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Cancer research yields unexpected way to produce nylon

September 24, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

In their quest for a cancer cure, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute made a serendipitous discovery: a molecule necessary for cheaper and greener way to produce nylon. The finding arose from an intriguing notion that some of the genetic and chemical changes in cancer tumors might be harnessed for beneficial uses.

Diseases of aging map to a few “hotspots” on the human genome

September 19, 2012 9:19 am | News | Comments

Researchers have long known that individual diseases are associated with genes in specific locations of the genome. Now, genetics researchers have shown definitively that a small number of places in the human genome are associated with a large number and variety of diseases. In particular, several diseases of aging are associated with a locus which is more famous for its role in preventing cancer.

Chemists develop nose-like sensor array to “smell” cancer diagnoses

September 13, 2012 12:36 pm | News | Comments

In a pre-clinical non-small-cell lung cancer metastasis model in mice, a research team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst uses a sensor array system of gold nanoparticles and proteins to “smell” different cancer types in much the same way our noses identify and remember different odors.

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Scientist creates new cancer drug that is 10 times more potent

August 30, 2012 12:49 pm | News | Comments

In a new study, University of Missouri medicinal chemists have taken an existing drug that is being developed for use in fighting certain types of cancer and added a special cluster of three elements: boron, carbon, and hydrogen. This structure, called a carborane, has multiplied the binding force of the drug. Clinical could start within two years.

New simulation models metastasis

August 27, 2012 3:28 am | News | Comments

Cancer metastasis, the escape and spread of primary tumor cells, is a common cause of cancer-related deaths. But metastasis remains poorly understood, and only recently have studies indicate that blood’s “stickiness” actually tears off tumor cells. Using a statistical technique employed by animators, scientists created a new computer simulation that reveals how cancer cells enter the bloodstream and the physical forces involved.

Scientists learn one of cancer’s key “feeding” tricks

August 24, 2012 5:12 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier | News | Comments

Like ravenous monsters, cancer tumors need plentiful supplies of cellular building blocks such as amino acids and nucleotides to keep growing at a rapid pace. This process has not been fully understood, but now chemists at the California Institute of Technology have shown for the first time that a specific sugar, known as GlcNAc ("glick-nack"), plays a key role in keeping the cancerous monsters "fed."

Nanoparticles reboot blood flow in brain

August 24, 2012 4:05 am | News | Comments

A nanoparticle developed at Rice University and tested in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine may bring great benefits to the emergency treatment of brain-injury victims, even those with mild injuries. Combined polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC), already being tested to enhance cancer treatment, are also adept antioxidants. In animal studies, injections of PEG-HCC during initial treatment after an injury helped restore balance to the brain's vascular system.

Laser research shows promise for cancer treatment

August 20, 2012 9:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have observed, for the first time, how a laser penetrates dense, electron-rich plasma to generate ions. The process has applications for developing next generation particle accelerators and new cancer treatments.

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One-two chemical punch sends cancer tumors into remission

August 20, 2012 5:02 am | News | Comments

Cancers release chemicals that confuse the immune system. Countering this effect, researchers led by Tarek Fahmy of Yale University have recently developed a system to simultaneously deliver a sustained dose of both an immune-system booster and a chemical to block the cancer's secretions. In mice this therapy has delayed tumor growth and even sent tumors into remission.

New nanoparticles shrink tumors in mice

August 16, 2012 3:58 am | by Anne Trafton, News Office | News | Comments

By sequencing cancer-cell genomes, scientists have discovered vast numbers of genes that are mutated, deleted, or copied in cancer cells. This treasure trove is a boon for researchers seeking new drug targets, but it is nearly impossible to test them all in a timely fashion. To help speed up the process, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed RNA-delivering nanoparticles that allow for rapid screening of new drug targets in mice.

Using years of cell evolution in the fight against cancer

August 9, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

As the medical community continues to make positive strides in personalized cancer therapy, scientists know some dead ends are unavoidable. Drugs that target specific genes in cancerous cells are effective, but not all proteins are targetable. In fact, it has been estimated that as few as 10% to 15% of human proteins are potentially targetable by drugs. For this reason, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins.

Tumor cells change when put into a “tight spot”

August 1, 2012 11:45 am | by Allison Chambliss, Johns Hopkins University | News | Comments

Surprisingly, 90% of cancer deaths are caused from metastasis,the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to other parts of the body, not from the primary tumor alone. To better understand what happens to cells affected by this process, Johns Hopkins University researchers have fabricated a microfluidic-based cell migration chamber that has already yielded surprising results.

