Friday, May 23, 2008

PODCAST: "Novel Approach to Cancer Drug Development"

—Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D., Professor of Gene Expression and Regulation Program at The Wistar Institute, is interviewed by GEN's Editor-in-Chief, John Sterling.

WHEN: May 22 — May 29, 2008 Combining natural organic atoms with metal complexes, scientists at The Wistar Institute developed a new type of enzyme inhibitor capable of blocking a biochemical pathway that plays a key role in cancer development. Based on studies in human melanoma cells, the research paves the way for developing new methods for treating cancer by dampening the overactive enzyme activity that leads to uncontrolled tumor growth, reports Dr. Ronen Marmorstein, senior author of the study, which was published in the May 16 issue of ACS Chemical Biology.

During this week's GEN podcast, Dr. Marmorstein provides specific details about the inhibitor and points out the factors that make it such a novel compound. He also explains why the research team decided to target phosphatidyl-inositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling proteins and why the new enzyme inhibitor was tested in human melanoma cell cultures.

One problem with a number of current drugs that target lipid kinases is that these compounds often lack specificity. Dr. Marmorstein talks about how the researchers addressed this issue and about the role of X-ray crystallography in the study.

LISTEN NOW to this week's GEN Podcast.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Investigators Identify Enzyme that Methylates Estrogen Receptors in Breast Cancer

GEN News Highlights

Methylation of estrogen receptors prolongs the life of these growth-driving molecules in breast cancer cells, according to scientists at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute.

The investigators found that an enzyme called SET7 methylates a flexible part of the estrogen receptor. When they created breast cancer cells with reduced levels of SET7, the estrogen receptor molecules lasted only half as long and were less effective in turning on genes.

The methylation appears in exactly the same spot where the tumor suppressor BRCA1 adds a different kind of regulatory marking and may block BRCA1’s restrictive effects on the estrogen receptor. The team also showed that a mutation in the estrogen receptor found in more aggressive breast tumors interferes with this methylation.

The results will be published in the May 9 issue of Molecular Cell.

Source :


Protein's Role in Obesity Discovered

GEN News Highlights

The enzyme TPPII may contribute to obesity by stimulating the formation of fat cells, according to scientists at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Previously, research linked TPPII, a protease, to making people feel hungry through its role in degrading the satiety hormone cholecystokinin 8.

In the current study, the UT Southwestern team found that TPPII triggered the creation of fat cells in C. elegans regardless of dietary intake. They also observed that by reducing expression with RNAi, the fat stores decreased.

“In mammalian cell culture,” the investigators add, “TPPII stimulates adipogenesis, and TPPII RNAi blocks adipogenesis.”

Additionally, the research also showed that mice with lower levels of TPPII were thinner than their littermates, although their food intake was comparable.

The work is published online in EMBO reports on October 12.

Source :


Investigators Discover that Mutated p53 Induces Tumor Formation and Metastasis

GEN News Highlights

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center scientists found that a mutated form of p53 is stabilized by Mdm2, an inhibitor of normal p53 activity, thus increasing tumor growth and metastasis. This research also lends insight into a potential pitfall of using Mdm2 inhibitors for cancer therapy.

The research team demonstrated that a particular mutated form of p53 prevalent in human cancers is inherently unstable in normal tissues but can become stable in some cells. This stabilization of mutated p53 is produced by the p53-antaogonist Mdm2. The investigators also found that transgenic mice engineered to harbor such mutations showed enhanced tumor formation and metastasis compared with littermates lacking p53.

The researchers point out that targeted drug therapies aimed at activating p53 tumor suppressor activity via the disruption of the normal Mdm2/wild-type-p53 interaction could also succeed in stabilizing mutant p53 and fail in preventing tumor metastasis.

“Our data are both exciting and sobering; we must classify tumors with respect to p53-mutation status prior to treatment,” emphasizes one of the authors Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., professor and chair in the department of cancer genetics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The study is published in the May 15 issue of Genes & Development.

Source :


Friday, May 02, 2008

PODCAST: "Trends in the Globalization of Biotechnology"

Exclusive GEN Panel Discussion with Four Co-Chairs of the Upcoming Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) Annual International Convention
Gregory Lucier (Chairman and CEO of Invitrogen) and Catherine Mackey, Ph.D. (Senior Vice President of Pfizer Global Research and Development, La Jolla Laboratories), Leaders of the Conference Steering Committee, and Stephen Ferruolo (Partner at Goodwin Procter) and Alan Lewis, Ph.D. (President and CEO of Novocell), Heads of the Conference Program Committee, are interviewed by GEN's Editor-in-Chief, John Sterling.WHEN: May 1— May 8, 2008

BIO is billing its annual convention this year (June 17—20 in San Diego) as "The Global Event for Biotechnology." It's easy to see why. With the increased outsourcing of biotech activities, a concern over global IP issues, growing access to worldwide funding organizations, ongoing efforts directed at harmonizing global biotech regulations, and the cross-border movement of biotech scientists, technicians, lawyers, and business people, biotechnology has become a truly globalized industry.

