Search for: "genetic disease" - 960 articles found

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Article • Photon-counting CT, strain imaging, 4D flow MRI

How new technologies shape the future of cardiovascular radiology

New approaches to cardiovascular radiology are evolving to help clinicians gain an increasingly better insight into heart conditions. Latest developments in cardiovascular radiology include myocardial strain imaging, 4D flow and photon-counting CT technology. An ECR 2024 session shone the spotlight on these areas of cardiovascular imaging with expert speakers outlining the pros and cons of each.

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Article • Interdisciplinary diagnostics

Crossing the radiology-pathology boundary

In diagnostics, there used to be a hard divide between radiology and pathology, where methods were largely considered incompatible with one another. However, to pave the way for next-generation diagnosis, Professor Regina Beets-Tan urged both sides to come out from their trenches and appreciate the synergies the fields have to offer. In her presentation at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR)…

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Article • Joint action

A pan-European effort to tackle cancer and NCDs

This February, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health officially launched the ‘Joint Action on cancer and other non-communicable disease prevention project‘ (JA PreventNCD). In the four-year-initiative, 22 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Ukraine have joined forces to combat the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across national borders.

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Article • Knowledge gaps in gender medicine

Covid-19 and sex: higher mortality of male patients

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected scientific research in numerous ways – for example by highlighting knowledge gaps in gender medicine. In many studies differences in morbidity and mortality between women and men surfaced incidentally. While the extent and causes of these differences remain largely unexplored, the preliminary insights confirm the need for further research.

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Article • Infection control

The strain typing technologies of tomorrow

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a non-profit hospital and medical research institution in Los Angeles, is setting new standards for quality and innovation in patient care by successfully introducing typing of Candida auris species – a procedure that could prove crucial in protecting patients from infection outbreaks caused by these microbes in healthcare settings.

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News • Promising application of "gene scissors"

Using CRISPR-Cas9 to treat anaemia

ETH Zurich molecular biologist Mandy Boontanrart is researching gene therapies that could be used to cure two of the most common types of inherited anaemia: beta thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia.

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News • Promising reseach results

Using artificial DNA to kill cancer

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have used artificial DNA to target and kill cancer cells in a completely new way. The method showed promising results against various cancers in lab tests on mice.

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Article • Infection prevention

Vaccination: why ‘positive consensus’ is crucial

Vaccination projects across the world are at a pivotal post-Covid moment, according to one of the leading experts in the field. Speaking to Healthcare in Europe ahead of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) congress in Qatar – where vaccination will be a central topic – Dr Jerome Kim said there is an urgent need to regain a ‘positive consensus’ around the value of vaccines. He…

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Article • Preventing clinical errors

Supporting transgender health in the clinical laboratory

Clinical laboratories need to be proactive to attract transgender patients for testing and to ensure that they are comfortable with the services provided. This issue is of great importance to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), which conducted a scientific session on transgender health at its recent annual meeting in Chicago.

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News • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva

FOP: Origin of rare disease

A mutation in the gene that causes fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) doesn’t just cause extra bone growth but is tied to a problem in generating new muscle tissue after injury.

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Sponsored • DNA extraction chemistry

Providing innovative molecular workflows to empower future diagnostics

Founded in 2018 as a DNA extraction chemistry company, Dutch company MolGen entered the market operating within the agricultural sector. At first, the company’s founders, Maarten de Groot, Wim van Haeringen and Niels Kruize, focused solely on this one industry, mainly developing and marketing advanced bulk chemistry kits for DNA/RNA extraction. These testing products and solutions successfully…

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News • Chemotherapy approach

New receptor insights might leave cancer bitter

Bitter taste receptors do not only support humans in tasting. They are also found on cancer cells. A team led by Veronika Somoza from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna and the German Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has investigated the role they play there. For this purpose, the scientists compiled and evaluated extensive…

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News • Relapse research

Multiple myeloma: Tracking down resistant cancer cells

In multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, relapse almost always occurs after treatment. Initially, most patients respond well to therapy. However, as the disease progresses, resistant cancer cells spread in the bone marrow, with fatal consequences for the patients. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and the National Center for…

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News • DNA analysis

Should all babies have their genome sequenced at birth?

Genomics England, a government owned company, recently announced a pilot programme of whole genome sequencing to screen for genetic diseases in 200,000 healthy seeming newborns. But should every newborn baby have their whole genome sequenced? Experts debate the issue in The BMJ. Extensive clinical evidence has shown that screening for genetic diseases saves lives, and research has shown that it…

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Article • New EU regulation

Lab tests: Watch out! Conflict ahead

In May 2022 a shortage of several lab tests may come as many manufacturers struggle to comply with EU regulation requirements covering in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDR, Regulation (EU) 2017/746). Even modified tests and laboratory-developed tests will present a problem for hospitals and labs as explained by Dr Thomas Streichert.

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News • 'CRyPTIC' research

Global tuberculosis study identifies genetic causes of drug resistance

Using cutting-edge genomic sequencing techniques, researchers at the University of Oxford have identified almost all the genomic variation that gives people resistance to 13 of the most common tuberculosis (TB) drug treatments. The Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis International Consortium (CRyPTIC) research project has collected the largest ever global dataset of clinical M.…

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News • Coronavirus inhibition

Highly potent antibody against SARS-CoV-2 discovered

Scientists at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have discovered a highly potent monoclonal antibody that targets the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and is effective at neutralizing all variants of concern identified to date, including the delta variant. Their findings are published in the journal Cell Reports.

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Article • Mass spectrometry goes handheld

A pen to pin down the fringes of cancer

Mass spectrometry – a powerful tool for analysing the molecular composition of a tissue sample – is invaluable during cancer surgery. However, mass spectrometers are complex and unwieldy, and certainly a poor fit for an operating room (OR). To create a bridge between the lab and OR, Professor Livia S Eberlin, from Baylor College of Medicine, has developed a very special ‘pen’.

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News • For discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch

Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021 was awarded jointly to two scientists who made important discoveries regarding our receptors for temperature and touch. Our ability to sense heat, cold and touch is essential for survival and underpins our interaction with the world around us. In our daily lives we take these sensations for granted, but how are nerve impulses initiated so that…

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Sponsored • Demand for molecular LIMS increases

Lab interoperability is essential

Fast, flexible laboratory information management systems (LIMS) that cope with data and workflow complexities of molecular and genetic testing now work in laboratories internationally. Here, in the first in a new Lab Pinnacle Series, experts from the CliniSys Group, Sunquest Information Systems and Data Innovations (all owned by Roper Technologies), discuss the value of a LIMS in molecular and…

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News • Promising algorithm

AI tool improves breast cancer imaging accuracy

A computer program trained to see patterns among thousands of breast ultrasound images can aid physicians in accurately diagnosing breast cancer, a new study shows. When tested separately on 44,755 already completed ultrasound exams, the artificial intelligence (AI) tool improved radiologists’ ability to correctly identify the disease by 37 percent and reduced the number of tissue samples, or…

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News • Classifying subtypes

Breast cancer ‘ecotypes’ could lead to more personalised treatment

A team led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has revealed a new approach for classifying breast cancer subtypes based on their cell profile, which could help personalise treatments for patients. By analysing breast cancer biopsies from patients at Sydney hospitals, the researchers revealed more than 50 distinct cancer, immune and connective cell types and states, which could assign…

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News • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

New predictive biomarkers for ALS identified

Some blood lipid biomarkers linked to cardiovascular disease risk are also associated with a lower risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) suggest the findings of a large epidemiology study. ALS is the commonest form of motor neuron disease - a progressive nervous system disease that destroys nerve cells responsible for voluntary movement such as walking and talking.

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News • Prevention of toxic DNA lesions

Promising mechanism to stop Huntington's progression

A new mechanism that stops the progression of Huntington’s disease in cells has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL), as part of their research groups at the UK Dementia Research Institute. Researchers say the breakthrough study, published in Cell Reports, could lead to much needed therapies for the rare genetic disease, which is…

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News • Atrial fibrillation

Night shift work could increase risk of heart problems

People who work night shifts are at increased risk of developing an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (AF), according to research published in the European Heart Journal. The study is the first to investigate the links between night shift work and AF. Using information from 283,657 people in the UK Biobank database, researchers found that the longer and…

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Video • Coronavirus medication research

Lab-grown beating heart cells could identify Covid drugs

Scientists have grown beating heart cells to attempt to identify drugs to prevent Covid-19-related heart damage. Concerns over the extent of cardiac damage among Covid patients emerged during the coronavirus pandemic and there are also suggestions that the impact on cardiomyocytes could contribute to the symptoms of long Covid. To explore these issues, a research team at the University of…

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Article • Precision oncology

Personalized health and genomics: Minimizing collateral damage

A solid diagnosis has always been the first step on any patient’s journey to health. However, diagnostic categories are necessarily oversimplifications. In the last decades, medical professionals and scientists have begun to uncover the true variability in patients’ physiological and biochemical make-up that is the principal cause for individual variations in the way diseases present…

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News • Early detection & prevention

Blood-based micro-RNAs indicate colorectal cancer risk

The risk of colorectal cancer can be predicted more accurately by determining seven blood-based micro-RNAs (miRNAs) than by using traditional methods - and can be done so many years before a diagnosis is made. In a current study, researchers from the German Cancer Research Center and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg show that miRNA profiles provide greater predictive…

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News • Infection research

Understanding lung damage in Covid-19 patients

Covid-19 disease severity is determined by the individual patient’s immune response. The precise mechanisms taking place inside the lungs and blood during the early phase of the disease, however, remain unclear. Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Freie Universität Berlin have now studied the cellular mechanisms…

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News • Genome editing

Using CRISPR to speed up Covid-19 testing

A research team led by scientists in the labs of Jennifer Doudna, David Savage and Patrick Hsu at the University of California, Berkeley, is aiming to develop a rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test that is much faster and easier to deploy than qRT-PCR. It has now combined two different types of CRISPR enzymes to create an assay that can detect small amounts of viral RNA in less than an hour. Doudna…

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News • Controlling KRAS

New targeted gene therapy could stop lung cancer progression

A newly targeted therapy could help millions of lung cancer patients worldwide keep their cancers from spreading, says an expert at Cleveland Clinic, on the occasion of World Lung Cancer Day. Dr. Khaled Hassan, of the Hematology and Medical Oncology Department at Cleveland Clinic, explains the concept of KRAS targeted therapy – and why the approach should not be mistaken for a cancer cure.

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News • Tool to identify tumour mutations

Machine learning fuels personalised cancer medicine

The Biomedical Genomics laboratory at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) Barcelona has developed a computational tool that identifies cancer driver mutations for each tumour type. This and other developments produced by the same lab seek to accelerate cancer research and provide tools to help oncologists choose the best treatment for each patient. The study has been published in the…

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News • Cardiology research

Dynamic heart model gives insight into cardiac disease progression

Efforts to understand cardiac disease progression and develop therapeutic tissues that can repair the human heart are just a few areas of focus for the Feinberg research group at Carnegie Mellon University. The group's latest dynamic model, created in partnership with collaborators in the Netherlands, mimics physiologic loads on engineering heart muscle tissues, yielding an unprecedented view of…

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Article • Oncology

Pancreatic cancer - current challenges and future direction

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the world, and one of the most difficult to treat. In 2020, an estimated 495,000 individuals worldwide were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and an estimated 466,000 died, according to statistics from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Most patients with advanced disease die within a year of…

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News • Leading cause for blindness

Breakthrough in research on age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in developed countries affecting seven million in total in Germany, from which 500,000 people are suffering from late stage disease, around half of whom are registered as visually impaired. There are two forms of AMD, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. There are currently no treatments available for the dry form of the disease…

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News • Unprecedented improvements

Gene therapy 'reprograms' cells to reverse AADC deficiency

A novel method of gene therapy is helping children born with a rare genetic disorder called AADC deficiency that causes severe physical and developmental disabilities. The study, led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, offers new hope to those living with incurable genetic and neurodegenerative diseases.

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News • Mammacarcinoma study

Breast cancer: finishing treatment soon after diagnosis increases survival

Research from Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. has found a decrease in patient survival rates when treatment options – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – are completed more than 38 weeks from the time of diagnosis. The observational study, which included more than 28,000 breast cancer patients registered in the American National Cancer Database, is…

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News • Coronavirus epidemiology

A cloud-based software for the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants

In-vitro-diagnostics company bioMérieux has launched Episeq SARS-CoV-2, a genomic software solution to support microbiology labs in identification and reporting from raw sequencing data related to SARS-CoV-2 variants. Viral mutation is a naturally occurring phenomenon leading to the emergence of variants that can have different characteristics. Today, a number of SARS-CoV-2 variants are…

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News • Cardiology research

Statins could reduce risk of cancer among heart failure patients

Statin use among patients with heart failure is associated with a 16% lower risk of developing cancer compared with non-statin users during an average of four years of follow-up. This is according to new research published in the European Heart Journal. In addition, the study found that statin use was associated with a 26% reduced risk of dying from cancer over the same period.

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News • Sonothermogenetics

Tool activates deep brain neurons by combining ultrasound, genetics

Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy have had some treatment success with deep brain stimulation, but those require surgical device implantation. A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new brain stimulation technique using focused ultrasound that is able to turn specific types of neurons in the brain on and off and precisely…

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News • Molecular research

How retroviruses become infectious

Understanding every step in the life cycle of a virus is crucial for identifying potential targets for treatment. Now, scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria were able to show how a virus from the retrovirus family – the same family as HIV – protects its genetic information and becomes infectious. Furthermore, they show an unexpected flexibility of the virus. This…

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Article • dPCR and HSAFM

Low-cost technique for missed genetic mutations

A new low-cost method targeting genetic mutations often missed by existing diagnostic approaches has been developed. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the United States noted that most rearrangement mutations implicated in cancer and neurological diseases fall between what can be detected by DNA sequence reads and optical microscopy methods. The new technique combines…

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News • Vision for vision

Reversing blindness: Award for cone optogenetics gene therapy

The Foundation Fighting Blindness has granted 600,000 US$ to help Hendrik Scholl as principal investigator define a novel way of reversing blindness. Hendrik Scholl is Director of the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Basel, and Head of the University Hospital’s Eye Clinic in Basel, Switzerland.

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News • Battling bacteria

Stress test finds cracks in the armor of harmful hospital bugs

Research has identified critical factors that enable dangerous bacteria to spread disease by surviving on surfaces in hospitals and kitchens. The study into the mechanisms which enable the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa to survive on surfaces, could lead to new ways of targeting harmful bacteria. To survive outside their host, pathogenic bacteria must withstand various…

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News • Cancer research

'Gene ferry' improves immune therapies

Genetically enhancing a patient's immune cells by adding therapeutic genes to them outside the body is regarded as a promising new treatment approach in oncology. However, the production of these therapeutic cells using viruses is not only expensive but time-consuming. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed an innovative non-viral vector that can efficiently…

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News • Reverse genetics system

SARS-CoV-2: An easier and quicker way to analyse mutations

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred and spread, but what effect do those mutations have? Current methods for studying mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome are very complicated and time-consuming because coronaviruses have large genomes, but now a team from Osaka University and Hokkaido University have…

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News • Biomarker research

"Jumping" genes might protect against AML and other blood cancers

New research has uncovered a surprising role for so-called “jumping” genes that are a source of genetic mutations responsible for a number of human diseases. In the new study from Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), scientists made the unexpected discovery that these DNA sequences, also known as transposons, can protect against certain blood cancers. These…

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News • CRISPR-Cas9

An 'on-off switch' for gene editing

Over the past decade, the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system has revolutionized genetic engineering, allowing scientists to make targeted changes to organisms’ DNA. While the system could potentially be useful in treating a variety of diseases, CRISPR-Cas9 editing involves cutting DNA strands, leading to permanent changes to the cell’s genetic material. Now, in a paper published online in Cell,…

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Article • Post-hospitalisation

New study reveals impact of 'Long Covid'

Recovery duration, co-morbidities, mortality, risk groups: A large UK study reports in detail on 'Long Covid'. We spoke with two of the study's co-investigators about why so many patients are still affected after a coronavirus infection.

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News • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

A new approach for treating bile duct cancer

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) develops within the liver. With one to two cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Germany, ICC is one of the rare diseases overall, but it is the second most common liver cancer. The aggressive bile duct tumour remains clinically inconspicuous for a long time, so that it is often only detected late. Because the tumour also only responds to chemotherapy to a limited…

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News • Malignant brain tumor

Successful test for mutation-specific vaccine against diffuse gliomas

Tumor vaccines can help the body fight cancer. Mutations in the tumor genome often lead to protein changes that are typical of cancer. A vaccine can alert the patients' immune system to these mutated proteins. For the first time, physicians and cancer researchers from Heidelberg and Mannheim have now carried out a clinical trial to test a mutation-specific vaccine against malignant brain tumors.…

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Article • Laboratory management

Covid-19: Overcoming unprecedented challenges

During a pandemic, the demands for laboratory testing challenge routines in an efficiently run clinical laboratory. Gold standard procedures may need modification, or to be discarded, and the more nimble, resilient and receptive a lab is to change, the better off it could be. Senior managers at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah, a large clinical reference laboratory that offers over 3,000…

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News • Covid-19 impact on vaccination

Antibiotic resistance could make diphtheria ‘major global threat’ again

Diphtheria – a relatively easily-preventable infection – is evolving to become resistant to a number of classes of antibiotics and in future could lead to vaccine escape, warn an international team of researchers from the UK and India. The researchers, led by scientists at the University of Cambridge, say that the impact of Covid-19 on diphtheria vaccination schedules, coupled with a rise in…

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News • Tiny changes, huge effects

Finding causes of disease with induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are suitable for discovering the genes that underly complex and also rare genetic diseases. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), together with international partners, have studied genotype-phenotype relationships in iPSCs using data from approximately one thousand donors. Tens of…

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News • Human cytomegalovirus in immunocompromised patients

Post-transplant HCMV infection: pre-emptive strike could save many lives

A potential new treatment to protect immunosuppressed patients from human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been discovered by scientists at the University of Cambridge. Their study shows that certain epigenetic inhibitors expose and help to destroy dormant HCMV infections, which often reactivate to cause serious illness and death in these vulnerable groups. Subject to clinical trials, their proposed…

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Video • Regenerative medicine

Lab-grown ‘mini-bile ducts’ to repair human livers

Scientists have used a technique to grow bile duct organoids – often referred to as ‘mini-organs’ – in the lab and shown that these can be used to repair damaged human livers. This is the first time that the technique has been used on human organs. The research paves the way for cell therapies to treat liver disease – in other words, growing ‘mini-bile ducts’ in the lab as…

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News • 53,831 genomes analysed

Rare diseases: huge dataset brings new insights

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and their colleagues published a new analysis from genetic sequencing data of more than 53,000 individuals, primarily from minority populations. The early analysis, part of a large-scale program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, examines one of the largest and most diverse data sets of high-quality whole…

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News • Lessons learned from Covid-19

A 'blueprint' for preventing the next pandemic

Scientific and public health experts have been raising the alarm for decades, imploring public officials to prepare for the inevitability of a viral pandemic. Infectious epidemics seemingly as benign as "the flu" and as deadly as the Ebola virus provided ample warning, yet government officials seemed caught off guard and ill prepared for dealing with Covid-19.

