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November 2005

Bone marrow stem cells may heal hearts even years after heart attacks

Bone marrow stem cells may heal hearts even years after heart attacks

Preliminary trial offers encouragement for definitive tests of cardiac regeneration technique

(BETHESDA, MD) – Left ventricular function and exercise capacity increased, while the area of heart muscle damage shrank, in 18 patients given infusions of their own bone marrow stem cells up to eight years after a heart attack, according to a new study in the Nov. 1, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This new therapy is able to treat until now irreversible heart complaints and function disturbances in patients with chronic coronary artery disease after myocardial infarction, even many years after heart attack. Therefore there is hope for this large amount of patients with previous myocardial infarction and non-treatable complaints," said Bodo E. Strauer, M.D. from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

By CHUCK BROWN
The Associated Press
Thursday, October 27, 2005; 7:16 AM

OMAHA, Neb. -- Small robots designed by University of Nebraska researchers may allow doctors on Earth to help perform surgery on patients in space.

The tiny, wheeled robots, which are about 3 inches tall and as wide as a lipstick case, can be slipped into small incisions and computer-controlled by surgeons in different locations.

"We think this is going to replace open surgery," Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov said at a Wednesday news conference. Oleynikov is a specialist in minimally invasive and computer-assisted surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Full story.

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Neurognostics Receives Special 510(k) Clearance to Enhance Its MindState™ fDAD™

Neurognostics Receives Special 510(k) Clearance to Enhance Its MindState™ fDAD™

Milwaukee, WI, October 26, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Wisconsin company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Special 510(k) approval for market clearance of MindState™ fDAD™. Originally, MindState™ fDAD™ received 510(k) clearance in February 2005 as an fMRI data acquisition device. The Special 510(k) allows Neurognostics to enhance fDAD™ by providing a library of stimulation paradigms, data collection protocols and image processing services, collectively known as MindState™ fDPD™, and marketing it for clinical use. With this clearance, the Company will be able to provide off-site fMRI data processing services to its customers.

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Study Sheds Light on Stem Cell, Cancer Signaling Mechanism

Study Sheds Light on Stem Cell, Cancer Signaling Mechanism

UCSF scientists have illuminated a key step in a signaling pathway that helps orchestrate embryonic development.

The finding, they say, could lead to insights into the development of stem cells, as well as birth defects and cancers, and thus fuel therapeutic strategies.

The study, reported in Nature (Oct. 13, 2005), focuses on the Hedgehog family of signaling molecules, which play a central role in directing development of the early embryo’s growth and spatial plan, as well as its later organ and limb development. Defects in Hedgehog signaling are a significant cause of some birth defects and cancers.

Secreted from one cell, a Hedgehog signal shoots to the surface receptor of a second cell, and then, in a rapid-fire succession of biochemical reactions, relays a message into the cell’s nucleus. There, it issues an instruction, prompting the cell to divide, or specialize into a particular cell type, or migrate to help form another part of the embryo, and so on. This transaction, known as signal transduction, is a ceaseless activity of embryonic development.

Full story.

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Purdue's gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging

Purdue's gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers at Purdue University have taken a step toward developing a new type of ultra-sensitive medical imaging technique that works by shining a laser through the skin to detect tiny gold nanorods injected into the bloodstream.

In tests with mice, the nanorods yielded images nearly 60 times brighter than conventional fluorescent dyes, including rhodamine, commonly used for a wide range of biological imaging to study the inner workings of cells and molecules.

Full story.

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Ethical debate undeterred by new research

Ethical debate undeterred by new research
Studies show embryos remain intact, but critics are unswayed
Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, October 24, 2005

Most scientists would like nothing better than to tone down some of the controversy surrounding human embryonic stem cell research. But some of their latest efforts in that direction appear to be having the opposite effect.

New laboratory results were reported last week showing how it might be possible to generate embryonic stem cells without destroying any embryos. But the reaction made it clear there's no end in sight to the stem cell debate.

Leading bioethics experts, including David Magnus at Stanford University and Arthur Kaplan at the University of Pennsylvania, promptly blasted the latest exercise as "scientific pandering" aimed at critics who are unlikely ever to be satisfied.

