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Dec 7, 2018

FDA Approves Drug That Targets Key Genetic Driver of Cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Imagine one drug that can target and kill malignant cells for some patients with many types of cancer. A new drug called Vitrakvi (larotrectinib), now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows promise of doing just that for both adults and children with a variety of sometimes rare cancers that share one specific genetic mutation.

The mutation, called a TRK fusion, occurs when one of three NTRK genes becomes mistakenly connected to an unrelated gene and ignites uncontrolled growth. By solely targeting this mutation, the drug is designed to turn off growth signaling with a minimum of other toxicities.

According to the drug manufacturer, Loxo Oncology, this specific mutation can occur in a small subset of various adult and pediatric solid tumors ranging from cancers of the appendix, bile ducts, breast, lung, pancreas and thyroid to melanoma, GIST and various sarcomas.

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Dec 7, 2018

We finally know what causes childhood leukemia — and how to prevent it

Posted by in category: futurism

A number of different things have to happen for a child to develop leukemia.

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Dec 7, 2018

Massive Cave Discovered in Canada, Named After ‘Star Wars’ Beast

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

A massive, previously unexplored cave discovered by accident in Canada has been named “Sarlacc’s Pit,” after the multi-tentacled alien beast that first made an appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Officials from Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change first came across the huge cavern in Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Columbia while conducting a caribou count by helicopter in March.

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Dec 7, 2018

Tiny ceramic particles make this building material fire-safe

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

Inspired by the insulation on a humble electrical cable, researchers have found that tiny ceramic particles can make plastic-backed cladding fire-safe.

How do you make a light-weight cladding material that doesn’t catch fire? It’s a question the building industry globally is wrestling with in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower blaze in London that cost the lives of 72 people.

But according to new research, the answer is under your desk in the plastic insulation around the electrical cable powering your computer.

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Dec 7, 2018

We Need to Prepare For Quantum Attacks Now, Top US Scientists Warn

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, engineering, information science, quantum physics

The promise of quantum computing brings with it some mind-blowing potential, but it also carries a new set of risks, scientists are warning.

Specifically, the enormous power of the tech could be used to crack the best cyber security we currently have in place.

A new report on the “progress and prospects” of quantum computing put together by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in the US says that work should start now on putting together algorithms to beat the bad guys.

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Dec 7, 2018

Probe Headed for Mercury Fires Most Powerful Ion Drive Ever Built

Posted by in category: space

BepiColombo has fired its ion drives in preparation for Mercury orbital injection over the next seven years.

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Dec 7, 2018

World’s First Insect Vaccine Could Help Bees Fight Off Deadly Disease

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The Salt American foulbrood is an infectious disease that devastates honeybee hives. Scientists say they’ve created a vaccine for it, despite a big hurdle: Bees don’t have antibodies.

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Dec 7, 2018

Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Woman Who Filled Her Neti Pot With Tap Water

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A 68-year-old Seattle woman who died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba used regular tap water to rinse her sinuses, according to new research.

As noted in a new International Journal of Infectious Diseases case study, the infection was initially misdiagnosed as a brain tumor. During surgery to remove the suspected tumor, the lead neurosurgeon, Charles Cobbs from Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, was taken aback by the extent of the brain damage. So he extracted a sample for further testing.

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Dec 7, 2018

Experiments at PPPL show remarkable agreement with satellite sightings

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, particle physics, satellites

As on Earth, so in space. A four-satellite mission that is studying magnetic reconnection—the breaking apart and explosive reconnection of the magnetic field lines in plasma that occurs throughout the universe—has found key aspects of the process in space to be strikingly similar to those found in experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The similarities show how the studies complement each other: The laboratory captures important global features of reconnection and the spacecraft documents local key properties as they occur.

The observations made by the Magnetospheric Multiscale Satellite (MMS) mission, which NASA launched in 2015 to study in the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, correspond quite well with past and present laboratory findings of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) at PPPL. Previous MRX research uncovered the process by which rapid reconnection occurs and identified the amount of magnetic that is converted to particle energy during the process, which gives rise to northern lights, and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service, black out power grids and damage orbiting satellites.

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Dec 7, 2018

Harnessing the power of ‘spin orbit’ coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Australian scientists have investigated new directions to scale up qubits—utilising the spin-orbit coupling of atom qubits—adding a new suite of tools to the armory.

Spin-orbit coupling, the coupling of the qubits’ orbital and spin degree of freedom, allows the manipulation of the via electric, rather than magnetic-fields. Using the electric dipole coupling between qubits means they can be placed further apart, thereby providing flexibility in the chip fabrication process.

In one of these approaches, published in Science Advances, a team of scientists led by UNSW Professor Sven Rogge investigated the spin-orbit coupling of a boron atom in silicon.

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