Cancer Research

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a medical team from the University of Leicester say they have established a predictor for pregnant women who may have miscarriages and those who won’t.

The researchers measured the levels of a naturally occurring ‘cannabis’ (an endocannabinoid) known as anandamide in women who presented with a threatened miscarriage (bleeding in early pregnancy with a viable baby) and found that those who at the time of the test had significantly higher levels of anandamide subsequently miscarried.

New data has indicated that in rats, "male" hormones drive the decision to become a male during a window of time before male genitalia develop, and that blocking "male" hormones during this time caused male genitalia birth defects.

These defects were associated with a decreased ano-genital distance, leading to the suggestion that measuring human neonatal AGD could provide a noninvasive method to predict those at risk of developing male genitalia birth defects.

Cryptorchidism, the absence in the scrotum of one or both testes (usually because of the failure of the testis to descend), and hypospadias, the abnormal positioning of the opening of the urethra, are common birth defects of the male genitalia and are risk factors for the adult-onset disorders of low sperm count and testicular cancer.

Better regulation is urgently needed for genetic tests, particularly those marketed directly to the public, argue researchers in this week’s BMJ.

In the past 18 months, studies have identified dozens of inherited DNA variations associated with common conditions such as heart attacks, diabetes and asthma, write Professor David Melzer and colleagues

In many cases, these findings provide insight on the cause of the disease, but clinical applications are still mostly unclear. Much work is now needed to identify and evaluate each potential clinical application. Yet, although the work of translating discovery into evidence based practice is just beginning, several companies have already marketed tests, many directly to the public.

LONDON, March 13 /PRNewswire/ --

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) today announces a collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN), focused on the development of a range of novel approaches for the delivery of siRNA molecules. The deal builds on Silence Therapeutics' leading expertise in the delivery of siRNA molecules, in particular its success with the functional systemic delivery of siRNA in vivo using its proprietary AtuPLEX technology. The financial details of this collaboration, in which both parties will contribute expertise and know-how, have not been disclosed.

This new deal is independent of the parties' three-year collaboration signed in July 2007, whose aim is to develop novel siRNA therapeutics against specific targets exclusive to AstraZeneca.

ZURICH, Switzerland and FAIRFIELD, New Jersey, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- "The new Stonegate Report about Unigene confirms that we are uniquely positioned as the only biopharma company that manufactures peptides by recombinant techniques, while also having oral and nasal delivery systems to administer the peptides. Since the launch of "Fortical" in 2005 with partner Upsher-Smith Laboratories, "Fortical" has captured a near dominant 49% market share of the U.S. nasal calcitonin market that is estimated to be in the $200 million range."

Stonegate Securities, Inc. Unigene Laboratories Inc. (WKN 875852, ISIN US9047531002, UUL, OTCBB: UGNE)

ABBOTT PARK, Illinois, March 13 /PRNewswire/ --

- Two Sub Analyses from the CHARM Trial Evaluated Fistula Closure and Quality Of Life in Patients with Fistulas from Crohn's Disease

Abbott announced today the first two-year data for Crohn's disease patients with fistulas, which show that more than half of patients receiving HUMIRA(R) (adalimumab) had continued fistula healing. These data were presented at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organization (ECCO) Annual Meeting in Lyon, France. Fistulas are tunnels that form between the intestine and other parts of the body and are considered one of the most painful complications of Crohn's disease. Fistula healing in these studies was defined as complete cessation of fistula drainage.

Researchers have identified 25 genes regulating lifespan in two organisms separated by about 1.5 billion years in evolutionary change. At least 15 of those genes have very similar versions in humans, suggesting that scientists may be able to target those genes to help slow down the aging process and treat age-related conditions.

The two organisms used in this study, the single-celled budding yeast and the roundworm C. elegans, are commonly used models for aging research. Finding genes that are conserved between the two organisms is significant, researchers say, because the two species are so far apart on the evolutionary scale -- even farther apart than the tiny worms and humans. That, combined with the presence of similar human genes, is an indication that these genes could regulate human longevity as well.

PHILADELPHIA and LONDON, March 12 /PRNewswire/ --

- Osaka's Shizuo Akira Ranks Among The Hottest for Fourth Year; Once Again, United States Accounts for More Than Half of the Top Researchers

Thomson Scientific today announced the results of its annual roundup of the "hottest" researchers and research papers. In the March/April issue of Science Watch (www.sciencewatch.com), Thomson Scientific identifies the top 10 authors who fielded the highest number of Hot Papers in 2006-2007. The annual Science Watch roundup also lists the scientific reports published during 2007 (aside from reviews) that were most cited by year's end.

Wild sex is a staple of nature films, but there is one sex scene David Attenborough has never narrated: the mating ritual of yeast. That's right: yeast. Sex isn't just limited to lions, birds of paradise, and aphids; single-celled fungi do it too. Although most people don't like to hear the words 'fungus' and 'sex' used in the same sentence, yeast mating is a remarkable phenomenon and worth a closer look.

You can see this amazing scene, played out billions of times every day in wine vats and under oak trees, captured on film. As is the case with most wild mating rituals, filming yeast sex requires great patience - yeast are slow to commit and even when they do, they don't rush things. The beginning of foreplay itself takes several hours, as you can see below: