Cancer cells are comfy havens for bacteria: Weizmann Institute of Science study

first_img MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” Cancer cells are comfy havens for bacteria: Weizmann Institute of Science study Read Article By EH News Bureau on June 8, 2020 Comments (0) News Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healpha WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine story Share Add Comment anticancer treatmentsbacteriacancercancer cellsDr Ravid Straussmanmini-microbiomeWeizmann Institute of Science The research suggests that understanding relationship between a cancer cell, its ‘mini-microbiome’ may help predict potential effectiveness of certain treatments or may point, in future, to ways of manipulating those bacteria to enhance actions of anticancer treatmentsCancer cells are comfy havens for bacteria. That conclusion arises from a rigorous study of over 1,000 tumour samples of different human cancers. The study, headed by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, found bacteria living inside the cells of all the cancer types – from brain to bone to breast cancer – and even identified unique populations of bacteria residing in each type of cancer. The research suggests that understanding the relationship between a cancer cell and its ‘mini-microbiome’ may help predict the potential effectiveness of certain treatments or may point, in the future, to ways of manipulating those bacteria to enhance the actions of anticancer treatments. The findings of this study were published in Science.Dr Ravid Straussman, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science had, several years ago, discovered bacteria lurking within human pancreatic tumour cells; these bacteria were shown to protect cancer cells from chemotherapy drugs by ‘digesting’ and inactivating these drugs. When other studies also found bacteria in tumour cells, Straussman and his team wondered whether such hosting might be the rule, rather than the exception. To find out, Dr Deborah Nejman and Dr Ilana Livyatan in Straussman’s group and Dr Garold Fuks, Physics of Complex Systems Department, Weizmann Institute of Science worked together with a team of oncologists and researchers around the world. The work was also led by Dr Noam Shental, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Open University of Israel.Ultimately, the team would produce a detailed study describing, in high resolution, the bacteria living in these cancers – brain, bone, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas, colorectal and melanoma. They discovered that every single cancer type, from brain to bone, harboured bacteria and that different cancer types harbour different bacteria species. It was the breast cancers, however, that had the largest number and diversity of bacteria. The team demonstrated that many more bacteria can be found in breast tumours compared to the normal breast tissue surrounding these tumours, and that some bacteria were preferentially found in the tumour tissue rather than in the normal tissue surrounding it.To arrive at these results, the team had to overcome several challenges. For one, the mass of bacteria in a tumour sample is relatively small, and the researchers had to find ways to focus on these tiny cells-within-cells. They also had to eliminate any possible outside contamination. To this end they used hundreds of negative controls and created a series of computational filters to remove the traces of any bacteria that could have come from outside the tumour samples.The team was able to grow bacteria directly from human breast tumours, and their results proved that the bacteria found in these tumours are alive. Electron microscopy visualisation of these bacteria demonstrated that they prefer to nestle up in a specific location inside the cancer cells – close to the cell nucleus. The team also reported that bacteria can be found not only in cancer cells, but also in immune cells that reside inside tumours. “Some of these bacteria could be enhancing the anticancer immune response, while others could be suppressing it – a finding that may be especially relevant to understanding the effectiveness of certain immunotherapies,” says Dr Straussman. Indeed, when the team compared the bacteria from groups of melanoma samples, they found that different bacteria were enriched in those melanoma tumours that responded to immunotherapy as compared to those that had a poor response.Dr Straussman thinks that the study can also begin to explain why some bacteria like cancer cells and why each cancer has its own typical microbiome: The differences apparently come down to the choice of amenities offered in each kind of tumour-cell environment. That is, the bacteria may live off certain metabolites that are overproduced by or stored within the specific tumour types. For example, when the team compared the bacteria found in lung tumours from smokers with those from patients who had never smoked, they found variances. These differences stood out more clearly when the researchers compared the genes of these two groups of bacteria: Those from the smokers’ lung cancer cells had many more genes for metabolising nicotine, toluene, phenol and other chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke. In addition to showing that some of the most common cancers shelter unique populations of bacteria within their cells, the researchers believe that the methods they have developed to identify signature microbiomes with each cancer type can now be used to answer some crucial questions about the roles these bacteria play: Are the bacteria freeloaders on the cancer cell’s surplus metabolites, or do they provide a service to the cell? At what stage do they take up residence? How do they promote or hinder the cancer’s growth? What are the effects that they have on response to a wide variety of anticancer treatments?“Tumors are complex ecosystems that are known to contain, in addition to cancer cells, immune cells, stromal cells, blood vessels, nerves, and many more components, all part of what we refer to as the tumour microenvironment. Our studies, as well as studies by other labs, clearly demonstrate that bacteria are also an integral part of the tumour microenvironment. We hope that by finding out how exactly they fit into the general tumour ecology, we can figure out novel ways of treating cancer,” says Dr Straussman.Dr Straussman’s research is supported by the Roel C Buck Career Development Chair; the Moross Integrated Cancer Center; the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Biology Endowment; the Fabricant-Morse Families Research Fund for Humanity; the Chantal D’adesky-Scheinberg Research Fund; the Rising Tide Foundation; and the European Research Council. Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” Related Posts Heartfulness group of organisations launches ‘Healthcare by Heartfulness’ COVID care app Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025last_img read more

