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One of the most astounding discoveries of recent times is just how much influence gut bacteria have on our health and well-being. In addition to extracting nutrients from food, the collective activity of these tiny organisms protects people from infection and regulates the immune system. However, changes in the gut microbiota have been implicated in diseases ranging from obesity and diabetes to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.
Researchers have long known that some genes can cause cancer when overactive, but exactly what happens inside the cell nucleus when the cancer grows has so far remained enigmatic. Now, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found a new mechanism that renders one canonical driver of cancer overactive. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, create conditions for brand new strategies to fight cancer.
(HealthDay)—Systematic prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening is advised for men who are carriers of the BRCA2 mutation, which is associated with a higher incidence of prostate cancer, younger age at diagnosis, and clinically significant tumors, according to the interim results of a study published in the December issue of European Urology.
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine identified a new gene mutation that may cause a type of familial thyroid cancer. Dr. Darrin Bann, an otolaryngology resident at the College of Medicine and lead author of the study, said that this mutation is the first and only mutation associated with familial thyroid cancer to be identified in a gene that is primarily expressed in the thyroid gland.
Officials from Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics have announced that preliminary results from testing CRISPR gene-editing treatment in human patients with blood disorders show promise thus far. The joint project between the two firms is taking place at one location in Europe and another in the United States. The results have been posted on the Vertex Pharmaceuticals web site.
Living implies change. This is what happens to the cells of our bodies as we grow older: They accumulate genetic alterations, most of which are harmless. However, in some specific cases, these mutations can affect certain genes and can lead to the development of cancer. The source of these alterations can be exogenous (e.g., solar radiation, tobacco smoke or some toxic substance) or endogenous (e.g., errors in DNA processing).
Using CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screens a multi-institutional research team systematically interrogated the essentiality of more than 10,000 forkhead box protein A1 (FOXA1) and CTCF binding sites in breast and prostate cancer cells, plucking useful needles from a massive genomic haystack that contains millions of transcription factor binding sites.
Whole-genome sequencing can be used to diagnose intellectual disability more accurately than other methods of genetic analysis, researchers at Karolinska Institutet report in the scientific journal Genome Medicine. Whole-genome sequencing using analytical tools developed by the researchers will now be introduced for first-line clinical diagnosis at Karolinska University Laboratory in Sweden.

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