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BioTechCircle News®


November 2010


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You can now follow our comments and updates on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BioTechCircle

See all previous issues at Archives


In this articles section: links to 91 free Web articles in 15 major categories.

The major categories are in alphabetical order and further subdivided to make it easy for you to locate news and developments in technology, the business and the markets in the life science areas of interest to you.


Here are the major categories. Click on the category title to go directly to that section.


Agri-Biotech (12 articles)

Biobusiness Management (7 articles)

Clinical Trials (2 articles)

Diagnostic Tools (1 article)

Drug Delivery (1 article)

Industry (6 articles)

Investments/Government Support (1 article)

Novel Applications (2 articles)

People Profiles (2 articles)

Personalized Medicine (1 article)

Platform Technologies (14 articles)

Research Advancements (28 articles)

Research Tools (8 articles)

Strategic Relationships (5 articles)

Therapeutic Category (1 article)


For a brief explanation of how we categorize the articles, please see "Express Guide to Monthly Web Articles at: http://www.techmanage.net/expressguide_articles


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Subcategory: Animal


Battling Bat Fungus

Stephen K. Ritter; Chemimical & Engineering News (15-Nov-10)

White-nose syndrome has killed more than 1 million hibernating bats in caves
and abandoned mines in the U.S. during the past 4 years. Called the worst
die-off of wildlife in North American history. Bats consume lots of insects,
help polinate crops.

Bees Capable of Solving Complex Mathematical Problem

Wellcome Trust (29-Oct-10)

It is known that bees travel between plants in a pre-planned order - known as

'traplining'. Researchers show that bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) learn the

shortest routes between the patches, effectively solve the 'travelling salesman


Subcategory: Biomanufacturing

Building a Better Goat

Antonio Regaldo; Technology Review (20-Oct-10)

Slow-moving US project to manufacture anti-diarrhea medicine from

transgenic goat milk gets started in Brazil, where it is receiving heavy

government funding. US Anti-biotech sentiment may be pushing some

biotechnologies toward the developing world.

Subcategory: Crops

No Seat at the Table: Groups Back Out of Sustainable Agriculture Standards


BIOtechNOW (01-Nov-10)

Several organizations contributing to the Leonardo Academy’s initiative to

establish an American National Standards Institute sustainable agriculture

standard have withdrawn from the effort, will try to establish standard in a

different context.

Seed Defenders

Melody Voith; Chemical & Engineering News (08-Nov-10)

Improved survival during germination of today's seeds due to specialty seed

treatments that protect the seed in the cold and damp, giving an even higher

stand and yield. Tailored combinations of fungicides, insecticides, and

nematicides used.

Revealing How Plants Breathe

Sarah Everts; Chemical & Engineering News (29-Oct-10)

An ion channel, called SLAC1, that helps open and close pores in the leaf

epidermis of plants, shows a never-before-seen protein fold; may one day be

useful for breeding or engineering plants that can better survive in arid


Subcategory: Drug Discovery

More than just a Pretty Flower

Anne Trafton; MIT News (04-Nov-10)

The periwinkle plant, Catharanthus roseus, produces several compounds with

medicinal properties, including the anticancer drug vinblastine. Plant

biosynthetic mechanisms can easily make a whole range of different iterations

of natural products.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Low-cost Thermoacoustic Co-generator for Biomass-burning Cook Stoves

Paul J. Montgomery, Jr. and Dr. Steven L. Garrett; Acoustical Society of  America (09-Nov-10)

Describes a low-cost electrical power generation system for fan-enhanced

biomass burning cook stoves in areas of the developing world that

significantly reduces exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves.

Algae Biofuel Business Won’t Bloom Soon

Steven E.F. Brown; San Francisco Business Times (02-Nov-10)

While some companies have scored successes growing algae in closed labs, the

know-how to grow strains that are stable “under outdoor conditions, while

achieving both high productivities and oil content, is still to be developed,”

say experts.

Subcategory: Environment

The Lifeblood of Leaves: Vein Networks Control Plant Patterns

Shelley Littin; University of Arizona (16-Nov-10)

Leaf vein patterns correlate with functions such as carbon intake and water

use. Knowledge could help scientists better understand the complex carbon

cycle that is at the heart of global climate warming.