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News • Environmental connections

Has climate change driven the emergence of SARS-CoV-2?

Global greenhouse gas emissions over the last century have made southern China a hotspot for bat-borne coronaviruses, by driving growth of forest habitat favoured by bats. A new study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment provides the first evidence of a mechanism by which climate change could have played a direct role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the…

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Article • Advancing diagnostic accuracy

PSMA PET/CT in prostate cancer evaluation

Hybrid PET/CT imaging can fully play to its strengths and steer treatment towards more effective procedures for diagnosing prostate cancer. The examination of the specific antigen PSMA with hybrid PET imaging enables treatment monitoring with significantly higher diagnostic accuracy than conventional imaging and therefore, Professor Clemens Cyran believes, will soon become the standard diagnostic…

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News • Rescuing brain cell activity

Alzheimer's: Promising avenue to restore cognitive function

A team of neuroscientists has identified a potential means to address the loss of cognitive function due to Alzheimer’s disease by targeting protein synthesis in mice. Their findings, reported in the journal Science Signaling, reveal that synthetic pharmaceuticals could rescue the activity of brain cells needed for memory formation.

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News • Microbiome research

'Organs-on-a-chip' system sheds light on interactions between gut and brain

In many ways, our brain and our digestive tract are deeply connected. Feeling nervous may lead to physical pain in the stomach, while hunger signals from the gut make us feel irritable. Recent studies have even suggested that the bacteria living in our gut can influence some neurological diseases. Modeling these complex interactions in animals such as mice is difficult to do, because their…

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News • Viral sequencing

How SARS-CoV-2 spreads and evolves

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants that are adding twists in the battle against COVID-19 highlight the need for better genomic monitoring of the virus, says Katia Koelle, associate professor of biology at Emory University.

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News • Insulin inhibitory receptor

New promising target for diabetes treatment

Researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, the Technical University of Munich and the German Center for Diabetes have discovered a novel and druggable insulin inhibitory receptor, named inceptor. The blocking of inceptor function leads to an increased sensitisation of the insulin signaling pathway in pancreatic beta cells. This might allow protection and regeneration of beta cells for diabetes…

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News • Lymphocytosis research

Tracing the onset of leukaemia

B-cell lymphocytosis, a condition in which individuals have increased levels of particular white blood cells, in some cases leads to blood cancer. As an international team of researchers now shows in samples from patients, both diseases exhibit similar epigenetic signatures that are forming very early during the course of the disease. Chronic leukemias often start insidiously. White blood cells…

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News • Genome study reveals

Blood group affects composition of intestinal microbiome

For several years, scientists worldwide have been investigating the extent to which microorganisms living in and on the human body influence central life processes and thus health and disease. Today they assume that there is a connection between the totality of the microbial colonization in the human body, called the microbiome, and the development of diseases. Chronic inflammatory bowel disease…

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Article • He who seeks, finds

Pros and cons of MRI in breast cancer diagnosis

MRI is the most sensitive method to detect breast cancer. However, the current breast cancer guidelines for Europe, Germany and Austria, still only recommend it for certain indications: For early detection in high risk patients, for differentiation between scarring and recurrences after breast-conserving treatment and to detect cancers of unknown primary site. This is the theory. However, in…

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News • The role of the MLL4 gene

New insights on the Kabuki syndrome

Scientists have known for years that mutations in the MLL4 gene can cause Kabuki syndrome, a rare developmental disorder. How exactly this happens remeained a mystery for long. Now, a new study illuminates new details. The research suggests that MLL4 controls the production of neurons that secrete growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Mice without…

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News • Messenger RNA vaccines explained

Busting 8 common myths about Covid-19 vaccines

Even those who understand the scientific process, trust medical experts and know how important vaccines are for fighting infectious diseases might still have some questions or concerns about the new Covid-19 vaccines. Here, Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, helps set the record straight on 8 common questions, concerns and myths that have emerged about Covid-19 vaccines.

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News • Dangerous immune response

New insight on severe virus attacks on the lungs

In some cases, immune cells in the lungs can contribute to worsening a virus attack. In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet describe how different kinds of immune cells, called macrophages, develop in the lungs and which of them may be behind severe lung diseases. The study, which was published in Immunity, may contribute to future treatments for Covid-19, among other diseases.

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Article • Glioma detection

Breakthrough liquid biopsy test to detect mutations in brain tumours

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston have developed a novel blood test using an enhanced form of liquid biopsy capable of detecting the most common types of genetic mutations that occur in glioma brain tumors. The test is easy to use, inexpensive, produces results rapidly, and can be performed in most clinical laboratories. The researchers believe that the blood test has…

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News • Toxins in the gut

Connecting our microbiome to breast cancer development

A microbe found in the colon and commonly associated with the development of colitis and colon cancer also may play a role in the development of some breast cancers, according to new research from investigators with the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and its Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Breast tissue cells exposed to this toxin retain a long-term memory, increasing the…

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News • Disease development, risk, complications

Researchers identify prediabetes subtypes

All prediabetes is not the same: in people in the preliminary stages of type 2 diabetes, there are six clearly distinguishable subtypes, which differ in the development of the disease, diabetes risk, and the development of secondary diseases. This is shown in a study by the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen,…

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News • Tackling colon cancer

Researchers find 'Achilles’ heel' of cancer stem cells

Colon cancer stem cells have one weak spot: the enzyme Mll1. An MDC team led by Walter Birchmeier has now shown in Nature Communications that blocking this protein prevents the development of new tumors in the body. Since colonoscopies were introduced in Germany for early cancer detection, the number of diagnoses of advanced cancer every year has decreased, as precancerous lesions can now be…

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News • Stepstone for new treatments

Regulatory RNAs promote breast cancer metastasis

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) scientists have discovered a gene-regulating snippet of RNA that may contribute to the spread of many breast cancers. In animal experiments, the researchers could reduce the growth of metastatic tumors with a molecule designed to target that RNA and trigger its destruction. The same strategy, they say, could be used to develop a new breast cancer treatment for…

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News • Natural variation impacts virus-relevant proteins

How SARS-CoV-2 benefits from helpers within the human body

Like all viruses, the novel coronavirus is dependent on help from the human host cell. Proteins are the functional units of the cell and enable the virus to enter the host cell or help the virus to replicate. Scientists from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), along with colleagues from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, have…

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Video • Resistance pulse

New study reveals how melanoma cells survive targeted therapies

In recent years, targeted therapies have cemented their place as some of the most important tools in cancer treatment. These medicines are designed to block specific signals that tumor cells use to grow and spread, while at the same time leaving normal cells unharmed. Targeted therapies can significantly extend patients’ lives, but the benefits are often only temporary. Over time, many cancers…

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News • New gargle test

Mass spectrometry to improve Covid testing

A UK biotech laboratory has used mass spectrometry in a new approach to coronavirus testing. MAP Sciences developed a gargle test, which collects samples from the back of the throat, and avoids the unpleasant sensation of the current PCR (polymerase chain reaction) swab tests. From there, the sample is tested for coronavirus using mass spectrometry (MS) with high levels of accuracy.

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Article • MEDICA session

PCR tests excel during Covid-19 pandemic

In early 1990, at Analytica, in Munich, a young US-American researcher Kary B Mullis received the award for biochemical analytics for his 1983 invention: the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – a success topped in 1993 by the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Mullis’ work revolutionised DNA copying, a process which, before PCR, had taken weeks. Whilst initially PCR was used to create digital…

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Article • Detecting coronavirus infections

Covid-19: CRISPR-based test gives GPs quick results

Recent research in Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) has identified two enzymes that can detect Covid-19 RNA as simply as a pregnancy test Jesús Pla, an eminent microbiologist at the Complutense University in Madrid, explained in our exclusive interview. CRISPR technology could help alleviate workloads in packed hospitals and expand testing to primary care and…

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News • Cancer research

New therapeutic approach against leukemia

Leukemia frequently originates from the so-called leukemic stem cell, which resides in a tumor promoting and protecting niche within the bone marrow. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, have found a new way to make these cells vulnerable by specifically dislodging these cells from their niches.

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News • One mouse at a time

New approach to testing potential drugs for children’s cancers

A team of researchers in the US and Australia have developed a way of testing potential drugs for children’s cancers so as to take account of the wide genetic diversity of these diseases. In new research to be presented at the 32th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, Professor Peter Houghton, director of the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (San…

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News • COVID immunity research

Coronavirus re-infection: what we know so far – and the vital missing clues

As President Trump claims that he is immune to COVID-19 and isolated reports emerge of reinfection, what is the truth about immunity to COVID-19? To date, there have been six published cases of COVID-19 reinfection, with various other unverified accounts from around the world. Although this is a comparably small fraction of the millions of people known to have been infected, should we be…

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News • Infection with Covid-19

The antiviral effect of innate immunity

Innate immunity is the fastest-acting component of the immune system, but so far little is known about its role during infection with SARS-CoV-2. A few hours after an infection, the body emits an alarm signal, interferon, enabling cells that have not yet been infected to produce antiviral proteins. This phenomenon occurs well before the production of neutralizing antibodies. Scientists from the…

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Video • List by top clinicians and researchers

Top 10 medical innovations for 2021

An up-and-coming gene therapy for blood disorders. A new class of medications for cystic fibrosis. Increased access to telemedicine. These are some of the innovations that will enhance healing and change healthcare in the coming year, according to a distinguished panel of clinicians and researchers from Cleveland Clinic. In conjunction with the 2020 Medical Innovation Summit, Cleveland Clinic…

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News • Exploring new principles for therapeutic agents

New class of inhibitors to protect against neurodegeneration

Neurobiologists at Heidelberg University have discovered how a special receptor at neuronal junctions that normally activates a protective genetic programme can lead to nerve cell death when located outside synapses. Their fundamental findings on neurodegenerative processes simultaneously led the researchers at the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences (IZN) to a completely new principle for…

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News • Simulation model for pathological mechanisms

Understanding the progress of viral infections

It is only 120 millionths of a millimetre in size but can bring entire countries to a standstill: the Corona virus. Even if it were to disappear one day, viral infections will still be among the most frequent and difficult-to-treat diseases in humans. Even decades of research have only produced a few standardized vaccines and strategies for treatment to combat just a small number of viruses. Nor…

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News • For the development of CRISPR/Cas9

Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 to Emmanuelle Charpentier from the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany, and Jennifer A. Doudna from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, “for the development of a method for genome editing”, more commonly known as the 'gene scissors' CRISPR/Cas9.

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Video • For breakthroughs against Hepatitis C

Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded to three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.

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News • Distant metastasis-free interval explored

High-risk breast cancers: Mode of detection is linked to patient prognosis

Breast cancers that are detected in the interval between national screening programme mammograms have a worse prognosis than those detected at the time of a screening, even if they have the same biology, according to research presented at the 12th European Breast Cancer Conference. Analysis of results from over eight years’ follow-up of the international MINDACT randomised phase III clinical…

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Article • Overheard at AAIC 2020

Exciting Alzheimer's findings: ’flu vaccines and P-tau217

More than 32,000 people from over 160 countries registered for The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2020) in July. This largest and most influential international conference on dementia science had to be held virtually this year, when important highlights were aired. The ability to identify individuals at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), or at early…

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News • Origins of the disease(s) explained

Parkinson's: not one, but two diseases?

Although the name may suggest otherwise, Parkinson's disease is not one but two diseases, starting either in the brain or in the intestines. Which explains why patients with Parkinson’s describe widely differing symptoms, and points towards personalised medicine as the way forward for people with Parkinson's disease. This is the conclusion of a study which has just been published in the leading…

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News • Promising approach for eye diseases

Functional human retinas created in a dish

Scientists have generated accurate replications of human retinas in culture that can be used to pinpoint the specific types of cells affected by genetic eye diseases. The culmination of a six-year effort, this achievement will accelerate progress in developing new therapies and was reported in Cell by a team led by Botond Roska at the Institute for Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB)…

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Article • Need for modernisation

Digital pathology: Luxury or necessity?

The anatomical pathologist faces a crisis. Public and private labs suffer increasing caseloads, whilst pathologist numbers diminish for various reasons, including greater cancer prevalence associated with aging populations as well as improved cancer screening programs. Precision medicine typically involves more genetic testing and extensive use of immunohistochemistry to classify cancer and…

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News • Coronavirus

“Hotspots” of a corona infection in the human body

An infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can affect multiple organs. With this in mind, researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Cornell University in the US have investigated cellular factors that could be significant for an infection. To this end, they analysed the activity of 28 specific genes in a wide range of human tissues.

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News • Helpful housemates

Our gut microbiome could unlock the secret to healthy ageing

Bacteria and other microorganisms in the digestive tract are linked with dozens of health conditions including high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and body mass index (BMI) according to research presented at ESC Congress 2020. “Our study indicates that microbiota might have an important role in maintaining health and could help us develop novel treatments,” said study author Dr. Hilde…

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News • Facial photo analysis

AI uses ‘selfies’ to detect heart disease

Sending a “selfie” to the doctor could be a cheap and simple way of detecting heart disease, according to the authors of a new study. The study is the first to show that it’s possible to use a deep learning computer algorithm to detect coronary artery disease (CAD) by analysing four photographs of a person’s face. Although the algorithm needs to be developed further and tested in larger…

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News • Neuronal disorder

Tracking the onset of ataxias

“Spinocerebellar ataxias” are diseases of the nervous system associated with a loss of motor coordination. A European research alliance headed by the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn has now registered whether and how symptoms of ataxia developed over the years in around 250 persons at risk, who initially did not show symptoms. This is the first…

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Article • Neuroradiology

Alzheimer’s research: A lost century

Lack of understanding around Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has significantly slowed advances in the treatment of this incurable condition. Imaging has proved to be reliable in differentiating between AD and other forms of dementia, and its contribution will continue to help develop profiling, an increasingly interesting approach for the development of new and more efficient drugs, according to Sven…

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Article • Neuro-oncology

Challenges in brain tumour segmentation

Neuroradiologist Dr Sofie Van Cauter described the challenges to brain tumour image segmentation during the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics (EuSoMII) annual meeting in Valencia. She also outlined how, when clinically validated, AI could help tackle such problems. The WHO classification of brain tumours has come a long way since first introduced in 1979. The 2016 classification was…

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News • Researchers use supercomputer

New insights into hepatitis B

Researchers at the University of Delaware, using supercomputing resources and collaborating with scientists at Indiana University, have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the "spiky ball" that encloses the virus's genetic blueprint.

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News • Fossilised findings

Study shows: Even dinosaurs had cancer

A collaboration led by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and McMaster University has led to the discovery and diagnosis of an aggressive malignant bone cancer — an osteosarcoma — for the first time ever in a dinosaur. Examples of malignant cancers are very rare in the fossil record. The paper was published in the journal The Lancet Oncology. The cancerous bone in question is the fibula (lower…

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News • Pregnancy risk

Coronavirus could infect embryos as early as the first trimester

Genes that are thought to play a role in how the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects our cells have been found to be active in embryos as early as during the second week of pregnancy, say scientists at the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The researchers say this could mean embryos are susceptible to COVID-19 if the mother gets sick, potentially affecting the…

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News • New tool discovered

Gut microbiome: Crohn’s disease bacteria grown in the lab

Several thousand strains of bacteria live in the human gut. Some of these are associated with disease, while others have beneficial effects on human health. Figuring out the precise role of each of these bacteria can be difficult, because many of them can’t be grown in lab studies using human tissue. This difficulty is especially pronounced for species that cannot live in oxygen-rich…

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News • G-quadruplexes

Quadruple DNA structures in breast cancer found

Four stranded DNA structures – known as G-quadruplexes – have been shown to play a role in certain types of breast cancer for the first time, providing a potential new target for personalised medicine, say scientists at the University of Cambridge. In 1953, Cambridge researchers Francis Crick and James Watson co-authored a study published in the journal Nature which showed that DNA in our…

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News • Dietary dangers

Sugar consumption: a driving factor in onset of pancreatic cancer

A diet high in sugar increases the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer in some people and can also drive the aggressive growth of tumours, a new study finds. During this study, researchers from the University of Surrey, VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium and the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, sought to understand the impact of diet on the development and progression of pancreatic cancer. This rare…

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News • Coronavirus

Lab-made virus mimics COVID-19 virus

Airborne and potentially deadly, the virus that causes COVID-19 can only be studied safely under high-level biosafety conditions. Scientists handling the infectious virus must wear full-body biohazard suits with pressurized respirators, and work inside laboratories with multiple containment levels and specialized ventilation systems. While necessary to protect laboratory workers, these safety…

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News • Coronavirus research

How type 1 interferon deficiency hints at severe forms of COVID-19

Which patient will develop a severe form of COVID-19? This is an essential question which must be answered in order to improve the individual management and the prognosis of these patients. In a publication in the journal Science, teams from the Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Inserm, Université de Paris, Institut Pasteur and Institut Imagine describe a unique and unexpected…

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Article • The difficulty? Unpredictability in the entire process

Immunotherapy for lung cancer patients

Better outcomes, more favourable prognoses – oncologists and their lung cancer patients didn’t dare to dream about it. Finally, there might be hope. The so-called checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapy drug) have been used successfully, albeit not for every patient. They are a double-edged sword, with risks as well as opportunities, as explained by Professor Cornelia Schäfer-Prokop.

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News • Hidden in our genes

scHOT: Discovering the fate of cell development

As cells develop, changes in how our genes interact determines their fate. Differences in these genetic interactions can make our cells robust to infection from viruses or make it possible for our immune cells to kill cancerous ones. Understanding how these gene associations work across the development of human tissue and organs is important for the creation of medical treatments for complex…

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News • Neurodegeneration research

Developing a rapid drug-testing platform for Alzheimer’s

A gene has been discovered that can naturally suppress the signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in human brain cells, in research led by Queen Mary University of London. The scientists have also developed a new rapid drug-screening system for treatments that could potentially delay or prevent the disease. The main challenge in testing Alzheimer’s drugs in clinical trials is that participants need to…

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News • Ophthalmology

Nanoparticles for gene therapy cure eye diseases

Johns Hopkins scientists report the successful use of nanoparticles to deliver gene therapy for blinding eye disease. A uniquely engineered large molecule allows researchers to compact large bundles of therapeutic DNA to be delivered into the cells of the eye.

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News • Tailor-made therapies

Diabetes care enters precision medicine

A new joint report from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) presents the largest venture ever on precision medicine in diabetes. The report includes a detailed overview and roadmap for how this new approach to diabetes medicine can be evaluated and implemented into clinical practice.

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News • Immune system

Tuberculosis vaccine also makes less susceptible to other infections

A tuberculosis vaccine developed 100 years ago also makes vaccinated persons less susceptible to other infections. While this effect has been recognized for a long time, it is not known what causes it. Together with colleagues from Australia and Denmark, researchers from Radboud university medical center the universities of Nijmegen and Bonn have now presented a possible answer to this question.