"When you look at the ethics it's not clear there's any advance here at all," Magnus said during an interview. "There's not going to be any technology that everybody accepts."

Full story.

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New Rules On Internet Wiretapping Challenged

New Rules On Internet Wiretapping Challenged
Redesign Costs Are Cited

By Arshad Mohammed
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; Page D01

New federal wiretapping rules that would make it easier for law enforcement to monitor e-mails and Internet-based phone calls were challenged by privacy, high-tech and telecommunications groups in federal court yesterday.

The groups argued that the rules would force broadband Internet service providers, including universities and libraries, to pay for redesigning their networks to make them more accessible to court-ordered wiretaps.

Full story.

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Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

By YURI KAGEYAMA
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; 7:28 AM

ATSUGI, Japan -- We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

Full story.

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Neurognostics Receives Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award

Neurognostics Receives Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award

Milwaukee, WI, October 24, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Wisconsin company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, was honored with a Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award for Outstanding Achievements.

The award was presented by Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Consortium (WiSBIC) during its 19th annual Awards Banquet. WiSBIC was created to help technology-based and other innovative small businesses in securing research and development funding, commercializing their products, and growing and expanding their business.

Cathy Elsinger, Ph.D., Neurognostics’ Director of Research and Clinical Operations, accepted the award on behalf of Neurognostics. “We are grateful to be presented this award,” said Dr. Elsinger. “It is nice to see that the state of Wisconsin recognizes the achievements of small businesses and supports them during the crucial early stages of their development.”

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Small-Time Inventors Take on Congress

Small-Time Inventors Take on Congress

By ERICA WERNER
Associated Press Writer

October 21, 2005, 7:23 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- In the world of small-time inventors, George Margolin, 75, of Newport Beach, Calif., is a resounding success. He has patented a syringe that prevents unwanted needle-pricks, a folding keyboard that was licensed by Hewlett Packard and 25 other devices from the practical to the arcane.

Now Margolin fears his ability to create is threatened by legislation he says would yank patent protections from little guys like him in favor of big corporations like Microsoft.

Full story.

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Rice scientists build world's first single-molecule car

Rice scientists build world's first single-molecule car
'Nanocar' with buckyball wheels paves way for other molecular machines

Rice University scientists have constructed the world's smallest car -- a single molecule "nanocar" that contains a chassis, axles and four buckyball wheels.

The "nanocar" is described in a research paper that is available online and due to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Nano Letters.

The "nanocar" is described in a research paper that is available online and due to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Nano Letters.

"The synthesis and testing of nanocars and other molecular machines is providing critical insight in our investigations of bottom-up molecular manufacturing," said one of the two lead researchers, James M. Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and professor of computer science. "We'd eventually like to move objects and do work in a controlled fashion on the molecular scale, and these vehicles are great test beds for that. They're helping us learn the ground rules."

The nanocar consists of a chassis and axles made of well-defined organic groups with pivoting suspension and freely rotating axles. The wheels are buckyballs, spheres of pure carbon containing 60 atoms apiece. The entire car measures just 3-4 nanometers across, making it slightly wider than a strand of DNA. A human hair, by comparison, is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.


Full story.

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Stem cells' electric abilities might help their safe clinical use

Stem cells' electric abilities might help their safe clinical use

Researchers from Johns Hopkins have discovered the presence of functional ion channels in human embryonic stem cells (ESCs). These ion channels act like electrical wires and permit ESCs, versatile cells that possess the unique ability to become all cell types of the body, to conduct and pass along electric currents.

If researchers could selectively block some of these channels in implanted cells, derived from stem cells, they may be able to prevent potential tumor development. The paper appears Aug. 5 online in the journal Stem Cells.

"A major concern for human ESC-based therapies is the potential for engineered grafts to go haywire after transplantation and form tumors, for instance, due to contamination by only a few undifferentiated human ESCs," says Ronald A. Li, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the study. "Our discovery of functional ion channels, which are valves in a cell's outer membrane allowing the passage of charged atoms, the basis of electricity, provides an important link to the differentiation, or maturation, and cell proliferation, or growth of human ESCs."

