Cloning Treats Mouse Cloning

Another interesting development as US researchers say that therapeutic cloning has been successfully used to treat Parkinson’s
disease in mice

The study in Nature Medicine provides the best evidence so far that the controversial technique could one day help people with the condition.

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre team say it is the first time animals have been successfully treated with their own cloned cells.

UK experts said the work was promising and exciting development.

No rejection

In Parkinson’s disease, nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement either die or become impaired.

Normally, these cells produce a vital chemical known as dopamine, which allows smooth, co-ordinated function of the body’s muscles and movement.


In therapeutic cloning, the nucleus of a cell is inserted into an egg with the nucleus removed.

This cell then develops into an embryo from which stem cells can be harvested and used as a treatment.

In this study, stem cells were developed into dopamine-producing neurons the missing nerve cells in Parkinson’s disease.

The mice that received neurons derived from their own clones showed significant signs of improvement.

But when these neurons were grafted into mice that did not genetically match the transplanted cells, the cells did not survive and the mice did not recover.

The researchers say the therapy is promising because, as the cells originally came from the animal that was ill, they were not rejected by its immune system.

‘Great hope’

Scientists are pursuing the use of stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease because it would allow the replacement of the dead dopamine-producing nerve cells with new, healthy cells.

This should restore the supply of dopamine within the brain and allow it to work normally again.

[…]He added: “Stem cell therapy offers great hope for repairing the brain in people with Parkinson’s.

“It may ultimately offer a cure, allowing people to lead a life that is free from the symptoms of Parkinson’s.”

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, an expert in stem cell research at the National Institute of Medical Research, said this was good research which showed using therapeutic cloning could be beneficial.

“There was a very significant level of recovery.

But he added: “They only studied the mice for 11 weeks afterwards, which is not a huge amount of time to see how persistent the repaid would be.”


Chemical ‘Brain’ Controls Nanobots

More exciting advancements in medicine…Read below Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists Fine ‘Master’ Breast Cancer Gene

An interesting article from yahoo and hope for a cure

Geneticists have identified a super gene which causes breast cancer to metastasise, the deadly process by which the disease spreads to other organs, according to a study released Wednesday.

Described by the US researchers as a “master regulator,” the SATB1 gene alters the behaviour of at least 1,000 other genes within tumour cells, said the study, published in the British journal Nature.

When over-activated it makes cancer cells proliferate, and when neutralised the gene stops the cells from dividing and migrating, the study reported.

“SATB1 will be a remarkable target for cancer therapy,” lead scientist Termumi Kohwi-Shigematsu of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, told AFP.

The findings could not only pave the way to diagnostic tools that show the likelihood of the disease spreading, she said, but to drugs that could prevent or treat metastasis in breast cancer as well.

Up to now, it was impossible to predict whether cancer cells in a tumour were destined to invade neighboring tissue, travel through the blood system and form secondary tumours elsewhere in the body.

But the SATB1 protein is just such a marker. A tumour in which it is activated “is destined to metastasise,” said Kohwi-Shigematsu.

Metastasis is the overwhelming cause of death in patients with solid tumours. Less than 10 percent of women with metastatic breast cancer survive beyond a decade, and just over a quarter make it past five years.

[…]Scientists have come to realise, she said, that there are gene expression patterns called prognosis signatures, genetic profiles found across primary tumours that have metastatic potential.

“And now we have identified the protein master regulator for metastatis,” she said.

But the most basic question remains to be answered, she added. “What turns SATB1 on during the course of breast cancer progression? We just don’t know.”

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.3 million women worldwide are diagnosed each year with breast cancer, and nearly half-a-million succumb to the disease.

Read it all 

Is a Cure to AIDS on the Horizon?

We certainly hope so…

Researchers from Canada’s University of Alberta (UA) have found a gene that keeps the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inside a cell and prevents it from infecting other cells.

