:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-22-2011
Researchers have discovered a method for simultaneously visualizing gene number and protein expression in individual cells. The fluorescence microscopy technique could permit a detailed analysis of the relationship between gene status and expression of the corresponding protein in cells and tissues, and bring a clearer understanding of cancer and other complex diseases, according to researchers who led the study.
The new technique is called the fluorescent in situ gene protein assay. It combines traditional fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with the in situ proximity ligation assay, which is capable of resolving individual protein molecules.
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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-21-2011
Dr John J Rossi’s titles and accolades are many and varied — and well earned. In his current affiliation with the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rossi serves as chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology, dean of the graduate school of biological sciences, and associate director for laboratory research. He is co-leader of the cancer biology program and the first holder of the Lidow Family Research Chair. These professional accomplishments are complemented by numerous awards, including a 2002 Merit Award in the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The common thread that weaves all of these activities and achievements together continues to be an unabashed enthusiasm for and curiosity toward scientific discovery — specifically in the molecular genetics of disease.
Rossi received his doctoral degree in microbial genetics in the late 1970s. At the time, cloning was only just becoming a tool that researchers could use, and with Rossi’s exposure to this now basic technique, his fascination with genetics turned to the molecular aspects of the discipline. Rossi was drawn to postdoctoral studies in Dr Arthur Landy’s lab at Brown University because of Landy’s groundbreaking work in sequencing genetic information for the bacteriophage lambda. Landy’s work focused on trying to understand some of the sequences of the attachment site of the bacteriophage in its host chromosome. He also completed the first restriction map of any lambda phage. Rossi was particularly attracted by the technology he would have access to in this forward-thinking environment.
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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-22-2011
While many scientists have espoused the theory that each type of cancer cell comes from a unique cancer stem cell, research out of the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard and Whitehead Institute points to a much more decentralized society, with cancer cells able to interconvert between different types.
To characterize how cancer maintains cellular equilibrium, the researchers studied two different breast cancer cell lines and examined three different cell states that were similar to normal breast epithelial cell types, known as basal, luminal, and stem-like. The team sorted the different cell types from each other and then grew their relatively pure populations for six days. Remarkably, each of the three populations quickly returned to the same equilibrium – and populations of non-stem cells generated new stem-like cells.
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Citation: Gupta PB et al. Stochastic state transitions give rise to phenotypic equilibrium in populations of cancer cells. Cell. August 19, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.026
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-16-2011
The New York Times has a great cartoon video explaining three predominant theories of how cancer progresses from a single cell into a metastatic tumor. The narrated video discusses:
- The microbe theory-whereby an otherwise symbiotic relationship between bacteria and their host is spoiled by miscommunication
- The Junk DNA theory
- The MicroRNA theory-whereby microRNA either prevents mRNA from reaching the ribosome or intercepts and changes the mRNA message
Click on the picture below to see the video on the NYT website.