:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-29-2011
Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College used genetic methods to successfully repair cleft lips in mice embryos specially engineered for the study of cleft lip and cleft palate. The research breakthrough may show the way to prevent or treat the conditions in humans.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, with treatment requiring multiple cycles of surgery, speech therapy and orthodontics. To date, there have been very few pre-clinical methods that allow researchers to study the molecular causes of these malformations. In particular, there has been a lack of animal models that accurately reflect the contribution of multiple genes to these congenital deformities in humans.
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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-27-2011
According to theday.com, a package that promises huge economic development and jobs growth in the state of Connecticut, passed both chambers of the General Assembly Wednesday night with nearly unanimous bipartisan support.
As reported last month, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and state economic development leaders had invited The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) to launch a new center for personalized medicine and systems genomics in Connecticut.
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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-25-2011
Washington State University researchers have taken a promising step toward creating an animal model for decoding the specific brain circuits involved in depression. By electrically stimulating a brain region central to an animal’s primary emotions, graduate student Jason Wright and his advisor Jaak Panksepp saw rats exhibit a variety of behaviors associated with a depressed, negative mood, or affect.
“We might now have a model that allows us to actually know where to look in the brain for changes relevant to depression, and we can monitor how activity in these regions change during states of negative affect and the restoration of positive affect,” says Wright. “There are no other models out there like this.”
The researchers caution that their work comes with a variety of caveats and that there are still many factors that need to be evaluated.
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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-05-2011
Drill primate; Photo credit: San Diego Zoo
Starting with normal skin cells, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have produced the first stem cells from endangered species. Such cells could eventually make it possible to improve reproduction and genetic diversity for some species, possibly saving them from extinction, or to bolster the health of endangered animals in captivity.
A description of the accomplishment appeared in an advance online edition of the journal Nature Methods on September 4, 2011.
For more information click here.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-25-2011
This past week the NIH announced that it was tightening its rules on financial conflict of interest for researchers receiving funding from drug and medical device companies. The new rules include the following revised regulations:
- Require investigators to disclose to their institutions all of their significant financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities.
- Lower the monetary threshold at which significant financial interests require disclosure, generally from $10,000 to $5,000.
- Require institutions to report to the PHS awarding component additional information on identified financial conflicts of interest and how they are being managed.
- Require institutions to make certain information accessible to the public concerning identified SFIs held by senior/key personnel.
- Require investigators to complete training related to the regulations and their institution’s financial conflict of interest policy.
According to the Washington Post, there are over 40,000 scientists who currently receive more than $5,000 in annual funding from the drug and medical device industries.
Despite the NIH’s move towards increasing financial transparency, not all watchdog groups are happy with the measure.
To read more on this story see the Washington Post article and the associated press release from the NIH.