Cancer researchers play it (too) safe; new drug target for calcium metabolism ID'd;

Cancer Research

The New York Times makes the case that the $105 billion budgeted by the U.S. government for cancer research since the war on cancer was declared 38 years ago has become more of a jobs program than a scientific quest for a cure. New grants are often approved that will have little or no chance of advancing significant new therapies. And scientists are often all too willing to play it safe to gain a steady stream of research funds. Article

Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have identified a protein that marks the tumor suppressor p53 for destruction, providing a potential new avenue for restoring p53 in cancer cells. Release

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist Lee Hartwell is leaving his post as head of the prestigious Fred Hutchinson  Cancer Research Center. Hartwell, 69, will continue to pursue his interests in research and education. Story

Stem Cell Research

The amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus can provide powerful stem cells that operate much like the stem cells extracted from embryos, according to researchers at North Carolina's Wake Forest University and Harvard Medical School. And their use would come without any of the ethical concerns aroused by ESCs. Report

Shares of Osiris Therapeutics slid last week after the company announced that interim data on Prochymal--a cutting-edge adult stem cell therapy--failed to demonstrate an improvement in pulmonary function in COPD patients enrolled in a mid-stage study. Story

Doctors at the University of Miami have been testing stem cells in patients undergoing bypass surgery. Report

Research Funding

Charity groups in the UK are calling on the government to triple the amount of money budgeted for dementia research. Story


A discovery by scientists at deCODE genetics and academic colleagues from Iceland, the Netherlands and Denmark has pointed to a common biological mechanism contributing to both kidney stones and decreased bone mineral density. And that is a prime target for new drugs that can regulate calcium metabolism. Release

Researchers have identified a key gene linked to 20 percent of all cases of autism. Story

Vaseline, a known molecule from apples and a gene network encapsulated in algal gelatin, are the components of a possible gene therapy which literally gets under the skin. Release

And Finally... The fledgling Foundation for Art & Healing is at work creating a research agenda to help clinically validate whether art can help heal the body. Story