Archive by date | March 2013

74 new susceptibility genes found for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer

74 new susceptibility genes found for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer

In the largest cancer genotyping study to date, an international team of scientists spanning more than 160 research groups has identified 74 new genetic regions associated with breast, ovarian or prostate cancer—a near doubling of the number of susceptibility loci linked to these three hormone-related cancers.  Read more

Patients should learn about secondary genetic risk factors, say recommendations

Imagine getting a chest X-ray to identify the cause of a serious cough. The radiologist finds a shadow that wasn’t causing the cough but could be a tumor. In many cases, it is obvious what to do upon uncovering these sorts of secondary or incidental findings — most doctors would follow up on the search for a possible lung tumor, for example.  Read more

Stem cell tracking system promises more targeted regenerative therapies

Stem cell tracking system promises more targeted regenerative therapies

Stem cells hold enormous potential for repairing or regenerating damaged tissue. But delivery of these cells to their target location remains a major obstacle. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California have developed a novel nanoparticle-based system that allows stem cells to be tracked in real time in a living mouse for up to a year after injection. This work, if replicated in humans, could finally allow scientists to verify if these cells are going where they’re intended.  Read more

Red blood cell production relies on white blood cell help

Red blood cell production relies on white blood cell help

Red blood cell production in the bone marrow is a precarious process. Too few RBCs and you can become anemic; too many and you could be suffering from polycythemia vera, a rare, so-called ‘myeloproliferative’ genetic disorder marked by an abnormally high RBC count. Now, researchers have identified a surprising player in the regulation of RBC production under these disease conditions. Reporting online today in Nature Medicine, two independent teams describe the pivotal role of macrophages—amoeba-like white blood cells responsible for digesting harmful foreign microbes and removing old or dying cells—for generating RBCs in both anemic and over-proliferative conditions.  Read more

Rallying for the future of medical research: Q&A with Jon Retzlaff

Rallying for the future of medical research: Q&A with Jon Retzlaff

Less than a month from now, science advocates hope to bring thousands of people together on the Carnegie Library Grounds at Mt. Vernon Square in Washington, DC,  to stand together in the Rally for Medical Research. The move is, in large part, a response to the latest development in the US budget battle, in which the government has implemented massive cuts, known as sequestration, to most federal programs starting 1 March. The sequestration’s $1.6 billion cut to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) translates to over 5 % spending cut to federally-funded medical research. These cuts come at a time when the NIH’s budget has been steadily declining for the past ten years.  Read more

From tumors to tapeworms: parasite’s genome points to new uses for cancer drugs

From tumors to tapeworms: parasite’s genome points to new uses for cancer drugs

Commonly used cancer drugs could be repurposed to help eliminate tapeworm infections, according to the first full genome analysis of the human gut pathogen.  Read more