Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anti-sense might make sense for treating liver cancer

Anti-sense might make sense for treating liver cancer [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 3-Jan-2012
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study shows that it is possible to selectively target and block a particular microRNA that is important in liver cancer. The findings might offer a new therapy for this malignancy, which kills an estimated 549,000 people worldwide annually.

The animal study, by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James) and at Mayo Clinic, focused on microRNA-221 (miR-221), a molecule that is consistently present at abnormally high levels in liver cancer.

To control the problem molecule, the researchers designed a second molecule as a kind of mirror image of the first. That mirror molecule is called an antisense oligonucleotide, and it selectively bound to and blocked the action of miR-221 in human liver cancer transplanted into mice. The treatment significantly prolonged the animals' lives and promoted the activity of important tumor-suppressor genes.

"This study is significant because hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, generally has a poor prognosis, so we badly need new treatment strategies," says principal investigator Thomas Schmittgen, associate professor and chair of pharmaceutics at Ohio State's College of Pharmacy and a member of the OSUCCC James Experimental Therapeutics program.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Research.

For the study, Schmittgen and his colleagues injected liver cancer cells labeled with the luminescent lighting-bug protein luciferase into the livers of mice. The researchers used bioluminescence imaging to monitor tumor growth.

When the tumors reached the appropriate size, they gave one group of animals the molecule designed to block miR-221; the other group received a control molecule.

Key findings include the following:

  • After treatment with the antisense oligonucleotide, half the treated animals were alive at 10 weeks versus none of the controls.
  • The antisense oligonucleotide significantly reduced levels of miR-221 in both tumor and normal liver samples.
  • Treatment with the antisense oligonucleotide caused a three-fold increase in the activity of three important tumor-suppressor genes that are blocked by miR-221 in liver cancer. (The tumor suppressors were p27, p57 and PTEN.)

"Overall, this study provides proof-of-principle for further development of microRNA-targeted therapies for hepatocellular carcinomas," Schmittgen says.

###



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Anti-sense might make sense for treating liver cancer [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 3-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study shows that it is possible to selectively target and block a particular microRNA that is important in liver cancer. The findings might offer a new therapy for this malignancy, which kills an estimated 549,000 people worldwide annually.

The animal study, by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James) and at Mayo Clinic, focused on microRNA-221 (miR-221), a molecule that is consistently present at abnormally high levels in liver cancer.

To control the problem molecule, the researchers designed a second molecule as a kind of mirror image of the first. That mirror molecule is called an antisense oligonucleotide, and it selectively bound to and blocked the action of miR-221 in human liver cancer transplanted into mice. The treatment significantly prolonged the animals' lives and promoted the activity of important tumor-suppressor genes.

"This study is significant because hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, generally has a poor prognosis, so we badly need new treatment strategies," says principal investigator Thomas Schmittgen, associate professor and chair of pharmaceutics at Ohio State's College of Pharmacy and a member of the OSUCCC James Experimental Therapeutics program.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Research.

For the study, Schmittgen and his colleagues injected liver cancer cells labeled with the luminescent lighting-bug protein luciferase into the livers of mice. The researchers used bioluminescence imaging to monitor tumor growth.

When the tumors reached the appropriate size, they gave one group of animals the molecule designed to block miR-221; the other group received a control molecule.

Key findings include the following:

  • After treatment with the antisense oligonucleotide, half the treated animals were alive at 10 weeks versus none of the controls.
  • The antisense oligonucleotide significantly reduced levels of miR-221 in both tumor and normal liver samples.
  • Treatment with the antisense oligonucleotide caused a three-fold increase in the activity of three important tumor-suppressor genes that are blocked by miR-221 in liver cancer. (The tumor suppressors were p27, p57 and PTEN.)

"Overall, this study provides proof-of-principle for further development of microRNA-targeted therapies for hepatocellular carcinomas," Schmittgen says.

###



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail | Share Share ]

?


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/osum-amm010312.php

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ElTerrat: Aquesta nit (22:35h.) TV3 torna a emetre "Com va la vida?" amb l'Andreu @Buenafuente i l'@epunset. Els dos programes seguits.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

BLOOM WILL RESUME ROLE OF CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT IN NEW YEAR

Saturday December 31, 2011

NORTH ADAMS -- Backed by the support of every City Council member, Councilor Michael Bloom is graduating to the role of council president in the new year, a position he will be holding for the fourth time in his 22 years in city government.

