Posted by: Dan | April 15, 2007

Cells Weekly #25

The quote of the week comes from Robert Weinberg’s One Renegade Cell: How Cancer Begins (page 2):

Normal and malignant cells know how to build. Each carries its own agenda that tells it when it should grow and divide and how it should aggregate with other cells to create organs and tissues. Our bodies are nothing more than highly complex societies of rather autonomous cells, each retaining many of the attributes of a fully independent organism.

Now, welcome to your weekly dose of cell and molecular biology. As always, I’ve selected all of the blogging commentary that I’ve seen, trying to keep the selection both topical and not mere reposting of press releases from jouranls and societies. The result, hopefully, is a zeitgeist of this week’s cyto-blogging:

The Daily Transcript:


Greg Laden:


Omics! Omics!:



And a few ScienceDaily picks below the fold:

Stem Cell Transplant Resets Immune System in Type 1 Diabetes Patients:

A Northwestern University researcher has used adult stem cell injections to reset the immune systems of patients with early-onset Type 1 diabetes. After the therapy, patients no longer needed to take insulin for up to 35 months.

‘Fusion’ Protein Found By Researchers:

Working with fruit flies, scientists have discovered a protein required for two neighboring cells to fuse and become one “super cell.” Most cells enjoy their singular existence, but the strength and flexibility of muscles relies on hundreds or even thousands of super cells that make large-scale motion smooth and coordinated, such as flexion of a bicep.

Brain Tumors Coax Important Support From Nearby Immune System Cells:

Developing brain tumors can coax assistance from nearby cells known as microglia, according to a new study. Researchers have identified one protein made by microglia that helps accelerate tumor growth and are looking for others.

Pulling Cells Close — But Not Too Close — Together:

In a popular children’s game participants stand as close as possible without touching. But on a microscopic level, coaxing cells to be very, very close without actually touching one another has been among the most frustrating challenges for cell biologists. Now MIT researchers led by Sangeeta Bhatia, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, have solved the problem with a novel device.

A New Study of Living Cells Could Revolutionize the Way We Test Drugs:

Researchers have made a breakthrough by detecting the electrical equivalent of a living cell’s last gasp. The work takes them a step closer to both seeing the “heartbeat” of a living cell and a new way to test drugs.



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