Subcategory: Microorganisms

Laws of Attraction

Denise Brehm; MIT News (02-Nov-10)

Ocean micro-organisms are shown to behave like larger animals in the presence

of sulfur. Some microbes ingest the sulfur, convert it and pass it back into the

ocean in altered form, keeping the chemical moving through Earth’s sulfur


Subcategory: Miscellaneous

Mechanism of Self/Non-self Recognition between Pollen and Pistil in

Self-incompatible Plants

Teh-hui Kao; Penn State (01-Nov-10)

Self-incompatibility (SI) prevents inbreeding and promotes out-crossing in

plants. Presents a protein-degradation model for testing. Valuable for

understanding many cellular and developmental processes relating to

regulation of protein degradation.


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Subcategory: Bioethics

When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards

PharmPro (18-Oct-10)

The pharma industry makes a promise to its healthcare professionals and

patients every time it establishes a product specification, writes mystery

blogger. Gives specifics of companies receiving FDA warning letters about

specifications, controls.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Methane-powered Laptops may Be Closer than You Think

Caroline Perry; Harvard School of Engineering 16-Nov-10

On the go? As methane begins to take over hydrogen as the fuel of choice for

fuel cells, the advances in temperature, reliability, and affordability should

continue to reinforce each other to power portable electronics in the future.

Subcategory: Government/ Approvals

Obama Signs Drug Disposal Act into Law

PharmPro (16-Oct-10)

New legislation establishes legal structure for drug take-back; president also

signed update to anti-methamphetamine law. Bill called “an important step in

addressing the alarming rise in prescription drug abuse.”

A New Path: FDA Holds Hearing on Biosimilars

Stephanie Fischer; BIOtechNOW (16-Nov-10)

Implementing the right pathway for approval of biosimilars is essential to

expanding access to biologics, among the most powerful cutting-edge

medicines being produced. Need to prioritize patient safety and future biotech


DOJ Charges Former Glaxo Lawyer with Obstruction

Matthew Perrone; PharmPro (09-Nov-10)

Drug companies are prohibited from promoting drugs for uses not approved

by the FDA. Notes that companies will not curb illegal marketing tactics until

executives are threatened with prison; fines are often just a fraction of a

company's total sales.

Subcategory: Patent/Intellectual Property Issues

Intellectual Property Law and Employees

Lew Gould, Kristina A. Caggiano and Gretchen Temeles; Business Week (16-Nov-10)

Overly controlling a company's ownership of the intellectual product of its

employees can stifle the creativity of the workforce responsible for

innovation. Employment contracts can provide for royalty payments for

"off-the-clock" creations.

An About-Face On Gene Patents

Glenn Hess; Chemical & Engineering News (08-Nov-10)

More than 20% of the genes in the human genome are now patented. In recent

legal brief, US Patent Office  now contends that isolating a DNA molecule,

without further alteration or manipulation, does not change its nature.

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Subcategory: Cell Therapy

Clinical Trial To Use Stem Cells To Battle Blindness

Red Orbit (22-Nov-10)

Biotech firm Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) will use stem cells to treat

individuals suffering from Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy, a degenerative

condition affecting the part of the retina where incoming light rays are


Subcategory: Immunology/ Infectious Diseases

NIH Funds Four Clinical Trials to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 19-Oct-10

New clinical trials to evaluate treatment alternatives for diseases for which

antibiotics are prescribed most often, including acute otitis media (middle ear

infections), community-acquired pneumonia, diseases caused by Gram-negative bacteria.


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Subcategory: Immunology/ Infectious Diseases

Rapid, Low-cost Test for Multidrug-resistant TB Gains WHO Endorsement

Wellcome Trust (15-Nov-10)

Microscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) test delivers results

within 2 weeks for less than $3/test. Should ensure that people with TB are

identified, treated earlier, reducing both severity of their disease and chances

of infecting others.


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Subcategory: Nanotechnology

What Happens When You Breathe In Nanoparticles

Jennifer Chu; Technology Review (16-Nov-10)

Researchers watch fluorescent nanoparticles move through the respiratory

system,from the lungs to the bloodstream,  an advance that could lead to

better drugs, help researchers understand how pollution can cause respiratory



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Subcategory: Clinical Trials

Report: Asia Pacific Pharma Companies Turning to High-Risk, High-Reward

Drug Development

PharmPro (03-Nov-10)

Global figures for clinical trial recruitment show a dramatic shift away from

the US,  toward Asia Pacific. The number of new molecules in development

by generic companies, particularly in India, reflects a strong inclination to

invest in R&D.

