Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) believe they may be one step closer to understanding how certain forms of colon cancer develop.
In a study using siblings who have been diagnosed with colon cancer, scientists discovered similarities on a region of a particular chromosome, referred to as 7q31. Researchers believe that piece of genetic material may be causing a subset of colon cancers that run in families.
"It's those genetic similarities in colon cancer patients that would suggest that region holds a gene that's causing colon cancer," says Deborah Neklason, PhD and lead investigator on the study. Referred to as the Cancer Genetics Network "Sibling Pair Project," Neklason and other researchers analyzed the genetic material of 82 siblings. In addition to the discovery of a potential location of a cancer-causing gene, the research also shows siblings who share this genetic region tend to develop cancer 3.8 years earlier than siblings who do not. The study findings are published in the November 1, 2008 issue of Cancer Research.
Scientists already know roughly 30 percent of all colon cancers are a direct result of an inherited gene, but less than five percent of these genes have been identified. "Those cases where the genes have been identified tend to be pretty dramatic," says Neklason. "Colon cancer develops at young ages and the cases are easier to figure out. It's the other 25 percent that's tough. These cases are more like sporadic colon cancer and are much more subtle," she says.
The findings could ultimately lead to a better understanding of the cellular process that results in cancer and its progression. It will likely pave the way for more targeted research that could someday result in a screening test to detect genetic forms of colon cancer.
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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