ALSO NOTED: U.K. to OK egg payments; Avastin study suggests lower doses; Enzyme linked to schizophrenia;

Stem Cell Research

U.K. regulators have decided that women should be paid a small mount plus expenses in exchange for donating their eggs to scientists. The decision is expected to help spur stem cell research. Report

Stem cell transplants that could figure in to new therapies to restore hearing were discussed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Report

There is an urgent reason to study stem cells: stem cells are at the heart of some, if not all, cancers. Mounting evidence implicates a clutch of rogue stem cells brandishing 'epigenetic' marks as the main culprits in cancer. Wiping out tumors for good, some biologists believe, depends on uprooting these wayward stem cells. Report

Researchers have determined that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal or maintenance of two types of stem cells--germline stem cells and somatic stem cells. Report

A group of researchers including Gert Meijer of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands has written an article in PLoS that explores how new bone marrow stem cell therapies could become the preferred method for bone regeneration. Report

Korea plans to invest up to $33 million into stem cell research just this year as government officials seek to put the research field back on track following the Hwang Woo-suk scandal. Release

Cancer Research

Roche announced that a new study shows that Avastin works just as well against lung cancer in low doses as current standard therapy calls for. The results should help lower the cost of therapy. Report

Duke University Medical Center researchers also say that Avastin works against brain cancer as well. Report

Researchers have identified a cell pathway which plays a critical role in the development of colon cancer. This pathway may also play a role in the development of lung and stomach cancers. Investigators say they have identified STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3), as a target regulated by PTPRT (Receptor Protein tyrosine phosphatase T), which was previously identified to be mutated in colon, lung and stomach cancer patients. Release

Boston College biologists have identified an alternative, diet-based method of treating brain cancer that does not involve administering toxic chemicals, radiation or invasive surgery. Release

In the past couple of years, researchers at Oncolytics Biotech have been developing a harmless virus as a potent cancer killer, but they have also been accumulating data that suggests in addition to directly killing tumor cells, the reovirus may prime the immune system to mount a separate, powerful and long lasting defense against cancer. Release

At the Institut Curie, Inserm and CNRS researchers have for the first time used two-photon microscopy in real-time in vivo studies to show how T cells infiltrate a solid tumor. Report

Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles say that pertuzumab interrupts a key pathway leading to prostate cancer. Report

More Research News

Gene mutations governing a key brain enzyme make people susceptible to schizophrenia and may be targeted in future treatments for the psychiatric illness, according to MIT and Japanese researchers. Report

Researchers in Australia have developed an inexpensive test for Parkinson's disease that will allow far more people to be diagnosed. Report

An enzyme related to heart cell development also regulates heart cell enlargement. Report

An international consortium of scientists has found two new genetic links to a predisposition to autism. Report

Researchers are studying an experimental vaccine as a possible protection against a birth-defect virus. Report

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine note how difficult it has been to develop a vaccine to guard against avian flu. Report

New research indicates that the brain can be trained to 'see' if it is deprived of visual input during childhood. That research has been propelling new efforts to treat childhood blindness. Report

Investigators at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) have found evidence that continues to implicate insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) in the development of Graves' disease. Release

Mayo Clinic researchers have now shown that a drug that inhibits the function of the protein Hsp90 reduces brain levels in mice of the protein tau, the abnormal accumulation of which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Report

With the U.S. government setting up a national cord blood banking system that competes with private firms, there is a growing level of attention being paid to conserving cord blood for future therapies. Report

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn have determined that low levels of a protein in the blood is a predictor of cardiac death in patients with coronary artery disease. Release

Research on one of the most important molecular "machines" in living cells is giving scientists clues to the development of new antibiotics and revealing secrets about how cells use the genetic information encoded in DNA, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 19 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. Report

Acetazolamide, a drug used to manage fluid retention in heart failure, controlled the serious effects of pulmonary edema, the accumulation of fluid in lung tissue from high altitude, as well as improved brain oxygenation, during a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study. Release

Researchers at the University of Warwick have found a direct connection between a nation's overall happiness and its citizens' blood pressure problems. Sweden, Denmark and the U.K. come at the top of this blood pressure-based happiness league while Germany, Portugal and Finland come in at the bottom. Release

Reactive Protein, widely regarded as a risk factor for hypertension and other forms of cardiovascular disease, plays a direct role in the onset of hypertension, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. Release

University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have had success in early trials to discover a vaccine that will prevent chlamydia--the most common bacteria-related STD in the United States. Release