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News • Neurodegeneration

Alzheimer research: Noise-inducing neurons shut down memories

Neurons that are responsible for new experiences interfere with the signals of neurons that contain memories and thereby disturb the recall of memories – at least in mice. The research group of Martin Fuhrmann of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) reports this phenomenon in the scientific journal “Nature Neuroscience“. The results of this study potentially shed new…

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News • New mechanism discovered

UPR: Stress raises cancer cells' chemo resistance

Resistance of cancer cells against therapeutic agents is a major cause of treatment failure, especially in recurrent diseases. An international team around the biochemists Robert Ahrends from the University of Vienna and Jan Medenbach from the University of Regensburg identified a novel mechanism of chemoresistance which has now been published in "Nature Communications". It is driven by…

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News • Reversing incurable cause for blindness

Macular degeneration: Gene therapy restores vision

Macular degeneration is one of the major reasons for visual impairment, round the globe, close to 200 million people are affected. It damages the photoreceptors in the retina, which lose their sensitivity to light. This can lead to impaired vision or even complete blindness. Scientists at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB) together with colleagues from the German…

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News • Immune cell monitoring

AI could predict risk of lung cancer recurrence

Computer scientists working with pathologists have trained an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to determine which patients with lung cancer have a higher risk of their disease coming back after treatment. The AI tool was able to differentiate between immune cells and cancer cells, enabling researchers to build a detailed picture of how lung cancers evolve in response to the immune system in…

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News • Experts express concerns

EDQM Blood Guide could make Europe more dependent on US plasma

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) is concerned about the recommendations contained in 20th version of Blood Guide of The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) which aims to harmonise standards and recommendations on blood collection, preparation, and the use of blood and blood components. This Guide, if applied, will have a negative impact on the availability…

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News • New gene therapy approach

Tumor-tropic technology for targeted cancer therapy

Toshiba Corporation and a team led by Professor Yozo Nakazawa at the Department of Pediatrics, Shinshu University, have together developed a “tumor-tropic liposome technology” for gene therapy. The technology uses unique, nano-sized biodegradable liposomes developed by Toshiba to accurately and efficiently deliver therapeutic genes to targeted cancer cells, and achieves safer gene delivery…

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News • Deadly mechanism uncovered

Inside COVID-19's 'cytokine storm'

Leading immunologists in Japan are proposing a possible molecular mechanism that causes massive release of proinflammatory cytokines, or a cytokine storm, leading to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients. Their suggestions, published in the journal Immunity, are based on recent findings that explain how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

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Article • A more integrative approach to digital pathology

imCMS: The door to simple, cheap, reliable bio-stratification

Bringing molecular and digital pathology closer together through a more integrative approach can lead to clear advantages for diagnostic and research workflows. During the recent Digital Pathology and AI Congress (London), Professor Viktor Koelzer explored the benefits and paid particular attention to colorectal cancer (CRC).

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News • A look at oligodendrocytes

Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the University of North Carolina have mapped out the cell types behind various brain disorders. The findings are published in Nature Genetics and offer a roadmap for the development of new therapies to target neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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News • Programmed cell death

Cellular mechanism protecting against cancer

Susanne Hellmuth and Olaf Stemmann from the Chair of Genetics at the University of Bayreuth have discovered a natural protective mechanism that leads to the programmed death of potentially diseased cells.

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News • Coronavirus analysis

AI-generated design blueprints for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines published

NEC Corporation announced analysis results from efforts using AI prediction platforms to design blueprints for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that can drive potent T-cell responses in the majority of the global population. This initiative by the scientific teams within the NEC Group to help combat outbreaks of COVID-19 and support international vaccine development efforts is led by NEC OncoImmunity (NOI) in…

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Article • Seeking an ideal lab life

New and old challenges in laboratory medicine

The Central Laboratory at the Medical University Hanover, Germany, is prepared to handle virtually any clinical chemistry task, from a routine test to the most complex analysis. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and thanks to a high degree of automation, the team can process more than 3,000 specimens, mostly blood and urine, in a single day. Professor Ralf Lichtinghagen, European…

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News • Amyloid beta regulation

CRISPR helps identify potential Alzheimer's-related protein

Experts at the University of Tokyo have identified a new protein in the pathway that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers used the “molecular scissors” of CRISPR/Cas9 to search for new genes related to the neurodegenerative disease. The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease remain unknown, but one of the most well- supported theories focuses on a protein called amyloid beta.…

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News • Coronavirus treatment

Promising trial drug blocks early stages of COVID-19

An international team led by University of British Columbia (UBC) researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts. The findings, published in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 2, has affected more than 981,000 people and claimed the…

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News • New sensor tech

A more reliable way to early detect lung tumours

People who are at high risk of developing lung cancer, such as heavy smokers, are routinely screened with computed tomography (CT), which can detect tumors in the lungs. However, this test has an extremely high rate of false positives, as it also picks up benign nodules in the lungs. Researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now developed a new approach to early…

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News • Medulloblastoma

New insights into deadly brain tumours in children

The causes of 40 percent of all cases of certain medulloblastoma – dangerous brain tumors affecting children – are hereditary. A genetic defect that occurs in 15 percent of these children plays a key role by destabilizing the production and breakdown of proteins. The researchers suspect that protein metabolism defects could be a previously underestimated cause of other types of cancer.

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News • COVID-19 status

Whole genome sequencing to map coronavirus spread

The Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser have backed the UK’s leading clinicians and scientists to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves by using whole genome sequencing. Through a £20 million investment, the consortium will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives. COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - comprised of the NHS, Public…

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Article • Coronavirus disease research

Seeking a COVID-19 antidote: the potential of ACE2

As coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to jet and alight invisibly around the globe, scientists now report that the virus has mutated to become two strains: the older ‘S-type’ appears milder and less infectious, while the later-emerging ‘L-type’, is more aggressive, spreads more quickly, and currently accounts for about 70 per cent of cases. Worldwide, medical researchers are exploring…

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News • Cause for colorectal carcinoma

Loss of protein can drive intestinal cancer

An international team of researchers from the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich, Heidelberg and Glasgow has identified a novel function for the cell death regulating protein MCL1: It is essential in protecting the intestine against cancer development – independent of bacterial-driven inflammation. These findings have implications for the use of MCL1 inhibitors, currently…

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News • IGF-1

Breast cancer: Growth hormone identified as probable cause

A growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is likely to play a role in the development of breast cancer, according to new research published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology. IGF-1 is already known to encourage the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Now, two analyses of information from several hundred thousand women enrolled in the UK Biobank study have…

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News • Surprising discovery

Fatty liver disease can also affect lean people

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is mostly diagnosed in overweight and obese people. However, severe forms of NAFLD can also be detected in rare genetic diseases such as lipodystrophy or in patients with HIV, putting them at a high risk for developing liver failure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Norbert Stefan and colleagues have now detected a yet unknown cause of NAFLD in lean…

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News • Intestinal distress

Celiac disease: 'Reprogramming' the immune system to tolerate gluten

Celiac disease affects 0.3-2.4% of people in most countries world-wide, and approx. 2% in Finland. Celiac patients suffer from a variety of symptoms, typically intestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, but are often symptom-free. Immunologist Tobias Freitag co-developed and tested nanoparticles containing gliadin for the immunomodulatory treatment of celiac disease in Professor Seppo Meri’s…

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News • Altered chromosomes

Breast cancer: targeted therapy can lead to treatment resistance

If chromosomes are unevenly distributed or otherwise altered during cell division, this normally damages the daughter cells and impairs their viability. Not in cancer cells, however, in which chromosome instability can actually confer a growth advantage under certain circumstances. Moreover, as scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have now demonstrated in mice, changes in the…

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News • Pilot clinical trial

China to test targeted therapy for COVID-19

A University of British Columbia (UBC) researcher is part of an international team working with a biotechnology company on a pilot clinical trial of a potential new treatment for patients with severe coronavirus infections in China. Dr. Josef Penninger, director of UBC’s Life Sciences Institute and Canada 150 Chair in Functional Genetics, is working closely with Vienna-based Apeiron Biologics…

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News • Releasing the brakes on Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Potential new methods for DMD therapies

Researchers identified a group of small molecules that may open the door to developing new therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an as-yet-uncured disease that results in devastating muscle weakening and loss. The molecules tested by the team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania eased repression of a specific gene, utrophin, in mouse muscle cells,…

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News • BCG vs tumour recurrence

Modified tuberculosis vaccine shows promise against bladder cancer

The human immune system can recognize and eliminate not only germs but also cancer cells. This is why treatments with weakened germs can help the immune system in its fight against cancer. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin have genetically modified the tuberculosis vaccine BCG in a way that it stimulates the immune system more specifically. Consequently, the…

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Article • On the way to diagnostic mainstream

Liquid biopsy to advance cancer diagnosis

Liquid biopsy offers a new dimension to detection and stratification of cancer – yet the technique also faces hurdles in becoming a mainstream diagnostic approach for more personalised treatments. A critical challenge lies in identifying the extremely low concentrations of the bio-analytes of CTC (circulating tumour cells), ctDNA (circulating tumour DNA) and exosomes in the blood.

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News • Zooming in

Breast cancer map reveals how mutations shape the tumour landscape

Scientists have created one of the most detailed maps of breast cancer ever achieved, revealing how genetic changes shape the physical tumour landscape. An international team of scientists, brought together by a £20 million Grand Challenge award from Cancer Research UK, has developed intricate maps of breast tumour samples, with a resolution smaller than a single cell. These maps show how the…

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News • Medulloblastoma

Brain cancer mechanism might give insights into many tumour types

A surprising discovery about a rare form of childhood brain cancer suggests a new treatment approach for that cancer – and potentially many others. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the supposedly simple cancer, called medulloblastoma, forms an unexpectedly intricate network to drive its growth. Some tumor cells actually turn into another type of…

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News • Triple-negative forms impeded

Scientists stop breast cancer cells from spreading in the lab

Biologists have discovered a way to stop cells from one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer spreading in the lab. The study points towards new avenues of research to combat the devastating disease. The results of the study of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer by the team from the Universities of Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield and funded by Breast Cancer Now are published in Oncogene.…

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News • Genomic insights into 2019-nCoV

New coronavirus: largest meta-analysis yet answers important questions

Scientists at the University of Bologna have conducted the largest analysis of coronavirus 2019-nCoV genomes sequenced so far. This analysis confirms that the virus originates in bats and shows a low variability: the virus heterogeneity is low. At the same time, researchers identified a hyper-variable genomic hotspot in the proteins of the virus responsible for the existence of two virus…

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News • Blood coagulation

Treating hemophilia with gene therapy

Within the framework of an international study, Lund University and Skåne University Hospital have started treating patients with hemophilia with gene therapy, something that began in January this year. The hope is that the new treatment will significantly simplify everyday life for those with severe hemophilia. Hemophilia is a genetic disease where the body does not produce one of the clotting…

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News • Research award shortlist

Soft cardio-robot and 'Google Maps' of the heart face Big Beat Challenge

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) announced its shortlist of four research projects competing for a single £30 million award. The charity says it is one of many radical new approaches needed to address a frightening mismatch in research funding compared with the burden of heart and circulatory diseases. With the World Health Organization forecasting an increase in cardiovascular deaths…

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News • Obesity, heart disease, diabetes

Are NCD not so "non-communicable" after all?

Diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer or certain lung diseases are among the most common non-natural causes of death today and account for about 70 percent of deaths worldwide. They are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as non-communicable because they are assumed to be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors and cannot be transmitted…

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News • Genome and genes decoded

One step closer to Indian cobra antivenom

Scientists from India and the USA, along with a team of international collaborators from academia and industry report the sequencing and assembly of a high-quality genome of the highly venomous, medically important Indian cobra (Naja naja). Using a combination of cutting-edge genomic technologies, the authors have assembled the most contiguous genome of this iconic venomous snake. Venom is a…

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News • Big data vs. neuroblastoma

Smart algorithm finds possible treatment for childhood cancer

Using a computer algorithm, scientists at Uppsala University have identified a promising new treatment for neuroblastoma. This form of cancer in children, which occurs in specialised nerve cells in the sympathetic nervous system, may be life-threatening. In the long term the discovery, described in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications, may result in a new form of…

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Article • The future has begun

Cancer care 2035: multi-disciplinarity is key

An enthralling insight into the care that could be offered to cancer patients of the future was presented by cancer imaging expert Professor Regina Beets-Tan during her a keynote presentation at the recent British Institute of Radiology congress. In the session ‘Oncologic imaging: Future perspectives’, the professor outlined what a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) of the future – a team in…

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News • Single cell analysis & machine learning

scPred: Finding the ‘fingerprint’ of human cells

Researchers say a new method to analyse data from individual human cells could be a step-change for diagnosing some of the most devastating diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disease. By combining single cell analysis techniques with machine learning algorithms, a team led by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has developed a method to ‘fingerprint’ human cells.…

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News • Determining protein structures

3Dseq: New technique to solve biomedical puzzles

“Proteins are the workers in the cell, and it's important to know their shape,” says Chris Sander, PhD, director of Dana-Farber’s cBio Center in the Department of Data Sciences. Sander and his colleagues have now demonstrated a powerful “experimental evolution” method to discover details of protein shape and function, and the method may find uses across a very broad spectrum of…

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News • Grant for AI and genomic analysis

AI help for better diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second cause of cancer-related death in men. Currently, its diagnosis occurs via imaging and must be confirmed by biopsy. Simona Turco from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) wants to improve prostate cancer diagnosis by using machine learning algorithms to localize tumors and thereby replace entirely the necessity for biopsies. Besides, by combining this with…

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News • Personalised prevention

‘Liquid health check’ could predict disease risk

Proteins in our blood could in future help provide a comprehensive ‘liquid health check’, assessing our health and predicting the likelihood that we will we will develop a range of diseases. Preventative medicine programmes such as the UK National Health Service’s Health Check and Healthier You programmes are aimed at improving our health and reducing our risk of developing diseases. While…

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Article • Radiology + data + AI = ?

Today and future radiomics

Radiomics is one of the most exciting topics in radiology. It involves data and artificial intelligence (AI) but very few people know or understand the details. In her lecture ‘How does Radiomics work?’, presented at the German Radiology Congress in Leipzig, Professor Ulrike Attenberger outlined how radiomics will advance radiology but also the obstacles faced along the way.

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News • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

3D model of human liver tissue for better NAFLD diagnosis

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the most common chronic liver disorder in developed countries. Histological analysis of liver tissue is the only widely accepted test for diagnosing and distinguishing different stages of NAFLD. However, this technique provides only two-dimensional images of the liver tissue in low resolution and overlooks potentially important 3D structural…

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Article • Mammacarcinoma screening

Breast cancer: Simply monitoring might be best

Breast cancer screening is a well-designed and scientifically proven, evidence-based procedure, but has pitfalls such as under-detection and over-diagnosis. Surgery or radiotherapy may have serious consequences on health and must therefore be administered in carefully selected patients.

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News • Malignant infantile brain tumours

​Epilepsy drug inhibits brain tumour development

Medication prescribed for a certain type of epilepsy may offer a new method for treating malignant infantile brain tumours. A specific mTOR inhibitor has the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier to both reach and attack the tumour at source. This has been demonstrated by researchers from Uppsala University, in collaboration with US and UK colleagues, whose research has now been published in…

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News • Direct-from-blood diagnostic

T2Resistance Panel receives CE mark

T2 Biosystems, Inc., a leader in the development and commercialization of medical diagnostic products, and CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating R&D innovation to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria, announced the granting of a CE mark to the T2Resistance Panel. With the CE mark, T2 Biosystems has met the requirements of the In-Vitro…

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News • Networking event

Future of Personalised Medicine Summit was a success

Next generation sequencing, big data, microeconomics and more: At the Future of Personalized Medicine (FOPM) Summit for Oncology in Munich, experts from the fields of Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Hospitals, and Academics came together to discuss the Future of Medicine. Group Futurista, the organizers of the 2-day networking event, are happy to announce that the summit was a huge success. Their…

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News • Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance

How P. aeruginosa becomes resistant during CF treatment

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens pose one of the greatest threats to public health worldwide. In the near future, harmless bacterial infections may no longer be treatable and may again become the most common non-natural cause of death. At the same time, the available repertoire of antibacterial agents is becoming increasingly smaller as resistance rates rise.

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News • Biological aging

Wearables link insufficient sleep to cardiovascular disease risk

Getting a good night’s sleep is important and insufficient sleep has been linked to poor health in many studies. Analysing data collected from wearable trackers, researchers from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Precision Medicine (PRISM) and the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) recently demonstrated that chronic sleep deprivation is associated with increased cardiovascular disease…

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News • Deep learning vs. AML

AI-driven blood cell classification supports leukemia diagnosis

For the first time, researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University Hospital of LMU Munich show that deep learning algorithms perform similar to human experts when classifying blood samples from patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Their proof of concept study paves the way for an automated, standardized and on-hand sample analysis in the near future. The paper was…

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News • Tricky virus

Measles infections erase 'immune memory' – vaccination confers protection

Measles infections are not harmless – they can cause disease courses that may be of fatal outcome. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in co-operation with researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have now found out that measles viruses erase part of the immunological memory over several years. Affected persons are thus more susceptible to infections with other pathogens beyond…

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Interview • Chronic inflammations

GATA-3: 'Switching off' allergies and asthma

Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as allergies and asthma, are not only an acute problem but also a major research and prevention challenge. We spoke with Professor Harald Renz, Director of the Institute for Laboratory Medicine at the University Hospital Gießen/Marburg, Germany, and discussed the major reason for increases in the number of these widespread diseases.

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News • Interactive CVD risk calculator

KardioKompassi: Individualised cardiac disease prevention with genomic data

With KardioKompassi, researchers from the University of Helsinki have developed an interactive web tool that aims to predict and prevent cardiovascular disease. The application for patients and doctors uses traditional health information combined with genome information, including 49,000 DNA variations associated with the disease. Using this data, the risk calculator evaluates the risk of cardiac…

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News • CYLD cutaneous syndrome

Breakthrough in understanding CCS skin disease

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have identified changes in the DNA of the tumour cells in those with CYLD cutaneous syndrome (CCS) that may help them grow. A study published in Nature Communications suggest that the tumour cells gain a ‘survival advantage’ when the changes occur – an important step in understanding ways to develop treatments. CCS is a hereditary…

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News • CRISPR 2.0

Is 'prime editing' the next step in gene editing?

