ALSO NOTED: New obesity drug; Researchers advance stem cell program; Vitamin A could be key to gullet cancer;


Steve Bloom at Imperial College London's Hammersmith Hospital is developing a new obesity drug from a hormone found in the gut. Bloom's research team has linked gut hormones, which are released while a person eats, to appetite control. Their work is concentrating on the pancreatic polypeptide to emit signals to the brain to stop eating. Report

University of Minnesota stem cell researchers, together with collaborators at Stanford University, have successfully used adult stem cells to replace the immune system and bone marrow of mice, offering the promise of new therapies for people in the future. Release

A team of researchers in the UK say that blocking the activity of vitamin A could prevent a type of gullet cancer. Report

A team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka has determined how the 1918 flu virus triggered a deadly respiratory response, showing how a similar virus could be fought. The virus triggered an immune system attack on the lungs, filling it with fluid and drowning patients. That insight could help pave the way to new antivirals to prevent a new pandemic from taking a similar course. Report

Researchers genetically mapped a stem cell gene and its protein product, Laxetin, and building on that effort, carried the investigation all the way through to the identification of the gene itself. This is the first time such a complete study on a stem cell gene has been carried out. Release

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Stanford have reported the first evidence of cancer stem cells in head and neck tumors. Release

A team of researchers from the CIMA of the University of Navarra has discovered a possible cause of thrombosis, and has developed a new diagnostic test for this disease. The scientific project was undertaken in the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Laboratory. Release

An Australian research team had discovered a number of children across Europe who, despite a complete absence of the crucial skeletal muscle protein actin, were not totally paralyzed at birth, and managed to have some muscle movements. "This intriguing finding led us to look deeper and what we saw is that while these children do not have any skeletal actin in their skeletal muscle, they have another form of the protein, known as heart actin, in their skeletal muscles. It appears the more heart actin they have in their skeletal muscles, the more movement they have." Release

A new report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concludes that men with gum disease run a higher rick of pancreatic cancer. The researchers weeded out other causes of pancreatic cancer such as smoking and obesity before reaching their conclusion. Report

Northwestern University researchers have discovered a genetic cause of a mysterious neurological disease in which people have trouble recalling and using words. The illness, Primary Progressive Aphasia, differs from Alzheimer's Disease in which a person's memory becomes impaired. In PPA, a little known form of dementia, people lose the ability to express themselves and understand speech. Release

Researchers have linked a structural protein called nestin to a particularly deadly form of breast cancer, identifying a new biomarker that could lead to earlier detection and better treatment. Release

Combination gene therapy delivered in lipid-based nanoparticles drastically reduces the number and size of human non-small cell lung cancer tumors in mice, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report in the January 15 edition of Cancer Research. Release

A team of Brazilian scientists have developed a microbe-killing gel from algae which they believe could be used as a tool to protect women from HIV infection. Report

Scientists at the ProXara Biotechnology have identified a way of switching off one of the key mechanisms that leads to the development and growth of a tumor. Under the Wellcome Trust's Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, the researchers hope to use their findings to develop a drug which could be used to fight cancer. The funding will be used to develop the drug to a point at which it is close to entering a clinical trial. Release

DNA coughed up along with phlegm could point to lung cancer, say researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who are developing an inexpensive and non-invasive gene probe to help diagnose early stage lung cancer in current and former smokers. Release

Israeli scientists have developed a way to rid the brain of glutamate which floods the area around a trauma, killing other cells. Weizmann Institute scientists rely on a blood enzyme, which could also be used to develop new therapies for preventing injury to the brain, from a stroke and more. Report

Two studies in the Jan. 18, 2007, issue of the journal Neuron shed significant light on how the brain processes numerical information--both abstract quantities and their concrete representations as symbols. The researches said their findings will contribute to understanding how the brain processes quantitative information as well as lead to studies of how numerical representation in the brain develops in children. Such studies could aid in rehabilitating people who suffer from dyscalculia--an inability to understand, remember and manipulate numbers. Release

Tools & Technology

Thermo Fisher Scientific has introduced the Thermo Scientific Sorvall Legend Microcentrifuge Series, the latest addition to its Sorvall Legend centrifuge range. Release

Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired SwissAnalytic, which owns Spectronex and Flux Instruments. Report

Invitrogen and Wave Biotech have entered into a partnership to supply media-filled disposable bioreactors. Under the agreement, Invitrogen will offer its GIBCO brand cell culture media products to Wave Bioreactor users in filled Cellbag brand disposable bioreactor bags. Release

Deals & Dollars

Advanced Cell Technology has been awarded a research grant from the National Institutes of Health of $204,439 in conjunction with a research project currently underway with one of its academic partners, The Burnham Institute of Medical Research. Release