Keyword: genetics

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Music for life

Massive Attack to last forever – in DNA form

The digital audio of an entire music album is to be stored in the form of genetic information for the first time, using technology developed at ETH Zurich. Coded in DNA molecules and poured into tiny glass beads, an album by Massive Attack will be preserved – practically for eternity. The British band Massive Attack are considered pioneers of trip hop, an atmospheric style of electronic music…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Power of the heart

Gene therapy can make the heart stop atrial fibrillation itself

The heart is capable of terminating arrhythmias itself after local gene therapy, potentially avoiding the need for patients to undergo painful electric shocks, according to a proof-of-concept study presented today at EHRA 2018, a European Society of Cardiology congress. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). Treatment aims to restore the heart’s normal rhythm…

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DNA repair

Proteins: Sentinels of the Genome

Throughout life, DNA is constantly being damaged by environmental and intrinsic factors and must be promptly repaired to prevent mutations, genomic instability, and cancer. Different types of damages are repaired by numerous proteins organized into damage-specific pathways. The proteins from different pathways must be spatially and temporally coordinated in order to efficiently repair complex DNA…

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Screening tumor samples

A molecular map of childhood cancers

Researchers led by Professor Stefan Pfister from the "Hopp Children's Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg" (KiTZ) have been able to draw an extremely detailed molecular map of childhood cancers. In close collaboration with the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and the Society for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH), they screened almost 1,000 tumor samples from 24 cancer types for…

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DNA analysis

Magnetic biosensor array simplifies cancer detection

In standard settings, the analysis of each DNA modification requires a carefully optimised assay that runs under specific conditions. This increases cost and labour and is a severe limitation to throughput. Now, however, researchers at Stanford University and the Technical University of Denmark have come up with a new method that will enable doctors to make a more precise diagnosis, prognosis and…

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Large study

Five novel genetic changes linked to pancreatic cancer risk

In what is believed to be the largest pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study to date, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, and collaborators from over 80 other institutions worldwide discovered changes to five new regions in the human genome that may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The new findings represent one more step toward…

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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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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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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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Immunotherapy

The DNA mismatch repair mechanism

A new genetic study by UK-based scientists suggests that immunotherapy drugs could prove to be an effective treatment for some breast cancer patients. Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, near Cambridge – one of the world’s leading genome centres – and their collaborators, have identified particular genetic changes in a DNA repair mechanism in breast cancer. Led by Dr Serena…

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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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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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Discovery

‘Hijacker’ drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome “hijacks” DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights may help scientists develop more effective therapies, including precision medicines. The research involved investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital;…

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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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Neurogenesis

These genetic ‘switches’ determine our brain development

UCLA researchers have developed the first map of gene regulation in human neurogenesis, the process by which neural stem cells turn into brain cells and the cerebral cortex expands in size. The scientists identified factors that govern the growth of our brains and, in some cases, set the stage for several brain disorders that appear later in life. The human brain differs from that of mice and…

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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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Antiviral design

CAR-T gene therapy could provide long-term HIV protection

Through gene therapy, researchers engineered blood-forming stem cells (hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, or HSPCs) to carry chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) genes to make cells that can detect and destroy HIV-infected cells. These engineered cells not only destroyed the infected cells, they persisted for more than two years, suggesting the potential to create long-term immunity from the virus…

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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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Genome editing

CRISPR treatment may prevent hearing loss

Using molecular scissors wrapped in a greasy delivery package, researchers have disrupted a gene variant that leads to deafness in mice. A single treatment involving injection of a genome editing cocktail prevented progressive hearing loss in young animals that would have otherwise gone deaf, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator David Liu and colleagues report in the journal…

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