Full story.

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FDA approves first brain stem cell transplant

FDA approves first brain stem cell transplant

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Federal regulators on Thursday approved what would be the first transplant of fetal stem cells into human brains, a procedure that if successful could open the door to treating a host of neural disorders.

The transplant recipients will be children who suffer from a rare, fatal genetic disorder.

The Food and Drug Administration said that doctors at Stanford University Medical Center can begin the testing on six children afflicted with Batten disease, a degenerative malady that renders its young victims blind, speechless and paralyzed before it kills them.

An internal Stanford review board must still approve the test, a process that could take weeks.

The stem cells to be transplanted in the brain aren't human embryonic stem cells, which are derived from days-old embryos. Instead, the cells are immature neural cells that are destined to turn into the mature cells that makeup a fully formed brain.

Parkinson's disease patients and stroke victims have received transplants of fully formed brain cells before, but the malleable brain cells involved here have never before been implanted.


Full story.

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Nations United on Bioethics

Nations United on Bioethics
But is anybody in the West reading the new declaration?
by Nigel M. de S. Cameron | posted 10/19/2005 09:00 a.m.

Though ignored in the U.S. press, this past week saw the culmination of more than a decade of negotiations on a document that could prove one of the keys to the human future. And it reminds us of the equally neglected U.N. cloning declaration passed earlier in the year.

UNESCO, the United Nations arm that focuses on educational, social, and cultural issues, is based in Paris. While the General Assembly and the Security Council (which meet in New York City) tend to get the headlines, the vastly wide brief of UNESCO is ignored. For years, the U.S. was not even a member (we pulled out as there was so much incompetence and corruption in the UNESCO bureaucracy). But shortly before the Iraq war, President Bush announced in person that the U.S. would rejoin. UNESCO is a healthier place than it was 20 years ago, and it has just concluded one of its most strategic projects.

This past week, UNESCO's General Conference unanimously approved the Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. While the details of the document are mostly unexciting—any consensus document that signed by all the nations of the world is not going to hit controversial issues on the head—the very fact of its endorsement shows that every nation now has the biopolicy agenda on its radar screen. And while for the U.S. statements of this kind may not be very influential (we are locked into our domestic debates and have been talking about the issues for decades), for many smaller countries and most of the developing world they have huge significance. Many nations will use the declaration as the basis of national policies.


Full story.

Link to UNESCO Press Release.

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Cryo-Cell to study new type of stem cells

Cryo-Cell to study new type of stem cells

Cryo-Cell International Inc. is partnering with Plureon Corp. to provide collection and preservation of Plureon's proprietary stem cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cryo-Cell will develop the proprietary methodology to collect, process and cryogenically preserve Plureon stem cells collected from placental tissue at the time of birth. The agreement establishes exclusive license rights for Cryo-Cell to market the Plureon service in the United States and first-rights-of-refusal for other global markets.

Plureon stem cells are a type of stem cell discovered by researchers working in the Laboratory for Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering at Children's Hospital Boston. Plureon acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to the Children's Hospital patent applications pertaining to this stem cell for both collection/banking as well as therapeutic development.

Researchers believe that Plureon cells represent great promise as an alternative to embryonic stem cells in the development of human cellular therapies, Cryo-Cell officials said in a release.

Full story.

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New stem cell methods don't destroy embryo

New stem cell methods don't destroy embryo
But some ethicists have reservations about approaches
By SUSANNE RUST
srust@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Oct. 17, 2005

To derive embryonic stem cells, scientists must destroy an embryo. But new research might change that.

The authors of two new studies said they have devised methods that do not require the destruction of embryos and, therefore, might offer opportunities for the expansion of embryonic stem cell research under current restrictions. The reports were released Sunday in an early online version of the journal Nature.

The research has been conducted in mice only, but both study teams believe their results could be translated to people.

Full story.

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Biggest Wi-Fi Cloud Is in Rural Oregon

Biggest Wi-Fi Cloud Is in Rural Oregon
Oct 16 9:16 PM US/Eastern

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
Associated Press Writer

HERMISTON, Ore.

