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Redirecting abiraterone metabolism to fine-tune prostate cancer anti-androgen therapy

Nature - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 00:00

Redirecting abiraterone metabolism to fine-tune prostate cancer anti-androgen therapy

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature17954

Authors: Zhenfei Li, Mohammad Alyamani, Jianneng Li, Kevin Rogacki, Mohamed Abazeed, Sunil K. Upadhyay, Steven P. Balk, Mary-Ellen Taplin, Richard J. Auchus & Nima Sharifi

Abiraterone blocks androgen synthesis and prolongs survival in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, which is otherwise driven by intratumoral androgen synthesis. Abiraterone is metabolized in patients to Δ4-abiraterone (D4A), which has even greater anti-tumour activity and is structurally similar to endogenous steroidal 5α-reductase substrates, such as testosterone. Here, we show that D4A is converted to at least three 5α-reduced and three 5β-reduced metabolites in human serum. The initial 5α-reduced metabolite, 3-keto-5α-abiraterone, is present at higher concentrations than D4A in patients with prostate cancer taking abiraterone, and is an androgen receptor agonist, which promotes prostate cancer progression. In a clinical trial of abiraterone alone, followed by abiraterone plus dutasteride (a 5α-reductase inhibitor), 3-keto-5α-abiraterone and downstream metabolites were depleted by the addition of dutasteride, while D4A concentrations rose, showing that dutasteride effectively blocks production of a tumour-promoting metabolite and permits D4A accumulation. Furthermore, dutasteride did not deplete the three 5β-reduced metabolites, which were also clinically detectable, demonstrating the specific biochemical effects of pharmacological 5α-reductase inhibition on abiraterone metabolism. Our findings suggest a previously unappreciated and biochemically specific method of clinically fine-tuning abiraterone metabolism to optimize therapy.

Categories: Literature

Peru Declares Emergency to Fight Mercury Pollution from Gold Mines

Yale Environment 360 - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 11:19

Peru has declared a 60-day emergency in the Amazon due to widespread mercury pollution from the region’s booming gold mining industry, the country's environment minister announced this week.

Marcin Nowak/Wikimedia Several studies have confirmed dangerously high levels of the neurotoxin in waterways, fish, and people living in the Madres de Dios region, near Peru’s southeast border. Members of the Harakmbut indigenous group, for example, have mercury levels in their bodies six times higher than what doctors deem safe. Mercury is used to separate gold from ore, but it can have serious health impacts, including damaging brain, kidney, and lung function. In illegal mining operations — which make up the majority of mines in the Peruvian Amazon — workers often handle the substance with bare hands, and dump excess mercury into nearby rivers. During the 60-day emergency period, the government will supply uncontaminated fish to local communities and set up mobile health clinics.

Categories: Environmental News

Crunch time

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

Crunch time

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). doi:10.1038/533438a

Overtime pay for postdoctoral scientists is welcome — but could mean fewer positions.

Categories: Literature

Silicon quantum computers take shape in Australia

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

Silicon quantum computers take shape in Australia

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/533448a

Author: Elizabeth Gibney

Two blueprints emerge from centre tasked with creating a practical quantum device.

Categories: Literature

US reviews plan to infect mosquitoes with bacteria to stop disease

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

US reviews plan to infect mosquitoes with bacteria to stop disease

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/533450a

Author: Emily Waltz

Biotech firm seeks government approval to market mosquitoes as a pesticide to prevent spread of Zika and dengue viruses.

Categories: Literature

The secret history of ancient toilets

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

The secret history of ancient toilets

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/533456a

Author: Chelsea Wald

By scouring the remains of early loos and sewers, archaeologists are finding clues to what life was like in the Roman world and in other civilizations.

Categories: Literature

Medical research: Time to think differently about diabetes

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

Medical research: Time to think differently about diabetes

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). doi:10.1038/533459a

Author: Francesco Rubino

New guidelines for the surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes bolster hopes of finding a cure, writes Francesco Rubino, but long-standing preconceptions must be put aside.

Categories: Literature

Correction

Nature - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 00:00

Correction

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/533451a

The News Feature ‘The material code’ (Nature533, 22–25; 2016) wrongly implied that the phrase ‘materials genome’ was invented solely by Gerbrand Ceder. It was independently invented and copyrighted by Zi-Kui Liu of Pennsylvania State University.

Categories: Literature

World Could Warm 8 Degrees Celsius If All Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 11:41

As nations meet in Bonn, Germany this week to hash out how to achieve the 2-degree Celsius goal they set in Paris, new research is providing policymakers a glimpse of what would happen if the world does nothing to curb climate change.

NASA What if nations chose instead to burn through all of their remaining fossil fuel reserves, equal to 5 trillion tons of CO2 emissions? According to the new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the world would warm an average 8 degrees Celsius (14.4 degrees F), or up to 17 degrees Celsius (30 degrees F) in the Arctic. The research was conducted by a team of climate scientists at the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who wanted to understand the worst-case scenario. “Such climate changes, if realized, would have extremely profound impacts on ecosystems, human health, agriculture, economies, and other sectors,” the researchers write.

