Scientists neutralize reactive nitrogen molecules to enhance cancer immunotherapy

Author: Jessica Sieff

Xin Lu 700

Immunotherapy — harnessing T-cells to attack cancer cells in the body — has given hope to patients who endure round after round of treatment, including chemotherapy, to little effect. For all of its promise, however, immunotherapy still benefits only a minority of patients — a reality driving research in the field for ways to improve the relatively new approach.

One method for improving efficacy is the development of bio- and activity-based markers to better predict which patients will respond to immunotherapy and identify why some don’t. In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Notre Dame studying tumors in prostate cancer models found that nitration of an amino acid can inhibit T-cell activation, thwarting the T-cell’s ability to kill cancer cells.  

Read More

As climate changes, so could the genes of the Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Author: Jessica Sieff

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Feature

The reality of climate change poses a significant threat to global biodiversity. As temperatures rise, the survival of individual species will ultimately depend on their ability to adapt to changes in habitat and their interactions with other species.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines movement of the Eastern (Papilio glaucus) and Canadian (Papilio Canadensis) tiger swallowtail butterfly over a 32-year period within the geographic region where the two species mate, called the hybrid zone. The findings highlight the impact of changing climates and provide critical information for the protection and management of biodiversity.

Read More

New study finds mycobacteria can sense presence of proteins that cause disease

Author: Jessica Sieff

Patty Champion Feature

Tuberculosis-causing mycobacteria use a select group of proteins known as virulence factors to transmit the disease, which infects roughly one third of the world’s population and causes 1.7 million deaths annually. Those proteins are cargo transported by molecular machinery, a microscopic gateway that promotes the survival of bacteria in the host.

A new study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that mycobacteria can sense when this molecular machine is present.

Read More