Obama administration urges end to embryonic stem cell funding challenge; More on cell phones and cancer;

Stem Cells

> Embryonic stem cell funding challenge should be thrown out, the Obama administration tells judge. Story

> Scientists in Singapore have discovered how the body uses a single communication system to decide the fate of stem cells. This challenges the current belief that chemical signaling systems are highly specific and only control a limited number of outcomes. By exploiting this signaling system, scientists will be able to control the eventual fate of a stem cell by simply adjusting the chemical environment of a cell. Release

> Stem cells and tissue healing in horses. It's best a few weeks after a horse sustains an injury. More here

Cancer Research

> Cell phones and cancer: Another international research group raises the alarm. Story

> How much can a woman lower her risk of breast cancer by losing weight, drinking less, or exercising more? A study describes a new model to estimate the impact of these lifestyle changes on absolute breast cancer risk, suggesting risk reductions that could translate into a substantial number of prevented cancers across an entire population. Release

> Astronomy is now contributing to biotechnology as scientists find a potential new radiation treatment against cancer. In studying how chemical elements emit and absorb radiation inside stars and around black holes, astronomers at Ohio State University discovered that heavy metals such as iron emit low-energy electrons when exposed to X-rays at specific energies. Their discovery raises the possibility that implants made from certain heavy elements could enable doctors to obliterate tumors with low-energy electrons, while exposing healthy tissue to much less radiation. Release


> Scientists from the University of Utah and Omicia have created new software tool called VAAST, the Variant Annotation, Analysis and Selection Tool, a probabilistic disease-causing mutation finder for individual human genomes, according to a release. The tool provides rapid identification of disease-gene variations. VAAST was part of an international effort to identify the mutation responsible for a newly discovered childhood disease called Ogden Syndrome. Release

> Twelve nations and the European Union added their signatures to a United Nations treaty on the equitable sharing of the planet's genetic resources. The treaty calls for an international regime on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources--with benefits going to countries and communities that has conserved and managed that resource. And that includes plants, animals and micro-organisms used for basic research or a development of a product. More here

> New genetic risk factors of lupus found in study of African-American women. More here