Oh hi Tel-Aviv University, what did you do yesterday?

…Oh y'know. Just made things like, levitate and stuff.


(via trademark)

‘Universal’ cancer vaccine developed

A vaccine that can train cancer patients’ own bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells has been developed by scientists.


The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

Preliminary results from early clinical trials have shown the vaccine can trigger an immune response in patients and reduce levels of disease.

The scientists behind the vaccine now hope to conduct larger trials in patients to prove it can be effective against a range of different cancers.

They believe it could be used to combat small tumours if they are detected early enough or to help prevent the return and spread of disease in patients who have undergone other forms of treatment such as surgery.

Cancer cells usually evade patient’s immune systems because they are not recognised as being a threat. While the immune system usually attacks foreign cells such as bacteria, tumours are formed of the patient’s own cells that have malfunctioned.

Scientists have, however, found that a molecule called MUC1, which is found in high amounts on the surface of cancer cells, can be used to help the immune system detect tumours.

The new vaccine, developed by drug company Vaxil Biotheraputics along with researchers at Tel Aviv University, uses a small section of the molecule to prime the immune system so that it can identify and destroy cancer cells.

A statement from Vaxil Biotheraputics said: “ImMucin generated a robust and specific immune response in all patients which was observed after only 2-4 doses of the vaccine out of a maximum of 12 doses.

"In some of the patients, preliminary signs of clinical efficacy were observed.”

The results are still to be formally published but if further trials prove to be successful the vaccine could be available within six years.

As a therapeutic vaccine it is designed to be given to patients who are already suffering from cancer to help their bodies fight off the disease rather than to prevent disease in the first place.

Cancer cells contain high levels of MUC1 as it is thought to be involved helping tumours grow. Healthy human cells also contain MUC1, but have levels that are too low to trigger the immune system after vaccination.

When a vaccinated patient’s immune system encounters cancer cells, however, the far larger concentration of MUC1 causes it to attack and kill the tumour.

As MUC1 is found in 90 per cent of all cancers, the researchers believe it could be used to combat the growth and spread of a wide range of cancers.

In a safety trial at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, ten patients suffering from multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, have now received the vaccine.

Seven of the patients have now finished the treatment and Vaxil reported that all of them had greater immunity against cancer cells compared to before they were given the vaccine.

Vaxil added that three patients are now free of detectable cancer following the treatment.

I’m taking this free coursera course: What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants).

If anyone is interested in joining, we can work together! My academic background is anthropology and public health, so I am looking forward to reading about something a little different.

For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin’s early fascination with stems and flowers to Seymour Krelborn’s distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. This course intends to present an intriguing and scientifically valid look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the sensations they feel.

Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, we will delve into the inner lives of plants and draw parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. We’ll learn how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the music you’ve been playing for them or if they’re just deaf to the sounds around them.

We’ll explore definitions of memory and consciousness as they relate to plants in asking whether we can say that plants might even be aware of their surroundings. This highly interdisciplinary course meshes historical studies with cutting edge modern research and will be relevant to all humans who seek their place in nature. This class has three main goals:

1. To introduce you to basic plant biology by exploring plant senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, balance).

2. To introduce you to biological research and the scientific method.

3. To get the student to question life in general and what defines us as humans.

#plant neurobiology #science #botany #coursera
...Israel finds cure for cancer?

The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

Lol holy shit guys. can you imagine, cancer cured with just a shot?

The discovery in Manot Cave in western Galilee, made in 2008 but subjected to years of rigorous analysis, was reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature by an international team of researchers led by Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University. They said this was “the first fossil evidence from the critical period when genetic and archaeological models predict that African modern humans successfully migrated out of Africa and colonized Eurasia.” The researchers further concluded that the Manot specimen “provides important clues about the morphology of modern humans in close chronological proximity to a probable interbreeding event with Neanderthals.” They also noted that the shape of the cranium established this as a fully modern human at a time when warmer and wetter conditions were favorable for human migration out of Africa. In other words, Dr. Hershkovitz said in an interview, the Manot cranium “is the missing connection between African and European populations.”

I need to rethink my approach to money and budgeting to fit my life here, because the approach I use at Purchase clearly isn’t working.

At Purchase, my basic needs are provided for. My food isn’t free, but it’s payed for with a meal plan at the beginning of the semester with my tuition rather than on a day to day or week to week basis from my spending money. I go to the grocery store, but everything I buy there is extra. I can, and often do, live without it. Laundry is free built into tuition, as well. I only have to spend my own money if I run out of Purex 3-in-1 sheets, and those boxes usually last a semester. So when I’m at Purchase, if I’m running low on money, or planning to do or buy something expensive, I just don’t spend any money for a little while.

