Proteins in lizard venom could prove useful in treating medical conditions; Regulation of genes shapes fate of organisms;

New proteins discovered in lizard venom could prove useful for the future treatment of medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Story

Genetics

Scientists are learning that the dynamic regulation of genes--as much as the genes themselves--shapes the fate of organisms. Now the discovery of a new epigenetic mechanism regulating genes in the brain under stress is helping change the way scientists think about psychiatric disorders and could open new avenues to treatment. Article

Roche and the Department of Health of Junta de Andalucía, Spain have signed an agreement for a cooperation in the Medical Genome Project (MGP), a research project created to analyse the genomes of people with rare diseases and identify the defective gene or genes causing the disease and its behavior. Release

Studies have suggested that asthma patients with a specific genetic variation might not respond as well to certain treatments as those with a different variation. But an article published in this week's edition of The Lancet shows that patients with either variation respond to combination treatment, and that this treatment should be continued for these patients. Story

Stem Cell Research

Stem cells found in the fluid that surrounds fetuses in the womb may be more flexible in treating diseases and conditions than originally thought, researchers at Wake Forest University said yesterday. Article

Two separate studies published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation have shown that transplanted human-derived umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells transplanted in an animal model had positive therapeutic effects on specific lung and heart disorders. Report

Cancer Research

MDRNA today announced the extension and expansion of its collaboration with the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), covering the discovery and development of RNAi-based therapeutics for the treatment of bladder cancer. Release

Scientists have pinpointed a mutated gene as key to the development of some types of glioma brain tumor. The mutation leads to hugely increased levels of a chemical in the brain, which seems to feed the cancer. Article

UCSF scientists have shown for the first time that the rigidity of a tissue can induce cancer. The research team identified an enzyme that is crucial for regulating tissue stiffness and demonstrated that the enzyme can turn abnormal but non-malignant breast tissue into tumors, according to a study published in Cell online. Story

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