A team from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new CRISPR genome-editing approach by combining two of the most important proteins in molecular biology – CRISPR-Cas9 and a reverse transcriptase – into a single machine. The system, called “prime editing,” is capable of directly editing human cells in a precise, efficient, and highly versatile fashion. The approach…

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News • Inherited neuromuscular disease HSP

Genetic cause for hereditary spastic paraplegia identified

Scientists at St George’s, University of London, in collaboration with researchers from Germany, the USA, Tunisia and Iran have identified a new gene associated with the neuromuscular disorder, hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). The study, published in Nature Communications, also highlights a potential mechanism for the disease, which is already being targeted in drug trials for Alzheimer’s…

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News • EMA recommandation for Ervebo

Ebola: first vaccine to protect against deadly virus

It is an important step towards fighting one of the deadliest viruses known to man: The human medicines committee (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation in the European Union for Ervebo (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP), the first vaccine for active immunisation of individuals aged 18 years and older at risk of infection with the Ebola virus.…

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News • Dangerous fever

Febrile convulsions: an early indicator for epilepsy in children?

Children who suffer repeated febrile convulsions have an increased risk of developing epilepsy and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression later in life. This is shown by a comprehensive register-based study from Aarhus University. The risk of febrile convulsions increases with the child’s fever, and approximately four per cent of Danish children suffer from febrile…

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News • Neurology

Overcoming the blood-brain-barrier: Delivering therapeutics to brain

For the first time, scientists have found a way that can effectively transport medication into the brain - which could lead to improved treatments for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. In a study, scientists from Newcastle University have led an international team in a major breakthrough in unlocking the secrets of how medications can infiltrate the brain.

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News • Statins study

How effective is cholesterol medication? New study sheds light

A study by a team of Victoria University of Wellington scientists spotlights the role of gene networks in how people respond to one of the world’s most prescribed medications. The research team investigated the genetic network response to cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, a medication prescribed to about 30 million people worldwide. The researchers say it is a significant step towards…

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News • Respiratory failure and sepsis

Cheap, quick test identifies major risks for pneumonia patients

Spanish researchers in Valencia have identified specific fragments of genetic material that play a role in the development of respiratory failure and sepsis in pneumonia patients. Presenting the research at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, Dr Francisco Sanz said the findings could enable doctors to test quickly for these biological markers when a patient is admitted to…

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News • COA vs outside intervention

How bacteria defend against CRISPR-Cas

For the first time ever, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have mapped how bacterial cells trigger their defence against outside attacks. This could affect how diseases are fought in the future. With the aid of highly advanced microscopes and synchrotron sources, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have gained seminal insight into how bacteria function as defence mechanisms…

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Article • Cardiology

AI identifies genes linked to heart failure

The Queen Mary University of London team applied an artificial intelligence (AI) technique to analyse the heart MRI images of 17,000 healthy UK Biobank volunteers. They found that genetic factors accounted for 22-39 per cent of variation in the size and function of the heart’s left ventricle, the organ’s main pumping chamber. Enlargement and reduced pumping function of the left ventricle can…

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Article • AI in diagnostics

Learn like a human, deduce like a machine

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is like a huge blanket that can cover anything from innocuous chess computers to robots which, depending on your viewpoint, could save, oppress or obliterate humanity. However, not every jar labelled AI contains AI. So what is intelligence and can it be created artificially, synthesised like a nature-identical flavouring substance?

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News • Vascular surgery

New lease of life thanks to new aorta

Patients with the rare Loeys-Dietz syndrome suffer from aortic enlargement which may result in sudden over-expansion and a fatal aortic tear. In order to prevent this from happening, an aortic prosthesis must be implanted. A team of vascular surgeons at the University Hospital of Zurich was one of the first in the world to risk undertaking this life-saving operation on a child as an emergency…

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Article • Workforce challenges

Pathologists will hold a pivotal role

Amid ever-growing demand for services, significant challenges face the pathology workforce in the years ahead but – there are also good opportunities. With advances in technology and the advent of artificial intelligence as a decision-making support tool, Professor Jo Martin, President Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) in the UK, believes there remain opportunities for pathology to play a…

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Article • The Estonian Genome Project

Everyone’s DNA recorded for disease risks

When it comes to genetics, Estonia is considered a trailblazer, as the ambitious Estonian Genome Project (Eesti Geenivaramu) shows. Its objective is to test the genome of every citizen for the risk of diseases. Dr Jaanus Pikani talks about the initial difficulties which the genome project encountered and about its potential for Estonian – and possibly worldwide – healthcare.

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News • A STAMP with high value

New tech makes biopsies less invasive, more informative

A team of researchers has developed a novel technology that could sensitively and accurately detect and classify cancer cells, as well as determine the disease aggressiveness from the least invasive biopsies. With this new technology called STAMP (Sequence-Topology Assembly for Multiplexed Profiling), comprehensive disease information can be obtained faster, at a much earlier stage of the…

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News • CRISPR-Cas vs MDC1A

Undoing the damage of muscle dystrophy

A new technology has brought researchers one step closer to a future cure for Congenital Muscular Dystrophy type1A, a devastating muscle disease that affects children. The new findings are based on research by Kinga Gawlik at Lund University, Department of Experimental Medical Science, and were recently published in Nature. Congenital Muscular Dystrophy type1A, MDC1A, a progressive genetic…

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News • The XX factor

XX chromosomes put women's hearts at risk

New research at the University of Kentucky has confirmed that the presence of XX sex chromosomes increases the amount of fat circulating in the blood, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and ultimately a higher risk of heart attacks and coronary artery disease. The research was published in Nature Communications. The leading cause of death in women is coronary artery disease (CAD), but women…

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News • Genetic mutations

'Invade and evade': Deciphering pancreatic cancer’s tactics

Two known gene mutations induce pathways that enhance pancreatic cancer’s ability to invade tissues and evade the immune system. Researchers report the molecular details of this process providing insights into druggable targets for immunotherapies. Mutations in the genes KRAS and TP53 are closely linked to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, by far the most common type of pancreatic cancer.…

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News • Alternative ways

Plan B for cholesterol transport

Kiel biochemistry research team proves the existence of a previously unknown alternative cholesterol transport mechanism inside cells. Cholesterol is a vital cell building block in humans and animals, and an integral part of the so-called cell membrane. This boundary layer separates the interior of the cell from the neighbouring cells and the surrounding environment. By means of certain proteins,…

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Article • Personalized medicine

Exploring the potential of High-Content Screening

The key challenges and opportunities surrounding High-Content Screening have been outlined in a presentation to leading scientists and technologists at a major lab conference. Speaking at the recent SLASEurope 2019 event in Barcelona, Professor Matthias Nees from the Institute of Biomedicine in the Department of Biology at the University of Turku, Finland, outlined the potential of High-Content…

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News • Pathogenic microbes

Cigarette smoke makes MRSA superbug bacterium more drug-resistant

Cigarette smoke can make MRSA bacterial strains more resistant to antibiotics, new research from the University of Bath has shown. In addition cigarette smoke exposure can make some strains of Staphylococcus aureus – a microbe present in 30-60% of the global population and responsible for many diseases, some fatal – more invasive and persistent, although the effect is not universal across all…

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News • Not just the climate changes

Global warming might be behind the rise of Candida auris

Global warming may have played a pivotal role in the emergence of Candida auris. According to a new study published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, C. auris, which is often multi-drug resistant and is a serious public health threat, may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change.

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Interview • Aiming to drive health investments

Dubai’s notable healthcare

Formed in 2007 – under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, UAE – the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) oversees the healthcare system. Driven by the private sector, the country’s healthcare growth is a notable success story. We asked Dr Ibtesam Al Bastaki, Director, Investments & PPP’s at DHA about the vision for…

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News • Ovarian and breast cancer

New insights into BRCA1 gene functions

Research led by the University of Birmingham has found important new ways that the BRCA1 gene functions which could help develop our understanding of the development of ovarian and breast cancers. The research, published in Nature, was led by experts at the University of Birmingham’s Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology and Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and is part of a five-year…

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News • Double danger

MS patients at a greater risk of cancer, new study suggests

New results of a 65-year follow-up study of nearly 7,000 Norwegian patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) suggest that patients may have a greater overall risk of developing cancer than the general population, with an especially high risk of cancer in respiratory organs, urinary organs and the central nervous system. Presented at the 5th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress in Oslo,…

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News • New blood test

Reducing unnecessary ovarian cancer surgery

The majority of women who undergo surgery for suspected ovarian cancer do not have cancer. A novel blood test developed by researchers at Uppsala University and the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, now offers the possibility of more precise diagnostics without the need for surgery. This could lead to a reduction in unnecessary surgery and to earlier detection and treatment for…

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Article • MERS-CoV

Seeking answers to combat Middle East respiratory syndrome

With a case fatality rate of 35 percent, a Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection – also called camel flu – is a dangerous disease. About seven years ago, when the virus was first isolated, mortality was close to 100 percent since only severe infections that led to the patient being in intensive care were recorded. Today the environment of each victim is…

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News • In future pregnancies

Identifying the risk of recurrence of developmental disorder

Having a child with a developmental disorder can cause parents to worry about the outcome of further pregnancies. In cases where the genetic mutation causing the disorder is not present in either parent it is assumed to be a one-off event with a very small chance of recurrence. But in some families, the risk of having another affected child is as high as 50%. Identifying such high-risk families…

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News • Microsatellites

Stomach and colorectal cancer: AI identifyies patients for immunotherapy

Changes in certain sections of the genetic material of cancer cells, so-called microsatellites, can provide an important indication of whether immunotherapy may be successful in a patient with stomach or colorectal cancer. Scientists from Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and the National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg (NCT)…

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News • Intervention in fat metabolism

Improved diabetes in spite of obesity

Eating too much fat and sugar makes you overweight and unhealthy – even young children know that. But why is that, and is there anything we can do about it? In a study published in the journal Cell, Prof. Jens Brüning's research group at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne has shown how altering fat metabolism in the liver can make obese mice thinner, despite eating an…

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News • New study

Ribosome inhibition may hold the key to multi-stage cancer treatment

Nearly 90% of all cancer patient deaths are due to metastasis. A study from Uppsala University shows that a process that allows the cells to metastasise is aided by the synthesis of new ribosomes, the cell components in which proteins are produced. The results open the possibility for new treatment strategies for advanced cancers. The study is published in Nature Communications. As tumours…

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News • ctDNA vs. HGSOC

Taking 'molecular snapshots' of ovarian cancer

High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most common and aggressive subtype of ovarian cancer. The HGSOC tumors consist of several heterogeneous cell populations with a large number of mutations. This genetic variability makes it difficult to find drugs that would kill all the cancer cells, and to which the cells would not become resistant during treatment. Over half of the patients…

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News • Making the invisible visible

New method opens unexplored realms for liquid biopsies

Advancing technology is allowing scientists increasingly to search for tiny signs of cancer and other health issues in samples of patients’ blood and urine. These “liquid biopsies” are less invasive than a traditional biopsy, and can provide information about what’s happening throughout the body instead of just at a single site. Now researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer…

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News • Dementia pathway

Is LATE the new Alzheimer’s?

A recently recognized brain disorder that mimics clinical features of Alzheimer’s disease has for the first time been defined with recommended diagnostic criteria and other guidelines for advancing and catalyzing future research. Scientists from several National Institutes of Health-funded institutions, in collaboration with international peers, described the newly-named pathway to dementia,…

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News • Survival of the fittest

How bacteria can adapt to resist antibiotic treatment

In a joint collaboration, researchers from Denmark and Switzerland have shown that bacteria produce a specific stress molecule, divide more slowly, and thus save energy when they are exposed to antibiotics. The new knowledge is expected to form the basis for development of a new type of antibiotics. All free-living organisms are under constant pressure to survive. Darwin dubbed this…

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Video • Personalized treatment

Genome analytics become affordable for daily hospital use

Today, on the occasion of the international DNA day, imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, and its partners revealed their Genome Analytics Platform (GAP) platform, a unique platform that can perform a full genome analysis of 48 samples in only 48 hours and at an acceptable cost. The platform paves the way to genome sequencing as a daily…

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Article • Post-analytical interpretive tools

Towards a clearer view of complex lab results

Interpretation of complex profiles of laboratory results can be significantly improved via multivariate pattern recognition software. A multivariate pattern recognition software, developed by a team led by Dr Piero Rinaldo at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA, aims to integrate results to diagnose a particular condition in a single score, in an objective evidence-based way that is open to worldwide…

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News • Targeted treatment

Cancer: Blood sample to help select the right early phase clinical trials

Scientists could help match cancer patients with no other treatment options to clinical trials with experimental medicines, by analysing the genetic faults in a sample of their blood. The researchers, funded by Cancer Research UK, The Christie Charity, AstraZeneca and the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), demonstrated in their feasibility study that a blood test can be carried out…

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News • Two years earlier

Breast cancer: blood test could detecting relapse earlier

Research has revealed that a new blood test is able to detect disease relapse up to two years earlier than imaging in patients with early-stage breast cancer. The research, carried out by the University of Leicester and Imperial College London and funded by Cancer Research UK, showed that the blood test was able to detect 89 per cent of all relapses, on average 8.9 months quicker than imaging.

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News • A new weapon against antibiotic resistance

Programming a hunter/killer toxin

When the first antibiotics were discovered in the early 20th century, the rate of death from infectious diseases fell dramatically. But the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria as a result of antibiotic misuse is raising fears that by 2050, these same diseases will once again become the leading cause of death worldwide. In a bid to boost the arsenal available to tackle this threat,…

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News • Tailored treatment needed

Half of patients on statins fail to reach ‘healthy’ cholesterol level after 2 years

Half of patients prescribed statins in primary care fail to reach ‘healthy’ cholesterol levels after two years of treatment with these drugs, reveals research published online in the journal Heart. The findings back up those of previous studies, and highlight the need for personalised medicine to tackle high cholesterol and lower the significantly increased risks of future heart disease and…

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News • Personalized medicine

FDA approves first targeted therapy for metastatic bladder cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Balversa (erdafitinib), a treatment for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer that has a type of susceptible genetic alteration known as FGFR3 or FGFR2, and that has progressed during or following prior platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients should be selected for therapy with Balversa…

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Article • Differentiate and select

Myths and truths about antibiotics, antiseptics and vaccination

Sixty-two percent of Germans fear antibiotic resistance, according to a survey recently conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. ‘Patients colonised by multi-resistant pathogens are particularly scared. But many of these fears are rooted in misunderstandings,’ explained Professor Mathias Pletz at the Congress for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine (KIT).

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News • Building a risk profile

Audiologists seek genetic link to tinnitus

Tinnitus, more commonly known as ringing in the ears, is a serious audiological and neurological condition affecting nearly 50 million Americans. Noise and music exposure are the predominant environmental risk factors for tinnitus. There is no known cure, and there are no FDA-approved medications developed specifically to treat it. The fact is, tinnitus is very common but not well understood. A…

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News • Gene editing

DNA “shredder”: a different kind of CRISPR

In the last six years, a tool called CRISPR-Cas9 has transformed genetic research, allowing scientists to snip and edit DNA strands at precise locations like a pair of tiny scissors. But sometimes, it takes more than scissors to do the job. Now, a collaborative international team has unveiled a new CRISPR-based tool that acts more like a shredder, able to wipe out long stretches of DNA in human…

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News • Rare bone cancer

Targeted approach to therapy for chordomas

Chordomas are rare bone tumors for which only few options of treatment exist. Scientists and doctors from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), and Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) have discovered a particular genetic trait of chordomas in advanced stages after conducting gene analysis. Their findings, published in the journal Nature…

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News • Tumor-associated macrophages

Immune cells key to predicting cancer outcomes

Scientists have identified key changes in immune cells within cancerous tumours that could help improve the development of treatments. The study, which has been published in the journal Cancer Cell, also found a set of genes that are expressed at high levels in breast cancer tumours and linked to more aggressive cancer types. Researchers say the discoveries offer clues to diagnosis and predicting…

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News • Virology

Trapping viruses inside a cell: harmful or helpful?

Viruses are often used as vehicles for delivery in gene therapy because they’re engineered not to damage the cell once they get there, but neglecting to consider how the virus will exit the cell could have consequences. Some viruses use a molecule called heparan sulfate to help them attach to cells. The molecule, found in many different kinds of cells (including those from animal tissue), could…

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News • Against rebound

Pancreatic cancer: Genome-wide analysis reveals new strategies

For some cancers, initial treatment with chemotherapy brings positive, but only temporary, results: tumors shrink, but then rebound as the cancer becomes drug-resistant. This pattern of remission-resistance-relapse is particularly true for pancreatic cancer, an aggressive disease in which early success is often countered by eventual disease progression. To wit: The one-year relative survival rate…

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News • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Protein linked to cancer growth drives deadly lung disease IPF

A protein associated with cancer growth appears to drive the deadly lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to new research from Cedars-Sinai. The discovery, made in laboratory mice and human tissue samples, may have implications for treating the disease using existing anti-cancer therapies that inhibit the protein PD-L1. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic,…

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News • Mitochondria mystery solved

Researchers uncover key to greater efficacy in cancer treatment

Why do cancer cells react differently to treatments? Researchers from Mount Sinai and IBM have discovered a novel clue in explaining how cancer cells with identical genomes can respond differently to the same therapy. In a Nature Communications paper, researchers reveal for the first time that the number of mitochondria in a cell is, in great part, associated with how the cancer responds to drug…

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News • Men in danger

High testosterone could put your heart at risk

Having a genetic predisposition to high testosterone levels could play a role in the development of major heart problems in men, such as blood clots and heart failure, finds a study published by The BMJ. The findings may also have implications for men who take testosterone supplements to boost energy levels and sex drive. Some evidence suggests that genetically predicted (“endogenous”)…

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Interview • Predicting the truth from hybrid imaging

Holomics: a trendy but complex topic

‘Is it possible to know whether a treatment will work before even starting it – in other words, to predict the truth? That’s the great promise of holomics, a concept that everyone has been involved in without even noticing,’ said leading French physicist Irène Buvat, from the In Vivo Molecular Imaging French lab, who is set to focus on this subject at ECR 2019. ‘The truth,’ said…

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News • Alarming results

Antibiotic resistance spreads faster than previously thought

By studying fish raised in aquaculture, researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Campinas in Brazil have shed new light on the mechanisms by which antibiotic resistance genes are transferred between bacteria. According to the study published in the journal ‘Microbiome’, those mechanisms are more varied than previously thought. “In…

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News • Aggressive brain tumors

Progress in the treatment of glioblastoma

Cancer researchers at the University of Bonn have reported significant progress in the treatment of glioblastoma. About one third of all patients suffer from a particular variant of this most common and aggressive brain tumor. Survival of these patients treated with the new combination therapy increased on average by nearly half compared to patients who received the standard therapy.