Subcategory: Databases

AT&T Setting Up Health Care Division

Peter Svensson; Drug Discovery & Development (04-Nov-10)

When industry adopts electronic medical records, doctor's visits by

video-conferencing and wireless gadgets like remote glucose monitors, AT&T

(the largest telecommunications company in the U.S.) wants to have a

significant role.

Subcategory: Educational Issues

Branding Chemists

Sarah Everts; Chemical & Engineering News (08-Nov-10)

A group of chemists has established a degree branding system: Eurobachelor,

Euromaster, Eurodoctorate. Sets standards for chemistry education that

students, teachers, and employers around the world can easily understand.

Subcategory: Genotyping

SNP Chip Tests Can Mislead Customers About Cancer Risks

Jocelyn Kaiser; Science (05-Nov-10)

Researchers agree that family history is still the gold standard for assessing a

person's cancer risk: It remains to be seen whether current SNP tests actually

add any value," according to medical cancer geneticists.

Subcategory: Miscellaneous

'Dance Your Ph.D. 2010' Winner Announced

John Bohannon; Science (19-Oct-10)

Researcher on designer molecules beat out the best Ph.D. dances from

physics, biology, and the social sciences. See the the dance of amino acid

homocysteine (an indicator of cardiovascular disease in blood samples).

Selection of a DNA Aptamer for Homocysteine Using SELEX

Maureen McKeague; Vimeo (29-Oct-10)

Winning video of the 2010 "Dance Your PhD" contest. See announcement at

Gonzo Labs: http://gonzolabs.org/dance/

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Subcategory: Oncology

Cancer GWAS and Data Analysis Grant Program

Drug Discovery & Development (09-Nov-10)

Cancer GWAS (Genome-Wide Association Study) and Data Analysis Grant

program supports cutting-edge projects that show promise in identifying

genetic elements important to cancer research and treatment. Eligibility for

participants worldwide.


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Subcategory: Environment

Mammal's Urine May Help Solve Past Climate Secrets

Andrea Leontiou; Live Science (25-Oct-10)

Once expelled from the body of a rock hyrax, the urine crystallizes and builds

up in stratified accumulations known as middens, which scientists can then

examine.  Hyrax urine preserves organic matter over timescales of tens of

thousands of years.

Subcategory: Prescription

Pill Pusher

Technology Review (01-Nov-10)

Smart plastic cap helps patients take medication when they are supposed to.

Can be fitted to standard prescription bottles, flashes and plays a ringtone

when it's time to take a dose. Ability to send reports to family, physicians.

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Subcategory: Educational Issues

Amir Abo-Shaeer

Jyllian N. Kemsley; Chemical & Engineering News (08-Nov-10)

MacArthur Fellow makes high school physics education (engineering,

computer science, and robotics, as well as physics) more creative and

accessible. Students (50% are girls) order parts as well as machine them.

Wants to broaden perception of engineering.

Subcategory: Genomics

Lander’s Lessons Ten Years after the Human Genome Project:

Kevin Davies; Bio-IT World (03-Nov-10)

Describes "startling comparisons" of geneticists’ knowledge around the time

of the HGP (Human Genome Project) in 2000 and today. Challenges ahead:

clinical interventions, clinical testing, regulatory approval and widespread



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Subcategory: Miscellaneous

Personal Genomics Tests Prompt Lifestyle Changes

Peter Aldhous; New Scientist (05-Nov-10)

Could a small dose of genetic information cure complacency about weight loss

and exercise? 34% of respondents say they're more careful about their diet,

14% say they're doing more exercise, and 16%changed their medications or

dietary supplements.


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Subcategory: Cell Lines

Bedding Down Stem Cells

Sarah Everts; Chemical & Engineering News (22-Nov-10)

Stem cells grew best on the monolayers that present two particular peptides:

one called RGD for arginine-glycine-aspartic acid and a novel sequence from

the protein heparin. The new bed supports 8 different pluripotent stem cell

lines for 203 months.


Subcategory: Cell Therapy

Specialized Blood Vessels Jumpstart and Sustain Organ Regeneration

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (10-Nov-10)

The endothelium is the innermost layer of blood vessels. They have been

found to release growth factors that direct bone marrow stem cells to multiply

and differentiate into different types of blood cells.

