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Stem cells in China: Wild East or scientific feast?

January 14, 2010
biotech

In the field of stem cells, China is showing that it can do world-class science. It is a shame, then, that so many fraudsters operate and that officialdom turns a blind eye

IN THE West, and particularly in America, the phrase “stem cell” has acquired a bad reputation. Stem cells are associated, in the minds of many, with the destruction of human embryos, the cloning of human beings and the Frankenstein-like creation of spare body parts. Add in the strange case of Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean researcher who announced, to great acclaim, that he had succeeded in cloning human embryos and was then exposed as a fraud, and you have a field in which many researchers understandably fear to tread.

Not Chinese researchers, though. A Confucian rejection of the idea that embryos are in any meaningful sense human beings (a view shared by many Koreans), together with the possibility of stealing a march on the diffident West, has stimulated a lot of research into stem cells in China. And not only research. Chinese clinics have moved with what many foreign scientists regard as indecent haste into the offering of therapies. Patients from around the world fly in for the treatment of conditions ranging from autism to spinal-cord injury—treatments that are rarely based on science that would pass muster with the authorities in most rich countries, and are often outright frauds. …


Cancer and stem cells: A strand apart

January 14, 2010
biotech

More evidence that tumours, like healthy organs, grow from stem cells

THE notion that tumours are chaotic masses of anarchic cells has been falling by the wayside recently. Many researchers now think, by contrast, that cancers actually resemble normal, well-regulated organs in several important ways. One of these is that they are believed to have a small population of stem cells which keep them going when other cells die or are killed off. The existence of such cancer stem cells is still a matter of debate. But this week the discussion may have taken an important turn. Brid Ryan, Sharon Pine and Curtis Harris, of America’s National Cancer Institute, reported that some lung-cancer cells do, indeed, seem to behave like stem cells during the process of cell division.

Unlike normal cells, stem cells can divide in two different ways. They may do so symmetrically, thereby producing identical daughter cells, each of which resembles the mother cell. Or they may do so asymmetrically, and give rise to two very different daughters. In such cases, one of the daughters is identical to the original stem cell, while the other takes on new characteristics and can then differentiate into whatever cell type the tissue it inhabits requires. …


Game-changing nanodiamond discovery for MRI

January 14, 2010
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Megan Fellman fellman@northwestern.edu 847-491-3115 Northwestern University Dramatically enhanced image contrast could revolutionize diagnostics and therapeutics A Northwestern University study shows that coupling a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent to a nanodiamond results in dramatic…


Animal behavioral studies can mimic human behavior

January 14, 2010
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Andrew Klein ank2017@med.cornell.edu 212-821-0560 New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College Mice and humans with same human gene abnormality behave similarly according to study in journal Science NEW YORK (Jan. 14, 2010) — Studying animals in behaviora…


Genome advances peril for pests

January 14, 2010
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Margaret Coulombe margaret.coulombe@asu.edu 480-727-8934 Arizona State University Parasitic wasps’ newly sequenced genomes open avenues for pest control; insights in evolution, genetics Parasitic wasps kill pest insects, but their existence has been largely overlooked by the public – until now. F…


State’s venture program taps Alabama firm for $4 million venture investment

January 13, 2010
biotech

An Alabama-based investment fund has snagged up to $4 million from Florida’s nascent venture capital program, which is trying to …Click Here to Read More


Mapping and sequencing of soybean genome paves the way for improved soybean crops

January 13, 2010
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Lily Whiteman lwhitema@nsf.gov 703-292-8310 National Science Foundation Crop improvements are expected to promote energy production, sustainable human and animal food production, and a healthy environmental balance in agriculture wordwide Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now t…


Lake Nona Management reduces staff

January 12, 2010
biotech

An unknown number of Lake Nona Management Co. staffers have been let go. Jim Zboril, Thad Seymour and Richard Levey …Click Here to Read More


5 Stem Cell clinics exposed as potential scams

January 11, 2010
biotech

Wired Magazine claims 5 overseas clinics offering stem cell therapy are scams.


UCF Advances Alzheimers research

January 11, 2010
biotech

Despite a massive global research effort, many basics of Alzheimer’s disease onset remain elusive. This has hampered development of treatments …Click Here to Read More