Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Science: Dec 9, 2016

In Science this week, an international research team publishes genetic analyses of fish to identify how the animals adapt to pollutants. They analyzed the genomes of 384 killfish, some of which have developed tolerances to environmental toxins, across four regions. Fish that can tolerate the pollution were found have reduced genetic diversity compared to sensitive fish — pointing to a reduction in population size at polluted sites. Tolerant fish were also found to harbor genes associated with increased survival, particularly ones involved in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling pathway. By studying this pathway in developing fish embryos exposed to toxins, the investigators found that many genes associated with the pathway were deleted in tolerant fish, affecting aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling. The researchers further identified potentially mutations that may help compensate for the loss of function in aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling.

And in Science Translational Medicine, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-led group details the effects of a personalized cancer vaccine that fuses a patient's leukemia cells and dendritic immune cells to prevent disease relapse. When given to 17 acute myeloid leukemia patients who were in remission following chemotherapy, the vaccine triggered the expansion of leukemia-specific T cells in the blood and bone marrow for more than six months after immunization. There were no significant side effects associated with treatment, and none of the study participants have relapsed more than one year after vaccination, and 12 of the patients remained leukemia-free at a median four years and nine months.