"Primarily, I just want to run a good meeting that moves along within the agenda items, stays on target, and keeps people respectful and productive so the council can go about its business," he said. "I'm looking forward to helping the city move along."

The likely vice president, Bloom added, is Lisa M. Blackmer, a two-term council veteran.

According to Bloom, the biggest change the council will see under his guidance concerns the tenor and organization of meetings.

"For many communities throughout the state, citizen input is generally found at the beginning of the meeting, where people are allowed to comment on the agenda," he said. "I want the council rules to reflect that, so citizens will have the opportunity to speak during the hearing of visitors. This way, we will be able to emulate many Massachusetts cities and add to the decorum of meetings."

The new organization would not be unique to North Adams, Bloom said, but is actually the chosen model for most cities in the commonwealth.

"When discussion sways from the point at hand and becomes something much wider, it often enters arenas not appropriate for discussion," he said. "It becomes a type of meeting

that most people would find not in order for a city council."

Bloom hopes council members and Mayor Richard Alcombright will support a clearer separation between the council's agenda and citizen participation.

"I think the support is there. It would satisfy the public's concerns while allowing the councilors to do their jobs -- it's a win-win for everybody."

The 2012 Organization of City Government Meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 2, at 10 a.m., in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. The public event will feature the oaths of office being taken by Alcombright, city councilors, and members of the North Adams School Committee and the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District members.

Changes in councilors' committee and liaison assignments are also scheduled for release Monday.

According to Bloom, the council will immediately occupy itself with drafting the next budget cycle. Bloom, a longtime member of the Finance Committee and its current chairman, is stepping down from that post to assume the council presidency. He said he trusts the current committee.

"I know we have qualified people to continue doing the finances," he said. "At the end of the day, we should have a balanced budget. I don't see any drastic changes from last year's budget, and of course, we hope the state continues to provide the city with its promised funds."

Bloom added that with new growth in fiscal 2012 -- such as the Walmart Supercenter planned for Curran Highway -- the city should be in great shape.

To reach Phil Demers,
email pdemers@thetranscript.com.

Source: http://www.thetranscript.com/ci_19651031?source=rss_viewed

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Android Continues to Dominate U.S. Smartphone Market


Google's Android operating system maintained its position as the top smartphone OS in the U.S. last month, with Samsung-based devices leading the way, according to data from comScore.

In November, about 46.9 percent of smartphones in the U.S. were Android-based, up about 3.1 percent from three months before. Apple came in at number two with 28.7 percent, a 1.4 percent jump. RIM was number three, but its 16.6 percent share was a 3.1 percent drop from August.

Rounding out the top five were Microsoft's Windows Phone with 5.2 percent, a 0.5 percent slip, and Symbian with 1.5 percent, down 0.3 percent. (For more, see How Symbian's Endurance Leaves Room for Windows Phone.)

Android and iOS market share will likely continue to rise this month. According to post-Christmas stats from Flurry, device activations surged 353 percent over the holiday weekend. Between Dec. 1-20, there were about 1.5 million Android devices and iPhones activated on a daily basis. But that jumped to 6.8 million on Christmas, Flurry said. Some people, however, did not receive an iPhone in their stocking and took to Twitter to vent their (bratty) frustrations.

The most recent version of Android, known as Ice Cream Sandwich (see slideshow below), made its debut here on Dec. 15 with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Various handset makers have since announced plans to support ICS, but nailing down exact release dates has been a bit difficult, prompting PCMag's Jamie Lendino to suggest that Google's Android Update Alliance Is Already Dead.

Among all mobile devices, meanwhile, Samsung was the top manufacturer with 25.6 percent of the U.S. market, up 0.3 percent. LG and Motorola rounded out the top three, though both took a slight tumble. Apple was fourth at 11.2 percent, up 1.4 percent, followed by RIM with 6.5 percent, a 0.6 percent decline.

Earlier this month, Samsung said it sold more than 300 million handsets this year, the first time it has cracked that number.

The most popular activity on these devices, meanwhile, was texting?72.6 percent of the 30,000 people polled by comScore reported sending text messages, up 2.1 percent from August. Downloading apps was also popular, with 44.9 percent of phone owners participating, a 3.3 percent increase, followed by using the browser at 44.4 percent.

