ALSO NOTED: Stem cells resist radiation; Genetic influence may be gender-based; Genetic mutations discovered for autism;

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New research for UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine indicates that breast cancer stem cells are not only resistant to radiation, they may actually thrive when exposed to radiation. New drugs are needed to overcome the stem cells' resistance to radiation. Report

The influence of genes on blood pressure may vary based on gender, according to researchers at the University of California at San Diego. Release

A European team of researchers have found genetic mutations that are responsible for autism. The SHANK3 gene mutations resulted in language and communications disorders. Report

A group of UK researchers are using a grant to try and grow new blood vessels from skin stem cells. Report

Memory training and other non-drug treatments may one day help older adults ward off declines in mental function, according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in an editorial in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Release

A study at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has concluded that the allergy drug cromolyn can slow tumor growth and improve the results of chemotherapy in mice with pancreatic cancer. Researchers say they plan to quickly test their conclusions on humans. Report

Researchers at the University of Southern California have discovered a direct link between loss of testosterone and the development of an Alzheimer's-like disease in mice. They also discovered that testosterone treatment slows progression of the disease. Release

An enzyme found at elevated levels in several human cancers has been linked to abnormal tumor growth in fruit flies, a discovery that provides a new model for understanding the link between stem cell biology and cancer, according to researchers at the University of Oregon. Release

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have successfully isolated nanoparticles from human kidney stones in cell cultures and have isolated proteins, RNA and DNA that appear to be associated with nanoparticles. The findings, which appear in the December issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine, are significant because it is one step closer in solving the mystery of whether nanoparticles are viable living forms that can lead to disease--in this case, kidney stones. Release

Neurobiologists have discovered why the aging brain produces progressively fewer new nerve cells in its learning and memory center. The scientists said the finding, made in rodents, refutes current ideas on how long crucial "progenitor" stem cells persist in the aging brain. Release

A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool found that Shakespearean language sparked heightened brain activity in people reading the plays. Report

Melanomas (skin cancers) are more likely to grow rapidly if they are thicker, symmetrical, elevated, have regular borders or have symptoms, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology. Report

In a study recently published online by Developmental Biology, members of Dr. John Herr's laboratory at the University of Virginia Health System report the discovery of a new protein within a sperm's tail that could prove a key target for male contraceptive drugs. Release

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a group of novel genes that are critical in organ development. The scientists studied the roles of genes in the zebrafish secretome. This group of genes makes proteins that are located on the surface or outside of cells in the body, and are responsible for directing "patterning" in the body, or ensuring that cells divide, differentiate and migrate to properly form vital organs in the correct places during development. Release

A new study suggests biochemical changes associated with schizophrenia aren't limited to the central nervous system and that the disease could have more encompassing effects throughout the body than previously thought. The findings, scheduled for publication in the January 2007 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research, could lead to better diagnostic testing for the disease and help explain why those afflicted with it are more prone to other chronic health problems. Release

The unusual ability of the organism Toxoplasma to infect and reproduce inside almost all warm-blooded animals has led scientists to wonder about the tricks it uses so successfully to subvert the behavior of cells. Now, a team of Stanford University School of Medicine researchers, led by John Boothroyd, PhD, has shown for the first time how Toxoplasma manages to be so effective: They documented how it injects a particular protein into the cell it infects and how that protein then travels to the cell's nucleus where it blocks the cell's normal response to invasion. Release

New laboratory research suggests that lithium and other drugs that inhibit a particular enzyme, GSK-3 beta, should be used with caution in treating Alzheimer's disease because too high a dose can impair, rather than enhance, neuronal function. Release

The new neurons generated as a result of neural damage due to epilepsy show a reduced excitability that could alleviate the disorder, researchers have found. The researchers said their results suggest that therapies for epilepsy aimed at inducing neurogenesis could prove effective in alleviating the disorder. Release

Deals & Dollars

With California's $3 billion bond program to support stem cell research tied up in court, wealthy Californians have stepped in to contribute $31 million to get the work underway. And private dollars are also being used to create new labs on state campuses. Article

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $47 million to fund research into mounting a coordinated attack on a host of Third World diseases. Report