The findings, published in Nature on April 17, , show that pancreatic stellate cells -- resident cells typically dormant in normal tissue -- become activated and secrete proteins to form a shell around the tumor in an attempt to wall off and contain it. The activated stellate cells also secrete a signaling protein called LIF, which conveys stimulatory signals to tumor cells to drive pancreatic cancer development and progression.
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Results also suggest LIF may be a useful biomarker to help diagnose pancreatic cancer more quickly and efficiently. The National Institutes of Health NIH project that pancreatic cancer will be the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States by Last year, the NIH reported roughly 55, new cases of pancreatic cancer with over 44, deaths from the disease. Instead, the tumor cells live and work cooperatively with surrounding normal cells in the tissue. They can also 'go bad' together as an unholy alliance, which can lead to cancer," says Yu Shi, a postdoctoral fellow at Salk and first author of the paper.
To understand the method of communication between the pancreatic stellate cells and the cancer cells, the researchers first developed cell cultures to analyze the proteins that were being exported from the stellate cells. They suspected that stellate cells were communicating with tumor cells using specific signaling proteins, but until now, they did not know which ones. We found that activated stellate cells are secreting LIF, which acts on neighboring cancer cells. After pinpointing LIF as the critical communicator, the researchers wanted to better understand the function of LIF during pancreatic cancer progression to evaluate the protein as a potential therapeutic target.
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By observing the effects on tumor growth of blocking or destroying LIF both render the protein nonfunctional in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, the researchers could examine how LIF affects tumor progression and response to treatment. Both techniques independently showed that without functional LIF signaling, tumor progression slowed down and responses to chemotherapeutic drugs used in treating human cancer such as gemcitabine were improved.
In addition to checking the consequences of LIF blockade in mice, the researchers also examined the levels of LIF in tumor tissue and blood from human pancreatic cancer patients. They found high levels of LIF in both the patients' tumors and blood. They also found a significant correlation between LIF levels, tumor progression and patient response to chemotherapy. These early findings suggest that LIF holds promise as a biomarker for pancreatic cancer stage and treatment response.
This study found that LIF was an accurate and independent measure of pancreatic cancer, and was a better indicator of therapeutic response than CA This is very translatable research, and it's nice to be working on a project that has the ability to make a direct impact on a deadly human cancer. Based in part on the Hunter group's discovery of a role for LIF in pancreatic cancer, a phase 1 clinical trial has been initiated by Northern Biologics, a Canadian company, to test the effect of treatment with a monoclonal synthetic antibody that binds to and blocks LIF from signaling in advanced pancreatic and other types of cancer.
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The results of this trial are awaited with great interest, according to Hunter. Lytle, Andrew M.
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Evans and Geoffrey M. Grandgenett and Michael A. Umetsu and Eric A. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Materials provided by Salk Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. It's not that it was meant to be; the concept of Web-based social networking was never preordained as a privacy nightmare waiting to happen. Nothing is written into the precepts of graph theory dictating that civil liberties must be violated.
Facebook was originally successful in part because it restricted the flow of information between students at different schools. No, what has manifested itself in Facebook today is directly the result of its leadership's conscious decision to put privacy on the back burner. The key turning point in Facebook's history came in September when the site switched from being a closed community of students to a global destination for everyone on the Internet.
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To maintain its high growth rate, the company decided that it had to widen its scope, and in doing so, it tossed user authentication out the window. At that point, any hope of having a site that respected user privacy was completely lost. The point of authentication, after all, is to prevent people from lying about their identity, and it goes to follow that when that measure is no longer in place, lying can and will happen. Still, even if you are who you say you are, it's still incredibly easy to share too much.
Facebook encourages it, of course. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has a mantra about supporting the "free flow of information," as if openness is a panacea for inefficiency. There's a reason for this. The more information that's accessible, the more people who want to access it. The more people who come, the more dollars that flow.
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Profit, of course, has no bearing on this model. So long as you sign up, click your mouse, and thereby yield as many advertising banner impressions as possible, you are doing your share in the grand scheme of multi-hundred-million-dollar advertising deals among Google, News Corp. Simply put, there's no way that social networks will put security and privacy first when their very business model gives them incentive to do just the opposite.
Just as "the common good" became a rallying cry in the Soviet Union of decades past, only to yield a bifurcated society of poor and super-wealthy, so too has "the free flow of information" divided us into those who hire top-dollar lawyers to keep our information private, as Facebook's CEO did when a magazine ran an article he didn't like, and those of us who don't even have the right to close an account. Add to that Facebook's spotty history regarding matters of security. It was in March that I found my first security flaw in Facebook.
The site let you download the names, home addresses, birth dates, and other vital facts about thousands of its members without authorization. I alerted the company of the problem immediately. When it ignored my repeated requests for weeks on end, not knowing what else to do, I took it to the press. Only then did the company actually take the issue seriously.
Today, there doesn't even need to be a technical problem in Facebook's software for people to download the same information.