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From trash to treasure: Junk DNA and its role in Cell Development

97% of human DNA that was previously considered ‘Junk’ could hold the key to finding new therapies for cancer, according to new research published in the prestigious ‘Cell’ journal.

Junk DNA is characterised by genes which don’t encode proteins, and it has long been overlooked in medical research because of this reason (proteins have been considered the most important biochemical component of cells).

However, using the latest gene sequencing techniques and analysis, a team led by Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital’s Professor John Rasko AO, together with Centenary’s Head of Bioinformatics Dr William Ritchie, have shown that particular white blood cells do use Junk DNA to regulate a group of genes that controls cell shape and function.

Continue reading “From trash to treasure: Junk DNA and its role in Cell Development”

Stem cell breakthrough – great news for cancer patients

CI_logoSydney researchers this week revealed a stem cell research breakthrough that will have a massive impact for cancer sufferers requiring bone marrow transplants.

Publishing the results in the esteemed biotechnology journal Nature Biotechnology, lead author Professor John Rasko and his team from Centenary Institute have found, for the first time, a way of growing an increasing number of blood-forming stem cells outside the body.

Patients who receive stem cell transplants for various conditions or treatments, including leukaemia or chemotherapy, could soon expect significantly improved outcomes thanks to the landmark finding by the research team at the Centenary Institute, Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital and the University of Sydney.

Stem cell transplants are vital for treating cancer patients who have had their bone marrow destroyed by chemotherapy. Continue reading “Stem cell breakthrough – great news for cancer patients”