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DNA Chips Enlist in War on Cancer
DNA Chips Enlist in War on Cancer
Graphic: Cathleen Heard The boy had the classic symptoms of acute leukemia--low blood counts and tumor cells circulating in his bloodstream. But the diagnosis was tentative because the tumor cells looked atypical for leukemia. So doctors extracted RNA from the cells, made cDNAs from the RNA, and incubated the cDNAs with a chip bearing thousands of single-stranded gene fragments on its glass surface. The hybridization pattern suggested, surprisingly, that the boy had a muscle tumor. After confirm
The Positive Side of Salmonella
The Positive Side of Salmonella
Photo: James PlattFriends and colleagues: From left, K. Brooks Low, David Bermudes, John M. Pawelek When the public hears about Salmonella, it is usually in a warning about food poisoning, but a group of researchers in New Haven, Conn., is using the bacteria to target cancer. It turns out that Salmonella preferentially colonize and multiply within a tumor, thereby inhibiting growth. Vion Pharmaceuticals is taking advantage of this trait by genetically altering Salmonella typhimurium to reduce th
Cancer and Viruses
Cancer and Viruses
Known Cancer-Pathogen Associations Photo: Bill BransonJames J. Goedert In the 1960s and '70s, as part of a nationwide war on cancer, U.S. virologists took part in a massive effort to find virally caused human cancers. They didn't find much in the way of causative viral agents, but their research did lead to key, high-impact discoveries including the tumor suppressors p53, ras, and myc, not to mention HIV. A profusion of interest in the cancer-causing roles of tumor suppressors, signal transduct
News Notes
News Notes
Global Effort Against Cancer Paul F. Engstrom Cancer cannot be successfully fought in isolation. In recognition of this, more than 100 international leaders of government, patient advocacy, cancer research organizations, and corporations signed The Charter of Paris Against Cancer at the first World Summit Against Cancer this month. Paul F. Engstrom, senior vice president for population science at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, comments, "I saw more than the usual commitment to put more dollars int

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
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Letter

Homocysteine Chronology
Homocysteine Chronology
I was fascinated to read the report entitled "Homing in on Homocysteine."1 It is marvelous that Kilmer McCully persevered with his research, and that its great importance is finally being acknowledged. In the excellent report prepared by Ricki Lewis, however, there was an error in the chronology of events. Win Barber and I at the Wills Eye Hospital found that Connie had markedly elevated levels of homocysteine in her urine. She had been admitted to the Wills Eye Hospital for surgery for glauco
HAART Failure
HAART Failure
The communication by Donald Forsdyke in the Jan. 24 issue of The Scientist1 was quite interesting. However, I disagree that resistance is the primary factor in HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] failure. Obviously, if it were, there would be no long-term efficacies for HAART in HIV, and there are. For example, Garcia et al. reported that discontinuation of patients' HAART after one year of successful treatment is followed by a rapid rebound of viral load; this rapidly returns to undete
Natural Science and Writing
Natural Science and Writing
James Bakalar1 opined that natural scientists write more clearly than other professionals and suggested it was because natural scientists' subject matter and audience demanded clear thinking. It may also be the case that their subject matter itself directly facilitates clear expression. Natural scientists' knowledge base consists heavily of definitive formulations, such as equations and well-established laboratory procedures. These can be described straightforwardly to an audience. Social scie

Commentary

Prevention: The Ultimate Goal
Prevention: The Ultimate Goal
Robert C. Young When I was growing up, my whole generation was haunted by the fear of polio. We all knew people who suffered from this disease and died, or were confined to iron lungs. But a vaccine changed the course of medical history and made polio a preventable disease. Likewise with cancer, the future of research rests not with making the equivalent of a better iron lung, but instead with the development of scientific strategies to prevent the disease. Despite dramatic advances in our

Perspective

Breaking Barriers to Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials
Breaking Barriers to Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials
This issue of The Scientist chronicles many promising areas of cancer research, comprising a wide range of approaches to the treatment and prevention of our second-leading cause of death. But before any of these disparate approaches can begin to affect the rate of cancer mortality, they must pass through the bottleneck of human clinical trials. The pace of new ideas through the clinical trial process can seem maddeningly slow to patients and researchers alike. It takes far too long to get safe

Research

Monoclonal Antibodies: A 25-Year Roller Coaster Ride
Monoclonal Antibodies: A 25-Year Roller Coaster Ride
The discovery of hybridoma technology 25 years ago allowed researchers to isolate specifically defined monoclonal antibodies.1 Enthusiasm soared as researchers envisioned in their hands the magic bullet against cancer. Then reality hit: Many obstacles stood in the path toward using monoclonal antibodies as standard therapy. With Food and Drug Administration approval of Herceptin for certain breast cancer tumors last fall and Rituxan for B-cell lymphomas in 1997, cancer researchers have regained
Research Notes
Research Notes
Methylation as a Cancer Switch Courtesy of Richard Roberts, New England BiolabsReaction model: Methyltransferase (white) is methylating cyclic carbon 5 of a cytosine nucleotide. The tenuous link between cancer and epigenetic changes, changes in gene expression without DNA mutations, has been strengthened by Joe Costello, assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues (J.F. Costello et al., "Aberrant CpG-island methylation has non-random and tumour-type-specifi

