BBC NEWS | Health | HIV gene therapy trial promising.
One of the first attempts to use gene therapy to treat HIV has produced promising results in clinical trials.
When the therapy was tested on 74 patients, it was shown to be safe and appeared to reduce the effect of the virus on the immune system.
In theory, one treatment should be enough to replace the need for a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy.
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Galaxy has ‘billions of Earths’.
There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.
Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.
He was speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.
So far, telescopes have been able to detect just over 300 planets outside our Solar System.
Very few of these would be capable of supporting life, however. Most are gas giants like our Jupiter, and many orbit so close to their parent stars that any microbes would have to survive roasting temperatures.
But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one “Earth-like” planet.
This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Alien life ‘may exist among us’.
Never mind Mars, alien life may be thriving right here on Earth, a major science conference has heard.
Our planet may harbour forms of “weird life” unrelated to life as we know it, according to Professor Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State University.
This “shadow life” may be hidden in toxic arsenic lakes or in boiling deep sea hydrothermal vents, he says.
He has called on scientists to launch a “mission to Earth” by trawling hostile environments for signs of bio-activity.
DailyTech – Samsung Claims New Phone Can Make Solar-Powered Calls.
Samsung claims its new “Blue Earth” smart phone, which comes with solar panels on its back, will be able to get enough sun juice to power a call when outdoors on a reasonably sunny day.
DailyTech – Researchers Create Cancer-Killing Smart Bomb From Plant Virus.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have used modified plant viruses to create the latest version of the smart bomb. By selectively targeting specific cells in the body for payload delivery, it could greatly reduce the effects of toxic treatments like chemotherapy on healthy cells, while increasing the efficacy of killing cancer cells.
DailyTech – Samsung’s Wireless USB Chips Coming to Phones, Cameras.
Samsung has created a new wireless universal serial bus (W-USB) System-On-Chip (SoC) which promises to allow mobile devices such as phones camera and laptops to connect to each other or other devices through an interface that is virtually identical to a cabled USB connection, only without the wires.
DailyTech – Study Finds Japanese Longevity Gene in Europeans.
A German study has found that a gene credited with long life in people of Japanese origin can also be found in Europeans. The research was conducted at Germany’s Kiel University where 388 Germans who were over 100 years old had their genetic makeup compared with 731 younger individuals. The researchers found that a variant of the gene FOXO3A occurred very frequently in the older group.
DailyTech – JAXA’s Asteroid Probe on Journey Back to Earth.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced its Hayabusa asteroid probe has turned on its engines to continue the journey home.
“We are continuing to pay careful attention to our onboard equipment and are doing our utmost to operate the Hayabusa with the greatest care,” JAXA said in an official statement. “We will continue to gradually accelerate the Hayabusa until around March 2010 to carry out the second phase orbit maneuvering for returning it to Earth.”
Until recently, Hayabusa has simply glided through space in Earth’s direction, but JAXA officials decided it was time to have it restart one of the probe’s four ion-powered engine to help with the journey.
If all goes according to JAXA’s plans, Hayabusa will finally return to Earth in June 2010. The probe’s important cargo is a canister that contains samples collected from the asteroid Itokawa, which will be a great accomplishment for the Japanese space agency.
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BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Number of alien worlds quantified.
Intelligent civilisations are out there and there could be thousands of them, according to an Edinburgh scientist.
The discovery of more than 330 planets outside our solar system in recent years has helped refine the number of life forms that are likely to exist.
The current research estimates that there are at least 361 intelligent civilisations in our Galaxy and possibly as many as 38,000.
The work is reported in the International Journal of Astrobiology.
Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning – Telegraph.
An extinct animal has been brought back to life for the first time after being cloned from frozen tissue.
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Telescope sees smallest exoplanet.
The smallest planet yet found outside the Solar System has been detected by a French space telescope.
The rocky world is less than twice the size of Earth.
Only a handful of planets have so far been found with a mass comparable to Earth, Venus, Mars or Mercury.
The discovery was made by Corot, an orbiting observatory with a 27cm-diameter telescope to search for planets orbiting other stars.
BBC NEWS | Health | MS stem-cell treatment ‘success’.
Stem-cell transplants may control and even reverse multiple sclerosis symptoms if done early enough, a small study has suggested.
Not one of 21 adults with relapsing-remitting MS who had stem cells transplanted from their own bone marrow deteriorated over three years.
And 81% improved by at least one point on a scale of neurological disability, The Lancet Neurology reported.
BBC NEWS | Health | Body repair ‘could be ramped up’.
A combination of drugs could trick the body into sending its repair mechanisms into overdrive, say scientists.
The technique could be used to speed the healing of heart or bone damage, they claim.
The bone marrow of treated mice released 100 times as many stem cells – which help to regenerate tissue.
Imperial College London scientists reported their work in the journal Cell Stem Cell, but said human trials were some years away.
BBC NEWS | Health | Cancer protection secret revealed.
Scientists say they have discovered a missing link in the way cells protect themselves against cancer.
They have uncovered how cells switch a gene called p53, which can block the development of tumours, on and off.