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This Week in Science: Nov 2, 2013

In Science Translational Medicine this week, a team from Northwestern University reports on the use of a novel nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic RNAi agents into brain tumors in mice. Called spherical nucleic acids, the nanoparticles are essentially gold cores surrounded by a dense shell of highly oriented DNA or RNA. In the study, the researchers were able to use SNAs to carry siRNAs against a key oncogene into tumors in mouse models, where they knocked down their target and killed off cancer cells.

Also in Science Translational Medicine, a multi-institute group of investigators presents data showing that genetic testing can increase lung cancer patient survival by helping personalize treatment. They performed genomic testing on lung tumor samples from about 5,000 patients and found that they were able to use genetic signatures to classify into subgroups tumors that had appeared similar. With the better patient classification, treatments were tailored to particular patients and led to an overall improvement in survival.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.