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Taking Stock of Gates

It's been five years since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began giving out grants for researchers to study global health issues and this article in The New York Times examines the results thus far. "We were naïve when we began," Bill Gates tells the Times. However, he adds that "on attention to ways that lives might be saved through scientific advances, I'd give us an A." The Times goes through a few of the Gates initiatives, such as work toward finding thermostable vaccines, developing rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests, and adding vitamins and nutrients to African crops. It's a mixed report card: some researchers met their goals, others attracted commercial backing and yet others won't have their grants renewed because of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, though others are trucking onward. "Without Gates, we wouldn't have been able to put together the team we did," says Rafi Ahmed, an Emory University immunologist who studies T-cells. "The money, and the fantastic vision of a grand challenge — that's been one of the best things."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.