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Submission + - F.D.A. Approves Vaccine for Prostate Cancer (nytimes.com) 1

reverseengineer writes: The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first approval for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. In a clinical trial 'involving 512 men, those who got Provenge (sipuleucel-T) had a median survival of 25.8 months after treatment while those who got a placebo lived a median of 21.7 months. After three years, 32 percent of those who got Provenge were alive, compared with 23 percent of those who got the placebo.'

“The big story here is that this is the first proof of principle and proof that immunotherapy works in general in cancer, which I think is a huge observation,” said Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the lead investigator in Dendreon’s largest clinical trial for the drug. “I think this is a very big thing and will lead to a lot more enthusiasm for the approach.”

Science

Submission + - Using Ionic Liquids to Enable Cellulosic Biofuel

reverseengineer writes: Chemists from the University of Wisconsin report a process for hydrolyzing cellulose into sugars that can be fermented to produce ethanol. In a recently published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ronald Raines and Joseph Binder report that the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([EMIM]Cl) can dissolve cellulose, and that by carefully controlling the water present in an acid hydrolysis reaction conducted in [EMIM]Cl, they achieved a "90% yield of glucose from cellulose and 70–80% yield of sugars from untreated corn stover. " The authors go on to note, "This simple chemical process, which requires neither an edible plant nor a cellulase, could enable crude biomass to be the sole source of carbon for a scalable biorefinery. "

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