Under the Microscope
Jul. 17, 2013

Largest cancer gene database made public
Reuters
National Cancer Institute scientists have released the largest-ever database of cancer-related genetic variations, providing researchers the most comprehensive way so far to figure out how to target treatments for the disease.More

Injectable 'smart sponge' hold promise for controlled drug delivery
R&D Magazine
Researchers have developed a drug delivery technique for diabetes treatment in which a sponge-like material surrounds an insulin core. The sponge expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels to release insulin as needed. The technique could also be used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells. "We wanted to mimic the function of health beta-cells, which produce insulin and control its release in a healthy body," says Dr. Zhen Gu, lead author of a paper describing the work.More

Boosting immune therapy for cancer with nanoparticles
Phys.Org
Activating the body's immune system to attack cancer and prevent it from recurring is one of the Holy Grails of cancer research because of its ability to specifically target cancer and to search almost anywhere in the body for rogue tumors. More

Japanese scientists clone a mouse with a single drop of blood
Top Secret Writers
According to an article in a recent edition of the Journal of Biology of Reproduction, Japanese scientists created a cloned mouse from a single drop of blood. Some scientists have commented that it's just one small step in improving the animal cloning process while others believe it could be an important breakthrough.More

Discovery of a new class of white blood cells uncovers target for better vaccine design
Medical Xpress
Scientists at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network have discovered a new class of white blood cells in human lung and gut tissues that play a critical role as the first line of defense against harmful fungal and bacterial infections. This research will have significant impact on the design of vaccines and targeted immunotherapies for diseases caused by infectious microbes such as the hospital-acquired pneumonia.More

Can sad mice help treat Huntington's disease?
HDBuzz
Having Huntington's disease is an extremely difficult situation, so it might not surprise you to hear that depression is common amongst HD patients. Though it's hard to know for sure, it seems as if this depression is not just caused by the circumstances of an HD patients life, but might be part of the brain problems that happen in the disease. Scientists believe that even mice that have been genetically engineered to have a mutated human HD gene are depressed!More

2013 NSH Symposium/Convention Keynote Lecture Series features value added leadership and an update on the state of affairs
NSH
This year attendees at the National Convention will be treated to two experts in their fields. Sunday's CFA Memorial Lecturer is C. Bruce Alexander, M.D., FASCP, Immediate Past President, American Society for Clinical Pathology. He will discuss current events in healthcare affecting those working in pathology and updates on ASCP future plans. Monday afternoon NSH will host Bill Clement, a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Philadelphia Flyers and critically acclaimed author, speaker, actor, entrepreneur, and broadcaster. Clement will outline leadership tools we all possess that add value to the jobs we perform or services we provide. Learn more.More

Finding cancer cells in the blood
MIT Technology Review
In the near future, oncologists may be using a finger-size plastic chip with tiny channels to extract a dozen or so cancer cells from a sample of a patient's blood. Those cells, called circulating tumor cells, could then be screened for genetic disruptions that an oncologist could target with drugs best suited to attacking the tumor.More

TAp73 protein frequently overexpressed in wide range of human tumors
The Medical News
They say you can pick your friends, but not your family. The same may hold true for related proteins. The protein TAp73 is a relative of the well-known, tumor-suppressor protein p53. It shares extensive common gene sequences with p53 and, as suggested by some previous studies, it may function similar to p53 to prevent tumor formation. However, unlike p53, which is the most commonly mutated gene in human tumors, TAp73 is rarely mutated, and instead is frequently overexpressed in a wide range of human tumors, including breast, colon, lung, stomach, ovarian, bladder, liver, neuroblastoma, glioma, and leukemias. More

Could new tests use sugar to help detect cancer?
Nursing Times
"Chocolate, fizzy drinks and other sugar-laden foods could soon be used to detect cancer," the Mail Online reports. This news is certainly a good way to increase the reader appeal of a very technical study that looked at whether the way tumors deal with sugar can help in their detection. Everybody loves chocolate, but the mice involved in this study did not indulge in these sugary treats. Instead, they were given an injection of glucose into their abdominal cavity and then had a new scanning technique called GlucoCEST, which is based on magnetic resonance imaging.More

Artificial cells show why crowding is key
Futurity
Gene expression goes better in tight quarters, especially when other conditions are less than ideal, say researchers who built the artificial cellular system. As the researchers report in an advance online publication in Nature Nanotechnology, these findings may help explain how cells have adapted to the phenomenon of molecular crowding, which has been preserved through evolution.More

Cancer biology: Targeting tumors with 'stapled' peptides
Medical Xpress
Cancer biologists consider many cancer-related proteins as "undruggable" because they resist treatments from traditional drugs. David Lane and co-workers at the A*STAR p53 Laboratory, Bioinformatics Institute and Experimental Therapeutics Center are therefore developing a new generation of therapeutics that can reach such proteins and activate their innate cancer-fighting abilities. The team's latest work reveals that 'stapled' peptides — chemically stabilized helices of amino acids — can activate the tumor-suppressing protein p53 inside cells by disrupting interactions with Mdm2, its regulator protein1.More

Cancer researchers find therapeutic potential in 'undruggable' target
Harvard Gazette
Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers have identified in the most aggressive forms of cancer a gene known to regulate embryonic stem cell self-renewal and are beginning a creative search for a drug that can block its activity.More

TAp73 protein frequently overexpressed in wide range of human tumors
The Medical News
They say you can pick your friends, but not your family. The same may hold true for related proteins. The protein TAp73 is a relative of the well-known, tumor-suppressor protein p53. It shares extensive common gene sequences with p53 and, as suggested by some previous studies, it may function similar to p53 to prevent tumor formation. However, unlike p53, which is the most commonly mutated gene in human tumors, TAp73 is rarely mutated, and instead is frequently overexpressed in a wide range of human tumors, including breast, colon, lung, stomach, ovarian, bladder, liver, neuroblastoma, glioma, and leukemias. More