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Embryonic Stem Cells in Trial for Diabetes

October 16, 2014 | by Cynthia Fox, Science Writer | Comments

As San Diego’s ViaCyte was in the midst of launching the first FDA-approved embryonic stem (ES) cell clinical trial for diabetics last week, Boston’s Harvard University reported that cells made from ES cells “cured” diabetic mice.     

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Reversing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

October 14, 2014 2:42 pm | by Cynthia Fox, Science Writer | Comments

Lethal fibrosis in lungs of mice with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) can be reversed, say researchers. No drug on the market can do this. But the crew pulled it off, in mice, by temporarily restoring (a mimic of) one of the body’s own anti-fibrosis agents, sharply reduced in IPF: microRNA-29.

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Marburg, Ebola’s Relative, Cured in Monkeys

October 9, 2014 8:30 am | by Cynthia Fox, Science Writer | Comments

An experimental drug saved the lives of 16 of 16 monkeys with the Marburg virus, a killer near-indistinguishable from Ebola, which caused the death of a Ugandan health worker Oct. 6.                  

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Bioprinted 3-D Device Aids Blood Detoxification

October 8, 2014 10:45 am | by Skip Derra | Comments

A team of engineers has successfully developed a three-dimensional-printed device, which mimics the operation of the liver to remove dangerous toxins from the blood.                         

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The Importance of Primer Validation in Real-time PCR and New Tools That Make It Easier

October 7, 2014 2:20 pm | by Jamie Donnelly, Product Manager, Gene Expression Division, Bio-Rad Laboratories | Comments

Real-time qPCR is one of the most ubiquitous laboratory techniques in modern life sciences, commonly used for gene expression analyses and diagnosing infectious diseases. But despite being more than two decades old, many researchers continue to perform qPCR incorrectly and overlook the important step of primer validation and optimization.

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Cord Blood Stem Cells Increased Tenfold

September 29, 2014 2:34 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Ten times more stem cells may soon be generated from umbilical cords than ever before, according to a new Science study. The potential advance was made via a little-known pyrimidoindole molecule called UM171.

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Nobel Prize-winning ‘iPSC’ Stem Cell Method Vastly Improved

September 25, 2014 8:30 am | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

By adding just three compounds to the Nobel Prize-winning induced pluripotent stem cell recipe, a research group is reporting a huge 90 to 100 percent stem cell haul in under a week.                  

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Two Anti-Ebola Vaccines in Historic Race

September 11, 2014 3:38 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

One of the most rapidly fast-tracked vaccines in history— an anti-Ebola “ChAd3” vaccine— just started clinical trial in humans, and may be done as soon as November. But a second fast-tracked anti-Ebola vaccine— called an “rVSV” vaccine— is hot on its heels.

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ZMapp: Best Anti-Ebola Treatment Yet

September 4, 2014 3:05 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

ZMapp, an experimental drug that may have already have saved a few patients in Africa, is the most effective anti-Ebola therapy yet, according to a recent Nature paper on rhesus macaques monkeys.              

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Prominent Japan Stem Cell Center to Undergo Changes

September 2, 2014 3:55 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Riken Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), the prominent Japan institute where Haruko Obokata was found to commit misconduct on stem cell papers, will be halved, according to a Riken representative.              

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Making Bones from Beer Waste

August 28, 2014 8:30 am | by Skip Derra | Comments

At first blush it is a bit disingenuous, using beer waste as a base material for new bone. But that is exactly what a multidisciplinary team of researchers in Spain has come up with in a process for making the substrate material on which bone can be regenerated.

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Amid ALS Mania, Possible Drug Target Spotted

August 26, 2014 11:41 am | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

As, all around them, everyone from Derek Jeter to the Kennedy family was dousing themselves in ice water for the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge,” Harvard researchers announced last week they may have found an ALS therapy— or two.       

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Exercise Can Impact Breast Cancer Risk

August 25, 2014 3:38 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

A large new study found that when post-menopausal women stop physical activity, their odds of developing breast cancer rise. But, the study also found that breast cancer risk drops surprisingly rapidly after exercise starts.                  

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‘The Pill’ Shrinks Ovaries, Cuts Egg Numbers

August 21, 2014 2:44 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

The birth control pill significantly affects ovarian reserve— or the number of immature eggs in a woman’s ovaries— which can be a predictor of future fertility, according to a team in Denmark.                 

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Cloning Offers Intriguing Stem Cell-Making Tips

July 28, 2014 10:36 am | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Two recent studies— one human, one mouse— have found cloning creates better pluripotent stem cells than the Nobel Prize-winning induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) method. A third study also came out supporting the conclusions.     

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Long-Awaited, Global Trial of Fetal Cells for Parkinson’s

July 21, 2014 2:45 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

In two months, the first of many new Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients will receive a fetal cell transplant. The transplant will mark the end of a voluntary moratorium by many Western nations after complications arose a decade ago. This, combined with news that embryonic stem (ES) cell PD therapies may also near prime-time, made Parkinson’s a big topic at the recent International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting.

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