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This Week in BMC Cancer: Apr 26, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China present findings from a study of promoter methylation and PIK3CA amplification in non-small cell lung cancer. The researchers observed "highly frequent" promoter methylation and frequent amplification of PIK3CA in non-small cell lung cancer, the latter of which was associated with certain clinicopathologic features likes smoking history, histological type, and pleural indentation. "Importantly, aberrant promoter methylation of certain genes was significantly associated with PIK3CA amplification," the researchers write, "… suggesting that these epigenetic events may be a consequence of overactivation of PI3K/Akt pathway."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Indiana say docosahexaenoic acid and curcumin in combination can have antiproliferative effects across multiple breast cancer cell lines, and can trigger cell signaling events no predicted by the activity of either compound alone. Genes involved in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of metastasis, and cell adhesion were upregulated and genes involved in cancer development and progression, metastasis, and cell cycle progression were downregulated in the breast cancer cells when the two compounds were administered in combination. "The combination of DHA and CCM is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon molecular phenotype," the researchers write. "Transcriptomic data show that the antiproliferation synergy accompanies many signaling events unique to the combined presence of the two compounds."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, another group of researchers in China say isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma in nude mice. The isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell apoptosis of three different hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, and also significantly suppressed cell adhesion, migration, and invasion of cell line HCCLM3 in vitro, the researchers write. "[Isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate] is a potential anti-HCC candidate through inhibition of ERK and JNK signaling independent of p53 and worth studying further in patients with HCC, especially at advanced stages," they add.

The Scan

US Supports Patent Waivers

NPR reports that the Biden Administration has announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Vaccines Versus Variants

Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.