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Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered

Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered

Purdue University researchers have identified an important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases. Mark Hall, associate professor of biochemistry, found that near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells. Continue reading

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer segments in a living cell

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer segments in a living cell

Purdue University researchers have developed a way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using tiny gold particles with tails of synthetic DNA. A team led by Joseph Irudayaraj, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, used gold nanoparticles to target and bind to fragments of genetic material known as BRCA1 messenger RNA splice variants, which can indicate the presence and stage of breast cancer. Continue reading

Hundreds of genetic mutations found in healthy blood of a supercentenarian

Hundreds of genetic mutations found in healthy blood of a supercentenarian

Genetic mutations are commonly studied because of links to diseases such as cancer; however, little is known about mutations occurring in healthy individuals. In a study published online in Genome Research , researchers detected over 400 mutations in healthy blood cells of a 115-year-old woman, suggesting that lesions at these sites are largely harmless over the course of a lifetime. Our blood is continually replenished by hematopoietic stem cells that reside in the bone marrow and divide to generate different types of blood cells, including white blood cells Continue reading

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Johns Hopkins scientists report that rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say. The findings, if found to hold true in humans, suggest it may be possible to develop a biological marker to predict sensitivity to radiation’s effects on the human brain before deployment to deep space Continue reading

New target for prostate cancer resistant to anti-hormone therapies

New target for prostate cancer resistant to anti-hormone therapies

Prostate cancer becomes deadly when anti-hormone treatments stop working. Now a new study suggests a way to block the hormones at their entrance Continue reading

New patenting guidelines needed for biotechnology

New patenting guidelines needed for biotechnology

Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Published in the current issue of the journal Regenerative Medicine , the paper is based on the June 2013 U.S Continue reading

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

A computational tool developed at the University of Utah (U of U) has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases, U of U researchers and their colleagues report in a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics . The software, Phevor (Phenotype Driven Variant Ontological Re-ranking tool), identifies undiagnosed illnesses and unknown gene mutations by analyzing the exomes, or areas of DNA where proteins that code for genes are made, in individual patients and small families. Sequencing the genomes of individuals or small families often produces false predictions of mutations that cause diseases. Continue reading

Management of elderly patients with lung cancer

Management of elderly patients with lung cancer

Half of all patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer are 70 years of age or older, yet despite this high percentage, these elderly patients are not well represented in clinical trials. Therefore, the paucity of clinical data has made it difficult to reach evidence based clinical recommendations. In 2010, the EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force and Lung Cancer Group along with the International Society for Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) wrote an expert opinion on managing treatment for elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and now, in an article appearing in the Annal s of Oncology , they have updated their expert opinion. Continue reading

Edible flowers may inhibit chronic diseases

Edible flowers may inhibit chronic diseases

A new study in the Journal of Food Science , published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found that common edible flowers in China are rich in phenolics and have excellent antioxidant capacity. Edible flowers, which have been used in the culinary arts in China for centuries, are receiving renewed interest. Flowers can be used as an essential ingredient in a recipe, provide seasoning to a dish, or simply be used as a garnish. Continue reading

Ginseng can treat, prevent influenza, RSV, researcher finds

Ginseng can treat, prevent influenza, RSV, researcher finds

Ginseng can help treat and prevent influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages, according to research findings by a scientist in Georgia State University’s new Institute for Biomedical Sciences. In a recent issue of Nutrients and an upcoming publication of the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, Sang-Moo Kang reports the beneficial effects of ginseng, a well-known herbal medicine, on human health. Kang’s primary research focuses on designing and developing effective vaccines against viral diseases such as influenza virus and RSV, but he partnered with a university and research institutes in South Korea that wanted international collaborative projects to study if ginseng can be used to improve health and protect against disease because of the potential benefit in fighting these viruses Continue reading