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Breakthrough finds molecules that block previously ‘undruggable’ protein tied to cancer

The findings, which could lead to a new class of cancer drugs, appear in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology. “These are the first reported small-molecule HuR inhibitors that competitively disrupt HuR-RNA binding and release the RNA, thus blocking HuR function as a tumor-promoting protein,” said Liang Xu, associate professor of molecular biosciences and corresponding author of the paper. The results hold promise for treating a broad array of cancers in people. The researcher said HuR has been detected at high levels in almost every type of cancer tested, including cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, brain, ovaries, pancreas and lung…

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Stem cell disease model clarifies bone cancer trigger

The study results, published in the journal Cell, revolve around iPSCs, which since their 2006 discovery have enabled researchers to coax mature (fully differentiated) bodily cells (e.g. skin cells) to become like embryonic stem cells. Such cells are pluripotent, able to become many cell types as they multiply and differentiate to form tissues…

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Review highlights potential of cancer immunotherapy plus targeted therapy

“To support this goal and accelerate these efforts, changes in directions of research support and funding may be required,” co-authors Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology, and Jim Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology, said in the review. The review, titled “Immune Checkpoint Targeting in Cancer Therapy: Toward Combination Strategies with Curative Potential,” covers the strengths and weaknesses of the two forms of therapy and notes how their combination could be particularly potent. …

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Ebola whole virus vaccine shown effective, safe in primates

The vaccine, described today (March 26, 2015) in the journal Science, was developed by a group led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison expert on avian influenza, Ebola and other viruses of medical importance. It differs from other Ebola vaccines because as an inactivated whole virus vaccine, it primes the host immune system with the full complement of Ebola viral proteins and genes, potentially conferring greater protection. “In terms of efficacy, this affords excellent protection,” explains Kawaoka, a professor of pathobiological sciences in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and who also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tokyo…

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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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New therapeutic target may improve treatment for brain cancer

The research will be presented at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015. Monteagudo’s research indicates a new possible chemotherapeutic target for treating GBM: transglutaminase 2 (TG2), a multifunctional protein that can regulate cell adhesion and motility. Given these documented functions of TG2, Monteagudo and her colleagues in the laboratory of Gail Johnson, Ph.D., at the University of Rochester, were interested in determining if TG2 played an important role in GBM cell growth. …

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Swine flu outbreak in India raises concern: New strain of H1N1 may carry dangerous mutations

The findings, which appear in the March 11 issue of Cell Host & Microbe, contradict previous reports from Indian health officials that the strain has not changed from the version of H1N1 that emerged in 2009 and has been circulating around the world ever since. With very little scientific data available about the new strain, the MIT researchers stress the need for better surveillance to track the outbreak and to help scientists to determine how to respond to this influenza variant. …

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