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Collins Reports to Colbert

Joking that he is eager to grow a pair of crab claws, Stephen Colbert asked National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins last night what’s taking so long with stem cell research. In response to the Colbert Report host, Collins [...]

Roundup: ACLU Sues Over Breast Cancer Gene Patents

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah, arguing that patents for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are invalid. Mutations in the two genes are responsible [...]

Getting Sober on Stem Cells

Stem cell research might need to be the tortoise to gene therapy’s hare. In the most recent issue of Science, James M. Wilson of the University of Pennsylvania, cautions stem cell research advocates to avoid the hype surrounding much work [...]


Intelligent Solutions

A raft of scientific evidence in recent years, along with a recent book, demonstrates that environment has a very strong impact on an individual’s brain development. The work effectively rebuts most of the lingering arguments over the controversial Bell Curve hypothesis.

New Transparency for Genomic Data

The National Human Genome Research Institute recently posted a searchable database and spreadsheet of genome-wide association studies, or GWAS. The catalog includes data on 1309 single nucleotide polymorphisms, called SNPs, from articles in 296 publications. The table explains what traits [...]

iPS Takes Another Step

Although we are still celebrating President Obama’s executive order on stem cell research, it’s important to remember that the policy change was proceeded by new research involving the creation of virus-free induced pluripotent cells. The discovery came courtesy of Rudolf [...]

Getting Down to Business on Stem Cell Research Ethics

Stem cell policy just caught up with research, and SP contributor and CAP Research Assistant Michael Rugnetta outlines how to move forward with dicussions on how to to conduct ethical research involving human embryonic stem cells at the Huffington Post. From his [...]

FDA Embraces Personalized Medicine

Food and Drug Administration Acting Director Frank Torti announced Monday in a podcast the creation of a new position in the Office of Chief Scientist: the Senior Genomics Advisor. Dr. Liz Mansfield, a scientist who has worked on scientific policy [...]

Senate Multiplies Biomed Stimulus

The Senate is doubling down on the House proposal to support biomedical research and innovation with the recovery and reinvestment package—and then some. The Senate version of the stimulus bill originally provided $3.5 billion in funds for the National Institutes [...]

Neuroethics Comes of Age

MRI image of a brainOriginally, the Neuroethics Society expected 50—maybe 80—people to show up for its First Annual Meeting. But over 200 neuroethics devotees assembled last week at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. This is just the beginning, as neuroscience experts are moving to educate more policymakers on the implications of advances in the field.

Victory for Stem Cells in Michigan

Yesterday, Michigan voters amended the state constitution to allow Michigan’s scientists to derive human embryonic stem cells without fear of criminal prosecution. The amendment will allow fertility patients to donate excess embryos from IVF clinics, a practice which up until now was illegal in Michigan.

Bluegrass Brain Surgery

Banjo during brain surgeryDeep brain stimulation is an experimental technique in which electrodes are implanted into the thalamus to correct the effects of neurodegenration or brain injury. Scientists have used the process to treat essential tremor since 1997 and Parkinson’s disease since 2002. The Neurophilosophy blog reports that doctors have recently used the technique to monitor brain surgery in real time—and in tempo. Neurosurgeons had their patient, the legendary bluegrass musician Eddie Adcock, play his banjo while he was undergoing deep brain stimulation.

Michigan’s Modest Ballot Proposal Gains Media Support

Today, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News both endorsed a new policy that will be on the ballot this November in Michigan, and, if passed, will allow stem cell research. Michigan has the most restrictive anti-stem cell research laws in the nation, a tragedy which is compounded by the fact that Michigan has one of the most productive biotech R&D infrastructures of any state.