Gene Therapy for Metastatic Melanoma in Mice Produces Complete Remission,

IU Researchers Report

Indiana University (18-Nov-10)

A modified lentivirus is used to introduce a potent anti-melanoma T cell

receptor gene into the hematopoietic stem cells of mice. Results in a new host

immune system and the complete elimination of tumor.

Subcategory: Drug Discovery

Scripps Research Scientists Devise Broad New Technique for Screening Protein

Mika Ono; Scripps Research Institute (15-Nov-10)

Method enables scientists to take a sample of cells, locate the sites on their

proteins that have a certain kind of biochemical reactivity, and measure the

degree of that reactivity. May have broad applications in basic research and

drug development.

Subcategory: Epigenetics

Fly Stem Cells on a Diet: Salk Scientists Discovered how Stem Cells Respond to

Nutrient Availability

Maja Gawronska; Salk Institute (04-Nov-10)

Stem cells can sense a decrease in available nutrients, retain small pool of

active stem cells for tissue maintenance. When, or if, favorable conditions

return, stem cell numbers multiply to accommodate increased demands on the


Subcategory: Forensics

Study Details Technique that Helps Seal Convictions for HIV Infection

Ben Wermund; Statesman.com (15-Nov-10)

When someone is infected with HIV, a single virus becomes an ancestor to a

population of viruses that evolves quickly within the person over time.

Technique traces changes in a virus, draws a "family tree" that could be traced

back to one source.

Subcategory: Genomics

Difference in Gene Numbers Responsible for Wide Variations in the Human


Howard Hughes Medical Institute (29-Oct-10)

Research shows that the human genome changes constantly; duplicate

sequences are among the fastest evolving regions. Variability affects many

genes that play a critical role in brain development, may help undertand

evolution, disease development.

1000 Genomes Project Publishes most Comprehensive Map to Date of Human

Genetic Variation

Wellcome Trust (28-Oct-10)

Researchers produce map using next-generation DNA sequencing technologies

to systematically characterize human genetic variation (approximately 95%

of all human variation) in 180 people during 3 pilot studies. Descriptive video.

Subcategory: Materials

Radically Simple Technique Developed to Grow Conducting Polymer Thin Films

Mike Rodewald; UCLA (01-Nov-10)

Method for coating large surfaces with nanofiber thin films that are both

transparent and electrically conductive uses vigorous agitation of water, dense

oil and polymer nanofibers.  Agitation causes it to create a film over virtually

any surface.

Subcategory: Proteomics

Close Quarters

Celia Arnaud; Chemical & Engineering News (29-Nov-10)

Understanding protein properties requires understanding them in cell-like

dense conditions, because crowding affects a number of protein

characteristics, including structure, function, and activity. Arnaud reviews

advances in protein crowding.

Elusive Enzyme Species Trapped

Stu Borman and Jyllian Kemsley; Chemical & Engineering News (15-Nov-10)

P450 monooxygenase study: workings of enzymes that play a critical role in

nutrient, drug metabolism. DNA-repair dioxygenase study: a process playing

a major role in epigenetic gene programming, conditions such as obesity &


Researchers Could Use Plant's Light Switch to Control Cells

Duke University (31-Oct-10)

Light-responsive plant proteins inserted into mammal cells give scientists a

switch to control how cells function. Potential to control cell growth or death,

grow new tissue, deliver doses of medication directly to diseased cells.

Structure of a Protein Related to Heart and Nervous System Health Revealed

e! Science News (16-Nov-10)

Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) uses vitamin B6 to make hydrogen sulfide

(H2S), a gaseous signaling molecule that helps maintain a healthy heart and

nervous system. New information provides greater understanding of

homocystinuria-causing mutations.

Scripps Research Scientists Identify First Synthetic Activator of Two Critical


Scripps Research Institute (19-Nov-10)

Novel synthetic activator identified of 2 proteins belonging to a protein family

playing key roles in human metabolism and immune function. Could provide

new, more effective therapeutic approaches to diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis.

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Subcategory: Genomics

Rare Genetic Disorder Highlights Importance of Selenium

Wellcome Trust (16-Nov-10)

Study individuals were found to have a particular variant of the gene

SECISBP2 which meant that their bodies were unable to produce most of the

25 known human selenoproteins. Developed disorders such as male infertility

and muscular dystrophy.

Subcategory: Geriatrics

Aging Commonly Leads to Brain Bleeding

Laboratory Equipment 09-Nov-10

Cerebral microbleeds are highly prevalent in the aging brain, and not primarily

products of stroke-related injury, hypertension or neurodegenerative diseases

such as Alzheimer’s. How they might affect intellectual and neurological

function is not known.

