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Physician assistants (PAs) are increasingly used in dermatology practices to cut costs and improve access to care, but are more likely than dermatologists to perform unnecessary skin biopsies to check for cancer, while being less likely to accurately diagnose early stage skin cancers, according to new research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The results of the study, led by Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Dermatology, are published today in JAMA Dermatology.

Existing microscopy-based methods of detecting apoptosis, such as TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling), have limited quantitative capabilities due to insufficient signal-to-noise ratios. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute and National Cancer Institute-Frederick have addressed this issue via development of a highly specific apoptosis assay designed for immunofluorescence microscopy analysis of fixed core needle biopsy specimens.

For years, bioengineer Yaling Liu has been in pursuit of the deadly tumor cell. Liu has been perfecting a microfluidic device the size of two quarters that has the ability to catch and release circulating tumor cells (CTCs)--cancer cells that circulate in a cancer patient's blood. Such a device could lead to earlier detection of primary tumors and metastasis, as well as determine the effectiveness of treatment--all through a simple, non-invasive blood test.

Seattle scientists from Cure First, a non-profit research organization, and SEngine Precision Medicine, a biotech developing targeted, more effective, and less toxic cancer therapeutics, co-authored one of 27 high-profile papers published today by Cell Press.

A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that high-quality cervical cancer screening can be done effectively using a completely automated approach. The researchers involved in the study indicate that automated technology could increase cervical screening coverage in underserved regions.

Scientists searching for a therapy to stop the deadly and mostly untreatable lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), found a new molecular target that slows or stops the illness in preclinical laboratory tests.

A research team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center reports its data in the journal Cell Reports. It found that a gene called FOXF1 inhibits the IPF disease process, which includes extensive scarring in lung connective tissues, hyperproduction of harmful cells called myofibroblasts and excessive lung inflammation.

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are powerful weapons our body's immune systems count on to fight infection and combat diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Finding ways to spark these potent cells into action could lead to more effective cancer treatments and vaccines.

While several chemical compounds have shown promise stimulating iNKT cells in mice, their ability to activate human iNKT cells has been limited.

At the heart of any cancer diagnosis or treatment are cells. If one thinks of the cell components controlling gene activation as a Russian nesting-doll of gene regulatory layers, within those increasingly smaller tiers are short pieces of non-coding DNA called enhancers. A study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reveals enhancers as a significant area of research for diagnosing and/or treating many cancers.

A Phase I clinical trial testing the safety of vaccines that might have the potential to prevent HIV infection will begin this month at four sites in the United States, marking the latest step in a three-decade quest at UMass Medical School to harness the power of DNA vaccines in addressing a major global health threat. The study, which is the result of research by Shan Lu, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, will also monitor the vaccine's ability to create an immune response against HIV.

A study conducted at The Wistar Institute in collaboration with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has demonstrated the efficacy of targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma. The research was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

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