Scientists discover how to prevent undesirable immune attacks on therapeutic viruses

LA JOLLA—Normally when we think of viruses, from the common cold to HIV, we want to boost people’s immunity to fight them. But for scientists who develop therapeutic viruses (to, for example, target cancer cells or correct gene deficiencies) a more important question is: How do we keep people’s natural immune responses at bay? In these cases, an overenthusiastic immune response actually undermines the therapy.

Pancreatic tumors rely on signals from surrounding cells

LA JOLLA—Just as an invasive weed might need nutrient-rich soil and water to grow, many cancers rely on the right surroundings in the body to thrive. A tumor’s microenvironment—the nearby tissues, immune cells, blood vessels and extracellular matrix—has long been known to play a role in the tumor’s growth.

Prehistoric mega-lake sediment offers key insight into how inland regions responded to “super-greenhouse” event

Sediment found at the site of one of the largest lakes in Earth’s history could provide a fascinating new insight into how inland regions responded to global climate change millions of years ago.A pioneering new study, carried out by a team of British-based researchers, has analysed sediments from the site of the vast lake which formed in the Sichuan Basin, in China, around 183 million years ago in the Jurassic period.

Green Sahara's Ancient Rainfall Regime Revealed by Scientists

Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the 6,000-year "Green Sahara" period have been pinpointed by analyzing marine sediments, according to new research led by a UA geoscientist.What is now the Sahara Desert was the home to hunter-gatherers who made their living off the animals and plants that lived in the region's savannahs and wooded grasslands 5,000 to 11,000 years ago.

New MSU Research Addresses Gap Between Research and Practice in Sustainable Agriculture

Michigan State University-led research has found a big difference in the yields produced by alternative agricultural practices in commercial fields compared with the same practices in the small experimental plots ordinarily used to test them.

New insights in genetic defect allow prevention of fatal illnesses in children

A team of scientists led by prof. Adrian Liston (VIB–KU Leuven) and prof. Isabelle Meyts (UZ Leuven – KU Leuven) were able to characterize a new genetic immunodeficiency resulting from a mutation in a gene named STAT2. This mutation causes patients to be extremely vulnerable to normally mild childhood illnesses such as rotavirus and enterovirus. Prof. Liston’s comprehensive analysis of the genetic defect allows clinicians to provide children with the proper therapies before illnesses prove fatal. The findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Extreme Space Weather-Induced Electricity Blackouts Could Cost U.S. More Than $40 Billion Daily

New study finds more than half the loss occurs outside the blackout zone.The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

Biosimilars Create Opportunities for Sustainable Cancer Care

Lugano, Switzerland – Biosimilars create opportunities for sustainable cancer care, says the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in a position paper published in ESMO Open. The document outlines approval standards for biosimilars, how to safely introduce them into the clinic, and the potential benefits for patients and healthcare systems.

How Far Can Technology Go To Stave Off Climate Change?

The U.S. now has two coal-burning power plants that avoid dumping carbon dioxide into the air. Petra Nova in Texas and Kemper in Mississippi use technology to stop CO2 in the smokestack and before combustion, respectively. Unfortunately, that makes two out of more than 400 coal-fired power plants in the U.S., the rest of which collectively pour 1.4 billion metric tons of the colorless, odorless greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year. Even Kemper and Petra Nova do not capture all of the CO2 from the coal they burn, and the captured CO2 is used to scour more oil out of the ground, which is then burned, adding yet more CO2 to the atmosphere. The carbon conundrum grows more complex — and dangerous — with each passing year. 

Changing atmospheric conditions may contribute to stronger ocean wave activity on the Antarctic Peninsula

Over the past few years, a large fracture has grown across a large floating ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. The world is watching the ice shelf, now poised to break off an iceberg the size of Delaware into the ocean.It’s not a new phenomenon; this “thumb” of Antarctica, which juts out into the stormy Southern Ocean, has lost more than 28,000 square kilometers of floating ice — almost as large as Massachusetts — over the past half-century. This has included the complete disintegration of four ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers.