ALSO NOTED: Research could increase capacity of adult stem cells; potential new class found for prostate cancer;

Stem Cell Research

Working with mouse cells, researchers led by Boris Reizis of Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that the gene Zfx governed self-renewal in embryonic stem cells and in blood-generating hematopoietic adult stem cells. The discovery could have a profound influence on adult stem cell research, which has been restricted by their limited capacity for self-renewal and pluripotency. Report

A European research team has identified a mechanism of action to illustrate how stem cells can repair brain damage from a stroke. Report

German scientists have made human sperm from the stem cells extracted from bone marrow. They believe the process can be used to restore fertility to men made sterile by cancer treatments. Report

Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, currently a UCD Professor of Biochemical Engineering and principal investigator with the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology and UCD Conway Institute has developed an economical tissue engineering approach which could offer new possibilities for restoring damaged or lost knee cartilage tissue. Release

Cancer Research

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have linked a mutated gene with a virus linked to prostate cancer, a discovery which they say could point the way to a new class of therapies for the disease along with earlier diagnosis. Report

A dendritic cell-based therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has successfully stalled the disease from progressing in a handful of patients three years post-vaccination. Report

The Chicago Tribune looks at the cancer research work being pursued by Abbott Laboratories. The company's work in the field is still at an early stage, but includes a number of programs aimed at developing next generation therapies. Among the treatments are a Bcl-2 family protein inhibitor that triggers cancer cell death and a kinase inhibitor. Report

Enzon's David Filpula and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute have modified an anti-cancer therapy in a way that significantly improves its efficacy while reducing side effects in an animal model. Their work centers on an immunotexen called SS1P that destroys cells. Report

Adding "natural killer" cells to anti-cancer therapies using monoclonal antibodies may be a more effective way of exterminating cancer cells, say researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia. Report

Researchers in Germany have hidden vaccine-grade measles virus inside artificially generated blood cells in order to devise a search-and-destroy therapy for human brain cancer that can't be "seen" by the immune system. They say their mouse experiments show a proof of principle that this non-pathogenic virus can attack glioma by getting inside tumor cells and replicating, destroying the common brain tumors from the inside out. Release

Medical scientists at the University of Leicester have announced a potentially unique advance in breast cancer research by identifying two genes associated with adverse reaction to cancer treatment. The research could mean people who might react badly to radiotherapy could be warned in advance or alternative treatments be sought. Release

Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have identified an important gene involved in the spread of breast cancer that has developed resistance to long-term estrogen deprivation. The gene may prove to be a useful marker for predicting which patients have the greatest risk of breast cancer recurrence so their doctors can offer the most appropriate treatment plan. Release

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have identified gene expression signatures that could serve as biomarkers to predict how individuals will respond to the breast cancer drugs lapatinib and CI-1040. Report

More Research

Using new technology to examine more than a million blood proteins for potential anti-HIV activity, researchers at the University of Ulm say they have found one that could open the door to a new class of drugs. They also found that by adjusting amino acid components of the protein they were able to double its potency. The key molecule is called the virus-inhibitory peptide (VIRIP), which are plentiful. VIRIP works by targeting a sugar molecule which is used by HIV to infect a cell. Researchers also say that early preclinical work indicates that VIRP would work against drug-resistant versions of HIV. The lethal virus killed about three million people last year. Report

An early-stage trial of a dozen Parkinson's patients demonstrated significant efficacy for a gene transfer therapy that relies on a modified virus to deliver a growth factor to targeted brain cells. Release

Stanley M. Lemon and colleagues discovered a new protein involved in stopping the hepatitis C virus from replicating. Called p21-activated kinase 1, the protein is known to play a role in several cellular signaling pathways, but it has not been shown previously to be involved in regulating the replication of hepatitis C virus. Report

Brown University researcher Gregory Jay says that the protein lubricin plays a critical role in the synovial fluid critical for protecting joints from wear and tear. The researcher could play an important role in developing better therapies for arthritis. Report

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that an enzyme produced by lung-infecting bacteria shuts down a protein that is defective in cystic fibrosis patients. The disruption to this protein that conveys ions from lung cells to airways causes thick mucus to build up inside the lung. The finding suggests a new therapeutic target for treating lung infections in some cystic fibrosis patients. Report

In working to identify a key tumor antigen in melanoma and other cancers, scientists at the Wistar Institute have now developed a novel way to clone an antigen recognized by a helper T cell. The new antigen-cloning approach may allow scientists to design vaccines capable of directly stimulating helper T cells, aiding the development of vaccines not only for cancer but also for infectious diseases, says Dorothee Herlyn, D.V.M., senior author on the study. Release

A new French study has pinpointed blood levels of a biomarker called brain natriuretic peptide that play a significant role in a person's risk of developing heart failure. Release

The CEO of Hollis-Eden says that his company will never again work with the federal government following the rejection of his anti-radiation drug. Richard Hollis says that his company spent $85 million developing the drug before federal regulators rewrote the rules for Project BioShield. Report