For more, see PCMag's year in review of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and RIM.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Source: http://feeds.ziffdavis.com/~r/ziffdavis/pcmag/breakingnews/~3/Mpo6QadZRjQ/0,2817,2398224,00.asp

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Ashley Cruseturner, Trib Board of Contributors: What Iowa means to the GOP

After months of positioning, the primary season is finally upon us. This Tuesday, Iowans will caucus and render the first real winners and losers in the race to secure the 2012 Republican nomination for president. By the end of January, the Iowa caucus and the three primaries that follow ? New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida ? will most likely bring startling clarity to the currently murky and distorted picture of this most volatile preseason of the modern political era.

How important is Iowa?

It can be everything. Iowa is the venue that gave life to the improbable candidacies of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Iowa also clarified extremely confusing and competitive races in 2000 and 2004, propelling Al Gore and John Kerry, respectively, on to relatively uneventful Democratic nomination victories.

However, the history of the Republican caucus in the Hawkeye State is less definitive. Iowa picked the eventual GOP nominee in 1996 and 2000, but Ronald Reagan lost to George H.W. Bush on his way to the nomination in 1980. Eight years later, likewise, Bush lost to Bob Dole in Iowa on the way to his own nomination. In the last cycle, Mike Huckabee shocked a pack of GOP contestants to win the caucus, while the eventual Republican standard-bearer, John McCain, finished a distant third.

What we think we know about Iowa in 2012: Ron Paul is going to run strong. Newt Gingrich is losing altitude but should remain viable at least through the first skirmish in the Heartland. Mitt Romney is now all in and, with the endorsement of the Des Moines Register, he will be a major factor. Michele Bachmann remains fully invested in Iowa with a number of home-field advantages. Rick Perry will spend more money than most of his opponents combined to compete in the caucus. And then here is Rick Santorum, who is desperately hoping to be the big surprise of the night.

What could happen in Iowa in 2012?

Although it would be unusual, it is possible that Iowa may yield five candidates polling between 10 and 22 percent with no one even breaking the 25-point threshold.

What happens if there is no breakout candidate? What happens if Wednesday morning finds four to six candidates tightly packed together?

Political handicappers often declare that there are ?only three tickets out of Iowa.? Undoubtedly, if Bachman, Perry or Santorum finish under 10 percent in Iowa, their presidential bids are dead on arrival with virtually no reason to extend their respective campaigns. If Romney scores big, he has a golden opportunity to seal the nomination by midmonth.

On the other hand, let us consider the chaos scenario. If no one wins in Iowa, perhaps no one loses. If no one candidate can pull away, but all candidates put points on the board, it is possible to imagine the race moving to New Hampshire with all the Iowa players still viable plus one: Jon Huntsman.

New Hampshire and beyond

If you can imagine an inconclusive Iowa, a disappointing night for former Gov. Romney in New Hampshire a week later would blow a huge hole in his presumptive front-runner status. Regardless, a desperate showdown would once again loom in South Carolina, a state primary that has over time come to serve as the kingmaker in GOP nomination contests. Conceivably, any number of still-surviving candidates (Perry, Bachmann, Santorum and/or Gingrich) could face an absolute last stand in the Palmetto State. Survivors of South Carolina would move on to Florida, which might well offer the climactic marquee battle of the early primary race.

With proportional voting in place for the first time ever in the GOP race, Romney finds himself in an extremely enviable position. Even if he suffers a series of second-place finishes, he will not face the same dilemma as in the last cycle. Rather than fading down the stretch with his frustrating silver and bronze performances for no points, this time around he accumulates delegates with each and every contest. Over the long haul, Romney?s money, key endorsements, organization, experience and ?steady-wins-the-race? strategy give him a singular advantage.

Long shots

On the strength of his organization, appeal to people of faith and his indefatigable courtship of Hawkeye voters, Santorum could perform beyond current predictions in Iowa. But even in the best-case scenario, he faces real trouble building on a better-than-expected showing outside the Hawkeye State.

Likewise, we will most likely remember Bachmann as an intriguing, hardworking candidate, but her prospects beyond the Iowa caucuses, based on her narrow appeal, seem incredibly dismal. Losing her Iowa campaign manager to Paul last week sure didn?t help.

