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medicalschool:

In the past few years, next-generation cancer drugs have started trickling into the clinics, including a smart inhibitor that block a specific mutant kinase (V600E-B-RAF) and antibodies that can induce T cell-mediated rejection of certain tumors (anti-CTL4 antibodies). Another promising approach is to genetically modify T cells to attack tumors and then infuse the cells into cancer patients. Indeed, this strategy is currently entering clinical trials, specifically with T cells engineered to express the chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).

Movie: Here T cells (gray) are engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to redirect T-cell specificity to target CD19-positive tumor cells, expressing EGFP (green). Tumor cells turn red after the T-cell attacks and kills them (propidium iodide staining). The time-lapse imaging was performed using Nikon’s BioStation. Video presented by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Cancer and the Immune System: A Double-Edged Sword

ucsdhealthsciences:

Cell surface sugars can promote or inhibit cancer depending upon stage

During cancer development, tumor cells decorate their surfaces with sugar compounds called glycans that are different from those found on normal, healthy cells. In the Sept. 15 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that sialic acids at the tips of these cancer cell glycans are capable of engaging with immune system cells and changing the latter’s response to the tumor – for good and bad.

“These cell surface glycans can promote or inhibit cancer progression, depending upon the stage of the disease,” said principal investigator Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “Our findings underscore the complexity of cancer and the consequent challenges in conquering it. The immune system may be a double-edged sword in cancer, tumor-promoting or tumor-inhibiting, depending upon circumstances.”

Specifically, the researchers found that receptors called siglecs on subsets of neutrophils and macrophages (two types of immune cell) can bind to sialic acids on the surface of tumor cells. Depending upon the stage of cancer and the tumor model used, the scientists reported that interaction between immune cell siglecs and tumor cell sialic acids produced opposite outcomes.

“During initial stages of growth, cancer cells appear to protect themselves from extermination by neutrophils by engaging siglecs via sialic acid-capped glycans,” said Varki, who is also a faculty member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “But once the tumor was established, further growth was inhibited by engagement of siglecs on macrophages.”

The findings follow upon research by Varki and colleagues published earlier this year in PNAS that showed anti-tumor antibodies also behave contrarily. Low concentrations of antibodies can support cancer growth, but higher concentrations may inhibit it.

“The fact that the immune system can exert a promoting or inhibiting effect on cancer progression, depending on the situation and stage of disease, has importance for designing clinical trials with drugs that target the immune system,” said first author Heinz Läubli, MD, PhD.

For example, siglecs might prove viable drug targets for preventing early cancer progression. Study co-author Ann Schwartz, PhD, MPH, of the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit investigated 332 patients with lung cancer to assess whether they had a natural siglec variant that reduced binding to tumor cell surface sialic acids. Such patients have a greater chance for survival after two years, but the effect diminishes and disappears later.

“We need more studies to understand the mechanisms in siglecs mediating the switch between tumor-promoting and tumor-inhibiting before possible therapies can be developed,” Varki said.

Completed knitting project! || Haruni shawl by Emily Ross

Yarn: Morris Empire 2ply. I used two strands of yarn together (dark purple and green).

I love this pattern because of the leaves, which is why these pics are so focused on them. It turned out a little smaller than expected, but I’m still ecstatic to have finished it! 

PS. Please ignore my bed spread. I have an obsession with purple. 

(Source: yarnlikecrazy)

soycrates:

"Now buy a house!" (smbc-comics)

mindblowingscience:

Study: 99.999% Certainty Humans Are Contributing To Global Warming

There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, new research shows.
Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.
Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.
Our work extends existing approaches undertaken internationally to detect climate change and attribute it to human or natural causes. The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report provided an expert consensus that:
It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.
Decades of Extraordinary Temperatures
July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. The last time the global average surface temperature fell below that 20th-century monthly average was in February 1985, as reported by the US-based National Climate Data Center.
This means that anyone born after February 1985 has not lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month.

Continue Reading.

mindblowingscience:

Study: 99.999% Certainty Humans Are Contributing To Global Warming

There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, new research shows.

Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.

Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.

Our work extends existing approaches undertaken internationally to detect climate change and attribute it to human or natural causes. The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report provided an expert consensus that:

It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

Decades of Extraordinary Temperatures

July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. The last time the global average surface temperature fell below that 20th-century monthly average was in February 1985, as reported by the US-based National Climate Data Center.

This means that anyone born after February 1985 has not lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month.

Continue Reading.

astrodidact:

Screening for breast cancer is a relatively clumsy process of feeling around for lumps. MRI, mammograms and ultrasounds can improve accuracy but they are too expensive to be used during every check-up. 

Now, biomolecular engineers Ravi Saraf and Chieu Van Nguyen from the University of Nebraska in the US have devised a new way of detecting the disease. They’ve created an ‘electronic skin’ that could ‘feel’ through tissue and locate small lumps.

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141309-26171.html

astrodidact:

Screening for breast cancer is a relatively clumsy process of feeling around for lumps. MRI, mammograms and ultrasounds can improve accuracy but they are too expensive to be used during every check-up.

Now, biomolecular engineers Ravi Saraf and Chieu Van Nguyen from the University of Nebraska in the US have devised a new way of detecting the disease. They’ve created an ‘electronic skin’ that could ‘feel’ through tissue and locate small lumps.

