Cancer Research

Wild sex is a staple of nature films, but there is one sex scene David Attenborough has never narrated: the mating ritual of yeast. That's right: yeast. Sex isn't just limited to lions, birds of paradise, and aphids; single-celled fungi do it too. Although most people don't like to hear the words 'fungus' and 'sex' used in the same sentence, yeast mating is a remarkable phenomenon and worth a closer look.

You can see this amazing scene, played out billions of times every day in wine vats and under oak trees, captured on film. As is the case with most wild mating rituals, filming yeast sex requires great patience - yeast are slow to commit and even when they do, they don't rush things. The beginning of foreplay itself takes several hours, as you can see below:

Macrophages, derived from Greek and meaning “eating cells”, are biological cells that spring from white blood cells to destroy foreign or dying cells. They are basically cellular “policemen” that can differentiate between good and bad cells.

But some cancer cells over-express the molecular protein that macrophages recognize as friendly — they create a fake ID — which allows the cancer to avoid being perceived as foreign by macrophages. In addition, the molecules involved in the recognition mechanism appear somewhat variable from person to person, with possible links to success or failure in transplantation of stem cells.

LAS VEGAS, March 11 /PRNewswire/ --

Altogen Biosystems (http://www.altogen.com) announced launch of new contract research services. Located in Las Vegas, NV, Altogen Custom Services focus on providing specialized biotechnology and pharmaceutical services, including RNA Interference (RNAi) services, generation of stably-expressing cell lines, assay development, screening and transfection services. In particular, the company will draw upon their unique experience with over hundred cancer cell lines and expertise in polymer and nanoparticle-based gene delivery technologies.

CALGARY, Canada, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Brad Thompson, President and CEO of Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (TSX: ONC, NASDAQ: ONCY), will present a corporate overview of the Company at the BioSquare 2008 Conference on Thursday, March 13, 2008. The event is being held at the Congress Center in Basel, Switzerland from March 12-14, 2008.

About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.

Cells are coded with several programs for self-destruction. Many cells die peacefully. Others cause a ruckus on their way out.

Some programmed cell death pathways simply and quietly remove unwanted cells, noted a team of University of Washington (UW) researchers who study the mechanisms of cell destruction.

Then there is the alarm-ringing death of a potentially dangerous cell, such as a cell infected with Salmonella, they added. These dying cells spill chemical signals and get a protective response. The resulting inflammation, which the body launches in self-defense, can at times backfire and damage vital tissues.


This schematic shows the cell death pathway called pyroptosis, Greek for going down in flames. When activated by a toxin or an infection, the enzyme caspase-1 initiates several reactions inside of the cell, some of which lead to DNA damage, others to the release of chemical distress signals called cytokines, and others to the formation in the cell membrane of tiny pores that let water flood in until the cell swells, bursts and spills its contents. Credit: Image by David W. Ehlert and Brad Cookson, University of Washington.

Nearly 25 million U.S. women between the ages of 14 and 59 are infected with HPV, and the annual cost of screening and treating cervical abnormalities is about $4 billion, according to a statement from the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

For many unvaccinated women HPV infections clear up naturally without causing any cervical problems, as do many pre-malignant lesions. In other cases, HPV prompts cell changes that can gradually put women at greater risk of cervical cancer.

A significant drop in abnormal Pap test results happened after girls and women were given the vaccine named Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer, according to a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

While the findings are not definitive that Gardasil prevents cancer, they do signal the vaccine will spare thousands of women a diagnosis of cell abnormality or malignant changes that may lead to more tests and possibly surgery, said Warner Huh, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the doctor chosen to present the data.

A team of Penn State University researchers is the first to demonstrate that lipid molecules in cell membranes participate in mammals' reactions to allergens in a living cell. The finding will help scientists better understand how allergy symptoms are triggered, and could contribute to the creation of improved drugs to treat them.

The team studied clusters of cholesterol-rich lipid molecules that they believe serve as platforms for the receptors that receive antibodies, the proteins that protect the body from allergens. In this case, the team examined IgE antibodies, which upon binding to their receptors initiate a cell's release of histamine--the substance that causes the unpleasant, but beneficial, mucous production, congestion, and itchiness associated with allergies.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 7 /PRNewswire/ --

Galderma Pharma, S.A. announces an agreement with ZARS Pharma, Inc. giving Galderma exclusive rights for all markets outside the USA and Canada for promotion and distribution of a novel topical anesthetic cream. This partnership follows an agreement signed last year between Galderma and ZARS Pharma for the promotion and distribution of Pliaglis(TM) in the USA and Canada.

A team of bioinformaticians at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) report in Nature the discovery of a structural alphabet that can be used to infer the 3D structure of ribonucleic acid (RNA) from sequence data, providing new tools to understand the role of this important class of cellular regulators.

The folding of a single-stranded RNA molecule is determined by the interactions between its constituent nucleotides. The classical approach to RNA modelling suffers from an important limitation: it only takes into account the canonical Watson-Crick interactions A:U and G:C, that is those where the nucleotides are facing each other.

The non-canonical Hoogsteen and sugar interactions, those where the nucleotides are side by side or on top of each other, are not taken into account by conventional modelling algorithms. The result can be incomplete or erroneous models which can mislead researchers.

Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin may reduce breast cancer by up to 20 per cent, according to an extensive review carried out by experts at London’s Guy’s Hospital published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

But they stress that further research is needed to determine the best type, dose and duration and whether the benefits of regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) outweigh the side effects, especially for high-risk groups.

“Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the treatment of women with established breast cancer” says Professor Ian Fentiman from the Hedley Atkins Breast Unit at the hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.