ALSO NOTED: Wilmut signals new approach to research;Genetic project sheds light on treating hearing loss;

Stem Cell Research

Famed scientist Ian Wilmut says that researchers should remove the nucleus of diseased human cells and inject it into an animal egg which has had the nucleus removed. Once every eight times, that process should deliver a fresh batch of embryonic stem cells that would offer a far more efficient way to test drugs than the current approach involving mice. Report

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have used embryonic stem cells to develop kidneys in mice lacking the organ--a step toward developing new organ parts for people. The gene needed to grow a kidney in mice was withdrawn and the embryonic stem cells were then injected into the mouse embryos. Report

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have cultured hematopoietic stem cells from fat tissue, offering a new source of cells for bone marrow repair for cancer patients. Report

Nature Magazine says that a controversial study on stem cells from the University of Minnesota was flawed but still valid. The study had concluded that adult stem cells can be as versatile as embryonic stem cells and has been under review for the past year. Report

Parents in Britain can now bank their children's milk teeth in order to preserve their stem cells for later use. Report

The Wall Street Journal profiled Dr. Donald Landry of Columbia University's department of medicine, whose ethical objections to embryonic stem cell research spurred his work on developing new stem cell lines without the destruction of embryos. Report (sub. req.)

Cancer Research

Scientists at Dana-Farber have determined that the IKBKE gene is mutated in 30-40 percent of all breast cancers. The mutation occurs during a woman's lifetime, causing the protein to be overproduced. Report

Carriers of a BRCA2 variation specific to Iceland are more likely to develop aggressive and lethal prostate cancer than noncarriers, according to a study published online June 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Release

Disorders of blood cells may begin in the biological environment where the cells develop, not just with the cells themselves. In the June 15 issue of Cell, the investigators describe finding that genetic alterations in the bone marrow of mice can cause a type of myeloproliferative syndrome, an overproduction of certain blood cells that also occurs in human patients. Release

Searching for less invasive screening tests for cancer, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered proteins present in blood that accurately identify colon cancer and precancerous polyps. Report

More Research

Belgian researchers say their discovery of a single gene that causes hearing loss in whites may well trigger research into new therapies to control otosclerosis, which afflicts one in every 250 people. Report

Scientists in the U.S. and Taiwan say they have developed critical new insights into the architecture of a key enzyme in the H5N1 avian influenza virus that enables the virus to spread. Report

Researchers in the U.S. say they have discovered a new signaling pathway in cells that could lead the way to new drugs for Parkinson's. Report

Remember the news about "junk" DNA? It turns out that it may play a key role in such things as our susceptibility to disease. "A lot of these regions that previously we were thinking were junk DNA, or vast deserts of non-functionality, have been found to be a lot more active," says Steven Jones, associate director of the British Columbia Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Centre. Report

Doctors at the University of Utah say that an anti-clotting drug can restore blood flow to frostbitten limbs. Report

An important finding, which could eventually lead to a new therapeutic approach for treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, psoriasis and others, was announced today by researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology. The studies, conducted in laboratory mice, demonstrated the role of retinoic acid, a substance derived when Vitamin A is broken down in the body, in regulating inflammation. Report

University of Utah researchers have developed a faster, less expensive technique for mutating those large, non-gene stretches of DNA. Genes account for only 2.5 percent of DNA in the human genetic blueprint, yet diseases can result not only from mutant genes, but from mutations of other DNA that controls genes. Report

And Finally... University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine professor and researcher Alan Solomon, M.D., director of the Human Immunology and Cancer/Alzheimer's Disease and Amyloid-Related Disorders Research Program, led a team that discovered a link between foie gras prepared from goose or duck liver and the type of amyloid found in rheumatoid arthritis or tuberculosis. Release