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November 2005
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January 2006

Stem Cell Advance Is Fully Refuted

Stem Cell Advance Is Fully Refuted
Investigator Says Korean's Colonies Do Not Exist

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 30, 2005; Page A01

The scandal surrounding disgraced South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk deepened yesterday as an investigator told reporters in Seoul that none of the 11 tailor-made cell colonies Hwang claimed to have created earlier this year actually exist.

Korean news outlets also reported that the ongoing probe into one of the biggest scientific frauds in memory had broadened to embrace allegations that government officials -- concerned about the shame such revelations could bring upon their country -- may have attempted to bribe scientists who were considered potential whistle-blowers.

Full story.


Research in cloning declared a fabrication

By Choe Sang-Hun and Elisabeth Rosenthal International Herald Tribune

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2005

SEOUL

A landmark scientific paper on cloning that shot a South Korean scientist, Hwang Woo Suk, to international stardom was an "intentional fabrication" orchestrated by Hwang, a university panel charged Friday. Hwang resigned from the university and apologized for his actions.

Offering the first specific details of the most sensational case of scientific fraud in recent years, the Seoul National University panel not only pledged to impose an unspecified heavy punishment on Hwang - until recently hailed as a national hero in South Korea - but also announced it was investigating his other high-profile achievements for veracity.

Full story.


Software makes MRI more useful

A new way to look at the brain
Software makes MRI more useful
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 23, 2005

Many doctors want to use the groundbreaking information a new generation of imaging machines is producing but don't know how.

A 1-year-old spinoff from the Medical College of Wisconsin aims to show them the way.

Kyron Clinical Imaging Inc., founded by three Medical College radiology professors, has a part-time employee and no product yet.

But the Wauwatosa company received Food & Drug Administration clearance this week to market its BrainViewRx Viewer; has four patents with three more pending; and is operating in one of the hottest areas in medical research.

Full story.


Clinical Trial to Test Stem Cell Approach for Children with Brain Injury

HOUSTON—(Dec. 20, 2005)—A unique clinical trial will gauge the safety and potential of treating children suffering traumatic brain injury with stem cells derived from their own bone marrow starting early next year at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital.

The clinical trial is the first to apply stem cells to treat traumatic brain injury. It does not involve embryonic stem cells.

Full story.


$15.9 million awarded for patent infringement

Judge triples damages in Third Wave case
$15.9 million awarded for patent infringement
By PAUL GORES
pgores@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 19, 2005

A federal judge has awarded Third Wave Technologies Inc. nearly $15.9 million in damages - triple the amount set by a jury in September - in a patent infringement case, the company said Monday.

In awarding the higher damages, U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb said Stratagene Corp. of La Jolla, Calif., was guilty of "willful and knowing infringement" of patents belonging to Third Wave and also was "untruthful" and "evasive" about questions posed during the court case.

Full story.


Patent office launching massive telework program

Patent office launching massive telework program
By Daniel Pulliam
dpulliam@govexec.com

The Patent and Trademark Office is launching a program aimed at moving hundreds of employees working under the commissioner of patents out of their offices and into a work-from-home arrangement.

The move is intended to free up office space required to accommodate a significant increase in the patent division's workforce. The workforce is projected to grow by about a thousand a year through fiscal 2008, as the division brings on more people to help reduce its backlog of patent applications.

In fiscal 2005, the agency received a record number of patent applications, according to its performance and accountability report.

Agency officials say they believe that flexible telework arrangements will make the capital region more attractive to recent college graduates, who might otherwise be deterred by high housing prices in the Washington, D.C. area. The prices force many employees to live as far from the agency's Alexandria, Va., headquarters as Leesburg, Va., and to make 60- to 90-minute commutes.

Full story.


Engineered stem cells show promise for sneaking drugs into the brain

Engineered stem cells show promise for sneaking drugs into the brain

December 15, 2005

by Terry Devitt

One of the great challenges for treating Parkinson's diseases and other neurodegenerative disorders is getting medicine to the right place in the brain.

The brain is a complex organ with many different types of cells and structures, and it is fortified with a protective barrier erected by blood vessels and glial cells - the brain's structural building blocks - that effectively blocks the delivery of most drugs from the bloodstream.

But now scientists have found a new way to sneak drugs past the blood-brain barrier by engineering and implanting progenitor brain cells derived from stem cells to produce and deliver a critical growth factor that has already shown clinical promise for treating Parkinson's disease.

Writing today in the journal Gene Therapy, UW-Madison neuroscientist Clive Svendsen and his colleagues describe experiments that demonstrate that engineered human brain progenitor cells, transplanted into the brains of rats and monkeys, can effectively integrate into the brain and deliver medicine where it is needed.

Full story.


Key parts of S.Korea stem cell study faked: co-author

By Cheon Jong-woo
SEOUL (Reuters) - Key parts of a landmark paper from South Korea's most renowned stem cell scientist were fabricated and the researcher is seeking to have the work withdrawn, a close collaborator told South Korean media on Thursday.

The daily newspaper Hankyoreh and three South Korean television networks quoted Roh Sung-il as saying that he, stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk and another co-author of the landmark 2005 Science paper on tailor-made stem cells had notified the journal they were withdrawing the paper.

"Professor Hwang admitted to fabrication," Roh said on MBC television. Roh, a hospital administrator and specialist in fertility studies, was referring to a meeting he said he had with Hwang earlier in the day.

Full story.


Animals receive human cells

Animals receive human cells
Study is promising, but 'chimeras' pose ethical questions
By JOHN FAUBER and SUSANNE RUST
jfauber@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 14, 2005

Human stem cells genetically engineered to produce a substance that might protect the brains of Parkinson's patients were successfully transplanted into the brains of monkeys and rats by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists, a feat that represents a crucial step in developing a promising treatment for the disease.

The transplanted cells appeared to do what they were designed to do: They migrated to a target location in the brain, pumped out the substance and helped the animals' brain cells survive and sprout new fibers.

However, as often is the case with stem cell research, the experiment also migrated into the murky world of biomedical ethics.

By transplanting human cells into animals, the researchers created chimeras, creatures that contain cells of two species.

Full story.


S. Korean's Cloning Research Challenged

By PAUL ELIAS
AP Biotechnology Writer
Dec 13 9:03 PM US/Eastern

SAN FRANCISCO - Some of stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk's high-profile human cloning work announced earlier this year may have been "fabricated," a former top collaborator charged as he attempted to distance himself from the groundbreaking research. University of Pittsburgh researcher Gerald Schatten has demanded that the journal Science remove him as the senior author of a report it published in June to international acclaim that detailed how individual stem cell colonies were created for 11 patients through cloning.

"My careful re-evaluations of published figures and tables, along with new problematic information, now casts substantial doubts about the paper's accuracy," Schatten wrote in a letter to Science released late Tuesday by the university. "Over the weekend, I received allegations from someone involved with the experiments that certain elements of the report may be fabricated."

Full story.