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The joyful representation of The Sims

first_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. The joyful representation of The SimsEA Maxis senior producer Michael Duke on creating studio longevity, improving representation, and building a lasting franchiseRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterFriday 23rd August 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleEA MaxisJust like The Sims itself, my chat with EA Maxis senior producer Michael Duke was full of silly, surprising stories.He told me about how he used the game’s customizable buildings and houses to connect with his wife over interior decorating — something he normally finds inaccessible. I shared how seducing the Grim Reaper on senior night at a club helped me feel more stable after a major life upheaval. He offered the tale of some developers who cheekily programmed an automatically flushing toilet to sometimes obnoxiously flush while your Sim was still sitting on it. Highly relatable.Duke says he loves swapping these kinds of stories about a series he’s worked on for 13 years, starting as a gameplay engineer on The Sims 3 and sticking with the game through four expansion packs before moving to The Sims 4 team and a production track just a few years ago. Personal, emergent narratives like these are a major factor in the long life of the franchise, and the player response to them is, he says, part of what makes working on The Sims stay fun over a long period of time.Despite what sounds like a hefty tenure, Duke says he considers himself more of a “mid-term retention” in a studio that values keeping its talent for the long haul. It’s a challenging goal in an industry currently in the midst of some harsh self-reflection on issues such as crunch, toxic workplace culture, and high turnover.Michael Duke, EA MaxisAnd it’s a goal that Duke acknowledges can be especially tricky for a studio like Maxis, which has a fanbase that likes frequent, detailed updates, and has thus far put out nearly 30 pieces of DLC content for The Sims 4. With each new piece of DLC, Duke says, the QA process especially grows more rigorous, as every new system added to the game must be tested to function with every other pre-existing system, and the likelihood of issues slipping through the cracks increases.But Duke says Maxis has historically been keenly aware of the perils of crunch culture, and continues to do its best to combat these issues as they arise.”Something I’m very proud of in Maxis is how much we work at trying to avoid [crunch],” he says. “It’s been a value in this studio for quite a while, and in some regards I think we were pushing forward early on. I won’t imply we never [crunch], but frankly it is very rare.”What we try and set out to do is make sure we have a space where if people are passionate about something or there’s something they just really want to get in, we want to have that space for them to work late one night and get it done and support that effort. We also don’t want our employees to be here late every night, all week. We see that manifest in bad ways in the long run.”We value the long tenure of employees. Those of us who are here just love being here, and our focus on quality of life and avoiding things like crunch is a big part of what makes retention possible in this studio. It’s a very high priority for us.”The Sims, though grounded in reality, frequently includes encounters with the extraordinary, such as the introduction of mermaids in a recent expansionDuke adds that there are also elements that make avoiding crunch easier for a studio like Maxis. One of those is the vocal community surrounding The Sims 4, which is quick to spot and report issues that QA might miss so that the team can fix them promptly. Another is that, after running a game like The Sims 4 for nearly five years, the team only improves at understanding the kinds of work and time commitments required for each new update, making it easier to plan ahead and manage their schedules.”What’s great about doing expansion pack after expansion pack is we can learn from the lessons,” Duke says. “The first expansion pack we did was not perfect, and we had some challenges where we had to work a little more. But at this point we understand the size and the scope and the effort involved, so we’re a lot better at actually building out schedules that mean our employees are always going to have their weekends and work normal work lengths. That’s been super valuable to making sure the experience stays in the studio.””When I sit down with my teams and we talk about what else we want to add to this game, we can still fill whiteboards with things we want to do” The Sims 4 turns five in September, and though we didn’t delve into specifics of what the team has planned for a hypothetical ‘Sims 5″ or similar, Duke’s impression is that it may still be a while yet before we see a new major entry. Even though five years is the longest gap we’ve seen between two numbered Sims titles, Duke says he still has ideas for content they can add to keep players busy for several more years at least.”We talk a lot about a three-year view,” he says. “What are we doing over the next few years? What do we have planned? When I sit down with my design and production teams and we talk about what else we want to add to this game, we can still fill whiteboards with concepts and things we want to do. I look at that and go, ‘Okay, we have plenty left to explore and add.’ My technical directors are terrified when I tell them I want to build DLC for five more years. But if our audience is there and our community is asking for more, we certainly have the ideas.”We’re still drawing more players than we’ve ever had, year-over-year, and the game is continuing to perform and players are coming in and loving it. For us, it’s exciting that we’re not heading into the next iteration right now. Instead, we’re talking about what we’ve never done, and themes no one has ever thought about. It’s inspiring, from a creative standpoint.”As the namesake of an entire genre (and one that’s constantly growing with new games and expansions), The Sims series encompasses a lot of what people like in simulation games broadly, which Duke identifies as the ability to experience the extraordinary within the ordinary. It’s something he acknowledges is tricky to explain to people who have never played a sim game before, and might not understand the entertainment value in a game where you can, say, take out the trash. But he adds that once you’ve played The Sims