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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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Skin patch may offer a better means of treating diabetic foot ulcers

Skin patch may offer a better means of treating diabetic foot ulcers | Longevity science | Scoop.it
When someone has diabetes, foot injuries such as ulcers can take a long time to heal. Not only does this cause diabetics prolonged discomfort, but it can even lead to amputation. Help may be on the way, however, in the form of a drug that's delivered through a skin patch.

Foot ulcers in diabetics are slow to heal for two reasons. First, blockages in the blood vessels restrict the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can reach the wound.

There are methods of increasing that blood flow, but that's where the second factor comes in. Diabetes impairs a protein known as hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α), which turns on the genes that are responsible for the formation of capillaries at wound sites. Without those fine blood vessels in place, blood still ultimately won't be able to get to the damaged tissue.
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Circadian Atlas Chronicles Gene Expression | The Scientist Magazine®

Circadian Atlas Chronicles Gene Expression | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Previous studies have chronicled how the body’s circadian clock influences gene expression in several organisms, but a new study is the most comprehensive in mammals to date.


The researchers found that 43 percent of genes follow a daily schedule in at least one of the organs profiled. More than half of the 100 best-selling drugs in the U.S. target products of genes whose expression cycles.




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Sweat-analyzing skin patch could replace blood sampling

Sweat-analyzing skin patch could replace blood sampling | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the US Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a system in which a Band-Aid-like skin patch is able to gather and transmit medical data in almost real time, by analyzing the patient's sweat ... and you just need a smartphone to read it, no poking or prodding required.

Developed by a team led by U Cincinnati's Prof. Jason Heikenfeld, the flexible adhesive patch contains an electronic circuit, communications antenna, controller chip, and a microfluidic paper-based sweat-sampling system. That paper wicks minute amounts of sweat from the skin in a tree root-shaped pattern, in order to maximize the sampling area.

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Cell transplant helps paralyzed man walk with frame

A Bulgarian man who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack can now walk with the aid of a frame after receiving pioneering transplant treatment using cells from his nose.

The technique, described as a breakthrough by a study in the journal Cell Transplantation, involved transplanting what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient's spinal cord and constructing a "nerve bridge" between two stumps of the damaged spinal column.
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Doctors who helped paralyzed man get back on his feet seek new patients

(Reuters) - A team of doctors who helped a paralyzed man get back on his feet by transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord said they were seeking new patients so they could establish their breakthrough was not a one-off.
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A tiny ultrasound-powered chip to serve as medical device | KurzweilAI

A tiny ultrasound-powered chip to serve as medical device | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Stanford engineers are developing a way to send power — safely and wirelessly — to “smart chips” in the body that are programmed to perform medical tasks and report back the results.

The idea is to get rid of wires and batteries, which would make the implant too big or clumsy.

Their approach involves beaming ultrasound at a tiny device inside the body designed to do three things: convert the incoming sound waves into electricity; process and execute medical commands; and report the completed activity via a tiny built-in radio antenna.
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3D printing enables customized knee replacement surgery

3D printing enables customized knee replacement surgery | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In today's installment of "How 3D Printing is Changing Healthcare Forever," a Massachusetts-based medical device company is forging new ground in knee replacement surgery. A combination of CT imaging, modeling software and 3D printing technology is enabling ConforMIS to offer implants tailored specifically to each patient. The development could help avoid complications that often follow the procedure, such as pain arising from instability of the joint.
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Scientists close in on diabetes cure with production of insulin-producing cells

Scientists close in on diabetes cure with production of insulin-producing cells | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Stem cell researchers at Harvard University have created large quantities of human insulin-producing beta cells, which could soon lead to a cure for type 1 ...
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Mind-controlled mechatronic prosthetics now a reality

Mind-controlled mechatronic prosthetics now a reality | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A Swedish man has recently celebrated a milestone in robotic prostheses by taking advantage of an osseointegrated (bone-anchored), thought-controlled, implant system in his daily life for more than a year and a half.

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Artificial Spleen 'Cleans' Blood of Pathogens

Artificial Spleen 'Cleans' Blood of Pathogens | Longevity science | Scoop.it
While you can live without your spleen, it serves several important functions in the body including making antibodies and maintaining a reservoir of blood. It also works to keep the blood clean by removing old blood cells and antibody-coated pathogens.

