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February 2005
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April 2005

Stem cell leader opens business

Stem cell leader opens business

By Aaron Nathans
March 31, 2005

Stem cell pioneer and University of Wisconsin researcher James Thomson is opening a business at the UW Research Park.

Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. will work on cellular tissue regeneration involving the heart; the research there will involve stem cell research, but will not be limited to that, according to an industry insider familiar with the business who wished not to be identified.

Thomson has signed the papers to lease space at the research park, said park spokeswoman Beth Roloff. The business will be located in the MGE Innovation Center, according to Research Park Director Mark Bugher.

Full story.

Brain Chip Implant Allows Paralysed Man Direct Control of Computer

Brain chip reads man's thoughts
Image of the brain
The 'chip' reads brain signals
A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.

Matthew Nagle, 25, was left paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair after a knife attack in 2001.

The pioneering surgery at New England Sinai Hospital, Massachusetts, last summer means he can now control everyday objects by thought alone.

The brain chip reads his mind and sends the thoughts to a computer to decipher.

Mind over matter

He can think his TV on and off, change channels and alter the volume thanks to the technology and software linked to devices in his home.

Full story.

Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

Associated Press Writer

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) -- Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who spent 15 years connected to a feeding tube in an epic legal and medical battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed. She was 41.

Full story.

Surgeons get high-tech help at Bellin Health

Thanks to robots, operations less invasive, recoveries faster
By Mike Hoeft

Robots are now in Bellin Health operating rooms, but they’re not going to put doctors and technicians out of work.

The robotics-assisted surgery program at Bellin Health is aimed at providing less-invasive surgery, which translates into quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays.

Bellin Health is the first hospital in Northeastern Wisconsin, and only the second in the state, to have robotics-assisted surgery, said George Kerwin, Bellin president and chief executive officer.

“Being able to provide our patients with skilled surgeons combined with the most advanced technology truly places Bellin in the forefront of minimally invasive surgical procedures,” Kerwin said.

The other state hospital, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, has been performing robotics-assisted surgeries since 2002.

On Wednesday, Bellin offered news media a glimpse into its program.

The operating room was staffed by the regular urology team of three physicians and three technicians. But there were differences from the routine as a result of the robotics-assisted surgery.

The lead surgeon guided the robotic arms from a nearby console that showed a three-dimensional image from a camera inside the patient.

There was hardly any blood to be seen. As several dozen people watched from an observation room, surgeons cut five holes the diameter of a pencil into the patient’s abdomen. Blood loss in robotics-assisted surgery is about the amount in a soda bottle cap.

Through those pencil-size holes, the surgery team inserted probes. On the ends of the instruments were the robot’s eyes and hands, giving access to hard-to-reach cavities of the body.

“A surgeon still directs the operation. The robot is an added tool,” said Dr. Thomas Geocaris of Surgery Specialists of Green Bay.

Full story.

Public morally obliged to take part in scientific research, says leading ethicist

Public morally obliged to take part in scientific research, says leading ethicist
31 Mar 2005

The public has a moral obligation to support and take part in scientific research, says a leading ethicist in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

John Harris, Professor of Bioethics at the Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics at the University of Manchester, does not advocate making it a legal requirement for people to get involved. But he contends that compulsion is, in principle, justifiable, and in certain circumstances, may be justified.

And he suggests that a change to the Declaration of Helsinki, which sets out the ethical grounds for research, is warranted.

Professor Harris points out that other activities in society, such as vaccination the wearing of seatbelts, and jury service, require the loss of personal autonomy for the public good. "Might medical research be another such case," he asks?

Financial incentives to participate in research are fully justified and preferable to compulsion, he argues.

Full story.

Pfizer says judge halts sales of generic Accupril

Pfizer says judge halts sales of generic Accupril

Wed March 30, 2005 6:21 AM GMT+05:30
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc. said on Tuesday a judge has halted sales of generic versions of its blood pressure medicine Accupril sold by Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.

U.S. District Court of New Jersey Judge Dickinson Debevoise granted the preliminary injunction after finding that Pfizer was likely to prevail in its patent infringement lawsuit filed against Teva and Ranbaxy on Jan. 28.

The judge ordered Israel-based Teva and India's Ranbaxy to immediately stop marketing the product, known generically as quinapril, that Teva launched in December 2004 under its own label as part of an agreement with Ranbaxy, Pfizer said.

Pfizer said it will seek damages resulting from lost sales caused by competition from the cheaper generic versions of its drug. Accupril had U.S. sales of $387 million in 2004.

Pfizer said the judge also denied Ranbaxy's and Teva's request to stay the injunction, while the world's largest drugmaker seeks a permanent injunction of generic sales of the blood pressure medicine.

Full story.

Pfizer Contests Lipitor Rule

Pfizer Contests Lipitor Rule

By Robert Steyer Staff Reporter
3/29/2005 2:18 PM EST

Pfizer (PFE:NYSE - news - research) said Tuesday that it would appeal a decision by the Austrian Patent Office that invalidated a patent on the main ingredient in its cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor.

Pfizer says the patent challenge, filed by the Indian generic drug company Ranbaxy Laboratories, doesn't affect litigation in other countries, including the U.S. Ranbaxy also is challenging the U.S. patent which expires in 2011.

Full story.

eBay wins preliminary patent ruling

NEW YORK — The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has given another boost to eBay Inc. in its legal fight with MercExchange Inc. by signalling that it may revoke a second patent owned by the small Virginia business.

In a filing posted on its website, the patent office said it found the latest patent to be invalid because its claimed inventions either were obvious or had been anticipated by other patents.

The decision could prove very helpful in eBay's attempt to challenge a $25-million (U.S.) patent infringement award won by MercExchange in 2003.

Full story.

Photonics Startup Pegs Q2'06 Production Date

Photonics Startup Pegs Q2'06 Production Date
By Mark Hachman

Startup Luxtera has announced its plans to enter the CMOS photonics market, anticipating the day when microprocessors will transmit information via light, not electrons.

The company claims that its optical modulator for transforming electrons into photons runs at 10-GHz, ten times the speed of an optical modulator Intel Corp. researchers began talking about last year. Beginning in mid-2006, Luxtera hopes to enter production of photonic devices using standard CMOS manufacturing processes.

Full story.

Modine driving the technology to power fuel-cell vehicles

Modine driving the technology to power fuel-cell vehicles
Hydrogen harnessed in stainless steel tubes could replace gasoline
Posted: March 29, 2005

In a stainless steel tube 6 feet long and 8 inches wide, hydrogen is being made that could power automobiles running on pollution-free fuel cells, rather than internal combustion engines.

Instead of pulling up to gasoline pumps, motorists would fill their vehicles with hydrogen produced inside one of these miniature chemical plants.

Modine Manufacturing Co. of Racine is helping develop the technology - called advanced steam methane reforming - where hydrogen is extracted from natural gas through a process that uses heat, steam and catalysts.

Tuesday, Modine shipped its first advanced steam methane reformer to Houston for laboratory testing. The reformer, or one similar to it, could be installed in a demonstration hydrogen fueling station in 2006.

Full story.