Biozona Weekly: Arizona STEM Network launches; NantCare comes to Phoenix; Op-eds for UA COM expansion

Compiled from media sources

Summary:

Top bioscience news, February 17-28: With a second multi-million-dollar grant, SFAz is rolling out the Arizona STEM Network statewide ¶ NantCare, a newly acquired telehealth firm associated with Patrick Soon-Shiong, has moved to Phoenix ¶ Op-eds by a state legislator and a university president argue for continued funding for the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix (Plus 9 more stories.)

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Science Foundation Arizona launching Arizona STEM Network
02/28/2012 | Phoenix Business Journal | Angela Gonzales

Science Foundation Arizona is launching the Arizona STEM Network to help transform the state’s educational system for science, technology, engineering and math. Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation is committing $2.1 million during the next three years to help SFAz roll out its plan for the network.

NantWorks Acquires Boston Life Labs
02/28/2012 | Los Angeles Business Journal | Deborah Crowe

NantWorks LLC on Tuesday said that it had acquired a Boston-based company that specializes in the remote monitoring of a patient’s vital signs and other medical data. The West Los Angeles company founded by biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong said the technology developed by Boston Life Labs, which is moving to Phoenix, will be integrated with other recent acquisitions in the health information sphere.

Funding for UofA expansion in Phoenix will ease doctor shortage, aid economy (Op-ed)
02/24/2012 | Arizona Capitol Times | Ted Vogt

Arizona suffers from a critical shortage of physicians that is compounded by the downturn in national and state economies and the subsequent loss of many jobs. Five years ago, the Legislature took steps to address these issues by supporting the expansion of the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in downtown Phoenix. Despite our successes, the project stands at a crossroad. The state must complete its commitment to training more health professionals to care for our citizens by funding the planned expansion as requested by the university.

Tucson tech: Local bioscience group decides to pull out of larger organization
02/28/2012 | Arizona Daily Star | David Wichner

Sometimes, the most promising of marriages fall apart. About four years ago, Tucson's bioscience industry group, the BioIndustry Organization of Southern Arizona, or BioSA, merged with the Scotsdale-based Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio). The idea was to create a united, statewide bio group with equal representation from the state's three main research hubs, Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. But recently, the folks at BioSA decided to end the group's affiliation with AZBio, and by extension its affiliation with the national Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

Scottsdale Healthcare steps up cancer services
02/23/2012 | Arizona Republic | Ken Alltucker

Scottsdale Healthcare has bolstered its cancer-care offerings with a new bone-marrow transplant program that will serve patients receiving treatment for aggressive blood cancers. The new program at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Shea Medical Center will cater to patients who are battling blood cancers such as myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma. The program is staffed by two physicians who are bone-marrow transplant specialists and a team of nearly 40 support staff, including nurses, care coordinators, social workers, administrators and others.

ACA hands out $184k in grants to early-stage companies
02/21/2012 | Phoenix Business Journal Patrick O'Grady and Lynn Ducey

The Arizona Commerce Authority has given out grants totaling more than $184,000 to 25 Arizona companies, with the funds designed to spur the development of their products. The Fast Grants, ranging from $5,000 to $7,500, are designed as seed investment for firms for specific tasks, such as marketing plans or technology reviews.

ASU Polytechnic develops algae fuel source
02/21/2012 | East Valley Tribune | Mike Sakal

Under a warm and sunny sky - the right conditions for algae to reproduce and thrive - more than 100 people, including Gov. Jan Brewer, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Dan Simon, president of Gilbert-based Heliae Technologies, attended Tuesday's dedication of Polytechnic's expanded AzCati center under the university's Light and Energy Department.

How Using Antibiotics In Animal Feed Creates Superbugs
02/19/2012 | National Public Radio | Richard Knox

Many livestock groups say there's no evidence that antibiotics in livestock feed have caused a human health problem, but researchers beg to differ. A study in the journal mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology, shows how an antibiotic-susceptible Staph germ passed from humans into pigs, where it became resistant to the antibiotics tetracycline and methicillin. And then the antibiotic-resistant Staph learned to jump back into humans. "It's like watching the birth of a superbug," says Lance Price of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Hart in as President
02/19/2012 | Arizona Daily Wildcat | Eliza Molk

The Arizona Board of Regents appointed Ann Weaver Hart to be the next UA president, effective July 1. Hart is now the UA’s 21st president, and the first female president in the university’s 126-year history. The UA will be the third institution where Hart has been president, following six years at Temple and four at the University of New Hampshire. She was also the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University.

Nasal vaccine trials to combat stomach-flu bug
02/18/2012 | The Independent | Steve Connor

A vaccine against norovirus, a food poisoning virus that causes violent stomach flu, could be available within five years if it can be shown to be safe when taken as a nasal spray, scientists said. Professor Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver that scientists have developed a potential vaccine against the norovirus based on synthetic proteins found on the outer coating of the virus.

Surgical device conceived in Ariz.
02/18/2012 | Arizona Republic | Ken Alltucker

Pediatric neurosurgeon Kim Manwaring no longer spends much time in the operating room, but his ideas could transform how future surgeons do their work there. Manwaring has invented several tools and medical devices over the years while tinkering in the garage of his home in the Ahwatukee Foothills area of Phoenix. His most recent invention, a small surgical device that cuts and cauterizes, led to a startup biotechnology company, Domain Surgical, that is expanding rapidly.

Sander: Legislature should invest in UA medical program (Op-ed)
02/17/2012 | Arizona Republic | Eugene G. Sander

In response to the state's critical physician shortage, the University of Arizona expanded its medical school to Phoenix in 2006. Over the next several years, the university plans to enroll 120 new medical students annually, more than doubling the size of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix's student population. A full or rapid expansion will not be possible without state support to operate a medical school with more students and faculty. Thus far, no new dollars have been allocated to the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix in the proposed FY2013 budget.