Gene expression profiling can help doctors accurately identify subtypes of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to the October 15, 2003, issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology. Diagnosing a subtype of ALL can allow physicians to customize a treatment program based on a patients likelihood of responding to therapy.
Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia has a number of subtypes, each with unique cellular and molecular characteristics. Since the subtype may also imply a less favorable prognosis, it is critical to diagnose each individual patients subtype so that therapy can be tailored to reduce the chance of a relapse. ALL patients currently have a 70 to 80 percent chance of surviving the disease, but the odds of survival decrease following a relapse.
ALL subtypes are used to assign patients to risk groups. Risk group assignment is an important element of cancer care because it allows physicians to avoid overtreating patients who are at low risk of relapse, while ensuring optimal treatment for patients with a high risk of relapse. Patients are currently classified into risk groups based on factors such as age and gender, white blood cell count, the presence or absence of leukemia in cerebral spinal fluid, and genetic characteristics of the leukemic cells. These risk features were identified from epidemiological studies and have resulted in excellent overall long-term survival rates, but gene expression profiling may provide an even more precise profile of a patients disease.
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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.
A warming planet
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...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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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