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|First Base: And the Winners
Are . . . |
The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., was the venue for the
presentation of the inaugural Bio-IT World Best Practices awards. 150
invited guests attended the event, in which the winners of a rigorous
competition that drew entries from 50 organizations were announced.
Grand Prize in the Discovery and Development category went to Millennium
Pharmaceuticals for the development of PARIS (Pathway Resource Information
System), a computational application based on InGenuity's Pathway Knowledge Base
for high-throughput data, which contributed to the development of Velcade and
In Clinical Trials, the Grand Prize went to Baylor College of Medicine for
BRAIN (Biomedical Research and Information Network), a series of paperless
Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures that save time and expand
And in the Drug Manufacturing category, Solutia Pharmaceutical Systems won
the Grand Prize for the API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) project
management system, to monitor utilization of human, capital, and material
Other winners were Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Perlegen Sciences, Pharmacia,
Pfizer, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and
Read further coverage of the Best Practices 2003
For information on the 2004 Best Practices Awards, please
contact Special Projects Editor Tony Strattner at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Second Base: Broad
During last week's press conference to announce the $300-million Broad
Institute, Eric Lander cited a new study published online by Nature
Genetics as an example of the collaborative research on complex diseases
that will be the hallmark of the new venture. The new study, which Lander
co-authored with founding Broad Institute faculty David Altshuler, Todd Golub,
and others, adds important new insight into the origins of type 2 (adult-onset)
diabetes. The disease affects more than 110 million people worldwide, but
dissecting the genetic and environmental risk factors is a mammoth challenge.
The new study presents a novel microarray method called Gene Set Enrichment
Analysis, which examines the coordinated changes in activity of genes that
congregate in biological pathways, rather than just individually. By monitoring
the activity of 22,000 genes in muscle biopsies from 43 individuals, including
18 diabetics, and sorting the results according to gene sets, the group
identified a set of genes involved in energy metabolism (oxidative
phosphorylation) that is less active in diabetes. This is exciting because
previous studies have implicated mutations in factors known to regulate the
activity of genes in this pathway as causes of rare inherited forms of diabetes.
Lander hopes this "self-assembled" collaboration between researchers at
several MIT- and Harvard-affiliated institutions and hospitals is a harbinger of
things to come at the Broad Institute.
*V.K. Mootha et
al. "PGC-1alpha-responsive genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation
are coordinately downregulated in human diabetes."
Genetics July 2003: doi:10.1038/ng1180
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|Third Base: New Cancer Chief
Britain's Cancer Research UK, the world's largest cancer charity formed by
the merger of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research
Campaign, has a new boss. Alex Markham has been tapped to succeed Nobel laureate
Sir Paul Nurse, who becomes president of Rockefeller University later this year.
Markham is currently Director of the Molecular Medicines Unit at the
University of Leeds. "My job will be to maintain the charity's world-class
research and build on recent advances to take new knowledge into the clinic for
the benefit of cancer patients," said Markham, who assumes his new post on
September 1. He will be aided by a war chest that swelled by $450 million last
year. The charity spends about $250 million a year on research.
Read the Cancer Research UK press
|Sliding Home: Y Bother?
Some 13 years ago, Whitehead Institute geneticist David Page thought he had
discovered the male sex-determining gene, located on the tip of the Y
chromosome. Alas, it was a false lead, and the true 'testis-determining factor'
was identified a short time later by Britain's Peter Goodfellow and Robin
Page maintained his interest in the Y chromosome, however, and over the past
few years, his team has produced a string of beautiful papers on the structure
and evolution of the male chromosome, identifying the genetic basis for at least
some forms of male infertility in the process.
Last week, Page, Robert Waterston, and coworkers had the satisfaction of
publishing the complete sequence of the Y chromosome. At the Washington, D.C.,
press conference, Page jokingly presented the Rodney Dangerfield map of the Y
chromosome -- a cartoon depicting such hypothetical (or not) male-only traits
such as 'air guitar' and 'inability to express affection over the phone.'
The true story of Y is fascinating in its own right, with the researchers
discovering eight massive tracks of palindromic sequence, most of which contain
testis-specific genes. The sequence of the Y chromosome offers the genetic
equivalent of an archaeological dig - a chance to reconstruct events over
hundreds of millions of years that transformed an anonymous ancestral chromosome
into a pair of misfit sex chromosomes.
The Y chromosome paper is freely available online from Nature:
H. Skaletsky et al. "The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of
discrete sequence classes."
Nature 423, 825-837 (2003).
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THE MOLECULAR TAXONOMY OF CANCER
fundamental advances in oncogenomics to the pathogenesis, diagnosis and
treatment of cancer.
The 2004 CNIO (Spanish National Cancer Centre) Symposium
Spain: 3-6 February, 2004
Announcing an outstanding international symposium analyzing the remarkable
advances in cancer research, diagnosis and clinical oncology, co-organized by
Todd Golub (Whitehead Institute/Dana Farber), Miguel-Angel Piris (CNIO), and
Kevin Davies (Bio-IT World).
Speakers include: Mariano Barbacid, Josep Baselga, Gerard Evan, Todd Golub,
Peter Goodfellow, Colin Hill, Olli Kallioniemi, Mary-Claire King, Greg Hannon,
Sir John Maddox, Alex Matter, Martin Nowak, Miguel A. Piris, John Quackenbush,
Chris Sander, Luis Serrano, Louis Staudt, Michael Stratton, Laura Vanīt Veer,
Karen Vousden, and Bob Weinberg.
Further details and registration information:
All content copyright Bio-IT World Inc., 2002-2003.
All rights are reserved. No material may be reproduced electronically or in
print without written permission from Bio-IT World Inc., P.O. Box 9010, 500 Old
Connecticut Path, Framingham, MA 01701.