News of Note—Preserving memory with RNA transfer; A drug to prevent cancer's spread

Blue purple pink 3d rendering of brain
A memory-transfer method demonstrated by UCLA researchers could point to new Alzheimer's treatments. (monsitj/Getty Images Plus)

Memory transfer method could lead to new Alzheimer’s treatments

By injecting RNA from one marine snail to another, researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles demonstrated that they could transfer memories. First they shocked the tails of a group of snails, producing a defensive reflex that the creatures exhibited every time they were tapped. When they extracted RNA from the nervous systems of those snails and transferred it to snails that hadn’t received the shocks, the recipients nevertheless displayed the same defensive reaction. The scientists, who published the experiment in the journal eNeuro, believe RNA could be used to relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s or post-traumatic stress disorder. (Release)



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New compound halts cancer metastasis

A team of researchers led by the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University has identified a compound that blocks cancer metastasis in several tumor types, including pancreatic cancer. The drug, which they dubbed metarrestin, works by breaking down a component of cancer cells known as the perinucleolar compartment. This compartment is found in high numbers in cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. Mice treated with the drug had fewer tumors and lived longer than mice in a control group, the team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. (Release)

A gel to regrow brain tissue after stroke

UCLA researchers have created a gel that regenerates brain tissue in mice following stroke. The gel is made of molecules that stimulate the growth of blood vessels, while also suppressing the inflammation that can cause scars. When it was injected into cavities of dead brain tissue, the gel seemed to regenerate neurons. After 16 weeks, the mice that received the gel showed improved motor behavior, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Materials. (Release)

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