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News • Machine learning tool

AI can predict survival of ovarian cancer patients

Researchers have created a new machine learning software that can forecast the survival rates and response to treatments of patients with ovarian cancer. The artificial intelligence software, created by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Melbourne, has been able to predict the prognosis of patients with ovarian cancer more accurately than current methods. It can also…

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News • Foodborne illnesses

Machine learning gets to the source of Salmonella

A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety in Griffin has developed a machine-learning approach that could lead to quicker identification of the animal source of certain Salmonella outbreaks. In the research, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Xiangyu Deng and his colleagues used more than a thousand genomes to predict the animal sources,…

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News • Healthy ageing

Killing zombie cells to save our heart

Scientists at Newcastle University believe it may be possible to reverse the damage in the heart caused by ageing. New research, which has been published in the journal EMBO, could suggest a new way of preventing heart failure in older patients. Heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping blood around the body as well as it should, most commonly when the heart muscle has been damaged –…

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News • Cardiology & calcium

First look at the ‘molecular switch’ that makes our heart beat

Oxford University Radcliffe Department of Medicine researchers have developed a new method that uses a protein originally found in marine corals to visualise the flow of calcium that makes the heart beat. In a paper published in the journal Circulation Research, they used this technique to uncover the effects of genetic errors that contribute to a heart condition that is the leading killer of…

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News • Gene therapy instead of anitibiotics

New treatment for Chlamydia discovered

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a new way to prevent and treat Chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world. The new treatment differs from the traditional antibiotic treatment as it is a type of gene therapy that is delivered via nanotechnology and is showing a 65 per cent success rate in preventing chlamydia infection on a single…

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Article • Time for a revolution?

About the end of medicine, as we know it

Currently many researchers and experts assume that the next great socio-economic revolution will include a completely new definition of health and how we define illnesses and therapies. “Our health system today can no longer be sustained in its existing form. It has become too expensive and too ineffective,” Professor Harald Schmidt, head of the Department of Pharmacology and Personalised…

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Article • Therapeutic progress

Cancer: riding the wave of innovation

In haematology and medical oncology, there is always something new. However, the increasing stratification of cancer therapies presents an enormous challenge for clinical research. Tumour cells – those altered genetically by mutation and thus ought to be recognised by the immune system and destroyed – manage to apply diverse molecular tricks to avoid attack by the immune system. Thus, they…

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News • AI, IT, data management

Digital attack on cancer

Several research groups at Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are working on digitally combating cancer. The main goal is to combine and jointly evaluate existing information. With 500,000 new cancer cases every year in Germany alone, it is worthwhile comparing experiences with different diagnostic and treatment methods, thus allowing more patients to benefit from the most promising approaches. In…

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News • Hope for diabetics

Insulin-producing cells grown in lab

UC San Francisco researchers have for the first time transformed human stem cells into mature insulin-producing cells, a major breakthrough in the effort to develop a cure for type 1 (T1) diabetes. Replacing these cells, which are lost in patients with T1 diabetes, has long been a dream of regenerative medicine, but until now scientists had not been able to figure out how to produce cells in a…

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News • Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiency

OTC deficiency: First patient benefits from gene therapy trial

A patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) was the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial for Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a rare disease that causes toxic levels of ammonia to build up in the blood. Simon Smith, 45, was diagnosed with OTC deficiency as a teenager. Although he defied medical expectations by living a full life in…

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News • Craving for alcohol

Heavy drinking may seriously mess up your DNA

Binge and heavy drinking may trigger a long-lasting genetic change, resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. “We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said Distinguished Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, senior author of…

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News • Pediatrics

Predicting the aneurysm risk for kids with Kawasaki disease

When Olivia Nelson was 3 years old, her parents noticed that she had a fever that wouldn’t get better. They brought her to a nearby hospital, where she spent about two weeks being screened for diseases. As doctors tried to find a diagnosis, a lymph node on Olivia’s neck became swollen. Alarmed and wanting an answer, the Nelsons asked to transfer to Seattle Children’s. “It was very…

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News • Get some rest

Sleep deprivation accelerates Alzheimer’s brain damage

Poor sleep has long been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers have understood little about how sleep disruptions drive the disease. Now, studying mice and people, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of the key Alzheimer’s protein tau. And, in follow-up studies in the mice, the research team has…

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News • Keeping a clear head

Alzheimer's: key to early prediction in the blood

Alzheimer's disease is often marked by a creeping progression: Years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease manifest, the brain starts changing and neurons are slowly degraded. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) and the University Hospital Tübingen now show that a protein found in the blood can be used…

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News • DMD & rhabdomyosarcoma

Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Muscle stem cells can drive cancer

People with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) can develop an otherwise-rare muscle cancer, called rhabdomyosarcoma, due to the muscle cells’ continuous work to rebuild the damaged tissue. However, little is known about how the cancer arises, hindering development of a treatment or test that could predict cancer risk. Now, scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP)…

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News • Diagnostics

Heat it and read it

You’re sweating and feverish and have no idea why. Fortunately, Sandia National Laboratories scientists have built a device that can pinpoint what’s wrong in less than an hour. Unlike most medical diagnostic devices which can perform only one type of test — either protein or nucleic acid tests — Sandia’s SpinDx can now perform both. This allows it to identify nearly any cause of…

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News • Mengla filovirus

Researchers discover Ebola-related virus carried by bats

Researchers from Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, in collaboration with scientists in China, have identified and characterised a new genus of filovirus from a Rousettus bat in China. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Microbiology. Bat-borne viruses around the world pose a threat to human and animal health. Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus and Marburg virus, are…

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News • Choline

Essential nutrient holds promise against Alzheimer’s

In a new study, researchers at the Biodesign Institute explore a safe and simple treatment for one of the most devastating and perplexing afflictions: Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Lead authors Ramon Velazquez and Salvatore Oddo, along with their colleagues in the Arizona State University (ASU)-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center (NDRC), investigate the effects of choline, an important…

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Article • Immuno-oncological biomarkers

Seeking to augment the value of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes

Measuring tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is gaining importance in immunotherapy, but other variables must also be considered to boost prognosis and prediction accuracy, a leading pathologist argued at EBCC 11 last March in Barcelona. When it comes to prognosis and prediction for immunotherapy, a potentially new variable is emerging – TILs – white blood cells that have left the blood…

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News • Regenerative medicine

Blood cells can be directly reprogrammed into neural stem cells

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the stem cell institute HI-STEM* have succeeded for the first time in directly reprogramming human blood cells into a previously unknown type of neural stem cell. These induced stem cells are similar to those that occur during the early embryonic development of the central nervous system. They can be modified and multiplied indefinitely…

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Interview • Between man and molecule

The hunt for genetic risk factors

Professor Christoph M Friedrich researches the interface between man and molecule. Born in Westphalia, Germany, the professor for biomedical computer science at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences recently took up an additional role at the Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometrics and Epidemiology (IMIBE) in Essen University Hospital. In 2013, the cooperation between the two institutions…

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News • Non-invasive diagnostics

Detecting bladder cancer with atomic force microscopy

A research team led by Tufts University engineers has developed a non-invasive method for detecting bladder cancer that might make screening easier and more accurate than current invasive clinical tests involving visual inspection of bladder. In the first successful use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) for clinical diagnostic purposes, the researchers have been able to identify signature features…

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Video • Controversial research

HIV and gene editing: beware of the butterfly effect, cautions expert

The claim of a chinese professor has caused quite a controversy: He Jiankui announced that he successfully modified human DNA to prevent two girls from contracting HIV. Upon the leak of this research, ethicists and scientists alike condemned Jiankui's gene editing in humans. West Virginia University Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Dr. Clay Marsh says that although “a lot…

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News • Machine learning

Training a computer to classify breast cancer tumors

Using technology similar to the type that powers facial and speech recognition on a smartphone, researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have trained a computer to analyze breast cancer images and then classify the tumors with high accuracy. In a study published in the journal NPJ Breast Cancer, researchers reported they used a form of artificial…

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News • Hypotrichosis

Hair loss? This gene might be to blame

Hypotrichosis simplex leads to progressive hair loss already in childhood. A team of researchers led by human geneticists at the University Hospital of Bonn has now deciphered a new gene that is responsible for this rare form of hair loss. Changes in the LSS gene lead to impairment of an important enzyme that has a crucial function in cholesterol metabolism. The scientists now present their…

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Video • Gene editing

The future of CRISPR in plastic and reconstructive surgery

The CRISPR genome editing technique promises to be a "transformative leap" in genetic engineering and therapy, affecting almost every area of medicine. That includes plastic surgery, with potential advances ranging from prevention of craniofacial malformations, to therapeutic skin grafts, to new types of rejection-free transplants, according to a paper in the November issue of Plastic…

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Article • Cancer management

The enormous potential of liquid biopsy

It is non-invasive, delivers a chance of early diagnosis, prognostic information and sequential monitoring, and, believes Professor Francesco Salvatore, the enormous potential of liquid biopsies has still to be reached. However, the positive results obtained so far have ‘opened the door to a promising new multi-faceted group of tumour markers, at present collectively designated “liquid…

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News • Myelodysplastic syndrome

Genetic testing helps predict disease recurrence

A DNA-based analysis of blood cells soon after a stem cell transplant can predict likelihood of disease recurrence in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of cancerous disorders characterized by dysfunctional blood cells. Such a practice could help doctors identify patients at high risk of disease recurrence early after a transplant and help guide treatment decisions.

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Article • A valuable assistant

AI will transform radiologists into data scientists

Machine learning is increasingly helping radiologists to acquire faster and better quality images, and measure heart function. This is just the tip of the iceberg; artificial intelligence has far more to bring to the heart, explained Daniel Rueckert, Head of the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, during CMR 2018. Machine learning (ML) is becoming a valuable assistant for…

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Article • Weak heart

The many causes of dilated cardiomyopathy

A major study has been launched to investigate the interaction between genes and lifestyle factors and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Led by Professor Stuart Cook, at the National Heart and Lung Institute, this, the largest ever DCM study, will investigate why people develop DCM, with a focus on who is most at risk of sudden death or heart failure (HF). Six hospital trusts across England –…

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News • Promising research

First steps towards a new, targeted lung cancer treatment

Scientists have identified a key molecular player in a subtype of lung cancer which could lead to a new way to tackle the disease, according to research published in Nature Communications. They found lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) cells contained high amounts of a protein called BCL11A. The study showed that manipulating the gene responsible for the protein stopped the development of LUSC in…

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News • Morbus Charcot-Marie-Tooth

CMT: Unlikely ally against deadly neuropathy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most common hereditary neuropathy and affects more than two million people worldwide. In Germany, at least 30.000 people suffer from CMT which belongs to the class of rare disease. In a close collaboration, researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine and the University Medical Center of Göttingen now hope to use lecithin, a harmless…

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News • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis

Taking a pill can effectively treat brutal lung disease

Researchers Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report that they figured out why air sacs in the lungs clog up with a thick substance called surfactant in a brutal disease called Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis (PAP), and they show taking cholesterol-busting pills called statins can effectively treat the disease.

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News • Tumor research

Growing brain cancer in a dish

Austrian researchers have accomplished an astounding feat: They created organoids that mimic the onset of brain cancer. This method not only sheds light on the complex biology of human brain tumors but could also pave the way for new medical applications.

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News • bioengineering

Advancing technique for of personalied bone grafts

Scientists have developed a new bone engineering technique called Segmental Additive Tissue Engineering (SATE). The technique allows researchers to combine segments of bone engineered from stem cells to create large scale, personalized grafts that will enhance treatment for those suffering from bone disease or injury through regenerative medicine.

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News • Acute myeloid leukaemia

Researchers draw AML ‘family trees’ in patients treated with enasidenib

For the first time, a team of international researchers have mapped the family trees of cancer cells in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) to understand how this blood cancer responds to a new drug, enasidenib. The work also explains what happens when a patient stops responding to the treatment, providing important clues about how to combine enasidenib with other anti-cancer drugs to produce…

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News • Single nucleotide polymorphism

Biosensor chip detects genetic mutation with higher sensitivity

A team led by the University of California San Diego has developed a chip that can detect a type of genetic mutation known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and send the results in real time to a smartphone, computer, or other electronic device. The chip is at least 1,000 times more sensitive at detecting an SNP than current technology. The advance could lead to cheaper, faster and…

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Article • Questioning the Genetic Diagnostics Act

Self-help healthcare or face a penalty?

The fact that genetic research can reveal hereditary diseases has been transferred to medical practice for some time and, since 2010, the Gene Diagnostics Act (GenDG) has regulated permissible DNA tests in medical diagnostics and pedigree in Germany. The procedure has great potential, says Professor Jochen Taupitz - but also great risks are associated with it.

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News • Infections

Zika suppresses virus fighting cells

More than two years after reports of skyrocketing Zika rates surfaced worldwide, questions still loom about this complicated virus. Professor of Biological Science Hengli Tang and his postdoctoral researcher Jianshe Lang from the Florida State University take a deep dive into the differences between Zika and the Dengue virus.

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News • Faster diagnosis, reduced cost

The impact of whole genome sequencing on newborn babys in ICU

Early whole genome sequencing might bring hope for children who are born severely ill or who develop serious illness in the first few weeks of their life. Because these children are often difficult to diagnose, detection of diseases has considerable implications for their short and longer-term care. At the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) in Milan, Italy, the…

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News • Man against machine

AI is better than dermatologists at diagnosing skin cancer

Researchers have shown for the first time that a form of artificial intelligence or machine learning known as a deep learning convolutional neural network (CNN) is better than experienced dermatologists at detecting skin cancer. In a study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, researchers in Germany, the USA and France trained a CNN to identify skin cancer by showing it more…

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News • Old as mice

When less is more: Gene switch for healthy aging found

Aging is a major risk factor for physical frailty and the development of age-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Numerous studies have already shown that a calorie-restricted diet can significantly delay age-related conditions in several organisms like flies, worms, fish and mice, and that it even improves fitness at old age. But who…

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News • New study

Pancreatic cancer: Chemotherapy goes platinum

A small study of adults with the most common form of pancreatic cancer adds to evidence that patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations long linked to a high risk of breast cancer have poorer overall survival rates than those without the mutations. The same study also found that those with BRCA1 or BRCA2 had better survival rates with platinum-based chemotherapy, compared with similar patients…

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News • High throughput screening

Tumor-like spheres to help discover smarter cancer drugs

Cancer is a disease often driven by mutations in genes. As researchers learn more about these genes, and the proteins they code for, they are seeking smarter drugs to target them. The ultimate goal is to find ways to stop cancer cells from multiplying out of control, thereby blocking the growth and spread of tumors. Now researchers from The Scripps Research Institute are reporting an innovative…

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News • Terror protection

Promising vaccines against anthrax, plague and tularemia

Anthrax, plague and tularemia are three potent agents terrorists would be likely to use in an attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each is highly and quickly lethal to humans. But there are no licensed vaccines for tularemia and plague, and although there is an anthrax vaccine, it requires a burdensome immunization schedule and has severe side effects. Now, a…

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News • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

The most dangerous lung disease you've never heard of

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of the most challenging and frustrating diseases that pulmonologists face. And despite affecting 1 out of 200 adults over the age of 65 in the United States, general awareness of IPF is low. “There’s a tremendous disconnect between the human impact of this disease and its recognition by the public. Few people have ever heard of it,” says Marc…

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Video • Gender & genetics

Alzheimer's: study reveals sex differences

The APOE gene, the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, may play a more prominent role in disease development among women than men, according to new research from the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center. The research confirmed recent studies that carrying the APOE ε4 allele has a greater association with Alzheimer’s disease among women compared to men, and went one…

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Article • Assisting algorithms

Big data advances rare disease diagnosis and cancer therapy

Two major projects feeding on big data and based in Spain have recently come under the spotlight: Mendelian, a tool to expedite rare diseases diagnosis, and Harmony, an EU platform that aims to improve targeted therapy in haematological cancer. Rare diseases affect as many as 6% of the Spanish population. Although this percentage is high, these conditions are individually rare, which complicates…

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News • Bone health

Osteoporosis defined: causes, symptoms and treatments

Weak, easily broken bones are an epidemic in the United States. They’re often tied to osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to degenerate over time. This makes them less flexible, more brittle, and easier to break. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 44 million Americans aged 50 and older either have or face the threat of developing osteoporosis due to low bone…

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News • Astrozytes

The brain’s “rising stars”: New options against Alzheimer’s?

A study by scientists of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) points to a novel potential approach against Alzheimer’s disease. In studies in mice, the researchers were able to show that blocking a particular receptor located on astrocytes normalized brain function and improved memory performance. Astrocytes are star-shaped, non-neuronal cells involved in the regulation of…

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Video • Wolbachia

Little-known bacteria might grind Zika and dengue infections to a halt

A Vanderbilt team took the next leap forward in using a little-known bacteria to stop the spread of deadly mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika and dengue. Wolbachia are bacteria that occur widely in insects and, once they do, inhibit certain pathogenic viruses the insects carry. The problem with using Wolbachia broadly to protect humans is that the bacteria do not normally occur in mosquitoes…

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News • Macular degeneration

Deteriorating eyesight is part of getting older? Don't be so sure

Many people accept deteriorating eyesight as an inevitable part of getting older, but blurry or distorted vision – such as when straight lines appear wavy – could be signs of age-related macular degeneration. The condition is the most common cause of severe vision loss in people age 50 and older in developed countries.