New proteins inhibit HIV infection in cell cultures

July 24, 2012 4:00 am | News | Comments

Yale University Cancer Center scientists have developed a new class of proteins that inhibit HIV infection in cell cultures and may open the way to new strategies for treating and preventing infection by the virus that causes AIDS.

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Scientists discover genetic changes caused by sun damage

July 19, 2012 9:07 am | News | Comments

Tumorous cancer cells are full of ultraviolet-induced genetic damage caused by sunlight exposure, but which mutations drive this cancer? By creating a method to spot the changes, scientists from several U.S. institutions have identified six genes responsible for mutations in melanoma, three of which of which are the result of damage inflicted by  light.

Cancer delivery technique may solve combined drug therapy puzzle

July 15, 2012 2:52 pm | News | Comments

Cancers are notorious for secreting chemicals that confuse the immune system and thwart biological defenses. Some treatments try to neutralize the cancer's chemical arsenal and boost immune response but are rarely successful. Researchers at Yale University have recently developed a system to simultaneously deliver both an immune-system booster and a chemical to counter the cancer's secretions.

What happens when we sunburn

July 9, 2012 6:53 am | News | Comments

According to a report from research on the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the biological mechanism of sunburn—the reddish, painful, protective immune response from UV radiation—is a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells. The findings open the way to perhaps eventually blocking the inflammatory process, the scientists said, and have implications for a range of medical conditions and treatments.

World’s fastest camera use to detect rogue cancer cells

July 6, 2012 8:37 am | News | Comments

The ability to distinguish and isolate rare cells from among a large population of assorted cells has become increasingly important for the early detection of disease and for monitoring disease treatments. A new optical microscope could make the tough task a whole lot easier. It uses photonic time-stretch camera technology and is the world's fastest continuous-running camera.

Spinach to the rescue

June 21, 2012 6:37 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Oregon State University have, for the first time, traced the actions of a known carcinogen in cooked meat to its complex biological effects on microRNA and cancer stem cells. The scientists also found that consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of the carcinogen.

How key enzyme involved in aging, cancer assembles

June 19, 2012 6:02 am | News | Comments

University of California, Los Angeles biochemists have mapped the structure of a key protein–RNA complex that is required for the assembly of telomerase, an enzyme important in both cancer and aging. The researchers found that a region at the end of the p65 protein that includes a flexible tail is responsible for bending telomerase's RNA backbone in order to create a scaffold for the assembly of other protein building blocks.

Cancer's next magic bullet may be magic shotgun

June 18, 2012 4:32 am | News | Comments

A new approach to drug design, pioneered by a group of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Mt. Sinai, New York, promises to help identify future drugs to fight cancer and other diseases that will be more effective and have fewer side effects.

Tiny 'speed bump' device could sort cancer cells

June 13, 2012 4:08 am | News | Comments

In life, we sort soiled laundry from clean; ripe fruit from rotten. Two Johns Hopkins engineers say they have found an easy way to use gravity or simple forces to similarly sort microscopic particles and bits of biological matter—including circulating tumor cells.

Zeroing in on the best shape for cancer-fighting nanoparticles

June 6, 2012 12:40 pm | News | Comments

As the field of nanomedicine matures, an emerging point of contention has been what shape nanoparticles should be to deliver their drug or DNA payloads most effectively. A pair of new papers by scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI) and six other institutions suggests these microscopic workhorses ought to be disc-shaped, not spherical or rod-shaped, when targeting cancers at or near blood vessels.

More advanced therapies are being aimed at cancer

June 6, 2012 6:55 am | by Marilynn Marchionne, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

At a recent weekend conference of more than 30,000 specialists, experts reported seeing a major escalation in the arms race against cancer. Several new advances, including “smart” drugs, immune system aids, and treatments based on genetic pathways, offer new hope for battling previously intractable diseases.

Researchers achieve RNA interference in a lighter package

June 4, 2012 3:36 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Using a technique known as "nucleic acid origami," chemical engineers have built tiny particles made out of DNA and RNA that can deliver snippets of RNA directly to tumors, turning off genes expressed in cancer cells.

Nanotechnology breakthrough could improve medical tests

June 1, 2012 3:33 am | News | Comments

A laboratory test used to detect disease and perform biological research could be made more than 3 million times more sensitive, according to researchers who combined standard biological tools with a breakthrough in nanotechnology. The increased performance could improve the early detection of diseases and disorder by allowing doctors to detect far lower concentrations of telltale markers than was previously practical.

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