Melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancer strains, is often fatal for patients due to the pronounced formation of metastases. Until now, a melanoma’s rampant growth was mainly attributed to genetic causes, such as mutations in certain genes. However, researchers from the University of Zurich now reveal that so-called epigenetic factors play a role in the formation of metastases in malignant skin cancer. This opens up new possibilities for future cancer treatments.
Plants use genetic mechanisms to prevent inbreeding by recognizing self and non-self pollen. Researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich have now found evidence that a group of 18 male proteins recognize 40 female proteins between them – in contrast to one-to-one relationships studied to date. The self-recognition mechanism in petunia shows similarities to the immune defense in vertebrates.
Jan 7, 2015 Two brain regions join forces for absolute pitch
People who have “absolute pitch” can identify notes immediately without relying on a reference tone. Intensive research is being conducted into the neuronal basis of this extraordinary ability at the University of Zurich’s Department of Neuropsychology. The researchers have now detected a close functional link between the auditory cortex in the brain and the frontal lobe in these extraordinary people – a discovery that is not only important in theory, but also in practice.
A protein that influences the epigenetic characteristics of tumor cells is directly linked to the grade of malignancy of prostate cancer. This key discovery has been made by a team of scientists from the University of Zurich, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Hamburg-Eppendorf University Hospital, Heidelberg University, and other institutes in a study of 7,700 samples of tumor tissue. The detection of this biomarker may serve as an indicator of the likelihood that the disease may take an aggressive course, and may thus be helpful in choosing an appropriate treatment.
ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are founding a new translational research centre at the interface of medicine, science and engineering: the Wyss Translational Center Zurich. A USD 120 million donation from Dr. h.c. mult. Hansjörg Wyss to the two Zurich universities is making this possible. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the new centre aims to accelerate the development and application of innovative medical therapies and groundbreaking robotic systems.
Dec 10, 2014 Anyone who is good at German learns English better
Your literacy skills in your first language heavily influence the learning of a foreign language. Thus, anyone who reads and writes German well is likely to transfer this advantage to English – regardless of the age of onset of foreign language learning. Foreign language lessons at an early age, however, pay off less than was previously assumed. In fact, they can even have a negative impact on the first language in the short run, as a linguist from the University of Zurich reveals in her long-term study involving 200 Zurich high-school children.
In cell competition the strong eliminate the weak, thereby ensuring optimal tissue fitness. Molecular biologists at the University of Zurich and Columbia University have now demonstrated that the innate immune system plays a key role in this important mechanism. However, cancer cells also make use of this: they can cause cells that are important for healthy tissue to die.