Cambridge scientists cure paralysed dogs, see here

As reported by Sky News, scientists at Cambridge University used nose cells to help dogs with severe spinal injuries to walk again.

Scientists found that the dogs’ paralysis could be helped by fixing breaks in the spinal cord using olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) taken from their noses. These cells support nerve fibre growth that maintains a communication pathway between the nose and the brain.

A random controlled trial was conducted by scientists studying 34 pet dogs who had suffered spinal injuries as a result of previous accidents and back problems (no dogs were harmed deliberately to aid the research).

One group of dogs (23 dogs in total) had the OEC cells injected into the injury site, whilst the other group only had the liquid in which the cells were suspended injected. Those dogs which had been injected with the OEC cells showed significant improvement and were able to walk on the treadmill with the support of a harness.

The scientist believe that the transplanted OEC cells regenerated nerve fibres across the damaged region of the spinal cord, enabling the dogs to regain the use of their hind legs and coordinate movement with their front limbs.

Professor Robin Franklin, one of the study leaders from Cambridge University, said: “Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement.”

The findings could provide hope for  humans suffering for paralysis, however Prof Franklin warns the treatment is likely to only restore “at least a small amount” of movement in affected limbs. It is expected that the procedure will need to be used as part of a combination of treatments, alongside drug and physical therapies.

Prof Geoffrey Raisman, chair of Neural Regeneration at University College London said: “This is not a cure for spinal cord injury in humans – that could still be a long way off.  But this is the most encouraging advance for some years and is a significant step on the road towards it.”

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and was published in the neurology journal, Brain. The research was a collaboration between the Medical Research Council’s Regenerative Medical Centre and Cambridge University Veterinary School.


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Cambridge scientists cure paralysed dogs using nose cells   Cambridge scientists cure paralysed dogs using nose cells   Cambridge scientists cure paralysed dogs using nose cells   Cambridge scientists cure paralysed dogs using nose cells

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Scientists get £4m to develop ‘designer bacteria’

As reported by Pharma Express, scientists at the University of Glasgow have received £4m from the UK Government to help them develop ‘designer bacteria’.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has distributed funds through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council with the overall aim of making the UK a world leader in research and application of synthetic biology.

The cash boost will be invested to help scientists and researchers in the Institute of Molecular, System and Cell Biology to develop tools for the production of useful strains of micro-organisms. The Glasgow scientists will use a family of enzymes called recombinases which act as molecular ‘scissors and glue’ for DNA. These will allow the researchers to cut the strands at precisely defined positions and ‘paste’ a new sequence into the gap. The researchers will also use the technology to ‘teach’ cells to count and keep a record of the number they have counted up to in their DNA.

The £4m for the project, which is being led by Prof Stark and his colleagues Dr Sean Colloms and Dr Susan Rosser, will also fund researchers at Aberdeen, York and Nottingham Universities.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said, “Synthetic biology could provide solutions to the global challenges we face and offers significant growth opportunities in a range of important sectors from health to energy. However, the commercialisation of basic science is largely untapped. This investment will help to ensure that academics and industry can realise its full potential.”


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Glasgow scientists receive £4m to develop ‘designer bacteria’   Glasgow scientists receive £4m to develop ‘designer bacteria’   Glasgow scientists receive £4m to develop ‘designer bacteria’   Glasgow scientists receive £4m to develop ‘designer bacteria’


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Olympic Team GB work with scientists on gene tests for injuries

As reported by the BBC, Scientists behind Olympic Team GB are working on genetic tests to understand why some athletes are prone to injury Scientists at the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London are currently researching how and why tendon injuries and stress fractures occur as they are common in elite athletes University College London’s Prof Hugh Montgomery says they have found a gene they think strongly influences the risk of stress fracture…….If we understood that genetic component we would have a much better understanding of the patho-physiology – the disease processes that let that happen” The study has been working with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), which aims to apply the latest in sports science and medicine for the benefit of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. EIS’s Director of Sport Science, Dr Ken van Someren said “If we can identify some particular genes that are associated with a higher risk of injury in certain individuals, and we think we’re close, we can tailor the training, conditioning and preparation that we put those individuals through.”

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Research Scientist – East Midlands

Naynesh Mistry at CK Science is currently recruiting for a Research Scientist – Fermentation R&D to join a leading biopharmaceutical company based in the East Midlands on a permanent basis.


