ESCs prevent heart transplant rejection; Wellcome Trust funds Indian researchers;

Stem Cell Research

In an ambitious effort aimed at putting Massachusetts into the mainstream of stem cell research work, the University of Massachusetts Medical School has launched a comprehensive database of embryonic stem cell lines. Report

Researchers have shown that immune-defense cells influenced by embryonic stem cell-derived cells can help prevent the rejection of hearts transplanted into mice, all without the use of immunosuppressive drugs. Report

In a world first, Japan's Kyoto University won a patent covering the use of skin to create stem cells. The work was spearheaded by Shinya Yamanaka. Story

Research Funding

The NIH has awarded $9 million to launch a collaboration of researchers, clinicians, patients, government research agencies and pharmaceutical/biomedical companies to study the causes and potential treatments for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a muscle weakening and disabling disease that affects, at the least, one in 20,000 individuals worldwide. Release

The UK's Wellcome Trust is providing $140 million over five years to the Indian government's biotechnology department to fund new drug research projects. The money will go to fellowship programs for researchers and senior fellows. Report

The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine has received a $30 million donation from T. Denny Sanford of South Dakota.  The Consortium is now known as the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Release

Cancer Research

Antibody fragments may provide the kind of next-generation therapeutics that can replace drugs like Avastin and Rituxan. Story

Immune system biomarkers can be used to detect lung cancer a year before diagnosis. Story


The theory of the common disease/common gene variant may be completely wrong, say some prominent scientists. And that could have major implications for the whole drive toward personalized medicine. Article

University of Michigan scientists are beginning a Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of cancer-related pain, using a novel gene transfer vector injected into the skin to deliver a pain-relieving gene to the nervous system. Release

Scientists at the NCI say that the increased expression of the SIRT1 gene in cancer cells triggers resistance to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Report

Researchers have pinpointed a new gene that raises the risk of colon cancer. Story

Portuguese researchers showed that variations in the cyclin D1 gene increases susceptibility to melanoma. Report