Here at Tel Aviv University, I can’t do that. There is no meal plan. There isn’t even a dining hall. Instead, the flats all have kitchens. Almost everything I eat I have to buy, unless I’m on a group trip where they’re providing a meal or two. Once a week, I get dinner at the Dollars for Learning seminar. Other than that, I’m on my own. Laundry isn’t free at TAU, either. We pay per-use for both washing machines and dryers, and in a climate this hot, almost everything has to be washed after a single wear. So not spending money when I’m running low isn’t an option here, unless I want to end up hungry and smelly.
Tel Aviv University Discovers New Planet Using Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity

More than a century after it was devised, Einstein’s theory of relativity still makes the headlines. A team of Israeli researchers has used a method based on the theory to discover a previously unknown planet outside the solar system.

The planet, later reaffirmed by a Harvard research team, will be called Kepler-76b, after a NASA spacecraft which supplied much of the data used for the discovery. Kepler is an observation craft, launched in 2009, with the mission of finding earth-like planets.

Israeli researchers find way to detect cancer cells before becoming brain tumors - Tel Aviv University research opens the "black box" of malignant melanoma - 27 July 2016

When malignant melanoma – the most dangerous kind of skin cancer – spreads to the brain, it is almost always a death sentence. But now, Tel Aviv University researchers have found a way to detect micrometastases – tiny bunches of spreading cancer cells – months before they reach the brain and develop into fatal tumors.
The mechanisms that govern early metastatic growth and interactions of metastatic cells with the brain micro-environment have long remained shrouded in mystery.
According to the research led by Dr. Neta Erez of TAU’s pathology department and just published in Cancer Research, micro-tumor cells hijack astrogliosis, the brain’s natural response to damage or injury, to support metastatic growth.
This breakthrough could lead to the detection of brain cancer in its first stages and permit early intervention.
Erez and her team used mice to study and follow the spontaneous metastasis of melanoma in the brain. They recapitulated all the stages of metastasis – the initial discovery of melanoma in the skin, the removal of the primary tumor, the micrometastatic dissemination of cancer cells across the body, the discovery of a tumor and death.
The detection of metastasis depends on imaging techniques that still can’t detect micrometastases.
Melanoma patients whose initial melanoma was excised believe that everything is fine for months or years following the initial procedure.
But after the primary tumor is removed, micrometastatic cells learn to communicate with cells in their new micro-environment in the brain. These cells are at first hostile to them, but eventually, a tumor appears.
The cells traveled across the body to the brain or other organs but were undetectable at the micro level. When they become detectable, it is already too late for treatment.
Erez dubbed the period of the initial growth of disseminated micrometastatic cells in distant organs the metastasis’s “black box” – the history of melanoma in the brain. “We believe that we have found the tools to characterize this black box,” she said. “And this is key to developing therapeutic approaches that may prevent brain metastatic relapse. Every organ in the body has a defense system that detects intruders,” she explained. “Much of this is regulated by support cells in the brain. When there is tissue damage due to a stroke or viral infection, these cells are activated and induce an inflammatory response.
“At the earliest stages of metastasis, we already see astrogliosis and inflammation. The brain perceives the micrometastatic invasion as tissue damage, activating inflammation – its natural defense mechanism. We found that the inflammation unfortunately gets hijacked by tumor cells that are able to grow faster and penetrate deeper because the blood vessels in the brain are more permeable than in any other part of the body. We found that all of this happens very early on.”
Tel Aviv University tells call center workers not to speak Arabic - Israel News
'when candidates call from overseas or new immigrants call and speak English, we are required and allowed to speak to them in English, so what is the difference?'

Tel Aviv University has told employees in its call center for tuition matters not to speak Arabic with Arabic-speaking callers. The new rule was announced in December. The reason behind the change is not clear.
Employees were told in an email from a call center shift supervisor that “Tel Aviv University allows the receipt of information and academic affairs in Hebrew only, and as a result the instruction has come to us as [call center] receptionists providing service.”
In practice, the only Arab employee in the center in recent years was Alaa Haj Yahia, who left her job at the beginning of January, two months earlier than planned, because of the new rule and what she said was the attitude of her supervisors. Haj Yahia was replaced by another Arabic-speaking woman, who she recommended for the job.

