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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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Study revises theory of how PTEN, a critical tumor suppressor, shuts off growth signals

Today, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) publish new evidence explaining precisely how the protein encoded by PTEN (called PTEN) works — specifically, how it is recruited to particular locations in our cells where pro-growth signals need to be shut off. The new evidence, assembled by a team led by CSHL Associate Professor Lloyd Trotman, contradicts a long-held assumption about PTEN function, and could help scientists design more effective drugs to counteract cancer’s hallmark trait, uncontrolled cellular growth…

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Bio-marker set forms the basis for new blood test to detect colorectal cancer

Max Mazzone (VIB/KU Leuven): “This research demonstrates how important it is to gain a thorough understanding of the role of our immune system in cancer. In this case, this knowledge will hopefully result in a new, more sensitive test to detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, so that more patients can be cured. I hope that we can soon find an industrial partner to help us achieve the following step, which is the development of the test.” Colorectal cancer: a growing medical problem In 2012, a total of 1.4 million people worldwide were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, this figure is expected to increase to 2.4 million by 2035. This is a condition that affects a growing number of people each year. …

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Human neural stem cells restore cognitive functions impaired by chemotherapy

In preclinical studies using rodents, they found that stem cells transplanted one week after the completion of a series of chemotherapy sessions restored a range of cognitive functions, as measured one month later using a comprehensive platform of behavioral testing. In contrast, rats not treated with stem cells showed significant learning and memory impairment. The frequent use of chemotherapy to combat multiple cancers can produce severe cognitive dysfunction, often referred to as “chemobrain,” which can persist and manifest in many ways long after the end of treatments in as many as 75 percent of survivors — a problem of particular concern with pediatric patients. “Our findings provide the first solid evidence that transplantation of human neural stem cells can be used to reverse chemotherapeutic-induced damage of healthy tissue in the brain,” said Charles Limoli, a UCI professor of radiation oncology…

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Cancer researchers may inspire new area of research in cellular biology

A research collaboration between Griffith and the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, New Zealand has made the discovery that mitochondria are capable of passing through the healthy membrane of a host cell into defective tumour cells, possibly kicking off the rapid proliferation of tumour cells which is the hallmark of cancer. Until now each cell was believed to be a unique entity, with mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) bound within the cell membrane. …

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Protein kinase R and dsRNAs, new regulators of mammalian cell division

This finding will provide important clues to understanding the process of tumor formation and the mechanism for suppressing cancer since the abnormal cell division marks the early events of cancer development. For the first time, the IBS research team has found that during mitosis, the cellular dsRNAs activate PKR, an enzyme previously known as a trigger of immune response during virus infection. Activated PKR then regulates protein synthesis and orchestrates mitotic processes…

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Unlocking the secrets of pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the lung, due to excessive growth of cells in the blood vessel wall. The cells grow in number until they obstruct the vessels, causing the heart to struggle pushing blood through the lungs to the point where the heart fails and the patient dies…

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