Science news: 2015

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

Insights into ‘garbage trucks’ of cells improves understanding of human diseases

Research has revealed insights into how a process called autophagy happens in cells, with implications for improving understanding of cancer and other human diseases
28 December 2015

Discovery could lead to more targeted drugs to stop cancer spread

Scientists have shed more light on a vital cluster of proteins that helps cells – including cancer cells – to move around the body.
23 December 2015

Lung cells that battle a cold virus identified by scientists

Scientists have shown for the first time that a type of immune cell, called a resident memory T cell, is particularly active during respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.
23 December 2015

New laptop program can identify drug resistance from bacterial genomes

An easy-to-use computer program can predict which antibiotics will work for a particular infection and which will fail.
21 December 2015

Heightened blood flow in the brain linked to development of psychosis

A key mechanism in the brain might be associated with the onset and development of psychosis.
18 December 2015

Understanding DNA packaging inside cells

Scientists have described the molecular mechanism by which DNA enters and exits the protein rings that enable vast lengths of DNA to be packaged into the tiny nucleus inside cells.
17 December 2015

Scientists discover how tumours hijack body’s wound healing process

Cells that usually help repair wounds can switch from friend to foe – and instead escalate tumour growth and spread.
17 December 2015

Autophagy insights could help in quest for new cancer therapies

Scientists have discovered how two molecules regulate autophagy – a recycling process used by cells to maintain their health and to aid survival under stress.
17 December 2015

Why focusing on a visual task will make us deaf to our surroundings

A study suggests that hearing and vision share a limited neural resource – and concentrating on a visual task can render you momentarily ‘deaf’ to sounds at normal levels.
09 December 2015

Blocking body’s first immune response could reduce cancer spread

Blocking part of the immune system’s first response might help prevent cancer from spreading.
08 December 2015

Spreading cancer cells must change their environment to grow

To continue to grow, spreading cancer cells arriving in a new part of the body must be able to change their new environment.
03 December 2015

Cholesterol-lowering statins could help tackle breast cancer

Statins could help fight hard-to-treat cancers, according to a that found that tumours rely heavily on cholesterol for growth.
27 November 2015

Crick researcher in top 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2015

A new report by BioBeat identifies Kate Bishop, a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, as a rising star in UK bioscience.
20 November 2015

Stored fat fights against the body’s attempts to lose weight

The fatter we are, the more our body appears to produce a protein that inhibits our ability to burn fat, suggests new research.
20 November 2015

Uneven growth of twins may begin shortly after conception

Unequal growth between genetically identical monozygotic (MZ) twins in the womb may be triggered in the earliest stages of human embryo development
12 November 2015

Nature comment piece on CRISPR

The Crick’s Robin Lovell-Badge, Debra J. H. Mathews from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and others, have written a comment piece for Nature on the topic of CRISPR.
11 November 2015

Crick scientist wins award for contribution to cell biology

Congratulations to Thomas Surrey, a group leader at the Crick, who has been awarded the Hooke Medal by the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB).
10 November 2015

Crick researcher wins Future Leader Award

Congratulations to Crick researcher Dr Peter Van Loo who was awarded a Future Leader Award at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool yesterday.
03 November 2015

Targeted therapy for gastric cancer possible

A genomic fingerprint can highlight which breast, ovarian, pancreatic and gastric cancers are likely to respond to treatment
29 October 2015

Genetic trick boosts egg count in mice with low fertility

A genetic trick that restores egg numbers in sub-fertile mice provides a new insight into human infertility.
28 October 2015

Zebrafish embryos show how cells communicate

Work in zebrafish embryos has shed light on signalling between cells in developing embryos.
26 October 2015

3D microscopy technique allows scientists to trace dangerous heart waves

Scientists have applied a pioneering 3D imaging technique to heart cells for the first time, enabling them to trace waves that can cause arrhythmia.
23 October 2015

Gene could hold key to treating Parkinson's disease

A new gene linked to nerve function could provide a treatment target for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
19 October 2015

Extra brain cells make males remember sex

A pair of neurons have been found in the brain of male nematode worms that allow them to remember and seek sex even at the expense of food.
15 October 2015

Malaria escape route reveals new drug target

Malarial parasites need a protein called MSP1 to burst from red blood cells to infect new cells. The discovery, made by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, solves the long-held parasite escape puzzle and so reveals a new anti-malarial drug target.
14 October 2015

Mouse model gives insights into immune cells called dendrites

Researchers have developed a mouse model showing that dendritic cells – which usually help fight cancer – can become cancerous themselves.
12 October 2015

Fat droplets protect stem cells against damage from stress

Research in fruit flies shows how stem cells protect themselves from the damaging side effects of omega3 and omega6 polyunsaturates.
08 October 2015

