Yearly Archives: 2010

Scientists identify protein that drives survival of gastrointestinal tumors

Since the introduction of Gleevec as a treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumors, survival rates have climbed dramatically and recurrence has fallen by two-thirds. But over time, many patients develop resistance to the drug. Now, scientists at Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have identified a molecule that acts as a survival factor for gastrointestinal tumors, a finding that may lead to next-generation therapies that can pick up where Gleevec leaves off. More »

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Studies describe key role for a protein in cell division

New research shows how one protein, PRC1, acts in the penultimate stage of cell division to help form the architectural structures, called central spindles, needed before the cell can split in two. More »

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Therapy for fearsome brain disease could target blood

Alzheimer’s disease isn’t just about twisted brain cells, but also the blood vessels that feed those neurons. Previous research at Rockefeller University showed that the most common element of telltale plaque deposits in Alzheimer’s brains leads to the formation of tougher blood clots, which could choke off oxygen flow to neurons. The new research shows how these clots are formed, suggesting a target for a drug that might prevent them. More »

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Paleovirology expanded: New virus fragments found in animal genomes

New research now points the way to a record of viruses that have insinuated themselves into the genomes of insects and animals, providing clues about their evolutionary history. The findings could enable scientists to learn from genetic “fossils” of viruses in much the same way that they do from retroviruses, which unlike regular viruses, use their host’s genetic machinery to reproduce. More »

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2010 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize goes to two pioneers of cancer genetics

Janet Davison Rowley and Mary-Claire King, pioneering cancer geneticists, are the recipients of the 2010 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize awarded by The Rockefeller University. Established by Nobel Prize winner Paul Greengard and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard, the prize honors women who have made extraordinary contributions to biomedical science, a group that historically has not received appropriate recognition and acclaim. More »

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New Rockefeller University lab building opens

The Collaborative Research Center, a 125,000 square foot, $500 million building designed specifically to help foster scientific collaboration and encourage interactions between scientists, has opened on Rockefeller’s campus. More »

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New class of ‘dancing’ dendritic cells derived from blood monocytes

The discovery of a new class of dendritic cells that stem from blood monocytes in mice promises to accelerate research into clinical therapies that use these cells, known to be the sentinels of the immune system. Much research has been done on classical dendritic cells, which are found in the lymph tissues of mice. But these are hard to come by in the case of humans. The new technique may allow the generation of “authentic” dendritic cells from human blood samples, however, which could make it much easier to advance dendritic cell-based vaccines and cancer treatments that are under development now. More »

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‘Reaper’ protein strikes at mitochondria to kill cells

Many billions of cells in the human body kill themselves every day, as the old and decrepit make way for the new and healthy. This process of programmed cell death, called apoptosis, is crucial in early development and in the routine maintenance of life. New research, conducted in the cells of fruit fly eyes, delves into the molecular complexity of the process and returns fresh insights about the proteins that initiate cell death. The results suggest a technique that could allow for highly efficient, targeted killing of problematic cells such as those that drive the uncontrolled growth of tumors. More »

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New faculty member wants to know how flies make decisions

Gaby Maimon, who will join the university on January 1, has developed a unique system for studying the neural basis for decision-making in fruit flies. By using fluorescence microscopy and glass capillaries pulled to ultrafine tips, Maimon records the electrical activity of specific neurons in the fly brain as it flies, allowing him to understand what’s going on as the fly is exposed to — and reacts to — various stimuli. More »

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Gene identified that prevents stem cells from turning cancerous

Stem cells have tremendous regenerative power, but their potency can also be lethal. Now researchers have identified a gene that prevents stem cells from turning into tumors in mice by regulating the process of programmed cell death, or apoptosis. The work is the first to show that interfering with the programmed death of stem cells can have fatal consequences. More »

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Robert G. Roeder to receive Salk Institute Medal for Research Excellence

Robert G. Roeder, head of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will receive the Salk Institute’s Medal for Research Excellence for his contributions to the understanding of RNA synthesis in animal cells. More »

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Two Rockefeller scientists elected to Institute of Medicine

Rockefeller University scientists Robert B. Darnell, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-oncology, and Titia de Lange, head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the health and medicine branch of the National Academy of Sciences. More »

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Paul Nurse named top of the list of 100 most important people in British science

Rockefeller University President Paul Nurse has been named the top British scientist in a new list of the 100 most important contemporary figures in British science. More »

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Research on killer HIV antibodies provides promising new ideas for vaccine design

By detailing the molecular workings of broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies, found in so-called slow-progressing HIV patients, researchers hope to devise a way to arm those who are not equipped with exceptional immunological firepower. New clues reveal that some anti-HIV antibodies are especially sticky and target a previously unrecognized part of the virus. More »

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Patterned pulses boost the effects of deep brain stimulation, research shows

An electrical procedure used as a sort of defibrillator of consciousness could benefit from a more complex pattern of pulses, Rockefeller scientists say. The finding could help doctors more effectively treat conditions such as epilepsy and coma. More »

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Jeffrey M. Friedman receives Albert Lasker Award for discovery of leptin

This year’s Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the most prestigious American prize in science, honors Rockefeller University’s Jeffrey M. Friedman, who discovered leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and body weight. More »

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Paul Bieniasz promoted to professor

A retrovirologist at Rockefeller who studies the mechanisms that viruses use to assemble new viral particles and the resistance of certain cell types to infection has been awarded tenure and promoted to professor. Paul Bieniasz has reanimated extinct retroviruses, elucidated defenses evolved by organisms to fend off attacking viruses and made key strides toward developing a monkey model of HIV. More »

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Marc Tessier-Lavigne named Rockefeller University’s tenth president

The university’s Board of Trustees has elected Tessier-Lavigne to succeed Paul Nurse on March 11, 2011. A leader in the study of brain development, he is currently executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer at Genentech, one the world’s leading biotech companies. More »

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Paul Greengard receives Karolinska Institutet’s Bicentennial Gold Medal

The gold medal is the highest award conferred by the Karolinska Institutet, one of the world’s leading medical universities, during its 200th anniversary celebrations. The medal recognizes the work of an individual not permanently located at the Karolinska Institutet, who has contributed to and has achieved acknowledged eminence in the university’s activities. More »

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Scientists identify protein that spurs formation of Alzheimer’s plaques

Rockefeller researchers report that the cancer drug Gleevec reduces Alzheimer’s plaques in a mouse model of the disease by binding to a molecule called gamma-secretase activating protein, or GSAP. By knocking out the gene that produces GSAP, the researchers reduced the primary component of senile plaques. They say that the development of compounds that work like Gleevec and target GSAP could revolutionize the treatment of this disease. More »

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