Archive for February, 2010
A Senate committee report blasts GlaxoSmithKline for being more concerned about the sales of Avandia than about possible serious cardiovascular risks associated with the blockbuster diabetes pill. Also, two Research Triangle area companies developing new drugs sign deals.
A $500 ticket to the Biotech conference Monday and Tuesday offered face time with heavy-hitting investors. After an 18-month, deep recession that dried up funding for drug research and development nationwide, it was a lure that attracted Research Triangle area companies to the Raleigh Convention Center in droves.
The visitors made it clear they and other investors remain skittish, but they also noted signs of hope, such as the handful of initial public offerings by biotech companies in past months and an adjustment in venture funding last year in favor of early-stage companies.
“When we look at a year ago, we’re really all taking a breath of relief that the Dow [Jones stock index] is over 10,000,” said Stephen Sands, vice chairman of U.S. investment banking in Lazard’s healthcare group, who moderated a panel addressing the future of biotech funding at the conference. Read more…
If you are interested in the topic of science journalism, how it’s changing, what’s new, and who’s who in it, you are probably already reading Knight Science Journalism Tracker. If not, you should start now.
They have recently been digging around and finding projects with which I am involved in one way or another:
The Great Backyard Bird Count is perhaps one of North America’s most popular citizen science projects. It’s been on-going since 1998, and uses the power of citizen’s eyes and interest to create a snapshot of what kinds of birds are where, and in what abundance, in mid-February.
The 2010 four-day count wrapped up last week on Feb. 15th with citizens across the nation reporting 90,898 checklists tallying 10,587,907 individual birds representing 597 species.* The most frequently reported bird was our state bird, the Northern Cardinal. North Carolinian’s sent in 4,722 checklists, resulting in our state ranking third among total number of checklists submitted. (Mine was among them.) Visit this map of N.C. state results to see species tallies for what your fellow citizens reported.
But one thing the checklists did not capture was a rare winter migrant wandering south through The Triangle. Rick Bonney, director of program development and evaluation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology visited Sigma Xi in Research Triangle Park on Tuesday and imparted hard-won words of advice to the Science Communicators of North Carolina about developing citizen science projects, Read more…
Novozymes says it has figured out how to make cellulosic ethanol possible that costs about the same as gasoline, GlaxoSmithKline’s restless leg drug raises safety concerns and the Hamner Institutes team up with a leading cancer cluster in Oslo, Norway. Read more…
The pink ribbon, the icon for breast cancer awareness, and symbols representing other cancers may soon be outdated.
The symbols of tomorrow may cut across types of cancer and stand for a common protein whose long name includes the word kinase, a receptor on a cell’s surface where chemical messages attach, or a virus that is found in up to 80 percent of U.S. adults. Whatever people will identify with to support cancer research, prevention and treatment, it may no longer have anything to do with where the tumor is.
If that is difficult to imagine, listen to Dr. Duane Mitchell, associate director of Duke University’s brain tumor immunotherapy program: “The hope is that there will be a common pathway that drives several cancer types,” Mitchell said Tuesday during a presentation to the Triangle Area Research Directors Council, an informal group of scientific leaders in the Research Triangle Park area.
Mitchell is part of a research group at Duke that is looking into ways to make cancer treatment less toxic and more effective. The Duke researchers are zeroing in on glioblastoma, a brain tumor that doesn’t respond well to treatment and usually kills within 15 months of being diagnosed. Read more…