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Tiny flies could lead to understanding potential for non-embryonic stem cells

Tiny flies could lead to understanding potential for non-embryonic stem cells
CONTACT: Vince Stricherz vinces@u.washington.edu 206-543-2580

It has long been thought that cells that regenerate tissue do so by regressing to a developmentally younger state. Now two University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that cells can regenerate without becoming "younger."
Biologists for years have studied stem cells, the ones responsible for replenishing and regenerating an organism's structures, aiming to find the means to selectively regenerate tissue such as that of the heart or liver in much the same way that the body heals a broken leg.

Much hope rests with non-embryonic stem cells, which can renew themselves and, within limits, produce all the specialized cell types from the type of tissue in which they originate. But scientists have puzzled over just how such cells function, how they can be spurred to create new tissue, and just when in their development it is determined what tissue they can produce.

Gerold Schubiger, a UW biology professor, and Anne Sustar, a research technician in his laboratory, used groups of cells, called imaginal discs, in fruit fly larvae to provide an easily controlled system to study regeneration. Imaginal discs convert genetic information that determines the specific tissue into which the cells will develop in the adult fly. For example, leg discs form only adult legs and wing discs form only adult wings. Normally, all of those cells develop into that specific tissue, either when the fly reaches the adult stage or when regenerating a lost structure, such as parts of a leg disc.

Full story.

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WI Follows MI in Internet Cigarette Tax Crackdown

Doyle targets cigarette sales over the Internet
By STEVEN WALTERS
swalters@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 27, 2005
Madison - Gov. Jim Doyle wants to crack down on Internet sellers of cigarettes, which Wisconsin officials say are not paying the 77-cent state tax on a pack of cigarettes and may be illegally selling to minors.

Lobbyists for grocers and convenience stores say they've been pushing for years for some type of state crackdown on Internet sellers who undercut their tobacco prices and mail directly to Wisconsin smokers. They said they are pleased that Doyle included changes in state law as part of his 2005-'07 budget.

"There are hundreds - probably over 1,000 - Internet sites that compete with lawful bricks-and-mortar retailers," said Bob Bartlett, president of the Wisconsin Association of Convenience Stores.

"Many of these out-of-state Internet sites charge no state excise taxes or have no quality age verification to prevent underage sales," he said.

"On behalf of over 2,500 retailers, we support putting a stop to this tax evasion."

Full story.

Earlier story on Michigan's Crackdown.

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For GE, image is everything

For GE, image is everything
GE Healthcare's interventional cardiology division has had double-digit growth in orders since 2004
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 27, 2005

When Laura King took over half of GE Healthcare's fastest-growing business a year ago, she made sweeping changes.

King, one of the highest-ranking women at the company, modified the way its interventional cardiology division sells to and communicates with customers, including doctors and others using its equipment.

She put more emphasis on GE Healthcare remotely monitoring more than 3,000 of these systems, which are used for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease. The equipment is repaired remotely whenever possible, she said.

Customers say King has made a difference.

Full story.

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Seminar uses humanities to teach students to think about non-technical side of medicine

Rounding out new doctors' training
Seminar uses humanities to teach students to think about non-technical side of medicine
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Last Updated: Feb. 26, 2005

As Ludwig von Beethoven's doctor, you have the power to cure his deafness, but your cure will almost certainly end his career.

Do you cure him?

That's one of the questions five would-be doctors grappled with this month at a Medical College of Wisconsin seminar exploring the relationship between medicine and the humanities.

Full story.

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WHO members urged to sign Kyoto-style medical treaty

WHO members urged to sign Kyoto-style medical treaty
By Andrew Jack in London
Published: February 25 2005 02:00 | Last updated: February 25 2005 02:00

Countries around the world should sign up to a Kyoto-style treaty designed to boost medical innovation and affordable treatment, according to a petition submitted yesterday to the World Health Organisation by non-governmental organisations, academics and politicians.

Member states should pledge to invest a percentage of their gross domestic product in medical innovation, and would be allowed to trade "credits" with others through a mechanism similar to that in the Kyoto protocol designed to reduce environmental emissions.

They should also consider redirecting funding away from a traditional model based on intellectual property protection, and encourage the use of open sourcing to stimulate the sharing of information among medical researchers.

The letter, which draws on a draft medical research and development treaty drawn up over the past two years, is part of a broader debate on how to boost innovative research and development at a time when the "pipelines" of new medicines of the large pharmaceutical groups have been drying up.

It is also designed to address concerns that the current system does not have the incentives to encourage research into finding treatments for many "neglected diseases" in the developing world, which affect millions of people with only modest means to pay for medicines.

Full story.

