Science

Disruptive science can have a significant impact outside of our own domains of research and into our personal lives. Keeping abreast of these developments can help prepare and inspire.

The Saliva Test to Detect Mouth and Throat Cancer

A new non-invasive method to detect the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV)-16 in saliva has been successfully used in a collaboration between Duke University, UCLA, and University of Birmingham. HPV-16 is a high-risk virus known to be an etiologic agent for the development of head and neck cancers, specifically with oropharyngeal caners (OPCs).

Over 100 Variants Found to Influence Psychiatric Disorders

Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium have discovered that many distinct psychiatric diseases share a common genetic basis. More than 100 genetic variants were found to play a role in determining risk levels for different mental health conditions.

Blame Double XX for Autoimmune Issues

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered a possible explanation for why autoimmune disease are more common in females. The research based on mouse models showed that the extra X chromosome in females may be to blame.

Deep Learning Technology Used to Decode Gene Interactions

Computer scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have developed a digital method to transform massive amounts of gene expression data into something more image-like. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the scientists utilised an incredibly powerful deep learning method that has revolutionised methods such as facial recognition in recent years.

Blinatumomab – Improving Outcomes for Children with Relapsed Leukaemia

The immunotherapy drug Blinatumomab has shown to be an effective treatment for children and young adults with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in a clinical trial led by the Children’s Oncology Group, part of the National Cancer Institute USA, and presented at the annual meeting at the American Society of Haematology.

Huntington’s Therapy Found in Ancient Worms

A highly conserved mechanism in worms and humans has been discovered by researchers at Monash University that could provide a novel therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

Genetic Cause of a Rare Type of Epilepsy Found

The cause of a rare type of familial epilepsy has been linked to two new gene mutations, as discovered by researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Published back-to-back in Nature Communications, Dr Mark Bennett, Dr Haloom Rafehi and Professor Melanie Bahlo from the Institute made this ground-breaking discovery as part of an international consortium.

“Junk DNA”: The New Place to Look for Cancer Risk

New research published in the British Journal of Cancer has identified a link between the so-called “junk DNA” and the risk of developing cancer. Junk DNA refers to regions of DNA that don’t code for proteins but are thought to play in a role in gene expression regulation

Epigenetics Found to Play a Role in Childhood Kidney Cancer

Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute uncovered a possible pre-cancerous signature for Wilms’ tumour, a form of kidney cancer mainly affecting children under five years old. Published in Science, the research was the first to compare Wilms’ tumour tissue and healthy kidney tissue to identify any genetic changes that could possibly be predictive of disease progression.

The New Genomics “Hubble Space Telescope”

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain have developed a new type of genomics technology that can be used to investigate how species are related to each other, with a possibility of creating new drugs, foods, and materials at a much larger scale than ever before.

Autism and ADHD Have Shared Genetic Origins

Childhood neurodevelopmental disorders have now been shown to possess shared genetic roots. A study published in Nature Neuroscience has identified a new risk variant in the MAP1A gene for autism and ADHD.

New Mars Rover to Look for Fossilised Alien Life

An exploratory project to find fossil microbes on the Red Planet has been proposed between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The possibility of finding alien life has long been an alluring concept for many and this new scheme intends to bring Martian soil to Earth for intensive study.