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This Week in Science: Feb 24, 2012

In Science Translational Medicine this week, investigators at Stanford University School of Medicine show that miR-21 "blocks abdominal aortic aneurysm development and nicotine-augmented expansion." Because of this, the authors suggest modulation of its expression "shows potential as a new therapeutic option to limit AAA [abdominal aortic aneurysm] expansion and vascular disease progression."

An international team led by researchers at Finland's University of Oulu reports having screened 125 Northern Finnish breast cancer families for coding region and splice-site Abraxas mutations, and having "genotyped three tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms within the gene from 991 unselected breast cancer cases and 868 female controls for common cancer-associated variants." Overall, the researchers found that the "recurrent Abraxas c.1082G>A mutation connects to cancer predisposition," as they write in Science Translational Medicine this week.

The University of Alberta's Tania Bubela and her colleagues this week "call for a combination of theoretical and empirical analyses to build a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between formal IP laws, institutions that administer and manage IPRs [IP rights], and the use of IPRs in practice to better construct and manage collaborations" and bring translational research efforts to bear. "Such analyses require outcome metrics formulated to measure the success of therapeutic outcomes and to capture the complexity of a highly networked R&D environment," Bubela and her colleagues write.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.