A treasure map to understanding the epigenetic causes of disease

More than 15 years after scientists first mapped the human genome, most diseases still cannot be predicted based on one’s genes, leading researchers to explore epigenetic causes of disease. But the study of epigenetics cannot be approached the same way as genetics, so progress has been slow. Now, researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of […]

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Immunotherapy drug found safe in treating cancer patients with HIV, study suggests: Researchers seek to break down HIV exclusions in cancer clinical trials

The results of a study led by physicians at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that patients living with HIV and one of a variety of potentially deadly cancers could be safely treated with the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab, also known by its brand name, KEYTRUDA®. During an ASCO presentation concurrent with release of a study in JAMA Oncology, Fred Hutch […]

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New compounds could be used to treat autoimmune disorders

The immune system is programmed to rid the body of biological bad guys — like viruses and dangerous bacteria — but its precision isn’t guaranteed. In the tens of millions of Americans suffering from autoimmune diseases, the system mistakes normal cells for malicious invaders, prompting the body to engage in self-destructive behavior. This diverse class of conditions, which includes Type […]

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New findings could lead to improved vaccinations against sexually transmitted infections

In a study published today in the Nature Communications, researchers from King’s College London have shown how skin vaccination can generate protective CD8 T-cells that are recruited to the genital tissues and could be used as a vaccination strategy for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). One of the challenges in developing vaccines for STIs, such as HIV or herpes simplex virus, […]

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A new way to wind the development clock of cardiac muscle cells

These days, scientists can collect a few skin or blood cells, wipe out their identities, and reprogram them to become virtually any other kind of cell in the human body, from neurons to heart cells. The journey from skin cell to another type of functional cell involves converting them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are similar to the […]

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On the way to fighting staph infections with the body’s immune system

Researchers have gained a greater understanding of the biology of staphylococcus skin infections in mice and how the mouse immune system mobilizes to fight them. A study appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) typically causes skin infections but can spread throughout the body to cause invasive infections such […]

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Conquering cancer’s infamous KRAS mutation

KRAS is one of the most challenging targets in cancer. Despite its discovery more than 60 years, researchers still struggle to inhibit its mutated form — earning its reputation as “undruggable.” Yet, the hunt for an Achilles’ heel continues, as cancers driven by KRAS mutations are both common and deadly. Now, scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys and PHusis Therapeutics have […]

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Why Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells grow uncontrollably

Although classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma is generally easily treatable today, many aspects of the disease still remain a mystery. A team at the Max Delbrück Center led by Professor Claus Scheidereit has now identified an important signaling molecule in the biology of this lymphoma: lymphotoxin-alpha (LTA). It helps the cancer to grow unimpeded—for example, by activating genes for immune checkpoint ligands […]

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Removal of gene completely prevents development of aggressive pancreatic cancer in mice

The action of a gene called ATDC is required for the development of pancreatic cancer, a new study finds. The work builds on the theory that many cancers arise when adult cells — to resupply cells lost to injury and inflammation — switch back into more “primitive,” high-growth cell types, like those that drive fetal development. When this reversion happens […]

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Biologists design new molecules to help stall lung cancer: Scientists tie tumor growth to heme availability, build peptide to ‘hijack’ uptake

University of Texas at Dallas scientists have demonstrated that the growth rate of the majority of lung cancer cells relates directly to the availability of a crucial oxygen-metabolizing molecule. In a preclinical study, recently published in Cancer Research, biologist Dr. Li Zhang and her team showed that the expansion of lung tumors in mice slowed when access to heme — […]

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