‘Deep dive’ into biology of kidney tumors identifies markers of response to immunotherapy

Treatments for kidney cancer have improved considerably over the past few decades. In 1988, when Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist Robert Motzer started researching the disease, the average survival was less than one year. There were no approved therapies at the time besides surgery. By 2005, with the development of targeted drugs such as sunitinib (Sutent), survival nearly tripled. Today, with […]

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The complex biology behind your love (or hatred) of coffee

Why do some people feel like they need three cups of coffee just to get through the day when others are happy with only one? Why do some people abstain entirely? New research suggests that our intake of coffee—the most popular beverage in America, above bottled water, sodas, tea, and beer—is affected by a positive feedback loop between genetics and […]

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Harnessing biology and technology to develop new depression treatments

New research into the biology of depression, along with new and evolving technologies, provides the basis for developing the next generation of treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to the special January/February issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. “By embracing a multifactorial understanding of MDD, by attending carefully to the sex difference in its prevalence and manifestation, and by […]

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Typhoid toxin accelerates cell aging to enhance killer infection

Scientists have revealed how the typhoid toxin works to hijack DNA repair machines and accelerate the aging of cells, a breakthrough that could pave the way for new strategies to combat the killer disease. As part of the study, experts from the Department of Biomedical Science with support from the new Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of Sheffield, infected […]

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Mystery solved about the machines that move your genes

Fleets of microscopic machines toil away in your cells, carrying out critical biological tasks and keeping you alive. By combining theory and experiment, researchers have discovered the surprising way one of these machines, called the spindle, avoids slowdowns: congestion. The spindle divides chromosomes in half during cell division, ensuring that both offspring cells contain a full set of genetic material. […]

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How chikungunya virus may cause chronic joint pain

A new method for permanently marking cells infected with chikungunya virus could reveal how the virus continues to cause joint pain for months to years after the initial infection, according to a study published August 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Deborah Lenschow of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. According to the authors, […]

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New tool mines scientific texts for fusion protein facts: Computational approach could aid efforts to develop personalized cancer treatments

A new computational tool called ProtFus screens scientific literature to validate predictions about the activity of fusion proteins — proteins encoded by the joining of two genes that previously encoded two separate proteins. Somnath Tagore in the Frenkel-Morgenstern Lab at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and colleagues present ProtFus in PLOS Computational Biology. Different kinds of fusion proteins can arise naturally in […]

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Thermally stable TB vaccine closer to reality thanks to microscopic silica cages: A promising TB vaccine can be protected from heat damage

Scientists working on a new tuberculosis (TB) vaccine have achieved a major step forward by showing that a promising TB antigen and a novel vaccine adjuvant can be protected from heat damage with a technique developed at the University of Bath. Their method prevents these crucial vaccine components from spoiling outside of a fridge — meaning a thermally stable vaccine […]

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High-risk pregnancy: The interferon effect: Discovery of a cellular mechanism involved in abnormal placental development during some high-risk pregnancies

High-risk pregnancies occur frequently and may be caused by various factors. It is estimated that 10 to 20% of pregnant women miscarry during their first trimester of pregnancy. Slow fetal growth may also arise as a result of maternal infection with certain microbes, parasites or viruses (such as toxoplasmosis or infection with rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes or Zika) or because […]

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Strain of common cold virus could revolutionize treatment of bladder cancer

A strain of the common cold virus has been found to potentially target, infect and destroy cancer cells in patients with bladder cancer, a new study in the medical journal Clinical Cancer Research reports. No trace of the cancer was found in one patient following treatment with the virus. Researchers from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital […]

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