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BTCI's Fourth Annual International Bioethics Forum to Focus on Biotechnology and the Brain

Fourth Annual International Bioethics Forum
Biotechnology and the Brain: From Therapy to Enhancement
April 21-22, 2005; BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison, WI

Focusing on the interface between neuroscience, molecular biology, medical applications and ethics, keynote presentations and concurrent sessions are designed to facilitate participants’ understanding of:
•Current scientific research related to neurological disorders
• Ethical issues related to this research and its potential applications
• The diversity of viewpoints regarding these issues
• The complexities involved in both the scientific and ethical dimensions of these topics

Link for more information.

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WI Higher Education Consortium Formed to Attract "Classified and Sensitive" Federal Research Dollars

State covets classified research
Higher education consortium formed to draw federal money
By NAHAL TOOSI
ntoosi@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 24, 2005

Several of Wisconsin's institutions of higher education have agreed to organize a consortium designed to attract classified and sensitive federal research funds to the state.

The Wisconsin Technology Council will be the administrative headquarters of the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, according to a memorandum of agreement. Representatives of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Marshfield Clinic have signed the agreement.

The idea of such a consortium has been talked about on and off for the last year, said Tom Still, the technology council's president, who also signed the memorandum. The council, based in Madison, is a private non-profit created by the state Legislature to act as a science and technology policy adviser to the governor and lawmakers.

A major job of the council in the consortium would be to connect university experts with Wisconsin companies that receive federal funds stipulating some sensitive or classified work. Policy-makers and others have long complained that the state does not attract nearly enough federal money.

There are no plans for the consortium to build specialized research facilities; if anything, it would be a "virtual" consortium, Still said.

Full story.

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Lawsuits Filed to Stop CA's $3 Billion Stem Cell Institute

Lawsuits Filed to Invalidate California's $3 Billion Stem Cell Institute
By Paul Elias February 24, 2005

AP Biotechnology Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Conservative public interest groups with ties to Christian organizations filed lawsuits Tuesday seeking to invalidate the $3 billion stem cell research institution approved by California voters in November.

One lawsuit alleges the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine violates state law because it's not governed exclusively by the state government, and the committee that controls the research money it will dole out isn't publicly elected.

The institute was created by California voters when they approved a $3 billion bond to fund stem cell research over the next decade. Proposition 71 was passed by 59 percent of voters.

The suit was filed by the People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation. A separate suit was filed by a newly created nonprofit called Californians for Public Accountability and Ethical Science.

Full story.

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Pfizer to buy Idun Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer to Buy Idun Pharmaceuticals
02.24.2005, 10:42 AM

Pfizer Inc. reported Thursday that it agreed to buy privately held biopharmaceutical company Idun Pharmaceuticals Inc. for its caspase inhibitor technology, which is designed to help control cell death, and its patent portfolio.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Pfizer said it expects the transaction to close during the second quarter.

Caspases are a group of cellular proteases, or enzymes that cause the decomposition of protein, that are involved with inflammation and apoptosis, or cell death. The San Diego-based company's lead caspase inhibitor, IDN-6556, is in mid-stage clinical trials for use in liver transplant patients and patients infected with hepatitis C. Pfizer said the treatment is well tolerated and significantly improves markers of liver damage.

Full story.

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Open-source heads called for Oasis standard boycott

Open-source heads called for Oasis standard boycott
Tensions over patents and royalties continue throughout industry.

By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

Open-source leaders have called for a boycott of standards from the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), in response to a new OASIS policy on the use of patents in its standards.

In an open letter, more than two dozen prominent figures, including Tim O'Reilly, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Lawrence Rosen, Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig and Stuart Cohen, said the patent licensing terms allowed by OASIS' policy "invariably and unreasonably discriminate against open source and free software to the point of prohibiting them entirely". The policy will "lead to the adoption of standards that cannot be implemented in open source and free software, that cannot be distributed under our licenses", the letter stated.

OASIS' revised policy, set to take effect on 15 April, allows standards to include patented technology if the technology is available for license under "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND) terms. However, RAND terms effectively exclude open-source software, which by its nature must be free to distribute with no strings attached.

Full story.

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Wingra Tech Become Part of Quest

Wingra Tech sold - again
Becomes part of Quest
By Lynn Welch
February 24, 2005

Wingra Technologies has again changed hands.

The Madison company recently became a division of Irvine, Calif.-based Quest Software Inc., a public company with about 2,250 employees and offices around the world.

If this story sounds familiar, it should.

It's the second time in recent years the local company has been acquired by a West Coast technology firm. Commtouch Software bought Wingra in late 2000. Company president Jan Eddy bought the local firm back in early 2002.

Full story.

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Research kindles hope for strokes

Drug helps cases with few treatment options
By JOHN FAUBER
jfauber@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 23, 2005

In what could become the first major breakthrough in the treatment of the most deadly and disabling form of stroke, doctors reported today that a hemophilia drug substantially reduced death, disability and bleeding in the brains of patients.