As a Research Scientist you will join the R&D fermentation team and you will have the following responsibilities:

  • Be responsible for the producing gram quantities of recombinant proteins
  • Developing fermentation processes and providing technology transfer support
  • Be expected to work both independently and within a multi-functional team
  • Be responsible for performing fermentations, maintaining the professional standards of the laboratory
  • Documenting and communicating your work. 


The successful Research Scientist will have the following qualifications, skills and experiences:

  • BSc Life Science or PhD entry level or equivalent
  • Evidence of DoE (Design of Experiment), Microbial Physiology and Systems Biology understanding.
  • Good practical knowledge of fermenter and complementary technologies
  • Ability to work independently to deadlines, be flexible to changing priorities and be comfortable multitasking.
  • Team player with good communication and scientific writing skills.

If successful you will be joining a one of the leading companies in Biopharmaceutical and Bio innovation products.

Naynesh Mistry - Consultant at CK ScienceHow to apply:

For more information or to apply for this Research Scientist position contact Naynesh Mistry via email or telephone 0114 283 9956. Please quote reference SH24626 in all correspondence.

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Two Scientists Win Largest Technology Award

As reported by the BBC News, two scientists have been awarded the Millenium Technology Prize for their scientific contributions to improving the quality of human life and in encouraging sustainable development.

Two Scientists Win Largest Technology Award in the WorldAwarded once every two years, the Millenium Technology Prize is the largest technology prize in the world. This is the first time the prize has been awarded to two scientists, Dr Shinya Yamanaka and Linus Torvalds. The two winners split the 1.2m euros prize.

Dr Shinya Yamanaka

Dr Shinya Yamanaka is a stem cell scientist who discovered how to program human cells to mimic embryonic stem cells. These cells can become any cell in the body. This is called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The scientists discovery will now contribute to the development of regenerative medicine.

Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds created a new open source operating system for computers.

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Scientists develop robotic fish to combat pollution

As reported by the BBC, European scientists have developed robotic fish which detects contamination and pollution in water.

The pollution-hunting fish is 1.5 metres long and cost £20,000 for the scientists to develop. It is fitted with sensors which pick up pollutants leaking from ships or undersea pipelines. In fact, the fish reduced the time it takes to detect pollutants from weeks to seconds. Scientists develop robotic fish to combat pollutionThe fish can communicate with each other, avoid obstacles, map their journey and transmit their data back to shore. Currently undertaking first trials in northern Spain, modifications will then be made to improve the large yellow fish.

Speaking of the pollution detecting project, Luke Speller, Senior Scientist as the research division of technology consultancy, the BMT Group stated, “The idea is that we want to have real-time monitoring of pollution, so that if someone is dumping chemicals or something is leaking, we can get to it straight away, find out what is causing the problem and put a stop to it.”

The project has part-funded by the EU and used expertise from scientists from the University of Essex and the University of Strathclyde. Further input came from the technology consultancy, the BMT Group and from the Tyndall National Institute and Thales Safare, which is a unit of Europe’s largest defence electronics group.

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Assay Development Scientist Job in Wiltshire, UK

Reena Dhana at CK Science is currently recruiting for an Assay Development Scientist to join a rapidly expanding Diagnostic Technology Organisation at their site based in Wiltshire. This Assay Development Scientist job is a full time, permanent and fixed term role.

Assay Development Scientist Job Description:

As an Assay Development Scientist, the main purpose of your role will be:

– Contributing to assay development.

– Formulating reagents.

– Testing of assays.

The successful Assay Development Scientist, you will have the following qualifications, skills and experience:

– Qualified in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or a related discipline (or equivalent).

– Previous experience of PCR, ELISA or other assay techniques.

– Previous experience of writing scientific publications.

– Previous laboratory experience.

As an Assay Development Scientist, you will be joining a specialist Diagnostics Technology Organisation providing equipment to the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries, this company is a growing organisation who are offering a competitive salary, with excellent benefits.

How to apply:

Contact Reena for more details.

Click here to apply online now.

For more information regarding this Assay Development Scientist role, please contact Reena Dhana at CK Science on 01438 723 500 or email Please use reference ST24159 in all correspondence.

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Glasgow scientists use 3D printers to create drugs

As reported by the BBC, scientists at the University of Glasgow have used 3D printers to create organic compounds and inorganic clusters which could be used in drugs to treat cancer.

The £1,250 3D printing process involves the use of a robotically controlled syringe which then builds an object out of a gel-based “ink”. Chemicals and catalysts are them mixed into this.  Traditionally, chemists have put chemicals in glassware in order to create a reaction.