During this week's GEN podcast, our panelists discuss how the globalization of the bioindustry has affected each of their businesses. They take a close look at the scientific and commercial impacts of the Internet on their companies and on the industry in general. The panel also explores ways in which varying governmental policies dictate how and where research is done and offers suggestions for dealing with complicated intellectual property issues that often vary from country to country.

In an era focusing on risk-reduced life science business models, the GEN panelists provide insights on the strategic decisions biotech firms need to make to add value, mitigate risk, and bring treatments for life threatening diseases to patients faster and cheaper than traditional life science companies. And with partnerships between biotech companies and big pharma on the rise, the panel talks about proactive strategies and tactics to improve the odds of success for both parties entering into an alliance.

LISTEN NOW to this week's GEN Podcast.

Source :


Seminar Nasional "Peran Bioteknologi Bagi Kesejahteraan Ummat."

Yayasan Memajukan Bioteknologi
Indonesia (YMBI) bekerjasama dengan LPPOM MUI Cabang
Yogyakarta, akan mengadakan Seminar Nasional dengan
tema:Peran Bioteknologi Bagi Kesejahteraan Ummat. Acara Seminar ini akan diselenggarakan:
Hari/tanggal : Sabtu/24 Mei 2008
Tempat : Auditorium Fakultas Peternakan UGM,Yogyakarta
Pembicara : 1. Pembukaan oleh Menteri Pertanian Dr.Ir.Anton Apriyantono,MS (dalam konfirmasi) Tema:Perkembangan Bioteknologi Pangan
2. Ketua PP.Muhammadiyah, Prof.Dr.Dien Syamsuddin (dalam konfirmasi) Tema:Amanah Khalifah di Muka Bumi dan konsekuensinya terhadap penguasaan Ilmu Pengetahuan dan
3. - Direktur LPPOM DIY, Dr.Ir.Tridjoko W.Murti,DEA
Tema: Peran Bioteknologi dalam Fatwa-fatwa MUI

- Direktur S2 Lintas Agama dan Budaya UGM, Prof.Dr.Achmad Mursyidi,Apt.
Tema: Motivasi agama dalam pengembangan ilmu Pengetahuan dan teknologi: Kajian berbagai Agama besar dunia, Islam, Kristen, Yahudi

4. Dr.Arief B.Witarto,M. Sc. dan Yuny Erwanto,MP., PhD
Tema: Bioteknologi sebagai gelombang ekonomi baru dan potensi solusinya untuk permasalahan ummat

Abstrak dan makalah:
Batas akhir memasukkan abstrak untuk poster presentation : 10 Mei 2008
Batas untuk memasukkan makalah lengkap bagi peserta presentasi poster : 17 Mei 2008

Biaya pendaftaran :
- peserta Umum (termasuk mhsw S2 & S3) : Rp 50.000,-
- peserta mahasiswa S1 : Rp 15.000,-
- Peserta yang akan presentasi / hanya memasukkan makalah ke prosiding: Rp.80.000,-

Sekretariat: LPPOM MUI DIY, Jl.Kapas 3,Baciro,Yogyakarta
Contact Person:
drh.Hendry dan T.S.Saragih, MP, HP:0813284325 02,
Fax:(0274) 521578 (a.n.Yuny Erwanto,PhD)


IFPRI Report on Plant Breeding and Biotech Programs in 4 Countries

The International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and national experts identified and analyzed plant breeding and biotechnology programs in four developing countries: Cameroon, Kenya, the Philippines, and Venezuela. IFPRI examined the investments in human and financial resources and the distribution of resources among the different programs, as well as the capacity and policy development for agricultural research in the four selected countries. The report by Jose Falck Zepeda and colleagues recommends ways to help sustain and increase the efficiency of publicly- and privately-funded plant breeding programs, while maximizing the use of genetic resources and developing opportunities for genetically modified (GM) crop production. IFPRI says that policy makers, private sector breeders, and other stakeholders can use this information to prioritize investments, consider product advancement, and assess the relative magnitude of the potential risks and benefits of their investments.

Download http://www.ifpri. org/pubs/ dp/ifpridp00762. asp http://www.ifpri. org/pubs/ dp/ifpridp00762. asp for the full report.


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