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More Than a Feeling: The Science and Applications of Sensory Receptors

Posted by Kin Leung on Apr 22, 2022 12:00:00 PM

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine was awarded jointly to David Julius, of the University of California at San Francisco, and Ardem Patapoutian, a neuroscience researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Working independently, Julius and Patapoutian discovered the key receptors (TRPV1, TRPM8, Piezo1, and Piezo2) in our bodies that sense heat, cold, and touch. Their work not only helps us to understand how we perceive and adapt to the surrounding world, but also paves the way for drug discoveries that target a wide range of diseases, including chronic pain, respiratory disease, and cancer.

 

The Cytoskeleton: Its Functional Importance in Cancer Research

Posted by Allen Zheng on Apr 8, 2022 12:00:00 PM

Cancer remains one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases affecting humanity. According to the Centers For Disease Control, cancer was the second leading cause of death in 2020 for Americans behind heart disease. The American Cancer Society projects at least 600,000 deaths due to cancer each year, despite the fact that mortality continues to decrease each year. The majority of these deaths are from advanced cancer, which are cancers that do not respond well to treatment and therefore cannot be cured. It is when the advanced cancer progresses to a point where it can escape the primary tumor site, a process known as metastasis, that the prognosis becomes grim.

Cyclins and The Cell Cycle

Posted by Cheryl Cheah on Dec 17, 2021 12:00:00 PM

The cell cycle is a series of phases that takes place in a cell as it grows and divides. The cell spends most of its time in interphase. During this interphase the cell grows, replicates its chromosomes, and prepares for cell division. Once the cell leaves interphase, it will undergo the process of mitoses and start divining in order to create daughter cells. These new daughter cells will then enter their own interphase and begin a new round of the cell cycle. The cell cycle and its cues are of the utmost importance, because without the cues the cells can either multiply continuously, forming masses, or will not multiply. These cues are cyclins which controls the cell cycle progression.

The Role of Tumor Microenvironments in Cancer Development & Treatment

Posted by Fanyun Fang on Dec 3, 2021 1:00:00 PM

The tumor is an abnormal tissue mass formed when cells divide and grow excessively within the body. Tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors may become larger but do not spread to nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, can spread nearby to tissue and can also be transmitted to other parts of the body through the blood and or lymphatic system.1 But we are no strangers to tumors and how the develop.

On the other hand, many of us aren’t as familiar with a tumor’s environment. Tumor progression is profoundly affected by the subtle interaction of tumor cells with immune and non-immune cells within their environment. In particular, the interactions with the immune cell component of a tumor are fundamental in determining whether primary tumors are eradicated, metastasized, or established by dormant micro metastases.3 The environment that a tumor grows in is also much more complex than one would think because of its highly variable cell composition, large number of proteins, and structures involved in tumor formation.


This being said, tumor microenvironment includes:
• Heterogeneous populations of cancer cells
• A variety of resident and osmotic host cells
• Secretion factors
• Extracellular matrix proteins

Interleukin Family Overview

Posted by Eva Volckova on Nov 19, 2021 12:00:00 PM

Interleukins are a group of small signaling molecules, and a type of cytokine. They play a vital role in the body’s immune response by activating and deactivating immune cells. Recently, interleukins have gained visibility as a target to help treat COVID-19, and the WHO has recommended giving IL-6 inhibitors to patients with severe cases. Additionally, because of its widespread impact on the body, the interleukin family has gained popularity as drug targets over the last few years.

The Importance of CD Antigens in Drug Discovery

Posted by Cheryl Cheah on Nov 5, 2021 12:00:00 PM

CD antigens have played a significant role in both diagnosis and treatment for several diseases ranging from autoimmune diseases to cancer. CD antigens are often used as drug targets in drug discovery and as biomarkers in diagnosis because they are both highly specific and are located at the surface of the cells to target different to identify and investigate cell surface molecules.