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Salk News


Salk scientists identify molecular link between dietary fat and colon cancer

La Jolla, CA – Although it’s now common wisdom that dietary fat is related to some cancers, medical researchers have not understood the underlying mechanisms. In research reported in the September 1 issue of Nature Medicine, scientists at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies identify a molecular link between fat metabolism and colon cancer. The results may also be relevant to breast and prostate cancer, common cancers that are also associated with dietary fat.


Elusive chromosomal “ignition” identified by Salk scientists

La Jolla, CA – Before the engine that drives cell division goes into gear, it must receive a biological spark from its genetic machinery to set the process in motion. In the current issue of the journal Science, researchers from The Salk Institute for Biological Studies say they have identified that “ignition” point on a human chromosome. Their findings should further understanding of how cell division is normally controlled and how it might be brought back under control in cancer cells.


Gene that determines left from right in vertebrate embryos found by Salk-led team

La Jolla, CA – In a developing organism, knowledge of right from left can often mean the difference between life and death. Certainly, the direction and ultimate destination in which an embryonic heart, lung, stomach or liver travels can be critical for the proper alignment of blood vessels and nerves so that normal life may proceed. Now, a team led by scientists at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has discovered a molecular guide, in the form of a single gene, that helps youthful cells, tissues and organs decide in which direction to take their first fateful steps–whether to go left or right.


Salk researchers find genetic feedback loop implicated in the early events of atherosclerotic plaque formation

La Jolla, CA – Salk Institute scientists today announced two research findings related to the development of atherosclerosis. The findings involve the discovery of a genetic feedback loop that contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in heart arteries and the role of a previously described fat storage gene (PPARgamma) in this process.


Salk researchers find that brain receptor may be involved in epileptic seizures

La Jolla, CA – Neuroscientists at The Salk Institute showed that mice lacking a specific brain molecule exhibit reduced susceptibility to epileptic-type seizures. The findings suggest that this molecule, GluR6, may be a suitable target for development of new epilepsy drugs.


An enriched environment stimulates an increase in the number of nerve cells in brains of older mice

La Jolla, CA – Salk investigators have discovered that aging mice living in a stimulating environment display three times the number of new brain cells as mice who live in a non-stimulating environment. The age of the mice in the study was 18 months – the human equivalent of 65 years.