"I never dreamed we would see results this powerful," said lead author Stephan Mayer. "This literally looks like it might be a magic bullet if you get it in soon enough."

The findings, reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine, have created excitement among stroke specialists and raised the hope of a significant new therapy for intracerebral stroke, a condition that has few treatment options.

Stroke doctors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Medical College of Wisconsin say they hope to get into an upcoming phase 3 trial, which will be needed for Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug for so-called bleeding strokes. And, based on the findings, they now may begin using the drug on a limited basis.

Full story.

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Third Wave reports record revenues

Third Wave reports record revenues
00:00 am 2/24/05

Gov. Jim Doyle was at Third Wave Technologies in September 2003 when he announced his economic growth plan. The Madison biotech company reported what it called its best results yet Wednesday on increasing sales of its test kits.

Calling it the "best results in the company's history," Third Wave Technologies on Wednesday reported revenues of $46.5 million in calendar year 2004 with a net loss of $1.9 million, or 5 cents a diluted share.

It was an improvement from the Madison biotechnology company's $36.3 million in revenue and net loss of $8.1 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, for 2003.

Sales of Third Wave's test kits, used to screen for health problems including cystic fibrosis and hepatitis C, totaled $14.9 million last year, up 59 percent from the previous year. Third Wave officials have said those test kits, part of the growing field of personalized medicine, will be the company's top priority. And at least one analyst applauded the progress.

"In our view, Third Wave Technologies is becoming a more focused molecular diagnostics story with significant growth opportunities from current and future products and geographies," wrote analyst Adam Chazan of Pacific Growth Equities in San Francisco in a research note Wednesday.

Full story.

A different spin on the same information.

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Wireless patent suit still murky

Wireless patent suit still murky
By Kevin Maney, USA TODAY

Research In Motion (RIMM), maker of the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, got mixed news in court Tuesday — and a worst-case scenario that would stop BlackBerry sales in the USA.

In a drawn-out patent fight between RIM and a tiny Virginia company called NTP, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a U.S. District Court ruling that RIM infringed on 11 NTP patents.

That could lead to an injunction that would bar Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM from selling BlackBerrys in the USA. That would happen, though, only after further court proceedings and only if RIM and NTP can't reach an agreement for RIM to pay NTP licensing fees.

Some of the news, though, was good for RIM. The Court of Appeals vacated a previous injunction and other rulings imposed by the District Court. So while RIM is guilty of violating NTP's patents, NTP will have to go back to court to make RIM pay damages and licensing fees — or to stop RIM from selling BlackBerrys.

That buys RIM time to continue doing business, analysts say.

Full story.

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Protein promoting stem cell survival might be key to poor leukemia prognosis

Protein promoting stem cell survival might be key to poor leukemia prognosis
Memphis, Tennessee, February 23, 2005
The complex and life-sustaining series of steps by which hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) give rise to all of the body’s red and white blood cells and platelets has now been discovered to depend in large part on a single protein called Mcl-1. This finding, from an investigator at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, is published in the February 18 issue of Science.

Mcl-1 blocks the biochemical cascade of reactions that trigger apoptosis (cell suicide) of HSCs, according to Joseph Opferman, Ph.D., assistant member of St. Jude Biochemistry. Expression of Mcl-1 thus ensures that HSCs continue to thrive and multiply so they can complete the task of making huge numbers of blood cells. This process is extremely important during the initial development of the blood system before birth. Expression of Mc1-1 is also crucial for maintaining blood cells throughout life as red and white cells and platelets die and must be replaced. HSCs are also needed to rebuild the blood system of patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer. Opferman completed work on this project while a member of Stanley Korsmeyer’s laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston).

Mcl-1 belongs to the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Some of these family members promote apoptosis, while others prevent it.

Full story.

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Wisconsin Getting a C for Economic Climate

Burke preaches gospel of high-tech
00:00 am 2/23/05
Anita Clark Wisconsin State Journal

Wisconsin's new secretary of commerce called Tuesday for growth in high-tech businesses to lead the state into a better economic future.

"We need to benchmark ourselves against what other states are doing," Mary Burke told about 90 people at a luncheon meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network at the Sheraton Madison Hotel.

Before talking about goals for the state's entrepreneurial economy, she reviewed a 2003 report card that was painfully familiar to her audience. The ranking from the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington, D.C., gave Wisconsin a C for its economic climate, a grade many think reflected lackluster entrepreneurial activity.

Full story.

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Forgent settles another patent infringement case

Forgent settles another patent infringement case
Forgent Networks Inc. has settled with Audiovox Electronics Corp. over Forgent's patent infringement suit regarding its JPEG-related patent.


