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Gene switch turns stem cells into cancer killers

BiologyA gene has been discovered that turns stem cells into cancer killers, promising new treatments that boost the body's ability to destroy tumors.

South Korean scientists from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology in Daejeon say that the gene, Vitamin D3 Upregulated Protein 1 (VDUP1), spurs stem cells to become natural killer cells.

Bacteria thrive deep under sea floor

BiologyAnalysis of sediments taken from hundreds of metres beneath the ocean floor has shown them to contain living microbes. According to a study produced by a team of researchers supported by the International Ocean Drilling Program, this is the first time that microbes have been found in abundance at such depths.

Scientists have long speculated about how much of the bacterial content of the sediments is biologically active. Techniques used to stain the bacteria and identify them could not previously discriminate between live and dead cells. For this study a new technique that could distinguish between alive and dead cells was used.

Altered HIV a potential cancer treatment?

HealthAt UCLA, a team of researchers has developed a harmless version of HIV that is designed to seek out, and potentially destroy, cancer cells.

In a laboratory-mouse experiment, the treated cells headed directly for melonoma and lung cancer cells, clustering around them with a surprising level of intuitiveness. Gene therapy for cancer has been at an impasse for the last 20 years, said the team, but now an effective carrier has been found in the most unlikely of sources. Essentially, one of the world’s largest health threats is now being considered to fight another.

AIDS 'super bug' diagnosed in New York

BiologyNew York – A drug-resistant and quick-acting form of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been detected in New York City, according to officials.

Although diagnosed in only one man so far, this mutated version of the virus progresses to AIDS faster than other forms of HIV, officials said. Diagnosed with HIV in mid-October, the unnamed New York City man developed the full-blown form AIDS by mid-January. Normally HIV infection can take up to 10 years to develop into AIDS.
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