Parked alongside his onion fields, Bob Hale can prop open a laptop and read his e-mail or, with just a keystroke, check the moisture of his crops.

As the jack rabbits run by, he can watch CNN online, play a video game or turn his irrigation sprinklers on and off, all from the air conditioned comfort of his truck.

While cities around the country are battling over plans to offer free or cheap Internet access, this lonely terrain is served by what is billed as the world's largest hotspot, a wireless cloud that stretches over 700 square miles of landscape so dry and desolate it could have been lifted from a cowboy tune.

Similar wireless projects have been stymied in major metropolitan areas by telephone and cable TV companies, which have poured money into legislative bills aimed at discouraging such competition. In Philadelphia, for instance, plans to blanket the entire city with Wi- Fi fueled a battle in the Pennsylvania legislature with Verizon Communications Inc., leading to a law that limits the ability of every other municipality in the state to do the same.

But here among the thistle, large providers such as local phone company Qwest Communications International Inc. see little profit potential. So wireless entrepreneur Fred Ziari drew no resistance for his proposed wireless network, enabling him to quickly build the $5 million cloud at his own expense.

Full story.

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European Medicine Evaluation Agency Study Finds Biotechnology Not Living Up to Promises

Full article.

. . .

In conclusion, the promises of biotechnology substances to be more effective and less toxic than conventional drugs have been only partially fulfilled. Many of the substances produced so far are analogues of existing drugs and have contributed little to innovation in medicine. Nevertheless, biotechnology has made it possible to make available drugs that would otherwise be impossible to obtain in large amounts or research tools that are useful for discovering new drugs. Let us hope that in future biotechnology will better live up to its promises.

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Ideas bubble up at biomedical meeting

Ideas bubble up at biomedical meeting
Officials, firms chart way to growth
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Oct. 13, 2005

Oconomowoc - Some 60 political and business leaders met Thursday to address the challenges facing a state that is bursting with intellectual and creative assets, but that often fails to leverage them into home-grown, high-paying jobs.

Ideas at the unusual gathering percolated up from the group - which had strong representation from biotech companies - rather than flowing down from government bureaucrats.

"Most meetings are much more passive," said Michael T. Klimas, director of molecular imaging at Waukesha-based GE Healthcare Technologies. "Asking a diverse set of people for their ideas is a good first step."

The session, convened by the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Devices Association on the eve of its annual conference for 160 state-based member companies, was moderated with wit and inclusiveness by Medical College of Wisconsin Chief Executive Officer T. Michael Bolger.

Participants came from GE Healthcare, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the state Department of Commerce, many smaller companies with names like Conjugon, NeoClone, Prodesse and TeraMedica, and even included the man many view as the embodiment of Wisconsin-based entrepreneurism - Marquette Electronics founder Michael Cudahy.

The association held the session in Oconomowoc in an attempt to bridge the divide between the state's two biggest cities.

Full story.

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Plans are moving forward for a technology-oriented business park at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs

Business park is one step closer
City seeks lease for VA site it hopes to redevelop
By TOM DAYKIN
tdaykin@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Oct. 10, 2005

Plans are moving forward for a technology-oriented business park at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Milwaukee's west side.

Mayor Tom Barrett is to announce today that city officials will seek a long-term lease for 37 acres of surplus property at the VA grounds, west of Miller Park Way and north of W. National Ave., in order to redevelop the site.

The city's proposal will include a business park that targets firms involved in medical research.

Full story.

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IBM promising not to use genetic data of workers in granting benefits

IBM promising not to use genetic data of workers in granting benefits

By Steve Lohr
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

October 10, 2005

As concerns grow that genetic information could become a modern tool of discrimination, IBM plans to announce a work force privacy policy today.

IBM, the world's largest technology company by revenue, is promising not to use genetic information in hiring or in determining eligibility for its health care or benefits plans.

Genetics policy specialists and privacy rights groups say the IBM pledge to its more than 300,000 employees worldwide appears to be the first such move by a major corporation.

The policy, which comes as Congress is considering legislation on genetic privacy, is a response to the trend in medical research to focus on a person's genetic propensity for disease in hopes of tailoring treatments to specific medical needs.

