Today’s New York Times reports that two groups of scientists have independently made major discoveries about the immune system. One group is led by Allan Bradley and Martin Turner in England and the other by Klaus Rajewsky at Harvard Medical School.
“These findings demonstrate the importance of this level of control in the immune system and will lead immunologists to rethink how the immune system works,” said Dr Martin Turner, Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at the Babraham Institute.
According to today’s issue of the journal Science, Friday Apriil 27, the discoveries number not just 2 but 4:
In a flurry of papers, three of which appear on pages 575, 604, and 608 of this issue of Science, four independent groups have for the first time deleted mouse genes for microRNAs, RNA molecules that can modulate gene behavior, with profound effects.
Scientists have discovered that some Chinese people carry a gene variant that protects them against cancer. A variant of the same gene, caspase-8 (CASP8), was discovered earlier this year to afford some Western women protection from breast cancer. In US men, caspase-8 is involved in cell-signaling regulation by the androgen receptor and may play a role in prostate cancer.
Scientists have found evidence that the stress hormone epinephrine causes changes in prostate and breast cancer cells that may make them resistant to treatment. Learning how to cope well with stress could play a role in preventing and treating the disease.
“This data implies that emotional stress may contribute to the development of cancer and may also reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatments,” said George Kulik of Wake Forest University, the senior researcher on the project.
For full story with links to related research go here….