Features

New Understanding of Metastasis Could Lead to Better Treatments
New Understanding of Metastasis Could Lead to Better Treatments
Shawna Williams | Apr 1, 2021
Recent insights, such as the recognition that disseminated cancer cells can lie dormant for years before seeding secondary tumors, suggest novel strategies for fighting metastatic disease.
Cancer May Be Driven by DNA Outside of Chromosomes
Cancer May Be Driven by DNA Outside of Chromosomes
Paul Mischel | Apr 1, 2021
In the last decade, researchers have come to realize that tumors harbor bits of extrachromosomal DNA that can drive malignancy.

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the April 2021 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

Our Expanding Universe
Our Expanding Universe
Our Expanding Universe
As with the evolution of astronomy, new insights in biology beckon just beyond our conceptual and observational reach.

Speaking of Science

Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Critic at Large

Opinion: AI Could Aid Cancer Diagnosis, but Caution Is Needed
Opinion: AI Could Aid Cancer Diagnosis, but Caution Is Needed
Opinion: AI Could Aid Cancer Diagnosis, but Caution Is Needed
While machine learning could improve detection of tumors at their earliest stages, it also risks identifying malignancies that would never cause the patient any harm.

Notebook

What a Video Game Can Reveal About Monkeys’ Minds
What a Video Game Can Reveal About Monkeys’ Minds
What a Video Game Can Reveal About Monkeys’ Minds
Researchers find that the animals can account for others’ behavior and circumstances in their strategies.
A Bright New Tool to Record Cellular Interactions
A Bright New Tool to Record Cellular Interactions
A Bright New Tool to Record Cellular Interactions
The G-baToN prototype transfers GFP between cells, illuminating cell-cell contacts.

The Literature

Flexible Synapse Strength May Underpin Mammal Brain’s Complexity
Flexible Synapse Strength May Underpin Mammal Brain’s Complexity
Flexible Synapse Strength May Underpin Mammal Brain’s Complexity
Neural connections in the mouse neocortex can release multiple packages of neurotransmitters per electrical impulse, a study finds.
“Rogue” Protein Could Contribute to Humans’ High Cancer Rates
“Rogue” Protein Could Contribute to Humans’ High Cancer Rates
“Rogue” Protein Could Contribute to Humans’ High Cancer Rates
A mutant protein called Siglec-XII may promote carcinoma progression in humans, but inactivation of its gene seems to avoid the problem, according to a study.
Obesity-Linked Gut Bacteria May Worsen Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Obesity-Linked Gut Bacteria May Worsen Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Obesity-Linked Gut Bacteria May Worsen Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Altered gut microbiome composition in obese mice and human patients is linked with severity of disease after bone marrow transplantation, a study found.

Scientist to Watch

Bisrat Debeb Models How Cancer Spreads to the Brain
Bisrat Debeb Models How Cancer Spreads to the Brain
Bisrat Debeb Models How Cancer Spreads to the Brain
From his student days in veterinary medicine in Ethiopia to running a lab on metastasis at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Debeb has a passion for understanding how living things work.

Bio Business

Pharma Looks to Inflammasome Inhibitors as All-Around Therapies
Pharma Looks to Inflammasome Inhibitors as All-Around Therapies
Pharma Looks to Inflammasome Inhibitors as All-Around Therapies
Many major biopharmaceutical companies are developing or acquiring drugs that target the NLRP3 inflammasome, a large intracellular complex that researchers say can spark inflammation and stoke diseases of lifestyle and aging.

Reading Frames

Opinion: Facing Assumptions About the Duality of Human and Animal
Opinion: Facing Assumptions About the Duality of Human and Animal
Opinion: Facing Assumptions About the Duality of Human and Animal
Since Darwin published his landmark work on natural selection, we’ve understood that we’re animals. But that doesn’t mean we really believe it.

Foundations

Bile and Potatoes, 1921
Bile and Potatoes, 1921
Bile and Potatoes, 1921
One hundred years after its invention, BCG has stood the test of time as a vaccine against tuberculosis.

Infographics

Infographic: Steps in Cancer Metastasis
Infographic: Steps in Cancer Metastasis
Infographic: Steps in Cancer Metastasis
It’s now thought that in many cases, cancer cells disseminate from the primary tumor site early on and lay dormant for long periods rather than only venturing out from primary tumors at an advanced stage.
Infographic: The Role of Extrachromosomal DNA in Cancer
Infographic: The Role of Extrachromosomal DNA in Cancer
Infographic: The Role of Extrachromosomal DNA in Cancer
Researchers are uncovering how circular bits of DNA found in some cancer cells can help tumors evolve and kill.
Infographic: A New Model of Synapse Strength
Infographic: A New Model of Synapse Strength
Infographic: A New Model of Synapse Strength
Synapses in the mouse neocortex can release multiple packages of neurotransmitters, suggesting that connection strength is more flexible than previously thought.