Teams launch $65M hunt for genetic triggers of childhood cancer; MRSA breakouts tracked; Stem cell facilities delayed

Cancer Research

Washington University's Genome Center in St. Louis and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis have begun a three-year, $65 million project aimed at discovering the genetic causes of childhood cancer. Story

Researchers at Oxford say they've devised a more efficient method for studying cancer stem cells that they say is key to finding more effective, targeted therapies. Story

Genetics

Gene-scanning technology was used to track the spread of deadly outbreaks of MRSA, and researchers concluded that lethal hospital outbreaks are often triggered when staffers and visitors bring in the strains from outside. Story

A variation in the CD44 gene may trigger particularly aggressive forms of stomach cancer. Report

Scientists have found three new genetic variants that are linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Report

Stem Cell Research

Problems raising money in the capital markets has delayed three of California's planned stem cell research facilities. Story

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission has fielded 141 grant applications totaling $45 million. But the commission only has $12 million it can hand out. Story

Osiris Therapeutics has won a $750,000 milestone payment from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for completing enrollment in a Phase II clinical trial evaluating Prochymal, an adult mesenchymal stem cell therapy as a treatment for patients recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Osiris Release

And Finally... John Tierney at the New York Times writes that the fierce debate over the influence of corporate money in scientific research has become a fetish that is pushing some of the country's top researchers to stop accepting any support from drug companies. To rebalance the scales, he suggests that scientists simply detail all public and private donors on their web page and let journalists sort through them, leaving it to readers to decide if there is a conflict. OpEd

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