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'Fail safe' mechanism that helps keep inflammation in check

La Jolla, CA – Shutting down a master activator of the body's inflammatory response – which is the goal of several experimental drugs now in development for the treatment of arthritis – may create even more inflammation with its associated pain and swelling in the body.

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Tiny roundworm's telomeres help scientists to tease apart different types of aging

La Jolla, CA – The continual and inevitable shortening of telomeres, the protective "caps" at the end of all 46 human chromosomes, has been linked to aging and physical decline. Once they are gone, so are we. But there are more ways than one to grow old.

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Salk scientists overturn a dogma of nerve cell communication

La Jolla, CA – Every neurobiology textbook invariably states that nerve cells communicate with each other through synapses, the specialized cell-cell contacts found at the end of the cells' threadlike extensions. In this week's journal Science, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and the University of California at San Diego report that nerve cells, or neurons, may not have to rely on traditionally defined synapses to "talk" to each other.

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Spain to send postdoctoral researchers to Salk Institute for training in science of stem cell biology

La Jolla, CA – Over the next five years, the Salk Institute will be a training ground for a total of 30 selected post-doctoral researchers from Spain, in the science of stem cell biology.

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For the first time, miniature electrode array records from hundreds of nerve cells simultaneously

La Jolla, CA – For many years, scientists tried to glean information about the nervous system by recording the electrical activity of one brain cell at a time. Because even the simplest functions of the nervous system involve many thousands of neurons, recording the activity of individual or only a handful of nerve cells does not provide a full picture.

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France's highest scientific honor to be awarded this year to Salk Institute scientist Ronald M. Evans

La Jolla, CA – Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., professor and head of the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, will receive the 2005 Grande Médaille D'Or (Grand Gold Medal), France's highest scientific honor, for his research discovering how hormones and drugs control the body's metabolism, development and reproduction.

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Cancer related gene p53 not regulated as indicated by previous tissue culture research; results may be relevant to drug development

La Jolla, CA – The cellular cascade of molecular signals that instructs cells with fatally damaged DNA to self-destruct pivots on the p53 tumor suppressor gene. If p53 is inactivated, as it is in over half of all human cancers, checks and balances on cell growth fail to operate, and body cells start to accumulate mutations, which ultimately may lead to cancer. Not surprisingly, the regulation of this vital safeguard has been studied in great detail for many years but mainly in tissue culture, or in vitro, models.

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Promiscuous Catalytic Activity Possessed by Novel Enzyme Structure

La Jolla, CA – Nature is a seemingly endless storehouse of interesting – and potentially life-saving – biological molecules. But tracking down and harvesting those chemicals in their natural form can be time-consuming, expensive and unreliable.

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"Jumping genes" contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains

La Jolla, CA – Brains are marvels of diversity: no two look the same – not even those of otherwise identical twins. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found one explanation for the puzzling variety in brain organization and function: mobile elements, pieces of DNA that can jump from one place in the genome to another, randomly changing the genetic information in single brain cells. If enough of these jumps occur, they could allow individual brains to develop in distinctly different ways.

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Salk Institute scientist Geoff Wahl named President-elect of world's largest cancer research organization

La Jolla, CA – Geoffrey M. Wahl, Ph.D., professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, recently was elected the 2006-07 president of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to accelerating scientific progress to prevent and cure cancer.

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