Posted by: Dan | November 22, 2006

ScienceDaily picks

Blood Vessel-building Protein Halts Blood Vessels From Forming In Cancer:

  • Cell biologists at Jefferson Medical College and the Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have found that the protein fragment endorepellin blocks both skin and lung cancer tumors from progressing in animal models by preventing their ability to recruit new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. They showed that endorepellin has surprisingly powerful effects on halting a cancer tumor’s ability to move about and spread.
  • The researchers believe that these latest findings, appearing November 15, 2006 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, could lead to a new type of tumor inhibitor that might be used to prevent cancer from spreading to other areas in the body.

Advance Helps Explain Stem Cell Behavior:

  • Biochemists at Oregon State University have developed a new method to identify the “DNA-binding transcription factors” that help steer stem cells into forming the wide variety of cells that ultimately make up all the organs and parts of a living vertebrate animal.
  • The findings were made using mouse embryonic spinal cord as a model, and will be announced this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal.
  • The research is an important step towards understanding stem cell behavior, how cellular development is controlled, and how a single cell — which has the genetic code within it to become any cell in the body — is told what to become, where to go, and what metabolic function to perform.

Adult Neurogenesis Newly Adult-born Neurons Are Functionally Similar To Mature Neurons:

  • In mammals, the production of new brain cells occurs primarily at the time the nervous system is developing, although certain brain areas generate neurons throughout adulthood. One such area is the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in the critical function of memory and spatial perception. Hippocampal cells, specifically dentate granule cells, are continuously produced in adults as well as in young animals.
  • How these “adult-born” cells build their connections with the rest of the brain, and the extent to which they resemble “pup-born” cells, is of great interest to those who would like to coax other parts of adult brains to make new cells as a strategy for reversing the loss of function from trauma or degenerative disorders. To find out whether adult-born hippocampal neurons have different properties than mature neurons that arose when the brain was developing, Diego Laplagne, Alejandro Schinder, and colleagues compared how each type of neuron incorporated functionally into brain circuits.

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