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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

T-DM1 Treats Breast Cancer With Fewer Side Effects

According to results of a study presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology at its meeting last week in Chicago, a drug that delivers a powerful poison to tumors without some of the side effects of traditional treatments can delay the worsening of breast cancer and also appears to substantially prolong lives.

In other biomedical news, researchers say multiple CT scans in childhood can increase the risk of developing brain cancer or leukemia. The British-led team examined the medical records of almost 180,000 young patients. But writing in The Lancet the authors emphasized that the benefits of the scans usually outweighed the risks.

A blood sample from the mother and saliva from the father have been used to sequence the genome of a fetus in the womb, just 18 weeks into the pregnancy. The findings could eventually lead to fetuses being screened for thousands of genetic disorders in a single, safe test. But it would also raise "many ethical questions."

NPR featured an Australian scientist's 20-year quest to defeat dengue fever. Dengue sickens tens of millions and kills tens of thousands every year. There's no cure, no vaccine and pretty much no way to prevent it. It's one of those diseases transmitted by a mosquito, like malaria.

An antibody-based treatment developed at the Johns Hopkins University either eliminated or shrank tumors in 49 of 236 patients with certain types of advanced skin, kidney and lung cancer. Previous cancer immuno-therapies have worked in smaller percentages of patients. The results of the phase I clinical trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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