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'Switch' makes cancer cells responsive

Australian researchers have discovered a "genetic switch" that can make breast cancer cells more responsive to different kinds of treatments.
Agencies | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 03, 2013 12:39 AM IST

'Switch' makes cancer cells responsive
Melbourne: Australian researchers have discovered a "genetic switch" that can make breast cancer cells more responsive to different kinds of treatments.

The switch allows scientists to change breast cancer cells and make them more responsive to treatments, such as anti-oestrogen therapies.

Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney found that the molecule known as ELF5 can turn genes on or off.

By manipulating the molecule, the breast cancer cell's sensitivity to anti-oestrogen drugs used to treat breast cancer can be increased.

"We've made a discovery that concerns the basic biology of breast cancer. ELF5 determines whether cells will respond to oestrogen therapy or not," said Professor Chris Ormandy.

The finding establishes for the first time that there is a link between the molecule and breast cancer, the report said. -- PTI

'Harry a jackal, hunts while drunk'
Days after Prince Harry participated in a successful raid on Taliban, one of Afghanistan's most feared warlords has described the third-in-line to the British throne as a "jackal" who hunts while "drunk".

"The British Prince (Harry) comes to Afghanistan to kill innocent Afghans while he is drunk. He wants to hunt down Mujahideen with his helicopter rockets without any shame," Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been designated a global terrorist by the US, said in an interview to The Daily Telegraph.

In comments from a mountain base reportedly to be close to Af-Pak border, the warlord indicated that the Afghan rebels were hunting for the prince. -- PTI

Computers to patrol borders
New York:
A fully automated border station will take over the US-Mexico crossings this month to ease the burden for human agents in-charge of securing the border.

The closed border crossing at Big Bend National Park in Texas is scheduled to become the first automated checkpoint between the US and Mexico when it reopens on January 28, according to Nextgov.

Computers at the $3.7 million station will scan citizenship documents and allow for live video interviews with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at a station in El Paso, Texas.

Similar border checkpoints already exist on the US-Canada border. The new Texas checkpoint is expected to free up human CBP agents so that they can spend more time patrolling. -- PTI

Plump people live longer than most
A bit of extra weight could actually help you live longer, according to new research which found that men and women who are slightly plump have longer lives than those who are slimmer.

US researchers analysed results of almost 100 studies and found that those judged to be slightly overweight were 6% less likely to have died by the end of the study period than those of normal weight.

This might be because those who start out heavier will have more fat reserves to call on should they lose weight due to ill health. -- PTI

Bottled water less safe than tap water
Bottled water, that costs up to 1,000 times more than what comes out of the tap, is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is far from being healthier, a new study has claimed.

According to a university study, bottled water is also much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection.

The warning suggests that much of the more than 1.5-billion-pound people from Britain pay for bottled water each year in the belief that it is better for us is spent mistakenly. -- ANI

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