Scientists discover new cells to create coronary arteries; Genetic breakthrough may point to new sleep drugs;

Stem Cell Research

After developing a novel method to create cancer stem-like cells, researchers were able to identify a chemical that was a hundred times more effective than a common chemotherapy in destroying a key driver in the growth of tumors. Report

Scientists have found a new class of progenitor cells that can be used to create new coronary arteries. "We have defined this novel class of primitive cells and named them coronary vascular progenitor cells. These cells possess all of the fundamental properties of stem cells and are distributed within niches located in the vessel wall of the entire human coronary circulation system," said Dr. Piero Anversa, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Story

Microscopic magnetic particles have been used to bring stem cells to sites of cardiovascular injury in a new method designed to increase the capacity of cells to repair damaged tissue, UCL scientists have announced. Release

Genetics

A new study shows that a genetic variant has made Americans of European descent more likely to respond to hepatitis C therapies than Americans of African descent. And that genetic insight could lead to new therapies for the disease. Story

A rare genetic mutation could explain why some people get by on less than eight hours sleep and do fine. It could also point the way to a new therapy that would let everybody get by on less sleep. ""We know that people who don't sleep enough have a lot of health problems," said Ying-hui Fu. "Maybe we can find a drug that regulates the brain's pathways in a similar way so people can sleep for six hours and be healthy and feel fine." Report

A multicenter team of childhood cancer researchers has discovered two genetic variations linked to an increased risk for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, the most common childhood cancer in the United States. Release

The NIH provided the Coriell Institute for Biomedical Research a $16.3 million contract to serve as the home for the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke Human Genetics Resource Center. Report

Cancer Research

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a protein that activates brain stem cells to make new neurons - but that may be hijacked later in life to cause brain cancer in humans. The protein called Huwe1 normally functions to eliminate other unnecessary proteins and was found to act as a tumor suppressor in brain cancer. Release

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