Full story.

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Cells from amniotic fluid used to tissue-engineer a new trachea

Cells from amniotic fluid used to tissue-engineer a new trachea
Pediatric surgeon looks to fetal cells to repair birth defects

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report using tissue engineering to reconstruct defective tracheas (windpipes) in fetal lambs, first using cells from the amniotic fluid to grow sections of cartilage tube, and then implanting these living grafts into the lambs while still in the womb.
The tracheal repair technique is one of several tissue-engineering approaches pioneered at Children's that use the fetus's own cells, drawn from the amniotic fluid that surrounds it, to create patches to fix birth defects -- in this case, even before birth. Pediatric surgeon Dario Fauza, MD, who led the study, will present the team's work on OOctober 8 at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference in Washington, DC.

Amniotic fluid is easily collected during pregnancy and contains unspecialized cells, known as mesenchymal stem cells, that can make many of the tissues needed to perform repairs, Fauza says.

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UW Loses Super Conductivity Research Center

UW Loses Research Center
NBC 15

The University of Wisconsin Madison is losing a major research lab to Florida State University.
The Applied Super Conductivity Center will move south next year, after a 20–year stint in Madison.

Full story.

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Small Businesses Largest Holders of Patents

Small Businesses Largest Holders of Patents
Report finds that small businesses generate as many as 14 more patents per employee than large businesses.

By: Daniel Del'Re

Oct. 7, 2005--The small businesses that employ almost half of the country's workers may also be responsible for the nation's technical creativity and innovation.

A report released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that private companies with fewer than 500 workers generate as many as 14 more patentsper employee than large businesses.


Full story.

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Patents office rejects Microsoft FAT bid

Patents office rejects Microsoft FAT bid
By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued a preliminary rejection of two patents key to Microsoft's control of the FAT file system.

FAT has been in use since the 1970s, and is widely used in removable media such as USB memory sticks and cameras. Microsoft claims it developed FAT in 1976, and was granted a patent on the system in 1996. It began licensing the system to third parties in late 2003 and has signed up several major licensees, including Rockwell International, Creative Technology and Seiko, according to the company.

Full story.

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Scientists Study and Learn to Prevent Nanoparticle “Merging”

Scientists Study and Learn to Prevent Nanoparticle “Merging”
October 5, 2005

UPTON, NY - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified how billionth-of-a-meter sized metal particles — gold-atom clusters within carbon-atom shells — can mesh together to form larger particles and have also found a way to control this process. The results, published in the September 27, 2005, online edition of Nano Letters, may help scientists determine how these “nanoparticles,” which have unique physical, chemical, and electronic properties, could be incorporated into new technologies.

“Nanostructures that consist of a metal nanoparticle trapped within a carbon cage have great technological promise, such as in electronics and biomedical imaging systems, but scientists have more to learn about them,” said Eli Sutter, a scientist at Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials and the study’s lead author. “For example, knowing how to control the size of the particles is very important because size is strongly linked to properties like electronic structure and melting temperature.”

Full story.

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New battery technology helps stimulate nerves

New battery technology helps stimulate nerves

MADISON -- With the help of new silicon-based compounds, scientists -- and patients -- are getting a significant new charge out of the tiny lithium batteries used in implantable devices to help treat nervous system and other disorders.

The lithium battery is the workhorse in implantable devices -- stimulators used to jump start the heart and help the central nervous system make critical connections in, for example, Parkinson's and epilepsy patients. Designed to be extraordinarily reliable and work continuously for years, the tiny batteries that power implantables are indispensable in everything from pacemakers to the electronic stimulators that help restore function in the brains of Parkinson's patients.

But lithium batteries don't last forever and new surgery to maintain many devices seeded into the body is required, as it is to replace batteries and devices at the end of their lives. Moreover, a new generation of tiny electrical devices to stimulate the nervous system, treat incontinence and overcome muscular impairment is coming on line as scientists and engineers continue to shrink the components that make up the devices.