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News • Matrix-forming proteins

Experimental targeted therapy might prevent heart failure

Scientists used an experimental targeted molecular therapy to block a matrix-forming protein in heart cells damaged by heart attack, reducing levels of scarred muscle tissue and saving mouse models from heart failure. Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute report in the journal Circulation testing a manufactured peptide called pUR4 to block the fibronectin protein in human…

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Article • Value based lab medicine

Meeting the challenge of modern laboratory demands

Faced with the constant challenge of increasing demand and a backdrop of falling reimbursement, Mayo Clinic in the United States has adopted an innovative and proactive approach to managing its laboratory services. That has seen the US-based medical giant embrace a variety of tools and reference materials to aid clinician decision making, improve care and lower costs. Dr Curt Hanson, Chief…

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News • Fact-checking

Inherited cancer and genetic testing - looking beyond the myths

Cancer is a genetic disease caused by abnormal changes over time to genes that control cell function, typically starting in a single cell (an acquired mutation) and often not linked to an inherited genetic mutation. In other words, most cancers happen by chance. Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are due to an inherited genetic mutation, says Monique Lubaton, MGC, CGC, cancer genetic counselor…

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News • Life expectancy

Mole-rats might teach us how to become old and healthy

Humans and other mammals have a lot in common. Depending on race, 80 to 98% of mammalian genetic makeup is identical to the human one. Nevertheless, the variety of life expectancy among mammals is huge; and so far, it was unclear, which impact the genetic makeup has on a species’ life span. In rodents, differences in life expectancy and morbidity during aging are particularly high: Despite…

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News • DNA research

Stroke: largest-ever genetic study provides new insight

An international research group, including scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, studying 520,000 people from around the world has identified 22 new genetic risk factors for stroke, tripling the number of gene regions known to affect stroke risk. The results show that stroke shares genetic influences with other vascular conditions, especially blood pressure, but also…

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News • Memory-Driven Computing

Time lapse for dementia research

The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is just starting the operation of a new high-performance computer in Bonn. It should significantly accelerate the evaluation of biomedical data and thus lead to faster progress in dementia research. For this the computer uses the principles of the novel computer architecture "Memory-Driven Computing". Time is running out: Dementias…

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News • A disconcerting trend

Obesity is shifting cancer to young adults

A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher has compiled evidence from more than 100 publications to show how obesity increases risk of 13 different cancers in young adults. The meta-analysis describes how obesity has shifted certain cancers to younger age groups, and intensified cellular mechanisms promoting the diseases. Cancer typically associated with older adults over 50…

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News • Triggering inflammatory reactions

Parkinson’s gene initiates disease outside of the brain

Until very recently, Parkinson’s had been thought a disease that starts in the brain, destroying motion centers and resulting in tremors and loss of movement. New research published this week, shows the most common Parkinson’s gene mutation may change how immune cells react to generic infections like colds, which in turn trigger the inflammatory reaction in the brain that causes…

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News • Anti-rejection medicine

Drugs used after organ transplant could protect against Alzheimer’s

A UT Southwestern study in mice provides new clues about how a class of anti-rejection drugs used after organ transplants may also slow the progression of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s, a progressive form of dementia, affects an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. – a number expected to nearly triple by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s usually strikes after age 65, changes in…

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News • Breast cancer

Double mastectomy slashes risk - but not for all women

Healthy women who carry a breast cancer-causing mutation in the BRCA1 gene, not only reduce their risk of developing the disease but also their chances of dying from it if they have both breasts removed, according to new research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference. However, the study also found that for women with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, there was no difference in their…

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News • Small molecule, huge effect

Progress toward a new flu treatment, thanks to a small tweak

This year’s unexpectedly aggressive flu season reminds everyone that although the flu vaccine can reduce the number of people who contract the virus, it is still not 100 percent effective. Researchers report that a tweak to a small-molecule drug shows promise for future production of new antiviral therapies that could help patients, regardless of the strain with which they are infected. The…

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News • Award

DZNE researcher receives world’s top Brain Prize

Together with three other neuroscientists Professor Christian Haass, speaker of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich site and Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, receives the world’s most valuable prize for brain research. The 2018 Brain Prize, awarded by the Lundbeck Foundation in Denmark, is worth one million Euros. Awarded annually, it…

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News • Nice catch

Eating fish may reduce risk of MS

Eating fish at least once a week or eating fish one to three times per month in addition to taking daily fish oil supplements may be associated with a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a preliminary study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018. These findings suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids…

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Article • Compelling cohorts

Population imaging: Big Data will boost disease prediction

Population imaging is key to determining disease prediction and risk prevention, and Big Data will be key to extracting information and drawing analysis from imaging results, experts highlighted during the annual meeting of the European Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB) held in Barcelona in October. Interest in cohort studies has been increasing over the years and…

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Article • Microbleed detection

A new hope for Alzheimer's prediction

New information on dementia biomarkers is emerging, as increasing results from population studies become available. However, although the list of risk factors lengthens, the value of these predictors, and more generally the cause of disease, remain to be determined, according to Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine at Erasmus MC, University…

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News • Replicas from the lab

Growing 'mini tumours' to personalise drug treatment

Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient’s tumour could help doctors tell in advance which treatments will work, a major new study reports. The exciting new technique involves growing ‘mini tumours’ from biopsy samples – and could help end reliance on trial and error in selecting cancer treatments for patients where genetic tests are not predictive of response. Researchers…

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News • When proteins go bad

Data detectives uncover new suspect in Alzheimer's

The mass pursuit of a conspicuous suspect in Alzheimer’s disease may have encumbered research success for decades. Now, a new data analysis that has untangled evidence amassed in years of Alzheimer’s studies encourages researchers to refocus their investigations. Heaps of plaque formed from amyloid-beta that accumulate in afflicted brains are what stick out under the microscope in tissue…

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News • Beyond PSA monitoring

New prostate cancer risk model could better guide treatment

One of the biggest challenges in treating prostate cancer is distinguishing men who have aggressive and potentially lethal disease from men whose cancer is slow-growing and unlikely to metastasize. For years, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, cancer grade and tumor stage have been used to sort prostate cancer patients into risk groups established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.…

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News • Gene editing

CRISPR-based technology DETECTR can detect viral DNA

A powerful genome editing tool can be deployed as an ace DNA detective, able to sniff out DNA snippets that signal viral infections, cancer, or even defective genes. This genetic detective, developed in the laboratory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley, uses the genome-slicing system known as CRISPR. By combining the…

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News • Cognitive improvement

Researchers successfully reverse Alzheimer’s disease in mice

A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, thereby improving the animals’ cognitive function. The study, which will be published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, raises hopes that drugs targeting…

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News • Discovery

'Selfish' gene may protect against heart disease

Scientists have identified a gene that may play a protective role in preventing heart disease. Their research revealed that the gene, called MeXis, acts within key cells inside clogged arteries to help remove excess cholesterol from blood vessels. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the UCLA-led study in mice found that MeXis controls the expression of a protein that pumps cholesterol out…

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Article • AEC syndrome

Cause of severe genetic disease identified

Mutations in the p63 protein lead to a number of disorders, but none is as severe as the AEC syndrome. Scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt in collaboration with a research group from the University of Naples Federico II have now discovered that this syndrome resembles diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or ALS more closely than it does other p63-based syndromes. Their results,…

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Article • Diverse benefits

Experts present CEUS insights

In April 2016 CEUS received the USA’s FDA approval. This year‘s RSNA Samsung Symposium ‘Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS): Innovations and a Problem-Solving Tool in Clinical Practice’ provided an opportunity to take stock. For European Hospital, Professor André Clevert, Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ultrasound at University Hospital Munich, Germany, describes the current…

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News • Microbubbles

Bracco Imaging to innovate ultrasound for new personalized gene therapy

Bracco Imaging S.p.A., a global leader in diagnostic imaging, announced that it has initiated new experimental activities in its R&D Center in Geneva, Switzerland, to explore a new application for gas-filled microbubbles in the development of personalized gene therapy for treatment of chronic dysfunctional diseases related to lipid metabolism. Microbubbles have already revolutionized medical…

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News • CancerSEEK

Single blood test screens for 8 cancer types

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer. The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multianalyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. The test is aimed at…

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News • Primary ciliary dyskinesia

Molecular roots of genetic lung disease identified

Respiratory infections peak during the winter months, and most people recover within a few weeks. But for those with a rare genetic lung disease, the sniffling, coughing and congestion never end. The tiny hairlike structures called cilia that normally sweep mucus through the airways don’t work properly in people with what’s known as primary ciliary dyskinesia. When the cilia don’t brush…

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News • Animal testing

Can mice really mirror humans when it comes to cancer?

A new Michigan State University study is helping to answer a pressing question among scientists of just how close mice are to people when it comes to researching cancer. The findings, now published in PLOS Genetics, reveal how mice can actually mimic human breast cancer tissue and its genes, even more so than previously thought, as well as other cancers including lung, oral and esophagus.…

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News • PSA screening

New prostate cancer risk score could help guide screening decisions

A new score for predicting a man’s genetic risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer could help guide decisions about who to screen and when, say researchers in The BMJ today. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in males in developed countries, with over a million new cases and over 300,000 associated deaths estimated worldwide in 2012. Screening for prostate specific…

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News • Nomen est omen?

Sleeping sickness – more than just a sleeping disorder

Sleeping sickness could use a more encompassing moniker. An international study from the O’Donnell Brain Institute shows one of Africa’s most lethal diseases is actually a circadian rhythm disorder caused by the acceleration of biological clocks controlling a range of vital functions besides sleep. By understanding which clock genes are affected by the parasitic disease, scientists hope the…

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News • High levels, low levels

How caffeine may help diagnose Parkinson’s disease

Testing the level of caffeine in the blood may provide a simple way to aid the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower levels of caffeine in their blood than people without the disease, even if they…

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News • Ophthalmology

Researchers explore way to reverse diabetic blindness

Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels in the retina, leading to blindness. In experiments that suppressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the eye, researchers were able to re-establish normal blood…

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News • Gene expression

Potential path to repair MS-damaged nerves

Gene expression in specific cells and in specific regions can provide a more precise, neuroprotective approach than traditional treatments for neurological diseases. For multiple sclerosis, specifically, increasing cholesterol synthesis gene expression in astrocytes of the spinal cord can be a pathway to repair nerves that affect walking.

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News • Duchenne

Researchers create skeletal muscle from stem cells

Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a new strategy to efficiently isolate, mature and transplant skeletal muscle cells created from human pluripotent stem cells, which can produce all cell types of the body. The findings are a major step towards developing a stem cell replacement therapy for muscle diseases including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which…

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Article • Improved workflow

UK uptake increases in digital pathology

Professor Jo Martin, the newly-appointed President of the Royal College of Pathologists in the United Kingdom, believes the National Health Service (NHS) is on the brink of embracing digital pathology more widely. A number of UK laboratories, he explained, are adopting digital pathology in histopathology – in line with some labs in Sweden and Holland, where it has become routine – and the…

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Article • Breast cancer detection

New DNA test could prevent thousands of mastectomies

A new genetic test to assess breast cancer risk in women who have a family history of the disease could be introduced into clinical practice in the UK within the next few months. Devised at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and the University of Manchester, researchers believe the test for high-risk groups could also help reduce the number of women needing to have surgery to remove…

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News • Genetic engineering

CAR-T: Landmark cancer study sheds new light on immunotherapy

Loyola University Medical Center is the only Chicago center that participated in the pivotal clinical trial of a groundbreaking cancer treatment that genetically engineers a patient's immune system to attack cancer cells. Patrick Stiff, MD, director of Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, is a co-author of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The treatment used in…

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News • Clinical value

Kidney disease diagnosis made easier through DNA sequencing

DNA sequencing could soon become part of the routine diagnostic workup for patients with chronic kidney disease, suggests a new study from Columbia University Medical Center. The researchers found that DNA sequencing could identify the genetic cause of the disease and influence treatment for many patients with chronic kidney disease.

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Video • LIMA project

Agena Bioscience’s liquid biopsy technology awarded Horizon 2020 grant

Agena Bioscience, a global provider of molecular genetic solutions, announced it has been selected to participate as an innovative technology provider in the ‘Liquid biopsies and IMAging for improved cancer care’ (LIMA) project. The LIMA project has been awarded a EUR 6.3 million Horizon 2020 European Union research grant to develop an integrated approach for personalized cancer treatment.…

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News • Key in the stem cells

This is why testicular cancer is so responsive to chemo

Cornell researchers have taken a major step toward answering a key question in cancer research: Why is testicular cancer so responsive to chemotherapy, even after it metastasizes? Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, for example, had testicular cancer that spread to his lung and brain, yet he made a full recovery after conventional chemotherapy. The key to such success appears to lie in the…

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News • Study

Asthma and food allergies predictable at age one

Children at one year old who have eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) and are sensitized to an allergen are seven times more likely than other infants to develop asthma, and significantly more likely to have a food allergy by age three. This new finding from the Canadian CHILD Study will help doctors better predict which children will develop asthma and allergies, according to a paper published by…

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Article • Gene editing

CRISPR system embeds images in DNA

A research team in the United States has developed a revolutionary technique that has encoded an image and short film in living cells. Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) used CRISPR gene editing to encode the image and film in DNA, using this as a medium to store information and produce a code that relates to the individual…

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News • Virus spread

New flu forecasting tool uses evolution to make earlier predictions

Each year, public health officials monitor the spread of influenza to identify which flu strains need to go into that year’s vaccines and where outbreaks will occur. But it can be difficult to predict how bad a particular flu season will be until people actually start getting sick. A new flu forecasting tool built by scientists at the University of Chicago aims to make better predictions by…

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News • Regeneration

Immune cells help rebuild damaged nerves

Immune cells are normally associated with fighting infection but in a new study, scientists have discovered how they also help the nervous system clear debris, making way for nerve regeneration after injury. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine showed certain immune cells—neutrophils—can clean up nerve debris,…

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Article • Nantes CHU

A hospital designed to fit 21st century medicine

21st century challenges are multitudinous for all. Ageing populations, a changing disease burden; increasing obesity with associated morbidities – Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease; climate change pressures and more. Any new build plan demands a low carbon footprint; respect for the environment is paramount. To capture all those elements, the plan to regenerate a previously 10…

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Article • IT solutions

Big data: Utilising potential where it presents itself

Useful IT tools are abundant in today’s laboratories – ranging from software to evaluate analyses to specialist software for quality control, and middleware linking different devices. However, all these tools generate data, the adequate utilisation of which is not an easy task, said Udo Margraff, CEO of Laboratoires Réunis in Luxembourg, during our European Hospital interview. Among other…

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News • Californian study

Exposure to glyphosate increased over 23 years

Analyzing samples from a prospective study, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that human exposure to glyphosate, a chemical widely found in weed killers, has increased approximately 500 percent since the introduction of genetically modified crops.“The data compares excretion levels of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid in the human…

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News • Early diagnostics

Sixty-five new genetic risk markers for breast cancer discovered

Until now, familial breast cancer has only partly been linkable to genetic risk markers. In a worldwide joint effort, researchers have now identified further genetic variants that affect the risk for breast cancer. The study, which was conducted with participation of researchers from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital, has now been published in Nature.…

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News • Mortality decrease

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery

Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine and his colleagues at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Trisomy 13 and 18, which result from having extra chromosomes, often…

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News • Cancer research

Esophageal cancer “cell of origin” identified

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have identified cells in the upper digestive tract that can give rise to Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. The discovery of this “cell of origin” promises to accelerate the development of more precise screening tools and therapies for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, the fastest growing form of…

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News • Side effects

Do common acid reflux medications promote chronic liver disease?

Approximately 10 percent of the general population take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drug to block stomach acid secretions and relieve symptoms of frequent heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease. That percentage can be as much as seven times higher for people with chronic liver disease. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered…

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News • Brain disease

Risks – and benefits – of the Alzheimer’s gene

Scientists drilling down to the molecular roots of Alzheimer’s disease have encountered a good news/bad news scenario. A major player is a gene called TREM2, mutations of which can substantially raise a person’s risk of the disease. The bad news is that in the early stages of the disease, high-risk TREM2 variants can hobble the immune system’s ability to protect the brain from amyloid beta,…

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News • Research network

40% of women with breast cancer live in Asia

The Breast International Group (BIG), an international not-for-profit organisation that represents the largest global network of academic research groups dedicated to finding cures for breast cancer, is welcoming three new members in East Asia: the Breast Disease Professional Committee of CMEA (BDPCC), China; the Korean Cancer Study Group (KCSG), South Korea; and the Thai Society of Clinical…

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News • Predicting cognitive decline

Odor identification problems may be a warning bell for dementia

A long-term study of nearly 3,000 adults, aged 57 to 85, found that those who could not identify at least four out of five common odors were more than twice as likely as those with a normal sense of smell to develop dementia within five years. Although 78 percent of those tested were normal – correctly identifying at least four out of five scents – about 14 percent could name just three out…

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News • Cardiac injury

Could this be the way to mend a broken heart?

Early research results suggest scientists might be on to a way to preserve heart function after heart attacks or for people with inherited heart defects called congenital cardiomyopathies. Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute report in Nature Communications that after simulating heart injury in laboratory mouse models, they stopped or slowed cardiac fibrosis, organ…

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News • Recommendations

First European advice on deep vein thrombosis

The first comprehensive European advice on deep vein thrombosis is published in the current issue of European Heart Journal. The recommendations were produced by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Working Group on Aorta and Peripheral Vascular Diseases and Working Group on Pulmonary Circulation and Right Ventricular Function.

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News • Oncology

A tiny device offers insights to how cancer spreads

As cancer grows, it evolves. Individual cells become more aggressive and break away to flow through the body and spread to distant areas. What if there were a way to find those early aggressors? How are they different from the rest of the cells? And more importantly: Is there a way to stop them before they spread?

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Article • ESC Congress 2017

Entering the future of cardiology

With 4,500 accepted abstracts, 600 sessions and 30,000 expected attendees, ESC Congress 2017 is undoubtedly the world’s largest cardiovascular event. On healthcare-in-europe.com, Dr Stephan Achenbach, Congress Program Committee Chairperson, gives an overview of issues and events unfolding in Barcelona from August 26-30.

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Article • Neurological diseases

No health without brain health

A largely aged population is already a reality in some countries, and this will become a worldwide problem by 2047, when the number of the Earth’s old people is likely to surpass the number of young people.

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News • Blood test alternative

Oral "Hep E" test could simplify detection tremendously

A saliva test developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health nearly matches the performance of a blood test widely used to assess recent or past hepatitis E virus infections, a new study reports. The findings could offer an easier, less expensive alternative to gathering data for studying and eventually treating the disease, which infects an estimated 20 million…

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News • Biomarker validation

Plodding toward a pancreatic cancer screening test

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of malignancies, with a 5-year survival rate after late diagnosis of only about 5%. The majority of patients—about 80%—receive their diagnosis too late for surgery. The disease spreads quickly and resists chemotherapy. In short, there is an urgent need for diagnostic tools to identify this cancer in its earliest stages.

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News • Oncotype

Updated breast cancer guidelines reinforce genomic testing

Genomic Health announced that the 15th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference Expert Panel endorsed the use of genomic tests in early-stage breast cancer and recognised the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test for its prognostic ability as well as its value in guiding treatment decisions on adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with early-stage, endocrine sensitive, invasive breast…

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News • "Bad cholesterol"

Mechanism shown to reverse disease in arteries

A certain immune reaction is the key, not to slowing atherosclerosis like cholesterol-lowering drugs do, but instead to reversing a disease that gradually blocks arteries to cause heart attacks and strokes. This is the finding of a study in mice led by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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News • CRISPR-Cpf1

Firefly gene illuminates ability to edit human genome

Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have improved a state-of-the-art gene-editing technology to advance the system’s ability to target, cut and paste genes within human and animal cells—and broadening the ways the CRISPR-Cpf1 editing system may be used to study and fight human diseases.

