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Mayo researchers identify mechanism of oncogene action in lung cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a genetic promoter of cancer that drives a major form of lung cancer. In a new paper published this week in Cancer Cell, Mayo Clinic researchers provide genetic evidence that Ect2 drives lung adenocarcinoma tumor formation.




Georgia State Study Uses Social Media, Internet To Forecast Disease Outbreaks

When epidemiological data are scarce, social media and Internet reports can be reliable tools for forecasting infectious disease outbreaks, according to a study led by an expert in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

“Our study offers proof of concept that publicly available online reports released in real-time by ministries of health, local surveillance systems, the World Health Organization and authoritative media outlets are useful to identify key information on exposure and transmission patterns during epidemic emergencies,” the researchers said. “Our Internet-based findings on exposure patterns are in good agreement with those derived from traditional epidemiological surveillance data, which can be available after considerable delays.”




Scientists discover how to prevent undesirable immune attacks on therapeutic viruses

LA JOLLA—Normally when we think of viruses, from the common cold to HIV, we want to boost people’s immunity to fight them. But for scientists who develop therapeutic viruses (to, for example, target cancer cells or correct gene deficiencies) a more important question is: How do we keep people’s natural immune responses at bay? In these cases, an overenthusiastic immune response actually undermines the therapy.




Pancreatic tumors rely on signals from surrounding cells

LA JOLLA—Just as an invasive weed might need nutrient-rich soil and water to grow, many cancers rely on the right surroundings in the body to thrive. A tumor’s microenvironment—the nearby tissues, immune cells, blood vessels and extracellular matrix—has long been known to play a role in the tumor’s growth.




New insights in genetic defect allow prevention of fatal illnesses in children

A team of scientists led by prof. Adrian Liston (VIB–KU Leuven) and prof. Isabelle Meyts (UZ Leuven – KU Leuven) were able to characterize a new genetic immunodeficiency resulting from a mutation in a gene named STAT2. This mutation causes patients to be extremely vulnerable to normally mild childhood illnesses such as rotavirus and enterovirus. Prof. Liston’s comprehensive analysis of the genetic defect allows clinicians to provide children with the proper therapies before illnesses prove fatal. The findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.




New insights in genetic defect allow prevention of fatal illnesses in children

A team of scientists led by prof. Adrian Liston (VIB–KU Leuven) and prof. Isabelle Meyts (UZ Leuven – KU Leuven) were able to characterize a new genetic immunodeficiency resulting from a mutation in a gene named STAT2. This mutation causes patients to be extremely vulnerable to normally mild childhood illnesses such as rotavirus and enterovirus. Prof. Liston’s comprehensive analysis of the genetic defect allows clinicians to provide children with the proper therapies before illnesses prove fatal. The findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.




Biosimilars Create Opportunities for Sustainable Cancer Care

Lugano, Switzerland – Biosimilars create opportunities for sustainable cancer care, says the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in a position paper published in ESMO Open. The document outlines approval standards for biosimilars, how to safely introduce them into the clinic, and the potential benefits for patients and healthcare systems.




TGen identifies compound that could improve drug development against brain cancer

A study led by scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has identified "a potent inhibitory compound" in the elusive hunt for an improved treatment against glioblastoma, the most common and deadly type of adult brain cancer.

Aurintricarboxylic Acid (ATA) is a chemical compound that in laboratory tests was shown to block the chemical cascade that otherwise allows glioblastoma cells to invade normal brain tissue and resist both chemo and radiation therapy, according to a TGen-led report published today in the scientific journal Oncotarget.

 




China Cancels Plans For 100 New Coal-Fired Power Plants

China has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants, including several that were already under construction, according to news reports. The power stations, with an estimated price tag of $62 billion, would have had an electricity-generating capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, spread across several provinces.




Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports. 

At the time, the storm's unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces and farmers reducing irrigation or abandoning agricultural land — that created extreme amounts of dust to fuel the storm.




What makes erionite carcinogenic?

The mineral erionite is considered to be highly carcinogenic and is on the World Health Organisation's list of substances that cause cancer. A few years ago, an entire village in Turkey actually had to be moved, because the substance was very common in the surrounding area and every second inhabitant died of a particular type of cancer caused by breathing in erionite particles. Up to now it has been thought that iron as a constituent element of the mineral erionite is the reason for the carcinogenic effect. However, mineralogists of Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany), together with colleagues from the University of Modena (Italy), have discovered that this metal does not even appear in the crystal structure of erionite.




