ALSO NOTED: New type of cells developed for tissue repair; diabetes drug boosts efficacy of cancer drug;

Stem Cell Research

Advanced Cell Technology has turned embryonic stem cells into repair cells that can be used to repair tissue damage. Depending on the chemical used to spur change in the cell, the stem cells can be transformed to hemangioblasts that can be used as blood-building cells or cells that form the lining of blood vessels. Report

Scientists have developed more efficient adult stem cells from embryonic stem cells, offering a new type of cell that can repair tissue damage in the heart and eye damage from diabetes. Report

Diabetes researchers investigating how the body supplies itself with insulin discovered to their surprise that adult stem cells, which they expected to play a crucial role in the process, were nowhere to be found. Many researchers had proposed that adult stem cells develop into insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. Instead, the beta cells themselves divide, although slowly, to replenish their own population. Release

Johns Hopkins undergraduates have invented a device to improve cell therapy for diabetes patients by anchoring transplanted insulin-producing cells inside a major blood vessel. Report

Invitrogen and Cytori Therapeutics entered into a global strategic supply and commercialization agreement to offer adipose-derived stem cell-based research products to life science researchers. Release

Cancer Research

A widely used diabetes drug dramatically boosted the potency of platinum-based cancer drugs when administered together to a variety of cancer cell lines and to mice with tumors, scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report. Release

Scientists at Ohio State have been studying a genetic marker that will help distinguish between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Report

In a study that could point to novel therapies to prevent cancer spread, or metastasis, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine have targeted a sugar that supports blood vessel growth in the tumor. Their findings will be published in the May 7 online issue of Journal of Cell Biology. Report

Hamilton College researchers have identified molecules that have been shown to be effective in the fight against breast cancer. Release

The BCR-ABL gene in chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells has a tendency to quickly mutate, and this may help explain why patients are predisposed to resistance to drugs like imatinib that target that gene, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Release

More research

In an animal study, mice inoculated with an experimental oral vaccine effectively targeted prion proteins that cause brain damage in cases of chronic wasting disease. The researchers involved, who presented their study at the meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, said that the vaccine demonstrated an ability to arouse the immune system of mice to prevent or delay symptoms of prion disease. About 20 percent of the 100 mice in the study demonstrated high levels of antibodies and remained disease free for 400 days. Report

Most research on Lou Gehrig's disease therapeutics has been based on the assumption that its two forms (sporadic and hereditary) are similar in their underlying cause. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found an absolute biochemical distinction between these two disease variants, suggesting that current approaches to drug discovery should be re-examined. Report

A study by researchers in the United States has found that women who took an epilepsy drug during their pregnancy had a higher risk of giving birth to children with a lower IQ or with mental retardation. Release

Some high blood pressure medicines may help protect older adults from declines in memory and other cognitive function, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, reported today at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Seattle. Release

A study led by Mayo Clinic found that adalimumab is an effective treatment for adults with Crohn's disease who do not respond to infliximab therapy. These findings were published online by Annals of Internal Medicine. Release