Audiovox is the third among the original 44 clients in Forgent's lawsuit that have agreed to a settlement. Terms of the agreement were not released.

Austin-based Forgent develops and licenses intellectual property and provides scheduling software.

Forgent and its subsidiary, Compression Labs, had sued 44 companies for allegedly infringing on the JPEG-related patent, which has garnered about $100 million for Forgent during the past three years.

So far, three companies entered into license or settlement agreements with Forgent, and have been dismissed from the pending infringement case.

Full story.

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Merck KGaA v. Integra

Briefs are starting to roll in for the U.S. Supreme Court case of Merk KGaA v. Inegra. It is hoped that the Justices will resolve confusion regarding the research safe harbor or experimental use exception in patent law. The oral arguments are expected toward the end of the session.

Link to Patently Obvious

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Case of brain-damaged woman remains in legal stalemate after two court rulings

Case of brain-damaged woman remains in legal stalemate after two court rulings

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - The case of a severely brain-damaged woman remained locked in a legal stalemate Tuesday after an appeals court cleared the way for her husband to remove her feeding tube only to see a judge promptly block the removal for at least another day.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal offered no specific instructions in a one-page mandate issued in the case of Terri Schiavo, who was left brain damaged 15 years ago. That meant her husband, Michael Schiavo, could order his wife's tube be removed.

But Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer later issued an emergency stay blocking removal of the feeding tube until 5 p.m. EST Wednesday. Greer, who has been overseeing the long-standing dispute, scheduled a hearing on the case for Wednesday.

Full story.

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UN panel aims to end Internet tug of war

UN panel aims to end Internet tug of war
ITU vs. ICANN for control of Web, proposing solutions

Updated: 9:35 a.m. ET Feb. 22, 2005

GENEVA - A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday.

The panel, set up in December 2003, will lay groundwork for a final decision to be taken in Tunis in November at a U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, where global control of the world wide web may be decided.

Right now, the most recognisable Internet governance body is a California-based non-profit company, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

But developing countries want an international body, such as the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to have control over governance -- from distributing Web site domains to fighting spam.

Full story.

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Supreme Court Will Consider Devices That Help Users Copy, Share and Steal

High-Tech Tension Over Illegal Uses
Supreme Court Will Consider Devices That Help Users Copy, Share and Steal

By Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page E01

In 2002, a young software programmer in Seattle named Bram Cohen solved a vexing Internet problem: how to get large computer files such as home movies or audio recordings of music concerts to travel rapidly across cyberspace.

Among the benefits of the invention, called BitTorrent, was that millions of users could quickly see lengthy amateur videos documenting the devastation of the December tsunami in the Indian Ocean, helping to spur an outpouring of charitable aid.

Full story.

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Real Software slams MS IsNot patent application

Real Software slams MS IsNot patent application
By Lucy Sherriff
Published Tuesday 22nd February 2005 11:00 GMT

Real Software, the maker of the Realbasic application development tool, has raised concerns over Microsoft's IsNot operator patent application, saying that no one should be able to patent fundamental programming operations.

The IsNot patent application was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in November 2004 by Paul Vick and Amanda Silver, both at Microsoft; and another developer, Costica Barsan. The application describes a single operator, dubbed IsNot, that compares two variables and determines if they point to the same location in memory. It mentions Realbasic among a small group of BASIC-like programming languages, including Microsoft's Visual Basic .Net.

Full story.

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Fed. Circuit Hears Argument on Role of Dictionaries in Claim Construction

Fed. Circuit Hears Argument on Role of Dictionaries in Claim Construction
By Deborah Nathan, Esq.
Patent Litigation Reporter

The Federal Circuit, sitting en banc Feb. 8, heard oral arguments to resolve certain issues concerning the construction of patent claims and the use of dictionaries in interpreting claim terms.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit asked the parties to brief several issues, including whether dictionaries or the patent specification should be the primary source for claim construction, or whether both should be used and, if so, in what order.

Full story.

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WI to Pursue Identity Theft Legislation

Wisconsin State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) announced today(2/21/05) that he intends to introduce legislation to require companies that do business with Wisconsin residents to inform consumers if their personal information has been acquired by an unauthorized source.

PDF of the Press Release

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Rayovac CEO to Talk about New Logo in Live Audio Webcast

ATLANTA, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Rayovac Corporation (NYSE: ROV)

- David A. Jones, Rayovac Chairman and CEO, will address the Consumer Analyst
Group of New York (CAGNY) conference on Wednesday, February 23.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050215/CGTU028LOGO )

Rayovac will provide a live audio webcast of Mr. Jones' presentation
beginning at approximately 5:45 p.m. EST. Interested listeners may access the
webcast via the Rayovac internet site at http://www.rayovaccorp.com . For
those unable to participate during the live webcast, the presentation will
also be archived for two weeks.

