Wednesday December 12, 2018

Research: Gene Linked to Hair Loss May Improve Cancer Treatment

Further, analysis of data from previous study of melanoma patients with disabled IKZF1 gene showed higher recurrence rates and worse survival

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New ML-tool uses DNA to predict height and cancer risk. Pixabay
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Scientists have found that a gene associated with autoimmune hair loss disorder may also help improve cancer immunotherapy — treatment that uses body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

The findings showed that a gene named IKZF1 recruits T cells in alopecia areata — a condition in which immune cells attack and destroy hair cells — that gets switched off during several types of cancer.

Switching off IKZF1 protects the tumour cells from the immune system. But activating this gene may expose the cancer cells to the immune system and help the immune cells to attack the invading cancer cells.

“We showed that a gene that recruits T cells in alopecia areata is turned off in various types of cancer, protecting them from the immune system. But if we turn that gene back on, we can make those cancers vulnerable to the immune response,” said Angela M. Christiano from Columbia University in New York City, US.

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Representational image. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Cell Systems, the team examined mouse models with melanoma cancer, in which the tumours were genetically modified to express IKZF1.

The results showed that the gene helped the immune system infiltrate the tumours causing them to lose at least some ability to escape the immune system.

While prostate cancer could also be made more responsive to immunotherapy, colorectal and kidney tumours would not respond to immunotherapy if IKZF1 expression was increased, because the gene was found to be inactive in these tumours, the researchers found.

Also Read: More Than 1000 Gene Variants Linked to Educational Attainment Identified

Further, analysis of data from previous study of melanoma patients with disabled IKZF1 gene showed higher recurrence rates and worse survival.

“We should be able to identify genetic signals that are hyperactive in autoimmune disease, and then harness those signals in tumours that have developed a way to avoid the immune response,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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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)