Cancer Research

In the search for better ways of treating children with brain cancer the study, a twelve-year research effort carried out by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group at The University of Nottingham revealed that a significant proportion of children under the age of three, with the brain tumor ependymoma, can be spared the effects of radiotherapy by using chemotherapy — without compromising their chances of survival.

Experts in the field of childhood cancer recognise that radiotherapy can be harmful to a young child’s developing brain. It can affect IQ, short term memory, growth and puberty. The effective treatment of patients under the age of five remains, say the researchers, one of the more difficult tasks in pediatric oncology.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are the first to observe and measure the internal motion inside proteins, or its “dark energy.” This research, appearing in the current issue of Nature has revealed how the internal motion of proteins affects their function and overturns the standard view of protein structure-function relationships, suggesting why rational drug design has been so difficult.

The situation is akin to the discussion in astrophysics in which theoreticians predict that there is dark matter, or energy, that no one has yet seen,” says senior author A. Joshua Wand, PhD, Benjamin Rush Professor of Biochemistry.

MIT researchers have identified a critical link between two proteins found in brain tumors, a discovery that could eventually help treat a form of brain cancer that kills 99 percent of patients.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive brain tumor in adults, strikes about 15,000 people in the United States each year. GBM is currently treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but those treatments have proven ineffective.

University of Delaware scientists have invented a novel biomaterial with surprising antibacterial properties that can be injected as a low-viscosity gel into a wound where it rigidifies nearly on contact--opening the door to the possibility of delivering a targeted payload of cells and antibiotics to repair the damaged tissue.

Regenerating healthy tissue in a cancer-ridden liver, healing a biopsy site and providing wounded soldiers in battle with pain-killing, infection-fighting medical treatment are among the myriad uses the scientists foresee for the new technology.

The patented invention by Joel Schneider, UD associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Darrin Pochan, associate professor of materials science, and their research groups marks a major step forward in the de

Using innovative physics, researchers have proposed a system that may one day bring proton therapy, a state-of-the-art cancer treatment method currently available only at a handful of centers, to radiation treatment centers and cancer patients everywhere. Thomas R. Mackie, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and co-founder of the radiation therapy company TomoTherapy, will present this new design at next week's annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in Minneapolis.

Compared to the x rays conventionally used in radiation therapy, protons are potentially more effective, as they can deposit more cell-killing energy in their tumor targets and less in surrounding healthy tissue.

Pediatrics researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and McGill University in Montreal have identified a gene variant that raises a child’s risk for type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes. As investigators continue to pinpoint genes contributing to diabetes, they have their eyes on providing a scientific basis for designing better treatments and preventive measures for the disease.

The research adds a new gene and new knowledge to the four genes previously discovered for type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and makes patients dependent on frequent insulin injections to keep the body’s blood sugar under control.

A tumor paint developed by researchers will help surgeons see where a tumor begins and ends more precisely by illuminating the cancerous cells.

The study shows that the tumor paint can help surgeons distinguish between cancer cells and normal brain tissue in the operating room. The paint is a scorpion-derived peptide called chlorotoxin that is linked to the molecular beacon Cy5.5.Until now there has been no way to allow surgeons to see tumors “live” during surgery.

Suicide Cells

Suicide Cells

Jul 14 2007 | 0 comment(s)

When a cell is seriously stressed, say by a heart attack, stroke or cancer, a protein called Bak just may set it up for suicide, researchers have found.

In a deadly double whammy, Bak helps chop the finger-like filament shape of the cell’s powerhouse, or mitochondrion, into vulnerable little spheres. Another protein Bax then pokes countless holes in those spheres, spilling their pro-death contents into the cell.

“We found out Bak has a distinct function in regulation of the mitochondrial morphology,” says Dr. Zheng Dong, cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta .

By bypassing a well-known gene implicated in almost one-third of all cancers and instead focusing on the protein activated by the gene, Dr. Christopher Counter and colleagues at the Duke University Medical Center have identified IL6 as a new target in the battle against Ras-induced cancers.

The ras gene, known as an oncogene when it is in this mutated state, has been implicated in several different cancers, including those of the pancreas and lungs. To date, efforts at blocking or turning off ras have proven ineffective.

Contrary to textbook models, many genes that should be 'off' in embryonic stem cells and specialized adult cells remain primed to produce master regulatory proteins, leaving those cells vulnerable to identity changes

Biologists have long thought that a simple on/off switch controls most genes in human cells. Flip the switch and a cell starts or stops producing a particular protein. But new evidence suggests that this model is too simple and that our genes are more ready for action than previously thought.

Scientists in the lab of Whitehead Member Richard Young have discovered that many human genes hover between “on” and “off” in any given cell. According to the study, these genes begin making RNA templates for proteins—a process termed transcription—but fail to finish.