Stem cells from cord blood specially treated; Data from EMRs could lead to faster genetic studies;

Stem Cells

> An experimental treatment for boosting the effectiveness of stem-cell transplants with umbilical cord blood has has been proven safe in long-term animal studies. A year after transplant in non-human primates, umbilical cord blood units treated with a signaling molecule called 16,16-dimethyl PGE2 reconstituted all the normal types of blood cells, and none of the animals receiving treated cord blood units developed cancer. One of the limitations of cord blood as a transplant source is the cells engraft, or "take," in the recipient's bone marrow more slowly than matched donor cells form bone marrow. In addition, there is a higher failure rate for cord blood transplants. So, there is a need for ways to improve the speed and quality of cord blood transplantation. Dana-Farber release

> Paul Sharpe, the Dickinson Professor of Craniofacial Biology and head of the Department of Craniofacial Development at the Dental Institute, King's College London, is also adviser to Provia Laboratories, which provides "Store-A-Tooth" dental stem cell banking. Sharp envisions a future where "a patient who loses a tooth and wants a replacement will be able to choose between current methods and a biological-based implant-a new natural tooth-derived from the patient's own dental stem cells." Item

> Scientists in California create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells. Release

Cancer Research

> Hyundai Motor America and its dealers plan to donate more than $10 million to support childhood cancer research through the 2011 Hyundai Hope on Wheels program. Hyundai's nonprofit organization, will visit institutions across the U.S. in 2011 and award grants for pediatric cancer research. Hyundai release

> Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle are gaining new understanding in how cancer cells travel within the body by looking at how brain cells migrate during normal development. Release

> A new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, used to attack breast and ovarian cancers, could also potentially benefit colorectal cancer patients with mutations in the MRE11 gene. Release

Genetics

> Recruiting thousands of patients to collect health data for genetic clues to disease is expensive and time consuming. But that arduous process of collecting data for genetic studies could be faster and cheaper by instead mining patient data that already exists in electronic medical records, according to new Northwestern Medicine research. Northwestern University release

> Researchers have found what is thought to be the first example of a genetic variant that creates a miRNA binding site that influences obesity-related traits through a gene-diet interaction. Although further research is necessary, the findings suggest that miRNA activity is a possible target for dietary-based weight-loss therapies for obesity. Tufts University release

> A genetic variant associated with the MUC5B gene uncovers a new major risk factor for patients with pulmonary fibrosis while also points research in a new direction. Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis release

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