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Put Down the Cheeseburger


Here's another reason for people to get busy lowering their cholesterol: It could help defeat brain cancer. A new study in the journal Cancer Discovery says that glioblastoma cells need cholesterol to survive, and starving them of this essential component can destroy them, reports Rebecca Voelker at the [email protected] blog. Considering the role cholesterol plays in making new membranes, the researchers say it's not such a stretch that tumors need it to grow. The team studied glioblastoma cells in animals and tissue samples from human patients, found a mutation in the PI3K gene that triggers increased production of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind), which in turn feeds cancer cells, Voelker says. Once the team activated a transcription factor that pumped cholesterol out of the cells, the cells died, she adds. The researchers say that this work may also have implications for other cancers in which this pathway is also activated.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.