StemCells, Inc., a California biotech, has been cleared by an Oregon university to begin testing transplants of human neural stem cells in six children with Batten disease. After injecting the cells into the brains of the children, researchers will monitor their response in a trial that aims to produce evidence such cells can produce a missing enzyme in sufficient quantities to slow the disease's progress.
A National Institutes of Health effort to get NIH-funded scientists to voluntarily publish papers on the Internet has failed, so efforts are under way to require those researchers to make their government-funded work available online for free. A federal advisory committee is calling for public posting, and some in Congress are considering a more far-reaching public publication requirement.
The head of Exxon Mobil called for an end to U.S. subsidies for corn-based ethanol, saying the fact the government continues to subsidize production of ethanol is proof itself the alternative is not viable. The head of an ethanol-promoting group called the assertion "outrageous" at a time the oil industry is making "pornographic profits" from high gas prices.
Several EU member nations challenged the policy of its European Commission and called for at least a slowdown in approving biotech products for entry into the EU. The EC wants faster approval of biotech foods, but environment ministers from some nations said the EU should adopt stricter rules before approving such products.