The Scripps Research Institute - At The Forefront

September 2014

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Focus on:
A Cancer Drug to Treat Blood Disorders

Viruses infect the body by inserting their own genetic material into human cells. In gene therapy, scientists use “gutted” viruses, known as “viral vectors,” to carry therapeutic genes into cells without causing disease. However, sometimes cell mechanisms that defend against viruses prevent these viral vectors from efficiently delivering genes.

A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has discovered
a new method to bypass blood stem cells' natural defenses and insert disease-fighting genes into a cell's genome. The discovery could lead to more effective and affordable treatments for blood cell disorders, including leukemia and sickle cell anemia.

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Associate Professor Bruce Torbett and graduate student Cathy Wang hope their methods could someday be useful in the clinic for diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia.

TSRI's research is breaking new ground in understanding and treating diseases and conditions that affect millions every day, including obesity and aging. Help us continue our life-saving work.

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Anastasia Kralli, PhD, is an associate professor in the Departments of Chemical Physiology and Cell Biology at The Scripps Research Institute.

milestones in medical science:
A Switch that Makes Fat Burn Itself

Most fat cells in our bodies are “white fat” cells that store fat as a reserve energy supply. But we and other mammals also have depots of “brown fat” cells. These apparently evolved to burn energy quickly, as a way of generating heat and warming the body in cold conditions – and also possibly of getting rid of excess caloric intake.

Biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered
a signaling pathway that switches on a powerful calorie-burning process in brown fat cells that could potentially be used to naturally stimulate weight loss and treat diabetes.

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Assistant Professor Shuji Kishi and his colleagues shed new light on the mechanisms of the aging process in living organisms.

Other News:
A Gene that Could Help Combat Aging

It is something of an eternal question: Can we slow or even reverse the aging process? While genetic manipulations can, in fact, alter some cellular dynamics, little is known about the mechanisms of the aging process in living organisms.

Scientists from Scripps Florida have found that
a single gene plays a surprising role in aging – a discovery that could point toward the possibility of one day using therapeutics to manipulate the aging process itself.

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Help Research While You Shop

Support TSRI every time you make a purchase from Amazon – at no cost to you. Through AmazonSmile, you can use your regular Amazon account to shop from smile.amazon.com, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of each purchase to TSRI. AmazonSmile offers the same product selection at the same prices as Amazon.com. Sign in and select The Scripps Research Institute as your chosen beneficiary today.

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facts & figures

Someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every four minutes, and more than 163,000 new cases are expected in the U.S. this year.

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