Perry too seems an unlikely long-term contender at this point. But he still offers the best record of any GOP candidate in that he?s a three-term big-state governor who has a proven track record as a chief executive.

Traditionally, this is a good thing in a GOP primary. Of course, Perry has other liabilities, and it seems increasingly doubtful whether his resume can overcome his propensity to look unqualified. But it is possible that Iowans give him one more serious look before Tuesday. A pleasant surprise in Iowa for Perry gets him to the South, where he has a chance to bloom.

Gingrich continues to thrill party faithful with his ability to articulate conservative policy and philosophy with courage and panache. However, his temperament, a relentlessly hostile media and, most daunting, his complete lack of a campaign organization make him seem especially vulnerable over the long haul.

Paul, 75, a Texas Republican, will never be president. His tough love is just not politically palatable to enough voters. Because he runs a very frugal operation with an intensely dedicated following, and he can continue his campaign through to the convention, he will likely finish second overall in the final delegate count. Nevertheless, as long as he does not opt for a third-party run, his impact on the race is fully contained.

Jon Huntsman may be the last wild card. Besides Perry, he is the other person who can boast of a conservative record as a chief executive. Granted, Huntsman?s home state of Utah does not strike us as a ?birthplace of presidents,? but Americans sometimes elect governors from less obvious origins under extraordinary circumstances.

For Huntsman, the clock is ticking. He has not broken through nationally, and, frankly, that is mostly his fault. He has not found his rhythm on the stump, and he inexplicably chose to market himself as a moderate to political consumers craving sincere conservatism. However, due to the lingering dissatisfaction with the field, and with a lot of luck, he has a chance to re-brand himself and catch fire at the exact right time.

If he can make a move in New Hampshire, where he has invested all his time and money, he can generate enough momentum to make him a viable option in South Carolina on Jan. 21 and, more importantly, Florida on Jan. 31. His one-state strategy is high-risk, but, if he can win or show in the Granite State, Huntsman has a chance to create a bit of buzz as the new kid in town.

It?s not at all certain the Iowa caucuses will predict the eventual Republican nominee, but we could know much more Wednesday regarding the nature and contours of the 2012 primary race before us.

Ashley Cruseturner teaches history at McLennan Community College.

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Source: http://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/136491798.html

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WHO: Bird flu research raises safety questions (AP)

GENEVA ? The World Health Organization is warning that dangerous scientific information could fall into the wrong hands after U.S. government-funded researchers engineered a form of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus more easily transmissible between humans.

In a strongly worded statement Friday, WHO said it was "deeply concerned about the potential negative consequences" if the results of the study were used to create biological weapons or the mutated virus was accidentally released.

"This is not the kind of research that you would want to have out there," WHO's top influenza expert, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

At the same time, WHO was concerned that all credible researchers should be able to access the study to better understand how to prevent a deadly H5N1 pandemic, Fukuda said.

H5N1 rarely infects humans and usually only those who come into close contact with poultry. But among those infected, up to 60 percent die, and scientists are closely watching the virus for any signs it is becoming more easily transmissible from human to human.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health last week asked scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to refrain from publishing full details of their work on how to make the H5N1 virus more easily transmissible between humans.

The unprecedented step by NIH prompted concern in the scientific community that researchers with a legitimate need to know about these dangerous mutations, particularly in Asia, would be prevented from accessing the data.

Fukuda said there was a danger that perceived censorship of scientific results could harm the so-called Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, an international agreement painstakingly hammered out only recently by the global body's 194 member states.

"We don't want the concerns or controversies surrounding this H5N1 research to pose a risk to the implementation of that framework because we see it as a very important public health step," Fukuda told The Associated Press.

"But at the same time we recognize that the research raises questions about what are appropriate safeguards, what kind of procedures should be in place, what are the right mechanisms for reducing any risk," he said.

Fukuda said WHO itself had had not obtained the results of the two groups' research yet, and might not even ask for it.

"I'm hoping that we are privy to as much of the details as possible, but like anybody else one of the questions for us is what kind of information do we need to know," he said.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111231/ap_on_re_eu/eu_who_bird_flu

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cleveland Potash Works with Teesside University

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