Spotlight On... CHOP scientist fingers a key gene involved in autism; PARP study points to promise of combo breast cancer drug; Can gut hormones help you lose weight?;

A top genomics expert at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) says that variations in the RANBP1 gene disrupt brain signaling, offering a new target for subtypes of severe autism and other neurological diseases. "The gene we investigated may function as an important factor, not only in forms of autism, but also in other neuropsychiatric conditions," said study leader Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, director of the Center for Applied Genomics at CHOP. "We have uncovered underlying molecular defects across disease categories, suggesting that these biological networks are good targets for future research." Release

> In vitro and mouse studies at MD Anderson in Texas suggest that combining new PARP inhibitors with c-MET drugs holds promise for breast cancer as well as other types of cancer. Release

> Investigators at Imperial College London have begun a human study to see if an infusion of gut hormones can help people lose weight, quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol. Release

> Are you familiar with all the flashing lights and loud music they have in casinos? A new rat study suggests that those are effective strategies for inducing risky behavior. Release

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