Latest research news

April 28, 2004

US seeks £1bn from Europe over GM ban
The US has demanded that the EU abandon its ban on the growing of genetically modified crops and pay at least $1.8 billion (£1 billion) in compensation for loss of exports over the past six years. The challenge is outlined in papers filed to the World Trade Organisation that have been seen by the Guardian. The WTO is now facing the biggest case in its history, one that could spark a damaging trade war between the US and Europe and split the international community.
( The Guardian )

Diabetes rates 'will double over 30 years'
Diabetes rates will double worldwide by 2030 even if the obesity rate remains stable, an international team of researchers said yesterday. The rate will go up even higher if, as expected, more people eat a so-called Western diet and stop exercising. "The number of people with diabetes is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030," the researchers write in the latest issue of Diabetes Care .
( Daily Telegraph )

Sars spreads in China
Health officials are investigating another four suspected cases of Sars in China. The cases bring the total number affected to eight, with more expected. All of the cases can be traced to a laboratory at the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China, where the coronavirus that causes Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was being studied.
( Nature )

Ministers waste £5m on vaccine red tape, say MPs
More than £5 million a year is being wasted by the Department of Health on the bureaucracy of buying vaccines, a study by a committee of MPs shows today. The overspend has continued despite several reviews showing where savings could be made, the Public Accounts Committee says in a report triggered by a deal awarding a smallpox vaccine contract to a Labour donor.
( The Times )

Cancer treatments will be tailored to patients' genes
Doctors have taken the first steps towards identifying genetic differences between cancer patients so that treatments can be tailored towards a person's genetic make-up. The aim is to separate cancer patients into those who will respond to one particular form of therapy and those who will get better with a different type of treatment. Scientists believe that the personalised treatment of cancer could improve survival rates because the effectiveness of existing drugs and chemotherapy can vary depending on the patient.
( Independent )

'Biological bandages' grown in lab
Thousands of patients with severe burns and ulcerous wounds should soon benefit from "biological bandages" which use their own cells to regenerate skin. Doctors said the bandages, 10 years in development by CellTran, a spin-off from Sheffield University, are used alongside conventional skin grafts to ease pain and speed recovery.
( The Guardian )

Bird fans get a flutter
Punters are invited to bet on the chances of 18 tagged Tasmanian shy albatrosses making it from the Australian coast to South Africa on their annual migration. Each of the "runners" in the Big Bird Race, launched in London on Tuesday night, has been adopted by a prominent person, including Prince Philip. The event was invented by the Conservation Foundation to draw attention to longline fishing practices which kill thousands of albatrosses every year. Income will be fed back into seabird conservation projects.
( Daily Telegraph )

Record breeding rhino dies
A white rhino with a world record for siring calves in captivity has been put down at Edinburgh Zoo because of serious kidney failure. Kruger died in his sleeping quarters early on Monday morning. He had been given no hope of recovery. The 35-year-old was a popular attraction. He fathered 12 calves with his partner Umfolozi: a world record for the number of rhinos born to the same pair.
( The Guardian )

Tracy + Hepburn = the best screen pairing, say chemists
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn had the greatest screen chemistry in cinema history, according to no less an authority than the Royal Society of Chemistry. The chemical reactions between the classic Hollywood couple were not actually subjected to laboratory testing but, rather than counting Oscars or box-office receipts, the Royal Society applied its expertise in chemistry to close analysis of some of the great screen partnerships, from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the current Starsky and Hutch, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
( The Times )

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