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Diagnostics Digital and computational pathology, Genetics and epigenetics, Omics, Oncology

Bitesized Breakthroughs

Biopsies Be Gone
Researchers have developed a new urine test that measures the levels of both protein marker EN2 and 10 genes associated with prostate cancer risk (1). The test can predict whether a patient has prostate cancer and how aggressive the disease is – reducing the need for invasive biopsies.

Looking at Ligands
Artificial intelligence has been used to investigate whether amphiregulin and epiregulin immunohistochemistry (IHC) could predict treatment response in metastatic colorectal cancer patients (2). The model found that high ligand expression was associated with better response to anti-EGFR treatment, showing IHC’s potential in routine practice.

Exposing Vulnerabilities
Hippocampal gene expression changes and associated hippocampal vulnerability have been examined to investigate disease-relevant gene expression in the brain (3). SERPINA5, RYBP, SLC38A2, FEM1B, and PYDC1 were found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology and SERPINA5 was further associated with tau expression – a key characteristic of the disease.

35 Years On
Two new studies have investigated radiation-induced genetic changes caused by the Chernobyl disaster. The first found no evidence of de novo germline mutations in children whose parents were exposed to radiation – suggesting minimal transgenerational genetic effects (4). However, the second identified increased radiation-associated damage in papillary thyroid carcinoma patients who were exposed at a younger age (5).

Novel Nanodevice
Researchers have developed a design pipeline for DNA assemblies that allows users to build structures either top-down or bottom-up, enabling rapid construction of complex multicomponent structures while maintaining control over geometrical, mechanical, and dynamical components (6).

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  1. SP Connell et al., Cancers (Basel), 13, 2102 (2021). PMID: 33925381.
  2. CJM Williams et al., Clin Cancer Res, [Online ahead of print] (2021). PMID: 33888518.
  3. AM Crist et al., Nat Commun, 12, 2311 (2021). PMID: 33875655.
  4. M Yeager et al., Science, 372, 725 (2021). PMID: 33888597.
  5. LM Morton et al., Science, 372, eabg2538 (2021). PMID: 33888599.
  6. CM Huang et al., Nat Mater, [Online ahead of print] (2021). PMID: 33875848.
About the Author
Liv Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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