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Epigenomic changes play an important role during the progression of melanoma

Human DNA contains genetic information that makes our cells functional entities within a larger whole. The stream of information from DNA to function happens in the form of proteins that anchor themselves to various locations in the DNA and transcribe genetic information into functional cell parts. This process is strictly regulated and is thus very sensitive to change by external factors…

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Gene that pushes normal pancreas cells to change shape identified

Their findings, reported in Nature Communications, suggest that inhibiting the gene, protein kinase D1 (PKD1), and its protein could halt progression and spread of this form of pancreatic cancer, and possibly even reverse the transformation. “As soon as pancreatic cancer develops, it begins to spread, and PKD1 is key to both processes. Given this finding, we are busy developing a PKD1 inhibitor that we can test further,” says the study’s co-lead investigator, Peter Storz, Ph.D., a cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic…

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Hot on the trail of hepatitis-liver cancer connection

For the study, which was published in Nature Communications, the group performed whole genomic sequencing on 30 individual tumors classified as liver cancer displaying a biliary phenotype. This type of cancer originates in the liver, but is different from hepatocellular carcinoma, the dominant form of primary liver cancer, and is generally more aggressive, with poorer prognosis. …

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Hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells discovered

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, provides evidence for how these particular melanoma cells help tumors resist drugs designed to block blood vessel formation. “For a long time the hope has been that anti-angiogenic therapies would starve tumors of the nutrients they need to thrive, but these drugs haven’t worked as well as we all had hoped,” said Andrew C…

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Head injury causes immune system to attack brain, new study finds

To date, there are no effective treatments to prevent or reverse the damage sustained after brain injury. The researchers were testing the theory that blows to the head cause brain damage, in part, because of the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, allowing the immune cells in the blood to come into contact with brain cells and destroy them. They hypothesized that mice missing a vital immune component would have less brain damage from trauma, and that a treatment which blocks a component of the immune system would prevent damage. …

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Protein ‘map’ could lead to potent new cancer drugs

The scientists hope their findings will help them to design drugs that could target the enzyme, known as N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), and potentially lead to new treatments for cancer and inflammatory conditions. They have already identified a molecule that blocks NMT’s activity, and have identified specific protein substrates where this molecule has a potent impact. NMT makes irreversible changes to proteins and is known to be involved in a range of diseases including cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications chemists used living human cancer cells to identify more than 100 proteins that NMT modifies, with almost all these proteins being identified for the very first time in their natural environment…

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