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Antibody machinery 'leukaemia cause'

Antibody machinery 'leukaemia cause' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The tools used to fortify the body against infection are also one of the causes of the most common form of childhood leukaemia, say researchers. The machinery used to produce millions of antibodies in the immune system can misfire, making cells more likely to become cancerous.

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Breaking News: New Theory of Cancer Development

Breaking News: New Theory of Cancer Development | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Researchers have devised a new way to understand patterns of aneuploidy in tumors and proposed that aneuploidy is a driver of cancer, rather than a result of it.

Via Centre for Biomedical Research
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Cancer costing Europe 'billions'

Cancer costing Europe 'billions' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Cancer costs countries in the European Union 126bn euro (£107bn) a year, according to the first EU-wide analysis of the economic impact of the disease.

ComplexInsight's insight:

Researchers from the University of Oxford and King's College London analysed data from each of the 27 nations in the EU in 2009. The showed the total cost was 126bn euro and of that 51bn (£43bn) euro was down to healthcare costs including doctors' time and drug costs. Lost productivity, because of work missed through sickness or dying young, cost 52bn (£44bn) euro while the cost to families of providing care was put at 23bn (£19.5bn) euro. While the figures will probably attract the headlnes and hopefulyl motivate new research and solution creation, for those impacted by cancer's on individual and family life  the costs are often seemingly immeasurable. 

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Genomics: The single life

Genomics: The single life | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that researchers think of humans as a whole.
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Human genomes such as cancer have been traditionally sequenced from DNA extracted from multiple cells. With certain cancers we know that local individual cellular adaptations, mutations and variation impact gene expression, cell behaviour and drug response.  Nicholas Navin pioneered a new approach for single cell sequencing pioneered  in order to sequence individual cancer cells and map local mutations and adaptations. Timour Basian and team inspired by Navin's work, helped perfect techniques for single cell sequencing while dramatically reduced sequencing pricing from $1000 per single cell to approx $60 per cell.  The article discuses further developments, implications and potential opportunities created by the advent of single cell sequencing. Worth reading.

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The Way We Think about Cancer Must Evolve | Wired Science | Wired.com

The Way We Think about Cancer Must Evolve | Wired Science | Wired.com | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Illustration: Alexey Malina Right now, as you read these words, your life is in danger. Somewhere within the vast self-contained micro-universe known a
ComplexInsight's insight:

Interesting article  on how to consider cancer as a by product of cellular activity. Echoes - Danny HIllis's contention that rather thank think of Cancer as a single disease - its better to think of it as a process prodution error that occurs as part of cellular biology.

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DNA test reveals cancer risk markers

DNA test reveals cancer risk markers | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
More than 80 genetic markers that can increase the risk of developing breast, prostate or ovarian cancer have been found in the largest study of its kind.
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 UK scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London and funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the Wellcome Trust tested 200,000 people - half of them with cancer and half without identifing 80 genetic markers for a variety of cancers. The test looked for single nucleotide polymorphisms linked to breat, ovarian and prostate cancer. The results help bring the promise of improved screening methods for  inherited likelyhood to develop cancer and improve our understanding of how cancers develop.

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Thriving cancer's 'chaos' explained

Thriving cancer's 'chaos' explained | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The way cancer cells can make a completely chaotic mess of their genetic code in order to thrive has been explained by UK researchers.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Excellent article on BBC Science regarding diversity of cancer DNA in a tumour and research at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute and the University College London. This has been a major problem in finding effective approaches to treating cancers. Prof Swanton told the BBC: "It is like constructing a building without enough bricks or cement for the foundations.

"However, if you can provide the building blocks of DNA you can reduce the replication stress to limit the diversity in tumours, which could be therapeutic."

He admitted that it "just seems wrong" that providing the fuel for a cancer to grow could be therapeutic.However, he said this proved that replication stress was the problem and that new tools could be developed to tackle it.

Future studies will investigate whether the same stress causes diversity in other types of tumour.

