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Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Injected into Skeletal Muscle Can Repair Heart Tissue

Release Date: May 28, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo researchers have demonstrated for the first time that injecting adult bone marrow stem cells into skeletal muscle can repair cardiac tissue, reversing heart failure.

Using an animal model, the researchers showed that this non-invasive procedure increased myocytes, or heart cells, by two-fold and reduced cardiac tissue injury by 60 percent.

The therapy also improved function of the left ventricle, the primary pumping chamber of the heart, by 40 percent and reduced fibrosis, the hardening of the heart lining that impairs its ability to contract, by up to 50 percent.

"This work demonstrates a novel non-invasive mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapeutic regimen for heart failure based on an intramuscular delivery route," said Techung Lee, Ph.D., UB associate professor of biochemistry and senior author on the paper.

Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the bone marrow and can differentiate into a variety of cell types.

Full story.

Creation of 'GM' monkey heralds health revolution

Gene breakthrough offers hope of treatments for 'incurable' Parkinson's disease and MS

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Scientists yesterday announced a breakthrough that could transform research into a range of incurable diseases but spark a dramatic increase in the number of monkeys used in experiments. Researchers have developed a technique to create genetically modified monkeys that suffer from human illnesses.

Experimenting on these monkeys, they believe, will advance our understanding and treatment of incurable conditions such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. However, the scientific breakthrough has caused consternation among groups opposed to animal experiments because the development will almost certainly lead to a sudden increase in the number of primates used in medical research at a time when there are calls for fewer monkeys to be used in experiments.

The development also raises the prospect that we will be able to apply the technique to humans – another primate. This could help families affected by inherited disorders such Huntington's disease and cystic fibrosis by permenantly eradicating their defective genes from future generations.

Full story.

Evidence of macroscopic quantum tunneling detected in nanowires


Phil Ciciora, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A team of researchers at the University of Illinois has demonstrated that, counter to classical Newtonian mechanics, an entire collection of superconducting electrons in an ultrathin superconducting wire is able to “tunnel” as a pack from a state with a higher electrical current to one with a notably lower current, providing more evidence of the phenomenon of macroscopic quantum tunneling.

Physics professors Alexey Bezryadin and Paul Goldbart led the team, with graduate student Mitrabhanu Sahu performing the bulk of the measurements. Their research was published on the Web site of the journal Nature Physics on May 17.

Quantum tunneling is the capability of a particle to inhabit regions of space that would normally be off-limits according to classical mechanics. This research observes a process called a quantum phase slip, whereby packs of roughly 100,000 electrons tunnel together from higher electrical current states to lower ones. The energy locked in the motion of the electrons as they phase slip is dissipated as heat, causing the nanowires to switch from a superconducting state to a more highly resistive one.

It’s through this switching of states that allows the tunneling of the phase slip to be observed, the researchers say.

Full story.

Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi

<p>Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi</p>

A group of researchers from the LGC Chemical Metrology Laboratory in the United Kingdom and the University of Oviedo, Spain, have come up with a method to detect how the proportions of isotopes in a chemical element (atoms with an equal number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons) vary throughout the length of a single hair. The mid-term objective is to be able to use these methods to track the geographical movements of people, including international crime suspects and victims.

In order to carry out this study, which is published this month in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, the scientists focused on the most abundant sulphur isotopes in hair keratin – sulphur-32 (32S), which accounts for about 95%, and sulphur-34 (34S), which makes up around 4%. This proportion can change slightly in response to people's diets and if they travel from one country to another, and the technique is able to detect these small variations.

"The new method is based on combining a laser ablation system and multicollector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (abbreviated to LA-MC-ICP-MS)", Rebeca Santamaría-Fernández of LGC, lead author of the study, tells SINC. To summarise, the laser makes contact with the selected fraction of the hair, generating an aerosol, which later ionises within plasma, with the spectrometer providing the exact proportions of the sulphur isotopes.

"The advantage of this method compared with others is the high resolution resulting from use of the laser", points out Santamaría-Fernández. This advance has enabled the scientists to confirm that the sulphur variations in hair can be linked to peoples' geographical movements.

The traveller experiment

The researchers collected hair samples of more than 4cm in length donated by three volunteers. Two were permanent residents in the United Kingdom, while the third – dubbed "the traveller" – had spent the past six months in Croatia, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Continue reading "Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi" »

Kern foundation awards $10 million to Medical College

By Kathleen Gallagher and Erica Perez of the Journal Sentinel

Philanthropists Robert and Patricia Kern have pledged $10 million to the Medical College of Wisconsin - the largest, single private gift in the college's history - to develop devices for detecting and treating disease.

The Kerns' personal gift will go to hire researchers and purchase mass spectrometers - sensitive equipment used to find very low concentrations of molecules that might reveal the presence of cancer, heart diseases or other problems.

The new innovation cluster, to be housed in the college's Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center, will capitalize on partnerships with Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and in the future, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"It's a wonderful gift," said Medical College President and CEO T. Michael Bolger. "It will help propel the medical school into the next echelon of research in molecular biology and cellular biology and genetics."

The innovation cluster will develop new technologies using mass spectrometry that can be transferred into commercial use, said Andrew S. Greene, a physiology professor who runs the biotech and bioengineering center.

Full story.

California couple gives $5 million to Marquette University engineering school

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

A California couple has pledged $5 million to Marquette University's engineering school to endow a chair in secure and renewable energy systems.

The faculty member who holds the Thomas H. and Suzanne M. Werner Chair in Secure and Renewable Energy Systems will lead a multidisciplinary research cluster of four to six faculty members and develop a cutting-edge curriculum, Stan Jaskolski, Marquette's Opus dean of engineering, said in a news release.

Thomas Werner said his vision for the program is that it "trains new technologists in a new field and primes the pump for America to be the innovator in renewable energy."

Full story.

Pfizer signs embryonic stem cell license with UW foundation

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: May. 5, 2009

Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday that it has signed a license with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to use human embryonic stem cells for the development of new drug therapies. With annual revenue of more than $48 billion,

Pfizer is the biggest of the 35 companies to sign an embryonic stem cell license with the foundation, said Andy DeTienne, WARF's licensing manager for stem cells. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Full story.