Latest research news

August 17, 2005

Nerve cell breakthrough is world first
Scientists in Edinburgh have created the world's first clutch of nerve stem cells in what could prove to be a major breakthrough in the race to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The cells were created in Edinburgh by the Institute for Stem Cell Research and the University of Milan. A team led by Professor Austin Smith developed the cells at the Edinburgh University-based institution.
The Scotsman , Daily Mail

Fear over human-animal embryos
Ministers must close a legal loophole that permits the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos without any regulatory oversight, leading scientists said yesterday. The restrictive and out-of-date remit of the embryology watchdog has left it powerless to control controversial experiments in which human DNA is fused with animal eggs, leaving researchers fearful of a public backlash. While scientists consider the creation of part-human part-animal “chimeras” justified for medical research, they think it essential that the work be properly licensed to build public confidence.
The Times

Work starts on £15m health science centre to employ 200
Work started yesterday to build a £15 million world-class centre for health science - the first of its kind in the UK - which is expected to create 200 high-quality jobs. Allan Wilson, Scotland's deputy enterprise minister, cut the first turf on the site in Inverness which will become a state-of-the-art facility for healthcare and biotechnology research, education, training and business development next to the city's Raigmore Hospital.
The Scotsman

University professor pins hope on drug to fight MRSA
A British professor believes he has found a new antibiotic that could combat the MRSA superbug and is trying to raise £5m to fund its development. The battle against bacteria once looked as if it had been won, but the recent emergence of new bugs that cannot be treated with conventional antibiotics has rekindled interest in the area. Professor Colin Smith, of the University of Surrey, has found potential new drugs that kill such "superbugs" in a petri dish, and wants to raise cash from venture capitalists to see if they will work in humans.
The Guardian

Crocodile blood could help fight human infections
The crocodile's immune system is much more resilient than that of humans, and tests have shown that the reptiles are able to kill off the HIV virus. Their immune system works differently from that of humans, attacking infections as soon as they occur in the body. It is hoped the powerful antibodies could be harnessed into antibiotics to fight ulcer wounds, burns and other infections.
Daily Telegraph

Cosmonaut clocks up record time in space
The current International Space Station commander, Sergei Krikalev, has set a new record for the most cumulative time in space - logging a total of 748 days in orbit on Tuesday. His repeated exposure to the physical and psychological stresses of long-duration spaceflight ranks him among the most resilient space-farers in history.
New Scientist

Avid sunbathers may be addicted to ultra-violet light
People, mostly women, who ignore advice about skin cancer and seek an ever deeper tan may be addicted to ultra-violet light, scientists say today. Sun tan addiction may explain why sunbathers stay in the sun or regularly use sunbeds even though they understand that they are putting themselves at risk. Researchers from the University of Texas interviewed 145 beach-goers. They adapted a standard psychological method to test for levels of addiction and found that 26 per cent of the group could be classed as "ultra-violet light tanning dependent".
Daily Telegraph , The Independent , Daily Mail, The Scotsman , The Times


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