ANZAC Day – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

About the Anzac Day The Catafalque Party made up of members from Australia’s Federation Guard, mount the Catafalque at the beginning of the Lone Pine Service at Gallipoli.When is Anzac Day? Anzac Day falls on the 25th of April each year. The 25th of April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916.What does ‘ANZAC’ stand for? ‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became know as Anzacs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.Why is this day special to Australians? On the morning of 25 April 1915, the Anzacs set out to capture the Gallipoli …

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Researchers sequence non-infiltrating bladder cancer exome

Oct. 13, 2013 — Bladder cancer represents a serious public health problem in many countries, especially in Spain, where 11,200 new cases are recorded every year, one of the highest rates in the world. The majority of these tumours have a good prognosis — 70-80% five-year survival after diagnosis — and they do not infiltrate the bladder muscle at the time of diagnosis — in around 80% of cases.Despite this, many of the tumours recur, requiring periodic cytoscopic tumour surveillance. This type of follow-up affects patients’ quality of life, at the same time as incurring significant healthcare costs.Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), coordinated by Francisco X. Real, head of the Epithelial Carcinogenesis Group and Nuria Malats, head of the Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Group, have carried out the first exome sequencing for non-infiltrating bladder cancer, the most frequent type of bladder cancer and the one with the highest risk of recurrence (the exome is the part of the genome that contains protein synthesis information).The results reveal new genetic pathways involved in the disease, such as cellular division and DNA repair, as well as new genes — not previously described — that might be crucial for understanding its origin and evolution.”We know very little about the biology of bladder cancer, which would be useful for classifying patients, predicting relapses and even preventing the illness,” says Cristina Balbás, a predoctoral researcher in Real’s laboratory who is the lead author of the study.The work consisted of analysing the exome from 17 patients diagnosed with bladder cancer and subsequently validating the data via the study of a specific group of genes in 60 additional patients.”We found up to 9 altered genes that hadn’t been described before in this type of tumour, and of these we found that STAG2 was inactive in almost 40% of the least aggressive tumours,” says Real.The researcher adds that: “Some of these genes are involved in previously undescribed genetic pathways in bladder cancer, such as cell division and DNA repair; also, we confirmed and extended other genetic pathways that had previously been described in this cancer type, such as chromatin remodelling.”An Unknown Agent in Bladder CancerThe STAG2 gene has been associated with cancer just over 2 years ago, although “little is known about it, and nothing about its relationship to bladder cancer,” says Balbás. Previous studies suggest it participates in chromosome separation during cell division (chromosomes contain the genetic material), which is where it might be related to cancer, although it has also been associated with maintenance of DNA´s 3D structure or in gene regulation.Contrary to what might be expected, the article reveals that tumours with an alteration in this gene frequently lack changes in the number of chromosomes, which indicates, according to Real, that “this gene participates in bladder cancer via different mechanisms than chromosome separation.”The authors have also found, by analysising tumour tissue from more than 670 patients, that alterations in STAG2 are associated, above all, with tumours from patients with a better prognosis. How and why these phenomena work still needs to be discovered but the researchers predict that “mutations in STAG2 and other additional genes that we showed to be altered could provide new therapeutic opportunities in some patient sub-groups.”

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How genes tell cellular construction crews, ‘Read me now!’

Aug. 13, 2013 — When egg and sperm combine, the new embryo bustles with activity. Its cells multiply so rapidly they largely ignore their DNA, other than to copy it and to read just a few essential genes. The embryonic cells mainly rely on molecular instructions placed in the egg by its mother in the form of RNA.The cells translate these RNA molecules into proteins that manage almost everything in the first minutes or hours of the embryo’s life. Then, during the so-called midblastula transition, cells start transcribing massive amounts of their own DNA. How embryonic cells prepare for this moment, and how they flag a small set of genes for transcription before that, holds important information about normal development and disease in animals and in humans.A new study that sheds light on these questions appears in the Aug. 13 issue of eLife Sciences, authored by researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The team, led by Associate Investigator Julia Zeitlinger, Ph.D., shows that in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, genes active in the first two hours of a fertilized egg are read quickly due to special instructions at the beginning of each gene, in a region aptly named the “promoter.”Within each promoter region, different combinations of short control elements or “boxes” form a code that instructs specialized construction crews, called RNA polymerases, where and when to start transcribing. Researchers long thought that once an RNA polymerase appears at the worksite it would quickly finish the job.”The most important result is that promoters are different,” Zeitlinger says. “The general paradigm for a long time has been a promoter is a promoter. …

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Fertility therapy not associated with long-term cardiovascular disease

July 31, 2013 — Women who gave birth following fertility treatment had no long-term increased risk of death or major cardiovascular events compared to women who gave birth without fertility therapy, according to new research by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women’s College Hospital.The findings, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, are the first to show fertility medications, which can cause short-term pregnancy complications, are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.”The speculated association between fertility therapy and subsequent cardiovascular disease is not surprising given that more women are waiting until an older age to have children, when they are at greater risk of developing heart disease,” said Dr. Jacob Udell, lead author of the study and cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital.Fertility therapy is used in nearly one percent of all successful pregnancies in North America. But these medications are known to cause short-term complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. These short-term risks, however, do not translate into lasting cardiovascular damage according to the researchers.In the study, researchers assessed the long-term risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure following fertility therapy among 1.1 million women after delivery over a 17-year follow-up period in Ontario. They found:A five-fold increase in the use of fertility therapy from 1993 to 2010, particularly among older women. The use of fertility therapy was associated with an increase in pregnancy complications including a near 30 per cent increase of diabetes in pregnancy, 16 per cent increase in placental disorders and a 10 per cent increase in pre-eclampsia. Women who delivered following fertility therapy had about half the risk of subsequent death compared to women who did not have fertility therapy. Women who delivered following fertility therapy had nearly half the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure. The researchers do not believe that this is a direct effect of treatment; rather that women undergoing fertility therapy maintain a healthy lifestyle over a long period. Researchers reported no increase in the risk of future breast or ovarian cancer in women who gave birth following fertility therapy. …

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