After receiving an intraocular injection of the gene for a light-sensitive protein, a 58-year-old man diagnosed with the neurodegenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa was able to locate objects on a table using engineered goggles.
Tumor cells missing a critical protein enter neighboring cells to sap their nutrients, then exit those hosts as intact cells, possibly primed to metastasize. Other scholars say it’s too early to know this for sure.
In addition to isolating the first protein-coding gene from a eukaryote, Kedes furthered scientists’ understanding of actin genes and also laid the foundations for modern DNA databases such as GenBank.
It’s now thought that in many cases, cancer cells disseminate from the primary tumor site early on and lie dormant for long periods rather than only venturing out from primary tumors at an advanced stage.