In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology and life science news:

  • The FDA mulls private clinic stem cell oversight
  • Instagram’s new 30-second video ads
  • Judges are cool to Microsoft data appeal
  • Lockheed Martin plans layoffs
  • National Geographic media goes to Fox

The details:

  • Experts: Unproven stem cell procedures need more oversight

Federal officials need to do more to prevent for-profit stem cell clinics from exploiting and potentially injuring patients, according to an article published in a leading medical journal.

The New England Journal of Medicine commentary follows a May article by The Associated Press that identified 170 U.S. clinics that charge between $5,000 and $50,000 for stem cell procedures that purport to treat dozens of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction and hair loss.

The journal authors highlight the risks of unproven stem cell procedures, a burgeoning field that has flourished despite little evidence of its safety or effectiveness. They also call on the Food and Drug Administration to clarify rules governing the space and to work with state medical boards to penalize physicians pushing bogus therapies.

The FDA said in a statement Wednesday that it “understands the need for clear guidance and has issued three draft guidance documents to specifically address this area.”

Such draft guidance documents serve as recommendations, not legal requirements. There is no deadline for when they must be finalized.

Currently, none of the procedures offered by clinics are approved by the FDA, which oversees new and experimental medical products. Yet doctors routinely describe their offerings as “healing” or “regenerative” medicine, suggesting their potential to cure patients.

“Their language is intentionally imprecise and exploits the vulnerability of patients with debilitating diseases,” notes the commentary by Professors Hermes Taylor-Weiner and Joshua Graff Zivin, of the University of California, San Diego.

  • Instagram expands marketing reach for businesses

Instagram users have already been seeing more advertisements pop up in their feeds of artisanal cocktails, wide-eyed kittens and vacation photos, and now they can expect longer video ads in the mix too.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is adding 30-second video ads and other features in a push to give businesses more ways to tap the 300 million people who use it at least once a month. Previously, ads on Instagram were 15 seconds long.

Instagram said in a blog post that large and small advertisers will be able to run campaigns on Instagram starting this month, and ads are now available in more than 30 new countries, including India, South Korea and Mexico. More than 70 percent of Instagram’s users are outside of the U.S.

Aside from video ads, businesses will also be able to use landscape-style photos, as well as a product called Marquee that aims to quickly expand a company’s reach in a short time frame for things like movie premieres and product launches. Long known for its square pictures, Instagram recently started letting users post photos in rectangle shapes.

The company said businesses have been testing the app’s new tools over the summer, and Instagram is seeing “significant” demand in areas like e-commerce, travel and entertainment.

  • Microsoft seeks to block US from accessing email overseas

Microsoft got a chilly reaction from a federal appeals court Wednesday to its claims that the United States should not be able to touch data it stores for customers overseas.

Microsoft lawyer E. Joshua Rosenkranz told a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that “global chaos” could result if it failed to overturn a lower-court judge’s ruling last summer. That judge ordered the Redmond, Washington-based company to turn over a customer’s email account that it stores in Dublin, Ireland, for a narcotics probe.

“If we can do it to them, then other countries can do it to us,” Rosenkranz said.

Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch seemed unfazed by Rosenkranz’s predictions that other nations would react negatively if the U.S. was permitted to get the records.

He said Congress can respond if foreign relations are affected.

“That’s on them,” Ly

  • Lockheed Martin to cut 500 information systems jobs

Lockheed Martin is eliminating about 500 jobs from its Information Systems & Global Solutions segment, as the defense contractor adjusts to changing government priorities and tries to sharpen its competitiveness.

The aerospace and defense company employs about 112,000 people globally, so the cuts amount to less than 1 percent of its total workforce.

The Bethesda, Maryland, company said Wednesday the reductions will include voluntary and involuntary layoffs and will be completed by mid-November.

  • Deal gives Fox majority stake in National Geographic media

The 127-year-old nonprofit National Geographic Society has struck a $725 million deal that gives 21st Century Fox a majority stake in National Geographic magazine and other media properties, expanding an existing TV partnership.

The agreement announced Wednesday will give the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s family a 73 percent stake in the new National Geographic Partners venture. The society retains 27 percent ownership. The move shifts the longtime nonprofit flagship magazine into a for-profit venture.

The arrangement brings together National Geographic’s magazine with its cable channels and other media businesses. National Geographic originally partnered with Fox in 1997 to launch the National Geographic Channel. Officials said aligning the various media brands will help fuel future growth.

“This expanded partnership, bringing together all of the media and consumer activities under the National Geographic umbrella … creates vast opportunities and enables this business to be even more successful in a digital environment,” said James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, in announcing the deal.