ALSO NOTED: Mouse model for embryonic stem cell research; Promising drug targets leukemia; Possible cure for HIV;

Stem Cell Research

Scientists have discovered a "missing link" mouse embryonic stem cell that closely matches human embryonic stem cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. The cells are expected to serve as an improved model for human ES cells in studies of regeneration, disease pathology and basic stem cell biology. Report

U.S. researchers from Columbia University Medical Center are developing a process that would allow scientists to use a patient's own stem cells to develop new skin tissue. The scientists believe the tissue could be used to reconstruct faces disfigured by war, surgery or accidents. Report

Scientists say they've created embryonic stem cells by stimulating unfertilized eggs, a significant step toward producing transplant tissue that's genetically matched to women. The advance suggests that someday, a woman who wants a transplant to treat a condition like diabetes or a spinal cord injury could provide eggs to a lab, which in turn could create tissue that her body wouldn't reject. Release

Researchers in Slovakia have been able to derive mesenchymal stem cells from human adipose, or fat, tissue and engineer them into "suicide genes" that seek out and destroy tumors like tiny homing missiles. This gene therapy approach is a novel way to attack small tumor metastases that evade current detection techniques and treatments, the researchers conclude in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research. Release

MIT has pushed out stem cell researcher James Sherley and terminated his lab staff as the scientist claims that his departure was prompted by racism. MIT says his publication record didn't cut it. Report

Cancer Research

A new type of engineered drug candidate has shown promise in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia in both test tube and early animal tests, a new study shows. Report

International scientists are investigating a protein found in frog eggs as a possible new therapy for brain cancer. The molecule recognizes the coating that exists on cancer cells and binds to them before penetrating the cells and disrupting the way they operate. Release 

A research team led by University of Cincinnati scientists has identified a protein with a known role in breast cancer can also play a key role in pancreatic cancer. Tyrosine kinase triggers certain cell growth and reproduction, making it a prime target for a new therapy. The scientists found that blocking the protein's activity with antibodies killed more pancreatic cancer cells than chemotherapy. Report

In a new study published in the June 29 issue of Cell, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers describe the strong link between ciliary signaling and cancer and identify the rogue engineers responsible for dismantling the cell's antenna. Release

In the July 2 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, two separate studies by research teams at Glasgow University and Baylor College of Medicine uncover two previously unidentified regulators of squamous cell carcinoma development, providing insights into the development of this potentially lethal disease. Release

A study on various kinds of cancer, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, has brought about the discovery of a new method to identify the genetic changes that enable tumors to evade the body's immune system. Release

An overexpressed gene found at the scene of a variety of tumors is implicated in the development of two types of malignant brain cancer in a paper by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Release

More Research

A custom enzyme has been shown to reverse the way that HIV inserts genetic material into DNA, essentially cutting HIV out of cells. But experts caution that the proof of principle still leaves a lengthy process ahead for determining how to deliver a cure. Article

An international team of investigators has identified the first human antibodies that can neutralize different strains of the virus responsible for outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Release

Apeliotus Technologies is seeking NIH funding for early-stage research into controlling a pathway that signals skin cells to normalize growth and maturation or differentiation. The research may spawn a new approach to controlling psoriasis and age-related skin damage. Report

Using a theory based on classical hydrodynamics, a Northwestern University researcher now has explained the nature of the resistive force that determines the speed of the DNA as it moves through the nanopore, which is just five to 10 nanometers wide. That understanding could help scientists figure out how to slow the DNA enough to make it readable and usable. Report

Investigators in the UK say that interleukin-12 protects people against food allergies. Report