Now, scientists from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston have developed an artificial spleen that has been shown to rapidly remove bacteria and viruses from blood. The technology could be useful in many scenarios, including protecting people who suffer from immunodeficiencies and those infected with difficult to treat pathogens like Ebola virus.
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Mutant gene prevents worms gaining weight from unhealthy diets

Mutant gene prevents worms gaining weight from unhealthy diets | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Sure, foods that are high in sugar are often the most tempting, but that sugar rush can come at a weighty cost. A new study conducted at the University of South Carolina has suggested that this may not need be the case. Researchers have identified a gene that can dictate how these foods are processed, potentially suppressing the weight problems that go hand-in-hand with unhealthy eating habits.

The research centers on a mutant gene called SKN-1 found in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. The scientists fed a number of these worms a high-sugar diet and observed no difference in weight for those with a hyperactive SKN-1 gene, while those without the gene quickly began to stack on the nanograms.
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A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century | KurzweilAI

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
This work explores the history of life-extensionism in the 20th century. The term life-extensionism is meant to describe an ideological system professing that radical life extension (far beyond the present life expectancy) is desirable on ethical grounds and is possible to achieve through conscious scientific efforts. This work examines major lines of life-extensionist thought, in chronological order, over the course of the 20th century, while focusing on central seminal works representative of each trend and period, by such authors as Elie Metchnikoff, Bernard Shaw, Alexis Carrel, Alexander Bogomolets and others.
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Needle Coated Capsules May Soon Replace Injections For IBD Medication Delivery

Needle Coated Capsules May Soon Replace Injections For IBD Medication Delivery | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Harvard Medical School have devised a novel drug capsule coated with tiny needles that can inject drugs directly into the lining of the stomach after the capsule is swallowed. In animal studies, the team found that the capsule delivered insulin more efficiently than injection under the skin, and there were no harmful side effects as the capsule passed through the digestive system.

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Surgeons successfully transplant a heart that had stopped beating

Surgeons successfully transplant a heart that had stopped beating | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In a world first, surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia have successfully transplanted a "dead" heart into a patient. Thanks to the use of a revolutionary preservation solution, developed by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital, the doctors were able to resuscitate and transplant the donor heart after it had stopped beating for up to 20-30 minutes.
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Converting skin cells directly into brain cells advances fight against Huntington's disease

Converting skin cells directly into brain cells advances fight against Huntington's disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Few diseases are as terrifying as Huntington's, an inherited genetic disorder that gradually saps away at sufferers' muscle control and cognitive capacity until they die (usually some 20 or so years after initial symptoms). But scientists at Washington University School of Medicine may have provided a new glimmer of hope by converting human skin cells (which are much more readily available than stem cells) directly into a specific type of brain cell that is affected by Huntington's.

This new method differs from another technique devised at the University of Rochester last year in that it bypasses any intermediary steps – rather than first reverting the cells to pluripotent stem cells, it does the conversion in a single phase.

To reprogram the adult human skin cells, the researchers created an environment that closely mimics that of brain cells.
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Research suggests there may be an off switch for drug resistance in cancer cells

Research suggests there may be an off switch for drug resistance in cancer cells | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, hundreds of thousands of cancerous cells are killed off. But if even one of these cells has a unique mutation, it can survive the treatment and start to multiply, giving rise to a set of more drug-resistant cells. Researchers at the Salk Institute in California have now gained new insights into what exactly is causing these variations in the cells, suggesting there may in fact be a way of switching off the mechanism and improving treatment effectiveness.

Lead by staff scientist Fernando Lopez-Diaz, the Salk researchers set about identifying the diversification switch, that is, what mechanism was causing the cancers cells to multiply and take on slightly different forms. If this process could be prevented from happening, it may well curtail the cells' ability to develop the resistance to cancer-fighting drugs.

"Cancer isn’t one cell but it’s an ecosystem, a community of cells," says Beverly Emerson, professor at Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory. "This study begins the groundwork for potentially finding a way to understand and dial back cell diversity and adaptability during chemotherapy to decrease drug resistance."
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Scientists use protein to restore hearing to deaf mice

Scientists use protein to restore hearing to deaf mice | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There may be new hope for people who have lost some of their hearing due to exposure to loud noises, or simply due to aging. Scientists from the University of Michigan and Harvard University have restored hearing in mice, by getting them to create more of a protein within their ears.

