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Inhibiting NLK in cancers with mutated PTEN could turn the cancer's strength against it

Inhibiting NLK in cancers with mutated PTEN could turn the cancer's strength against it | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A mutation that allows cells to grow out of control could also provide a new way to target and destroy cancer cells. This potential Achilles’ heel comes from a mutation in a gene called PTEN, which is found in a wide range of cancers.

 

PTEN is one of many tumor suppressor genes that we have to prevent our cells from growing out of control. If the PTEN gene stops working because of a mutation, it can cause tumours to develop – indeed many tumors have a mutated form of PTEN. However when a door closes, a window opens: the PTEN mutation helps the tumor to grow, but it could also mark it out as a target.

 

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that switching off another gene known as NLK (Nemo-like kinase) killed tumor cells that had the PTEN mutation. This makes NLK a good target for drug developers to create a new cancer treatment.

 

Initially, the researchers took samples of tumor cells with and without the mutation, and switched off genes for important proteins that are used for regulating lots of processes in the cell. To do this they used small interfering RNA (or siRNA) which interfere with the processes of specific genes. These siRNAs block the chain of events that allow a gene to produce a protein, effectively switching it off. By switching off 779 genes individually, they could look for ones where cells with the PTEN mutation died and cells without the mutation survived.

 

This is how the researchers discovered the powerful effect of switching off the NLK gene. They are not certain how this works but it appears to protect a protein called FOXO1 that can act as a backup tumor suppressor and cause the cancer cell to die. When PTEN is mutated, the FOXO1 protein becomes vulnerable to a process called phosphorylation, which means it is ejected from the cell nucleus and destroyed. NLK is one of the proteins that phosphorylates FOXO1 and so by switching off the NLK gene, FOXO1 is able to do its job.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health

Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Can the lifespan of an animal be increased by restricting their intake of calories? The question has been the subject of study for decades, primarily through two concurrent long-term experiments using rhesus monkeys. Interestingly, these two studies came to conflicting conclusions, but by comparing their results and accounting for other variables, scientists have now determined that the answer is yes – caloric restriction does help monkeys stay healthier and live longer.
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Smart exoskeleton anticipates falls to keep the elderly on their feet

Smart exoskeleton anticipates falls to keep the elderly on their feet | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Most exoskeleton technology is focused on either giving soldiers or workers superhero-like strength and endurance for carrying heavy equipment, or offering those with serious mobility issues the chance to walk again. But a new exoskeleton system isn't designed to get people back on their feet, but to keep them there – it's intended to prevent the elderly from taking a tumble.
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Stem cell breakthroughs bring unlimited supply of lab-made blood closer

Stem cell breakthroughs bring unlimited supply of lab-made blood closer | Longevity science | Scoop.it
For the first time ever, blood-producing stem cells have been generated in a lab. Two separate teams of researchers have come up with differing ground-breaking methods to generate these important blood-forming cells, paving the way for the development of treatments for a variety of blood diseases and also offering a clear path towards an unlimited supply of lab-made blood for transfusions.
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Mice Successfully Reproduce with 3-D Printed Ovaries | The Scientist Magazine®

Mice Successfully Reproduce with 3-D Printed Ovaries | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Adding to the already substantial list of organs that can be 3-D printed and function more or less normally, researchers have made mouse ovaries using the technique. Some of the live mouse they implanted with the prosthetic organs, after seeding them with egg-containing follicles, had normal young. The team of scientists, from Northwestern University, published the results in Nature Communications today (May 16).

The “landmark study” is a “significant advance in the application of bioengineering to reproductive tissues,” Mary Zelinski, a reproductive scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton who was not involved with the research, told Science.
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Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides | IOVS | ARVO Journals

Conclusions: CPPs are nontoxic to ocular cells and can be used to deliver therapeutically relevant doses of ranibizumab and bevacizumab by eye drop to the posterior segment of mouse, rat, and pig eyes. The CPP + anti-VEGF drug complexes were cleared from the retina within 24 hours, suggesting a daily eye drop dosing regimen. Daily, topically delivered anti-VEGF with CPP was as efficacious as a single ivit injection of anti-VEGF in reducing areas of CNV in vivo.
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New 3D printing method may allow for fast, low-cost, more-flexible medical implants for millions | KurzweilAI

University of Florida (UF) researchers have developed a method for 3D printing soft-silicone medical implants that are stronger, quicker, less expensive, more flexible, and more comfortable than the implants currently available. That should be good news for the millions of people every year who need medical devices implanted.
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Want to shave 9 years off your biological age? Get ready to work hard

Want to shave 9 years off your biological age? Get ready to work hard | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Many mysteries remain around the aging process in the human body, but one mechanism scientists believe they have a pretty good handle on is the role of telomeres. If you imagine a chromosome as an X-shaped unit of DNA, telomeres serve as caps at the end of each leg of the X, making sure no important DNA is spilled as the cells divide.

