A chemical isolated from a weed that grows in mountain meadows in the western United States kills the cells of an aggressive brain cancer that affects some children. The compound, cyclopamine, blocks a signaling pathway that appears to be important for the survival of medulloblastoma, a form of cancer for which there is no effective treatment.
In an article published in the August 30, 2002, issue of the journal Science, a research team led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Philip A. Beachy reported that cyclopamine effectively killed cultured mouse medulloblastoma cells and tumors implanted in animals, as well as medulloblastoma cells extracted from human tumors.
“It will be difficult to obtain sufficient quantities of cyclopamine, since it must be extracted and purified from the plant source, Veratrum californicum, the corn lily,” said Beachy, who is at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “However, we believe that with this study, the evidence is in place to justify an effort to develop a supply so that it can be tested in humans.” Beachy and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins collaborated with researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington/Children’s Hospital in Seattle.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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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.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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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!
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Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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