The unchecked activity of a cell signaling pathway crucial in embryonic development and the livers response to injury leads to liver cancer, researchers from Duke University Medical Center and John Hopkins University School of Medicine have found.
Because the pathway, called Hedgehog, is present only in immature, stem-like liver cells, the discovery offers hope for targeted treatment of liver cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the world. Laboratory experiments show that blocking the Hedgehog pathway kills cancer cells but leaves mature healthy liver cells intact, the researchers report. Treating patients with medications to interrupt the pathway would likely eliminate the cancer cells while sparing healthy liver tissue, said Jason Sicklick, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Duke and lead author of the study.
"Currently, there are no good chemotherapies for liver cancer, and many people with advanced liver disease are too ill for surgery to remove tumors," Sicklick said. "There is a desperate need for effective anticancer treatments that are safe for patients with liver disease."
Becky Oskin | EurekAlert!
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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