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CBMR researchers may help to treat more aggressive brain tumors

Patrícia Madureira and her team published in the latest issue of Cells Magazine a scientific article that may help to understand gliobastoma multiforme, one of the deadliest brain tumors.

Assuming that low tumor oxygenation, also known as hypoxia, constitutes a major concern for gliobastoma multiforme patients, since it promotes cancer cell spreading (invasion) into the healthy brain tissue in order to evade this adverse microenvironment, the research team seeks to understand how this contributes to tumor cells becoming more invasive.

In a cancer whose patient prognosis is quite reserved, with a patient’s median survival rate ranging from 15 to 17 months, the goal is clear: to help develop, in the future, more effective therapies for this type of tumor.

Since tumor invasion is the leading cause of death in patients with gliobastoma multiforme and also the main obstacle to treatment, researchers seek to understand how hypoxia triggers the GBM cells to become invasive is paramount to developing novel and more effective therapies against this devastating disease.

With this work, researchers from the CBMR – Center for Research in Biomedicine  (University of the Algarve) and the Brain Tumor Research Center (University of Portsmouth, U.K), concluded that there are several cellular proteins involved in promoting invasion in this type of brain tumors and that they should be pointed out as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of the disease. Some chemotherapeutic agents are already being tested in clinical trials.

The current treatment for gliobastoma multiforme involves tumor resection surgery based on MRI image analysis, followed by radiotherapy and treatment with temozolomide. However, the gradual development of tumor resistance to temozolomide is frequent in GBM patients leading to subsequent tumor regrowth/relapse.

The treatment for gliobastoma multiforme has not changed since 2005, so, this study may open a new opportunity window.

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CBMR researcher awarded by the Portuguese Society of Human Genetics

Ana Fernandes, CBMR researcher of the Functional Genomics of Cancer Group, led by Ana Teresa-Maia, won recently the “Prize for Basic Research”, a prize attributed by the Portuguese Society of Human Genetics to the better work in the area of human genetics.

The prize aims to distinguish the talk “miRNA-mediated cis-regulation in breast cancer susceptibility”, presented on 17th November at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Portuguese Society of Human Genetics.

In the talk the researcher addressed the contribution of the cis-regulation in breast cancer susceptibility.

According to the researcher, “receiving this award is not only an acknowledgment of the work done during the last year but also of the quality of research carried out in the CBMR.”

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CBMR researchers discovered new biomarker for cancer detection

Scientists have discovered that there is a gene that is involved in the process of development and progression of the disease and that can help in the diagnosis and prognosis of pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult to detect.

Inês Faleiro and a group of researchers from CBMR, led by Pedro Castelo-Branco, have published in Future Oncology a scientific article that focuses on the discovery of a new biomarker that allows to detect pancreatic cancer earlier.

The research, carried out by the Epigenetics and Human Disease group, found that THOR is hypermethylated in pancreatic tumor tissue when compared with normal tissue and that THOR methylation correlates with TERT expression in tumor samples.

However, the potential of the discovery of this new biomarker goes beyond the diagnosis possibilities since, being measurable in terms of percentage, the analysis of THOR methylation levels offers researchers important prognostic data to understand, in each patient, what the stage of evolution of the disease and, even, its degree of aggressiveness.

This finding reveals that patients with elevated levels of THOR methylation have lower survival rates and patients with low levels of THOR methylation appear to have better treatment prospects.

It should be noted that, since pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers that presents the highest mortality rate due to a late diagnosis, this finding may, in a long term basis, contribute to a faster detection of the disease, making it more effective in terms of treatment.

 

More information: http://scienceplatform.cbmr.ualg.pt/

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CBMR researchers develop computer tool to facilitate data analysis in Stem Cells related research

A group of researchers from CBMR developed a computer tool that allows access and analysis of transcriptomic datasets. Assuming that transcriptomic data have become a fundamental resource for stem cell biologists as well as for a wider research audience studying stem cell related processes such as aging, embryo development and prevalent diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, one of the problems  is the access and the delay in the analysis of the information.

Creating StemMapper, a gene expression database, the group of researchers, led by Matthias Futschik, aims to simplify the task of thousands of scientists who collect and analyze this type of data.

This computer tool allows each integrated dataset to be individually inspected and manually curated enabling fast querying, comparison and interactive visualization by the user.  

A proof-of-principle analysis discovering novel putative astrocyte/neural Stem Cells lineage markers exemplifies the utility of this integrated data resource.

We believe that StemMapper, a free resource, available at https://stemmapper.sysbiolab.eu, can open the way for new insights and advances in Stem Cells research.

The article presenting the tool is already accepted and would be published soon by Nucleid Acids Research (NAR) – Oxford University Press.

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CBMR Science Platform featured on the radio

The radio program “Os Dias do Futuro” wanted to know the new CBMR Science Platform. In an interview with the journalist Edgar Canelas, Isa Mestre (CBMR Communication Officer) and Ana Teresa Maia (CBMR Vice-Director) explained all the details of this science communication project.

Listen the interview here.

