Marine bacteria may help in myeloma therapy
An anti-cancer compound derived from bacteria dwelling in ocean-bottom sediments appears in laboratory tests to be a potent killer of drug-resistant multiple myeloma cells, and potentially with less toxicity than current treatments, report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers in the November issue of Cancer Cell. Multiple myeloma is a currently incurable cancer of the bone marrow that causes a plunge in the production of vital red and white blood cells.
The experimental compound, NPI-0052, has been found to block or inhibit cancer cells’ proteasomes from working effectively. The proteasomes work as a cell’s “garbage disposal,” chewing up and disposing of old, unwanted proteins. With their proteasome jammed, cells die from the backup of damaged proteins.
The compound will be moved into Phase I clinical trials in early 2006, say officials of Nereus Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, the developer of NPI-0052. The compound will be tested as a single agent and subsequently in combination with other treatments.
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Meditation associated with changes in brain, aging
The regular practice of meditation appears to produce structural changes in areas of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing. An imaging study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers showed that particular areas of the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain, were thicker in participants who were experienced practitioners of a type of meditation commonly practiced in the United States and other Western countries. The article appears in the Nov. 15 issue of NeuroReport, and the research was presented Nov. 14 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C.
“Our results suggest that meditation can produce experience-based structural alterations in the brain,” says Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study’s lead author. “We also found evidence that meditation may slow down the aging-related atrophy of certain areas of the brain.”
For the full story, visit http://www.massgeneral.org/news/releases/111105lazar.html.
– Compiled by Alec Solomita