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Researchers find proteins that might restore damaged sound-detecting cells in the ear

Using genetic tools in mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have identified a pair of proteins that precisely control when sound-detecting cells, known as hair cells, are born in the mammalian inner ear. The proteins, described in a report published June 12 in eLife, may hold a key to future therapies to restore hearing in people with irreversible deafness. Read more.

Published August 5, 2019 by Eureka

Why Dogs Now Play a Big Role in Human Cancer Research

The Cancer Moonshot initiative, launched under the Obama administration, was audacious by design: Supercharge cancer research to encourage innovation, with the mission “to end to cancer as we know it.”

Cancer researchers avoid using the word “cure.” From studying cancer at the molecular level, they know that tumors are complex—even personalized. There’s no simple cancer and no single cure. So, no single destination for a “moonshot.” Read more.

Published July 12, 2019 by Wired

Disrupted Gut Microbiome Promotes Breast Cancer Spread In Mice

Written by Victoria Forster

The health of the gut microbiome has been linked with numerous diseases from depression to multiple sclerosis and even cancer and response to cancer drugs including immunotherapies. Earlier this year, an ambitious $25 million project was launched to determine the role of the microbiome in colorectal cancer, but perhaps more surprisingly, a new study in mice has linked the health of the gut microbiome to the spread of breast cancer. Read more.

Published June 11, 2019 by Forbes 

Researchers identify faster, more effective drug combination regimens to treat tuberculosis

Human white blood cells infected with tuberculosis bacteria, shown in green. Photo credit: UCLA D.L. Clemens

Written by Enrique Rivero

Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly though curable disease. Each year about 10 million people develop active cases, and 1.6 million people die. In addition, about 1.7 billion people around the world are infected with TB bacteria, which can lie dormant for weeks to years, then become active and cause disease in up to 10 percent of those who are infected.

Today, people who contract tuberculosis typically take a course of drugs for six to eight months. However, the length of treatment means some patients don’t stick with the therapy or may develop adverse effects from drug toxicity. Some may develop resistance to the drugs, requiring changes in the drug regimen that can lengthen the treatment to as long as two years. Even worse, there is a high fatality rate among those with drug-resistant TB. Read more. 

Published May 13, 2019 by UCLA Newsroom

Major step towards individual cancer immunotherapy

T cells (left) become active in the body only when they recognise a peptide (blue, centre) located on one of the immune system’s sentinel cells (right). The ETH scientists repurposed sentinel cells in such a way that they indicate which peptides the T cells recognise. Photo credit: MedicalXpress/Science Photo Library / Keith Chambers

Medicine has great hopes for personalised cancer immunotherapy. The idea is to have a vaccine prompt the immune system to fight a tumour. Scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a method that allows them to determine which molecules are suited to patient-specific immunisation. Read more.

Published March 29, 2019 by Medical Xpress