Lessons from a Bean Sprout

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-19-2014

It’s hard to believe, but there are similarities between bean sprouts and human cancer.

In bean sprouts, a collection of amino acids known as a protein complex allows them to grow longer in the darkness than in the light. In humans, a similar protein complex called CSN and its subunit CSN6 is now believed to be a cancer-causing gene that impacts activity of another gene (Myc) tied to tumor growth.

Somehow the same mechanisms that result in bigger bean sprouts, also cause cancer metastasis and tumor development.

A study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center led by Mong-Hong Lee, Ph.D., a professor of molecular and cellular oncology, has demonstrated the significance of CSN6 in regulating Myc which may very well open up a new pathway for treating and killing tumors. The study results are published in this month’s issue of Nature Communications.

“We have discovered that CSN6 is a strong oncogene that is frequently overexpressed and significantly speeds up tumor growth in many types of cancer,” said Lee. “Furthermore, CSN6 also affects the expression of Myc in tumors.”

Myc is a proto-oncogene or master cancer gene that spurs tumor growth in a variety of cancers including breast, lung, colon, brain, skin, leukemia, prostate, pancreas, stomach and bladder.

Lee said that the study findings are important because targeting Myc is a challenging task due to its unique protein structure. Even though it has been studied for decades, no effective inhibitor for Myc has been successfully developed. His team’s study found that inhibiting CSN6 quickly destabilizes Myc, greatly impairing metastasis and tumor growth.

“This has the potential to unlock a promising and completely new door to effectively eliminating tumors and suppressing cancers that overexpress Myc,” said Lee.

Thanks to MD Anderson for contributing this story.

NGC ChromLab Software – Learn Data Evaluation Tools from the Experts

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-18-2014
Presented by: Benjamin Nickle, PhD Technical Support Specialist

Presented by:
Benjamin Nickle, PhD
Technical Support Specialist

Join us for a 30 minute live webinar developed and delivered by our knowledgeable Technical Support Team.
Today! – Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | 10:00 AM Pacific

As you get ready to use your new NGC™ system, we will provide you with an opportunity to learn about the data evaluation tools built into the ChromLab software.

This training will cover chromatogram analysis of single run files, comparison of multiple run files, saving files, generating reports, and the column performance evaluation tool.

Register for Webinar button

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Another Reason to Choose Biology Over Liberal Arts

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-17-2014

Biological Science students are much better off than liberal arts grad students!

Repoopulating the Gut

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-13-2014

What is the difference between the following:

  • breast milk infants vs formula fed infants
  • vaginal birth vs caesarian section babies
  • farm boys vs city boys
  • Tribal infants vs American infants

If you answered the diversity of their microbiome you are correct. The first group of individuals exhibit much higher diversity in the population of their gut bacteria and tend to have less food allergies and asthma than the second group. Studies have shown that having a more diverse gut microbiome results in a more stable and resilient internal ecosystem.

One of the hottest topics in microbiology today is the makeup of the human microbiome. Scientists are beginning to show that proper microbiome health is important for overall individual health. In fact, a cutting edge treatment for antibiotic-induced diarrhea, (which is caused by antibiotics killing off gut flora), is fecal transplant from a healthy individual. Dr. Claire M. Fraser, founder of the field of microbial genomics has coined the term “repoopulation” which refers to the act of repopulating the gut with healthy microbes via a fecal transplant.

In the video below, Dr. Fraser discusses the microbiome and the importance that must be attributed to the field of microbial genomics.

The End is Near for American Scientific Supremacy

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-12-2014

For as long as most of us can remember, America has remained at the top of the scientific food chain. American scientists were generously funded, supported by robust government policies and able to secure world-class training at the best scientific institutions. All that is about to change, however, as many economists are predicting that within 5 years, China will be spending more on scientific R&D than their American counterparts.

According to the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014, China’s total R&D budget match the US’s $400 Billion scientific budget by the year 2016 and will grow to as much as $600 Billion by 2024. In contrast, the American R&D budget is only predicted to grow by 19%, (from approximately $410 Billion to $490 Billion), during that same period.

Despite this positive outlook for China, several critics have claimed that China’s fast assent into the scientific limelight comes at the expense of research quality. Such assertions have been supported by the disproportional rate of scientific paper retraction on behalf of Chinese scientists when compared to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, since the Chinese funding sources give preference to the quantity of scientific papers published when evaluating scientific merit, the rash of retractions will not likely abate any time soon.

It is also interesting to note that the majority of Chinese funding is dedicated to building infrastructure with much less spent on bench research itself. This has led to a situation where there is a disconnect between the number of well-equipped labs in China and the quality of research papers coming out of those labs.

So should we be afraid that soon, many of our best scientists will likely explore greener pastures in China or is it possible that China’s bark is much bigger than its bite? Only time will tell.