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Issue 623 (05 September 2011)

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Welcome to BioNews by email, published by the Progress Educational Trust, providing you with news, comment and reviews on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas. 

Visit the BioNews website at where you can subscribe for free to receive BioNews by email in one of three formats, and search the archive of more than 6,000 articles.


The great delay: 33 years after the first 'test-tube' baby
05 September 2011 - by Holly Finn
July marked the 33rd birthday of the world's first 'test-tube' baby. Since then, four million babies have been born thanks to IVF. Many more have not. The treatment does not guarantee pregnancy and the side effects remain severe. Yet there is a brutal dishonesty. IVF is considered almost routine. Because women - and men – don't talk frankly about their fertility struggles, we continue to get a skewed message... [Read More]
Let's retrospectively release information to Australia's donor-conceived
05 September 2011 - by Dr Sonia Allan
An Australian commercial television station recently ran a news story about a donor-conceived woman who has heritable bowel cancer (1). She did not inherit it from her mother. She is denied access to information about her sperm donor because he donated before laws in Victoria enabled information to be released to the donor-conceived. She cannot contact her eight half-siblings, who share that donor, to warn them they may be at risk... [Read More]

News Digest

World's first stem cell trial for stroke patients passes safety test
05 September 2011 - by Alison Cranage
A pioneering clinical trial to inject stem cells into the brains of disabled stroke patients has been cleared to progress to the next stage after no safety concerns were raised in the first three patients.... [Read More]
Success for early trial of viruses engineered to target tumours
05 September 2011 - by Dr Maria Teresa Esposito
A virus that damages tumours while sparing normal healthy tissue has passed a preliminary test. JX-594, an engineered version of smallpox virus, prevented or reduced further tumour growth in 13 of 23 patients four to ten weeks after they were treated... [Read More]
Australian IVF centre relaunches with new ad showing a live birth
05 September 2011 - by Rosie Beauchamp
An Australian fertility clinic has screened what is believed to be the first TV advertisement featuring a real birth... [Read More]
Is being skinny really down to genetics? Nature study suggests so
05 September 2011 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist
Scientists may have identified the first genetic link to being underweight. A paper published in the journal Nature this week found that people with extra copies of a region of chromosome 16, locus 16p11.2, have a significantly increased risk of being underweight... [Read More]
Old stem cells exposed to a young environment can be rejuvenated
05 September 2011 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud
Exposure to a youthful environment may help old cells feel alive again – as the work of Professor Xiaodong Chen and co-workers from the University of Texas Health Science Center, USA, suggests... [Read More]
Scientists discover how the egg catches the sperm
05 September 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
Researchers have discovered a molecule present on the outer surface of a human egg that binds sperm and eggs together before fertilisation. Understanding this mechanism may help people with previously unexplained fertility problems... [Read More]
First study of the genetic links to diabetes in South Asians finds six new variants
05 September 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
In an international research effort led by Imperial College London, scientists have identified six new genetic variants linked to type 2 diabetes (T2D) in South Asians.... [Read More]
Risk testing during national breast screening could halve cancer rates
05 September 2011 - by Dr Vivienne Raper
UK women at high risk of breast cancer could halve their chances of developing the disease with genetic risk testing during routine NHS screening. This news came from PROCAS - the world's first study into giving genetic risk and prevention advice in a national breast screening programme, and was reported in this Sunday's Express.... [Read More]


TV Review: Donor Mum - The Children I've Never Met
05 September 2011 - by Jenny Dunlop
Anyone who has worked in any capacity in a fertility clinic will, I hope, have wondered what the meeting of an anonymous donor and the donor-conceived person would be like. Would it be like a birth parent meeting an adopted child; would it be like TV documentaries, with all the build up and the huge emotion?... [Read More]
Radio Review: The First 1,000 Days, A Legacy for Life - Future Generations
05 September 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman
The immediate impact of environmental factors like diet, smoking and stress on health are well understood. But less is known about how your lifestyle can directly effect the health of your unborn children and grandchildren... [Read More]



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