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Cellular Defect Could Lead to Cancer

UCSF researchers have discovered a cellular defect that disrupts the production of proteins in human cells, and could lead to a susceptibility to cancer, they report in Cancer Cell. The researchers, led by Davide Ruggero, focused on the mTOR, which controls cell survival and proliferation. According to the researchers, when cells in the body lose the ability to control mTOR activity, the hyperactivated protein causes protein synthesis rates to climb – the cells proliferate without limit, simultaneously becoming immortal and forming tumors. But there is a solution, the researchers say. With a new drug called PP242, discovered by another UCSF lab, they were able to bring protein synthesis and cell proliferation down to normal levels by controlling mTOR activity.
The drug is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.