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Cellular Defectors


Researchers at the University of Cambridge are targeting immune cells that turn into traitors by protecting cancerous tumors rather than fighting against them, according to the New Scientist's Jessica Hamzelou. Little is known about these cellular defectors, which were first discovered in the tumor microenvironment 20 years ago, express fibroblast activation protein, and had not been functionally explored until now, Hamzelou says. In order to elucidate the cells' functions, Cambridge's Douglas Fearon and his team injected mice with lung or pancreas tumors and then selectively killed FAP-expressing cells with a diphtheria toxin. Once the the FAP-expressing cells were eliminated, the tumors stopped growing, Hamzelou reports. Fearon et al. published their findings in this week's Science. This team is now studying whether FAP-expressing cells exist elsewhere in the body, and what purposes they may serve, before attempting to develop a cancer therapy based on them, she adds.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.