"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

From Within (or, Not) 

A pair of very exciting proof-of-concept studies from a European cancer meeting in Prague point to a novel idea in treating melanomas, and cancer in general: using the body's own immune system. Normally, Tregs (regulatory T cells) limit the activation of the immune system, keeping it from attacking its own body, but also limiting its effectiveness against cancer.

The two studies used different techniques to downregulate Tregs, and both lead to significant improvements in stage-four melanoma patients' survival. The side effects of this therapy will need to be very carefully examined, but this is a really great step!

In looking for clues as to the origin of human big-braininess, genomic scientists have found evidence that a key gene - microcephalin (MCPH1) - which affects brain size development, seems to have been passed on to us from the Neanderthals. They mightn't have been so clever, but ironically they may have made us so (and thus maybe the inter-species hanky-panky wasn't such a bad idea after all)!!

On the hanky-panky note, Mexico City seems poised to pass a gay civil-unions law. Awesome, now I can flee North or South!

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