Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Evidence for an XMRV-like sequence in prostate cancer?

Just saw this one today, published in the British Journal of Cancer, a respectable journal-- despite the title of the paper, "No evidence for the involvement of XMRV or MCV in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.", the paper goes on to describe single-round PCR amplification of an XMRV type sequence in two cases of prostate cancer (out of 12).  They had optimized the reaction so as to detect 700 copies of purified plasmid DNA -- one sample did not elicit sufficient product to clone, but the other did, and upon sequencing it was the same as the VP62 sequence with two exceptions - indicating it is not likely to be contamination from the plasmid the investigators used as a control.  One caveat, the group does not appear to have tested the tissues for mouse DNA -- and they acknowledge this by admitting that the sequence could be from exogenous DNA.  If you have access to the journal, you can read the paper here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

NIH funding for FY13

no, no - congress has by no means finalized next year's budget for the NIH, FY13 doesn't start until October, so my guess is it will be at least that long before a budget is passed...nevertheless, President Obama had put forth his budget, and funding for the NIH (and DOD research) is at best, likely to be flat.  Apparently the NIH still wants to increase the number of new grants to be funded by 8%, so they will cut funds from currently active grants to help with this (1% below FY12).  Furthermore, for those fortunate individuals  who bring in more than 1.5 million total costs per year, there will be close scrutiny to see if they deserve more funding at the expense of lesser- or not-funded scientists.  In addition, there is talk of instituting a minimum 20% effort for principle investigators.  That would limit people to 5 RO1 type grants, and I can't say that I think that is a bad idea.  What I do wish is that scientists who are getting toward the end of their careers would get some kind of special award status to cover their salary, so as they are a) less stressed and b) therefore able to transfer their experience to their junior counterparts. I found a great blog that discusses the funding situation, you can get to it by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our research high-lighted by the National Cancer Institute!

it's always good to know someone is reading our's Jeff's work on serum folate and it's association with cancer cell proliferation being high-lighted in the Nutritional Sciences Research Group news letter - you can read all about it at: