The news waves have been exploding recently with a story on a congressional bill that prevents scientists from providing their expert opinion on matters of public interest. As reported by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)in the congressional blog The Hill, the Secret Science Act of 2014 prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from “relying on scientific studies that involve personal health information or other data that is legally protected from public disclosure”. Essentially, this law will mean that scientists will not be able to advise the government in areas relating to their own scientific expertise due to the potential conflict of interest involved. On the other hand, experts that are paid by corporations will have a say in matters of legal policy pertaining to their particular area of interest.
In an article written on Roll Call, Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, complains that the “Secret Science Bill” will actually grind the activities of the EPA’s scientific advisory board (SAB) to a screeching halt. SABs traditionally have good checks in place to ensure that their advice is unbiased and that any conflicts of interest are disclosed up front. The new bill will impose a huge amount of red tape onto this process which will ultimately result in tying the hands of the very scientists who are meant to represent the best interest of the public.
As mentioned by Rep. Johnson:
These bills are the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress
Do you believe that the current government is anti-science or are they simply ensuring that all sides, (corporate and public), are represented fairly in matters affecting public interest?
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.
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.
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Biological Science students are much better off than liberal arts grad students!