It is hoped that in the long term this 3D printing system  could be used to make customised medicines whereby a doctor could download pre-set recipes and even tailor the medicines to their patients individual needs.

The scientists at the University of Glasgow also predict that the technology will be used by major pharmaceutical companies within five years and by the public within 20 years.

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Blood test made to diagnose depression in teenagers

As reported by the Press Association, scientists have successfully developed a blood test that will help diagnose depression and anxiety disorders in teenagers.

Previously, when diagnosing depression, doctors have had to rely on the patients accurate reporting of their symptoms, and their own ability to interpret those symptoms. This is particularly challenging in teenagers, whose emotions are typically very up and down at this time in their lives.

Now, scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have developed the first blood test to diagnose depression and anxiety disorders. It measures a set of genetic markers which have been previously developed to diagnose depression in teenagers. The blood test can also distinguish between the different types of depression. For example it can tell the difference between a patient with major depression and a patient with depression combined with an anxiety disorder.

The study involved 28 adolescent participants between the ages of 15 and 19 – 14 of who those had major depression (they had not been clinically treated) and 14 were healthy individuals. Each of the participants were tested for 26 genetic blood markers which had been identified in previous research.  The scientists found that 18 of the 26 markers could identify those participants who had major depression and those who had both depression and an anxiety disorder.

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Scientists grow sperm in the laboratory

As reported by The Telegraph, scientists in Germany and Israel have been able to grow mouse sperm in the laboratory.

The team of scientists were lead by Professor Stefan Schlatt at Muenster University were able to grow sperm cells in a laboratory dish using germ cells – the cells in the testicles that are responsible for sperm production.

This incredible breakthrough could enable infertile men to father their own children. Speaking of the discovery, Stephen Gordon, a leading NHS male infertility consultant stated, “Infertile men naturally want to be the father of their child but at present have to accept that can’t happen. With the mouse discovery, that could now be a possibility.”

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£3.6m research project – effects of ageing

As reported by the Cambridge News, scientists in Cambridge are to take part in a £3.6m research project investigating the effects of ageing.

The project has received it’s funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The scientists are from the Babraham Institute, Cambridge University and MRC Laboratory.

The study will aim to discover more about a mechanism that controls cells in our immune systems. Speaking of the study, Professor Douglas Kell, CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council stated,

“Maintaining and improving the health of older people so that they can live enjoyable and productive lives into their 80s and beyond is a major challenge facing society. Victories in public health and nutrition continue to increase life span around the world yet the lives of many older people are blighted by disability and disease. Combating the problems associated with old age will require an understanding at the most fundamental level of how our bodies change as we age. This team is well placed to deepen our understanding of how ageing affects our immune system and thus to provide knowledge that will be crucial for bioscience to help people live longer and healthier lives.”

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Scientists transform skin cells into immune cells

As reported by the BBC, Scientists at Oxford University have transformed skin cells into immune cells.

This discovery, which was made in the laboratory has sparked hopes that one day cancer patients’ own skin could be used to help fight their tumours.

The research focused on dendritic cells which are key in organising the immune response as they tell the immune system where to attack by showing identifying markets or antigens.

This study has strengthened previous research by Cancer Research UK as Dr Caeutano Reis e Sousa, and immunology expert, explains, “By showing that normal body cells can be reprogrammed to become a sub-type of dendritic cells with superior activity, this research builds on previous work by Cancer Research UK scientists using blood stem cells as starting material.”

Now this exciting discovery has been made, the real challenge now is to establish whether or not these cells which were made in the lab, can be used for cancer treatments in the clinic.

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Sirius Minerals to Create 1,000 Jobs in Yorkshire

Sirius Minerals has recently completed its first successful exploratory borehole at the York Potash project, and has received a grant from the UK government, reports

The £2.8 million grant is in response to the very strong possibility of the polyhalite grade that is being drilled for has been found in the main beds is of particularly high grade in the range presented in the York exploratory targets. The grant, which was given the day after the discoveries is intended to help the regional development of the area.

The Yorkshire based project is expected to create 1,000 direct jobs and over 4,000 indirect jobs, as well as supplying the UK with a long-term source of potash, which is used in the agricultural industry. The discovery and government aid has also seen Sirius Mineral’s share prices double in a month.

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Artificial blood may be made on an industrial scale

As reported by the Daily Mail, artificial blood developed by UK scientists could soon be produced on an industrial scale.

The scientists, working from Edinburgh and Bristol University have successfully created millions of red blood cells from stem cells (these are taken from the bone marrow). Scientists know that cells taken from human embryos are most easy to multiply in large numbers. However, researchers have not yet managed to create realistic blood.

