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Life Sciences

Chemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatment

Melanoma is a particularly difficult cancer to treat once it has metastasized, spreading throughout the body. University of Illinois researchers are using chemistry to find the deadly, elusive malignant cells within a melanoma tumor that hold the potential to spread.

Cowbird moms choosy when selecting foster parents for their young

Despite their reputation as uncaring, absentee moms, cowbird mothers are capable of making sophisticated choices among potential nests in order to give their offspring a better chance of thriving, a new study shows.

Sensors detect disease markers in breath

A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building’s air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. By riddling the thin plastic films with pores, University of Illinois researchers made the devices sensitive enough to detect at levels that are far too low to smell, yet are important to human health.

Studies link healthy brain aging to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood

Two new studies link patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood to the integrity of brain structures and cognitive abilities that are known to decline early in aging.

‘Molecular prosthetics’ can replace missing proteins to treat disease

Researchers have demonstrated that a small molecule can transport iron in human cells and live animals when proteins that normally do the same job are missing, a condition that often causes severe anemia in patients. Such “molecular prosthetics” might treat a host of incurable diseases caused by protein deficiencies, such as anemias, cystic fibrosis or certain types of heart disease.

Antibiotic breakthrough: Team discovers how to overcome gram-negative bacterial defenses

Scientists report that they now know how to build a molecular Trojan horse that can penetrate gram-negative bacteria, solving a problem that for decades has stalled the development of effective new antibiotics against these increasingly drug-resistant microbes. The findings appear in the journal Nature.

Report: Even in death, indigenous border crossers marginalized

Of the hundreds of people who die trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico each year, those with indigenous backgrounds are less likely to be identified than those with more European ancestry, a new analysis reveals.

Anemonefish dads further fathering research

Like the dad in “Finding Nemo,” anemonefish fathers will do almost anything to support their offspring. Their parenting instincts are so strong that if you give a bachelor anemonefish a scoop of anemonefish eggs from an unrelated nest, he will care for them – constantly nipping at them to remove debris and fanning them with oxygen-rich waters – as if they were his own. (Any other fish would eat them, researchers say.)

Team discovers a new invasive clam in the U.S.

A new invasive clam has made its official debut in North America.

Study offers new insight into powerful inflammatory regulator

A new study in mice reveals how a protein called Brd4 boosts the inflammatory response – for better and for worse, depending on the ailment. The study is the first to show that this protein, while problematic in some circumstances, also can protect the body from infection.

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