Radiofrequency ablation effective in treating advanced lung cancer

Radiofrequency ablation can ease pain, slow tumor growth, and even destroy tumors in patients with advanced lung cancer, a new study shows. ?We treated 12 patients with thoracic tumors using radiofreqency ablation, which is the use of extreme heat to treat tumors,? says Eric vanSonnenberg, MD, chief of radiology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and visiting professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and lead author of the study. The patients either had maximal applications of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy or were unfit for these therapies anymore, Dr. vanSonnenberg says.

Male gene sparks immune reaction to stem cell transplants from female donors

Researchers report that in some cases of stem cell transplants from female donors to male recipients, the transplanted cells mount an immunological attack against the product of a gene carried by most cells in the body of male recipients. Emmanuel Zorn, PhD, says it is the first time that the gene, located on the Y chromosome and known as DBY, has been identified following a female-to-male stem cell transplant for leukemia.

Study sheds new light on how common painkillers prevent colon cancer

Building on earlier studies that have shown that common painkillers known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can reduce the risk of colon cancer in healthy people, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a mechanism by which NSAIDs inhibit the development of colon cancer. Compared with normal cells, colorectal cancer cells have abnormally high levels of an immune system protein, IL-6. David Frank, MD, PhD, and his Dana-Farber colleagues have discovered that IL-6 triggers malignant growth by activating a protein called STAT1, which transmits signals that prevent the normal scheduled death of cells in the colon.

Technique gives scientists clearest picture yet of all the genes of an animal

Scientists have used a powerful gene-mapping technique to produce the clearest picture yet of all the genes of an animal ? the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans (better known as C. elegans). Scientists believe the same technique may be used to bring the current, somewhat blurry picture of the human genome into sharper focus. The study, in Nature Genetics, describes an effort to locate and precisely identify all of the approximately 19,000 genes that have been predicted to exist in the genome of C. elegans.