Posts filed under ‘New and cool in biomed’
I was kind of hoping I would be able to get a little vacation away from Open Access, but it seems to be chasing me around. There is a lot of hype in the Interwebs about a Merck spin-off non-profit organization called Sage. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, please see here, here, and for a more skeptical approach here and here. Open Access supporters are cheering loudly to praise the pharmaceutical giant for their good will in supposedly donating a huge amount of data to the project. The founders, Stephen Friend and Eric Schadt, liken the project to a new “Science Facebook” and happily paint the future of drug discovery with bright colors as a network of scientists all interacting together for the greater good of the society. However, there is virtually nothing on what the system is going to look like and what it is going to contain. After some more googling, I found this interview with Schadt, which sheds a bit more light on the whole deal.
The Web is rife with news stories regarding a paper just published in PLOS Medicine about a benign tumor that arose in a child treated with fetal neural “stem cell” therapy for ataxia telangiectasia in a Moscow clinic. Most of the reports are total crap, showing typical journalistic dilettantism, and spreading “stem cells are BAD” FUD. Just about the best news story I was able to find on the subject is (not surprisingly) on The Scientist website. The discussion that follows is also pretty interesting, so if you have a subscrption, be sure to check it out. There are a few points, however, I would like to elaborate on a bit further.
My previous post was on looking at things in bulk. Microarrays, gene expression signatures, the context of the cell. This time I want to go the other way. Other than looking at the context of the cell in order to understand all the molecular events that are going on inside, we must also consider the subcellular environment of these events. After all, the cell is not just a bag with all those molecules in it, which is just shaken up from time to time, causing the molecules to interact pretty much at random. What it is, actually, which many people fail to appreciate, and still more find it more convenient to just ignore, is more like a factory. (more…)