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[ An Earlier Genetic Molecule May Predate DNA And RNA ]

An Earlier Genetic Molecule May Predate DNA And RNA

In the chemistry of the living world, a pair of nucleic acids - DNA and RNA - reign supreme. As carrier molecules of the genetic code, they provide all organisms with a mechanism for faithfully reproducing themselves as well as generating the myriad proteins vital to living systems. Yet according to John Chaput, a researcher at the Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics, at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute® , it may not always have been so. Chaput and other researchers studying the first tentative flickering of life on earth have investigated various alternatives to familiar genetic molecules. These chemical candidates are attractive to those seeking to unlock the still-elusive secret of how the first life began, as primitive molecular forms may have more readily emerged during the planet's prebiotic era.

Sorafenib Effective In Patients With Non-small Cell Lung Cancer, But Low Survival Rates Reported

Sorafenib was effective in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a KRAS mutation, but survival rates were reportedly "unsatisfactory, " according to data presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer: Biology, Therapy and Personalized Medicine, held Jan. 8-11, 2012. Patients with lung cancer and a KRAS mutation are believed to have a poor prognosis and may not benefit from treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, according to study author Wouter W. Mellema, M.D., a doctoral candidate at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. "There is a great need for targeted treatment options for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a KRAS mutation, " he said. In the phase 2, multicenter study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers assigned 57 patients with NSCLC and a KRAS mutation to 400 mg of sorafenib twice daily.

Circulating Tumor Cells Analyzed In Patients With Lung Cancer

Researchers have developed a method to analyze circulating tumor cells in the blood of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. This method, which can analyze a sample size as small as three cells, may allow clinicians to track cancer progress and treatments and could help them develop new therapies. "We have developed an extremely sensitive test that could be able to detect mutations present in circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and we are hoping that from their characterization, we would be able to understand diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers, " said Heidi S. Erickson, Ph.D., assistant professor of thoracic/head and neck medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Erickson presented the findings at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer: Biology, Therapy and Personalized Medicine, held Jan.

Following Genetic Testing For Breast Cancer Genes, Most Parents Share Results With Their Children

A new study has found that when parents get tested for breast cancer genes, many of them share their results with their children, even with those who are very young. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also revealed that most parents think that their children are not distressed when they learn about the test results. For parents, one of the primary motivations for getting tested for hereditary cancer genes is to better understand the risk that their children face; however, many parents struggle with the decision of whether, and when, to tell their minor children the results of such tests. To help determine what factors make parents more or less likely to report their test results to their children, Angela Bradbury, MD, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and her colleagues interviewed 253 parents who had genetic testing for mutations in two common breast cancer-related genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that can be inherited.

Monkeys Born From Stem Cells

The birth of three monkeys from a stem cell research program is being hailed as a major breakthrough in genetic engineering. It appears that the mouse stem cells widely used in studies, follow a different developmental process, that was previously thought to be identical to primate and human. Scientists have opened a window to a new strategy, and one which has seemed out of reach for more than ten years. Now it is possible for cloning primate and even human stem cells, into living breathing organisms. The monkeys were all male and appear to be healthy. The work, by developmental biologist Masahito Tachibana of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, was reported in the journal 'Cell'. Instead of using embryonic stem cells cultured from lines of cells grown in petri dishes, the researchers used early-stage stem cells taken directly from monkey four-cell embryos to create 10 chimeric, or genetically mixed, embryos.

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