Court Ends Suit on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Policy

The lawsuit seeking to overturn the Obama administration’s policy on embryonic stem cell research has now been dismissed — by the same federal judge who ruled last year that the policy was illegal.

Citing an appeals court decision in April, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in an order issued Wednesday that he had no choice but to rule in the administration’s favor.

Last August, in a suit brought by two researchers opposed to human embryonic stem cell research, Lamberth had ruled that the administration’s policy violated the so-called Dickey-Wicker amendment.

Enacted by Congress in 1996, the amendment prohibits use of federal funds for research that destroys human embryos.

Lamberth ordered a halt to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research freed up by the administration’s policy, issued shortly after President Obama took office, which took down many of the restrictions put in place by President George W. Bush.

But the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that Lamberth’s interpretation of the law was too narrow and that the Obama administration’s policy would probably withstand challenge when the law was read correctly.

Rockefeller One of Ten Sites Receiving Renewed Translational Medicine Grants

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ten research institutes have received a total of $498 million from the National Center for Research Resources to fund the second five-year phase of their Clinical and Translational Science Institutes.

The largest awards in this second round of Clinical and Translational Science Awards funding include a $112 million grant to the University of California, San Francisco; $67.3 million to the University of Pittsburgh; $62.8 million to Mayo Clinic; and $54.8 million to the University of Pennsylvania.

Other research centers receiving the latest round of CTSA funding include Yale University ($45.4 million); Oregon Health & Sciences University ($39.8 million); Columbia University Medical Center ($38.9 million); Rockefeller University ($36.1 million); University of Rochester ($20.7 million); and UC Davis ($20 million).

“These institutes were the pioneers in this program and are to be commended for the work they have done in bridging the traditional divides between laboratory research and medical practice,” Barbara Alving, director of the National Center for Research Resources, said in a statement from UCSF.

“They were tasked with transforming the way their institutions coordinate research to make it more proactive and effective in producing real-world results, and in the process, they have served as innovative models nationwide,” Alving said.

According to UCSF, the National Institutes of Health plans to release a report on the CTSA program in August that will highlight the research that has sprung from this program.

UCSF said that the CTSA grants have supported the creation of a framework to enable researchers to “move beyond the traditional silos of science to collaborate on promising research and find the training and resources to move those projects ahead.”

The university said that at UCSF the funding has enabled the creation of “an extensive network of training and support for researchers to help bridge the gaps between laboratory science, clinical care, and improvements in health.”

Proton Pump Functions By Protein Bound Transient Chain of Water Molecules

Researchers from have succeeded in providing evidence that a protein is capable of creating a water molecule chain for a few milliseconds for the directed proton transfer. The combination of vibrational spectroscopy and biomolecular simulations enabled the elucidation of the proton pump mechanism of a cell-membrane protein in atomic detail. The researchers demonstrated that protein-bound water molecules play a decisive role in the function.  Details of these revelations published in PNAS online.