 

As this process plays out over the years, however, it causes the telomeres to shorten, meaning that shortened telomeres correlate with older age. This key indicator has motivated research into how regulating telomeres might offer a way of slowing or even reversing biological clocks, but observing their behavior in response to different conditions is also producing some useful insights.

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Watching the immune system outsmart TB in real time

Watching the immune system outsmart TB in real time | Longevity science | Scoop.it
When the bacteria that causes tuberculosis invades the human body, a drama unfolds at the cellular level involving invasions, toxic poisons, shape-shifting, prisons and daring escape plans. Now researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have watched it all play out in real time. The finding could help the battle against bacteria that have become resistant to traditional treatments.
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Colonoscopy performed by magnetically controlled capsule robot

Colonoscopy performed by magnetically controlled capsule robot | Longevity science | Scoop.it
colonoscopy is still the most effective way for a physician to diagnose a variety of colorectal diseases. The procedure, completed under sedation, is a mildly invasive and unpleasant process that many patients tend to delay due to concern over discomfort. But new research has paved the way for a capsule-sized robot to take over these procedures in the future, making the diagnostic and treatment process quicker and easier.

A team of researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Leeds have developed an 18 mm magnetized capsule colonoscope that can be guided through the colon by an external magnet attached to a robotic arm.
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Oxford student creates first synthetic retina | University of Oxford

Oxford student creates first synthetic retina | University of Oxford | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Until now, all artificial retinal research has used only rigid, hard materials. The new research, by Vanessa Restrepo-Schild, a 24-year-old doctoral student and researcher at Oxford University's Department of Chemistry, is the first to successfully use biological, synthetic tissues, developed in a laboratory environment. The study could revolutionise the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.
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Drug Discovery AI Can Do in a Day What Currently Takes Months

Drug Discovery AI Can Do in a Day What Currently Takes Months | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Last week, researchers published a paper detailing an artificial intelligence system made to help discover new drugs, and significantly shorten the amount of time and money it takes to do so.

The system is called AtomNet, and it comes from San Francisco-based startup AtomWise. The technology aims to streamline the initial phase of drug discovery, which involves analyzing how different molecules interact with one another—specifically, scientists need to determine which molecules will bind together and how strongly. They use trial and error and process of elimination to analyze tens of thousands of compounds, both natural and synthetic.
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New Gene Therapy Shrinks Aggressive Tumors in Mice | The Scientist Magazine®

A CRISPR-based gene therapy that targets cancerous fusion genes—hybrid genes that are formed when two previously distinct genes join together—shrinks aggressive forms of liver and prostate cancers in mice.

The approach could be developed to address the problem of drug resistance. Cancer cells are prone to evolving new mutations when treated with traditional chemotherapy; using genome editing, the new mutations could be targeted to continue fighting the disease, Jian-Hua Luo, the lead author and a professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a press release.
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Nanoparticles activate cellular memory to fight future tumors

Nanoparticles activate cellular memory to fight future tumors | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The super-small objects known as nanoparticles are playing a big role in combating cancer. They've been used to deliver cancer-fighting drugs, to glow in the body to indicate chemotherapy's efficacy; and to bring powerful alpha particles directly to tumors. Now, researchers at the Mayo clinic have enlisted the petite powerhouses in a new way that helps them recruit the body's immune system into fighting tumors while also teaching it to be on the lookout for cancer's return any time in the future.

Along with the use of nanoparticles, one of the more promising developments in treating cancer of late is the use of the body's own immune system to destroy tumors. The Mayo Clinic technique combines both approaches.
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How to Tell a Person's Brain Age

How to Tell a Person's Brain Age | Longevity science | Scoop.it
“People are searching for the tree rings of humans,” James Cole, a research associate at Imperial College London, told The Scientist.

Cole and his colleagues recently devised their own technique of predicting the biological age of people’s brains using a combination of machine learning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In a study published last month (April 25) in Molecular Psychiatry, the team reported that this technique was able to predict mortality in humans—people with “older” brains, they found, had greater risk of dying before age 80.
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Cutting Down on Cancer Surgeries | Caltech

Cutting Down on Cancer Surgeries | Caltech | Longevity science | Scoop.it
New microscopy technique could reduce repeat surgeries for breast cancer patients

Engineers at the Optical Imaging Laboratory led by Caltech's Lihong Wang have developed an imaging technology that could help surgeons removing breast cancer lumps confirm that they have cut out the entire tumor—reducing the need for additional surgeries.

About 300,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are discovered annually. Of these, 60 to 75 percent of patients underwent breast-conserving surgery.

