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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of drug discovery and development stories.

Experts back ERC

A European Research Council (ERC) would help to address Europe's poor performance in cutting-edge areas of research, an expert panel has concluded. The panel, made up of people from the Europe and the US to examine the impact of an ERC, also said that the main benefits of an ERC would be to encourage and support the best talent, to help individual countries maximise their research performance and to expand science-based industry. ìThe ERC offers arguably the single most important means to remedy Europe's current weakness in high-quality research and in new, fast-developing areas,î the group's report Frontier research: the European challenge concludes.

Malaria combination effective

The combination of the drugs artemether and lumefantrine are more effective than other drugs at treating malaria in young children, a UK study has found. The study, conducted in Tanzania by scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that at day 28 parasitological failure ranged between 21 per cent in the artemether-lumefantrine arm to 76 per cent in the amodiaquine group. The combination was tested in children with malaria aged between four and 59 months.

Metformin may prevent cancer

The type II diabetes drug metformin may be able to prevent cancer, scientists from the University of Dundee have found. The researchers discovered that patients who took metformin cut their risk of developing all tumour types by more than 25 per cent. ìThe possibility that metformin may have beneficial effects beyond diabetes control is very exciting indeed,î said Professor Andrew Morris from the University of Dundee.

Scientists get cloning go-ahead

A group of scientists from the Centre for Life in Newcastle have been given the go-ahead to create cloned embryos from a type I diabetes patient. Professor Alison Murdoch and Dr Miodrag Stojkovic hope that the new cloned embryo cells will be used to grow replacement insulin-producing cells from the patient. The research should go some way to further the understanding of diabetes and to eventually replace the use of animals in scientific research, the researchers said.

30th September 2008


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