Central to that ability, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Emeritus of chemistry Robert West, is new lithium battery technology, technology capable of making batteries smaller, last longer and, soon, accept a charge from outside the body without the need for surgery.

Using organosilicon compounds, West and his UW-Madison colleagues have developed a new generation of rechargeable lithium ion batteries whose lifetimes are more than twice as long as the batteries now used in the tiny medical devices.

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Free-energy theory borne out in large-scale protein folding

Free-energy theory borne out in large-scale protein folding
Marriage of theory, experiment is first for multi-domain protein folding

HOUSTON, Oct. 3, 2005 -- In unprecedented new research, scientists at Rice University have combined theory and experiment for the first time to both predict theoretically and verify experimentally the protein-folding dynamics of a large, complex protein.

The interdisciplinary research appears this week in two back-to-back papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Researchers have successfully combined computer modeling and experimental results in folding studies for small proteins, but this is the first effective combination for a large, multi-domain protein," said study co-author Kathleen Matthews, Dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and Stewart Memorial Professor of Biochemistry. "Pioneering efforts were required to establish comparable experimental and theoretical data, and the method worked remarkably well. We expect others to adopt it in their own studies."

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Study: nanotech processing "greener" than oil refining

Study: nanotech processing "greener" than oil refining
Actuarial model puts risks of making nanotubes on par with making wine

Using a method for assessing the premiums that companies pay for insurance, a team of scientists and insurance experts have concluded that the manufacturing processes for five, near-market nanomaterials -- including quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and buckyballs -- present fewer risks to the environment than some common industrial processes like oil refining. For two of the nanomaterials - nanotubes and alumoxane nanoparticles -- manufacturing risks were comparable with those of making wine or aspirin.

The study is available online and slated for publication in the Nov. 15 issue of Environmental Science and Technology. It compares the environmental and health risks associated with the production of five nanomaterials -- single-walled carbon nanotubes, buckyballs, zinc selenide quantum dots, alumoxane nanoparticles and titantium dioxide nanoparticles -- with the risks of making six commonplace products -- silicon wafers, wine, high-density plastic, lead-acid car batteries, refined petroleum and aspirin.

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Swiss study shows that hair follicles contain bonafide multipotent stem cells

Hair-raising stem cells identified
Swiss study shows that hair follicles contain bonafide multipotent stem cells

October 3, 2005 –Using an animal model, a research team led by Yann Barrandon at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) and the CHUV (Lausanne University Hospital) has discovered that certain cells inside the hair follicle are true multipotent stem cells, capable of developing into the many different cell types needed for hair growth and follicle replacement. In an article appearing in the Oct 3 advance online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they demonstrate that these holoclones can be used for long-term follicle renewal.

In 2001, Barrandon was part of a French research team who reported in the scientific journal Cell that stem cells could be used to generate skin containing hair and sebaceous glands in mice. But at that time it was unclear whether the stem cells in hair follicles were true stem cells, capable of long-term renewal, or multipotent progenitor cells that would not permanently engraft in the follicle.

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Adult stem cells aid recovery in animal model of cerebral palsy

Adult stem cells aid recovery in animal model of cerebral palsy
Story by Toni Baker
Sept. 29, 2005

Adult stem cell therapy quickly and significantly improves recovery of motor function in an animal model for the ischemic brain injury that occurs in about 10 percent of babies with cerebral palsy, researchers report.

Within two weeks, treated animals were about 20 percent less likely to favor the unaffected side of their bodies and experienced about a 25 percent improvement in balance, compared to untreated controls, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Their findings are being presented during the 34th annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Los Angeles.

“We found that when these cells, provided by Athersys, Inc., were injected directly into the brain, it significantly improves the outcome in the animals,” says Dr. James E. Carroll, chief of the MCG Section of Pediatric Neurology and the study’s principal investigator.

Athersys, Inc., a Cleveland-based biopharmaceutical company pursuing cell therapy programs in cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases, funded the research in which about 200,000 cells were injected directly into the brain injury site.

The adult stem cells, called multipotent progenitor cells because of their ability to make different types of tissue, were taken from the bone marrow of rats and expanded by Athersys for dosing in the injury model, Dr. Carroll says.

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