ALSO NOTED: Stemagen earns headlines for stem cell work; Virus linked to skin cancer; Modified viruses used to treat pain;

Stem Cell Research

Tiny La Jolla, CA-based Stemagen snared headlines around the world last week when it announced that it had cloned human embryos by combining skin cells with human egg cells. It's a step towards developing personalized stem cell therapies and replacement tissue, though the scientific community is at odds over just how important the news is for researchers. The San Diego Union-Tribune profiles the company. Report

For the first time, British officials have given researchers at King's College London and Newcastle University the green light to create human/animal embryos for research purposes. Report

Once tapped to be a leader in biotechnology, Japan has lagged a number of other countries in the field. But a recent stem cell breakthrough at Kyoto University has enlivened the field, raising hopes that the country may yet become a groundbreaker. Article

University of California, Irvine researchers have identified a gene that is specifically responsible for generating the cerebral cortex, a finding that could lead to stem cell therapies to treat brain injuries and diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer's. Release

One of the six children in a stem cell study run by StemCells died late last week, apparently from the rare brain disease she suffered from. Report

UK scientists warn that a new law will slow stem cell research. Report

Research Technology

To gain better insight into heart disease, researchers at the Universite de Montreal used SGI technology to run the largest simulation ever made of a human heart. Report

Beckman Coulter is financing a four-year collaboration with the National University of Ireland in Galway covering molecular diagnostics. Report

Cancer Research

Scientists have linked a newly discovered virus--Merkel cell polyoma--to the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Article

Inhibiting a chemical found in cancer cells was effective in reversing resistance to tamoxifen, raising new hope for women with breast cancer. Report

A breast cancer gene's newly discovered role in repairing damaged DNA may help explain why women who inherit a mutated copy of the gene are at increased risk for developing both breast and ovarian cancer. And that insight could lead the way to new cancer therapies designed for women with or without the BRCA 1 gene mutations. Release

New research links the recently discovered function of a multi-faceted transcriptional complex to control of gene expression in both normal cells and cancer stem cells. Release

MicroRNA molecules could be used to identify high-risk leukemia patients. Report

A study by British researchers of twin girls has identified a rogue cell that is the fundamental cause of childhood leukemia. Report

Genetic research

Researchers have successfully used genetically modified viruses to treat chronic pain. Report

A team of researchers at Celera Group-Applera Corp. has linked a genetic mutation to a significantly higher risk of heart disease and a person's ability to benefit from statins. Article

An international team of geneticists have linked a series of genetic mutations to a skyrocketing risk of prostate cancer, raising expectations of a new test to identify at-risk patients. Report

A gene variation has been linked to chronic worry by a research team at Yale. Report

Identifying DNA "fingerprints" could be used to pinpoint the risk of a range of brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease. Report

A gene swap in mice caused them to develop bat-like forelimbs, offering proof that patterns of gene expression drive evolution. Report

A study led by McGill University researchers has demonstrated that small differences between individuals at the DNA level can lead to dramatic differences in the way genes produce proteins. Understanding these tiny differences can also offer insight into disease risk. Release

Genetic differences might explain why some multiple sclerosis patients respond to treatment while others don't, suggests an international study. Report

Human evolution has created enhancements in key genes connected to the p53 regulatory network--the so-called guardian of the genome--by creating additional safeguards in human genes to boost the network's ability to guard against DNA damage that could cause cancer or a variety of genetic diseases, according to an international team of scientists led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Release

Through one of the largest studies yet of Alzheimer's disease patients and their brothers, sisters, and children, researchers at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville have found strong evidence that genes other than the well-known susceptibility risk factor APOE4 influence who is at risk for developing the neurodegenerative disease later in life. Release