The Zebrafish model for drug discovery and testing

Zebrafish larvae have evolved into a very attractive model for drug discovery

Zebrafish larvae have evolved into a very attractive model for drug discovery. Watch Roche video published on 3 June 2013, part of Drawn to Science serie.

More info and videos
  • Recently published methods facilitate genetical engineering of zebrafish, allowing the study of targets of interest in an easily accessible vertebrate system: a multiorgan culture model. Zebrafish is being used in Roche pRED for both safety and efficacy studies.
  • Watch more clinical trials videos on our YouTube channel.

Radiotherapy: could it sometimes do more harm than good?

Could radiotherapy do more harm than good in some patients?

radiotherapy machine image
A new study is looking at whether radiotherapy could lead to a type of cell, known as Langerhans cells, reducing the immune system’s ability to fight cancers, such as skin cancer.

2015 Study abstract

Treatment with ionizing radiation (IR) can lead to the accumulation of tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells (Treg cells) and subsequent resistance of tumors to radiotherapy. Here we focused on the contribution of the epidermal mononuclear phagocytes Langerhans cells (LCs) to this phenomenon because of their ability to resist depletion by high-dose IR. We found that LCs resisted apoptosis and rapidly repaired DNA damage after exposure to IR. In particular, we found that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor CDKN1A (p21) was overexpressed in LCs and that Cdkn1a−/− LCs underwent apoptosis and accumulated DNA damage following IR treatment. Wild-type LCs upregulated major histocompatibility complex class II molecules, migrated to the draining lymph nodes and induced an increase in Treg cell numbers upon exposure to IR, but Cdkn1a−/− LCs did not. Our findings suggest a means for manipulating the resistance of LCs to IR to enhance the response of cutaneous tumors to radiotherapy.

Sources and more information
  • CDKN1A regulates Langerhans cell survival and promotes Treg cell generation upon exposure to ionizing irradiation, Nature Immunology, doi:10.1038/ni.3270, 07 September 2015.
  • Could radiotherapy do more harm than good in some patients? dailymail, 7 September 2015.

Unexplored pathways of EDC contamination in human-altered environments

Male Frogs May Be Turning Female Thanks to Estrogen in Suburban Waste

green-frog image
A surprising study has found that frogs in suburban lakes tend to be mostly female, and suggests that urbanization and estrogenic wastes are likely turning male frogs female.
Happy green frog by Tambako The Jaguar.

2015 Study Abstract

Research on endocrine disruption in frog populations, such as shifts in sex ratios and feminization of males, has predominantly focused on agricultural pesticides. Recent evidence suggests that suburban landscapes harbor amphibian populations exhibiting similar levels of endocrine disruption; however the endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) sources are unknown.

Here, we show that sex ratios of metamorphosing frogs become increasingly female-dominated along a suburbanization gradient. We further show that suburban ponds are frequently contaminated by the classical estrogen estrone and a variety of EDCs produced by plants (phytoestrogens), and that the diversity of organic EDCs is correlated with the extent of developed land use and cultivated lawn and gardens around a pond. Our work also raises the possibility that trace-element contamination associated with human land use around suburban ponds may be contributing to the estrogenic load within suburban freshwaters and constitutes another source of estrogenic exposure for wildlife.

These data suggest novel, unexplored pathways of EDC contamination in human-altered environments. In particular, we propose that vegetation changes associated with suburban neighborhoods (e.g., from forests to lawns and ornamental plants) increase the distribution of phytoestrogens in surface waters. The result of frog sex ratios varying as a function of human land use implicates a role for environmental modulation of sexual differentiation in amphibians, which are assumed to only have genetic sex determination. Overall, we show that endocrine disruption is widespread in suburban frog populations and that the causes are likely diverse.

Sources and more information

Carlot winner cuts cost of gain $18 per steer with Stilbosol

DES advert, FFA National Future Farmer, 1956

DES-Stilbosol-1956-advert image
Stilbosol patenting turned the cattle feed industry upside down in the mid 50s with its phenomenal use by farmers.
Image sources
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More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Breast Cancer and the Environment

Women and girls might be more susceptible to some risk factors during certain life stages.

Dr. Hiatt is the Director of Population Sciences and Associate Director of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Video uploaded on 10 Jan 2012 by Vital Options International.

More info and videos
  • Dr. Robert A. Hiatt discusses the Institute of Medicine Report on Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life-Course Approach, presented at the 34th Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The report urges a life-course approach to studying breast cancer because new information suggests that women and girls might be more susceptible to some risk factors during certain life stages.
  • Watch more research videos on our YouTube channel.

Pesticides harmful to children, even at low levels thought to be safe

Impact of pesticides on developing brains

A series of studies on a wide range of chemicals have shown that even at levels previously thought to be safe, they can adversely impact children. Baby Faith by Cary and Kacey Jordan.

Bruce Lanphear, a public health physician and professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, said studies had shown that organophosphate pesticides (OPs) adversely affected children, particularly if exposure occurred during foetal development. This could be measured in terms of intellectual ability of children, behaviour, in particular ADHD, and criminal behaviour if exposure was to lead.

Read Pesticides at even low levels harmful to children: expert says,
thehindu, September 7, 2015.

Hormone replacement therapy side effects infographic #HRT

The Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the Body.

Hormone replacement therapy can relieve unpleasant symptoms of menopause, but there are some side effects and health risks that should be considered.
Sources and more information

NHS cancer diagnosis services understaffed, tests to diagnose cancer underfunded

Tests to diagnose cancer underfunded and staff overstretched

NHS services for diagnosing cancer are underfunded, understaffed, and key waiting time targets are being missed, according to two new reports from Cancer Research UK.

Cancer diagnosis services in the NHS are understaffed and underfunded, and will need a new injection of spending if they are to cope with mounting demand, Cancer Research UK has said.

The country’s leading cancer charity experts said they were “deeply concerned” with the state of cancer testing, maging and surveillance services within the NHS.

The endoscopy report – produced by the University of Birmingham – and the imaging capacity report – produced by the agency 2020 Delivery – both prepared for Cancer Research UK have identified looming gaps between the likely increase in demand for such services from a growing and ageing population, and the capacity of the NHS to provide timely tests for thousands of patients.

Sources and more information
  • Tests to diagnose cancer underfunded and staff overstretched,
    cancerresearchuk, 6 September 2015.
  • NHS cancer diagnosis services understaffed and need a cash injection to meet rising demand, say experts, independent, 06 September 2015.

L’épigénétique: la révolution biologique de ces sept dernières années

L’épigénétique expliquée par Joël de Rosnay

L’épigénétique ou l’influence de nos comportements sur notre Santé avec Joël de Rosnay Docteur ès Sciences. Vidéo publiée le 18 septembre 2014.

Plus d’information
  • L’épigénétique est la modulation de l’expression des gènes en fonction de notre comportement: alimentation, activité physique, gestion du stress, plaisir et relations sociales. Débat complet Comment construire un nouveau futur? dirigé par Eric Jouan.
  • Regardez cette liste de vidéos sur la recherche sur notre chaîne YouTube.

Addyi versus Viagra

Patrick Chappatte’s take on a libido pill for women getting approval from the F.D.A.

Patrick Chappatte’s take on a libido pill for women getting approval from the F.D.A.
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