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Make it Stop!

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A new study published in Nature shows that there is a gene, which is switched off in about 15 percent of pancreatic cancers, that may act as a "brake" to stop these tumors from growing, suggesting that a new class of drugs may be used to turn this gene back on in some aggressive pancreatic cancers, reports BBC News. The gene, USP9x, normally stops cells from dividing uncontrollably. Working with mouse models, the researchers found that the fault that causes the gene to be turned off is due to a defect in the chemical tags on the surface of the DNA, BBC says. "Drugs which strip away these tags are already showing promise in lung cancer and this study suggests they could also be effective [in pancreatic cancer]," study senior author David Tuveson, from Cancer Research UK, tells BBC. Co-author David Adams, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, adds that "this study strengthens our emerging understanding that we must also look into the biology of cells to identify all the genes that play a role in cancer."

The Scan

Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be as transmitted as easily as the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Gene Therapy for SCID 'Encouraging'

The Associated Press reports that a gene therapy appears to be effective in treating severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

To Watch the Variants

Scientists told US lawmakers that SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be better monitored, the New York Times reports.

Nature Papers Present Nautilus Genome, Tool to Analyze Single-Cell Data, More

In Nature this week: nautilus genome gives peek into its evolution, computational tool to analyze single-cell ATAC-seq data, and more.