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The drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer (a type of breast cancer that overexpresses the HER2 gene and accounts for about 25% of all breast cancers). Trastuzumab therapy improves the chances of survival; however, it has deleterious side effects and is expensive. Thus, it is important to accurately determine the patient’s HER2 status.

Coral reefs, among Earth's richest ecosystems, traditionally teem with an abundance of life. But in recent years, corals have been dying in droves. Scientists suspect a variety of factors, ranging from accidental damage from fishing activity to the effects of polluted runoff from land.

One simple blood test could predict relapse or survival for children and young adults with acute leukemias, researchers from the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reported at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology's annual meeting Saturday, May 5.

A review of young leukemia patients over the past decade has shown that the absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), a measure of normal immune cells found on every complete blood count report, is a powerful predictor of survival for young patients with leukemia.

Imagine a world where you can eat any kind of fat you want without raising your risk of heart disease.

A new study in mice raises just that possibility.

"We deleted an enzyme in mice and they could eat any type of fat and not get heart disease," said Lawrence Rudel, Ph.D., a professor of comparative medicine. "If you’re a mouse, it’s great. Of course, we don’t know yet if it will be the same in humans."

Rudel’s findings are reported online by Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and will appear in a future print issue.

According to this study, marital sex is the single greatest HIV risk for women around the world.

Marital infidelity by men is so deeply ingrained across many cultures, say Mailman School of Public Health researchers, existing HIV prevention programs are putting a growing number of women at risk of developing the HIV virus.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a simple and economical technique for imaging and mapping fruit fly chromosomes. This new approach will enable them to construct the first accurate map of the chromosomes and tease out the secrets hidden in their stripes. Developers of the new approach use a technology called Computer Vision to analyze hundreds of crisp images of the same chromosomes. This will allow the production of a much more precise map of the chromosome bands. Credit: Photo courtesy of Dmitri Novikov

The growing premature birth rate in the United States appears to be strongly associated with increased use of pesticides and nitrates, according to work conducted by Paul Winchester, M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Winchester and colleagues found that preterm birth rates peaked when pesticides and nitrates measurements in surface water were highest (April-July) and were lowest when nitrates and pesticides were lowest (Aug.-Sept.).

Railway sleepers made from waste plastic, including recycled bumper scrap and old computer cases could be putting in an appearance on UK railway tracks soon, writes Patrick Walter in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

Preterm related deaths accounted for more than 10,000 of the nearly 28,000 infant deaths in 2004, according to the NCHS. Birth defects remain the leading cause of infant death, followed by prematurity, according to official reporting systems. But, using this new classification, premature birth would be the most frequent cause of infant death. The traditional methods cannot accurately gauge the true impact of preterm birth on the infant mortality rate, the NCHS said.

Hamilton College researchers have identified molecules that have been shown to be effective in the fight against breast cancer.

The Hamilton researchers used state-of-the-art computational techniques in a novel way to design molecules that they predicted would be effective lead compounds for breast cancer research. Scientists from the Albany Medical College subsequently synthesized the predicted molecules and showed that they were indeed potential anti-breast cancer compounds in animal systems.

A team of Australian, American and French coral reef scientists has achieved a world breakthrough in tracking fish that could revolutionize the sustainable management of coral reefs and help restore threatened fisheries. Working on coral reefs in a marine protected area in Papua New Guinea, the team has pioneered a new way to study fish populations by "tagging" adult fish with a minute trace of a harmless isotope, which they pass on to their offspring.

With funding provided by the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for Health and the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, Jennifer Eddy of UW Health's Eau Claire Family Medicine Clinic is currently conducting the first randomized, double-blind controlled trial of honey for diabetic ulcers. Eddy first successfully used honey therapy a few years ago with a patient who was facing amputation after all medical options had been exhausted.

Adults with recurrent sore throats may benefit from having a tonsillectomy in the short term, but the overall longer term benefit is still unclear, and any benefits have to be balanced against the side effects of the operation, according to this week's BMJ.

A small study of adults from Finland, published on bmj.com last month, showed that tonsillectomy significantly reduced the likelihood of further infection after 90 days, compared with watchful waiting.

The identification of a cluster of essential genes on mouse chromosome 11 as well as similar clusters on the chromosomes of other organisms – including humans – buttresses the argument that there may be rules as to how genes are structured or laid out on chromosomes, said the Baylor College of Medicine senior author of a report that appears online today in the Public Library of Science Genetics, an open-access publication.

Regular as clockwork, the flu arrives every year. And, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population on average will come down with it. About 36,000 people will die.

But among health experts, a bigger concern than the seasonal flu is an outright flu pandemic, such as a human strain of avian flu. And officials say it is not a question of if such a health crisis will come but when. Are we prepared? In a word, say three UCLA researchers, no.