Press release.

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Novartis Buys Drugmakers Hexal and Eon

Update 2: Novartis Buys Drugmakers Hexal and Eon
02.21.2005, 08:18 AM

Novartis AG announced Monday that it will buy generic drugmakers Eon Labs of the United States and Hexal AG of Germany for $8.3 billion, creating the world's largest generic drug company.

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant said it will buy all of Hexal and the two-thirds of Eon Labs that the German company owns for 5.65 billion euros (about $7.3 billion). In addition, Novartis expects to spend close to $1 billion to buy the remaining Eon Labs shares, which trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The acquisitions, to be integrated into the Novartis generics subsidiary Sandoz, will create the world's largest company specializing in generic versions of drugs that have lost patent protection.

Sandoz's 2004 annual sales including the other companies would be $5.1 billion, ahead of Israel's Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., which will hold the top spot until the deal closes in the second half of this year.

Full story.

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Wisconsin may reap stem cell royalties

Wisconsin may reap stem cell royalties
Foundation could tap into California spending
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Last Updated: Feb. 19, 2005

California may be the state ready to spend $3 billion on stem cell research, but Wisconsin is in line to get a piece of that action.

A Wisconsin foundation may be positioned to play a big role in, and perhaps even profit from, the huge cash infusion California is making in embryonic stem cell research.

Support for the research got a shot in the arm when California voters in November authorized their state to spend the money over the next 10 years. Scientists hope to find treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries and other conditions. So far, the research has yielded no treatments for humans

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, has two basic patents that broadly cover the preparation of embryonic stem cells, the basic material from which virtually all organs, cells and other body tissues are formed. If therapies are developed from the research, WARF could be due royalty payments.

Full story.

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Mobile phone virus found in United States

Mobile phone virus found in United States
By Spencer Swartz

Updated: 8:18 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - The world's first mobile phone virus "in the wild" has spread to the United States from its birthplace in the Philippines eight months ago, a security research firm said on Friday.

The virus, called Cabir, has spread slowly into 12 countries and marks the beginning of the mobile phone virus era, which could one day disrupt the lives of many of the world's 1.5 billion mobile phone users.

The biggest impact of the relatively innocuous virus, found in about 15 variations so far, is draining mobile phone batteries, said Mikko Hypponen, director of Finnish anti-virus research company F-Secure.

Hypponen said Cabir was found on Monday in a technology gadgets store in Santa Monica, California, when a passing techie spotted a telltale sign on the screen of a phone in the store.

"It's interesting (the Cabir variant) has now been found in the United States, but it's not the end of the world," said Hypponen.

The mobile-virus threat will grow in the future as virus-writers become more sophisticated and phones standardize on technologies that make it easier for viruses to spread across not just specific devices but the whole industry.

Full story.

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UN Panel OKs Calls For Human Cloning Ban

UN Panel OKs Calls For Human Cloning Ban
Stem Cell Researchers Say They Are Not Bound By Resolution

POSTED: 7:24 am EST February 19, 2005
UPDATED: 7:36 am EST February 19, 2005

UNITED NATIONS -- A bitterly divided U.N. committee approved a resolution calling on nations to ban all forms of human cloning incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.

Supporters of stem cell research said they will not be bound by the declaration, calling the language vague and expressing concern it could be interpreted to ban all forms of cloning, including stem cell research.

The 71-35 vote Friday reflected the divisions among the 191 U.N. member states. There were 43 abstentions, including many Islamic countries.

The resolution now goes to the U.N. General Assembly for a final vote. If approved, the resolution would only be a recommendation, not a legal requirement.

The United States called it a victory.

Full story.

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State bankers want to toughen fraud laws

State bankers want to toughen fraud laws
Rules need to keep up with technology of crimes
By PAUL GORES
pgores@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 18, 2005

Saying state laws need to keep up with tech-savvy criminals, Wisconsin bankers plan to push for tougher statutes concerning fraud and other crimes against financial institutions.

The Wisconsin Bankers Association said Friday it wants legislation that would modernize state law to deal with technology-related bank crimes and make it easier for police to pursue crooks who target banks and consumers.

"Crimes are evolving, criminals are becoming more savvy when it comes to technology," said Mike Semmann, director of government relations for the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Semmann said the bank legislation also is likely to call for harsher penalties for some crimes.

"We'd like to enhance the penalties so they are more of a deterrent," he said.


Full story.

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GE Healthcare to work with IHC on new medical software program

Joint software program aims to push forward U.S. adoption of electronic health records

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By KIRSTEN KOROSEC - GM Today Staff
February 19, 2005

WAUKESHA - GE Healthcare of Waukesha and Intermountain Health Care announced Thursday a collaboration to create a software program that would offer not only a patient's medical history but clinical guidelines for their treatment as well.
Once developed, the software program could help accelerate the adoption of electronic health records among health systems in the United States, GE officials said.

