ALSO NOTED: Neanderthal sequencing highlights advances; Encapsulating stem cells prevents tumors; Snail toxin prevents pain;

More Research

Researchers have sequenced a portion of the genome of Neanderthals, which shows how a slight variation in DNA separates modern man from our closest extinct relative. It also shows that fossil DNA can be sequenced. Article

A group of researchers in Sydney, Australia say that enclosing embryonic stem cells in tiny capsules made from seaweed prevents tumors from being formed during therapy. The process exposes the stem cells to nutrients needed for growth but wards off immune cells, helping to prevent rejection. Report

Using a toxin found in cone snails, researchers at the University of Utah have prevented nerve pain in rats and believe that the approach may eventually work against severe nerve pain in humans. Report

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have found a new way to produce hollow platinum nanostructures by using liposomes as blueprints. Report

A study of healthy women at the NeuroInformatics Center at the University of Oregon demonstrates how sex hormones explain the difference in the way men and women respond to stress. Release

A story in Chemical & Engineering News reviews the rapid progress that gene silencing has made over the last eight years and its prospects for rapid translation into new therapies. Release

The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization have found that the protein NS1 activates a critical pathway that allows the influenza virus to replicate. That knowledge should allow researchers to understand how to make benign viruses that can be used in vaccines. Release

New work into micro RNA at UT Southwestern Medical Center illustrate their role in enlarging the heart, which raises a serious risk of heart failure. Release

A study published in the October Journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows Pycnogenol--an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree--reduced edema, a typical side effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications. Release

The actions of a mutated protein in cells linked to thyroid cancer have been uncovered by researchers at Queen's University. The discovery paves the way for the future development of drugs to more effectively target, treat and possibly even prevent both inherited and non-inherited thyroid cancers. Release

Researchers have found a highly unusual distribution of two proteins in the lungs and airways of people with cystic fibrosis, a discovery that could be a step in determining how the disease progresses. The proteins, first uncovered as a result of the human genome project, are thought to play a role in the body's immune system. Release

A team of researchers, led by scientists at Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth College, have identified and tested a gene that dramatically alters both muscle metabolism and performance. The researchers say that this finding could someday lead to treatment for muscle diseases, including helping the elderly who suffer from muscle deterioration and improving muscle performance in endurance athletes. Release

A group of British researchers has developed a vaccine that stimulates the immune system of colorectal cancer victims so it can fight off cancerous cells. Administering the vaccine before and after surgery, the researchers at the University of Nottingham said that 70 percent of the 67 patients involved in the trial developed new immune cells. Report

Tiny particles one-billionth of a meter in size can be loaded with high concentrations of drugs designed to kill brain cancer. What's more, these nanoparticles can be used to image and track tumors as well as destroy them, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Release

Scientists have found a new task managed by the antibody that's the workhorse of the human immune system: Inside cells, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) helps bring together the phagosomes that corral invading pathogens and the potent lysosomes that eventually kill off the germs. Release

New research on the commonly prescribed diabetes drug pioglitazone (Actos), shows that it apparently prevents hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Report

Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach, induces food intake and operates through a brain region that controls cravings for food and other energy sources, researchers at Yale School of Medicine report in the October 19 online issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Release

Researchers at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute have identified a novel biomarker for brain tumors and have uncovered a potential role the marker may play when the tumor spreads or comes back after treatment. Release

Deals & Dollars

The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research is donating $120 million to six cancer research centers, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Chicago Medical Center. Report

Gene Network Sciences has won a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Release

Tools & Technology

Polymers--large molecules comprised of chains of repeating structures--are used in everything from the coatings on ship walls and pipes to reduce flow drag to gene therapy. But long polymer chains are subject to breakage, called scission, and a new study by the University of Michigan shows that as it turns out, much of what scientists previously thought about why polymers break when subjected to strong flows, such as waves crashing against a ship's bow, was wrong. Release