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Presence of enzyme may worsen effects of spinal cord injury and impair long-term recovery

Presence of enzyme may worsen effects of spinal cord injury and impair long-term recovery

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition with few treatment options. Studies show that damage to the barrier separating blood from the spinal cord can contribute to the neurologic deficits that arise secondary to the initial trauma. Through a series of sophisticated experiments, researchers reporting in The American Journal of Pathology suggest that matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) plays a pivotal role in disruption of the brain/spinal cord barrier (BSCB), cell death, and functional deficits after SCI. Continue reading

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

In what seems like a counter-intuitive move against survival, within animals, some cells are fated to die from the triggering of an elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis. Now, Sakamaki et. al., have honed in on understanding the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans Continue reading

Discovery of cellular snooze button advances cancer, biofuel research

Discovery of cellular snooze button advances cancer, biofuel research

The discovery of a cellular snooze button has allowed a team of Michigan State University scientists to potentially improve biofuel production and offer insight on the early stages of cancer. Continue reading

A diet for the cell: Keeping DNA fit with fewer calories

A diet for the cell: Keeping DNA fit with fewer calories

Cells are generally able to repair spontaneous damage that arises in their genetic material. Unfortunately, the DNA repair process is not perfect and sometimes, damaged DNA gets passed on to newly made cells Continue reading

First pictures of BRCA2 protein show how it works to repair DNA

First pictures of BRCA2 protein show how it works to repair DNA

Scientists have taken pictures of the BRCA2 protein for the first time, showing how it works to repair damaged DNA. Mutations in the gene that encodes BRCA2 are well known for raising the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Although the protein was known to be involved in DNA repair, its shape and mechanism have been unclear, making it impossible to target with therapies Continue reading

Stochastic variations of migration speed between cells in clonal populations

Stochastic variations of migration speed between cells in clonal populations

Microfluidic tools for precision measurements of cell migration speed reveal that migratory speed of individual cells changes stochastically from parent cells to their descendants, while the average speed of the cell population remains constant through successive generations. A team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston has developed technologies for precision measurement of cell migration speed before and applied the new tool to study the variations of migration speed in population of cancer cells. This tool enabled comparisons between successive generations of cells with single cell resolution. Continue reading

Discovery could prevent development of brain tumours in children

Discovery could prevent development of brain tumours in children

Scientists at the IRCM discovered a mechanism that promotes the progression of medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumour found in children. Continue reading

Second-line afatinib significantly improves progression-free survival in recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer, phase III trial shows

Second-line afatinib significantly improves progression-free survival in recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer, phase III trial shows

The tyrosine kinase inhibitor afatinib significantly improved progression-free survival compared to methotrexate in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy, the results of a phase III trial show. Continue reading

Biologists delay the aging process by ‘remote control’

Biologists delay the aging process by ‘remote control’

UCLA biologists have identified a gene that can slow the aging process throughout the entire body when activated remotely in key organ systems. Working with fruit flies, the life scientists activated a gene called AMPK that is a key energy sensor in cells; it gets activated when cellular energy levels are low Continue reading

In one of nature’s innovations, a single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome

In one of nature’s innovations, a single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome

Life can be so intricate and novel that even a single cell can pack a few surprises, according to a study led by Princeton University researchers. The pond-dwelling, single-celled organism Oxytricha trifallax has the remarkable ability to break its own DNA into nearly a quarter-million pieces and rapidly reassemble those pieces when it’s time to mate, the researchers report in the journal Cell. Continue reading