Human Evolution Could Be to Blame for Being Prone to Cancer, Study Says
Recent research reveals that a human-specific evolutionary genetic alteration could be partially responsible for growing cancer cells.
Research performed by researchers at the University of California (UC), San Diego, School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center helps understand why their report was published in FASEB BioAdvances.
Senior author Ajit Varki, MD, distinguished professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, said that the cancer cell SIGLEC12 gene creates a mutation that destroys the immune response the capacity to discriminate between 'self' and invading microbes.
Lab-Grown Human Brain Organoids Mimic an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Help Test Treatments
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine recently used stem cell-derived brain organoids — also called “mini-brains” — that lack the functional MECP2 gene to better study Rett Syndrom, an autism disorder.
“The gene mutation that causes Rett syndrome was discovered decades ago, but progress on treating it has lagged, at least in part because mouse model studies haven’t translated to humans,” said senior author Alysson R. Muotri, PhD, professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “This study was driven by the need for a model that better mimics the human brain.”
Evolution May Be to Blame for High Risk of Advanced Cancers in Humans
A recent study led by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center helps explain why umans are particularly prone to developing advanced carcinomas.
“At some point during human evolution, the SIGLEC12 gene — and more specifically, the Siglec-12 protein it produces as part of the immune system — suffered a mutation that eliminated its ability to distinguish between ‘self’ and invading microbes, so the body needed to get rid of it,” said senior author Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center.
California Approves Billions for Stem-Cell Research
California voters have granted the state's nearly broke first-of-its-kind stem-cell research program a desperately needed $5.5 billion cash infusion.
Supporters said new money was needed to keep running promising clinical trials involving the use of stem cells to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, autoimmune diseases and other conditions.
“Trials that use human embryonic-derived stem cells to treat diabetes, to treat blindness and to treat spinal cord injury, those trials are early but already showing signs of patient benefit. Losing those trials would be a terrible tragedy for those patients.” said Professor Larry Goldstein, Ph.D., director of the University of California, San Diego’s stem cell research program.
Measure for $5.5 Billion in Stem Cell Funding Leads Narrowly
With about 11 million votes counted, approval for Proposition 14 was ahead 51% to 49% late Tuesday night.
If the proposition passes it would approve a bond sale that would bail out the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which was created by a similar $3 billion bond measure in 2014 but is now nearly broke. Millions more votes remained to be counted.
With dozens of clinical trials involving the use of stem cells to treat cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, paralysis, autoimmune diseases and other conditions underway at universities across California, supporters say it is crucial to keep that money flowing.
Professor Larry Goldstein, Ph.D., who directs the stem cell research program at the University of California, San Diego, called the early results “very encouraging.”