Sunday, June 22, 2008

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

New cancer treatment targets both tumor cells and blood vessels
It takes more than one punch to fight tumors. Often, tumors have more than one way of surviving, and attacking the tumor alone is not enough. Now, in a new study, University of Missouri researchers have developed a new non-toxic treatment that effectively reduces breast cancer cells, by combining a small molecular drug that targets tumor cells with an antibody that causes selective shutdown of tumor blood vessels.

Great apes think ahead
Apes can plan for their future needs just as we humans can -- by using self-control and imagining future events. Mathias and Helena Osvath's research, from Lunds University Cognitive Science in Sweden, is the first to provide conclusive evidence of advanced planning capacities in nonhuman species. Their findings are published online this week in Springer's journal, Animal Cognition.

Trap and zap: Harnessing the power of light to pattern surfaces on the nanoscale
Princeton engineers have invented an affordable technique that uses lasers and plastic beads to create the ultrasmall features that are needed for new generations of microchips.

New study: Pine bark significantly reduces menstrual pain
A new study reveals dysmenorrhea, a condition that causes extremely painful menstrual periods affecting millions of women each year, can be reduced naturally by taking Pycnogenol, pine bark extract from the French maritime pine tree. The multicenter field study, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, shows women with dysmenorrhea who supplemented with Pycnogenol experienced less pain and required less pain medications during menstruation.

Carnegie Mellon system estimates geographic location of photos
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised the first computerized method that can analyze a single photograph and determine where in the world the image likely was taken. It's a feat made possible by searching through millions of GPS-tagged images in the Flickr online photo collection.

Gene mutation improves leukemia drug's effect
A new study led by Ohio State University cancer researchers shows that people with acute myeloid leukemia whose leukemic cells have mutations in the RAS gene are more likely to be cured when treated after remission with high doses of the drug cytarabine. It also suggests that testing for RAS mutations might help doctors identify which AML patients should receive high-dose cytarabine as their post-remission therapy. The findings could change how doctors manage these patients.

Perfecting a solar cell by adding imperfections
Nanotechnology is paving the way toward improved solar cells. New research shows that a film of carbon nanotubes may be able to replace two of the layers normally used in a solar cell, with improved performance at a lower cost. Researchers have found a surprising way to give the nanotubes the properties they need: add defects.

Immune molecule that plays a powerful role in avoiding organ rejection identified
When a mouse's immune system is deciding whether to reject a skin graft, one powerful member of a molecular family designed to provoke such a response can effectively reduce the visibility of the mouse's own cells and help the graft survive, researchers say.

Children learn smart behaviors without knowing what they know
Young children show evidence of smart and flexible behavior early in life -- even though they don't really know what they're doing, new research suggests. In a series of experiments, scientists tested how well 4- and 5-year-olds were able to rely on different types of information to choose objects in a group.

Heightened sense of taste can promote weight loss
People can lose weight by flavoring their food with calorie-free seasonings and sweeteners, which may make them feel full faster and decrease their consumption, according to a new study. The results will be presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Ability to track stem cells in tumors could advance cancer treatments
Using noninvasive molecular imaging technology, a method has been developed to track the location and activity of mesenchymal stem cells in the tumors of living organisms, according to researchers at SNM's 55th Annual Meeting. This ability could lead to major advances in the use of stem cell therapies to treat cancer.

Nanotechnology, biomolecules and light unite to 'cook' cancer cells
Researchers are testing a new way to kill cancer cells selectively by attaching cancer-seeking antibodies to tiny carbon tubes that heat up when exposed to near-infrared light.

Computer predicts anti-cancer molecules
A new computer-based method of analyzing cellular activity has correctly predicted the anti-tumor activity of several molecules. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Cancer describes 'CoMet' -- a tool that studies the integrated machinery of the cell and predicts those components that will have an effect on cancer.


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