Mutation in 'junk DNA' behind several deadly cancers

A single typo in the "dark matter" of the genome drives multiple types of cancer.

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  • Only about 2 percent of the human genome codes for proteins; the rest is called noncoding DNA.
  • We used to think this portion of the genome served almost no purpose. Now, however, we have learned that it performs several important biological functions, though much of it is still unknown. This lack of insight is why it's sometimes referred to as the "dark matter" of the human genome.
  • In two studies, researchers from Ontario discovered a mutation in this genetic dark matter that changes how gene products are spliced, potentially resulting in several different kinds of cancer.
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Breast cancer vaccine could be available in 8 years, says Mayo Clinic

A new immunotherapy treatment is showing positive signs in early-stage clinical trials.

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  • Clinical trials of an immunotherapy treatment for breast cancer showed positive signs, and the researchers hope to move to larger trials in coming years.
  • Immunotherapies train the body's immune system to find and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  • Recent trials of immunotherapies for other cancers have also showed positive signs.
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5 of history's strangest scientific theories

Rest assured: Kooky ideas like the Earth being flat or vaccines causing autism are nothing new. Humanity has had worse ideas before.

Wellcome Library no. 11847i Photo number: V0011119
  • The line between science and strongly held belief was not always so clear-cut as it is today.
  • In the past, many quacks, charlatans, or well-intentioned philosophers have developed theories that strike us as obviously untrue today.
  • But hindsight is 20/20: People really had no idea how the world actually worked in the past.
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How a Nobel Prize winner moves from data to discovery

How do you develop the next big idea? You pull together people who are both curious and passionate.

  • In 2018, Dr. Jim Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering an effective way to attack cancer through immunology.
  • In pursuing this discovery, he recruited other scientists who were curious, who cared about and were committed to science. "You have to put up with a lot of failure, 'cause if you're not, you're probably doing boring stuff," Allison says.
  • When it comes to developing a theory that works, it's critical to ask as many people as possible on a project for their hypotheses on why a particular outcome may take place. By pulling together these ideas, and testing them, better data can be accumulated.
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Hypoxia researchers win 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Three scientist friends, working separately, share the prestigious prize.

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  • Nobel recognizes breakthrough insights into cell's perception and response to changes in oxygen levels.
  • Too title oxygen is a problem. Also too much.
  • Their research unveiled a genuine "textbook discovery."
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