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November 2005
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Stem Cell Advance Is Fully Refuted

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

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

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

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

Full story.

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Research in cloning declared a fabrication

By Choe Sang-Hun and Elisabeth Rosenthal International Herald Tribune

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2005

SEOUL

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

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

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Software makes MRI more useful

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

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

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

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

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

Full story.

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

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

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

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$15.9 million awarded for patent infringement

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

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

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

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Patent office launching massive telework program

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

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

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

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

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

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Engineered stem cells show promise for sneaking drugs into the brain

Engineered stem cells show promise for sneaking drugs into the brain

December 15, 2005

by Terry Devitt

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

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

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

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

Full story.

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

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

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

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

Full story.

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Animals receive human cells

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

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

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

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

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

Full story.

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S. Korean's Cloning Research Challenged

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

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

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

Full story.

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Toxicology-on-a-Chip Tool Readies for Market

Toxicology-on-a-Chip Tool Readies for Market
University and biotech company collaboration prepares MetaChip for technology transfer

TROY, N.Y. — Recalls of popular prescription drugs are raising public concern about the general safety of new pharmaceuticals. A collaborative group of researchers says that identifying which drug candidates are toxic early in the discovery process can help prevent harmful pharmaceuticals from being placed on the market in the first place, and they have developed a tool to do it.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California-Berkeley, and Solidus Biosciences Inc. have developed a biochip, called the MetaChip, which can analyze drug candidates for toxicity and eliminate harmful ones before they advance to pre-clinical stages. Now beginning the second phase of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported project, researchers are working to optimize the technology for the end user: pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The researchers are working to bring the MetaChip to market within a year.

Full story.

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Mice Created With Human Brain Cells

By PAUL ELIAS
AP Biotechnology Writer
Dec 12 7:51 PM US/Eastern

SAN FRANCISCO - Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations. Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Led by Fred Gage of the Salk Institute in San Diego, the researchers created the mice by injecting about 100,000 human embryonic stem cells per mouse into the brains of 14-day-old rodent embryos.

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Biotech executives see obstacles

Biotech executives see obstacles
Metro Milwaukee has potential but is lacking in key ways, they say
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 12, 2005

Three top executives of Milwaukee-area start-ups said Monday that southeastern Wisconsin has the potential but nowhere near the critical mass of companies needed for a vibrant biotech effort.

An educated work force, the relatively new master of science in biotechnology program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison geared toward producing managers, and a desire to develop a biotech industry are all helping efforts in the region and the state, said Frank Langley, chief executive officer at PointOne Systems LLC in Wauwatosa.

But shortages of cash, office and lab space, and experienced management are formidable obstacles, said Langley, whose company designs clinical genetic information systems.

There's also a lack of second- and third-generation entrepreneurs, big biotech companies that spin out smaller ones and a culture that accepts business failures, Langley said.

Full story.

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Justices Ponder Heavy Patent Docket

Justices Ponder Heavy Patent Docket
David vs. Goliath case one of many patent disputes before Supreme Court

Marcia Coyle
The National Law Journal
12-12-2005

When the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a David vs. Goliath battle over printer ink, the justices sat not only at the intersection of patent and antitrust law but in the middle of their heaviest patent docket in 40 years.

The arguments on Nov. 29 in Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, No. 04-1329, marked the second time last month that the justices heard a patent antitrust challenge. They will hear two more patent cases this spring, including what many patent law experts believe is the most important patent case in years -- eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, No. 05-130.

Four cases in one area of the law may not seem to be a lot, but out of the term's potential 75 to 80 decisions, four is a significant number and is approaching the record seven patent cases heard by the high court in 1965.

Full story.

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Medical College hire brings business with him

Picking up new research
Medical College hire brings business with him
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 7, 2005

InvivoSciences LLC's long-term goal is to make artificial heart tissue, and the young company aims to do it in Wisconsin.

That wasn't the plan when InvivoSciences was formed in 2001, spun out of research by Tetsuro Wakatsuki at Washington University in St. Louis.

But when the Medical College of Wisconsin started recruiting Wakatsuki to its faculty, he began considering moving his research and his company to the state.

The Medical College's support for entrepreneurs and several state programs that support young companies helped persuade Wakatsuki to make the move.

Full story.

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Bill in Congress takes aim at 'hull splashing' in boat industry

Cracking down on copycats
Bill in Congress takes aim at 'hull splashing' in boat industry
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 5, 2005

It's called "hull splashing" when a boat builder makes an unauthorized copy of a hull design and calls it his own.

With a little luck, Wisconsin marine manufacturers say, proposed changes to a federal law would end the practice that's bothered them for decades.

Senate Bill 1785 is meant to strengthen the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act passed by Congress seven years ago but lacking in some important areas, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a Chicago-based trade group.

Full story.

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Saving soldiers: Better body armor expected from new material formation process

Saving soldiers: Better body armor expected from new material formation process

A Georgia Institute of Technology researcher has developed a process that increases the hardness and improves the ballistic performance of the material used by the U.S. military for body armor. The researcher's start-up company is commercializing the technology.

Boron carbide is the Defense Department's material of choice for body armor. It is the third hardest material on earth, yet it's extremely lightweight. But it has an Achilles heel that piqued the interest of Georgia Tech Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Robert Speyer five years ago.

Full story.

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Nanotechnology Regulation Needed, Critics Say

Nanotechnology Regulation Needed, Critics Say

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 5, 2005; Page A08

Amid growing evidence that some of the tiniest materials ever engineered pose potentially big environmental, health and safety risks, momentum is building in Congress, environmental circles and in the industry itself to beef up federal oversight of the new materials, which are already showing up in dozens of consumer products.

But large gaps in scientists' understanding of the materials are slowing the development of a regulatory scheme. Equally unresolved is who should pay for the additional safety studies that everyone agrees are needed.

Full story.

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New gene therapy could help untreatable angina sufferers grow new blood vessels, muscle cells

Last hope for heartache
New gene therapy could help untreatable angina sufferers grow new blood vessels, muscle cells
By JOHN FAUBER
jfauber@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 3, 2005

On a cool, invigorating fall evening, Jerome Schillaci trudged slowly around his block as though it were a sweltering summer day.

Less than 100 yards from his front door, he already was breathing fast and his chest was tightening.

Schillaci stopped for a moment, took a nitroglycerin dispenser out of his pocket and put a few drops under his tongue.

"It takes the pain away in about 30 seconds," he said.

At 55, Schillaci was a heart patient who was out of options. The blockages in his coronary arteries no longer could be helped by surgery or stents.

His well-being hinged on nitroglycerin, a handful of other medicines and the sedentary life of a "vegetable," as he puts it.

But in October, doctors at St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee offered him one last option.

They were starting a clinical trial of a promising gene therapy for untreatable angina, a condition that afflicts between 100,000 and 250,000 Americans. It is believed to be the first gene therapy trial for heart disease in Wisconsin.

When Schillaci agreed to take part in the trial, he was thrust into the forefront of a new field of medicine: cardiac regeneration.

Full story.

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UW-Madison, WARF Rank Third Among License Income Earners in 2004

UW-Madison, WARF Rank Third Among License Income Earners in 2004 (Dec 2, 2005)

For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrew Cohn
608 263-2821

MADISON — Driven by the discovery of promising new drugs, agricultural products and biotechnologies, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its technology transfer arm, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, generated more than $47.5 million in licensing revenues last year.

UW-Madison and WARF ranked third in the country, in terms of the value of inventions created by faculty members, according to a report released this week by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Full story.

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