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March 10, 2009
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Engineered Cell Engine is Step to Artificial Life
from Reuters
U.S. scientists said they have taken an important step toward making an artificial life form by making a ribosome ‒ the cell's factory. The ribosome makes the proteins that carry out key business for all forms of life. Messenger RNA carries DNA's genetic instructions to a cell's ribosome, which then cooks up the desired protein. Every living organism from bacteria to humans uses a ribosome, and they are all strikingly similar. More

Beckman Coulter

Obama Overturns Bush Policy on Stem Cells
from CNN
President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research. Obama's move overturns an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Obama also signed a presidential memorandum establishing greater independence for federal science policies and programs. More

Promising Research on Blood Substitute Lifts Northfield Lab Shares
from The Chicago Tribune
The price of shares of Northfield Laboratories jumped more than 10 percent after researchers said the company's experimental blood substitute reduced the spread of pancreatic cancer in an early stage clinical trial in mice. The research is very early and would still require years of clinical trials in human patients before it could even be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for possible approval. More

Health is Going High Tech with Camera Pills, Health Sensors and Ultrasound Maps for Surgeons
from Science Daily
Camera pills and ultrasound creating maps of the body: health has become high technology. From 3-D images for surgeons to health checks at home, the recent advances in medical technology are fascinating. More

Microbicide May Eventually Prevent Transmission of HIV
from Medscape Medical News
In monkeys, the antimicrobial compound glycerol monolaurate blocks transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus, which is similar to HIV, according to the results of a study published in Nature. Although results of trials with other microbicides in preventing HIV transmission have proved disappointing, the investigators in this study are hopeful that similar compounds might in the future be used to reduce HIV transmission in humans. Subscription required.

Scientists Remove Cancer Genes from Stem Cells
from Reuters
Scientists have taken another important step toward using ordinary skin cells that are made to behave like embryonic stem cells to find treatments for conditions like Parkinson's disease. Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts removed a stumbling block in using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, by taking out potentially cancer-causing genes. More


Study Links Gene Variant and Vitamin D to MS Risk
from Reuters via Medscape Medical News
A certain genetic variant combined with a vitamin D deficiency when young may increase a person's chances of developing multiple sclerosis later in life, British researchers at the University of Oxford said. The finding suggests that giving vitamin D supplements to pregnant women and young children could reduce the risk of getting the disease. It also bolsters previous evidence implicating the so-called "sunshine" vitamin in the autoimmune disease, which affects 2.5 million people worldwide. Subscription required.

North Dakota Flu Cases Top 500
from MSNBC
The number of confirmed flu cases in North Dakota has now topped 500. The state Health Department reports 521 cases, or 185 more than last week. The total compares with 2,099 cases at the same time last year. Health officials say 40 counties report flu activity this week and three people have been hospitalized. More

More Support for Clopidogrel Platelet Response Testing
from Heartwire via Medscape Medical News
More evidence that patients with a low platelet responsiveness to clopidogrel have an increased risk of stent thrombosis has come from a new study, with the suggestion that antiplatelet therapy should be intensified in this group. Researchers said that previous studies have addressed the issue of clopidogrel responsiveness and stent thrombosis, but this is the largest one and the first one to use the newly developed multiple electrode platelet aggregometry (MEA) point-of-care assay. Subscription required.

Chicago Tortilla Plant Linked to Illnesses at Schools Stops Production
from The Chicago Tribune
A Chicago food manufacturer linked to outbreaks of flulike illnesses in Wisconsin and Massachusetts schoolchildren agreed to halt tortilla production until it passes muster with federal regulators. Del Rey Tortilleria, which also makes tostadas and corn flour, failed to correct sanitary violations uncovered by federal officials in six inspections since 2003, a government lawsuit said. The plant, which used paint buckets to store raw ingredients, failed to take adequate measures to keep pests out and used "unhygienic practices," the suit said. More

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