February 2012

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Description: Associate Professor Elizabeth ThomasScripps Research Associate Professor Elizabeth Thomas

New possibilities for treating schizophrenia

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that DNA stays too tightly wound in certain brain cells of schizophrenic subjects. The research, now available in the new Nature journal, Translational Psychiatry, shows the problem is especially pronounced in younger people, meaning treatment might be most effective early on at minimizing or even reversing symptoms of schizophrenia.

"We're excited by the findings," said Associate Professor Elizabeth Thomas, a neuroscientist who led the study, "and there's a tie to other drug development work, which could mean a faster track to clinical trials to exploit what we've found."

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Milestones in Medical Science:

Description: Associate Professor Andrew ButlerScripps Florida Associate Professor Andrew Butler

Pinpointing a gene key to obesity

Scientists at Scripps Florida have released new findings about a gene that plays an important role in keeping a steady balance between our food intake and energy expenditure. The findings were made possible by the team's development of a new transgenic animal model, where expression of a specific gene can be selectively "switched on" in different cell types.

As the number of overweight adults and children continues to grow in the United States, the study may help scientists better understand the keys to fighting obesity and related disorders such as diabetes.

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Other News:

Description: Nicholas Schork, Ph.DScripps Research Professor Nicholas Schork

"Dream Team" tackles personalized approach to melanoma treatment

The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Health, and other institutions are teaming up in a groundbreaking effort to develop and test a personalized way of treating cancer.

With a $6 million grant from Stand Up To Cancer and the Melanoma Research Alliance, the "Dream Team" is embarking on a test case to figure out how a sophisticated look at a patient's particular molecular profile can help doctors select the best medicines and treatments for treating cancer.

It's a project that could carry vast implications not only for treating melanoma, but for many other tumor and disease types.

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Facts & Figures

Schizophrenia affects millions of Americans – about 1% of all people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health – and manifests in symptoms such as hearing imaginary voices, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, severe apathy, and incoherent speech.

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