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141309-26171.html

life-of-a-medical-student:

How a human lung is kept alive and breathing for transplant

life-of-a-medical-student:

How a human lung is kept alive and breathing for transplant

nprglobalhealth:

How Do You Catch Ebola: By Air, Sweat Or Water?
There’s no question Ebola is one of the most terrifying diseases out there. It causes a painful death, typically kills more than 50 percent of those infected and essentially has no cure.
But if you compare how contagious the Ebola virus is to, say SARS or the measles, Ebola just doesn’t stack up. In fact, the virus is harder to catch than the common cold.
That’s because there has been no evidence that Ebola spreads between people through the air. Health experts repeatedly emphasize that human-to-human transmission requires direct contact with infected bodily fluids, including blood, vomit and feces.
And to infect, those fluids have to reach a break in the skin or the mucous membranes found around your eyes, mouth and nose.
But that hasn’t stopped two-thirds of Americans from thinking that the virus spreads “easily,” a poll from Harvard School of Public Health found in August. Almost 40 percent of the 1,025 people surveyed said they worry about an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. More than a quarter were concerned about catching the virus themselves.
Many questions still linger. Is Ebola really not airborne? Can it spread through contaminated water? What about through a drop of blood left behind on a table?
So we took those questions to two virologists: Alan Schmaljohn at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Jean-Paul Gonzalez at Metabiota, a company that tracks global infectious diseases.
Continue reading.
Photo: A burial team in Barkedu, Liberia, buries their protective clothing alongside the body of an Ebola victim. It’s possible to catch the virus from clothing soiled by infected blood or other bodily fluids. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)

nprglobalhealth:

How Do You Catch Ebola: By Air, Sweat Or Water?

There’s no question Ebola is one of the most terrifying diseases out there. It causes a painful death, typically kills more than 50 percent of those infected and essentially has no cure.

But if you compare how contagious the Ebola virus is to, say SARS or the measles, Ebola just doesn’t stack up. In fact, the virus is harder to catch than the common cold.

That’s because there has been no evidence that Ebola spreads between people through the air. Health experts repeatedly emphasize that human-to-human transmission requires direct contact with infected bodily fluids, including blood, vomit and feces.

And to infect, those fluids have to reach a break in the skin or the mucous membranes found around your eyes, mouth and nose.

But that hasn’t stopped two-thirds of Americans from thinking that the virus spreads “easily,” a poll from Harvard School of Public Health found in August. Almost 40 percent of the 1,025 people surveyed said they worry about an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. More than a quarter were concerned about catching the virus themselves.

Many questions still linger. Is Ebola really not airborne? Can it spread through contaminated water? What about through a drop of blood left behind on a table?

So we took those questions to two virologists: Alan Schmaljohn at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Jean-Paul Gonzalez at Metabiota, a company that tracks global infectious diseases.

Continue reading.

Photo: A burial team in Barkedu, Liberia, buries their protective clothing alongside the body of an Ebola victim. It’s possible to catch the virus from clothing soiled by infected blood or other bodily fluids. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)

startswithabang:

What is the Big Rip?

"If dark energy is only a constant, than things like our Solar System, our galaxy, and even our local group of galaxies — consisting of the Milky Way, Andromeda, the Triangulum Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds and a few dozen small, dwarf galaxies — will remain gravitationally bound together for trillions upon trillions of years into the future. But if dark energy is increasing, or getting stronger over time, then that acceleration rate will not only drive distant galaxies away from us, but will cause these structures to become gravitationally unbound as time goes on!"

Now that dark energy is firmly in place as the dominant source of energy in the Universe, the race is on to figure out exactly what its properties are, and what that will mean for the Universe’s fate. If it’s truly a cosmological constant, we’re in for a Big Freeze, as galaxies expand away from one another faster and faster, leaving only our gravitationally-bound local group behind. But if dark energy changes over time, we might yet see a Big Crunch or the most horrifying of all fates: a Big Rip, where galaxy-by-galaxy, star-by-star and eventually atom-by-atom, everything is torn apart!

medresearch:

Study sheds light on asthma and respiratory viruses
People with asthma often have a hard time dealing with respiratory viruses such as the flu or the common cold, and researchers have struggled to explain why.In a new study that compared people with and without asthma, the answer is becoming clearer. The researchers found no difference in the key immune response to viruses in the lungs and breathing passages. The work, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma. This means that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.Read moreFunding: This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grant numbers AADCRC U19-AI070489 and U19-AI000000, U10-HL109257, and CTSA UL1 TR000448), and Roche Postdoctoral Fellowship awards.
Care about research like this? Sign on to our Thunderclap campaign (http://bit.ly/NIHthunderclap) to tell Congress to finish what it started and pass the FY 2015 Labor-HHS spending bill now to restore sequestration cuts so that the promise of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research can be realized.

medresearch:

Study sheds light on asthma and respiratory viruses

People with asthma often have a hard time dealing with respiratory viruses such as the flu or the common cold, and researchers have struggled to explain why.

In a new study that compared people with and without asthma, the answer is becoming clearer. The researchers found no difference in the key immune response to viruses in the lungs and breathing passages. The work, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma. This means that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.

Read more

Funding: This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grant numbers AADCRC U19-AI070489 and U19-AI000000, U10-HL109257, and CTSA UL1 TR000448), and Roche Postdoctoral Fellowship awards.

Care about research like this? Sign on to our Thunderclap campaign (http://bit.ly/NIHthunderclap) to tell Congress to finish what it started and pass the FY 2015 Labor-HHS spending bill now to restore sequestration cuts so that the promise of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research can be realized.