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Posts tagged ‘basic research’

Diagnosis and research key to hepatitis elimination

In 2017, global virus elimination is the focus of World Hepatitis Day. Hepatitis C was first identified in 1989 and today we have drugs that destroy the virus. Associate Director of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research Professor John McLauchlan’s work contributed to this transformation. The real challenge now, he writes, is diagnosis.

Professor John McLauchlan

This is my third blog post to mark World Hepatitis Day. In 2013 I shared our plans to help the NHS deliver the best treatment to patients through two research consortia, HCV Research UK and STOP-HCV. In 2015 I wrote about the impact of new anti-viral drugs, able to not just control the virus, as is the case for HIV, but rid people of their infection.

Thanks to new treatments, many people are now at a much lower risk of developing liver disease and there are reports of patients who no longer require a liver transplant.

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Preparing to move – how cancer can use your immune system as a highway

Dr Jacqui Shields and Dr Angela Riedel at the MRC Cancer Unit explain the science behind these brightly-coloured blobs that show us how cancer cells prepare their road ahead so they can spread around the body.

A healthy lypmh node next to a lymph node that has been damaged by signals from a cancer.

Breaking down your defences: cancer cells send signals to a healthy lymph node (left) that distort its shape and damage its function (right) making it easier for a tumour to take hold.

One of cancer’s deadliest features is its ability to move through your immune system’s ready-made network of vessels and nodes.

Often, we don’t know a cancer has spread through the immune system until it’s too late, but now we may have found something that could help us predict when that’s going to happen: our findings suggest that before cancer cells even begin to move, they emit signals which send the new area into chaos. Read more

Single cell technology – an eye for detail

New technology is helping scientists study the secrets of single cells in more detail than ever before. Dr Roy Drissen at the  MRC Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine tells Sylvie Kruiniger how single cell technology has helped them discover a previously unknown stage in blood cell development which may have implications for the future of leukaemia treatment.

Dr Roy Drissen holds a microfluidic chip. Photo: martinphelps.com

 

“Before Galileo invented the telescope, we could just see Jupiter. With the telescope, we saw that Jupiter had moons. That’s what single cell technology is doing for biology: where we used to think there was only one type of cell, we can now see several.” Read more