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In Spain, cancer researcher Mariano Barbacid is fighting the government for the right to use private funding to develop lung cancer drugs, reports ScienceInsider's Elisabeth Pain. Barbacid, director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, published a study in Cancer Cell on April 21 in which he showed that knocking out the cell-signaling protein c-RAF kinase blocks the development of certain types of lung cancers in mice, and with no apparent side effects, Pain says. Barbacid said the next step for his center would be to look for c-RAF kinase inhibitors as potential cancer drugs, but that he was blocked by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation from using public funds, and then blocked again from receiving €10 million per year for five years for the project from private investors. "At the heart of the battle is whether it's legal for a public foundation like CNIO to set up a type of partnership known as an economic interest grouping," Pain says. For its part, the ministry says Barbacid's plan to use private funds is not legal, and that his research has raised false expectations, as "promising findings in basic research or preliminary results in animal models [cannot] be conveyed to society as if they already were the prelude to the development of valid drugs." The battle has become major news in the country as both sides have taken to using the media to air their grievances, Pain says, and this is likely to continue. The conservative opposition in the lower house of the Spanish parliament has asked both Barbacid and the Minister of science and innovation, Cristina Garmendia, to appear at hearings to discuss the issue, she adds.

The Scan

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.

DNA Biobank Developed for French Kidney Donors, Recipients

The KiT-GENIE biobank described in the European Journal of Human Genetics contains DNA samples, genotyping profiles, immune patterns, and clinical features for thousands of kidney donors or transplant recipients in Nantes, France.

Cardiometabolic Disease May Have Distinct Associations With Microbial Metabolites in Blood, Gut

By analyzing gut microbes in combination with related metabolites in feces and blood, researchers in Nature Communications found distinct cardiometabolic disease relationships at each site.

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.