When sound waves enter our ears, they cause sensory receptors known as hair cells to vibrate. Each hair cell is in turn linked to a corresponding nerve cell via a ribbon synapse. When those synapses are functioning properly, they allow the vibrations of the hair cells to be relayed to the nerve cells, and then interpreted by the brain as sound. As the ribbon synapses break down, however, our hearing likewise deteriorates.
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Next-Gen Diagnostics, Nanotechnology, and Bioengineering Begin Taking the Fight to Cancer

Next-Gen Diagnostics, Nanotechnology, and Bioengineering Begin Taking the Fight to Cancer | Longevity science | Scoop.it
University of Bradford scientists, led by Dr. Diana Anderson, hypothesized that DNA in white blood cells from cancer patients wouldn’t be able to withstand or repair UV damage as well as DNA from healthy volunteers. Why? Because cancer patients’ immune systems would be working overtime even in the disease’s earliest stages.
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Bio-inspired ‘nano-cocoons’ trick cancer cells into accepting drug delivery | KurzweilAI

Bio-inspired ‘nano-cocoons’ trick cancer cells into accepting drug delivery | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs.

The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This drug delivery system is DNA-based, which means it is biocompatible and less toxic to patients than systems that use synthetic materials,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC Chapel Hill.
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Green tea nanocarrier delivers cancer-killing drugs more effectively

Green tea nanocarrier delivers cancer-killing drugs more effectively | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Many of us drink green tea for its wonderful health benefits, including proven antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Now, researchers in Singapore have taken its cancer-fighting properties to the next level, developing a green tea-based nanocarrier that encapsulates cancer-killing drugs. It is the first time green tea has been used to deliver drugs to cancer cells, with promising results. Animal studies show far more effective tumor reduction than use of the drug alone while significantly reducing the accumulation of drugs in other organs.

The new drug delivery system, developed at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR, uses epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant and catechin found in green tea and used therapeutically to treat cancer and other disorders.
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Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish is ‘first clear evidence’ for amyloid hypothesis | KurzweilAI

Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish is ‘first clear evidence’ for amyloid hypothesis | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have created the first “Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish” — a 3D petri dish capable of reproducing the full course of events underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s has been thought to result from the buildup of inflammatory plaque formed by the beta-amyloid protein and from another protein, tau, which entangles neurons.

The new research provides the first clear evidence supporting the hypothesis that deposition of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is in fact the first step in a cascade leading to the devastating neurodegenerative disease, the researchers say. The research also identified the essential role in that process of a specific enzyme that could be a therapeutic target.
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Prosthetic hand capable of delivering texture sensations

Prosthetic hand capable of delivering texture sensations | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A new prosthetic system allows amputees to feel familiar sensations and also, somewhat unexpectedly, reduces their phantom pain. Test patients were able to ...
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Surface coating for medical devices prevents blood clotting and bacterial infections

Surface coating for medical devices prevents blood clotting and bacterial infections | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers at Harvard University have developed a surface coating that when applied to medical devices to be implanted inside the human body, repels blood ...
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Study indicates that C-Pulse system helps hearts heal

Study indicates that C-Pulse system helps hearts heal | Longevity science | Scoop.it
When you hurt a muscle, it's usually advisable to lay off extensive use of it, until it's had a chance to heal. Well, your heart is a muscle. Although you can't just stop using it altogether when it's damaged, you can make its job easier. That's what Sunshine Heart's C-Pulse system was designed to do, and a current study suggests that it does indeed help victims of heart failure recover more quickly.

Here's how C-Pulse works ...

In a surgical procedure, its balloon-equipped cuff is placed around the heart's ascending aorta. At that time, its two electrodes are also placed on the outside of the heart. C-Pulse's air hose and electrical leads are then led out of the body, via an exit site in the abdomen.
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The signature of aging in the brain | KurzweilAI

The signature of aging in the brain | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it


Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have found evidence of a unique “signature” that may be the “missing link” between cognitive decline and aging and that may in the future lead to treatments that can slow or reverse cognitive decline in older people, according to Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Department of Neurobiology and Ido Amit of the Department of Immunology.

Until a decade ago, scientific dogma held that the blood-brain barrier prevents blood-borne immune cells from attacking and destroying brain tissue.


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