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October 2005
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December 2005

The nose cells that may help the paralysed walk again

The nose cells that may help the paralysed walk again

Surgeons in London to try revolutionary stem cell technique on crash victims

Sarah Boseley, health editor
Wednesday November 30, 2005
The Guardian

Surgeons will attempt early next year to mend the severed nerves of young people who have suffered motorbike accidents in the first trial of a simple but potentially revolutionary technology that could one day allow the paralysed to walk again.

At least ten operations will be carried out to test in humans a technique pioneered in animals by the neuroscientist Geoffrey Raisman, who heads the spinal repair unit of University College, London. He discovered 20 years ago that cells from the lining of the nose constantly regenerate themselves. Professor Raisman's team believes that if those cells were implanted at the site of the damage they would build a bridge across the break, allowing the nerve fibres to knit back together.

Full story.

South Korean scandal brings worries in stem cell projects

South Korean scandal brings worries in stem cell projects
By Dan Vergano and Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

Embryonic stem cell researchers are worried about the future of international cooperation in their field after a prominent scientist's surprise resignation from a fledgling stem-cell-sharing effort.

On Thanksgiving, South Korean scientist Woo-suk Hwang of Seoul National University resigned as head of the World Stem Cell Hub, a nascent international embryonic stem cell research effort he started. In 2004, Hwang's team was the first to clone human embryonic stem cells, master cells from which specific kinds of tissue arise.

Since then, Hwang's team has become the world's leader in stem cell research. This year, it unveiled 11 more cloned stem cell lines, and it cloned a dog.

But a team member, the University of Pittsburgh's Gerald Schatten, resigned this month. He warned of ethical breaches involving junior lab members inappropriately donating eggs for research.

Full story.

Researchers praise NimbleGen's technology as good, efficient

Start-up makes pitch to scientists
Researchers praise NimbleGen's technology as good, efficient
Posted: Nov. 28, 2005

When you've got a better test for genetic researchers, you don't sell it by putting an ad in a magazine.

NimbleGen Systems Inc., a 6-year-old company spun out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed a gene chip that is used to identify how genes work. Management and the company's investors say these gene chips have the potential to revolutionize genetic research.

They just need to convince everyone else.

That's where scientific collaboration comes in.

Full story.

Stem-cell vision far from reality

Stem-cell vision far from reality

By Steve Johnson

Mercury News

The $3 billion stem-cell initiative California voters approved one year ago this month triggered proposals to finance similar research in at least 10 other states.

Yet so far, stem-cell scientists, companies and their supporters have little to cheer about.

California's program, which was designed to get around severe federal limits on such research, has been bottled up by two lawsuits. And because of a national stem-cell backlash, only two states -- Connecticut and Illinois -- allocated money for stem-cell studies this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Worse for stem-cell advocates, several states -- including South Dakota, Arizona and Nebraska -- passed laws this year limiting stem-cell research. In other states, the issue sparked nasty battles likely to rage into next year's legislative session.

Full story.

Cloning pioneer quits in disgrace over ethics breach

Cloning pioneer quits in disgrace over ethics breach
By Deborah Cameron in Tokyo and Deborah Smith Science Editor
November 25, 2005

tOne of the world's leading stem cell and cloning scientists resigned in disgrace yesterday, saying that he had to "tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible".

Hwang Woo-suk, of Seoul National University, said female scientists working at his lab donated their own eggs for experiments, a serious ethical breach.

Full story.

Stem cell researchers paid women for ova

Stem cell researchers paid women for ova

Big News Tuesday 22nd November, 2005 (UPI)

Medical researchers working with South Korean stem cell pioneer Professor Hwang Woo-suk admit paying women to donate their ova for stem cell research.

Twenty South Korean donors received about $1,500 in 2002 and 2003 as compensation for donating ova, the Chosun Ilbo reported.

Although compensating donors is not illegal under a 2005 bioethics law, the revelation will likely add fuel to ethical concerns over the donation for Hwang's project that led to a public rift with a U.S. collaborator.

Full story.

Neurognostics Recognized for the “Minnies” Award

Neurognostics Recognized for the “Minnies” Award

Milwaukee, WI, November 21, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Wisconsin company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, was nominated for the 2005 edition of the Minnies,'s campaign to recognize excellence in radiology. is an Internet -based community for radiologists and related professionals in the medical imaging industry. The site provides a forum for academic and private practice radiologists, business managers, technologists and their industry counterparts to meet, collaborate and transact business.

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'Stem cell hub' cloning network project folding

'Stem cell hub' cloning network project folding
November 14, 2005

A global consortium designed to pursue a controversial type of stem cell research involving cloned embryos is collapsing amid ethical questions surrounding human egg donations in South Korea.

Pacific Fertility Center, an in-vitro fertilization clinic in San Francisco that was planning to be part of the consortium, says it is pulling out after the withdrawal Friday of the South Korea-based cloning network's primary U.S. organizer, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The collapse is a setback for advocates of creating "disease-specific" lines of stem cells, which involves insertion of DNA from patients into human eggs whose own DNA is first removed, a cloning technique known as "somatic cell nuclear transfer." Researchers say disease-specific cell lines can be powerful tools for studying the origins of genetic disease and finding new drugs to cure them.

Full story.

Plastic diode could lead to flexible, low power computer circuits, memory

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University researchers have invented a new organic polymer tunnel diode – an electronic component that could one day lead to plastic computer memory and plastic logic circuits on computer chips. Today, computer chips use mainly inorganic silicon.

The diode transmits electrical current at room temperature, and its design lends itself to easy, inexpensive manufacturing for smart cards and other memory devices, said Paul Berger, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of physics at Ohio State.

In tests, the team was able to fashion two diodes into a simple computer chip device called a logic switch, which was powered by the voltage equivalent to an ordinary watch battery.

Berger and his students describe their patent-pending invention in the current issue of the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters.

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Sperm stem cells closer to being like embryonic stem cells

DALLAS – Nov. 15, 2005 – New experiments that prevented rat sperm stem cells from changing permanently into sperm have brought researchers one step closer to coaxing such cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, capable of growing into many other types of cells in the body.
Researchers at the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center devised methods to keep male rat germ-line stem cells – sperm precursor cells – from differentiating, or changing, into sperm proper. The researchers also froze the sperm stem cells, thawed them, and transplanted them back into rat testes, where they developed into normal sperm.

Dr. David Garbers, professor of pharmacology, director of the Green Center and senior author of a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the new work has many potential applications, including a possible alternative to embryonic stem cells, the development of new male contraceptives and new animal models to test stem cell-based therapies. Germ-line cells are those such as egg and sperm and their precursors whose genetic material can be passed to offspring.

"The ability to manipulate male germ-line stem cells and get them to grow and self-renew is a major step," said Dr. Garbers, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UT Southwestern.

"We're only one step removed from another major step, the Holy Grail for us certainly, which is pushing these cells back a level to a state that is pluripotent-like, similar to embryonic stem cells. That's what we're focused on now."

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