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A common virus may help inform treatment planning for stem cell transplant patients

Most healthy people barely notice infection with the human cytomegalovirus (hCMV), a form of the herpes virus that has evolved with humans over thousands of years and usually lays dormant in the body after initial infection. Now, in a study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of scientists from VCU Massey Cancer Center have shown a genetic relationship between the reactivation of hCMV and the onset of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a potentially deadly condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue following a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

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Revolutionary imaging technique uses CRISPR to map DNA mutations

Jason Reed at Computer

A team of scientists led by Virginia Commonwealth University physicist Jason Reed, Ph.D., has developed new nanomapping technology that could transform the way disease-causing genetic mutations are diagnosed and discovered. Described in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, this novel approach uses high-speed atomic force microscopy (AFM) combined with a CRISPR-based chemical barcoding technique to map DNA nearly as accurately as DNA sequencing while processing large sections of the genome at a much faster rate. What’s more—the technology can be powered by parts found in your run-of-the-mill DVD player.

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Study finds newly approved breast cancer drug defeats the Ras genes notorious for causing many types of cancer

This image shows autophagic vesicles containing mutant K-Ras formed in the membrane of human pancreatic cancer cells after exposure to neratinib.

A new study led by VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Paul Dent, Ph.D., has shown the recently approved breast cancer drug neratinib can block the function of Ras as well as several other oncogenes through an unexpected process.

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Commitment to a cure for liver cancer

When Devanand Sarkar, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., came to VCU Massey Cancer Center in 2008, he wanted to pursue a new direction in his research. Driven by the loss of his close friend and colleague, Sarkar has been on a mission to better understand the processes that drive the development of liver cancer. Now, nearly a decade after he started, his research is close to bringing about new treatments for the disease while redefining how obesity is connected to cancer.

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Study uncovers potential ‘silver bullet’ for preventing and treating colon cancer

In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential “silver bullet” for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ovarian, breast, lung, prostate and potentially other cancers that depend on the same mechanism for growth. 

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