Omega-3 Pills Fail to Work in Alzheimer's Patients

Lindsey Tanner; PharmPro (03-Nov-10)

"There is no basis for recommending DHA supplementation for patients with

Alzheimer disease," study authors conclude. Starting treatment after

symptoms appear may be too late, as underlying causes begins years or

decades earlier.

Chemical Biologists Discover New Characteristic of Progeria Protein Linked to

Premature Aging Disease

Stevens Institute of Technology (15-Nov-10)

Describes discovery of Werner Helicase Interacting Protein 1 (WHIP)

interacting within the NPC (nuclear pore complexes) autonomous of Werner

protein. This unexpected relationship suggests WHIP's potential for detecting

genetic damage.

Scientists Identify One Cause Of Damage In Alzheimer's Disease And Find A

Way To Stop It

Susan Brown; University of California San Diego (10-Nov-10)

Study shows that a protein superstructure called amyloid beta disrupts one of

the brain’s anti-oxidant proteins and demonstrates a way to protect that

protein, and perhaps others, from amyloid’s harmful effects.

Subcategory: Immunology/ Infectious Diseases

Immunovaccine Signs Agreement With National Research Council to Evaluate

Carbohydrate-Based Vaccine

PharmPro (18-Oct-10)

Carbohydrate antigens are generally poorly immunogenic when used in

vaccines. Collaboration's objective is to design a carbohydrate-based vaccine

that can produce significant antibody levels and capable of neutralizing


Wild Scottish Sheep could Help Explain Differences in Immunity

Kitta MacPherson; Princeton University (28-Oct-10)

Sheep's susceptibility to infection may give new insight into why some

people get sicker than others when exposed to the same illness. Answer may

lie in deep-rooted differences in how animals survive and reproduce in the


New Sensor Derived from Frogs May Fight Bacteria and Save Wildlife

Chris Emery; Princeton University (19-Oct-10)

In the wild, the African clawed frog produces antibacterial peptides on its skin

to protect it from infection. Researchers attach these peptides to a small

electronic chip that emits an electrical signal when exposed to harmful


Antibody Locks up West Nile's Infection Mechanism

Emil Venere; Purdue News (02-Nov-10)

Describes crosslinking structure that results when an antibody binds to the

West Nile virus. It neutralizes the virus by locking up its infection

mechanism.Could help scientists develop a vaccine against the

mosquito-borne disease.

Scripps Research Team "Watches" Formation of Cells' Protein Factories For

First Time

Mika Ono; Scripps Research Institute (29-Oct-10)

Pictures of formation of cells’ “protein factories” could open help

development of antibiotics, treatments for diseases tied to errors in ribosome

formation. Can also be applied to other complex challenges in understanding

cellular processes.

X-Ray Research Paves the Way for Lassa Fever Vaccine

University of St Andrews 18-Nov-10

Structure uncovered of a key protein from the Lassa virus, endemic to West

Africa and can cause deadly hemorrhagic fever. Reveals how virus evades its

host's immune system, hijacks infected cells' vital machinery in a process

called "cap-stealing".

Subcategory: Metabolism: Obesity, Diabetes

Study Confirms Gene Link to Obesity

Wellcome Trust (16-Nov-10)

Over-activity of a gene called FTO leads to over-eating and obesity in mice.

The findings suggest that the gene could be a promising target for developing

anti-obesity drugs that decrease the gene’s activity.

Subcategory: Musculoskeletal

Growth Spurt

Tufts University (05-Oct-10)

Older tadpoles can regenerate a severed tail, including spinal cord; key

component to the regenerative response are sodium ions in a drug "cocktail."

Finding could lead to new treatments for older humans suffering from wounds

and loss of limbs.

Subcategory: Nanotechnology

Study Tracks Benefit, Risk of Nanoinvaders

Carolyn Y. Johnson; Boston.com (08-Nov-10)

Scientists deposit a wide variety of nanoparticles in rat lungs, use imaging

techniques to track their movement into the tissue, bloodstream. Aim: basic

criteria for understanding which particles rapidly make their way into the

body and where they go.

Subcategory: Neurology

Front-Brain Activity Tied to Genetics, Autism

Nadia Ramlagan; American Association for the Advancement of Science (04-Nov-10)

The language and cognitive difficulties often seen in autism may be caused in

part by an overly connected frontal lobe within the brain. A gene called

CNTNAP2 is responsible for wiring neurons in the front of the brain, may

lead to targeted therapies.

