing metabolic syndrome. Report

Researchers at The University of Arizona College of Medicine's Department of Immunobiology have discovered that the agent that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, produces a new type of virulence factor called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Pili (MTP). Their findings suggest that MTP could be a promising, new TB-vaccine candidate. Report

Knocking out the gene for a peptide associated with insulin secretion protects mice against the harmful effects of a high-fat diet, report researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Report

VBI researchers in collaboration with scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have created a new classification system for rickettsia bacteria that may assist researchers in the way they approach the development of diagnostics and vaccines for the virulent rickettsial pathogens. Report

Researchers at Texas A&M University are shedding light on a rare form of early blindness, identifying the cells involved and paving the way for possible therapies to treat or even prevent what is currently an incurable disease. Release

A new study to be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine reveals that Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, significantly reduces symptoms of endometriosis by 33 percent. Release

An estimated ten million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, and another 34 million Americans are at risk of developing the disease, which is characterized by a severe loss of bone mineral density, fragile bones and an increased risk of hip, spine and wrist fractures. The basic mechanism behind osteoporosis involves an imbalance between bone mineral formation and loss, but the detailed biological processes that lead to this imbalance are not completely understood. Release