In a cell culture experiment, the researchers led by Dr. Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology of UA, found that when the gene TRIM22 is put in infected cells, HIV could not leave the cells to infect healthy cells thereby stopping the spread of the virus.

However, the gene does not work in people already infected with HIV; researchers are now working to determine why.

According to, Barr said TRIM22 is a potential basis of future anti-HIV drugs and vaccines.

There had been discoveries of proteins that also block HIV in a newly-infected person but the virus mutates to overcome those proteins. HIV over the years has also become resistant to several drugs that try to suppresses it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 33.2 million people around the world have HIV or AIDS in 2007, including 58,000 in Canada.

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Researchers Identify Genes That Prevent Parkinson’s Symptoms

More potentially wonderful news that could lead to a cure

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham have identified five genes that prevent nerve cells from dying and causing muscular degeneration similar to what happens in Parkinson’s disease.

Read it all

Leukemia Cell Culprit Discovered

Possible good news regarding leukemia…

A study of four-year-old twin girls has identified a rogue cell which is the root cause of childhood leukemia.

The finding could mean more specific and less intensive treatments for all children with the blood cancer.

Both twins were found to have the “pre-leukemic” cells in their bone marrow, although to date only one has developed leukemia.

UK researchers reported in Science that a second genetic mutation is needed for full-blown disease to develop.

Leukemia occurs when large numbers of white blood cells take over the bone marrow leaving the body unable to produce enough normal blood cells.

Along with lymphoma it accounts for almost half of childhood cancers.

Olivia Murphy, from Bromley in Kent, developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was two-years old – but so far her twin sister, Isabella, is healthy.

Researchers found they both have “pre-leukemic stem cells” containing a mutated gene, which forms when the DNA is broken and rejoined at another point.

The pre-leukemic cells are transferred from one twin to the other in the womb through their shared blood supply.

But it takes another genetic mutation in early childhood for the cells to cause disease.

This second mutation, which may be caused by infection, occurred in Olivia but not Isabella.

Doctors do regular tests on Isabella to look for signs of the cancer but once she reaches adolescence it is thought the rogue cells will disappear.

Read it all

Affordable Health Care

Much debate exists today regarding the serious health care crisis with over 42 million Americans without health insurance and an aging population needing more health care dollars than ever before, meanwhile few solutions seem to be viable. While I do not wish to delve into the complexities of how to salvage our national health care system, I would like to shed some light on the magnitude of the human face to this looming crisis.

Many middle class Americans are no longer able to afford health insurance and they are rapidly joining the ranks of the uninsured in our society. We can not expect our low income families to afford nor prioritize health care expenses over other more pressing livelihood needs. Smaller businesses are clearly burdened by the overhead expenses of health insurance. In short, the burden of health care expense is becoming unbearable on many segments of our society.

As we consider all the complexities of this issue, we need to understand the vital need of providing the necessity of health coverage to every citizen irrespective of their financial or socio-economic situation. This is not necessary a call to socialized medicine, but it is one to inject a higher sense of responsibility in the actions of those who are the policy makers and the anchors of the health care industry.

The money invested in the health care system must remain and must be re-invested for the betterment of the health care system. It is egregious to see the profit margins of health insurance companies skyrocket without seeing any of those profits re-invested in the much needed services and needs of the insured. It borders on being criminal when the CEO of a health insurance company pockets more than a billion dollars in a retirement plan, while the health system he and other companies are milking is on the verge of collapse because of mounting expenses needed to provide the necessary services to attend to the health needs of a whole population. It is even more egregious when these diverted sums of money are re-compensated for in the form of higher insurance premiums and canceled services in the long term.

As we gain better insight in the complexities of this crisis, we must understand that it is more than just cents and dollars or free market versus government control. It is about restoring the privilege of health care to the people, it is about government policy to protect health services from business interests, it is about empowering health care providers and hospitals with the necessary control to do that which they have committed themselves to do best and it is about the eternal sense of responsibility to improve the human condition by securing its very basic needs.