Weekend tidbits~ Nanogirl News.

Gina Miller (nanogirl@halcyon.com)
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 21:33:49 -0700

Weekend Nanogirl News~This is to tide you over.

*Image of Electron Orbitals Confirms Controversial Bonding Hypothesis. Using
a combination of convergent beam electron diffraction and X-ray diffraction techniques, a team of materials researchers at Arizona State University have achieved startlingly clear images of electron orbitals responsible for bonding in Cu2O, also known as cuprite, a ceramic semiconductor with a rare structure.

*Virginia Tech Researchers Create New Family Of Molecule, Solve Fullerene
Processing Mystery
BLACKSBURG, Aug. 30, 1999 -- Leaky lab equipment and Virginia Tech researchers' eagle eyes have resulted in a new family of molecules with potential applications ranging from medicine to optical-electronic devices, and beyond. The researchers report in the Sept. 2, 1999, issue of Nature that they can produce C80 fullerenes containing three metal atoms ("Small-bandgap endohedral metallofullerenes in high yield and purity"). http://fbox.vt.edu:10021/ur/news/Archives/Aug99/99348.html

*Order Chemical Reviews special thematic issue:Nanostructures July 1999.

*For decades, pharmaceutical companies have struggled to overcome the
molecular equivalent of the Great Wall of China: the outer membrane of cells, which prevents all but the tiniest of proteins from entering. Now researchers have slipped a protein that's more than 200 times larger than the average drug into the cells of living mice and shown that the protein functions.

*Scientists at Jefferson Medical College have found a way to isolate
hard-to-find hematopoietic stem cells. The researchers, in identifying a chemical beacon – a protein marker – on the cell, believe the new work will lead to laboratory production of all types of blood cells for transfusions and innovative approaches for bone marrow transplants and gene therapy. http://www.jeffersonhealth.org/news/1999/083199.html

*Loss of Molecular Handbrakes Compromises Immune System. Two related
proteins that act as brakes for a variety of cellular growth processes appear to play a critical role in ensuring that both blood cells and immune system cells are neither overactive nor overabundant. One of the proteins may play a role in the development of certain types of leukemia. http://www.hhmi.org/news/ihle.htm

*OSU Medical Center uses robotic heart surgery technique
A new minimally invasive heart surgery technique utilizing robotic technology has been performed at The Ohio State University Medical Center. It was the first use in North America of the da Vinci Computer-Enhanced Surgical System which uses sensitive remote-controlled surgical instruments guided by a surgeon at a computer keyboard. http://www.acs.ohio-state.edu/units/research/archive/1stsurg.htm

*Cloning gives second chance for bull. A calf has been cloned from a
21-year-old celebrity bull, the oldest animal yet reproduced using this technology.

*Genetic finds get smarter, faster Sydney Morning Herald)
Gene breakthroughs that could lead to ways to boost intelligence, extend our life span, and cure diabetes were among many genetic findings announced in international journals this week.

*New Scientist book review of: The Making of Intelligence by Ken Richardson,
Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

*DNA traces humble origins of noble wines.A grape variety once banned as
inferior and unworthy is actually the ancestor of some of France’s most highly prized wines, says a researcher who analyzed the genetic history of grapes from such legendary wine centers as Champagne and Burgundy. http://www.msnbc.com/news/307475.asp

*A man with muscular dystrophy has been injected with genes for a needed
muscle protein, a method which may find success in treating the disease. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/DailyNews/md_genetherapy990903.html

*God Welcome in Biologist's Lab

Religion and science aren't mutually exclusive in Francisco J. Ayala's universe. He's an evolutionary biologist and an ordained priest. Ayala believes in God even as he stands stooped over in his laboratory, juggling beakers and breeding new kinds of fruit flies. http://www.latimes.com/excite/990904/t000079131.html

*Everyone's guide to DNA Computers.