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Main culprit behind breast cancers discovered - Daily News & Analysis

Science World Report Main culprit behind breast cancers discovered Daily News & Analysis The findings came from a team of researchers led by Reuben Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and also a...
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Mutation is a major problem with treatment of breast cancer. The discovery that an enzyme – called APOBEC3B helps drive multiple mutations – may change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated. Article is worth reading though results will need additional confirmation and investigation. Click on title to learn more.

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Cancer can teach us about our own evolution

Cancer can teach us about our own evolution | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Charles Lineweaver ( Australian National University) and Paul Davies(Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University.) have proposed a theory of cancer based on its ancient evolutionary roots. We think that as cancer progresses in the body it reverses, in a speeded-up manner, the arrow of evolutionary time. Increasing deregulation prompts cancer cells to revert to ever earlier genetic pathways that recapitulate successively earlier ancestral life styles. We predict that the various hallmarks of cancer progression will systematically correlate with the activation of progressively older ancestral genes. The most advanced and malignant cancers recreate aspects of life on Earth before a billion years ago. Click on image or title to learn more.

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Combating cancer’s conversations

Combating cancer’s conversations | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Scientists believe we have a better chance of tackling the disease by knowing what tumour cells are saying to one another and then cutting off communications. One of the authors, physicist Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University in Israel, has argued for some time that many single-celled organisms, whether they are tumour cells or gut bacteria, show a rudimentary form of social intelligence – an ability to act collectively in ways that adapt to the prevailing conditions, learn from experience and solve problems, all with the “aim” of improving their chances of survival. He even believes there is evidence that they can modify their own genomes in beneficial ways. Many bacteria can engage in similar feats of communication and coordination, which can produce complex colony shapes such as vortex-like circulating blobs or exotic branching patterns. These displays of “social intelligence” help the colonies survive adversity, sometimes to our cost. Biofilms, for example – robust, slimy surface coatings that harbour bacteria and can spread infection in hospitals – are manufactured through the co-operation of several different species. Click on the image or title to learn more.

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HPC allows UI cancer researchers to simulate tumor development | High Performance Computing

HPC allows UI cancer researchers to simulate tumor development | High Performance Computing | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women, and the most common gynecological cancer. Researchers at the University of Iowa are using high-performance computing (HPC) to investigate how a tumor develops in normal uterine epithelium.

The majority of cancer research presumes that every cell in a tumor is driven by the same genetic alterations and follows same pathway to malignancy. Dr. Donghai Dai, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Carver College of Medicine, doesn’t think that’s the case. He believes the billions of cells that make up a tumor may each have their unique mutations that cause them to deviate from normal cell behavior. So, Dai and his team are taking a single-cell approach to studying the development of tumors. With complex mathematical models and the Helium computing cluster, administered by Information Technology Services, they can run simulations on millions of representative uterine cells each day. The researchers determine the fate of the cells through incorporation of the combined effect of numerous random mutations and varying hormonal stimulations. Click on the image or title to learn more.

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Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots

Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Black cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa) can clone themselves to produce offspring that are connected to their parents by the same root system. Now, after the first genome-wide analysis of a tree, it turns out that the connected clones have many genetic differences, even between tissues from the top and bottom of a single tree. The variation within a tree is as great as the variation across unrelated trees. Such somatic mutations — those that occur in cells other than sperm or eggs — are familiar to horticulturalists, who have long bred new plant varieties by grafting mutant branches onto ‘normal’ stocks. But until now, no one has catalogued the total number of somatic mutations in an individual plant. The findings have parallels to cancer studies, which have recently shown that separate parts of the same tumor can evolve independently and build up distinct genetic mutations, meaning that single biopsies give only a narrow view of the tumor’s diversity.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Complexity Digest
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What Can Systems Theory of Networks Offer to Biology?

What Can Systems Theory of Networks Offer to Biology? | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Cells are  naturally receptive to external influence, and this gives an opportunity  to manipulate a cell to achieve a desired function or outcome. To do this a deeper understanding of when and where to apply external influences is required. The application of network controllability theory may be the key to systematic reasoning about which nodes to target to achieve global impact toward a desired outcome, and when to target them in a perturbed system, such as cancer. Interesting paper discussing possibilies of applying systems theory of networks to biology. Worth a read. Click on image or title to learn more.

