A project which aims to make laboratory-grown leukaemia cells change form and then be used to prime a patient’s own immune system to kill off malignant cells has begun in Edinburgh. If successful, the study could give clinicians a way of destroying residual leukaemic cells which are undetectable by microscope. The findings could be helpful in the treatment of acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML), one of the most common forms of leukaemia in adults.
Although about 70% of patients with AML achieve complete remission of the disease after chemotherapy treatment, around half of the younger patients and the majority of elderly patients will ultimately relapse and die as a consequence of the disease. Three years survival rates are about 40% in younger patients and 10% in older patients.
This study, based at the John Hughes Bennett Laboratories at the University of Edinburgh, is led by haematologist Dr Marc Turner, who is Clinical Director of the Edinburgh and SE Scotland Blood Transfusion Centre.Dr Turner explained: “Relapse after initial successful chemotherapy is caused by residual leukaemic cells which are below a level which can be detected by microscope. Sometimes, they can cause the disease to restart, and it is much harder to treat the second time around. Methods of eliminating this minimal residual disease, such as bone marrow transplantation, can be successful but this form of treatment is only suitable for younger patients who are able to withstand the side effects of the treatment.”
Linda Menzies | alfa
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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!
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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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