Molecular Switch Inhibition May Aid Treatment of Deadly Brain Cancers

Inhibition of the expression of a gene called NHERF-1 may be useful in the treatment of deadly brain cancers in the class glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), according to findings published by researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Barrow Neurological Institute in the April issue of Neoplasia. “Our findings suggest a novel mechanism defining NHERF-1 as a ‘molecular switch’ that regulates the GBM tumor cell’s ability to migrate or divide,” said Dr. Kerri Kislin, the lead author of the study. The findings will be presented during the AACR annual meeting April 18-22. [Press release]

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MicroRNAs May Improve Hearing

The lack of certain critical microRNAs can result in deafness, according to findings published in the April 14 issue of PNAS. “The molecules we identified could be used as a molecular tool delivered directly into the ears of deaf people to induce regeneration of important sensory cells that would improve hearing,” one of the reporting …

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New Nucleotide Discovered in Mammals; May Revolutionize Epigenetics

Scientists at Rockefeller University have discovered a new methylated nucleotide in mammals. This discovery may revolutionize the study of epigenetics–i.e., inheritance not governed strictly by the sequence of nucleotides in a gene. The new methylated nucleotide (5-hydroxymethylcytosine) had previously been observed only in bacterial viruses. The Rockefeller researchers report that the new nucleotide is stable …

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Red Pandas Can Taste Artificial Sweetener

In a surprise finding, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have shown that a non-primate mammal (the red panda) can taste the artificial sweetener aspartame. Previously, only primates were believed able to taste this sweetener. The findings may shed light on how taste preferences and diet choices are shaped by molecular differences in taste …

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Magnets Might Enable Low-Cost Nanopore DNA Sequencing

A novel technique to move DNA strands through nanopores at a slow enough speed for accurate sequencing has been developed by physicists at Brown University. The techique involves the use of “magnetic tweezers” in conjunction with an electric field to move the DNA. The researchers believe that this new technique might serve as the basis …

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Lung Cancer Susceptibility Gene Identified

Researchers have identified a lung cancer susceptibility gene (RGS17) that they believe may prove to be as important to lung cancer diagnosis and treatment as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have proven to be in breast cancer. They believe the RGS17 gene might eventually be used to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from earlier, …

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New Drugs Offer Promise for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer

Researchers report the development of two new anti-androgen drugs that retain their effectiveness in the face of increased expression of the androgen receptor. Patients with metastatic prostate cancer are normally treated with drugs that antagonize androgen function, but most of these patients progress to a more aggressive form of the disease that is driven by …

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New Probe Permits Better Visualization of Single RNA Molecules

A new type of probe that allows researchers to visualize single molecules of RNA within living cells more easily than by existing methods has been developed by biomedical engineers at Georgia Tech and collaborating institutions. “The probes we designed shine bright, are small and easy to assemble, bind rapidly to their targets, and can be …

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