Cancer Research

Stegography is an ancient technique of hiding data within data. Unlike encryption, it isn't obviously encrypted. Today it is used to take advantage of unused bits of data in images or audio/video files to transmit secrets.

The basic concept of understanding the hidden data in files can also be used in understanding computer networks and biology, says Weixiong Zhang, Ph.D., Washington University associate professor of computer science. He and his co-authors writing in Physical Review E say they have created an algorithm to automatically discover communities and their subtle structures in various networks, including biological ones. They used it to identify the community structure of a network of co-expressed genes involved in bacterial sepsis.

Crop scientists have cloned a gene that controls the shape of tomatoes, a discovery that could help unravel the mystery behind the huge morphological differences among edible fruits and vegetables, as well as provide new insight into mechanisms of plant development.

The gene, dubbed SUN, is only the second ever found to play a significant role in the elongated shape of various tomato varieties, said Esther van der Knaap, lead researcher in the study and assistant professor of horticulture and crop science at Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.

Bile acid derivatives can turn on the vitamin D receptor (VDR) without causing excess calcium buildup, researchers report, a finding that could lead to vitamin D therapies for conditions beyond just bone and skin disorders.

While calcium balance may be the most well-known role of vitamin D, this molecule –through VDR binding– regulates many functions including immunity and cell growth and thus has diverse therapeutic potential. However, while vitamin D-based drugs are effective against some cancers and microbial infections, the risk of excess blood calcium has limited their clinical use.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a medical team from the University of Leicester say they have established a predictor for pregnant women who may have miscarriages and those who won’t.

The researchers measured the levels of a naturally occurring ‘cannabis’ (an endocannabinoid) known as anandamide in women who presented with a threatened miscarriage (bleeding in early pregnancy with a viable baby) and found that those who at the time of the test had significantly higher levels of anandamide subsequently miscarried.

New data has indicated that in rats, "male" hormones drive the decision to become a male during a window of time before male genitalia develop, and that blocking "male" hormones during this time caused male genitalia birth defects.

These defects were associated with a decreased ano-genital distance, leading to the suggestion that measuring human neonatal AGD could provide a noninvasive method to predict those at risk of developing male genitalia birth defects.

Cryptorchidism, the absence in the scrotum of one or both testes (usually because of the failure of the testis to descend), and hypospadias, the abnormal positioning of the opening of the urethra, are common birth defects of the male genitalia and are risk factors for the adult-onset disorders of low sperm count and testicular cancer.

Better regulation is urgently needed for genetic tests, particularly those marketed directly to the public, argue researchers in this week’s BMJ.

In the past 18 months, studies have identified dozens of inherited DNA variations associated with common conditions such as heart attacks, diabetes and asthma, write Professor David Melzer and colleagues

In many cases, these findings provide insight on the cause of the disease, but clinical applications are still mostly unclear. Much work is now needed to identify and evaluate each potential clinical application. Yet, although the work of translating discovery into evidence based practice is just beginning, several companies have already marketed tests, many directly to the public.

LONDON, March 13 /PRNewswire/ --

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) today announces a collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN), focused on the development of a range of novel approaches for the delivery of siRNA molecules. The deal builds on Silence Therapeutics' leading expertise in the delivery of siRNA molecules, in particular its success with the functional systemic delivery of siRNA in vivo using its proprietary AtuPLEX technology. The financial details of this collaboration, in which both parties will contribute expertise and know-how, have not been disclosed.

This new deal is independent of the parties' three-year collaboration signed in July 2007, whose aim is to develop novel siRNA therapeutics against specific targets exclusive to AstraZeneca.

ZURICH, Switzerland and FAIRFIELD, New Jersey, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- "The new Stonegate Report about Unigene confirms that we are uniquely positioned as the only biopharma company that manufactures peptides by recombinant techniques, while also having oral and nasal delivery systems to administer the peptides. Since the launch of "Fortical" in 2005 with partner Upsher-Smith Laboratories, "Fortical" has captured a near dominant 49% market share of the U.S. nasal calcitonin market that is estimated to be in the $200 million range."

Stonegate Securities, Inc. Unigene Laboratories Inc. (WKN 875852, ISIN US9047531002, UUL, OTCBB: UGNE)

ABBOTT PARK, Illinois, March 13 /PRNewswire/ --

- Two Sub Analyses from the CHARM Trial Evaluated Fistula Closure and Quality Of Life in Patients with Fistulas from Crohn's Disease

Abbott announced today the first two-year data for Crohn's disease patients with fistulas, which show that more than half of patients receiving HUMIRA(R) (adalimumab) had continued fistula healing. These data were presented at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organization (ECCO) Annual Meeting in Lyon, France. Fistulas are tunnels that form between the intestine and other parts of the body and are considered one of the most painful complications of Crohn's disease. Fistula healing in these studies was defined as complete cessation of fistula drainage.