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'Sticky balls' stop cancer spreading

'Sticky balls' stop cancer spreading | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Cancer-killing "sticky balls" can whip tumour cells out of the blood and may prevent cancers spreading, early research suggests.
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An interesting approach to tackling metastases from researchers at Cornell.

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CancerLinQ Proof-of-Principle Prototype

CancerLinQ Proof-of-Principle Prototype | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A proof-of-principle prototype for CancerLinQ™ was demonstrated at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting. This “learning health system” prototype was first unveiled on March 27 at an ASCO-hosted panel discussion on big data in cancer care at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. At the ASCO Annual Meeting, attendees were able to view a demonstration of the CancerLinQ prototype in the exhibit hall as well as attend an educational session on the product, which ASCO calls the first demonstration of the feasibility of a health information technology-based learning health system. - See more at: http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-business-news/2013/September-2013/CancerLinQ-Proof-of-Principle-Prototype#sthash.AoXUoYrD.dpuf

ComplexInsight's insight:

Effective data analysis is going to be key in improving cancer treatment and the outcomes of the CancerLinQ project is a key first step in demonstrating potential solutions in this area.

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Cancer: A Computational Disease that AI Can Cure - videolectures.net

Cancer: A Computational Disease that AI Can Cure - videolectures.net | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Award Lecture - Cancer results from finite genomic mutations that biotechnology can easily list, and that we can mostly understand and reason about in terms of the underlying biochemistry.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Jay Tenenbaum - an industry leading A.I researcher gives a great lecture on the role of A.I in finding cures from Cancer. He speaks with authority of not just being a leading researcher in the area but also a cancer survivor. If you are interested in understanding the role of information science in biology this is a great presentation, worth watching.

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TBioMed | Abstract | Multi-scale agent-based modeling on melanoma and its related angiogenesis analysis

Recently, melanoma has become the most malignant and commonly occurring skin cancer. Melanoma is not only the major source (75%) of deaths related to skin cancer, but also it is hard to be treated by the conventional drugs.
ComplexInsight's insight:

This is the first time a 3D multi-scale agent-based cancer model was employed to describe he communication between the melanoma, the vasculature around the tumor and drug reaction. The research gives insights into the underpinning mechanisms of tumor growth and potential treatments to prevent this. Most importantly the findings will help provide a foundation to develop  predictable in silico cancer models which echo in vitro findings incorporating realistic biological and physical data and features. Worth reading.

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Scientists develop first large-scale map of cell division genes - CSL Recruitment

Scientists develop first large-scale map of cell division genes
CSL Recruitment
Cancer Research UK scientists have produced the first comprehensive map of the genes that co-ordinate the division and growth of yeast cells.
ComplexInsight's insight:

This is an important first step in getting a better understanding of the encoding around essential processes. One for reading list over weekend.

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Mouse Model of Human Cancer Cured | ALN

Mouse Model of Human Cancer Cured | ALN | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Scientists report the first successful blocking of tumor development in a genetic mouse model of an incurable human cancer.

Via E. Paul Zehr
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One disease, two mechanisms: genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer identified

While prostate cancer is the most common cancer in elderly Western men it also, but more rarely, strikes patients aged between 35 and 50.
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Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in collaboration with several other research teams in Germany*, have discovered that such early-onset prostate cancers are triggered by a different mechanism from that which causes the disease at a later age. Their findings are published February 11 in Cancer Cell, and might have important consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in younger patients.

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Cancers Genomes and their Implications for Curing Cancer (by Bert Vogelstein, JHU)

The full lecture title is "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies" by Bert Vogelstein. The Johns Hopkins Center for Biotechnology Education and the Department of Biology in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences hosted the American Society for Microbiology's Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) on the Homewood campus. Bert Vogelstein gave the closing plenary lecture, "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies". He teaches at John Hopkins University.