Once an effective technique has been developed, this artificial blood will be free from disease and could be given to anyone, regardless of their blood group. Scientists believe that this will improve blood transfusions by preventing hospital shortages. The artificial blood is also hoped to save many lives at road traffic accidents, during surgery and at war.

However, many do not agree with technique of extracting stem cells from human embryos in order to advance medical science. Therefore, as Mr Turner from the Wellcome Trust highlights,  ‘There is a lot of regulatory framework to ensure that the cells are being treated with the appropriate respect and being used for genuine scientific and medical reasons and not in a trivial fashion.’

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20% of UK Workforce has a Science Job

The Financial Times has reported that approximately one fifth of the UK workforce has a science based job.

5.8 million people are scientists or use science skills daily, the Science Council has discovered in a recent study. The number includes ‘secondary science workers’ such as nurses or software engineers. Scientists were found to be in industries as diverse as education, finance and farming, as well as more traditional scientific sectors, such as the chemical industry.

Chief executive of the Science Council, Diana Garnham, has said that secondary science roles can be “found literally everywhere in the economy.” The research indicates that by 2030, there could be over 7 million people involved in science in some way, prompting Diana Garnham to say “the research begins to explain… why there is such huge demand for people with science qualifications.”

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GSK to Create 1,000 UK Jobs

GlaxoSmithKline intends to make a £500 million investment into one of four UK sites, reports the Montrose Review.

The investment is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs in one of four UK plants, with Montrose thought to be the front runner due to the recent movement of biomanufacturing of several products from India to the Montrose plant. The Montrose factory also manufactures the products needed to make products that GSK inherited following its acquisition of Steifel in 2009.

Andrew Witty, GSK chief executive, praised the 280 staff at the Montrose factory for turning around what was an ailing site, up for sale at the turn of the Millennium, into a “globally competitive” production plant.

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Quintiles to Create UK Jobs

Biopharmaceutical company Quintiles is looking to establish more UK sites, creating pharmaceutical and clinical jobs, reports

The US company sees the UK as a good place for clinical trials and is hoping to open at least two more Prime Sites to go alongside the one at Queen Mary, University of London. Including two other current sites, Quintiles employs 2,000 people in the UK, a figure set to rise with the planned opening of the new Prime Sites.

Lindy Jones, Quintiles head of global integrated site services, says the UK is of “significant interested to us,” with fifty trials currently being run at the Queen Mary site. Jones believe that the UK “has opened up far more to clinical research” in the past eighteen months, meaning that Quintiles is considering opening “an additional two, maybe three Prime Sites in the UK.”

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Promising Scientists to Receive Grant

Cancer Research UK is making an investment into clinical research, reports

A £12 million grant is to be made to ten promising researchers who are expected to become prominent in the field of cancer. It is intended to assist with the researcher’s careers and possible breakthroughs they could make. Two leading university lecturers, four scientists and four junior research scientists will be the recipients of the grant.

Applicants are being taken, with the deadline at the end of July drawing closer. Dr David Scott, director of science funding at Cancer Research UK, believes the grants show his organisation “is serious about supporting new scientists at the start of their careers.”

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Bid Could Create Thousands of Jobs in Runcorn

A science park in Runcorn is bidding to win Enterprise status and create thousands of jobs, reports

If the Daresbury Science and Innovation Park is granted this status, then it could generate up to 10,000 skilled jobs and lead to £150 million investment. Holton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill has said the status would “take Daresbury to the next level.”

Around 100 companies have offices, workshops and laboratories on the site, and the massive investment would mean that even more specialist office, lab and technical spaces would be developed. The site opened in 2006 and is a world class centre for cutting edge sciences and high-tech businesses.

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Environmental Chemists on the Rise

Environmental chemists are much needed in most jobs, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, reports

All industries need environmental officers to assess the effect the business has on the environment, and find ways to reduce that impact. The job essentially involves knowing the effects of chemicals (or whatever the business deals with) on the environment. For example, how can a pharmaceutical firm safely and effectively dispose of waste products or leftover stock?

Industries are taking a much more proactive role in environmental issues, so that the role of chemists is becoming prominent. Pharmaceutical, chemical and waste disposal industries all obviously need environmental chemists, but recently even IT firms are beginning to employ people to monitor their environmental impact. A solid grounding in chemistry is of great importance, and it is often recommended that those looking into such a role go on environmental courses.

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