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George to begin chemotherapy next week

CancerAug 28 12

Following the advice of his medical team, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George will begin four months of chemotherapy next week, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

George, 75, who battled bladder cancer six years ago, learned this month that doctors had discovered cancerous cells on his liver and a kidney.

Tests, including a biopsy last week, confirmed that the removal of a cancerous nodule from the cardinal’s liver left no cancer behind, the archdiocese reported. But doctors also confirmed that the cardinal’s right kidney contained a malignant lesion. Because cancerous cells are impossible to detect in the bloodstream, they could not rule out a presence of the disease elsewhere in the body, according to the statement.

Having consulted with the cardinal’s doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., physicians at Loyola University Medical Center reportedly recommended Monday that he should undergo chemotherapy.

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MMV develops framework to assess risk of resistance for antimalarial compounds

Infections • • Public HealthAug 21 12

Medicines for Malaria Venture has developed a framework to evaluate the risk of resistance for the antimalarial compounds in its portfolio. A paper based on this work: A framework for assessing the risk of resistance for antimalarials in development has been published in the Malaria Journal today.

Resistance defines the longevity of every anti-infective drug, so it is important when developing new medicines for malaria, to check how easily promising antimalarial compounds will select for resistance. Once this is known, it facilitates the prioritization of not only the most efficacious compounds but also the most robust ones.

“By profiling our portfolio as early as possible in terms of resistance liabilities, be they pre-existing or acquired, we are attempting to ensure that none of the compounds will fall to potential resistance,” said Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV, and one of the authors of the paper. “This will also help us cost-effectively accelerate the drug development process, and be prepared in advance with a full resistance profile which is required by regulatory authorities before a new drug can be approved.”

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‘DNA wires’ could help physicians diagnose disease

Public HealthAug 19 12

In a discovery that defies the popular meaning of the word “wire,” scientists have found that Mother Nature uses DNA as a wire to detect the constantly occurring genetic damage and mistakes that - if left unrepaired - can result in diseases like cancer and underpin the physical and mental decline of aging.

That topic - DNA wires and their potential use in identifying people at risk for certain diseases - is the focus of a plenary talk here today during the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting, which features about 8,600 reports with an anticipated attendance of 14,000 scientists and others continues here through Thursday.

“DNA is a very fragile and special wire,” said Jacqueline K. Barton, Ph.D., who delivered the talk. “You’re never going to wire a house with it, and it isn’t sturdy enough to use in popular electronic devices. But that fragile state is exactly what makes DNA so good as an electrical biosensor to identify DNA damage.”

Barton won the U.S. National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for scientific achievement, for discovering that cells use the double strands of the DNA helix like a wire for signaling, which is critical to detecting and repairing genetic damage. She is a professor of chemistry and is chair of the division of chemistry and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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