Reprogrammed cells could restore sight; New insights on Parkinson's disease;

Stem Cell Research

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison report that they have reprogrammed skin cells into retinal cells, raising hopes of a new therapy that can restore sight to many of the blind. Story

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge have pinpointed the final step in a complex process that gives embryonic stem cells their unique ability to develop into any of the different types of cells in the body (from liver cells to skin cells). Their findings, published in the journal Cell, have important implications for efforts to harness the power of stem cells for medical applications. Release

South Korean prosecutors wrapped their fraud case against the stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-Suk, calling for a four-year prison sentence. It's time now for Hwang's attorneys to mount their defense, with a verdict expected later in the year. Report


University of Washington researchers have developed a new genome-analysis strategy that takes less time and money to unveil gene-disease links. By saving time and lowering expenses, the approach makes it feasible for scientists to search for disease-causing genes in people with the same inherited disorder but without any family ties to each other. Announcement

Scientists for the U.S. Army say they have zeroed in on a single gene that could be key to treating both ebola and anthrax. Story

Recent research revealed that about 10 percent of Parkinson's cases are caused by defects in so-called Parkinson-associated genes. Furthermore, mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses, seem to play a major role. New results from researchers at the LMU Munich under the lead of associate professor Dr. Konstanze Winklhofer and Professor Christian Haass connect both phenomena, showing that two Parkinson genes maintain the function of mitochondria. Release

Cancer Research

Physicians say that the drug Plerixafor has helped physicians harvest stem cells needed to treat blood cancer. Physicians say that about one in 10 patients prove tough to treat and can be helped by the new approach. Article

A team of researchers and information technology specialists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center has won the caBIG 2009 Deployment Award from the National Cancer Institute. Release