Researchers cite lack of diversity in stem cell lines; Scientists seek clues to bone strength

Stem Cell Research

A team from the University of Michigan says that the vast majority of stem cell lines in use are derived from people of European descent, making it less likely that Asians and Africans will be able to benefit from the research being done with them. Story

Pfizer's $111 million deal to license Athersys stem cell therapy for inflammatory bowel disease illustrates Big Pharma's appetite for the research field's potential, but its $6 million upfront also demonstrates Pfizer's cautious strategy. Report

California Stem Cell says it has raised a Series B round, but hasn't disclosed the amount of money raised. Report

Choosing the right cell type is particularly important in genetic studies. This is apparent from research published on 16 October in PLoS Genetics. Dutch researcher Alice Gerrits has shown how variations in the genome can influence the activity of genes. This effect was found to be strongly dependent on the cell type in which these genes were active. Release

Genetics

Scientists in the U.K. are studying the genetic differences between skull and limb bones. If they can determine why skull bones are so much harder, they say, it should be possible to develop better therapies for osteoporosis. Story

Researchers from Children's Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women's Hospital have identified an important genetic cause of a devastating kidney disease that is the second leading cause of kidney failure in children, according to The NephCure Foundation. Release

In a study published online in Genome Research (www.genome.org), scientists have studied twins discordant for the autoimmune disease lupus, mapping DNA modifications across the genome and shedding light on epigenetic changes that may play a role in the disease. They concluded that environmental factors and the resulting cellular changes could cause disease in one sibling and not the other. Release

Cancer Research

Late last week, two British scientists announced that they had deciphered the genetic code of malignant melanoma and lung cancer, a breakthrough was heralded as a revolutionary advance in the search for new, personalized therapies. Report

And Finally... A protein switch called TAK1 plays a key role in preventing cancer and other diseases. And researchers are hoping that a better understanding of the role it plays will lead to the development of more effective therapies. Report

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