and making inroads with administration and alumni so it can become bigger quicker," Bucy said. The core committee has been selected for the Marathon 2000 and is seeking committee members, volunteers, dancers and organizations who want to participate. Information abou
he marathon and how to donate on-line is available on the Web at www.uncmarathon.org.
- Courtney Jones
MonaliIV and Maternltv:
A study of nearly a half million girls
and women shows that those born with birth defects are
less likely to survive, especially during the first years of life,
than those born without them. Women with birth defects
generally are less likely to have children, but they face an
increased risk of bearing offspring with the same defect,
according to the study co-authored by Dr. Allen Wilcox
' 79 (EPID), chief of the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences' epidemiology branch and School of Public
Health faculty member. The report, published in the
was written by Wilcox and
two Norwegian doctors.
Scientists at UNC have discovered the
molecular role in cancer development of a mutated tumor
suppressor gene know as ARF. The findings help clarify
why ARF is the second-most frequent mutated gene in
human cancers, appearing in 40 percent of malignancies; the
most frequent mutated gene is the suppressor gene, "p53."
The report states that ARF normally prevents cellular trans-
formation by preventing degradation of the p53 protein. It
allows p53 to accumulate in the cell's nucleus, where it
functions to stop tumor cell growth.
A UNC study published in the journal
has identified a novel molecular mechanism in cell
proliferation. The study shows that a molecular switch plays
an important role in the regulation of cell growth and death.
These findings shed new light on tumor development and
rheumatoid arthritis. Sergei Makarov, research assistant
professor of medicine at the medical school, and Julia
Romashkova, post-doctoral research associate in the depart-
ment of medicine, co-authored the report, which is based
on biochemical analysis of cultured cells. The study dealt
with normal cells, but the results are important in under-
standing abnormal proliferation of tumor cells as well.
The same kind of uncontrollable growth also occurs in
Depression and children:
A study conducted at UNC and
nine other U.S. sites shows that children with chronically
depressed mothers do significantly worse on tests and
measures of school readiness, such as verbal comprehen-
sion and language skills, than do other children. Researchers
at the 10 sites followed 1,215 mothers and their infants
from birth, evaluating youngsters and interviewing the
women. The study found that women with higher incomes
and other advantages interacted better with their children
despite their depression, possibly because of less stress.
The part of the study conducted at the University follows
130 children and is led by Dr. Martha Cox, senior scientist
at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.
Heans and Gender:
A new study, conducted in part at UNC
and published in the American Heart Association journal
found that women with advanced congestive
heart failure survive twice as long as men with the same
potentially fatal condition. Congestive heart failure, in which
the weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to meet
the body's oxygen needs, is the only kind of cardiovascular
disease steadily increasing in the U.S. population. Researchers
said the study suggested fundamental gender-related differ-
ences in the nature and extent of heart failure, but more
studies are needed to pinpoint why the survival differences
exist, which might help boost survival for both sexes and
for men in particular. Advanced congestive heart failure
affects an estimated 4. 6 million Americans.
Tracking What Causes Diabetes:
A study conducted by
researchers at UNC reveals for the first time that inflam-
mation plays an undefined but central role in development
of Type 2 diabetes. The findings open the possibility of using
various laboratory test results, or markers, for inflammation
to predict a higher risk for developing what also is called
diabetes mellitus in middle or later life, researchers say.
The study also suggests physicians could delay or prevent
some people from getting diabetes through strict diet
control since fat cells produce inflammatory mediators.
Gene mutaUon detecdon: Two chemists at the University have
developed a new and better way to detect gene mutations
responsible for medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis
and cancer. Detecting and identifying these changes is
critical to finding and designing drugs that can act on them.
Holden Thorp, professor of chemistry, and Patricia A.
Ropp, postdoctoral research associate in pharmacology at
the medical school, developed the method, which poten-
tially will allow scientists to screen for minute changes in
the genetic makeup of humans, animals, plants or viruses.
The current techniques are slow and expensive.
Stroke risk and race:
University researchers found that after
negating the influence of smoking, high blood pressure,
diabetes, education levels and existing heart disease, black
Americans still face a 48 percent higher risk of stroke than
do white Americans. No one yet knows why. The study
involved subjects from four geographically diverse U.S.
communities, including Forsyth County. An estimated
600,000 to 731,000 strokes occurred in 1996 in the United
States, making stroke the third-leading cause of death and
the leading cause of severe neurological disability.
Zeroing in on cancer cells:
A study in the School of Medicine
shows possibilities for pinpointing specific types of cells during
gene therapy. University scientists said this method, when
further developed, could help treat gene-related illnesses,
including various cancers. The study focused on Glanzmann's
disease and targeted the production of genetic material in
blood platelets without affecting red or white blood cells.
Treatment can be inserted into the intended cells by attaching
the treatment gene to specific pieces of DNA. The method
makes it possible, for example, to deliver poison into cancer
cells but not into healthy cells by attaching the poison gene
to pieces of DNA that function only in cancer cells. More
advanced studies already are under way.
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