Archive by date | December 2012

UK team abandons effort to reach subglacial Antarctic lake

UK team abandons effort to reach subglacial Antarctic lake

It wasn’t a very merry Christmas for a team of UK scientists seeking to breach the three kilometres of ice that covers a subglacial Antarctic lake. On the evening of 24 December, Martin Siegart, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol, UK, ended his team’s quest to drill to Lake Ellsworth in western Antarctica.  Read more

What were the top papers of 2012 on social media?

One of the promises of altmetrics – an approach to measuring attention on research papers that relies on alternative measures to citations, such as downloads, social media mentions, and collections in online libraries – is that it could provide an almost real-time view of the papers provoking most excitement. Citations, by contrast, are inevitably slow to gather pace.  Read more

Panel rejects experimental chronic fatigue syndrome drug

A chronic fatigue syndrome drug that spent decades in clinical development and won fervent patient support, has been turned down for approval by a committee of advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who voted 9-4 against it. The drug, named Ampligen (rintatolimod), has not been shown to be effective or safe, the committee determined on 20 December.  Read more

Air Canada to stop transporting research primates

Air Canada to stop transporting research primates

Air Canada, one of the few major airline companies that still transports primates for research, was given the go-ahead to stop moving macaques and other non-human primates bound for research labs, after a decision today from its regulatory agency, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). The airline applauded the decision and said that, effective December 22, it will require all non-human primate shippers to sign a declaration that the animals are not intended for research or experiments.  Read more

Breast cancer behaviour: more than mutations

Normal pressure

Many a cancer study seeks to tally dangerous mutations, but factors besides genes may yield insights that are just as important. Two laboratories at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco this week presented work on cancer-relevant findings that are independent of particular mutations: one group shows that a few minutes’ compression reverts malignant cells to normal, another that changes in breasts’ cellular composition may remove barriers for malignant growth.  Read more