August 10, 2016 |
Imagine a world where the milk you drink doesn't come from cows, but yeast. The fuel in your car isn't pumped from beneath the earth's crust, but is renewably produced by microbes. And your house was built from bricks cured with bacteria rather than heat. These are the kinds of innovative solutions to environmental and industrial problems that are being tested. Some are already on the market, fueling the biotechnology boom. "It's one of the fastest-growing industries in America," said Orkan Telhan, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design.
August 9, 2016 |
Backyard barbecuing or sitting around a campfire in the summer, toasty hands and roasted chestnuts in the winter - in any season, people love a nice fire. And in the smoke that those flames produce, scientists may have found a clue to the success of our species. For prehistoric humans, including Neanderthals, fire was their technology, providing heat, light, and a means of making more foods digestible. But when they made those fires in caves, they would also inhale great quantities of smoke and its toxic chemicals.
July 9, 2016 |
Men with metastatic prostate cancer have a surprisingly high rate of inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes, suggesting that all men with such advanced prostate cancer should be considered for genetic testing, a new study concludes. Genetic testing is not recommended for men with cancer confined to the prostate - or men whose cancer later spreads - because studies have found less than 5 percent have defective DNA-repair genes. But the prevalence of such defects among men who are initially diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer has been unclear, according to the new study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers from six leading cancer centers in the United States and Britain.
May 2, 2016 |
With rescue dogs all the rage and shelters overflowing with homeless dogs, it seemed a little ironic to hear veterinarians talk Saturday about how to solve canine fertility problems. But their audience was a serious, sophisticated group of about 40 dog breeders who had traveled from as far away as North Carolina to learn about reproduction, genetics, behavior, and the dog microbiome at a scientific conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Specialized vets now monitor hormones closely to improve the odds of conception.
February 14, 2016
* A project called Darwin's Dogs is collecting anecdotal and genetic information from up to 5,000 dogs in the hope of learning more about genetic links to conditions such as cognitive dysfunction - similar to dementia or Alzheimer's disease in humans - and canine compulsive disorder, which causes dogs to lick, chew, spin, chase or perform other behaviors in an exaggerated manner. The 3,000 dogs enrolled in the study so far include purebreds and mixed breeds. * Looking to adopt a cat?
February 7, 2016 |
Independence Blue Cross' announcement that it will cover a complex type of genetic testing for some cancer patients thrusts the insurer into the debate about how to handle an increasing array of these expensive tests. The Philadelphia-based insurer - with 3 million members - became the largest to cover whole genome sequencing for select cancer patients. The analysis looks at the entire sequence of each tumor's DNA and identifies mutated genes. Physicians can request this for children with tumors, patients with rare cancers, and those with triple negative breast cancer or who have exhausted conventional therapies for metastatic cancer.
December 10, 2015 |
If you were at high risk for a deadly, untreatable disease, would you want to know it? Would you want to join a clinical trial? Alzheimer's researchers are hoping that a lot of people are so eager to find a cure that they will answer yes to both those questions. GeneMatch, an ambitious, national effort to recruit people at high genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease, was launched Tuesday by the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix and will include a key role for University of Pennsylvania researchers.
October 10, 2015 |
Nemours Children's Health System and the Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster County signed a five-year agreement to collaborate on the care of children with rare genetic disorders, the two tax-exempt organizations announced. As part of the arrangement, the Clinic for Special Children will help Nemours develop medical services for the Old Order Amish community near Dover, Del. The clinic, near Strasburg, Pa., was founded in 1989 to treat Old Order Amish and Mennonite children with genetic disorders.
October 6, 2015 |
Fragrant steam unfurls from stovetop pots of organic applesauce as volunteers chop carrots, scallions, and lotus root for a Korean condiment called kimchi . It's a chilly afternoon, and the basement of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Collingswood is cozy with the aromas of food and the convivial sounds of its communal preparation. Who knew political advocacy could be so . . . appetizing? "If it were just a matter of calling legislators and meeting with [politicians]
September 6, 2015 |
African American women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than white women, yet are more likely to die of the disease. To some degree, this disturbing disparity reflects differences in patterns of care, which may involve socioeconomic factors. Studies show that black women tend to be diagnosed at a later stage and often have trouble accessing treatment. But that doesn't fully explain the racial survival imbalance, so increasingly, researchers are looking for biological differences.