Saturday December 15, 2018

Indian-origin scientist Ravi Majeti, turns cancer cells into harmless cells

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By Anurag Paul

An Indian-origin researcher at the Stanford University in the US has found a method that can cause dangerous leukemia cells to mature into harmless immune cells known as macrophages.

Assistant professor of medicine Ravi Majeti made the key observation after collecting leukemia cells from a patient and trying to keep the cells alive in a culture plate.

During the study, Majeti and post-doctoral scholar Scott McClellan found that some of the cancer cells in culture were changing shape and size into what looked like macrophages.

The team confirmed that the methods shown to have altered the destiny of the mouse progenitor cells years ago could be used to transform these human cancer cells into macrophages which can engulf and digest cancer cells and pathogens.

“We were giving everything at them to help them hold out,” said Majeti in a report that appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. B-cell leukemia cells are in many ways progenitor cells that are forced to stay in an immature state.

B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a variation called the Philadelphia chromosome is a especially aggressive cancer with poor results.

“So finding potential treatments is especially exciting,” Majeti added.

Majeti and his colleagues have some reason to hope that when the cancer cells become macrophages, they will not only be neutralized but may actually assist in fighting the cancer.

“Because the macrophage cells came from the cancer cells, they will already carry with them the chemical signals that will distinguish the cancer cells, causing an immune attack against the cancer more likely,” Majeti explained.

The researchers’ next steps would be to find out if they can discover a drug that will incite the same reaction and that could function as the groundwork for a therapy for the leukemia.

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World’s Smallest Wearable Can Help in Preventing Skin Cancer

It also demonstrated the ability to measure white light exposure for seasonal depression, a mood disorder characterised by depression that occurs at the same time every year

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World's smallest device to prevent skin cancer, mood disorder risk. Pixabay

Scientists have developed the world’s smallest wearable, battery-free device that can warn people of overexposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) — a leading factor for developing skin cancer.

Currently, people do not know how much UV light they are actually getting. The rugged and waterproof device interacts wirelessly with the phone and helps maintain an awareness and for skin cancer survivors.

Smaller than an M&M (colourful button-shaped chocolates) and thinner than a credit card, the device can optimise treatment of neonatal jaundice, skin diseases, seasonal affective disorder and reduce risk of sunburns and skin cancer.

Users can glue the device on to their hats, clip it to sunglasses or stick it on their nail and can simultaneously record up to three separate wavelengths of light.

It is always on yet never needs to be recharged.

“There is a critical need for technologies that can accurately measure and promote safe UV exposure at a personalised level in natural environments,” said Steve Xu, from Northwestern University in the US.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“We hope people with information about their UV exposure will develop healthier habits when out in the sun,” said Xu.

There are no switches or interfaces to wear out, and it is completely sealed in a thin layer of transparent plastic, the researchers stated, in the paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Participants who mounted device on themselves recorded multiple forms of light exposure during outdoor activities, even in the water.

Also Read- First NASA Probe to Return Asteroid Sample Reaches Destination

The findings showed that it monitored therapeutic UV light in clinical phototherapy booths for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (immune diseases) as well as blue light phototherapy for newborns with jaundice in the neonatal intensive care unit.

It also demonstrated the ability to measure white light exposure for seasonal depression, a mood disorder characterised by depression that occurs at the same time every year. (IANS)