Affordable water in the US: A burgeoning crisis

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.




Scientists identify protein central to immune response against tuberculosis bacteria

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that is central to the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy the bacterium responsible for the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.




Scientists identify protein central to immune response against tuberculosis bacteria

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that is central to the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy the bacterium responsible for the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.




A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections

You can pretty much put a mark in your calendar for when the annual flu epidemic begins. Using 20,000 virus samples and weather statistics, researchers have now discovered more details about how outdoor temperature and flu outbreaks are linked.




A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections

You can pretty much put a mark in your calendar for when the annual flu epidemic begins. Using 20,000 virus samples and weather statistics, researchers have now discovered more details about how outdoor temperature and flu outbreaks are linked.




Researchers find a potential target for anti-Alzheimer treatments

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have identified a gene that may provide a new starting point for developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The USP9 gene has an indirect influence on the so-called tau protein, which is believed to play a significant role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.




Warmer West Coast ocean conditions linked to increased risk of toxic shellfish

Hazardous levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin that accumulates in shellfish, have been linked to warmer ocean conditions in waters off Oregon and Washington for the first time by a NOAA-supported research team, led by Oregon State University scientists.

Domoic acid, produced by certain types of marine algae, can accumulate in shellfish, fish and other marine animals. Consuming enough of the toxin can be harmful or even fatal. Public health agencies and seafood managers closely monitor toxin levels and impose harvest closures where necessary to ensure that seafood remains safe to eat. NOAA is supporting research and new tools to help seafood industry managers stay ahead of harmful algae events that are increasing in frequency, intensity and scope.




Retroviruses 'almost half a billion years old'

Retroviruses – the family of viruses that includes HIV – are almost half a billion years old, according to new research by scientists at Oxford University. That's several hundred million years older than previously thought and suggests retroviruses have ancient marine origins, having been with their animal hosts through the evolutionary transition from sea to land.




Retroviruses 'almost half a billion years old'

Retroviruses – the family of viruses that includes HIV – are almost half a billion years old, according to new research by scientists at Oxford University. That's several hundred million years older than previously thought and suggests retroviruses have ancient marine origins, having been with their animal hosts through the evolutionary transition from sea to land.




An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk

A theory that uses the mathematics of a drunken walk describes ecological invasions better than waves, according to Tim Reluga, associate professor of mathematics and biology, Penn State.




El Niño fuelled Zika outbreak, new study suggests

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that a change in weather patterns, brought on by the 'Godzilla' El Niño of 2015, fuelled the Zika outbreak in South America. The findings were revealed using a new epidemiological model that looked at how climate affects the spread of Zika virus by both of its major vectors, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

The model can also be used to predict the risk of future outbreaks, and help public health officials tailor mosquito control measures and travel advice.




Millions exposed to mercury in urban Pakistan

More than 40 per cent of Pakistanis living in urban areas are exposed to mercury contamination through dust particles and bioaccumulation, says a new study.  

The study, published last month (November) in Science of the Total Environment, amassed hair samples from 22 sites in five zones in Pakistan — Swat Valley & Gilgit-Baltistan regions, Kashmir Valley, Lower Himalaya Mountains and Indus Plains.




How noise pollution impacts marine ecology

Marine ecologists have shown how noise pollution is changing the behaviour of marine animals - and how its elimination will significantly help build their resilience. Laura Briggs reports.

Building up a library of sound from marine creatures including cod, whelks and sea slugs is important to helping build resilience in species affected by noise pollution, according to Exeter University's Associate Professor in Marine Biology and Global Change Dr Steve Simpson.

Human noise factors including busy shipping lanes, wind farms and water tourism can all impact on the calls of various species - including cod which relies on sound for finding a mate with their "song".




The Paris Climate Deal Is Now in Force. What Comes Next?

The Paris Agreement was hailed as a turning point for world governments tackling climate change, and it has now come into effect. What does this mean for the world — and where do we go from here?

On Friday, November 4, the Paris Agreement went into effect, meaning that the agreement made last year by nearly 200 international delegates must now be honored. To recognize the consensus coming into force, the United Nations stated that it is a moment to celebrate – and to take concerted action.

“We remain in a race against time,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized. ”Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all.”