Rhabdomyosarcoma is a highly malignant aggressive form of soft tissue cancer in children, the causes of which are currently unknown. Although the fibrous growths can be found all over the body they commonly develop around the head, neck, bladder and testes in young boys. The most common age for onset is between 1-5 years of age. The treatments used are usually chemotherapy using a combination of drugs, radiotherapy and surgery and although quite effective (66% success rate at present), the side affects commonly experienced by the young patients are very unpleasant and the whole process can prove to be very traumatic not only for the patient but for the families too. So there is a need for a better way of treating the disease.
At present the cocktail of drugs administered through the chemotherapy route are not selective to the cancer cells and so they also attack healthy cells. In order for the treatment to be effective without causing unnecessary tissue damage, researchers have been looking for ways to specifically target the cancer cells in order to deliver the therapeutic agent that will kill the tumour.
An unexpected link between rhabdomyosarcoma and a particular form of a disease known as myasthenia gravis was recently discovered by University scientists. Research was being carried out at the University of Oxford amongst women suffering from spontaneous miscarriages caused by an autoimmune response to their own foetus. It was then discovered that the mothers were producing antibodies against a molecule on the surface of the foetal cells which was the same as that present on the surface of the rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Scientists at the University of Würzburg then made molecules that were smaller fragments of the antibody but which would still have the same attraction for the rhabdomyosarcoma cells as for the original antibody. A gene that encodes the fragments was then transferred into a bacteria containing the DNA for a toxin. An immunotoxin was then produced containing the antibody fragment and the toxin together which is able to target the sarcoma cells using the antibody fragment and kill them with the toxin.
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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