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February 2011
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June 2011

Stem-Cell Funding Ban Overturned


WASHINGTON—Federal money can continue to fund human embryonic stem-cell research, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, in a significant legal victory for the Obama administration.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, overturned a judge's preliminary injunction blocking government funding.

The appeals court said the National Institutes of Health reasonably concluded that government funding for embryonic stem-cell research is not prohibited by a 1996 law that bars the use of federal money for research in which an embryo is destroyed.

One of President Barack Obama's first acts on science policy after taking office was to take down barriers to stem-cell research set up by President George W. Bush in August 2001.

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Congress deals setback to patent office

By John Schmid of the Journal Sentinel

Congress has dealt a renewed blow to America's inventors and innovators by stripping another $100 million from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an agency incapacitated by two decades of raids on the fees it collects.

Legislators siphoned the funds as part of the emergency spending bill drafted hastily to avert a shutdown of the government this month. The stopgap measure, which President Barack Obama signed into law Friday, cuts federal spending by $38 billion and quietly offset a fraction of that amount by draining more than $100 million in fee income from the patent office.

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Researchers inject nanofiber spheres carrying cells into wounds to grow tissue

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—For the first time, scientists have made star-shaped, biodegradable polymers that can self-assemble into hollow, nanofiber spheres, and when the spheres are injected with cells into wounds, these spheres biodegrade, but the cells live on to form new tissue.

Developing this nanofiber sphere as a cell carrier that simulates the natural growing environment of the cell is a very significant advance in tissue repair, says Peter Ma, professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and lead author of a paper about the research scheduled for advanced online publication in Nature Materials. Co-authors are Xiaohua Liu and Xiaobing Jin.

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ProCertus BioPharm raises $1.7 million

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

ProCertus BioPharm has raised $1.7 million to fund clinical trials to determine whether its products can safely help cancer patients avoid side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

The funding round was led by Novartis Venture Fund and Venture Investors, both of which already were investors in the Madison company. A first-time investor, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, also joined in the financing.

ProCertus' products are applied to skin or the inside of the mouth minutes before cancer therapy to protect cells that will be exposed to chemotherapy and radiation.

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