Full story.

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Tests confirm the Explosive Destruction System’s (EDS) ability to destroy biological agents

Tests confirm the Explosive Destruction System’s (EDS) ability to destroy biological agents

LIVERMORE, Calif. — From the beginning, researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories, the creators of the Army’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS), suspected the system could, in addition to snuffing out chemical warfare material, treat and destroy biohazards such as those containing anthrax. Such a system could give homeland security personnel a tool for safely neutralizing a dormant terrorist device, or it could be used by the military to remove a land mine or canister shell without having to set off an open-air explosion.

A just-released study at Sandia confirms EDS’s effectiveness against biological agents, bio-contaminated containers, and improvised biological devices. Sandia sponsored the study itself, spending $60K in Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funds over the past year to confirm the capability. The report, says Sandia researchers, augments the system’s already established capability to destroy explosively configured munitions containing chemical agents.

Full story.

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WIPO receives 1,179 cases of cybersquatting in 2004

WIPO receives 1,179 cases of cybersquatting in 2004

www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-19 04:20:09


GENEVA, Feb. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced Friday that it received 1.179 cases of abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, or cybersquatting, in 2004.

It is a 6.6 percent increase over the number received the previous year, WIPO said in a press release.

WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center has handled a total of over 7,000 disputes, involving parties from 124 countries and covering over 12,500 domain names since the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) -- a quick and cost effective dispute resolution procedure -- went into effect in December 1999.

The UDRP, which was proposed by WIPO and has become accepted asan international standard for resolving domain name disputes, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names.

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Another Patent Portfolio Goes Open Source

CA readies patent pledge
By Martin LaMonica, CNET News.com
Published on ZDNet News: February 18, 2005, 1:02 PM PT

Computer Associates plans to submit a portion of its patent portfolio to open-source developers, following moves by other technology companies delving into open source.

The Islandia, N.Y., company also intends to use its patents to defend against legal action directed at open-source products, according to a company representative. The timing of the patent donation and the terms governing use are still being worked out, the representative said.

CA's decision to make its patents available to others comes on the heels of similar moves by IBM and Sun Microsystems. IBM in January made 500 patents accessible to open-source developers, while Sun released patents related to the open-source Solaris operating system.

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Michigan Bills Smokers Who Avoided Sales Tax Via Internet

State nails smokers who didn't pay taxes

Bills are sent for cigarettes bought online; at least $1.7 million owed

February 18, 2005

BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF and TAMARA AUDI
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Smokers who have bought cigarettes online are starting to get notices from the state to pay up the $2-per-pack cigarette tax they avoided.

A Canton woman who got a state bill last weekend for $2,500 in back cigarette taxes is among the bulk cigarette buyers learning that avoiding taxes -- the state can go back up to four years -- can be expensive in the long run.

The state's lost tax dollars were estimated at $1.7 million from just one of 13 online cigarette retailers.

In a bold push to catch tax scofflaws, the state Treasury Department has subpoenaed the online retailers in other states to get the names, addresses and purchase records of Michiganders who bought cigarettes from them. In virtually all cases, such sales do not include the cigarette tax that must be paid to the state, regardless of who the seller is or how much is purchased.

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Mechanical Tension Helps Shape Lung Development

Organ development in the embryo requires precise coordination and timing of cell growth in three-dimensional space to produce the correct anatomic form and shape. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, led by Dr. Donald Ingber, a senior researcher in the Vascular Biology Program, have demonstrated that the process of budding and branching in the developing lung is driven by mechanical forces generated within individual cells. They have also identified a possible biochemical target for intervention. These insights could lead to new ways to prevent, minimize or even correct diseases and anomalies of the lungs, which are common in premature newborns.

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SCIENTISTS RID STEM CELL CULTURE OF KEY ANIMAL CELLS

MADISON - Tackling a pressing and controversial technical barrier in stem cell biology, scientists at the WiCell Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have crafted a recipe that allows researchers to grow human embryonic stem cells in the absence of mouse-derived "feeder" cells, long thought to be a source of potential contamination for the therapeutically promising cells.

The new findings, which appear today (Feb. 17) in the journal Nature Methods, come on the heels of a recent University of California study showing that existing stem cell lines are already contaminated with an animal molecule. The potential threat of animal pathogens tainting human stem cell lines poses a problem for the safe clinical use of many, if not all, of the current cell lines now in use.

Until now, scientists have had to grow and sustain stem cells through the tedious daily task of generating mouse feeder cells from mouse embryos. Feeder cells, or fibroblasts, are connective tissue cells that form the matrix upon which stem cells grow.