Hot Paper

Dendritic Cell Melanoma Vaccine
Dendritic Cell Melanoma Vaccine
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Frank O. Nestle, a researcher in the department of dermatology at the University of Zurich Hospital. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that this paper has been cited significantly more often than the average paper of the same type and age. F.O. Nestle, S. Alijagic, M. Gilliet, Y.S. Sun, S. Grabbe, R. Dummer, G. Burg, D. Schadendorf, "Vaccination of melanoma patients with peptide- or tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells," Nature Medic
Synthetic Peptide Melanoma Vaccine
Synthetic Peptide Melanoma Vaccine
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that this paper has been cited significantly more often than the average paper of the same type and age. S.A. Rosenberg, J.C. Yang, D.J. Schwartzentruber, P. Hwu, F.M. Marincola, S.L. Topalian, N.P. Restifo, M.E. Dudley, S.L. Schwarz, P.J. Spiess, J.R. Wunderlich, M.R. Parkhurst, Y. Kawakami, C.A. Seipp, J.H. Einhorn, D.E. White

Technology

Selection Perfection
Selection Perfection
The MACSelect Kk.II selects successfully transfected cells Low transfection efficiencies can obscure the results of even the most carefully planned experiment. Selection systems for enrichment of successfully transfected cells can help, but in the past they've relied on cotransfection of a selectable marker and your gene of interest (goi); this method only works when both plasmids enter the same cell. Miltenyi Biotec recently improved upon this by launching its MACSelect Kk.II Transfected Cell S
You Light Up My Life
You Light Up My Life
Nonisotopic methods for protein and nucleic acid detection provide a multitude of conveniences for researchers beyond the obvious freedom from bodily bombardment with radioactivity. Short film exposure times and long reagent shelf life make the list of additional perks. But keeping all of the necessary enzymes, substrates, and conjugates straight can be a chore for even the most seasoned blotting professional. Traditionally, substrate selection has been rigidly dependent on and specific fo

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Nobody Beats the Wizard From now until March 31, 2000, Promega is offering a reduced price on its Wizard® Plus SV Miniprep kits. Plasmids can be purified using either a microcentrifuge or a vacuum manifold and used directly in a variety of molecular biology applications including fluorescent sequencing. Normally $225 for 250 preps and $230 with vacuum adapters, the reduced prices are $190 and $195, respectively. Promega, (800) 356-9526, www.promega.com Excellent Elution Labnet's Exelutor p

Technology Profile

The New Medicine Man
The New Medicine Man
Courtesy of Zymark Combinatorial Chemistry Products and Services Finding cures for cancer, AIDS, and the plethora of other ailments that plague humans conjures up images from the 1992 movie Medicine Man. In it, Sean Connery as Dr. Robert Campbell treks through the tropical Amazon forests searching for an enigmatic plant that seems to produce a cancer-curing compound. Although scientists may never approach Mother Nature's ability to create novel compounds, new combinatorial chemistry techniques
Combinatorial Chemistry Resources
Combinatorial Chemistry Resources
Combichem Software A new portal site for Combinatorial Chemistry was released in February 2000, providing up-to-date information of interest to researchers in this growing field (www.combichem.net). Combinatorial Chemistry Meetings & Symposia A small sampling of upcoming conferences focused on combinatorial chemistry techniques and applications: Research Perspectives in Computational & Structural Chemistry March 1-3, 2000, Isle of Palms, S.C. www.netsci.org/Resources/Meetings/charleston00-co
Strike Up the Band
Strike Up the Band
Gel Documentation and Analysis Systems Gel Documentation and Analysis Systems (continued) Alpha Innotech's FluorChem His name was Herman. The kindly, silver-haired Estonian immigrant ran the department photography shop. Anybody needing to capture an image of a Coomassie or silver-stained protein gel let Herman work his magic with light box, camera, and developing solutions. He started by asking the researcher to carefully position the gel on his light box. Next, he installed the proper filter a

Profession

Job Outlook 'Excellent' in Cancer Biotech
Job Outlook 'Excellent' in Cancer Biotech
Search the Biotechnology Industry Organization's Web site using the keyword "cancer" and you'll come up with pages of companies with at least one product, department, or research program aimed at oncological therapeutics. The late-1998 approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Genentech's Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody used to treat metastatic breast cancer, is one attestation to the upswing for biotech cancer products. Typically investment in biotech--and hence hiring--is cyclica
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Breast Cancer Consensus Conference The National Institutes of Health's Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR) will hold a consensus conference Nov. 1-3, 2000, on the NIH campus to discuss adjuvant therapies for breast cancer. The first NIH consensus conference on breast cancer therapy in 10 years, it will address the ins and outs of adjuvant radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy, as well as promising future directions for related research. As with all consensus conferences, he

Opinion

Breaking Down Cancer
Breaking Down Cancer
Illustration: A. Canamucio Orphan diseases are those with patient populations so small that drug companies generally don't make money if they come up with a remedy. The National Organization for Rare Disorders lists 1,100 of these afflictions in its database, from Aarskog syndrome, an extremely rare birth defect with structural abnormalities and mild mental retardation, to Zollinger Ellison syndrome, presenting gastric tumors that secrete excessive hormone amounts. Subsets of rare disorders, suc
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