Live imaging allows researchers to see how stem cells find their niche in bone marrow

Researchers have used live imaging to track human blood stem cells in the bone marrow as they seek out their preferred environment, or niche.
08 October 2015

Crick emeritus scientist Tomas Lindahl is joint winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 has been awarded to Crick emeritus scientist Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for 'mechanistic studies of DNA repair'.
07 October 2015

Crick postdoc wins prestigious Acteria Prize

Chris Schiering, a postdoctoral researcher in Gitta Stockinger’s lab at our Mill Hill Laboratory has won the Acteria Doctoral Prize in Immunology awarded by EFIS.
05 October 2015

Genes that protect African children from developing malaria identified

In the largest genetic association study of malaria to date, researchers have identified DNA variations that protect African children from developing severe malaria.
01 October 2015

Strategies for tackling drug-resistant bugs put to the test by maths models

To tackle antibiotic resistance, scientists should look at how strains of drug-resistant bugs compete with those susceptible to drugs.
30 September 2015

Understanding the paradox of HIV drugs worsening concurrent tuberculosis

Scientists hope that new insights into an inflammatory condition that means TB gets worse in patients treated for HIV will help lead to ways to prevent and treat the common problem.
24 September 2015

New insight into how heart cells develop

Molecular detail about how heart cells develop in embryos may help in efforts to reprogram embryonic stem cells to produce cells for treating heart patients.
14 September 2015

Human genome editing research essential, claims influential Hinxton Group

Research involving editing the genome of human embryos is essential to gain basic understanding of the biology of early human embryos and germ cells and should be permitted, according to one of the first global meetings to debate the controversial new techniques.
10 September 2015

Possible evidence for human transmission of Alzheimer’s pathology

Researchers have found the first evidence of human-to-human transmission of Alzheimer’s disease – but only through a long-discontinued medical procedure.
10 September 2015

Brain cells get tweaked 'on the go'

Researchers have discovered a new molecular ‘switch’ that controls the properties of neurons in response to changes in the activity of their neural network.
09 September 2015

Aspirin could hold the key to supercharged cancer immunotherapy

Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment
03 September 2015

Manipulation of food structure could lead the way to a healthier diet

Preserving the natural structure of dietary fibre during food production can help to slow the rise in blood sugar levels after a meal.
02 September 2015

Physical gene interaction network discovered that regulates early development in embryos

Scientists have discovered a strong physical gene interaction network that is responsible for silencing genes during early development.
31 August 2015

Shutting down elusive cancer pathway might be possible using existing drugs

A study in fruit flies indicates that it might be possible to use existing drugs to shut down a protein called Yorkie which is linked to cancer
31 August 2015

Using bioinformatics to validate mouse models of human disease

Scientists have validated the use of a mouse model of human melioidosis, showing that many of the same molecular biological processes occur in mice as humans.
26 August 2015

Keeping the cellular production line on track

Scientists have created large-scale 3D printed models of the protein complexes responsible for DNA replication.
25 August 2015

Working long hours linked to higher risk of stroke

Long working hours make people a third more likely to suffer a stroke and put them at higher risk of coronary heart disease
20 August 2015

New pathway for glucose production identified in TB bacteria might be good drug target

The metabolic pathway through which glucose is produced from non-carbohydrate sources might be a good target for new tuberculosis (TB) treatments.
10 August 2015

Researchers identify new drug target for serious heart and lung condition

A gene has been identified that sheds new light on pulmonary arterial hypertension and could lead to a new treatment.
10 August 2015

Study offers first genetic analysis of people with extremely high intelligence

There are small but important genetic differences between some of the brightest people in the United States and the general population, according to new research.
04 August 2015

Scientists identify trouble spot in brain linked to learning difficulties in Down syndrome

New brain research has mapped a key trouble spot likely to contribute to intellectual disability in Down syndrome.
03 August 2015

Forced cell rewiring sheds new light on cell division machinery

Researchers have developed a way to systematically relocate every protein in a cell to test whether their location is critical for their function.
03 August 2015

Ebola vaccine shows promising results

Interim results from the Guinean phase III trial of the Ebola vaccine known as VSV-EBOV indicate that it is highly effective against the virus.
31 July 2015

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

A trans-ethnic study has linked 38 regions of the genome with risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
20 July 2015

How cholesterol leads to clogged arteries

Discovery of the cellular processes that occur when cholesterol triggers inflammation linked to artherosclerosis.
17 July 2015

Elusive tumour suppressor protein function uncovered

The discovery of the biochemical function of a family of tumour suppressor proteins – called Rad51 paralogs – that has eluded scientists for two decades.
16 July 2015