Categories: Environmental News

Interview: CO2 'Air Capture' Could Be Key to Slowing Global Warming

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 07:41

For two decades, Klaus Lackner has pioneered efforts to combat climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Klaus Lackner Now, after years of watching the global community fail to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, Lackner — director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University — is delivering a blunt message: The best hope to avoid major disruptions from global warming is to launch a massive program of CO2 "air capture" that will begin to reverse the buildup of billions of tons of carbon in our atmosphere. "We need to have the ability to walk this backwards," says Lackner. "I'm saying this is a war, and we need to use all the weapons at our disposal. You don't want to get into this fight with one hand tied behind your back."
Read the interview.

Categories: Environmental News

Why CO2 'Air Capture' Could Be Key to Slowing Global Warming

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 07:39

Physicist Klaus Lackner has long advocated deploying devices that extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to combat climate change. Now, as emissions keep soaring, Lackner says in a Yale Environment 360 interview that such “air capture” approaches may be our last best hope. BY RICHARD SCHIFFMAN

Categories: Environmental News

Obama Looking for Kids As Science Advisors to the White House

Yale Environment 360 - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 11:34

White House advisors tend to be experts with decades of experience in specific fields, from foreign policy to education to energy.

Chuck Kennedy/White House But President Barack Obama announced this week he’s looking for a much younger batch of consultants to advise the White House on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Kid Science Advisors outreach program will ask children which issues are most important to them and how to better engage students studying science to help guide White House policy and priorities. "The real reason we do this, as I’ve said before, is to teach our young people that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl or the NCAA tournament that deserves a celebration,” Obama said Thursday. “We want those who have invented the products and lifesaving medicines and are engineering our future to be celebrated as well."

Categories: Environmental News

Myriad Genetics embroiled in breast-cancer data fight — again

Nature - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 00:00

Myriad Genetics embroiled in breast-cancer data fight — again

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19953

Author: Erika Check Hayden

Complaint to US government alleges that diagnostics company violated individuals' right to access health information.

Categories: Literature

After Paris, A Move to Rein In Emissions by Ships and Planes

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:35

As the world moves to slash CO2 emissions, the shipping and aviation sectors have managed to remain on the sidelines. But the pressure is now on these two major polluting industries to start controlling their emissions at last. BY FRED PEARCE

Categories: Environmental News

Brewing Company Creates Edible Six-Pack Rings to Save Wildlife

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 00:06

Plastic six-pack rings have long been a nuisance to wildlife and ecosystems, fouling oceans and shorelines, and entangling and choking wildlife.

Now, a brewery in Florida has developed an edible version from the byproducts of making beer, including wheat and barely. If not eaten by marine creatures, the six-pack ring biodegrades. Saltwater Brewery 3-D printed 500 of the holders in April and plans to scale up production to package all of its 400,000 cans of beer per month in the edible rings. The material is just as strong as traditional plastics, the brewery says, but is more expensive. The price would drop, however, as more companies use the edible rings, the brewery said. “We want to influence the big guys,” Chris Goves, president of Saltwater Brewery, said in a video about the new project. “And hopefully inspire them to get on board.”

Categories: Environmental News

Three-person embryos may fail to vanquish mutant mitochondria

Nature - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 00:00

Three-person embryos may fail to vanquish mutant mitochondria

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19948

Author: Ewen Callaway

Technique to stop children inheriting mitochondrial diseases has potential to backfire.

Categories: Literature

US law could increase postdoc pay — and shake up research system

Nature - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 00:00

US law could increase postdoc pay — and shake up research system

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19949

Author: Heidi Ledford

Labour law will change how many postdocs — long a troubled segment of the US research hierarchy — are paid.

Categories: Literature

Trees Sleep, With Branches And Leaves Drooping at Night, New Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:57

Scientists have long known that plants have a day-to-night cycle. Some trees close their leaves in the evening. Most flowers open up their petals in the morning.

But these observations have largely been made only in experiments with potted plants. Now, a team of scientists has used a laser scanner to measure trees’ daily cycles in the wild, and they’ve discovered that trees sleep. “Our results show that the whole tree droops during night, which can be seen as position change in leaves and branches,” Eetu Puttonen, a scientist at the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. Silver birch leaves drooped to their lowest point a couple of hours before sunrise and became upright again a few hours later. It isn’t yet clear whether the sun or the plants’ internal rhythm spurs the movement. The findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

Categories: Environmental News

Scientific sceptics hit back after rebuke

Nature - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 00:00

Scientific sceptics hit back after rebuke

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). doi:10.1038/533441f

Author: Chris Woolston

A science writer challenges the sceptics community to move beyond tackling just ‘easy’ issues.

Categories: Literature

Cell biology: Killer enzymes tethered

Nature - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 00:00

Cell biology: Killer enzymes tethered

Nature 533, 7604 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature18439

Authors: Shigekazu Nagata

Caspase enzymes promote cell death, but are also involved in sperm development in fruit flies. The discovery that, in sperm, caspase activation is restricted to the surface of organelles called mitochondria sheds light on this unusual role.

Categories: Literature

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