Harnessing miRNA Natural Gene Repressors For Anticancer Therapy

Michel Sadelain and colleagues, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, have developed a new approach to modulate the expression of genes for therapeutic purposes, and used this to mediate effective anticancer therapy in mice.

Their study is published online, Dec. 1, 2008, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Continue reading “Harnessing miRNA Natural Gene Repressors For Anticancer Therapy”

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Researchers successfully reprogram keratinocytes attached to a single hair

The first reports of the successful reprogramming of adult human cells back into so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which by all appearances looked and acted liked embryonic stem cells created a media stir. But the process was woefully inefficient: Only one out of 10,000 cells could be persuaded to turn back the clock.

Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp. Continue reading “Researchers successfully reprogram keratinocytes attached to a single hair”

Second lumpectomy for breast cancer reduces survival rates

A majority of women with breast cancer today are candidates for lumpectomy, allowing for conservation of most of their breast tissue. Results of a UC Davis study, however, show that a number of women whose cancer recurs in the same breast are treated with a second lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy, defying current treatment recommendations and cutting the number of years those women survive in half. Continue reading “Second lumpectomy for breast cancer reduces survival rates”

Synthetic molecules may be less expensive alternative to therapeutic antibodies

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed a simple and inexpensive method to screen small synthetic molecules and pull out a handful that might treat cancer and other diseases less expensively than current methods.

In one screen of more than 300,000 such molecules, called peptoids, the new technique quickly singled out five promising candidates that mimicked an antibody already on the market for treating cancer. One of the compounds blocked the growth of human tumors in a mouse model. Continue reading “Synthetic molecules may be less expensive alternative to therapeutic antibodies”

Vitamin C injections slow tumor growth in mice

High-dose injections of vitamin C, also known as ascorbate or ascorbic acid, reduced tumor weight and growth rate by about 50 percent in mouse models of brain, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report in the August 5, 2008, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers traced ascorbate’s anti-cancer effect to the formation of hydrogen peroxide in the extracellular fluid surrounding the tumors. Normal cells were unaffected.
Continue reading “Vitamin C injections slow tumor growth in mice”

New disease-fighting nanoparticles look like miniature pastries

Ultra-miniature bialy-shaped particles — called nanobialys because they resemble tiny versions of the flat, onion-topped rolls popular in New York City — could soon be carrying medicinal compounds through patients’ bloodstreams to tumors or atherosclerotic plaques.
Continue reading “New disease-fighting nanoparticles look like miniature pastries”