Inhibiting Bmi-1 gene could slow cancer; Dozens of genes contribute to autism;

Stem Cell Research

> New research indicates that tuberculosis recruits mesenchymal stem cells to the lungs, where they help reduce the number of T cells needed to fight it off. The research points to new pathways to developing drugs that fight TB. Report

> After the leading candidate to become chairman of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine was forced to withdraw following accusations of a conflict of interest, current chairman Robert Klein says he will run for a second term.Klein helped write the initiative that created the $3 billion program. Story

> A federal appeals court has taken up the argument over the use of federal funds to support embryonic stem cell research work. Story

Cancer Research

> Researchers say that inhibiting the Bmi-1 gene would help slow the most aggressive types of cancer. "We conclude by these results that Bmi-1 is a crucial regulator of self-renewal in adult prostate cells and plays important roles in prostate cancer initiation and progression," said Dr. Owen Witte. "It was encouraging to see that inhibiting this protein slows the growth of even a very aggressive prostate cancer, because that could give us new ways to attack this disease." Report

Genetics

> Researchers say that the DRD4 gene, already linked to alcohol use and gambling, could also play a role in spurring a propensity for brief sexual liaisons. Story

> Scientists have found dozens of genes that play a role in autism as well as other brain disorders. "As we continue to uncover genetic mutations that can cause autism, we are gaining further insights that will lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatments," said Dr. Joseph Buxbaum. Report

> Mandatory genetic screening of newborns for rare diseases is creating unexpected upheaval for families whose infants test positive for risk factors but show no immediate signs of the diseases, a new UCLA study warns. Release

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