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CBMR researcher won 22.000 euros to study rare neurological disease

Clévio Nóbrega, CBMR researcher and professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (University of Algarve), obtained a 22.000 euros grant to study, over the next two years, Type 2 Cerebellar Ataxia, a rare neurological disease, without cure, that affects balance, coordination and speech.

The project, entitled “Neuroprotective therapeutic approach of Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2: pharmacological targeting of AMPK,” is funded by ATAXIA UK, a private, non-profit institution, that seeks to help patients and families affected by the disease.

The objective of the research, to be developed at the CBMR, in collaboration with the CNC – Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology, is ambitious: to test an existing drug authorized for human use, in order to delay the progression of the disease.

At the moment there isn’t no treatment for this disease, only symptomatic treatments, incapable of delaying or preventing its progression.

So, Clévio Nóbrega and his team may take an important step in the treatment of the disease since the applicability of the drug may be accelerated because it isn’t an experimental drug.

Starting in october 2017, the project of Clévio Nóbrega is part of a series of innovative projects around the world that seek, through the financing of their research, to develop treatments and alternatives in the scope of the various types of Ataxias.

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CBMR launches CBMR Science Platform

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the CBMR Science Platform for research and innovation communication. Here you will find the latest and most interesting content in the field of Medicine, Biomedicine and Cognitive Neuroscience.

The CBMR Science Platform mission is to provide reliable scientific information from around the world and Portugal, including the CBMR research topics Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of DiseaseMolecular Biomedicine and TechnologyRegenerative Medicine and Translational Medicine in an accessible manner. We aim to raise science awareness and public engagement.

The CBMR Science Platform brings together national and international researcher centers and science communicators to build a digital science communication network.

It is our privilege to welcome you to the CBMR Science Platform that disseminates science and innovation in Portugal and the wider world. We wish you an exciting experience!

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HeartExpress – technology for the heart

Heart development is a highly complex process with a series of precisely spatially and temporally ordered events on molecular level. To understand how these events are controlled and coordinated, it is necessary to study the underlying gene expression and its regulation. To help researchers in this formidable task, we have established HeartEXpress, a web-based platform for the analysis of integrated expression datasets associated with cardiomyogenesis. The current version comprises human and murine gene expression data from independent microarray experiments for stem cell differentiation, in vitro or in vivo reprogramming, in the context of cardiomyogenesis, and heart development. We hope that this resource will support the development of new therapies in cardiac regenerative medicine.

What is HeartEXpress?
HeartEXpress is a database that comprises published human and murine gene expression data from various microarray experiments for stem cell differentiation, in vitro or in vivo reprogramming in the context of cardiomyogenesis as well as heart development.

Why HeartEXpress?
Genome wide expression profiling of cardiogenesis in vivo and surrogate processes in vitro have delivered a detailed picture of molecular events important for the constitution of heart cells. However, the generated data remained difficult to access and analyze for many individual researchers, as they were dispersed across various repositories. HeartExpress can help here by providing an unique platform integrating various microarray studies for human and mouse with relevance for cardiogenesis.

HeartEXpress Data
At present, HeartEXpress integrated expression data from 15 mouse studies and 8 human studies with a total of 131 experimental conditions. These expression datasets cover more than 20000 genes in mouse and more than 19000 genes in human. Data sets were classified according to organisms and types of experiment and integrated data from both organisms and different types of studies.

What is HeartEXpress useful for?
For genes of interest, HeartEXpress enables the simultaneous inspection of expression data from many individual experiments obtained with different transcriptomic technologies. It allows query for multiple gene symbols and offers the option to download data as table for further analysis or presentation.

Moreover, HeartEXpress provides clustered gene expression data and correlation between genes. These feature help to identifiy co-expression patterns of genes indicating a common regulation and function during differentiation, reprogram-ming or heart development. Such approach may be useful for:
– Assigning functions to genes that have not been yet associated to heart development or heart morphology;
– Prioritize genes for experimental characterization
– Generate new research hypotheses

HeartEXpress can be utilized in an intuitive way and has a “step-by-step” instructions on its Help page as well as a table containing information about the studies integrated in the database.

 

More information: http://heartexpress.sysbiolab.eu/

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Cláudia Florindo will be one of the teachers of the “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course”

Cláudia Florindo, CBMR researcher, will be one of the teachers of the “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course. The miscroscopy couse will be held from 18th to 22th September, at the Microscopy Imaging Center of Coimbra – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (MICC-CNC).

The “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course” is an one-week intensive microscopy course focused on the principles and high-end applications of quantitative fluorescence microscopy.

Attendees will gain a theoretical understanding and hands-on experience on state-of-the-art equipment such as widefield microscopy, laser scanning and spinning disk confocal microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, deconvolution methods, and digital image processing and analysis.

For more informations please visit the website: http://www.qfm.cnc.uc.pt/

 

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Medical students from UAlg stay as doctors in Algarve

Eight students who completed the Integrated Master’s Degree in Medicine at the University of Algarve in the academic year 2015/2016 completed the test that guarantees access to the specialty and are currently performing functions at Algarve Hospitals. With specialties ranging from Anesthesiology to Radiology, through General and Family Medicine and Urology, more and more are choosing the Algarve region to develop their professional career.

 

Know more here.