Breast-conserving surgeries, or lumpectomies, attempt to remove the entire tumor while retaining as much of the undamaged breast tissue as possible. (In contrast, a mastectomy removes the entire breast.) The extracted tissue is then sent to a lab where it is rendered into thin slices, stained with a dye to highlight key features, and then analyzed. If tumor cells are found on the surface of the tissue sample, it indicates that the surgeon has cut through, not around, the tumor—meaning that a portion of the tumor remains inside the patient, who will then need a follow-up surgery to have more tissue removed.
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Anti-fertility folk remedy points to development of "molecular condoms"

Anti-fertility folk remedy points to development of "molecular condoms" | Longevity science | Scoop.it
For thousands of years humans have been using a vast array of strange folk contraceptive methods. A team at UC Berkeley recently examined two commonly used traditional plant-based folk remedies and discovered a potentially new mechanism that could lead to non-toxic, non-hormonal contraceptives.
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Bizarre Mini Brains Offer a Fascinating New Look at the Brain

Bizarre Mini Brains Offer a Fascinating New Look at the Brain | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Brain balls sound like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie: starting as stem cells harvested from patients, they eventually develop into masses of living neurons, jumbled together in misshapen blobs.

Just like the developing brain, these neurons stretch and grow, reaching out skinny branches that grab onto others to form synapses—junctions where one neuron talks with the next.

And they do talk: previous attempts at growing these “brain organoids” found that they spark with electrical activity, much like the webs of neurons inside our heads that lead to thoughts and memories.

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Golden hitchhikers avoid cancer's defences by riding on white blood cells

Golden hitchhikers avoid cancer's defences by riding on white blood cells | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Cancer treatments could benefit from being more like a sniper and less like a shotgun blast. A new technique from Washington State University (WSU) is taking that approach, allowing doctors to attach gold nanoparticles to white blood cells and sneak them past the tumor's defenses for a targeted attack that doesn't affect healthy tissue.
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Mini lung "organoids" join the fight against disease

Mini lung "organoids" join the fight against disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
We've seen stem cell research provide a number of promising developments in growing heart tissue, tendons and even artificial mouse embryos.

The lung organoids created from stem cells in Dr. Snoeck's lab represent a major advance in that they are the first to include key structures similar to those in human lungs.
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Battery-free medical implants use body's fluids as fuel

Battery-free medical implants use body's fluids as fuel | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Despite the continual evolution of medical implant technologies, such as making smaller and smaller pacemakers, we still power these devices with traditional batteries. Such batteries contain toxic chemicals that aren't ideal to have inside the human body and also need to be periodically replaced, resulting in painful, and risky surgical procedures. A new energy storage system dubbed a "biological supercapacitor" could enable battery-free implantable devices that never need to be replaced.
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These Cells Are Engineered to Be Controlled by a Smartphone

These Cells Are Engineered to Be Controlled by a Smartphone | Longevity science | Scoop.it
To Dr. Mark Gomelsky, a professor at the University of Wyoming, genetically engineered therapeutic cells are like troops on a mission.

The first act is training. Using genetic editing tools such as CRISPR, scientists can “train” a patient’s own cells to specifically recognize and attack a variety of enemies, including rogue tumor soldiers and HIV terrorists.

Then comes the incursion.
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Scientists create bioengineered bone for marrow transplants

Scientists create bioengineered bone for marrow transplants | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Bone marrow transplants are one of the more unpleasant medical procedures, with much of the discomfort due to the need to kill off the old marrow cells before introducing new ones. At the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering, a team of bioengineers led by Shyni Varghese is working on a type of artificial bone that may one day allow doctors to conduct bone marrow transplants with fewer side effects.

We tend to think of the skeleton as just the scaffolding that keeps us from sagging to the ground as an sloppy bag of organs, but it's much more than that. The long bones are hollow and contain bone marrow that produces 500 billion red blood cells each day through a process called hematopoiesis and lymphocytes that are so important to the immune system.
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Diabetes cured in mice. Are we next?

Diabetes cured in mice. Are we next? | Longevity science | Scoop.it
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1.25 million people suffer from type 1 diabetes in the US alone. So far, it can only be managed with diet and regular doses of insulin, but scientists at UT Health San Antonio have invented a way of curing the disease in mice that may one day do the same for humans even with type 2 diabetes.
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Can learning like a child combat cognitive aging?

Can learning like a child combat cognitive aging? | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Keeping the mind active as one grows older is a well-known tactic to battle the onset of cognitive aging and dementia. The old "use it or lose it'" saying turns out to be pretty accurate when we look at aging brains. Rachel Wu, a psychology professor at University of California, Riverside has proposed that we can dramatically increase our cognitive health as adults if we continue to learn new skills the way we did as children.

In Wu's paper, recently published in the journal Human Development, it is argued that as we age our cognitive health declines because we are not embracing the same learning strategies as we do in early ages.

 

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Using CRISPR against cancer shows success in mice - Futurity

Using CRISPR against cancer shows success in mice - Futurity | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Using CRISPR to edit the “fusion genes” that can cause or worsen cancer reduced the size of tumors and improved survival in mice, report researchers.

“This is the first time that gene editing has been used to specifically target cancer fusion genes. It is really exciting because it lays the groundwork for what could become a totally new approach to treating cancer,” explains lead study author Jian-Hua Luo, professor of pathology at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and director of its High Throughput Genome Center.
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How the octopus is inspiring keyhole surgical tools - BBC News

How the octopus is inspiring keyhole surgical tools - BBC News | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The way an octopus moves its limbs is helping inspire the development of soft body robotics.
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