The mouse feeder cells were an important ingredient in the mix of culture materials required to keep stem cells in their undifferentiated "blank slate" state. Embryonic stem cells are capable of forming any of the 220 tissues and cells in the human body and, in culture, are constantly trying to migrate down different developmental pathways. Maintaining stock cultures in their undifferentiated state is critical.

The feeder cell dogma now can be overturned, says lead investigator Ren-He Xu, a senior scientist at WiCell, a private, nonprofit research institute. "This work completely gets rid of the need for feeder cells," says Xu. "It also significantly reduces the daily labor of preparing the feeder cell-conditioned medium."

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ID Data Conned From Firm

ID Data Conned From Firm
ChoicePoint Case Points to Huge Fraud

By Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page E01

One of the nation's biggest information services has begun warning more than 100,000 people across the country they may be targets of fraud, following disclosures the company inadvertently sold personal and financial records to fraud artists apparently involved in a massive identity theft scheme.

ChoicePoint Inc. electronically delivered thousands of reports containing names, addresses, Social Security numbers, financial information and other details to people in the Los Angeles area posing as officials in legitimate debt collection, insurance and check-cashing businesses.

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Rayovac stock hits record on higher earnings forecast

Rayovac stock hits record on higher earnings forecast

Staff/news services
February 16, 2005

Rayovac Corp. stock hit a new record Tuesday after the company raised its earnings forecast with the acquisition of United Industries Corp.

Rayovac, which also announced Tuesday that it was changing its name to Spectrum Brands to reflect a series of acquisitions that have broadened its product line, raised its 2005 earnings forecast to $2.35 to $2.45 per share, up from the previous forecast of $2.15-$2.20.

Rayovac stock rose 12.7 percent Tuesday to a record close of $42.66 per share as 2.19 million shares traded - more than triple average daily volume. The stock reached a high of $42.89 during Tuesday's trading.

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Harold D. Gehrke, JD Joins Gehrke & Associates, S.C.

Gehrke & Associates, S.C. is pleased to announce that Harold D. Gehrke, JD has been named of counsel to the firm. His practice focuses on municipal law, including land use, zoning and development, as well as local government relations. He will be augmenting Gehrke & Associates, S.C. growing Wisconsin-based business practice.

“While our intellectual property focus tends to orient our law firm to federal and international law, many of our clients have communicated their need for legal assistance with local matters. This is especially true when they are starting their business or when they are expanding their business.” says Lisa M. Gehrke, JD, owner of Gehrke & Associates, S.C.. “As a small-business owner, I know that many times the actions of local government can have a significant impact on the bottom line of a business.”

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Embryonic Stem Cells Used to Treat Hemophilia B in Mice

Embryonic stem cells treated with growth factor
reverse hemophilia in mice: UNC researchers

By LESLIE H. LANG
UNC School of Medicine

CHAPEL HILL -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have made a discovery that may have implications for the treatment of liver-based genetic defects such as hemophilia A and B in humans.

Mouse embryonic stem cells treated in culture with a growth factor and then injected into the liver reverse a form of hemophilia in mice analogous to hemophilia B in humans, the new study shows. A report of the study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today (Feb. 15).

The genetically altered mice lack the clotting substance factor IX, which in humans results in the hereditary bleeding disorder known as hemophilia B. This disease, much less common than hemophilia A, affects roughly one of every 35,000 people, primarily males.

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UW's Carl de Boor Wins Top National Science Prize

UW-MADISON MATHEMATICIAN WINS TOP NATIONAL SCIENCE PRIZE

MADISON - Carl de Boor, a mathematician and computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has won the 2003 National Medal of Science, the most prestigious science award in the country.

Administered by the National Science Foundation, the National Medal of Science has since 1959 recognized pioneers in a range of scientific fields. A committee of scientists and engineers appointed by the president of the United States annually evaluates the award nominees.

A professor emeritus of computer sciences and mathematics in UW Madison's College of Letters and Science, de Boor will receive his medal at a White House ceremony on March 14.

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WARF TO RECEIVE NATIONAL MEDAL OF TECHNOLOGY

WARF TO RECEIVE NATIONAL MEDAL OF TECHNOLOGY

MADISON - The nonprofit patenting and licensing organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has learned it will receive the nation's highest honor for technological innovation.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) will be among the recipients of the 2003 National Medal of Technology, an annual award conferred by the president of the United States that recognizes significant and lasting contributions to the country's economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology.

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Internet Sales Tax Proposal Revived in Wisconsin

Internet sales tax idea back again
Online collections rejected last year
By AVRUM D. LANK
alank@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 14, 2005

A proposal to make it easier for Wisconsin to collect sales tax on mail-order and Internet transactions has resurfaced in Gov. Jim Doyle's proposed budget for the next biennium.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to put local merchants on an equal footing with so-called e-tailers, while opponents attack the measure as a stealth tax increase.

