Science News

Tumor Paint' Illuminates Cancer Cells

Researchers from the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that the molecule chemotoxin, which is found in scorpions, binds specifically to tumor cells. By developing the molecule into a type of tumor paint,' surgeons could possibly target cancer cells more accurately during surgeries and decrease the chances of remission.

Studying DNA Damage Through the Generations

Researchers at Rockefeller University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Cancer Institute, led by Michel Nussenzweig and his brother Andre Nussenzweig and their colleagues, have discovered this month that a protein, known as ATM has new and extraordinary abilities. Not only does it help repair breaks in the double-stranded structure of DNA in immune cells, but it also prevents genetic damage from being passed on when the cells divide. This new discovery could potentially influence future studies of cancers of the lymph and immune system, known collectively as lymphomas, as ATM has a crucial role in the life cycle of immune cells.

Osteoarthritis Slows Recovery Following Knee Surgery

As if arthritis sufferers were not already disadvantaged, they also face slower rates of recovery following knee surgery. According to research announced this month at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, being female and suffering from osteoarthritis are both risk factors for delayed recovery after knee arthroscopy.

Lymph Nodes Hold Clues to Esophageal Cancer Recovery

Although raised lymph nodes, or glands', are often associated with minor infections such as colds, they may also hold clues to the effect of treatment on each case of esophageal cancer. John Vincent Reynolds, a professor of surgery at the University of Dublin in Ireland, and his colleagues found that the success of treatment may be determined, in advance, by the presence of cancer cells in local lymph nodes. This is important as clinicians may now predict more accurately whether a patient is likely to survive after treatment for cancer of the esophagus.

Study May Lead to New Therapies for Neurodegenerative Disease

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel collaborated with the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Connecticut to investigate the types of cell-to-cell interactions that play a role in myelination. The results published this week in Nature Neuroscience reported that an interaction between two molecules on axons and "helper" Schwann cells is necessary for myelination, with important implications for the treatment of the host of human diseases affected by the loss of myelin.

Chemotherapy Better than Radiation for Children with Cancer

A decade-long study of young children with brain tumors found that the use of chemotherapy instead of radiation therapy reduces the chances for long-term brain damage. Radiation therapy was previously believed to be the best treatment for brain tumors despite an increased risk for future learning difficulties. However, the study, conducted in the UK and published in Lancet Oncology, demonstrated that chemotherapy was just as effective and had fewer side effects on children's developing brains.

Natural Selection Saves Majestic Butterfly

While many students of evolution are familiar with the story of the peppered moth, the most recent chapter of evolutionary theory has been written about a black butterfly. The butterfly species Hypolimnas bolina, H. bolina, has experienced "the fastest evolutionary change that has ever been observed", according to Sylvain Charlat, a post-doctoral researcher, who led a study published in Science earlier this month.

Accelerated Brain Loss Documented in Bipolar Disease

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have found that the brains of people who suffer from continued episodes of bipolar disorder shrink at a progressively faster rate. This new insight into bipolar disorder shows that relapses of this life-long condition actually produce worsening changes in the brain, possibly affecting current treatments.