First Mill Hill researcher to receive CRUK grant

Congratulations to Gitta Stockinger, who has just been awarded a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) grant for an immunologist looking to expand their interests into cancer research.
08 July 2015

Study identifies new way to kill the malaria parasite

Scientists have discovered new ways in which the malaria parasite survives in the bloodstream of its victims, which could pave the way to new treatments for the disease.
07 July 2015

Co-infection with malaria weakens immune response to helminth worms

Co-infection with gastrointestinal helminth worms and the malaria parasite weakens the immune response against the helminth, potentially prolonging the infection
06 July 2015

You are what your mother ate

The 10th Crick Symposium on Nutrition and the Developmental Origins of Disease
02 July 2015

Creating new fully functional brain cells

The identification of key genes for the conversion of astrocytes (cells that maintain neurons in the brain) to functional neurons has implications for repairing brain injuries or stroke damage.
02 July 2015

Extreme chromosomal instability paradoxically predicts improved prognosis in some breast cancer patients

Duplication or deletion of whole chromosomes or parts of chromosomes, known as chromosomal instability is linked to improved outcome in patients with ER-negative breast cancer.
01 July 2015

Study finds brain chemicals that keep wakefulness in check

Mice that have a particular brain chemical switched off become hyperactive and sleep for just 65 per cent of their normal time, according to new research from Imperial.
01 July 2015

New genetic form of obesity and diabetes discovered

The discovery of a new gene for obesity and type 2 diabetes is helping scientists understand the conditions better and patients to get the best treatment.
29 June 2015

Promising new treatment for malaria being developed

Researchers are developing a new compound that could lead to an affordable new treatment for malaria that only requires a single dose and reduces disease transmission.
17 June 2015

Researchers discover new ‘rules of engagement’ that allow viruses such as HIV to infect healthy cells

Important new detail on how retroviruses take over healthy cells may eventually lead to more effective treatments to suppress the virus.
10 June 2015

Natural genetic variation gives complete resistance in prion diseases

The identification of a naturally occurring variant of the human prion protein that produces resistance to prion diseases could give important insights into other brain diseases that lead to dementia.
10 June 2015

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share genetic roots with creativity

Scientists have, for the first time, discovered a long-suspected genetic link between creativity and risk of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
08 June 2015

Promising results in mice raise hope of treatment for spinal cord injury

A group of drugs being trialled for cancer could also hold promise as a treatment for spinal cord injury.
01 June 2015

Understanding genetics of oesophageal treatment hoped to improve treatment

Genetic insights into the development of oesophageal cancer and its response to treatment are hoped to lead to improved treatment.
23 May 2015

Cancer-associated DNA changes exist in 25 per cent of normal skin cells

Researchers have discovered that around a quarter of skin cells in people without cancer carry at least one cancer-associated mutation.
21 May 2015

Possible new treatment pathway for B cell diseases

Scientists have uncovered a potential new treatment pathway for autoimmune diseases driven by immune cells called B cells.
18 May 2015

A new genetic switch uncovered in the long genes expressed in our brain

Researchers at UCL (University College London) have discovered a new mechanism for ‘splicing-based’ gene regulation, with possible implications for brain-related disorders.
13 May 2015

Starved T cells allow hepatitis B to silently infect liver

The hepatitis B virus stimulates processes that deprive the body’s immune cells of key nutrients – offering a potential new target for treatment.
11 May 2015

Pinpointing long range genomic connections to determine the genetic basis of disease

New knowledge about the interactions between regulatory elements in our genome has implications for understanding the genetic basis of disease.
04 May 2015

Premature birth alters brain connections

Scientists hope that the finding that premature birth can alter the connectivity between key brain areas may shed light on why premature birth is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders.
04 May 2015

2015 Fellows of the Royal Society

Congratulations to Frank Uhlman of the Francis Crick Institute, who became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 30 April 2015.
30 April 2015

DMDD data accessible on new website

The Wellcome Trust-funded research programme ‘Deciphering the Mechanisms of Developmental Disorders’ (DMDD) which is coordinated by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute has launched its new website.
27 April 2015

Crick expert warns against impractical ban on genetic editing of embryos

A leading expert on developmental genetics from the Francis Crick Institute has warned against calls for a moratorium on the genetic editing of human embryos.
24 April 2015

Scientists discover asthma's potential root cause

Scientists have, for the first time, identified the potential root cause of asthma and an existing drug that offers a new treatment.
22 April 2015

Scientists discover protein that boosts immunity to viruses and cancer

The discovery of a protein that plays a key role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer is hoped to lead to new treatments.
16 April 2015

Scientists decipher key steps in cancer development to improve treatment

The discovery of the timing of genetic mistakes common in many types of cancer might help explain why tumours become resistant to treatment and lead to new ways to tackle the problem
15 April 2015

