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The following is a review of diagnostics related medical research worldwide

The information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.

The following information has been compiled from publicly available Sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.

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Research News for February 1999

Pasteur Merieux Connaught (Rhone-Poulenc Group) has begun a first AIDS vaccine trial in Africa, using the company's ALVAC-HIV (vCP205) canarypox vaccine. The candidate vaccine, which will be given to 40 healthy volunteers in Uganda, has previously been studied in 800 volunteers in France and the United States, and has no serious side effects. ALVAC-HIV (vCP205) is made of recombinant canarypox expressing three selected HIV genes -- the gp120 envelope protein and two internal proteins, Gag and Protease.

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University have reported the discovery of the demethylase enzyme gene that encodes a novel activity believed to be critical for reprogramming cells. The researchers believe that understanding the new gene will allow them to control and reverse genetic programs. This could be critical for diverse fields of biotechnology such as cloning, stem cell therapy and gene therapy. Another important potential of the discovery is anticancer therapy.
Source: Nature, February 1999

Researchers, from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown and the University of Sydney, Australia have identified tests may identify children at risk of obesity. They found that children with relatively lower levels of a hormone called leptin, or relatively higher levels of cholesterol -- were more likely to have gained weight 12 months later and risk becoming obese as adults. Both plasma leptin and total cholesterol can be easily measured in clinical practice and the report concludes that "If the results of the present study are confirmed over the longer term and in larger numbers, then these findings may represent a method of defining the at risk of obesity state in childhood."
Source: International Journal of Obesity, February 1999

Researchers at the Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon have discovered a receptor on mouse cells that leukemia-causing viruses use to gain access to the cell's interior. The discovery may lead to the identification of other receptors that help viruses to invade cells, and could lead to new antiviral drugs. The researchers studied viruses that cause leukemia in mice, including xenotropic murine leukemia viruses (X-MLVs), which can infect mice and humans, and polytropic murine leukemia virus (P-MLVs), which cannot infect humans. Both types of virus rely on a receptor, known as the X receptor, to gain access to cells. The human version of the X receptor gene is used by X-MLVs and the mouse version of the same receptor is used by P-MLVs.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February, 1999

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