Breast Cancer Research Uncovers The Fountain Of Youth
The Fountain of Youth has been discovered and it’s not in Florida as Ponce de Leon claimed. Instead, it was found in the mammary glands of genetically modified mice.
A research team led by Professor Rama Khokha has found that when two factors that control tissue development are removed, you can avoid the impact of aging.
Think of tissue as a building that is constantly under renovation. The contractors would be “metalloproteinases,” which are constantly working to demolish and reconstruct the tissue. The architects in this case, who are trying to reign in and direct the contractors, are known as “tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases” — or TIMPs. When the architect and the contractors don’t communicate well, a building can fall down. In the case of tissue, the result can be cancer.
To understand how metalloproteinases and TIMPs interact, medical researchers breed mice that have one or more of the four different types of TIMPs removed. Khokha’s team examined the different combinations and found that when TIMP1 and TIMP3 were removed, breast tissue remained youthful in aged mice. The results are presented in Nature Cell Biology.
The cancer cells that circulate in many patients’ bloodstreams are incredibly rare but potentially dangerous. They break off from existing tumors, traveling to new locations where they can grow into new tumors. Scientists have come up with a better way of looking for these cells—using invisible sound waves.
Existing ways to sort cancer cells out of blood are slow, and they can damage cells, rendering them useless for further tests. Sound waves, however, can gently nudge healthy and cancerous cells apart. Here’s how it works, as explained by MIT’s news office.
The researchers built microfluidic devices with two acoustic transducers, which produce sound waves, on either side of a microchannel. When the two waves meet, they combine to form a standing wave (a wave that remains in constant position). This wave produces pressure nodes, or lines of low pressure. Because the sound waves are tilted so they run across the microchannel at an angle, each cell encounters several pressure nodes as it flows through the channel. As cells encounter each node, they are pushed further to the side of the channel; the distance of cell movement depends on their size and other properties, such as compressibility.
Computer model developed to predict how ‘T09’ causes the liver to store fat could be used to predict liver fat storage for other drugs and conditions
As part of an effort to understand how an experimental drug for atherosclerosis causes the build-up of fat in the liver, scientists have developed a computer model that can predict how the rate at which liver stores fat in response to various situations. Being able to model liver fat storage gives researchers a way to predict the side effects of drugs and environmental factors at much earlier stages in the research and drug development process, possibly reducing the number of experiments involving animal models. Additionally, this computer simulation helps describe all of the possible ways in which the liver stores fat, including how the liver takes up or creates fats and how it disposes of fat. This knowledge could lay the foundation for future research regarding the liver and its functions. This was published in the April 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal.
DNA profiling (or genetic fingerprinting) has proved to be a revolutionary tool for forensic investigators as a means to identify potential suspects, exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty. But, like any forensic technique, it has its limitations. One limitation is in cases involving identical twins, something that has raised technical, legal and ethical problems — until now.
The more closely related one human is to another, the more similar their DNA profiles. For example, the probability of a DNA match between two random, unrelated individuals is in the region of one in a billion. For two full siblings, the probability drops to one in 10,000. Identical twins present the same DNA profile.
In forensic investigations, this presents problems. Under the ethical premise that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to imprison one innocent man, if the courts cannot decide which twin is responsible then both must go free. There have in fact been a small number of high-profile cases where the suspects were identical twins, leading forensic genetics researchers to explore how this could be addressed. Now we’ve come up with a solution, recently published in the journal Analytical Biochemistry.