Research Reveals Key Molecular Players in the Erasure of Fear Memories

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (28-Oct-20)

New research in mice suggests that manipulating a single molecule, a specific

receptor called calcium permeable AMPA, might help eliminate fears that

have been etched into memory.

Natural Compound Shows Promise against Huntington's Disease

Salk Institute (15-Nov-10)

Fisetin, a naturally occurring compound found in strawberries and other fruits

and vegetables, slows the onset of motor problems and delays death in three

models of Huntington's disease. For those in early stages or are

presymptomatic, fisetin might help.

Rett Syndrome Mobilizes Jumping Genes in the Brain

Salk Institute (17-Nov-10)

A mutation in the MeCP2 gene mobilizes so-called L1 retrotransposons in

brain cells, reshuffling their genomes. Sheds new light on the complexity of

molecular events that underlie psychiatric disorders such as autism and

schizophrenia. Video.

Decoding the Disease that Perplexes: Salk Scientists Discover New Target for

Salk Institute (25-Oct-10)

Connection discovered between 2 ion channels, which, when misaligned, can

cause multiple sclerosis symptoms. Ratio of densities between the sodium

channel and voltage-insensitive potassium current determines whether neurons

can fire properly.

Scripps Research Scientists Find Nerve Cell Activity Drains Stem Cell Pool in

Developing Brain

Scripps Research Institute (05-Nov-10)

As the newly formed nerve cells in babies start firing electrical signals, slowing

down stem cell division, emptyies out the stem cell pool in favor of nerve cell

formation.Implications for replacing brain cells that are damaged or lost.

The Pericyte Becomes a Player in Alzheimer’s, Other Neurodegenerative

University of Rochester (17-Nov-10)

Pericytes ensheath the smallest blood vessels in the brain, wrapping around

capillaries like ivy wrapping around a pipe and helping to maintain the

structural integrity of the vessels. Help maintain barrier that stops toxic

substances from reaching brain.

Electric Brain Stimulation Improves Maths Performance

Wellcome Trust (05-Nov-10)

Applying electrical stimulation to the brain can enhance a person’s

mathematical abilities for up to 6 months. Those who received stimulation

from the right to the left parietal lobe reached a high level of performance,

other direction decreased ability.

Origin of Cells Associated with Nerve Repair Discovered

Wellcome Trust (22-Nov-10)

Scientists have discovered the origin of a unique type of cell, olfactory

ensheathing cells (OECs), that can help the central nervous system regenerate.

This may allow more of these cells to be produced, used to repair spinal cord injuries.


Subcategory: Oncology

Prostate Cancer's Multiple Personalities Revealed

Cornell University (03-Nov-10)

Researchers identify secondary mutations that cause some types of prostate

cancer cells to be lethal. Should lead to better tests for prostate cancer, more

specific and individualized therapy for prostate cancers that are likely to

become deadly.

Cambridge Scientists Find Cause of Immune Failure

Drug Discovery & Development (03-Nov-10)

A type of stromal cell, found in many cancers which express fibroblast

activation protein alpha (FAP), suppresses the immune response in cancerous

tumors. If destroyed, immune system can work to control

previously-uncontrolled tumor.

A New Target for Cancer Drugs

Anne Trafton; MIT News (09-Nov-10)

Slowing down a specific system for tolerating DNA damage in cancer cells

prolongs the lives of the mice and prevents relapsed tumors from becoming

resistant to chemotherapy, making tumors much less likely to spread to other

parts of the body.

Bioelectrical Signals Turn Stem Cells' Progeny Cancerous

Tufts University (19-Oct-10)

A change in membrane voltage in newly identified "instructor cells" can cause

stem cells' descendants to trigger melanoma-like growth in pigment cells.

Discovery could aid in prevention, treatment of cancer, vitiligo, birth defects.

Study Shows Great Genetic Variation in Pancreatic Cancer

Wellcome Trust (09-Nov-10)

Pancreatic cancer kills 97%-98% of people within 5 years of diagnosis; it

often exhibits no symptoms, and thus is only diagnosed when at an advanced

stage. Ability to identify, understand early mutations may lead to discovery

of new drug targets.


