ALSO NOTED: Stem cells used to create blood vessels; Molecular switch found for breast cancer;

Stem Cell Research

A group of South Korean scientists used embryonic stem cells to create blood vessels that were later successfully grafted into animals suffering from ischemia. This approach could be used to develop cures for human strokes, myocardial infections and foot ulcerations caused by diabetes. Report

Several new stem cell studies presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association delivered some impressive results in improving the performance of damaged hearts. In one study involving bone marrow cells, the pumping action of damaged hearts improved 59 percent to 67 percent. Article

Canadian researchers have discovered a key mechanism involved in spinal repair that could help advance stem cell therapies. Report

Stem cell injections have also shown promise in restoring memory erased by stroke damage. Report

Engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have transformed a polymer found in common brown seaweed into a device that can support the growth and release of stem cells at the sight of a bodily injury or at the source of a disease. Release

New Jersey's vote against funding a $450 million embryonic stem cell research program is raising some serious concerns over the public's waning interest in backing public research efforts. Report

Cancer Research

An experimental agent being studied at the University of Maryland in Baltimore worked in a variety of ways to combat prostate cancer in animals. VN/14-1 given in daily doses was responsible for shrinking tumors by up to 50 percent. And it did that by causing cancer cells to return to a non-cancerous state, halting the cell cycle and spurring cell death. Report

Two proteins work as a molecular switch in turning on a common form of breast cancer, according to researchers at New York University. And understanding how that switch works has created a new target for drug developers. Report

While New Jersey officials were stunned by a rejection of a $450 million initiative to fund stem cell research, Texans approved a $3 billion effort to back cancer research in the Lone Star state. The first grants are expected to flow in 2009. Report

Scientists have identified a cancer stem cell in dogs that could play a big role in discovering new therapies for bone cancer in children. Report

Belfast's Queen's University and India's Ministry of Biotechnology have created a new research group that will focus on discovering new treatments for cancer. Report

Genetics

Knocking out the 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15-LO) in female mice reduced the incidence of Type 1 diabetes. Report 

An international team of researchers has sequenced the dandruff genome, putting that condition in the cross sights of developers out to control the fungus. Report

A common genetic variant is linked to higher IQs among people who were breast fed. Report

A protein responsible for generating fat cells also plays an important role in cancer. Researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore have conducted a genome-wide analysis of how the protein, called perixosome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, turns on various genes related to obesity. Release

More Research

New insights into the molecular causes of neuronal cell death are pointing the way to therapies that can limit neuronal cell death after a spinal cord injury. Release

Neurology researchers led by Abdolmohamad Rostami, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Philadelphia, have found that the protein interkeukin-27 (IL-27) helped block the onset or reverse symptoms in animals with an MS-like disease. Release

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A PureTech startup is developing an immune-responsive hydrogel that releases a corticosteroid into arthritic joints based on their level of inflammation.

A trial of a retinal implant built from embryonic stem cells produced encouraging results in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration.