Researchers have provided the first comprehensive compendium of mutational processes that drive tumour development. Together, these mutational processes explain most mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types. This new understanding of cancer development could help to treat and prevent a wide-range of cancers.
Each mutational process leaves a particular pattern of mutations, an imprint or signature, in the genomes of cancers it has caused. By studying 7,042 genomes of people with the most common forms of cancer, the team uncovered more than 20 signatures of processes that mutate DNA. For many of the signatures, they also identified the underlying biological process responsible.
All cancers are caused by mutations in DNA occurring in cells of the body during a person’s lifetime. Although we know that chemicals in tobacco smoke cause mutations in lung cells that lead to lung cancers and ultraviolet light causes mutations in skin cells that lead to skin cancers, we have remarkably little understanding of the biological processes that cause the mutations which are responsible for the development of most cancers.
In our era of instant gratification, the world of medicine seems like an outlier. The path from a promising discovery to an effective treatment often takes a decade or more.
But from that process—of fits and starts, progress and setbacks and finally more progress—grow the insights and advances that change the course of medicine.
A decade ago, the completion of the Human Genome Project sparked optimism that cures for debilitating diseases were just around the corner. Cures still generally elude us, but now the ability to map human DNA cheaply and quickly is yielding a torrent of data about the genetic drivers of disease—and a steady stream of patients who are benefiting from the knowledge. On other fronts, technology is putting more power in the hands of patients, and researchers are learning to combat disorders by harnessing the body’s own ability to heal and grow.
Excerpt from an article by Ron Winslow at the Wall Street Journal. Continue HERE
Stockholm Resilience Centre advances research on the governance of social-ecological systems with a special emphasis on resilience – the ability to deal with change and continue to develop.
The aim is to create a world-leading transdisciplinary research center that advances the understanding of complex social-ecological systems and generates new and elaborated insights and means for the development of management and governance practices. The new center will advise policymakers from all over the world, and develop innovative collaboration with relevant actors on local social-ecological systems to the global policy arena.
“In order to solve the great environmental problems of the world, we need to change course. Our hope is that the Stockholm Resilience Centre will contribute essential knowledge that is needed to steer development onto a sustainable path,” says Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.
“We want to build a unique transdisciplinary research environment where innovative ideas can flourish. By combining new forms of cooperation with a holistic perspective, we hope to generate the insights that are needed to strengthen societies’ and the ecosystems’ capacities to meet a world which spins faster and faster,” says Carl Folke, Science Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Department 21 is a project where designers, artists and architects can meet, collaborate and share working space beyond the institutional boundaries of their own disciplines.
Department 21 was set up in 2009 when a group of students at the Royal College of Art, London initiated an experimental cross-departmental studio space, thereby engendering new discussions and ways of working than had been seen in recent years at the college.
Emerging from an institutional context in which individual authorship and outcome-driven projects are the dominant frames for creative production, the project is the result of a need for new, collaborative forms of exchange between students from different disciplines: it is a means to get in touch with other peoples’ practices (and in this way question one’s own practice), as well as being a platform to support collaboration beyond specialties.
The philosophy driving Department 21 is an emancipated vision of postgraduate studentship, where all those entering a space of education have the responsibility to take a position regarding their learning process. Contrary to the commonly found format of short interdisciplinary collaboration with a secure outcome, Department 21 feels it necessary to create premises for individuals to encounter the others’ spontaneous collaborative working methods based on common interests, curiosity and critical dialogue. The ongoing research work of the project is therefore to identify, test and refine methodologies that enable this type of encounter to emerge and thrive.