Melanoma’s ‘safe haven’ targeted for shut-down

Melanoma cells can use surrounding healthy cells to provide a shield that enables them to resist treatment
13 April 2015

Human immune system can control re-awakened HIV, suggesting ‘kick and kill’ cure is possible

The human immune system can handle large bursts of HIV activity and so it should be possible to cure HIV with a ‘kick and kill’ strategy.
13 April 2015

Molecular detail of how HIV virus family subverts host cell’s own defences

Viruses in the HIV family use alternative methods to turn host cells on themselves and enable infection, in work that’s hoped to lead to a new way of treating HIV/AIDS.
08 April 2015

Missing link found in cancer gene pathway

Scientists hope that the discovery of the missing link in a cancer pathway involving Ras, a gene that is commonly mutated, may lead to ways to block the effects of the gene to slow the disease.
08 April 2015

Signalling molecule insights could help repair damaged tissue or limit disease

A new study offers insight into how cells respond to the signalling protein Shh, a key factor in developing embryos and in some cancers.
02 April 2015

New role uncovered for ‘oldest’ tumour suppressor gene

Scientists have revealed a brand new function for one of the first cancer genes ever discovered – the retinoblastoma gene – in a finding that could open up exciting new approaches to treatment
27 March 2015

Head injury patients show signs of faster ageing in the brain

People who have suffered serious head injuries show changes in brain structure resembling those seen in older people.
25 March 2015

Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases

The three-dimensional structures of mRNAs determine their stability and efficiency inside cells, shedding light on how seemingly minor mutations can lead to disease.
18 March 2015

Research honour for Robert Wilkinson

Robert Wilkinson has been awarded the South African National Research Foundation's highest rating.
13 March 2015

Three new European Research Council awards

Three NIMR programme leaders have been awarded prestigious ERC consolidator grants.
12 March 2015

Genetic architecture of immune system

A study in twins has identified over 100 immune system genes that may influence our susceptibility to disease.
12 March 2015

Leukaemia-associated mutations almost inevitable as we age

It is almost inevitable that we will develop genetic mutations associated with leukaemia as we age, according to new research.
26 February 2015

Wide implications from discovery of enzyme that dampens an important class of signalling proteins

Researchers have discovered an enzyme that dampens the activity of Wnt proteins, a class of signalling proteins with functions in embryonic development, cell regeneration and stem cell maintenance.
25 February 2015

Malaria research opens up new avenues for vaccine research

In research that changes how we think about malaria immunity, scientists have discovered that protective immunity to the parasite is not lifecycle-specific.
25 February 2015

How does our skin know to grow when it’s being stretched?

New research offers a possible explanation for how human tissues such as skin grow in response to stretching forces.
23 February 2015

Eating peanut at an early age prevents peanut allergy in high-risk infants

Eating peanut frequently and starting before 11 months of age can protect most children at high risk of developing peanut allergy, according to new research led by King’s College London.
23 February 2015

Epigenetic study highlights drug targets for allergies and asthma

A study led has identified over 30 genes that predispose people to allergic diseases and asthma and could lead to new treatments for these conditions.
18 February 2015

Key to blocking influenza virus may lie in a cell’s own machinery

Viruses entrust their most fundamental function – reproduction – to the host cells they infect. But it turns out this highly economical approach also creates vulnerability.
12 February 2015

Brain’s GPS system influenced by shape of environment

Patterns created by the brain’s grid cells are modified by the shape of the environment, according to new research, and aren’t a universal metric for the brain’s GPS system to measure distance as previously thought.
12 February 2015

New class of antibodies raises hope of dengue fever vaccine

A new class of human antibodies against the dengue fever virus could be exploited to develop a vaccine.
30 January 2015

Major cause of blindness linked to calcium deposits in the eye

Microscopic spheres of calcium phosphate may play a role in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
20 January 2015

Genetics underpinning antimalarial drug resistance revealed

The largest genome-wide study of parasite provides the clearest picture yet of genetic changes driving artemisinin resistance.
19 January 2015

High-fat diet triggers immune response in flies

A fat-heavy diet triggers an immune response that may lead to diabetes and other health problems.
15 January 2015

Bacteria could contribute to development of wound-induced skin cancer

A new mechanism by which skin damage triggers tumour formation could have implications for patients with chronic ulcers or skin blistering diseases.
09 January 2015

Study sheds light on link between gut microorganisms and nervous system

Research helps explain the link between gut microorganisms and nerve cell networks in our intestines. It’s hoped that the findings will lead to new treatments to protect against bowel infections and inflammatory conditions
08 January 2015

How cancer cells move in different ways through different parts of the body

Researchers have worked out how cancer cells can adapt the way they move to get through different tissues.
01 January 2015