Archive for February, 2009

Stem cells in the Wild East

An Israeli boy with the inherited disease ataxia telangiectasia apparently received neural stem cell treatments in Moscow a few years ago.
Now he has a brain tumor, Israeli physicians report in PLOS Medicine.
Critical quote from the paper:
“This is the first report of a human brain tumor developing from transplanted neural stem cells.”

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Wary of a cure for the common cold

Yesterday’s U of Maryland Science paper about the genomes of common cold viruses tempted reporters and editors into writing some over-enthusiastic headlines and leads about “curing the common cold”.
Hey – it’s just a bunch of genomes!

The press release didn’t seem too overblown though.
The researchers found that human rhinoviruses are organized into about 15 small groups that come from distant ancestors. The discovery of these multiple groups explains why a “one drug fits all” approach for anti-viral agents does not work.”

And Nick Wade (NYT) was appropriately gloomy about the translational aspects:

“Because colds are mostly a minor nuisance, drug developers say, people would not be likely to pay for expensive drugs. And it would be hard to get the Food and Drug Administration to approve a drug with any serious downside for so mild a disease.”

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