*Read the letter that the American Society for Cell Biology wrote to the
Governor of Kansas in response to the recent ruling by that state's Board of Education regarding the teaching of evolution. http://www.faseb.org/ascb/

*Future riches may lie in genes Companies with potential to revolutionise
health care set to be stockmarket stars. WHEN the first biotechnology companies went public in the 1980s, US stockbrokers likened the investment opportunity to buying [ Xerox ] or IBM at its initial public offering. So when the genomics firms tapped the public markets a decade later, it was no surprise that the analogy that brokers made was to [ Microsoft ] . There may be more than a germ of truth to this genomics pitch. If you believe that some companies have the potential to create a new industry, or to alter the rules for an existing one, then those are stocks to own for the long term. The thesis behind the genomics companies is that deciphering all the genes that make up the human genome, or the sum of the body's genetic information, will prompt huge changes in health care. In this vision, gene-based diagnostic tests will predict disease years or decades before it occurs, and drugs of extraordinary specificity will prevent or cure illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke - without side effects. The leading drug companies have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the genomics firms to gain access to their data, and the betting is that the health-care system will one day pay billions for genomics-based drugs. The shares may be volatile, and investors may want to use big movements as trading opportunities, but basically, those who believe the thesis may want to own them almost regardless of how expensive they become. And those who do not believe it, of course, may want to stay away. Shares of two of the biggest gene merchants have been on a tear as investors have reacted to several gene-related discoveries announced by Maryland-based [ Human Genome Sciences ] . Shares in Human Genome, the early player and the only one to take its own drugs into clinical trial, are up more than 80 per cent since January 1. They closed on Wednesday at US$71.375 more than three times their 52-week low of $22.75 last September. The stock of [ Millennium Pharmaceuticals ] , based in Massachusetts, has tended to follow that of Human Genome, even though Millennium has yet to develop drugs of its own. But it has reaped more than $1 billion from corporate partnerships and plans to acquire a drug later this year. At its closing price of $62.50 on Wednesday it has more than doubled since January 1 and is up sixfold from its low last September. The other two big genomics stocks are in companies that sell genetic data-bases to big drug companies. In comparison to those in the first category, their shares seem like value stocks. Celera Genomics Group Maryland was spun off from [ PE Corp ] at $21.31 a share in May. It closed on Wednesday at $30.625. Shares of Incyte Pharmaceuticals of California closed at $28.25 on Wednesday down more than 20 per cent since January, largely because of the perception that an independent Celera poses a threat to its core business. Michael Murphy, editor of the California Technology Stock Letter, recommends a basket of Human Genome, Incyte and Celera. "Own all three, because what you want to do here is get a position in what will clearly be the basis of medicine in the 21st century," he said. He thinks Human Genome could hit $150 by 2002 but has not established targets for the others. Mr Murphy excludes Millennium because it has diversified into agriculture and diagnostic sectors, and he no longer sees it as a pure genomics play. But that assessment is not universal. Viren Mehta, an analyst with Mehta Partners, a health-care stock research firm, thinks Millennium has the best business model for both finding partners and prospering on its own. "What is important to remember is that up to now, the majority of drug discovery successes of smaller companies had to be shared with larger companies," he said. "It is quite likely the future will be no different." Most big-selling drugs are pills, which must be based on small molecules produced through medicinal chemistry, province of the big drug firms. "Millennium has chosen to first establish a robust scientific infrastructure, and from there to create very lucrative partnerships, where a substantial portion of the combined success will still become the exclusive property of Millennium," Mr Mehta said. "If you are going to buy one stock and put it away for your grandchildren, which will it be? We have recommended Millennium for a long time." But other analysts say Millennium's future remains dependent on the success of its partners or the acquisition of a compound that may become a successful drug, for which it will have to compete with the same deep-pocketed companies it partners with. Human Genome Sciences is alone among the genomics companies in having created drugs - three of them, all undergoing clinical trials. "We tend to favour companies that not only supply genes or data bases to corporate partners but, most importantly, can develop their own drugs," said Anthony Butler, an analyst with [ Lehman Brothers ] , which took Human Genome public in 1992. "It's amazing what just one drug will do for your value," Mr Butler said. The New York Times (Copyright 1999)

Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
Nanotechnology Industries
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