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Half-Billion-Year-Old Heart Found More Complex than Today’s

April 24, 2014 | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

520 million years ago, the first known animal heart, the heart of an ancient shrimp, was formed. Now, it, and its vascular system, have been found to be more complex than that of modern shrimp, researchers report.         

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Eat More Vegetables, Live a Longer Life

April 23, 2014 1:56 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

We should eat even more vegetables than our governments— and moms— said. A recent study found that eating seven (or more) servings of veggies and fruits a day extends life by what the authors bill as a “staggering” 42 percent.       

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Killing Cancer on the Run

April 22, 2014 3:30 pm | by Skip Derra | Comments

A dream solution to cancer metastasis has been to develop a method that can track and kill the cancer cells that are on the move. The complexity at which those cancer cells operate has long been a formidable obstacle to stopping metastases, which cause 90 percent of cancer deaths, but that may change. 

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Cloning Making a Comeback?

April 18, 2014 1:46 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Cloning has finally generated immunologically compatible embryonic stem cells for older humans: two men aged 35 and 75. It may also generate significantly fewer tumor-causing mutations than the popular induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) method of making ES cells.

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Small Molecules Making Big News in Cancer Treatment

April 17, 2014 2:24 pm | by Neil Canavan | Comments

Size doesn’t matter as long as long as you can get the job done. That said, one may be forgiven the impression that larger molecules—antibodies and related constructs, or T cells themselves being used in immunotherapies—were preferentially presented at American Association of Cancer Research annual conference

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Immunotherapies Rock the House

April 16, 2014 2:05 pm | by Neil Canavan | Comments

The potential of immunotherapies drew large interest at this year's American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. And the new data are particularly striking for their clinical results—reporting once uncommon at this basic research meeting.

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Versatile Nanosponges Now Aimed at MRSA Toxins

April 3, 2014 2:16 pm | by Skip Derra | Comments

In successful research, any one path can quickly lead to new paths of even more promising results. This branching out of a research project couldn’t be more true than for a team of researchers at the UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. UCSD researchers have developed “nanosponges” that were initially designed as a platform for cancer drug delivery and now are being developed to soak up the dangerous pore-forming toxin produced by MRSA.

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Scientist Said He May Have Made STAP Cells—Just As Riken Called Fraud

April 2, 2014 1:23 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Riken Institute brass want co-authors of the “acid bath” stem cell papers to retract one, after appeal, citing deliberate misconduct. But two developments may complicate this. First, lead author Haruko Obokata refuses to accept it. And Kenneth Lee has become the first scientist outside the co-authors to publicly claim that, following the latest protocol for acid bath cells, he may have made them.

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Cancer Stem Cell Camps

March 4, 2014 4:51 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

At least two camps have formed in the “breast cancer stem cell” world. One camp believes most cancers may come from stem cells—or stem-like progenitors—gone awry. Others agree cancers can be most virulent when reaching a stem cell-like state—but believe they may come from both stem cells and mature cells gone awry.

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Multi-Parametric Electrophysiological Imaging of the Mammalian Heart in vivo

February 24, 2014 2:41 pm | by James Joubert, application scientist, Photometrics | Photometrics | Comments

Cardiac arrhythmia is one of the most common diseases encountered in clinical cardiology. High-speed electrophysiological imaging using fluorescent probes has yielded tremendous insights into the basic mechanisms of arrhythmias and the effects of anti-arrhythmic drugs. However, optical mapping, as it is known to the cardiac research community, has remained relegated to the isolated (i.e. explanted) heart.

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Estrogen Affects Blood Stem Cells, Explaining Pregnancy

February 20, 2014 2:19 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Researchers have another answer to the question of how females can generate so much blood—enough for two blood systems—during pregnancy. The answer is stem cells, as is so often the case lately when a question has something to do with underlying biological mechanisms.

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Binge Drinking Impairs Bone Healing

February 19, 2014 1:54 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Binge drinking impairs the healing of broken bones. It can do this weeks after a binge. And it can leave in its wake permanently inferior bone, according to recent studies. One reason: alcohol slows down mesenchymal (bone, fat, and cartilage) stem cells (MSCs), in the bloodstream, trying to home to fracture sites. And when MSCs finally reach fracture sites, alcohol keeps them from properly replacing lost cells.

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The New Stem Cells

February 10, 2014 1:59 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Labs globally are electrified by the notion that just “stressing out” ordinary adult cells may turn them into pluripotent stem cells like the “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPSCs) of Nobel Prize winner Shinya Yamanaka. But is this about co-opting an evolutionarily conserved, natural way of making young cells out of old? Or is it an unnatural way of hastening old cells’ death?

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Getting Old Neural Stem Cells to Make Young Neurons Again

February 6, 2014 1:30 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

When the neural stem cells in our brains get older, they create far fewer neurons.  This plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. It also plays a role in our increasingly deficient ability to simply find those car keys. New research is changing that paradigm.

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Nuts Were All Our Big Brains Needed Millions of Years Ago

January 22, 2014 9:35 am | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

Nuts are in the news: a recent study has offered evidence for a big reason our bodies are so nuts for nuts. They are apparently almost all our big brains needed to survive— thus almost all we ate— from 1.4 to 2.4 million years ago.    

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Genetic Technique Dramatically Improves Pregnancy Rates of Older Women

January 21, 2014 9:36 am | by Cynthia Fox | Comments

A large global team of reproduction experts has found a way to even the score for older women seeking pregnancy using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).                      

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