Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jun. 13, 2013

A patent on your DNA? What the Supreme Court ruling means for you
NBC News
Can someone else patent your genes? The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on that question — a suit filed against Myriad Genetics for its patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which raise the risk of breast, ovarian and certain other cancers. Opponents of patenting human DNA say a ruling in favor of Myriad will mean companies can own your genes, even though experts say it's more complicated than that. More

Genetic switches play big role in human evolution
A Cornell study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study, published June 9 in Nature Genetics, provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution since there is little difference between humans and chimps in the proteins produced by genes. More

DNA: Definition, structure and discovery
Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a molecule that contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce. These instructions are found inside every cell, and are passed down from parents to their children.More

Scientists study evolution of breast cancer gene
The Columbus Dispatch
When Angelina Jolie shared her family history of increased risk of breast cancer and her actions because of it, she revealed the power and scope of modern genetic techniques and analysis. In a touching New York Times op-ed piece, Jolie revealed that she inherited a form of the BRCA1 gene associated with elevated risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. More

'Master protocol' aims to revamp cancer trials
In the push to match medical therapies to the genetic underpinnings of disease, lung-cancer treatments have been at the frontier. But the 1.6 million people diagnosed with this cancer every year will take scant comfort in knowing that of the past 20 late-stage trials of drugs to treat it, only two yielded positive results.More

Mayo Clinic announces first US stem cell clinical trial for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome
Mayo Clinic has announced the first U.S. stem cell clinical trial for pediatric congenital heart disease. The trial aims to determine how stem cells from autologous umbilical cord blood can help children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare defect in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped.More

Making new cartilage from stem cells
Cartilage injuries have ended many athletes' careers — including that of former two-sport star Bo Jackson — and the general wear-and-tear of the joint-cushioning tissue is something that almost everyone will endure as they age. Unfortunately, repairing cartilage remains difficult: Without blood flowing through it, cartilage has a hard time healing on its own and no chance of regenerating once it's gone.More

Bank your stem cells for future use
Discovery News
Stem cells, the precursors to other kinds of cells in the human body, promise near-miracle medical treatments such as regenerating organs or repairing nerves. But stem cell medicine is still in the early stages. Culturing the right kind of cell remains difficult and so far only a few procedures are FDA-approved. More

Robots with your face want to invade workplaces and hospitals
Robotic telepresence remains one of those technologies that is always lingering just on the horizon; it's going to change everything, the futurists say, just as soon as it gets here. But while several clever telerobotics solutions have come to market in recent years, no solution has yet been both sophisticated and user-friendly enough for the mainstream.More

Surgeons develop app to practice surgery
BBC News
Trainee surgeons are using tablet computers as a way to practice surgery outside the operating theater. The surgery app was designed by four surgeons in London and can be downloaded on a variety of devices. Dr. Sanjay Purkayastha, one of its developers said they wanted to take surgical education to "another level". The app has been downloaded worldwide more than 80,000 times in less than six months.More

A patent on your DNA? What the Supreme Court ruling means for you
NBC News
Can someone else patent your genes? The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on that question — a suit filed against Myriad Genetics for its patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which raise the risk of breast, ovarian and certain other cancers.More

Gene sequencing project finds new mutations to blame for a majority of brain tumor subtype
Medical Xpress
Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has identified mutations responsible for more than half of a subtype of childhood brain tumor that takes a high toll on patients. More

Why your DNA may not be your destiny
Ten years ago, when researchers completed the first map of all the genes of human beings, the immense undertaking promised to revolutionize the field of molecular medicine.More

3-D printing physical bone models
Today's Medical Developments
Time is critical when a patient is undergoing surgery. The longer the patient's internal tissue is exposed, the greater the risk. When a patient can be quickly closed up and begin recovery, chances are greater for a healthy recovery. These concerns are on the minds of maxillofacial surgeons in Belgium, who often need to reconstruct bones in a patient's skull, such as a jaw ravaged by cancer or an eye socket crushed in a car accident. More

Healthcare providers speak up for immigrants
USA Today
A man walks into the lobby of Cayce Family Clinic in Nashville — "The rain brought me in!" he cries in mock distress — and the woman behind the counter jokes with him in English. Then another patient approaches her and she switches back to Spanish. More

Healthcare's overlooked cost factor
The New York Times
When the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corporation merged its two hospitals with the neighboring Highland Park Hospital just north of Chicago 13 years ago, the deal was presented as an opportunity to increase efficiency and improve the quality of patient care.More

FDA approves new skin cancer treatments
Advances in the treatment of melanoma are changing the playing field for people who are diagnosed with this most deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma is the No. 1 cause of death from skin disease. The National Cancer Institute estimates 76,690 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and 9,480 will die from the disease in 2013. More

Doctors groups OK with FDA Plan B decision
MedPage Today
Physician groups were generally supportive of an FDA decision to expand over-the-counter access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step without age restrictions. Multiple medical societies cited "overwhelming scientific evidence" of the safety and efficacy of the contraceptive for women of all reproductive ages as the basis of their support.More