Science2.0

MYC: Undruggable Cancer Regulator Can Halt Tumor Growth

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 11:31pm

It's a trick almost everyone knows: to open a locked door, slide a credit card over the latch.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) used a similar strategy when they attempted to disrupt the function of MYC, a cancer regulator thought to be "undruggable." The researchers found that a credit card-like molecule they developed somehow moves in and disrupts the critical interactions between MYC and its binding partner.

MYC is a transcriptional factor, meaning it controls gene expression. When MYC is overexpressed or amplified, the unregulated expression of genes involved in cell proliferation, a key step in cancer growth, follows. MYC is involved in a majority of cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma, a fast-growing cancer that tends to strike children.


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Functional 3-D Brain-Like Tissue Created!

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 11:00pm

Bioengineers have created three-dimensional brain-like tissue that functions like and has structural features similar to tissue in the rat brain and that can be kept alive in the lab for more than two months.


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Soft Skills: New Tool Evaluates Bedside Manner Of Doctors

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 10:30pm

Given the choice between a great doctor and a nice doctor, most people would choose great, but for those who prefer nice, a new tool evaluates and helps medical residents improve their communication and other soft skills to become better doctors. 

The study is the first to look at the medical residents' collaboration, communication and other soft skills, or what are known as CanMEDS competencies, in orthopedic surgical training.


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Rangeomorphs: How Some Of The Earliest Animals Lived And Died

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 9:42pm

Rangeomorphs were unlike any modern organism, which has made it difficult to determine how they fed, grew or reproduced, and therefore difficult to link them to any particular modern group.

They looked like plants but evidence points to the fact that rangeomorphs were actually some of the earliest animals.

Starting 541 million years ago, the conditions in the oceans changed quickly with the start of the Cambrian Explosion – a period of rapid evolution when most major animal groups first emerge in the fossil record and competition for nutrients increased dramatically.




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Collaboration And Creativity: When Competition Enters In, Women Check Out

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 9:19pm

Recent papers have suggested that women improve small working groups and so adding women to a group is a surefire way to boost team collaboration and creativity.

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis says that is only true when women there is no competition. Force teams to go head to head and the benefits of a female approach evaporate.

"Intergroup competition is a double-edged sword that ultimately provides an advantage to groups and units composed predominantly or exclusively of men, while hurting the creativity of groups composed of women," said Markus Baer, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor of organizational behavior at Olin Business School.


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Synthetic Sperm Protein Is A Fertile Discovery

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

Researchers have come up with a promising method of treating male infertility; a synthetic version of the sperm-originated protein known as PAWP. PAWP has been shown to be required, they write, and their synthetic version was sufficient to initiate the fertilization process.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 Annual Report on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, only about 37 percent of treatment cycles lead to successful pregnancy. This low success rate may be due to a variety of factors in the male and female including the inability of sperm cell to initiate fertilization and trigger embryo development upon egg entry. 


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Immune System Stealth War: RIG-I Attacks Viruses On A Molecular Level

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

Our immunosensory system detects virus such as influenza via specific characteristics of viral ribonucleic acid - and the immune system's ability to prevent viruses from using molecular camouflage to escape detection is quite good.

But how that works has been a mystery. Researchers have discovered that our immunosensory system attacks viruses on a molecular level to keep rotaviruses, a common cause of diarrheal epidemics, at bay. The results have been published in the renowned journal Nature.


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California Crime Surge Is Coming, Says Study

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 5:31pm

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court forced California to deal with the massive overcrowding in its prison system. The resulting reform shifted administrative and budgetary responsibility for low-level criminals from the state prison system to county jails. As a result, local California jails now face more overcrowding than ever, and local law enforcement is saddled with additional costs for imprisoning arrestees.

That is going to lead to higher crime rates, according to a new paper in the Journal of Public Economics which evaluated prison reform in Israel.  


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Doctor Shopping: 21 Percent Of Adult Orthopedic Patients Find New Doctors For Narcotic Prescriptions

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 5:28pm

"Doctor shopping" is the term for obtaining narcotic prescriptions by seeking out multiple providers that has led to measurable increases in drug use among postoperative trauma patients.

A new paper links doctor shopping to higher narcotic use among orthopedic patients.  

"There has been an alarming rise in opioid use in our country, and the diversion of opioids for non-therapeutic uses is dramatically increasing," said lead study author and orthopedic surgeon Brent J. Morris, MD. "Many suspect that orthopedic trauma patients may be at a higher risk for pre-injury narcotic use and 'doctor shopping.'"


