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This Week in JAMA: Feb 16, 2011

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In JAMA this week, Tracy Hampton reports on the use of electrical impulses in conjunction with chemotherapy to treat various tumors. Basic science researchers have used electrical impulses for the last 30 years to make cell membranes permeable, allowing them to add DNA and other molecules into cells, Hampton says. Clinical investigators are now working on applying that method to cancer treatment. They insert electrodes into a tumor, and the resulting electrical pulses allow chemotherapeutics to pass through the cell membrane more easily.

Also in JAMA this week, George Washington University Medical Center's Jessica Torrente reviews the first edition of Specialty Imaging: Breast MRI: A Comprehensive Guide. MRI of the breast is a very important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Torrente says, and as it is still new, there will be a need for resources to help clinicians interpret the results of such MRIs. The Guide is "comprehensive, well organized, and easy to use," Torrente says.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.