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Subcategory: Computing Systems

The GPU Revolution

Lauren Wolf; Chemical & Engineering News (01-Nov-10)

Designed for video games, Graphics Processing Units bring once-impossible

simulations within reach for chemists.Hardware responsible for 3-D images in

games now used to carry out classical molecular dynamics simulations.

Desktop & clusters.

Asking Any Question Of All Your Data

Tom White; Forbes.com (08-Nov-10)

A new style of data management is emerging, where all the data available is

stored without enforcing a pre-defined data structure, and kept online for any

question to be asked. Called schema on read, it uses the open source Apache


Why China's New Supercomputer Is Only Technically the World's Fastest

Christopher Mims; Technology Review (08-Nov-10)

Compting speed is the number of petaflops (as in floating point operations

per second) that the "world's fastest" supercomputer can chew through at its

peak performance. But peak performance doesn't equal sustained

performance, say experts.

Subcategory: Forensics

Sniffing out Shoe Bombs: A New and Simple Sensor for Explosive Chemicals

Liz Ahlberg; University of Illinois (19-Oct-10)

Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) is a high-powered explosive that in recent

years has been used in several bombing attempts. Describes a colorimetric

sensor array that can quantitatively detect even very low levels of TATP

vapor,  down to 2 parts/billion.

Subcategory: Imaging

Yeast Ribosome Structure Solved

Jyllian N. Kemsley; Chemical & Engineering News (29-Nov-10)

Scientists are now getting a new, more detailed look at the machinery that

translates the genetic code into proteins in all living cells. Could help develop

drugs to treat eukaryotic pathogens such as parasites and other human


How Brain Imaging Could Help Predict Alzheimer's

Emily Singer; Technology Review (19-Nov-10)

Brain imaging identified changes in the brains of people with mild dementia

who would go on to develop Alzheimer's: significant thinning in 3 connected

areas of the cortex involved in memory, attention, integration of sensor and

motor information.

Subcategory: Immunology/ Infectious Diseases

New Way of Predicting Dominant Seasonal Flu Strain

Rice University (15-Nov-10)

Mathematical method requires no animal tests, better predicts flu-vaccine

targets, can predict whether strains will become dominant as little as 2 weeks

after the sequence first appears in the GenBank database.

Subcategory: Neurology

Sensor Detects Emotions through the Skin

Kristina Grifantini; Technology Review (26-Oct-10)

When autistic children get stressed, they often don't show it. Instead their

tension might build until they have a meltdown, which can result in aggression

toward others, self-injury. Worn on a wristband, sensor could help caregivers

anticipate problems.


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Subcategory: Collaboration

Science Behind Bar

Miles O'Brien; Science Nation (18-Oct-10)

Scientist turns to prisons for people to help research on prairie plants. It's a

win-win situation: scientists get a reliable staff of long-term research

collaborators and inmates get a job that beats stamping out license plates.

Call for Sector to Unite behind Open Access

Wellcome Trust (20-Oct-10)

Ten leading organisations from the higher education and research sectors have

joined forces to drive forward the implementation of open access in the UK.

Substantial gains for both researchers and research institutions anticipated.

Subcategory: Databases

Databases Down Under

Allison Proffitt Bio-IT World

Researchers at Translational Research Excellence, held in Brisbane, encouraged

one another to share raw data, analyses, and clinical findings to further

research and enable advances in medicine. Describes BioGrid project.

Subcategory: Public/ Private Partnerships

Opening The Medicine Cabinet:

Lisa M. Jarvis; Chemical & Engineering News (08-Nov-10)

Pfizer's 5-year, $22.5 million agreement with Washington University in St.

Louis allows faculty to access data on hundreds of Pfizer compounds that had

either failed in the clinic or were in ongoing studies. Hope is to generate new

drug candidates.

Pfizer Launches Academic Network

Lisa M. Jarvis; Chemical & Engineering News (16-Nov-20)

Pfizer is forming a broad network of academic collaborators to accelerate the

translation of basic science into biologics-based therapeutics.  7 or 8 partners

expected from US, Europe, Asia in Global Centers for  Therapeutic

Innovation (CTI).


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Subcategory: Oncology

Cancer Stem Cells Can’t Stand the Heat

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (02-Nov-10)

5,000-year old Egyptian papyrus depicts the use of heat against breast cancer.

Extraordinary radiation-resistance among tumor stem cells can be dramatically

lowered by hyperthermia, which makes tumor cells more susceptible to

radiation therapy.


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