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Celebrity Endorsements: Why Mark Ruffalo Raised A Lot Of Money For Charity But Most Actors Can't

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 4:13pm

Celebrity promotion of charities is ineffective at raising awareness, but can make the stars more popular with the public, according to two papers. This will be a surprise to both celebrities and charities, since campaigning for worthwhile groups has always been done by celebrities and charities seek them out because of the belief that people will donate after endorsements when they otherwise might not.

Or so it seems. It may be that organizations are biased toward success stories and don't see how often it does little.


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Higher Perfectionism, Lower Confidence: The Challenges For Women In STEM

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 4:00pm

Funding agencies spend a great deal of money to try and recruit females into math and science-related careers and a new psychology paper underlines the importance of mentoring and other social support systems for women pursuing those research professions. 


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When Is Emergency Gallbladder Surgery Really An Emergency?

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 3:30pm

Gallstone pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit emergency rooms and how to handle gallstone patients is a cost and quality issue in health care. In the United States, 1 in 10 women and 1 in 15 men have gallstones, and more than 1 million people a year are hospitalized for gallstone disease. Fatty food common in U.S. diets is a contributing factor, according to studies.


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3X The Size Of The Empire State Building: When Megascale Icebergs Run Aground

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 3:00pm

Between Greenland and Spitsbergen, scientists have found the scours on the sea bed left behind by gigantic icebergs - about three times the height of the Empire State Building. The five lineaments, at a depth of 1,200 meters, are the lowest-lying iceberg scours yet to be found on the Arctic sea floor, and provide insight into the dynamics and the extent of last Ice Age and the Arctic ice sheet thousands of years ago.  

"Whenever icebergs run aground, they leave scours on the seabed. Depending on their depth and location, those markings may continue to exist over long periods of time," explained Jan Erik Arndt,  Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) bathymetrician and lead author of a new paper on the subject.  


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Jerusalem's Western Wall - Why Some Stones Have No Wear After 2,000 Years

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 2:40pm

The biggest mystery in the mid-east is why countries of one religion won't put the country of another religion on any geographical maps in any of its schools, but the second biggest mystery is why many of the oldest parts of Jerusalem's Western Wall look like they could have been placed yesterday.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the courtyard of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It is located in Jerusalem's Old City at the foot of the Temple Mount.


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The Black Hole Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 2:12pm

At the ends of the Universe there are black holes billions of times the mass of our sun. These giant quasars feed on interstellar gas, swallowing large quantities of it non-stop - and that is how they can be detected: The light that is emitted by the gas as it is sucked in and crushed by the black hole's gravity travels for eons across the Universe until it reaches our telescopes.

Looking at the edges of the Universe is looking into the past. These far-off, ancient quasars appear to us in their "baby photos" taken less than a billion years after the Big Bang: monstrous infants in a young Universe.


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AE37 Prostate Cancer Vaccine Clinical Trial Results Published

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 2:02pm
Generex Biotechnology Corporation has announced publication of a follow-up study from a Phase I clinical trial of the immunotherapeutic agent AE37 in patients with prostate cancer. The study demonstrates an association between a specific immune response generated by AE37 and improved overall survival.  

A prior study showed that AE37-immunized patients had better overall and disease-free survival as a group than would be expected from their disease status and the current study shows that patients with the strongest immunological response did the best. In particular, both the presence of AE37-induced T cells in peripheral blood as well as a robust delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response elicited by AE37 correlated significantly with overall survival.
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Heads Up: New Technique Allows Population Scale Genetic Engineering

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 2:02pm

Hey, heads up Public: game-changing new science means we can probably make insects stop spreading malaria, dengue fever, and Lyme disease.  Or reverse pesticide resistance in agricultural pests.  Or even eliminate invasive (or otherwise undesired) species.  But this has major public policy implications, and scientists want to make sure everybody knows what we’re getting into and we set up safeguards before any of this actually happens.

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5-Minute Science: Ketchup Packet Cartesian Diver

Science2.0 - August 11, 2014 - 12:20pm
You can easily build a Cartesian diver toy using an empty one liter soda bottle (with the label torn off), a ketchup packet, and tap water. You may want to have a few ketchup packets on hand and put them in a cup of water to see if they sink or float. Keep the one that floats and use the rest for your French fries.

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Invokamet For Treatment Of Type 2 Diabetes Approved

Science2.0 - August 10, 2014 - 10:00pm
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved INVOKAMET™, a fixed-dose therapy combining canagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride in a single tablet, for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. INVOKAMET provides the clinical attributes of INVOKANA® (canagliflozin), the first sodium glucose co–transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor available in the United States, together with metformin, which is commonly prescribed early in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 
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