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Let There Be Light

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A new cancer treatment approach — light-based therapy — has been shown to kill cancer cells in mice, reports Technology Review's Erica Westly. The method, developed by researchers at NCI, utilizes a heat-sensitive fluorescent dye paired with cancer-specific antibodies — the dye heats up and burns small holes into the membrane of the cell it is attached to when exposed to near-infrared light, killing the cell, Westly says. The antibodies are used to target proteins that are over-expressed in cancer cells, so normal cells will be spared. The study, published in Nature Medicine, shows that the treatment reduced tumor growth in mice, and prolonged survival. There are still a few problems to work out before the treatment can be tested in humans, however. The researchers don't know what effect the treatment will have on large tumors, and it may be hard to find the right dye-biomarker combinations, Westly says. But experts are encouraged by the lack of toxicity, and the method could serve as a secondary therapy by helping surgeons label cancer cells that remain after surgery to target them for clean-up, she adds.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.