As of Monday, the rule was still in effect, and it applies to the only Arab employee now working in the call center.
Haj Yahia has a law degree and is scheduled to start her internship soon. She had worked in the call center since 2013. She told Haaretz that she often spoke Arabic with Arab students or applicants when they asked her, without any special instructions or being spoken to about it, until two months ago when she was told to stop by one of the supervisors. She told the supervisor she was unwilling to speak Hebrew with an Arab student and had previously spoken Arabic with them. An argument broke out between them, and Haj Yahia asked to speak to the head of the call center on the matter.
Haj Yahia said the manager and supervisor got back to her and made it clear that the matter had been discussed and she was to stop. “I asked how they could hold a discussion without my being there, with only one side present. I told them: ‘You say all the time we are for the good of the student, and if an applicant called me and it is convenient for him to speak in Arabic, why not speak to him in Arabic?’”She said she was told that the head of the registration department, who oversees the call center, is the one who decides. “We went to the department manager and he repeated the same sentences: the language of Tel Aviv University, the language of instruction is Hebrew and that is why we will speak Hebrew here.
“I asked what is the connection between the language of instruction and the spoken language, and added that when candidates call from overseas or new immigrants call and speak English, we are required and allowed to speak to them in English, so what is the difference? After all, English is not an official language.
“His claims were technical and not acceptable to me, such as ‘the regulations on tuition are in Hebrew, if you translate them to Arabic it is not certain it will be precise, it is not certain you will pass on the same message.’ But this still does not explain why it is allowed to be translated into English.”
Haj Yahia said she was told these are the regulations of every university and if an Arabic call center is funded it will be possible to speak Arabic. After that the email instructing all call center employees to speak only Hebrew was sent out, she said.
A spokesperson for Tel Aviv University said: “We are grateful the matter has been brought to our attention. The university will examine the matter in depth and formulate recommendations for the good of the public who calls the registration center.”

Biological Mechanism Passes On Long Term Epigenetic ‘Memories’

According to epigenetics — the study of inheritable changes in gene expression not directly coded in our DNA — our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children’s children. Studies on survivors of traumatic events have suggested that exposure to stress may indeed have lasting effects on subsequent generations. But how exactly are these genetic “memories” passed on?

A new Tel Aviv University study pinpoints the precise mechanism that turns the inheritance of environmental influences “on” and “off.” The research, published last week in Cell and led by Dr. Oded Rechavi and his group from TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, reveals the rules that dictate which epigenetic responses will be inherited, and for how long.

“Until now, it has been assumed that a passive dilution or decay governs the inheritance of epigenetic responses,” Dr. Rechavi said. “But we showed that there is an active process that regulates epigenetic inheritance down through generations.”

“A Tunable Mechanism Determines the Duration of the Transgenerational Small RNA Inheritance in C. elegans” by Leah Houri-Ze’evi, Yael Korem, Hila Sheftel, Lior Faigenbloom, Itai Antoine Toker, Yael Dagan, Lama Awad, Luba Degani, Uri Alon, and Oded Rechavi in Cell. Published online February 24 2016 doi:10.1016/j.cell.2016.02.057

How I get straight A's:
  • Background noise from movies and or shows (also great when I need a ten second break, I pay attention, without having to find something to do).
  • Eat cake, drink soda, never touch anything with protein or vitamins, if it is healthy, throw it out. Ever. EVER.
  • Do not leave bed for anything but more cake or soda.
  • Every time I decide I want to stop and get real food, I start working again. Suppression of wants and needs, it gets things done.
  • Use pretty words, long sentences, and reiterate, reiterate, reiterate. 
  • Act like I know what I’m talking about.
  • When I finish, just be done with it. I don’t write in drafts, I write a final version immediately. Instead of staring at it and trying to make it better, just submit it and give up.


In other news I’m trying to get straight A’s right now and I hate developmental psychology.
Using DNA Nanotechnology, Israeli Scientists Develop The Future Of Flexible Display Screens

Imagine an electronic screen that looks and feels like paper that could connect to your smartphone. You can shift your longer readings and video viewing to this bendable screen, then roll it up and throw it in your bag when you arrive at your subway stop. This may sound like sci-fi, but Israeli researchers have actually found a way to develop such thin, flexible screens you can use on the go.

A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that a novel DNA nanotechnology could produce a structure that can be used to produce ultra-thin, flexible screens. The research team’s building blocks are three molecules they’ve synthesized, which later self-assembled into ordered structures. Essentially, the team has built the molecular backbone of a super-slim, bendable digital display. In the field of bio-nanotechnology, scientists utilize these molecular building blocks to develop cutting-edge technologies with properties not available for inorganic materials such as plastic and metal.

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