Cancer Research

Scientists have found evidence that the cox-2 inhibitor celecoxib, a common pain reliever used to treat arthritis, may offer a new way to reduce the risk of the most common cause of brain damage in babies born prematurely.

The work involves shoring up blood vessels in a part of the brain that in premature infants is extremely fragile and vulnerable to dangerous bleeding, which affects an estimated 12,000 children a year, leaving many permanently affected by cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and seizures.

When it comes to growing cells in a lab, technique matters. A new Brown University study shows that nerve cells grown in three-dimensional cultures use 1,766 genes differently compared to nerve cells grown in standard two-dimensional petri dishes.

The study, published in the May issue of Tissue Engineering, adds to a growing body of research showing that culture techniques can significantly affect cell growth and function.

Mayo Clinic researchers and a group of international collaborators have discovered a correlation between an extreme form of sleep disorder and eventual onset of parkinsonism or dementia.

Clinical observations and pathology studies, as well as research in animal models, led to the findings that patients with the violent rapid eye movement sleep (REM) behavior disorder (RBD) have a high probability of later developing Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease or multiple system atrophy (a Parkinson’s-like disorder), because all of these conditions appear to stem from a similar neurodegenerative origin.

Chemical "relaxers" used to straighten hair are not associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer among African-American women, say researchers who followed 48,167 Black Women's Health Study participants.

In the May issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers from Boston University and Howard University Cancer Center found no increase in breast cancer risk due to the type of hair relaxer used or the frequency and duration of use. Women who used relaxers seven or more times a year over a 20 year span or longer had the same risk as women who used the chemicals for less than a year, researchers say.

A gene thought to be essential in helping chemotherapy kill cancer cells, may actually help them thrive. In a new study of chemo patients, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Ovarian Cancer Institute found that 70 percent of subjects whose tumors had mutations in the gene p53 were still alive after five years. Patients with normal p53 displayed only a 30 percent survival rate. The findings raise the possibility of a new strategy for fighting cancer - namely, developing drugs to disable the functioning of this gene in the tumors of patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Dark stains indicated that the gene p53 is mutated in these ovarian cancer cells.


Researchers have identified genetic markers on several chromosomes in the tissue surrounding tumor cells that are associated with breast cancer tumor grade and the presence of lymph node metastases, according to a study in the May 16 issue of JAMA.

A study led by researchers at UCL (University College London) demonstrates that female reproductive function is influenced by childhood environment. This suggests there is a critical window of time from about 0-8 years of age that determines the rate at which girls physically mature and how high their reproductive hormone levels reach as adults.

Thousands of men facing surgical removal of the prostate due to cancer may someday have one less thing to worry about: post-surgical urinary incontinence.

That's because a team of expert urologic surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has devised a simple, effective means of reconstructing key anatomical structures that ensure continence.

What I find most exciting about basic molecular biology today is the prospect of building a quantitative understanding of how a cell works. Many other scientists are excited about this as well, leading to the current popularity of what's being called 'systems biology.' The idea is that maybe we can understand the design principles behind a cellular process - how the behavior of a cell emerges from all of those detailed physical interactions among proteins, nucleic acids and other components of the cell. If that sounds vague to you, well, that's because it is vague.
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia recently created a model of proline dehydrogenase, an important cancer-preventing enzyme in the human body, and analyzed how it works. A paper detailing their results was published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.