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News • Neuro-oncology

Study provides better understanding of how brain tumors ‘feed’

All cancer tumors have one thing in common – they must feed themselves to grow and spread, a difficult feat since they are usually in a tumor microenvironment with limited nutrients and oxygen. A study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has revealed new details about how an enzyme called acetyl-CoA synthetase 2 (ACSS2) allows brain tumors to grow despite their harsh…

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News • Smartphone app

Unlocking the mystery of multiple sclerosis with tech

What if a single smartphone app could help solve the enigma of multiple sclerosis (MS) and move new treatments ahead at lightning speed? That was the bold idea that led Daniel Pelletier, MD, professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and division chief of the Neuro-Immunology and USC Multiple Sclerosis Center, to develop myMS, the world’s first smartphone app capable of…

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Interview • Biomarkers

Aiming for the earliest diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma

For almost three quarters of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients in Europe it is too late for curative treatment because the disease is often only diagnosed at a very advanced stage. Interviewed Professor Guido Gerken MD, Director of the Department for Gastroenterology and Hepatology at University Hospital Essen, about improved and timelier diagnostic capabilities that have already been…

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News • Microdevices

A miniscule robot could assist in minimally invasive surgeries

A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction? To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the…

News • Laboratory

Partnership for molecular diagnostic test

SpeeDx Pty. Ltd., a developer of innovative molecular diagnostic solutions, has signed an agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science. The announcement was made at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ECCMID) in Vienna to submit its ResistancePlus MG Test for the detection of Mycoplasma genitalium to the US Food & Drug…

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Article • Annual conference

The role of cardiology at the extremes

Cardiology at the extremes will be the key theme at the British Cardiovascular Society annual conference in Manchester in June. Topics covered include reflections in cardiology and space travel, physiological challenges associated with living under extreme environmental conditions and polar expeditions. Report: Mark Nicholls

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News • Psychological consequences

Cortisol excess hits natural DNA process hard

High concentrations of the stress hormone, Cortisol, in the body affect important DNA processes and increase the risk of long-term psychological consequences. These relationships are evident in a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy on patients with Cushing’s Syndrome, but the findings also open the door for new treatment strategies for other stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression…

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News • Data Security

IT Researchers Break Anonymity of Gene Databases

DNA profiles can reveal a number of details about individuals. There are laws in place that regulate the trade of gene data. However, these laws do not apply to an equally relevant type of genetic data, so-called microRNAs. This means that anonymity needs to be strictly maintained in microRNA studies as well. Researchers from the Research Center for IT Security, CISPA, have now been able to show…

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News • DNA

DNA labels predict mortality

Methyl labels in the DNA regulate the activity of our genes and, thus, have a great influence on health and disease. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and from the Saarland cancer registry have now revealed that an altered methylation status at only ten specific sites in the genome can indicate that mortality is increased by up to seven times. Smoking has a particularly…

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News • Autism

Big Data techniques find biomarkers for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

An algorithm based on levels of metabolites found in a blood sample can accurately predict whether a child is on the Autism spectrum of disorder (ASD), based upon a recent study. The algorithm, developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the first physiological test for autism and opens the door to earlier diagnosis and potential future development of therapeutics.

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News • Baldness

Why do shorter men go bald more often?

Short men may have an increased risk of becoming bald prematurely. An international genetic study under the leadership of the University of Bonn at least points in this direction. During the study, the scientists investigated the genetic material of more than 20,000 men. Their data show that premature hair loss is linked to a range of various physical characteristics and illnesses. The work has…

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Article • Breast Cancer

Mammography screening with MR

Breast cancer screening is traditionally a mammography – ultrasound business but abbreviated protocols could enable more women to be imaged with MR and receive treatment earlier, a leading researcher will show during the annual Garmisch MR meeting.

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News • Lab Study

A protein called PERK - Treating progressive supranuclear palsy

The brain disease “progressive supranuclear palsy” (PSP) is currently incurable and its symptoms can only be eased to a very limited degree. PSP impairs eye movements, locomotion, balance control, and speech. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now discovered a molecular mechanism that may help in the search…

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News • Alzheimer's

Concussion linked to brain changes in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer's

Moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury is a known risk factor for diseases that gradually destroy the brain - such as late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Now, a new study links mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer's to accelerated brain deterioration and mental decline associated with the disease.

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Scientists tissue-engineer part of human stomach

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center grew functional stomach and intestinal tissues to study diseases and new drugs. They use pluripotent stem cells to generate human stomach tissues in a petri dish that produce acid and digestive enzymes.

News • iCAGES

New precision medicine tool helps optimize cancer treatment

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have created a computational tool that can rapidly predict which genes are implicated in an individual’s cancer and recommend treatments. It is among the most comprehensive tools of its kind, and the first that incorporates a user-friendly web interface that requires little knowledge of bioinformatics.

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News • Study

Molecular Roots of Alzheimer’s

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have detailed the structure of a molecule that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing the shape of the molecule — and how that shape may be disrupted by certain genetic mutations — can help in understanding how Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases develop and how to prevent and treat them.

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News • Celebrity

The ‘Angelina Jolie’ Effect on breast cancer screening

Angelina Jolie received widespread media attention in 2013 when she told the public that she'd tested positive for BRCA1, a gene associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and subsequently had a double mastectomy. Now research shows a spike in genetic tests for breast cancer after actress’ public disclosure, but no corresponding increase in mastectomies.

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News • Long-Sought

Genetic model of common infant leukemia described

After nearly two decades of unsuccessful attempts, researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have created the first mouse model for the most common form of infant leukemia. Their discovery could hasten development and testing of new drug therapies.

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Article • Management

Big Data power will improve healthcare

Big Data sits at the heart of addressing the challenges that will lead to a more sustainable health and social care system. Hospitals and health systems must embrace a Big Data approach if they are to deliver better care for patients according to Dr Mark Davies, Medical Director of healthcare analytics company MedeAnalytics. Report: Mark Nicholls

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News • Diabetes

Friendly Fire in the Pancreas

n type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, and their colleagues at Technical University of Munich have now reported in the journal ‘PNAS’ about a mechanism used by the immune system to prepare for this attack. They were able to inhibit this process through targeted…

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Altering the ‘flavor’ of humans could help fight Malaria

A new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that a specialized area of the mosquito brain mixes tastes with smells to create unique and preferred flavors. The findings advance the possibility, they say, of identifying a substance that makes “human flavor” repulsive to the malaria-bearing species of the mosquitoes, so instead of feasting on us, they keep the disease to themselves,…

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News • Neurodegenerative diseases

Brain cell ‘executioner’ identified

Despite their different triggers, the same molecular chain of events appears to be responsible for brain cell death from strokes, injuries and even such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have pinpointed the protein at the end of that chain of events, one that delivers the fatal strike by carving up a cell's DNA. The find, they say, potentially…

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News • Microscopy

Watching molecular machines at work

When one cell divides into two - that is how all forms of life are propagated - the newly born daughter cells have to be equipped with everything they will need in their tiny lives. Most important of all is that they inherit a complete copy of the genetic information from their mother cell. If this is not the case because a wrong number of chromosomes – on which the genetic information is…

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News • Infection

Evidence of Zika virus found in tears

Researchers have found that Zika virus can live in eyes and have identified genetic material from the virus in tears, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research, in mice, helps explain why some Zika patients develop eye disease, including a condition known as uveitis that can lead to permanent vision loss.

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News • dormant viruses

Researchers Find Herpes Strain in the Nervous System

There are a couple strains of herpes so common that researchers estimate 90% of the human population have them. These strains, human herpes 6 and human herpes 7, usually do not cause severe symptoms when people acquire them. But researchers know that under certain circumstances, dormant herpes viruses in the body can unexpectedly come roaring back and cause complications not typically associated…

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Article • Research

Testosterone clue to male heart deaths

As men appear to have higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than women of a similar age – with vascular calcification a strong predictor of mortality and morbidity from CVD – a team from the University of Edinburgh hopes that exploration of a link between gender and calcification could help unlock the pathway to new therapies. The researchers have been looking at whether sex hormones…

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Article • Patient care

Advancing AF and renal dysfunction care

An innovative cardiac monitoring system that delivers continuous resynchronisation to patients, has shown a 35% risk reduction of hospitalisation for heart failure (HF) patients. The finding comes from the RESPOND-CRT (cardiac resynchronisation therapy) clinical trial, which was designed to investigate the clinical efficacy and safety of device-based optimisation using the SonR cardiac…

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News • Counterproductive

Breast tumors evolve in response to hormone therapy

Many breast tumors grow in response to female hormones, especially estrogen. Drugs that reduce estrogen levels in the body often are effective in reducing tumor size and preventing recurrence of the cancer. But some tumors become resistant to these therapies and continue to grow and spread.

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News • Research

New Biomarker for cancer immunotherapy?

The Ligand PD-L1 is one of the most important targets for cancer immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors. But not all tumors have sufficient quantities of PD-L1 ligands on their surface. Scientists from the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) have now shown that different types of cancer possess different quantities of PD-L1-Gen copies. Genetic analysis of the PD-L1 gene may in the future help to…

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Sponsored • Screening

What’s new in Cardiac Risk Testing?

It’s well known that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the UK and worldwide. In the UK it is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths annually, affecting 1 in 6 men and 1 in 10 women. With the emergence of such startling statistics, this begs the question, why do routine cholesterol tests still rely on the basic biomarkers high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density…

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News • Freaky new role

Immune system controls social interaction

In a startling discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects – and even controls – creatures’ social behavior, such as their desire to interact with others. So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The…

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Sponsored • Pediatric laboratory medicine

The Orphan

Pediatric laboratory medicine plays a minor role in the large field of laboratory medicine. This may be due to the low incidence of rare diseases, which are a major task of pediatric medicine, but also to the small number of pediatric samples in routine laboratory medicine overall. Since most diagnostic laboratories do receive pediatric samples now and then, it is essential that there are primary…

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Article • Drug delivery

Biotherapeutics strike cancer cell growth

Many drug treatments do not work due to their poor ability to reach their intended targets inside patients’ cells. To address this, researchers at Cardiff University’s Schools of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Biosciences have designed a highly efficient method to improve the delivery of therapeutic molecules into diseased cells such as those in stomach cancer, breast cancer and…

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News • Map

How the brain is organized

The age of exploration has long passed, but there is at least one area still largely uncharted: the human brain. Now, a detailed new map by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis lays out the landscape of the cerebral cortex – the outermost layer of the brain and the dominant structure involved in sensory perception and attention, as well as distinctly human…

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News • Photoacoustic imaging

Promising option for noninvasive monitoring of prostate cancer

While active surveillance is often recommended for patients with nonaggressive prostate cancer to reduce unnecessary treatment, the challenge for clinicians is to monitor and distinguish early-stage tumors from advanced cancers. A team of scientists led by researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute have demonstrated that photoacoustic imaging (PAI) may be an effective tool for more accurately…

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News • Discovery

Potential genetic trigger of autoimmune disease

Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) have uncovered a potential genetic trigger of systemic autoimmune disease. The study, the culmination of more than 10 years of research, discovered virus-like elements within the human genome linked to the development of two autoimmune diseases: lupus and Sjogren's syndrome.

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Article • Hybrid

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

‘The combination of nuclear medicine and modern imaging procedures such as CT and MRI is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis, treatment planning and aftercare of cancerous diseases,’ explains Professor Katrine Åhlström Riklund, who presides over the newly established European Society for Hybrid Medical Imaging, ESHI.

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News • vitiligo

Natural killer cells have a memory

Researchers at the University of Bonn and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of Munich have decoded a new mechanism of how the immune system can specifically attack pigmented cells of the skin. It was previously believed that natural killer cells did not have an immunological memory for the body's own tissues. However, the scientists have now showed that these immune cells can indeed…

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News • Active substance

Promising treatment prospects for invasive breast cancer

Scientists from the University of Zurich have been able to understand for the first time why many cancer cells adapt relatively quickly to the treatment with therapeutic antibodies in invasive forms of breast cancer. Instead of dying off, they are merely rendered inactive. The researchers have now developed an active substance that kills the cancer cells very effectively without harming healthy…

News • Politics

Liquid biopsy test from Roche gets FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the cobas EGFR Mutation Test v2, a blood-based companion diagnostic for the cancer drug Tarceva (erlotinib). This is the first FDA-approved, blood-based genetic test that can detect epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations in non-small cell lung cancer patients. Such mutations are present in approximately 10-20 percent of non-small cell…

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News • Plaque

Research suggests new contributor to heart disease

Medical professionals have long known that the buildup of plaque in arteries can cause them to narrow and harden, potentially leading to a whole host of health problems — including heart attack, heart disease and stroke. While high blood pressure and artery stiffness are often associated with plaque buildup, new research from engineers at Washington University in St. Louis shows they are not…

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News • Targeted treatments

Gene therapy against brain cancer

A team from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste has obtained very promising results by applying gene therapy to glioblastoma. Tests in vitro and in vivo on mice provided very clear-cut results, and modelling demonstrates that the treatment targets at least six different points of tumour metabolism. Gene therapy, a technique that selectively attacks a tumour, might…

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Article • Preview

Prediction and Prevention theme for cardiovascular conference

Topics of big data, the genetic basis of coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death in the young are among key subjects for British cardiologists at their 2016 annual conference. With a central theme of “Prediction and Prevention”, the 2016 British Cardiovascular Society annual conference takes place in Manchester from June 6-8 and features innovative and interactive presentations,…

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News • EADV Symposium

Dermatologists and Venereologists discuss refugee crisis

The 13th Symposium of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, which opened its doors last Thursday 19th May and took place in Athens, Greece, came to a conclusion yesterday, after more than 2,000 participants benefited from a series of scientific sessions focusing on the latest developments in Dermatology and Venereology.

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Sponsored • Fat data

The Digital Path (ology) to Personalized Medicine

Though it is the underlying science that drives diagnosis and treatment decisions, pathology is an often overlooked field. As part of the health continuum, as the turning point for treatment, as a new source for research and discovery – in all these ways, the power of pathology has gone unnoticed. However, the industry is slowly coming to realize its potential in transforming care, knows Hans…

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News • Warning

Obesity needs urgent action

The leading organisation responsible for research into obesity in Europe has warned that unless something is quickly done to tackle the region’s rising obesity epidemic, it is going to have a devastating effect on healthcare costs and productivity.

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News • Memory

A study shows how the brain switches into memory mode

Researchers from Germany and the USA have identified an important mechanism with which memory switches from recall to memorization mode. The study may shed new light on the cellular causes of dementia. The work was directed by the University of Bonn and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).

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News • Genetic mutations

New neurodevelopmental syndrome identified

A multicenter research team led by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has discovered a new neurodevelopmental syndrome and the genetic mutations that cause it. The discovery is an important step toward creating targeted therapies for individuals with this syndrome, which causes severe developmental delays, abnormal muscle tone, seizures, and eye complications.

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Article • Resistance

Last resort antibiotic under treat

Data presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases diseases has highlighted how a recently-discovered mechanism could mean one of the last-resort antibiotics is under threat. Evidence put before ECCMID suggested the genetic mechanism allowing bacteria to develop and transfer resistance to colistin has been present in several countries around the world –…

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News • Lung cancer

“Liquid biopsy” blood test detects genetic mutations

A simple blood test can rapidly and accurately detect mutations in two key genes in non-small cell lung tumors, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other institutions report in a new study – demonstrating the test’s potential as a clinical tool for identifying patients who can benefit from drugs targeting those mutations.

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News • PIK3CA

Cancer drug could treat blood vessel deformities

A drug currently being trialled in cancer patients could also be used to treat an often incurable condition that can cause painful blood vessel overgrowths inside the skin, finds new research in mice led by UCL, Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) in Barcelona.

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News • mcr-1 gene

Antibiotic resistance mechanism continues to spread

Researchers presented findings on the prevalence of the mcr-1 gene, a transferable genetic mechanism of antimicrobial-resistance to colistin - the last resort antibiotic in a number of circumstances. At a session dedicated to late-breaking abstracts on colistin resistance, researchers presented evidence on the prevalence of the gene in bacteria (including Enterobacteriaceae such as Escherichia…

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Article • Virus

The Zika mystery: scapegoat or villain?

From the beginning the accusation somehow beggared belief. A ‘mild’ virus was blamed for causing hideous malformations in babies’ heads. Brazil, a country suffering its worst recession since the 1930s, as well as political upheaval, became the focus of a worldwide healthcare scare.

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News • Infectiology

Immune factor allows viral infections to become chronic

Many viral diseases tend to become chronic – including infections with the HI virus. In persons affected, the immune response is not sufficient to eliminate the virus permanently. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now identified an immune factor which is partially responsible for this. Their results give rise to hopes for new therapeutic approaches. The work, which included researchers…

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Article • Wishlist

PACS and imaging biobank assets combined

Personalised medicine relies strongly on biobanking in which medical data are collected on a large scale. Large scale refers both to the amount of data collected per patient as well as to the large number of patients included in the data collection. Although most attention in biobanking has been given to genetic data, proteomics, metabolomics and other –omics technologies, imaging is also being…

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News • heat-shock

HSF1 – in case of emergency

When there is an accident or a house fire, we call the police or the fire services. A control room quickly coordinates emergency operations. The cells in our bodies also have helpers in a crisis; the heat-shock proteins. These are triggered in response to cellular stress, such as high temperature, UV radiation or cancer. Heat-shock proteins help other proteins maintain their functional structure…

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News • Drug delivery vehicles

Stealth effect of nanocarriers conferred more efficiently

By using drug delivery vehicles, so-called nanocarriers, pharmaceuticals reach the diseased area in the body. There they accelerate the healing process. But in order to prevent them from getting ingested by phagocytes, the surfaces of the nanocarriers are typically coated with the biocompatible synthetic polymer poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). Scientists at the Mainz University Medical Center and…

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News • Discovery

Blueprint of body's heat sensor

Touch a hot stove, and your fingers will recoil in pain because your skin carries tiny temperature sensors that detect heat and send a message to your brain saying, "Ouch! That's hot! Let go!" The pain is real and it serves a purpose, otherwise we'd suffer greater injury. But for many people with chronic pain, that signal keeps getting sent for months or years, even when there is no…

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Article • High rating

Immunotherapy brings striking successes

Checkpoint inhibitors can achieve a lasting treatment response in around 20% of some kinds of advanced cancer cases. ‘Immunotherapies are given the highest possible rating on the Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), which assesses the actual clinical benefit of tumour treatments,’ emphasises Professor Christoph Zielinski MD, Head of the…

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News • Bioengineering

Squeezing cells into stem cells

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) scientists have developed a new method that turns cells into stem cells by "squeezing" them. The method paves the way for large-scale production of stem cells for medical purposes.

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'Self-Sabotage' prevents immune protection against Malaria

Australian scientists have for the first time revealed how malaria parasites cause an inflammatory reaction that sabotages our body's ability to protect itself against the disease. The discovery opens up the possibility of improving new or existing malaria vaccines by boosting key immune cells needed for long-lasting immunity. This could even include vaccines that have previously been ineffective…

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Gene variation promotes uncontrolled cell division

Mom’s eyes and dad’s tumor? Cancer is due to genetic defects, some of which can be hereditary. The gene variant rs351855, for example, occurs in one in two cancer patients. A team headed by Axel Ullrich from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried identified the gene variant a decade ago. Now, they succeeded for the first time in showing that the variation exposes an otherwise…

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News • Epigenetic marks

Sperm carries information about dad's weight

Turns out dads are also eating for two. A study published in Cell Metabolism reveals that a man's weight affects the heritable information contained in sperm. The sperm cells of lean and obese men possess different epigenetic marks, notable at gene regions associated with the control of appetite. The comparisons, which included 13 lean men and 10 obese men, offer one biological explanation for…

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Treating colon cancer with vitamin A

A leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, colon cancer is famously resistant to treatment. There are many reasons for this, but one has to do with a group of persisting cancer cells in the colon that cause relapses. Conventional therapies against them are mostly ineffective. EPFL scientists have now identified a biological mechanism that can be exploited to counteract colon cancer relapses.

