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New study offers clues to how breast cancer spreads

A new study published by researchers at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center, in collaboration with researchers at Yale University, has identified two molecular predictors of breast cancer spread, or metastasis. This study may one day lead to tests of breast cancer tissue that will help physicians determine whether a woman’s breast cancer is likely to spread, or metastasize.

Study: Prion diseases might be prevented

UK scientists have made a major scientific advance by establishing proof of principle that the development of prion disease can be prevented in mice using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The work lays the foundation for further research to explore the potential of mAbs to treat specific prion diseases such as CJD and vCJD. The work is published today (6 March 2003) in Nature.

Tailor-made proteins manufactured in novel E. coli system

The prospect of using bacteria to manufacture complex human proteins for use in therapeutic drugs is a step closer thanks to new research published today in Science. Researchers from Switzerland and the UK report they have engineered the bacterium Escherichia coli to carry a vital piece of cell machinery that adds sugar molecules to newly synthesized proteins by a process known as glycosylation. The finding opens up the possibility of producing complex human proteins such as Factor VIII and the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the production of red blood cells by stem cells in bone marrow. Both these proteins, which require the addition of sugar molecules to function properly, are currently produced by culturing mammalian cells, which can be a costly and technically difficult process.

PC group-think reports first success

For the first time, a distributed computing experiment has produced significant results that have been published in a scientific journal. Writing in the online edition of Nature magazine, Stanford University scientists describe how they — with the help of 30,000 personal computers — successfully simulated part of the complex folding process that a typical protein molecule undergoes to achieve its unique, three-dimensional shape.