Science  21 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5747, pp. 419

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  1. South Korea Rolls Out Stem Cell Hub

    1. Constance Holden

    South Korea, whose scientists last year became the first to produce stem cells from cloned human embryos (Science, 13 February 2004, p. 937), is hoping to score more firsts in efforts to turn human embryonic stem (ES) cell research into treatments for disease. This week, Seoul National University was scheduled to announce the creation of a World Stem Cell Hub centered at the school's hospital, spearheaded by cloning pioneer Woo Suk Hwang and funded by the Korean government. Hwang and University of Pittsburgh stem cell researcher Gerald Schatten have collaborated on the plan, which will include facilities in Europe and the United States, as well as a stem cell bank and a program allowing Korean technicians to teach cloning and the cultivation of human ES cell lines.

  2. Station Plans Buoyed

    1. Andrew Lawler

    NASA is informally promising its foreign partners that there will be 18 more flights to the still-incomplete international space station, sources at NASA and industry say. The news should assuage many who feared that the agency would leave key components of the station earthbound. Agency officials had considered slashing the number of shuttle flights before it retires the fleet from a planned 24 to as few as 12. The higher number means the European Columbus and the Japanese experiment modules can be orbited, but the Japanese centrifuge and a Russian power module likely will be left behind, along with a host of U.S. research-related equipment. NASA plans to release more details on the station later this month.

  3. Gene Hunters, Heal Ourselves

    1. Elizabeth Pennisi

    Currently deciphering genomes of species from macaques to zebra finches, the high-throughput sequencing centers funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) are shifting toward solving medical problems. The program, whose annual budget is $130 million, will eventually devote half its output to disease gene searches, NHGRI says. Initial targets include seven rare, single-gene disorders and X-linked diseases. Moreover, until 4 November, NHGRI is soliciting more disease gene targets. “We have the possibility in one fell swoop of solving 50 or maybe 100 diseases,” says Nelson Freimer, a geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

  4. Trials Target TB

    1. Martin Enserink

    PARIS—The amount of time required to treat tuberculosis (TB) could be halved if a series of phase II clinical trials of a new drug regimen, announced at a meeting here by Bayer HealthCare and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, bear fruit. TB takes more than a million lives annually, and curing it requires patients to take a four-drug cocktail for at least 6 months. Many patients don't complete the regimen, which can trigger antibiotic resistance.

    Under the deal, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins University, and University College London will test in 2500 patients in eight countries whether replacing one drug in the current cocktail with a new Bayer antibiotic called moxifloxacin can, as mouse studies suggest, reduce treatment time by 2 to 3 months. Bayer will make the drug available cheaply in developing countries if the studies—and subsequent phase III trials—prove the new cocktail's value.

  5. South Dakota Digs In

    1. Adrian Cho

    One state made a preemptive move this week in the competition to host the proposed $300 million national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) (Science, 29 July, p. 682). South Dakota announced it has struck a deal to open the upper levels of the abandoned Homestake gold mine in Lead as soon as 2007 as an interim underground laboratory. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is currently deliberating whether to build DUSEL at Homestake or at the Henderson Mine in Empire, Colorado.

    South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican, says scientists have an “open invitation” to use the space, which at 1500 meters deep would be the second deepest lab in the world. “We're available, and the resources are there,” Rounds says. But Henderson bid spokesperson Chang Kee Jung, a physicist at Stony Brook University in New York, called the move “not kosher.” He fears that a working lab would hand NSF what amounts to a fait accompli, as well as put the foundation in a tough position if a researcher were to propose work at Homestake before a DUSEL decision is finalized. NSF says it will maintain its standards during the DUSEL process.