ASMCUE, now in its 18th year, is a professional development conference for approximately 300 educators. Each year, its steering committee organizes a program that offers access to premier scientists in diverse specialties and to educators leading biology education reform efforts. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.asmcue.org/page02d.shtml


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Virus exploitscellular waste disposal system

Virus exploitscellular waste disposal system | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Over the years, researchers in the laboratory of ETH-professor Ari Helenius have elucidated the tricks and tactics viruses use to enter human cells and exploit them for their own multiplication and spread. Jason Mercer, in a collaboration with Berend Snijder and colleagues from the Universtiy of Zürich  have just released a publication which puts forward new insights into how viruses enter human cells. "For the first time we were able to demonstrate a mechanism by which a virus uses the cellular waste-disposal system to facilitate release of the viral DNA, which is subsequently multiplied, and used for the formation of new virus particles" he says. In addition, the researchers were able to block the release of viral DNA – using a drug which is already approved for human use. Complete protein inventory During infection, viruses communicate with the host cell and they "abuse" a specific set of host proteins to assist them during their life-cycle. In collaboration with the group of University Professor Lukas Pelkmans, Jason Mercer set out to identify the cellular proteins which the vaccinia virus requires. The idea being that this knowledge may be helpful when developing new strategies to stop infection

Click on the image, or the title or read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-virus-exploitscellular-disposal.html#jCp

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Modelling of bacteria sheds light on drug-resistance | School of Physics and Astronomy

Modelling of bacteria sheds light on drug-resistance | School of Physics and Astronomy | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The emergence of disease-causing bacteria which are resistant to known antibiotics is one of the most important current global health challenges. Drug-resistant "superbugs" kill thousands of people every year. This is a growing problem, because new antibiotics are not being discovered fast enough to keep up with the rate of evolution of resistance. Using a simple theoretical model of a bacterial population which expands to colonize a new territory, Philip Greulich, Bartlomiej Waclaw and Rosalind Allen  of the Universiy of Edinburgh show that a non-uniform concentration of antibiotic can greatly speed up the evolution of resistance, compared to the case where the drug is evenly distributed. Non-uniform drug distributions are expected to be very common: for example, drugs in our body accumulate to different levels in different organs. Importantly, the speedup in evolution of resistance that is predicted by the model depends on the sequence of genetic mutations by which the bacteria become drug resistant. It only happens if all the mutations along the pathway increase the drug resistance. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for many commonly-used antibiotics. This research shows that simple, statistical physics models can provide important insights into biological problems. The theory developed by the Edinburgh researchers may also be relevant to the evolution of cancer cells resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs, suggesting that the highly non-uniform microenvironments found inside tumours may present a major obstacle to the successful treatment of the tumour before drug resistance emerges.

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New Device Can Measure the Mass of a Single Molecule

New Device Can Measure the Mass of a Single Molecule | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Up until now, scientists could only calculate the mass of large groups of molecules, by ionizing them (giving them an electric charge) and then seeing how strongly they interacted with an electromagnetic field, a technique known as mass spectrometry. They had no way, however, of measuring the mass of a single molecule. This has now changed with Caltech scientists have created an ultra-sensitive device that can weigh an individual molecule for the first time.  By weighing each molecule, they were able to determine exactly which kind of IgM it was, hinting at potential future medical applications. The initial demonstration weighed a immunoglobulin M, or IgM molecule hinting at future medical applications. A kind of cancer known as Waldenström macroglobulinemia, for instance, is reflected by a particular ratio of IgM molecules in a patient’s blood, so future instruments building on this principle could monitor blood to detect antibody imbalances indicative of cancer. Click on the image or title to learn more.

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Chemotherapy 'undermines itself'

Chemotherapy 'undermines itself' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

BBC article summarising report in Nature Medicine: Chemotherapy can undermine itself by causing a rogue response in healthy cells, which could explain why people become resistant, a study suggests. Click on image or title to learn more..

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