Research

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Most cancer deaths occur because of metastasis, yet progress in preventing and treating migratory cancer cells has been slow.

“It’s been particularly challenging to design drugs that work against metastasis,” said Taran Gujral, research fellow in systems biology at Harvard Medical School. “Unfortunately, many cancers aren’t detected until after they’ve already metastasized.”

Genetic Screening Could Reduce Number Of Breast Cancer Cases

Oct 31, 2014
Susana Fernandez/Flickr.com

Should every newborn baby girl be genetically screened for breast-cancer risk? That isn’t cost-effective — yet. But if it were, would it be worthwhile?

A previous study said no. But in a paper published Oct. 23 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers at the School of Medicine suggest otherwise.

Thyroid Cancer Genome Analysis Finds Markers Of Aggressive Tumors

Oct 24, 2014
University of Michigan Health System

A new comprehensive analysis of thyroid cancer from The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network has identified markers of aggressive tumors, which could allow for better targeting of appropriate treatments to individual patients.

The finding suggests the potential to reclassify the disease based on genetic markers and moves thyroid 

cancer into a position to benefit more from precision medicine.

An unusual government moratorium aimed at controversial research with high-risk viruses has halted important public health research, scientists told an advisory committee to the federal government on Wednesday.

Decoy Drug Allows Brains Of Adult Mice To Form New Connections

Oct 17, 2014
Norbert von der Groeben

At critical times in the brain’s development, windows open for neurons to reach out and form new 

connections. The language window, for example, is open for a time to allow kids to learn multiple languages and speak them like a native. Then it mostly closes, leaving adults fumbling for words and unable to roll their R’s.

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize.

But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning the prize.

China Photos/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health want to end a long-standing bias in biomedical research, towards men. It turns out when researchers do what are called pre-clinical studies, most of the time they’re using male animals and male cells. Today the NIH announced that it has awarded an extra $10 million to help bring more balance into the lab.

Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it's continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system.

It's a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets.

Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That's, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don't actually exist.

There's a funding crunch for biomedical research in the United States — and it's not just causing pain for scientists and universities. It's also creating incentives for researchers to cut corners — and that's affecting people who are seriously ill.

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