Most of us probably know that the mother’s health is important for the well-being of their developing fetus. However, a recent study published in BioEssays suggests that the fetus may also affect the health of its mother — even after the pregnancy is over. The study showed that fetal cells migrate from the placenta and reside in several parts of the mother’s body, where they may exert benefits (such as improved milk production and thermoregulation), harms (such as autoimmune diseases and cancer), or have no effect (such as their presence in the lung).
The gut microbiome has been linked to a wide range of health indicators over recent years and, according to a recent study published in Genome Medicine, may help predict prognosis of patients with colon cancer. In this study, the microenvironment of colon cancer tumors had an abundance of Fusobacterium and Providencia species, perhaps identifying a microbiome signature that predicts patient prognosis.
Researchers often use two-dimensional cell culture studies to study cancer biology. However, a recent group of researchers, led by Dr. Christina Scheel at the German Research Center for Environmental Health, has advanced this experimental model by creating three-dimensional “mini-breasts”— organoid structures derived from human breast epithelial cells.
Researchers have made significant progress recently in the development of personalized cancer genomics and therapies through analysis of characteristic variations of single base pairs and chromosomes. Recently, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used an integrated system of DNA sequencing and optical mapping (a single-molecule, whole-genome analysis system) to identify both small- and large-scale genetic variations over time in a patient with multiple myeloma. Their findings were published on June 8, 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.