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Archive - 2009

April 15th

Red Pandas Can Taste Artificial Sweetener

In a surprise finding, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have shown that a non-primate mammal (the red panda) can taste the articifial sweetener aspartame. Previously, only primates were believed able to taste this sweetener. The findings may shed light on how taste preferences and diet choice are shaped by molecular differences in taste receptors. [Press release]

Magnets Might Enable Low-Cost Nanopore DNA Sequencing

A novel technique to move DNA strands through nanopores at a slow enough speed for accurate sequencing has been developed by physicists at Brown University. The techique involves the use of "magnetic tweezers" in conjunction with an electric field to move the DNA. The researchers believe that this new technique might serve as the basis for lower-cost DNA sequencing. The research was reported in the journal Nanotechnology. [Press release]

Lung Cancer Susceptibility Gene Identified

Researchers have identified a lung cancer susceptibility gene (RGS17) that they believe may prove to be as important to lung cancer diagnosis and treatment as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have proven to be in breast cancer. They believe the RGS17 gene might eventually be used to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from earlier, more aggressive lung cancer screening. The research was published in the April 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. [Press release]

April 7th

New Drugs Offer Promise for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer

Researchers report the development of two new anti-androgen drugs that retain their effectiveness in the face of increased expression of the androgen receptor. Patients with metastatic prostate cancer are normally treated with drugs that antagonize androgen function, but most of these patients progress to a more aggressive form of the disease that is driven by increased expression of the androgen receptor. Both the new drugs bind more tightly to the androgen receptor than does the current clinically used anti-androgen. Both new drugs have shown evidence of effectiveness in mouse models, and one of the drugs has shown effectiveness in the early stages of a human clinical trial. The report of the new drug development will be published in the April 9 issue of Science Express.

April 6th

New Probe Permits Better Visualization of Single RNA Molecules

A new type of probe that allows researchers to visualize single molecules of RNA within living cells more easily than by existing methods has been developed by biomedical engineers at Georgia Tech and collaborating institutions. "The probes we designed shine bright, are small and easy to assemble, bind rapidly to their targets, and can be imaged for hours. These characteristics make them a great choice for studying the movement and location of RNA inside a single cell and the interaction between RNA and binding proteins," said Philip Santangelo, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, and a co-author of the article published online in Nature Methods on April 6.

March 30th

March 5th

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