Trading places? Republican Senators battle Democrats’ NIH cut

Trading places? Republican Senators battle Democrats' NIH cut

The US Senate Appropriations Committee tonight approved a 2012 spending bill that cuts 0.6% from the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — and offers a starting point for negotiations with the Republican-led House of Representatives in the coming weeks. Significantly, the bill, which cuts the NIH budget by US$190 million to $30.5 billion, also includes money for a proposed translational medicine center whose establishment has become a key priority of NIH director Francis Collins.  Read more

Military and medical science meet to put human body on a chip

The US military and the National Institues of Health are teaming up for the first time to create a chip that would separate the wheat from the chaff among a myriad of potential new drugs, dispensing with those toxic to humans before they ever enter a human body.

Guatemala experiments “heinous,” commission tells Obama

Guatemala experiments "heinous," commission tells Obama

President Barack Obama received from his bioethics commission today the exhaustive report that investigates US-funded experiments conducted in Guatemala between 1946 and 1948, in which nearly 700 Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental patients were intentionally infected with syphilis without their knowledge or consent.

Senator urges White House not to weaken research conflict rule

Senator urges White House not to weaken research conflict rule

The US Senate’s leading advocate for government transparency wrote today to the White House’s budget office, demanding that it protect a proposed rule that would obligate universities to post their publicly-funded biomedical researchers’ financial conflicts on a publicly accessible website.  Read more

NIH taps versatile veteran to head new intramural stem-cell centre

NIH taps versatile veteran to head new intramural stem-cell centre

The National Institutes of Health announced yesterday that it has finally found a director for its Intramural Center for Regenerative Medicine, a $52 million, seven-year initiative begun in 2010 “to create a world-class center of excellence in stem cell technology on the NIH campus,” as the agency puts it in this press release.  Read more

US judge rules decisively for federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research

US judge rules decisively for federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research

In a victory for supporters of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, a US district judge ruled today that government funding of the research is legal, despite an existing law that prohibits US funding of research in which an embryo is destroyed.

Firm launches two stem cell trials against blindness

Firm launches two stem cell trials against blindness

Geron made medical history last October, when it treated subject number one in the first-ever trial of a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) therapy, for spinal cord injury. Now, the second and third hESC trials have been launched. On July 12, in an operating room at the University of California, Los Angeles, the first subject in each of the trials — one for a rare form of blindness that usually begins in childhood, the other for a common cause of blindness in the elderly — was treated with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from hESCs. Details are available in  … Read more

FDA hearing on Avastin draws protestors — UPDATED

FDA hearing on Avastin draws protestors --  UPDATED

Scores of protestors, many of them women with breast cancer, demonstrated outside a pivotal meeting at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier today. They were demanding that the US drug regulator reverse a December decision to withdraw its approval for the use of Genentech’s Avastin (bevacizumab) in metastatic breast cancer – breast cancer which has spread to other parts of the body. “We sent a message to the FDA today loud and clear: Keep your hands off our women and allow them to keep their Avastin,” said Terry Kalley, the founder and president of the group Freedom of  … Read more

Latest briefs in US stem cell lawsuit filed

Latest briefs in US stem cell lawsuit filed

Proponents and opponents of US government funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research have filed what may be their final arguments to the judge who shut down the research for 17 days last August and September. Briefs were filed today by both sides in Sherley et al. v. Sebelius, the landmark lawsuit challenging the legality of government support for the controversial research. Lawyers for the plaintiffs, adult stem cell reseachers James Sherley and Theresa Deisher, argued in this brief that government funding of the research “inevitably” creates an incentive for more embryos to be destroyed. They write: “Each time  … Read more

FDA speedier than European agency on cancer drug approvals

“woodcock.juneThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), often denigrated for being slow to approve new drugs for market, has recently been speedier than its European counterpart in approving new cancer drugs, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs released today.  Read more