A similar proposal that Wisconsin join the Streamlined Sales Tax Project failed in the last session of the Legislature.

"It is a way to raise taxes without calling it a tax increase," said state Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield), who was instrumental in killing the proposal last time.

State Revenue Secretary Michael Morgan disagrees. While the proposal will result in more money flowing to the state, its primary purpose is "to ensure that retailers that sell books and records and other retail items on Main Street are not put at a competitive disadvantage because of the way we collect taxes on sales made over the Internet," he said.

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Rayovac May Change Name

A new name for Rayovac
Spectrum Brands chosen to reflect global reach
By Jeff Richgels
February 15, 2005

After a series of acquisitions that have reduced its namesake batteries to less than a quarter of its business, Rayovac Corp. announced that it wants to change its name to Spectrum Brands.

The Atlanta-based company, which has its North American headquarters in Madison, will need the approval of its shareholders to make the name change, with a vote scheduled at the company's annual meeting in late April. The company's various products would continue to be sold under their brand names.

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IceCube: Neutrino Telescope on the South Pole

FIRST CRITICAL PARTS OF GIANT NEUTRINO TELESCOPE IN PLACE

Ice_cube
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Illustration by: Dan Brennan.

MADISON - Working under harsh Antarctic conditions, an international team of scientists, engineers and technicians has set in place the first critical elements of a massive neutrino telescope at the South Pole.

The successful deployment - in a 1.5 mile-deep hole drilled into the Antarctic ice - of a string of 60 optical detectors designed to sample phantom-like high-energy particles from deep space represents a key first step in the construction of the $272 million telescope known as IceCube.

The telescope and its construction are being financed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which will provide $242 million. An additional $30 million in support will come from foreign partners.

"It's all on track," according to Francis Halzen, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of physics and the principal investigator for the project. "This was our first exam. We met our milestones for the season and we can move on to the next Antarctic summer."

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Spyware a Hot Topic at Security Conference

Spyware a Hot Topic at Security Conference

By Matthew Fordahl
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 15, 2005; 12:44 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Unwanted programs that spy on PC users, deliver pop-up ads and track Web surfing habits will be a hot topic at a security conference that's usually more focused on viruses, hackers and the encryption of sensitive information.

So-called spyware and adware have been around for years but have largely been viewed as more of an annoyance than a security threat. Such programs are often installed on PCs when users agree to a license for free software without reading it, though later versions take advantage of flaws in Web browsers and operating systems.

Recently the problem has developed into a major headache not only for home users whose PCs choke on a flurry of pop-up windows but also corporate computer users who run the risk of lost productivity and pilfered data from such programs.

Spyware and adware "have gone past the point of annoying to really becoming cost centers for corporations," said Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of Cisco Systems Inc.'s security technology group. "They are where viruses used to be five to 10 years ago."

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High Power Supercapacitors From Carbon Nanotubes

Ning Pan, a professor of textiles in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology (NEAT) center at UC Davis, postdoctoral researcher Chunsheng Du and Jeff Yeh of Mytitek Inc. of Davis prepared suspensions of carbon nanotubes -- tiny rolled-up cylinders of carbon just a few atoms across. They developed a method to deposit the nanotubes on nickel foil so that the nanotubes were aligned and packed closely together.

Conventional, or "Faraday" capacitors, store electrical charges between a series of interleaved conducting plates. Because of their small size, the nanotubes provide a huge surface area on which to store and release energy, Pan said.

The new devices can produce a power density of 30 kilowatts per kilogram (kW/kg), compared with 4 kW/kg for the most advanced devices currently available commercially, Pan said. Other researchers have described laboratory supercapacitors capable of up to 20 kW/kg, he said.

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Life of Organic LED Extended Using Carbon-60

Organic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are potentially attractive for applications because they are easy to process and can emit over the full visible spectrum. Light emission from organic materials relies on electrons and "holes" combining to form excited states called "excitons" that subsequently emit photons when they decay.

A typical LED contains a thin light-emitting layer sandwiched between layers that transport the holes and the electrons. One way of improving the performance of organic LEDs is to increase the mobility of the holes in the hole-transport layer by adding a dopant. This should lead to more holes combining with electrons in the device.

Jun Yeob Lee and Jang Hyuk Kwon at Samsung’s Corporate R&D Center in Yong-In City studied the effect of carbon-60 doping in phosphorescent devices that rely on an organic material called "TDAPB" as the hole-transport layer. Lee and Kwon varied the concentration of carbon-60 in the TDAPB from 0 to 3% while measuring the properties of the device with a spectrophotometer.

They found that the mobility of holes in devices doped with 3% carbon-60 was five times higher than that of pure TDAPB. The current density also increased by a factor of three, and there was a 30% increase in the luminance of the LED.

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