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News 12-19-2000

IVAX to Develop Cystic Fibrosis Drug

IVAX Corporation recently announced finalizaton of its collaboration agreement with the Center for Blood Research, Inc. (CBR), to develop a drug to treat cystic fibrosis lung disease. The collaboration is based on a CBR proprietary recombinant monocyte/neutrophil elastase inhibitor (rM/NEI) which will be delivered to the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients by means of an IVAX proprietary inhalation system. After developing both an effective formulations of the rM/NEI compound and an appropriate inhalation system for administering this formulation, IVAX will be responsible for conducting clinical trials and marketing the product.

The drug is based on research showing that elastases and other naturally-occurring proteases made by immune cells, in particular neutrophils, break down proteins that give lung tissue its elasticity and flexibility. Scientists have found that the elastases and other proteases present in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients injure the airways, increase mucus plugging and disable other normal protective mechanisms. By inhibiting the action of proteases, rM/NEI is expected to reduce structural injury to the lungs, improve the clearance of lung secretions, and promote other mechanisms of lung defense in order to slow the progressive lung destruction leading to shortened life in cystic fibrosis patients.

V-SPAN Wins TeleCon Award

The TeleCon Awards' annual recognition of the best products, applications, and services for conferencing and annual collaborative communications honored V-SPAN, a provider of virtual communication solutions, at the 19th Annual TeleCon West Awards. Winner in the category of Best Content Product, theVirtual Reservation Card (VR Card) enables on-demand audio and Web conferencing via a PC and standard Internet browser. The card allows users to conduct interactive, secure, and on-demand Web-based meetings and delivers real-time data collaboration, application, and desktop remote control. A standard browser facilitates one-to-many or many-to-many presentations, and the advanced collaboration functionality d'es not require pre-installed software or firewall configuration.

For more information, visit

Sabre Announces Contribution to Oklahoma State

Sabre Holdings Corporation recently announced a contribution to OklahomaState University-Okmulgee in the amount of $32,500 as part of the company's commitment to support educational initiatives, with an emphasis in technology.

This fall Sabre established an information technology program at the university -- the Sabre Information (IT) Program at OSU-Okmulgee. Eighteen students are currently enrolled in the two-year program that will prepare them for careers in computer programming, installing, servicing and maintaining network operating systems, network integration, and customer service. The program includes several components, including instruction on Sabre-specific equipment taught by Sabre employees and paid internships at the Sabre data center located in Tulsa. Students who complete the program will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree.

For more information, visit

Researchers to Gather Data From Cassini Space Mission

This week, as Cassini reaches its closest point to Jupiter, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering will get an up-close look at the aurora surrounding Jupiter and a chance to gather valuable data and images from Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Researchers will use instruments aboard Cassini to take direct measurements of the solar wind and determine the amount of pressure those winds exert on Jupiter. Since the solar wind changes as it flows away from the Sun, this must be done close to Jupiter, and the Cassini trajectory provides a unique opportunity to do this. Scientists plan to analyze the relationship between the solar wind measurements and the images to determine how solar winds influence the aurora around Jupiter. That information, in turn, may help researchers understand some of the differences between Jupiter and Earth. This project will double the amount of existing high-resolution data that Hubble has collected on Jupiter's aurora.

At the same time, the Hubble Space Telescope will capture images of the brilliant bands of colored light generated by the aurora. To view the images, visit

This experiment serves as a test run for the Cassini spacecraft, launched by space organizations in the United States, Europe, and Italy in 1997. It will be the first significant opportunity to exercise the spacecraft's operational abilities as it travels to Saturn.

Ireland Plans New Internet Links to U.S. Colleges

Irish officials recently announced plans for new broadband Internet links between higher-education institutions in Ireland and the United States. Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern described the plans during a visit by President Clinton to Ireland's newly designated "digital district" -- a six-square-mile area in Dublin. MediaLab Europe, a joint project of the Irish government and MIT, is the academic-research anchor for the multimillion-dollar digital district, which aims to provide an environment where scientists and technology entrepreneurs can mix, create, and market. In addition to MIT, a number of other universities are discussing whether to locate their digital-research facilities in the area.

The district's blueprint calls for graduate students to conduct research under the guidance of leading international scientists. Irish officials hope the research will result in ideas that can be developed by start-up companies.

Grid Portal to Improve Access to Computing Resources

Computational scientists will soon have a new tool for using resources on the national "grid" of high-performance research networks. The Web-based grid portal will help computer scientists, scientists, and engineers by simplifying and consolidating access to advanced computing systems supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI).

The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), the National Computational Science Alliance (NCSA), and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) have announced formation of the integrated grid portal. NPACI and Alliance demonstrated a prototype in November at SC2000 in Dallas.

A PACI-wide secure environment will give researchers access to resources through a single log-in. The integrated portal extends the capabilities of the NPACI HotPage to include computational resources from the Alliance and PSC, as well as those from the NASA Information Power Grid (IPG). Representatives from NPACI, the Alliance, and NASA IPG have conducted a series of workshops targeting specific technologies and resources to include in the effort to demonstrate computational science portals using the high-end systems made available by each organization.

For more about the grid portal, visit; for more information about PACI, visit

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