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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jun 4, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Ireland describe the development of a new bioluminescent model for the visualization of mammary tumor development in a mouse model of cancer. The team generated a new mouse strain expressing Luc2 luciferase in mammary tissue in females, and these mice were cross-bred with MMTV-PyVT mice, an established mouse model used to study metastatic disease. The resulting mice developed tumors, and the researchers were able to track the localization and progression of these tumors using the luminescence-based in vivo imaging. "Luminescence-based readout allowed for early visualization of the locally overgrown mammary tissue and for longitudinal evaluation of local progression of the tumors," the authors write. "When sampled ex vivo at the age of 10 weeks, all tumors derived from MMTV-Luc2PyVT females displayed robust bioluminescent signal."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Italy report on the use of levels of Epstein-Barr virus DNA in the plasma of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients to predict cancer recurrence. The team analyzed plasma samples from 36 patients treated with induction chemotherapy and chemoradiation, and determined circulating EBV DNA levels in samples taken before treatment, at the end of treatment, and in follow-up. They found that pre-treatment levels of viral DNA significantly correlated with initial disease stage and probability of relapse. "The results of this study confirm that patients from a Western country affected by loco-regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma have high plasma Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels at diagnosis," the authors write. "The monitoring of plasma levels is sensitive and highly specific in detecting disease recurrence and metastases."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the US and Europe report the results of a microarray study on the effects of a mutated BRCA1 C-terminus domain on the human transcriptome. The team used human whole-genome microarrays to compare the expression profiles of HeLa cells transfected with one of two BRCA1 missense variants — M1775R and A1789T — to HeLa cells transfected with wild-type BRCA1. They found 201 differentially expressed genes in the comparison of the M1775R transfected cells versus the wild-type transfected cells, 313 in the A1789T versus wild-type cells, and 173 in the cells transfected with both variants versus wild-type cells. "Most of these genes mapped in pathways deregulated in cancer, such as cell cycle progression and DNA damage response and repair," the authors write. "Our results represent the first molecular evidence of the pathogenetic role of M1775R, already proposed by functional studies, and give support to a similar role for A1789T that we first hypothesized based on the yeast cell experiments."

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.