Researchers have discovered a new clue in explaining how cancer cells with identical genomes can respond differently to the same therapy. In a Nature Communications paper published on 21st March 2019, researchers reveal for the first time that the number of mitochondria in a cell is, in great part, associated with how the cancer responds to drug therapy. Cancer is the second-leading cause of mortality worldwide, with approximately one in six deaths across the globe attributed to the disease. While treatments for cancer continue to improve as technology advances, researchers and clinicians have been unsuccessful in explaining the diversity of ...
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the US, with approximately 16 million Americans currently affected.  Researchers at the University of Michigan have reported on the ability of Parametric Response Mapping (PRM), a relatively new technique, to identify small airway abnormality in COPD. Currently, it is difficult to identify abnormalities in small airways non-invasively, as the tiny bronchioles that are initially damaged are around two millimetres in internal diameter, and as such are too small to be imaged using computed tomography.  PRM was developed at Michigan Medicine, in a study led by Dr Brian ...
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Drug repurposing can often reduce the time and cost it takes to discover and develop a new drug, especially for novel antimicrobial therapies. Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative, helically shaped, stomach pathogen associated with human gastric mucosa. After entering the body, they can cause chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers and gastric carcinoma. Gastric cancer is developed by around 2.9 percent of people affected by H. pylori, and with some studies suggesting a link between the pathogen and colorectal cancer, it is important that an effective treatment is found. Researchers in the Infectious Diseases Division at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown ...
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University of Otago scientists have discovered a way to view the immune cell ‘landscape’ of bowel cancer tumours, paving the way towards more individualised medicine and treatment for many other diseases in future. The scientists have shown the incredible diversity of immune cells that are inside a colorectal tumour. Immune cells are known to protect against cancer growth and this work provides new information on the types of cells present and how they might be beneficial for the patient. Lead researcher Associate Professor Roslyn Kemp explained they are using a new technology called high-dimensional mass cytometry to identify cells in ...
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Researchers have demonstrated how machine learning can analyse sequences of proteins providing a wealth of information on the structure of proteins, their function and their evolutionary features. Sequences of molecules, called amino acids, make up proteins. These amino acids determine the function and structure of the protein, however determining which areas of the sequence is responsible for various properties is challenging. “Answering this question could have significant implications for pharmaceutical development,” explained co-author Dr Jérôme Tubiana, former PhD student in the Physics Laboratory at l’École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris, France. “For example, it could help with the design of new ...
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A drug candidate for cancers that are associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been identified. Researchers at The Wistar Institute created a drug candidate for cancer associated with EBV, describing inhibitors of the protein EBNA1, Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1. EBNA1 is a DNA-binding protein that is critical for virus replication and for the continuous proliferation of infected cells. The identified drug candidate has shown efficacy in preclinical models. “EBNA1 is found in all EBV-associated tumours and does not look like any other protein in the human body,” said Dr Paul M. Lieberman, Hilary Koprowski Endowed Professor, leader of the Gene ...
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British researchers have discovered that an epigenetic protein called EZH2 delays the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) but then switches sides once the disease is established to help maintain tumor growth. The study suggests that targeting EZH2 could therefore be an effective treatment for AML, an aggressive blood cancer expected to kill over 10,000 people in the US alone this year. EZH2 is an epigenetic protein that can control the activity of hundreds of genes by chemically modifying the histone proteins that package up the cell’s DNA. Increases in EZH2 activity are thought to promote the development of a ...
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Pancreatic cancer is a grim diagnosis, with a five-year survival rate of less than 9 percent. To improve these odds, researchers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine sought genetic signatures in the largest study of its kind that could be used to better match drugs to patients and for early detection. The study involved sifting through the genomes of thousands of tumors, sampled from all over the world. In 17 percent of cases, there was a genetic flag that indicated the tumor should be susceptible to existing chemotherapy drugs. The researchers also found supporting evidence for heritable ...
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Adverse drug reactions can be costly. Prolonged hospital stays and clinical investigations cost as much as $30.1 billion every year — and clinical facilities carry much of that burden. And cost is just the tip of the iceberg. This is highlighted by an FDA website which cites troubling statistics such as the 100k deaths and over 2 million serious adverse drug reactions experienced each year: Adverse Drug Reactions: Prevalence and Incidence In extreme cases, a drug’s regulatory approval may even be revoked, rendering a developer’s multi-billion-dollar investment , while maybe achieving some learnings, overall unprofitable and unsuccessful. In response to ...
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In December 2018, the FDA announced it has formally recognized a public database containing genomic information, a huge milestone in the evolving field of precision medicine. Now researchers can use this information to validate their tests instead of having to generate their own data. In 2017 30% of new drugs approved by the FDA were classed as ‘precision medicines’, a figure we’ll no doubt see increase when we reflect on 2018. However, while precision medicine has had many positive impacts so far, the cost of scaling precision therapies to a larger patient population is still putting many medicines out of ...
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Researchers at the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center found that the enzyme USP15 could potentially lead to new treatments for breast and pancreatic cancer.  “With this study, we validate the role of USP15 in maintaining genome stability and tumor suppression and inform novel treatments for breast cancer,” said Dr Huadong Pei, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and senior author on the study. “With consistent research and progress of current studies, we will gain a stronger understanding and a more comprehensive view of USP15 functions in cancer and their ...
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Researchers at Osaka University in Japan have revealed a correlation between the action of T-cells in tumours, where they kill cancer cells, and in T-cells in the blood of these patients. T-cells are key components in the fight against cancer when it arises in the body. The cells often struggle to recognise cancer cells, or launch the right attack against them. Scientists have altered T-cell activities to improve their performance, commonly known as immunotherapy. However, this approach is only suitable for a small set of patients. The scientists showed that the level of T-cell activity in the blood correlates with ...
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