December 2012

Cuba creates biotech-pharma combine

Cuba

Cuba's government has created a new business group comprising 38 companies involved in the manufacture and sale of medicine and provision of services in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

The new group will operate under the name BioCubaFarma and "will be guided by business principles," an official statement said.

It was created "by merging entities belonging to the Scientific Pole and the QUIMEFA Business Group with a mission to manufacture medicine and equipment (and provide) hi-tech services," the statement added.

Scientists find 'bully' genes in common childhood tumor

bully gene

In a genome sequencing study of 74 neuroblastoma tumors in children, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that patients with changes in two genes, ARID1A and ARID1B, survive only a quarter as long as patients without the changes. The discovery could eventually lead to early identification of patients with aggressive neuroblastomas who may need additional treatments.

NEC plans DNA analyzer for nearly-instant results

DNA Analyzer

NEC is working on a DNA analyzer that is the size of a suitcase, portable enough to be taken to crime scenes. The NEC analyzer integrates all steps required in DNA analysis. By 2014, NEC intends to issue a model that will be able to process samples at the scene of a crime or at disaster sites in as little as 25 minutes. The current version of the analyzer takes about an hour for all DNA-determining tasks, but NEC intends to bring the time down to 25 minutes.

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