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News • “Jumping Gene” Mystery

Grabbing a parasite by the tail

Deep within your DNA, a tiny parasite lurks, waiting to pounce from its perch and land in the middle of an unsuspecting healthy gene. If it succeeds, it can make you sick. Like a jungle cat, this parasite sports a long tail. But until now, little was known about what role that tail plays in this dangerous jumping. Now, scientists report that without a tail, this parasitic gene can’t jump…

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News • Genome

Research could help in fight against infection and cancer

Researchers from Medicine, Chemistry and Biological Sciences in the University’s Institute for Life Science (IfLS) have been collaborating with Microsoft Research UK to investigate the function of the antigen-presenting protein MHC1. Their research, which started more than a decade ago and has been part-funded by Cancer Research UK, has explored the pliability of the protein and how its ability…

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Sugar-coated nanoworms not for breakfast in human immune system

Iron nanoparticles injected before magnetic resonance imaging can make tissues more visible and the same nanoparticles may allow doctors to precisely target tumors with new medicines. However, among the challenges to the practical use of nanoparticles in the human body is what scientists refer to as lack of “hemocompatibility” – nanoparticles tend to be attacked and cleared by the immune…

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Interview • Genom

I looked into my genes and changed some habits

“These dates we have access to a lot of genetic information which had previously not been available to us. For the individual, this can provide options for action with regards to leading a healthier lifestyle or to try and prevent diseases,” knows Dr. Theodor Dingermann. The senior professor of the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main has had his own genome decoded. In parts, the result…

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News • “JEDI” Technology

New understanding of how immune system works

When it comes to fending off disease and helping prevent people from falling ill, the body’s immune system – armed with T-cells that help eliminate cancer cells, virus-infected cells and more – is second to none. But exactly how the immune system works remains, in many ways, a mystery, as there are numerous cell types whose functions and interactions with our immune systems have not been…

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News • Sex-linked disorders

X-Citing X Chromosome

A team of scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School shows that the genetic material in female (but not male) cells makes tiny amounts of a special genetic material called RNA to make one of the two X chromosomes silent. They call this RNA XistAR.

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News • Cardiology

3D scans spot earliest signs of heart disease

Researchers have shown that people with high blood pressure develop changes in their hearts even before symptoms appear. These changes are known to put people at risk of dying early, and the new work suggests it is possible for doctors to recognise such signs of heart disease earlier than they can today - by examining detailed images of the heart.

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News • Genes

Blame your health problems on your grandfather

If you have diabetes, or cancer or even heart problems, maybe you should blame it on your dad’s behaviour or environment. Or even your grandfather’s. That’s because, in recent years, scientists have shown that, before his offspring are even conceived, a father’s life experiences involving food, drugs, exposure to toxic products and even stress can affect the development and health not…

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News • Toolkit

Microchip helps to visualize breast cancer proteins

A photograph may reveal how something looks, but direct observation can divulge how the objects behave. The difference can mean life or death, especially when it comes to fighting human disease. To help researchers examine exactly how human diseases work at the molecular level, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientist Deborah Kelly has developed a new set of tools to peer into the…

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News • Mystery solved

Key Element of cellular organization found

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have discovered evidence of a mechanism at the heart of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related degenerative diseases. The research highlights a possible new treatment strategy for the devastating disorders.

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News • Cancer

New molecular markers for high-risk neuroblastoma

Researchers from the University of Cologne and NEO New Oncology AG today jointly published in Nature* the findings of an extensive genomic analysis of neuroblastoma, a malignant pediatric tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. In the most aggressive forms of this tumor, the researchers identified previously unknown genomic alterations leading to up-regulation of the telomerase reverse…

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News • Protein DART

New shock-and-kill strategy against HIV

A unique molecule developed at Duke Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MacroGenics, Inc., is able to bind HIV-infected cells to the immune system’s killer T cells. It could become a key part of a shock-and-kill strategy being developed in the hope of one day clearing HIV infection.

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News • Neurotransmitters

Coordinating traffic down the neuronal highway

An international team of researchers, led by scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has identified a protein that regulates the growth of neurons by transporting key metabolic enzymes to the tips of neural cells. Their findings open up new avenues for design of drugs for ataxia, a motor coordination disorder.

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News • Breakthrough

Cell discovery offers new strategy to attack cancer

University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered a new strategy for attacking cancer cells that could fundamentally alter the way doctors treat and prevent the deadly disease. By more selectively targeting cancer cells, this method offers a strategy to reduce the length of and physical toll associated with current treatments.

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News • Microgravity

Keeping cells in good shape

People often talk about how important it is to stay in shape, something humans usually can accomplish with exercise and a healthy diet, and other habits. But chances are, few of us ever think about the shape of our individual cells.

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News • Study

Spheroid stem cell production sows hope for IPF treatment

In a small pilot study, researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a rapid, simple way to generate large numbers of lung stem cells for use in disease treatment. This method of harvesting and growing a patient’s own lung stem cells shows promise in mice for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and could one day provide human IPF sufferers with an effective, less…

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News • Genetics

Genetic interaction offers target for glaucoma therapy

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have elucidated a genetic interaction that may prove key to the development and progression of glaucoma, a blinding neurodegenerative disease that affects tens of millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness.

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Interview • Systems medicine

IT is a resource just like water or energy

Systems medicine – the interdisciplinary field incorporating biochemical, physiological and environmental interactions in the study of human body systems as part of an integrated whole – draws heavily on the technological advances in information technology (IT). New ways to use data impact on healthcare and society, says Professor Dr Heyo Kroemer, Dean of the Medical School, Georg August…

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News • Cancer Treatments

The DNA damage response goes viral

Every organism—from a seedling to a president—must protect its DNA at all costs, but precisely how a cell distinguishes between damage to its own DNA and the foreign DNA of an invading virus has remained a mystery. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered critical details of how a cell’s response system tells the difference between these two perpetual threats. The discovery…

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Article • Network science

Discovering what causes diseases

Systems biology allows the mathematical visualisation through graphs and networks of complex body processes such as disease development. The aim is to improve understanding processes and triggers of diseases, so as to access and repair a damaged network. ‘We are still approaching this issue with a lot of naivety and underestimate the complexity of biological systems, and therefore of…

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Article • Infectious diseases

Developing vaccines and nanotechnology

Vaccination remains one of the most efficient strategies against infectious diseases, often being the best protection against infections such as hepatitis B, or influenza. European Hospital reports on expert reviews of vaccines in the pipeline and the potential of nanomedicine given during the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) annual meeting in…

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News • bacterial communities

What’s lurking in your lungs?

With every breath you take, microbes have a chance of making it into your lungs. But what happens when they get there? And why do dangerous lung infections like pneumonia happen in some people, but not others? Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School have started to answer these questions by studying the microbiome of the lungs – the community of microscopic organisms that are…

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Article • Diagnostic toolkit

New cardiac genetic testing panels

As new cardiac genetic testing panels become available, cardiologists have been warned not to lose sight of the importance of comprehensive clinical evaluation. While genetic testing is helping to identify more people at risk of inherited conditions, experts stress they are only part of the diagnostic toolkit.

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News • Genetics

Big Data and the social character of genes

A new study at the University of Haifa has used “big data” analytical methods to reveal the “social character” of genes – a phenomenon in certain diseases whereby genes operate jointly rather than independently. “The problem is that the possible number of combinations of different genes is enormous, and it is almost impossible to examine them all effectively and reliably,” the…

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News • Endogenous retroviruses

Silence is golden …

An LMU team has uncovered a new role for the protein Atrx, which is involved in various aspects of gene expression. The new work shows that the protein is also involved in silencing endogenous retroviral genomes integrated in cellular DNA.

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News • Retrograde amnesia

Researchers retrieve “lost” memories

Retrograde amnesia is the inability to recall established memories. In humans, amnesia is associated with traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological conditions. Whether memories lost to amnesia are completely erased or merely unable to be recalled remains an open question. Now, in a finding that casts new light on the nature of memory, researchers from the RIKEN-MIT…

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News • Therapy

Approach to reverse kidney damage

Adults who are worried or terrified sometimes curl up into a fetal position. Likewise, adult cells that are injured, including genetic injury leading to cancer, initiate a process that was present during embryonic development.

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News • Aspergillus

ESCMID cautions that Europe is now a hotbed of global fungal resistance

ESCMID Fungal Infection Study Group (EFISG) argues that fungal resistance now represents a huge healthcare threat – with many cases remaining massively undiagnosed even in the developed world – and that there is a rising prevalence of the most invasive and deadly forms. Conversely, in the developing world we are seeing very treatable fungal infections killing huge numbers – half a million…

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News • Research

Resolving a lymphatic riddle

For over one hundred years, scientists have debated the question of the origins of the lymphatic system – a parallel system to the blood vessels that serves as a conduit for everything from immune cells to fat molecules to cancer cells. This issue has now been resolved by Dr. Karina Yaniv of Weizmann Institute’s Biological Regulation Department. In a study reported in Nature, she and her team…

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Article • Science

Alternative routes to immortality

Every time a cell divides, the ends of chromosomes – the threads of DNA residing in the nucleus – shorten a bit. Once the chromosome ends, called telomeres, become too short, cells normally stop dividing. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now discovered how cancer cells make use of specific DNA repair enzymes to extend the telomeres. In this way, they escape the…

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Novel DNA repair mechanism brings new horizons

A group of researchers, lead by Vasily M. Studitsky, professor at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, discovered a new mechanism of DNA repair, which opens up new perspectives for the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. The article describing their discovery is published in AAAS' first open access online-only journal Science Advances.

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News • Molecular Genetics

How a Bacterial Cell Recognizes its Own DNA

It may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that bacteria have an immune system – in their case to fight off invasive viruses called phages. And like any immune system – from single-celled to human – the first challenge of the bacterial immune system is to detect the difference between “foreign” and “self.” This is far from simple, as viruses, bacteria and all other living things…

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Article • Research

Genetic alterations

This article discusses examples of applications of genetic analyses in coagulation disorders and haematological and oncological diseases. Professor Christine Mannhalter highlights the impact changes have on the occurrence and severity of diseases and their influence on therapy response. Report: Christine Mannhalter

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Article • Oophorectomy

Leading expert takes stand against prophylactic oophorectomy

“I am very concerned about the impact that Angelina Jolie has on the media,” Walter Rocca, professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, stated. He wasn’t hinting to Jolie’s acting choices or waifish silhouette, but to the confusion surrounding her decision to remove her ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer. By Mélisande Rouger

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News • Clinical diagnostics

Cinven and Labco go together

European private equity firm Cinven today announces that it has agreed to acquire Labco (‘the Group’), one of the largest European operators of medical diagnostic laboratories, from a consortium of investors, for an enterprise value of €1.2bn.

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Test could identify resistant tuberculosis faster

The time needed to genetically sequence the bacteria causing tuberculosis (Mtb) from patient samples has been reduced from weeks to days using a new technique developed by a team at University College London (UCL). This could help health service providers to better treat disease, control transmission of this infection, and monitor outbreaks.

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Article • IVD regulations

'We will need a lot more regulators'

The proposed EU draft IVD regulation looks set to have major implications for IVD manufacturers and laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). Replacing a current system that is inflexible, unresponsive and does not effectively protect patients, the new regulation will apply directly to all 28 EU countries and govern the manufacture and marketing of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs).

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News • Research

Influence of magnetic fields on neurodegenerative diseases

Low-frequency alternating magnetic fields such as those generated by overhead power lines are considered a potential health risk because epidemiological studies indicate that they may aggravate, among other things, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, a recent study by researchers at the Institute of Pathobiochemistry at the…

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Interview • Sequencing

Precision medicine in oncology

Professor Hedvig Hricak MD PhD, Chair of the Department of Radiology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, and Professor of Radiology at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, is a notable expert on crosssectional anatomic and molecular imaging, particularly of gynaecologic and prostate cancers. EH interviewed her about the potential and impact of more precise viewing of inter-…

News • Study

British lung transplant patients fare better than Americans

Publicly insured Americans who undergo lung transplantation for cystic fibrosis fare markedly worse in the long run than both publicly insured patients in the United Kingdom and privately insured Americans, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and U.K. colleagues working in that nation’s government-funded National Health Service.

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Article • Neuro Imaging

Molecular imaging brings seismic change

Molecular profiling is transforming brain cancer management and radiologists must get to grips with the upcoming paradigm that will affect the way they report findings. Renowned neuroradiologist Professor Anne G. Osborn from the University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, unveiled the latest advances in brain pathology during the Nikola Tesla Honorary Lecture last week at ECR…

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Article • Liver

Stellate cells control regeneration and fibrosis

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty in Mannheim at Heidelberg University are searching for new approaches to prevent liver fibrosis. They have identified a surface molecule on special liver cells called stellate cells as a potential target for interfering with this process. When the researchers turned off the receptor, this led to reduced liver…

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Article • IVD Market

Santa’s bag full of cash

We are seeing great priority shifts in China’s funding for R&D and manufacturing expansion. Even the agency responsible for selecting the recipients has changed, Jie Ren reports from the Beijing-based market analysis consultancy Whitney Research Inc. Report: John Brosky

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Article • Interview

Multidisciplinarity is the key for gastroenterologists

At the close of the Gastrointestinal Medicine and Surgery meeting in Leipzig, Professor Peter R Galle, Congress President of the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, spoke with EH about today’s emphasis on interdisciplinary exchange and the need to augment cooperation even further. Report: Chrissanthi Nikolakudi

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New trends in Pathology Informatics

For several decades, pathologists worldwide have been under increasing pressure to handle a steady increase in laboratory tests with a steady decrease in the amount of financial and staff resources. Add to this the escalating volume of increasingly complex, sophisticated testing and the importance of pathology informatics is evident.

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Oocyte modification

USA - Oocyte modification to eliminate inherited mitochondrial defects in a human embryo was the subject of a globally scrutinised Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing held in February.

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Gathering to beat pain

This March, the Complesso Monumentale Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome, was the unique and original venue for the 6th Annual SIMPAR Meeting, which aims to spread and support a wider scientific and cultural awareness of pain. Jane MacDougall interviewed Professor Massimo Allegri, President of organising committee, about the meeting and his own pain research projects.

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Researchers Find Protein 'Switch' Central to Heart Cell Division

In a study that began in a pair of infant siblings with a rare heart defect, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a key molecular switch that regulates heart cell division and normally turns the process off around the time of birth. Their research, they report, could advance efforts to turn the process back on and regenerate heart tissue damaged by heart attacks or disease.

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The German Stem Cell Network

More than 400 international scientists headed for the Max Delbrück Centre in Buch, near Berlin for updates on stem cell biology findings and discuss how to develop synergies between basic research, regenerative medicine and pharmacology, as well as strategies to cope better with researchers’ needs. The three-day event was the first annual conference of the German Stem Cell Network founded at…

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UK labs face changes and challenges from new healthcare legislation

Aspects of new healthcare legislation are causing concern among medical laboratory experts in the United Kingdom – including the lack of future funding for innovation and development under a new reimbursement model, little appetite to quantify the cost effectiveness of laboratory testing, reduced staffing and a shift in emphasis that will see the need to make profit over-ride initiative and…

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New cancer research targets

‘We aim to develop an understanding of which novel research activities could bring benefits for patients,’ explained Professor Christof von Kalle, Director of the Department of Translational Oncology, NCT (German National Centre for Tumour Diseases) and the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), speaking on translational activities during the New Cancer Targets gathering in Heidelberg this…

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Bilateral initiation

Renowned French and German cardiovascular researchers gathered in October at the French Embassy in Berlin for a one-day symposium entitled ‘The Frontiers of Cardiovascular Research: From Basic Concepts to Novel Approaches in Therapy and Prevention’

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Nobel Prize awarded to Robert Koch Foundation Laureate

The Robert Koch Foundation congratulates Professor Shinya Yamanaka, the 2008 Robert Koch Award laureate, on being awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The award to Yamanaka brings the number of Robert Koch Foundation laureates to receive a Nobel Prize to 11 since 1962.

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Molecular diagnostics

Research in the field is booming thanks to newly arriving methods to identify gene sequences. Scientists are interested in a wide range of issues from disease-relevant variations of human genetic information to the detection of viral genetic material that supports therapies. Several highlights of current research were presented this spring at the 9th International Symposium on Molecular…

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Gene Therapy in the EU

For the first time, a EU agency recommends a gene therapy drug for commercial release in Europe. The European Medicine's Agency announced in late July 2012 that its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommends Glybera for commercial release in the European Union

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Classifying COPD

Many smokers continue to use tobacco despite high taxes and drastic health warnings. Indeed, in industrialised countries, tobacco-related mortality rates or illnesses are increasing. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the fourth leading cause of death in adults – and rising.

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Article • Autoimmune disease risk

Silicone gel breast implants and connective tissue

Silicone breast implants are the most popular type of implant. The postulated relation between silicone breast implants and the risk of connective tissue and autoimmune diseases has generated intense medical and legal interest during the past decade. Considerable controversy has surrounded the long-term safety of silicone breast implants.

Hopkins Scientists Turn on Fountain of Youth in Yeast

Collaborations between Johns Hopkins and National Taiwan University researchers have successfully manipulated the life span of common, single-celled yeast organisms by figuring out how to remove and restore protein functions related to yeast aging.

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Personalized medicine could help to save 100 billion Euros

Despite huge increases in spending over the last three decades, progress in dealing with the most frequent and burdensome diseases is appalling. The EU Flagship Pilot IT Future of Medicine (ITFoM) could remedy that. The flagship‘s investments of 1 billion euros in the course of the next decade are expected to save up to 100 billion euros per year in health expenditures in the future.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Award Recognizes Human Gut Mobile Metagenome Researcher

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, today announced that the 2011 Oxoid W H Pierce Memorial Prize, which commemorates the late W H (Bill) Pierce, has been awarded to Dr. Brian Jones, senior lecturer at the University of Brighton, England. The award acknowledges Dr. Jones’ research into the human gut mobile metagenome, the mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids)…

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A new strain of MRSA discovered

While researching bovine mastitis (an S. aureus infection that occurs in the cows’ udders), researchers led by Dr Mark Holmes at the University of Cambridge, UK, identified a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which occurs both in human and dairy cow populations.

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The IFCC WorldLab and EuromedLab Congress

‘Three years is a long time in the world of research. The amount of information on offer quickly grows quite enormously,’ says Professor Rudolf Tauber, joint head of this year’s WorldLab congress with Professor Harald Renz. Thus, one organisational challenge was to channel current trends and developments and present participants with an informative, comprehensive overview. How was this…

AACC publishes program for 2011 annual meeting

2011 The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) has published the program for its 2011 Annual Meeting being held July 23 – 28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. This year the Annual Meeting features almost 300 individual educational events in a variety of formats. Hot topics for 2011 include cancer, obesity, diabetes, and healthcare reform.

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When the heart gives up

This April the 77th Annual Meeting of the German Cardiac Society (DGK) presented over 300 events with 1,800 speakers, covering the entire spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, from fundamental research to clinical routine. Professor Gerd Hasenfuss, Director of the Department of Cardiology and Pulmonology and Chair of the Heart Research Centre in Gottingen, particularly requested a focus on …

Towards customised treatment of breast cancer

Breast cancer can develop very differently in different women. Researchers in Norway are improving breast cancer diagnostics and treatment by identifying the various tumour types. The objective is to find out as much as possible about the various tumour types so that each patient can receive precisely the right treatment at the right time.