Health & Medicine

Identifying the mitochondrial DNA mutations that cause cancer

Mutations that affect the mitochondrial DNA may play a key role in cancers. However, the exact mutations that are involved in cancer are still unknown. Dr Fatimata Mbaye and collaborators, from the University of Dakar in Senegal examined the sequences of two regions of the mitochondrial genome to identify and compare the mutations occurring in different cancers. Understanding the relationship […]

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Health & Medicine

FLASH radiotherapy: What, how and why?

Ultra-high dose rate (FLASH) radiotherapy is a new way of treating tumours caused by cancer. Higher doses of radiotherapy are associated with trauma to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour, whereas FLASH radiotherapy demonstrates a sparing effect of the healthy tissues without compromising the anti-tumour action. Dr Kristoffer Petersson at the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, University of Oxford, along […]

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Health & Medicine

Australian Genomics: Integrating genomic testing into healthcare

Over the past few years, researchers have developed many new techniques to collect information from our genome. This can help identify inherited conditions and some types of cancer, for example. However, these methods have often been kept within the limits of scientific research. Now, Australian Genomics is keen to push their use into a clinical setting, where they can benefit […]

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Health & Medicine

Climate change impacts the transmission of vector-borne diseases

Climate change is responsible for changes in temperature and rainfall patterns as well as more frequent extreme events such as floods. These changes may cause insect displacements to regions that are more favourable to them. This can prove to be problematic for local human populations as some of these insects carry diseases: vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by parasites, viruses […]

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Health & Medicine

Reactive oxygen species are at the heart of innate immunity

Our innate immune system is our first line of defence against disease. At the heart of this response is an enzyme complex, called NADPH oxidase, which produces a form of reactive oxygen molecule to destroy invading pathogens. Professor Edgar Pick of Tel Aviv University, has made a huge contribution to this field of research, enhancing our understanding of the foundations […]

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Health & Medicine

Neuronal cultures to study the brain and neurological disorders

Understanding the brain is essential, for example to treat neurological disorders that affect one in six people worldwide. However, studying the brain is challenging: it is so complex and difficult to access. Cell biologist Dr Daniel Tornero and neurophysicist Dr Jordi Soriano, from the University of Barcelona, developed neuronal cultures that can be used to study mechanisms involved in brain […]

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Health & Medicine

Overcoming resistance to cancer immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, is a great step forward in cancer treatment. Unfortunately, however, it is currently ineffective in most patients. This resistance can be caused by a type of cell called a cancer-associated fibroblast, which builds protective defences around tumours. In a recent study, Professor Gareth Thomas and his team at the […]

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Health & Medicine

Inflammatory bowel disease and epithelial barrier function

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs when the epithelial cells lining the gut become weakened, allowing gut microbes to activate immune cells. Gut barrier weakening can be caused by a loss of function of the PTPN2 gene. Professor Declan McCole of the University of California, Riverside and various collaborators have extensively researched the role of the epithelial barrier in IBD, the […]

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