XenneX, BioTime form embryonic stem cell database joint venture; More than a pint a day may cause cancer;

Stem Cells

> XenneX, a bioinformation company based in Cambridge, MA, has formed a joint venture with California-based biotech company BioTime. The new venture, called LifeMap Sciences, will build a database of embryonic stem cell lineages and molecular markers for pharma and biotech companies working on regenerative medicine. Item

> Periodontal ligament stem cells may better be more helpful in successful tooth transplants than those derived from the root, according to a recent study published in the journal Cell Transplantation. Release

> A study of the salamander brain has led Swedish researchers to discover a previously unknown function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In an article published in the journal Stem Cell, they they show how dopamine, when it acts as a kind of switch for stem cells, controls formation of new neurons in the adult brain. The findings could help researchers find new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's. Release

Cancer Research

> Researchers at Saint Louis University are outsmarting cancer cells by discovering how to control traffic in the lymphatic system. It may be possible to harness the same mechanism to fight cancer's spread from one organ to another and to improve effectiveness of vaccines. Release

> Research shows that drinking more than a pint of beer or a glass of wine a day can substantially increase the risk of some cancers. A Europe-wide study found that one in 10 of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women are caused by past or current alcohol intake. Story

> A study shows that the survival rate for bowel cancer surgery varies widely between hospitals in England, and that has Cancer Research UK worried. Item


> Using two sets of brothers who have autism, researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified a gene they associate with autism--that that appears to be linked quite specifically to severity of social interaction deficits. The gene is GRIP1. More here

> The UK government's advisory board on genetics sees no legal, social or ethical barriers to pre-pregnancy genetic screening as long as it is "equally available to all those who may benefit from it." Report

> Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: Gene tests don't have the answers; predictions are often medically unproven or so ambiguous that they are meaningless. Story