Sunday, December 18, 2011

Science Daily: Tumor-Specific Pathway Identified

A research team in the United States has recently identified a pathway in tumour cells that could be exploited in order to destroy the cancer itself. It involves the Kreb's cycle, the most studied metabolic process in all respiring cells and organisms. The simple difference between the normal pathway and the cancerous pathway is that the cancerous one is in the reverse direction. Instead of acetyl acetate being broken down it is actually formed and renewed as the cycle progresses.The products of the cycle are still carbon dioxide and water however they are formed at different stages in the cycle.

They have learned that certain cancers have gene mutations which alter their metabolisms providing new therapeutic windows of opportunity.

Andrew Mullen, a graduate student in genetics and development at UT Southwestern, was first author of the paper. Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Eunsook Jin, instructor in the Advanced Imaging Research Center; Pei-Hsuan Chen, graduate student in integrative biology; and Dr. Tzuling Cheng, a postdoctoral researcher in pediatrics. Scientists from Northwestern University and from the National Cancer Institute also participated.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Science Daily: Targeting Bacterial Gas Defenses Allow for Increased Efficacy of Numerous Antibiotics

Bacteria have pervaded the Earth ever since the dawn of the time. They are simple prokaryotic organisms that may multiply by binary fission to extraordinary amounts. That is why humans strive so hard to stop their action on our bodies as well as on other organisms. Antibiotics which first emerged in 1877 were the weapon that could be used to stop the onslaught. Although the results were spectacular at first, the bacteria developed resistance after only a few generations of exposure to the antibiotic (due to the DNA sharing in plasmids)

Bacillus anthracis
It has recently been recognized that H2S (hydrogen sulphide) may play a large part in protecting bacteria from various antibiotics. H2S acts as a general defense mechanism against oxidative stress, the process through which many antibiotics kill bacteria. This could prove to be a useful piece of information when considering when developing new techniques for the universal defence mechanism.

"In addition, the study demonstrates that bacteria that generate both H2S and nitric oxide (NO) simultaneously, such as B. anthracis (a causative of anthrax), cannot survive without both gases, even under normal growth conditions."
 This could prove to be another step to rid the world of all dangerous bacteria that could destroy our way of life which is something that everyone craves.