Blogs for December 2017

From Then ‘till Now: The History of Autophagy and Cancer Research

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 09:44
Autophagy Handbook

By Christina Towers, PhD.

The fundamental process that cells use to degrade damaged cytoplasmic material and recycle nutrients is called autophagy.  This term was first coined by the Belgium biochemist Christian de Duve stemming from the Greek translations of “auto” meaning “self” and “phagy” meaning “eat”, thus: “autophagy” translates to “eating one’s self”.  de Duve’s seminal work identified the previously unknown organelle, the lysosome and transpired in a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 19741.

Almost 4 decades after de Duve...

Friends become Foes: Molecular Chaperons, Hsp70 and Hsp90, Cause Muscle Wasting in Cancers

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 09:03
Exosome research

By Jamshed Arslan Pharm.D.

Muscle atrophy is a common feature of many tumors. Cancer-induced muscle wasting, or cancer cachexia, results from pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNFα and IL-6) and/or agonists of type IIB activin receptors (ActRIIB), but the key humoral factors have remained elusive. Animal studies have implicated systemic inflammation-induced activation of p38β MAPK-C/EBPβ signaling, but the etiology of cancer cachexia was unclear until recently. A team led by researchers at the University of...

Forecasting and Targeting a Rare Cancer with Hypoxia-Inducible Factor

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 08:57

By Jamshed Arslan Pharm.D.

Cancers of nerve, adipose, and other soft tissues are called soft tissue sarcomas (STS). Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is an example of a rare and hard-to-treat STS; even after the surgical removal (which is the only viable option), the tumor often relapses causing poor patient survival. The search for novel treatment targets led a team of researchers in Japan [1] to a transcription factor called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). Normally, HIF-1α adapts cells to hypoxic conditions by localizing to the nucleus where it regulates cell growth with the help of transcriptional co-activators...

CD95 Mediates Neurovascular Development

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 11:36
CD95 Mediates Neurovascular Development

By Yoskaly Lazo-Fernandez, PhD

The cell surface receptor CD95 (also known as Fas or APO-1) is the best-characterized member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily1. Many receptors in this family, including CD95 are called Death Receptors because of their ability to induce apoptosis2. In cells expressing CD95, apoptosis is triggered by the binding of this receptor’s specific ligand, CD95L. This mechanism, which was originally discovered in the early nineties, allows CD95L...

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