once, you’re in on the “secret.”At launch, one major criticism of the game was its lack of options for interacting with very young children. EA Maxis addressed this issue in a free update shortly after release”One of the values we take as a design and production team is ‘Surprise and delight,'” he continues. “The reason you hopefully watch your Sim take out the trash is, occasionally, something you didn’t expect is going to happen. And what we talk about is that the unexpected needs to happen far more regularly in our simulation than it actually occurs in real life.”If I take my garbage out every week for the next ten years, maybe once in those ten years something interesting will happen when I get out to the garbage can — like I’ll open it and a raccoon will pop out. In the game, we need that surprise moment or story to appear more like one in every seven or ten times. That is the magic of bringing the mundane to life a little bit more. “Our goal in this emergent design system is that even as you’re doing normal, everyday things, something else goes by that turns it into a story or triggers a story moment for you that you can now build on as a player. And they’re opt-in offers. If you don’t want your story to be about that fire truck that went by, it passed and you don’t care.””If I take my garbage out every week, maybe once in ten years something interesting will happen. In the game, we need that surprise moment to appear one in every seven or ten times” But key to selling the extraordinary to players, Duke says, is ensuring that at a fundamental level, players can be whoever they want to be. And The Sims has a better history than most games of allowing for that. Since the very first game, launched in 2000, The Sims has featured same-sex relationships and had a (for the time) solid range of racial diversity. It has only improved from there. The most recent iteration includes numerous appearance customization options, as well as gender identity choices broken down by clothing style, voice, physical frame, bathroom use, and pregnancy. Every one of these can be customized.Duke is proud of how far the series has come, but is firm that Maxis and The Sims are far from done.”Diversity and inclusion are things we care a lot about and there’s always work to be done, and I feel the same way about our game,” he says. “We’re not there yet. But we’re going to keep taking steps and I want to keep taking even more steps to be inclusive. Our goal is that every player in the world can come into this game and create themselves and create their friends and have a chance to explore their stories — whatever that looks like — and that story can be fantastical or mundane. We just want that place where we can all identify and find ourselves. “I can think of lots of things we don’t have covered; some are technical hurdles, some are a matter of time. One of the biggest challenges we run into as we try to do more things for diversity and inclusion is making sure we handle it in an appropriate way. I don’t want to add something like it’s a joke or humorous. I want to make sure we do it in a very respectful way and a very representative way. “When we did support for non-binary gender, we had a lot of conversations with GLAAD about the right way to represent that. How do we do it in a way that feels inclusive and welcoming and not dictating our viewpoint? It’s not about what we believe. It’s about encompassing how our players want to tell their story.The Sims 4 includes numerous ways to customize your sim, from choosing gender presentation to click-and-drag adjustable body types to numerous skin, hair, and clothing options”And it’s a very hard thing. More recently, we added a bunch of Pride flags to the game, and we did a lot of research and worked with the It Gets Better Project, but when it came out our community let us know that they thought we missed the mark. We got a lot of pushback over not including a lesbian Pride flag. We thought we had done the homework, but what we heard from our community was that no, that doesn’t cut it. Our lesbian players didn’t feel adequately represented.”I don’t want to add [representation] like it’s a joke or humorous. I want to make sure we do it in a very respectful way” “So we moved quickly to try and add one, but what we discovered was there isn’t a clear consensus on the lesbian pride flag. There’s actually a lot of debate. So we found ourselves asking, ‘What’s the right one?’ The last thing I want to do is choose one and alienate half of this audience I’m trying to make it right with. So we ended up adding three from our research that felt inclusive. And we spoke not only with our partner, but also with our internal group at EA, our employee resource groups. Our goal was to make sure no matter who you were or what your viewpoint on the subject, one of those felt right to you.”That’s how we ended up solving it, but it just demonstrates how difficult it can be to do this in a way that feels inclusive and welcoming. A lot of care goes into these, and it’s the reason we can’t add everything at once. And that may be part of why we don’t see a lot of people doing this, because it’s not easy.”Throughout our discussion, Duke is constantly looking forward — future DLC, future games, future improvements to representation. When I ask him directly where he sees The Sims (which is getting on 20 years as a franchise) in another decade, he cheerfully and immediately replies, “A billion players!”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Though it seems like an obvious response for anyone creating a lasting IP like The Sims, Duke’s reason for that desire is more heartfelt.”Frankly, I think everyone’s life would be better if they had the opportunity to spend some time in The Sims,” he says. “It’s a special place, and I think you learn something about who you are and a lot about other people and other stories. And as we keep working to be better at diversity and inclusion and more representative of the whole world, I think it becomes a more powerful thing for us to have an understanding of who else is out there in the world and their stories. I want that. I want to see us grow the reach and spread the joy to more people.”I want to put my effort into something that puts joy into the world. And when I look at this product and what we do and the way it influences people’s lives, it makes people happy. Putting effort into something that creates that impact is really rewarding. So when we hear from our players about the time it helped them in a tough spot in high school, or a time they felt bullied in middle school and played it out and it gave them the strength to deal with that issue or love themselves, those sorts of stories make it feel like we make more than a game. We make something that has a bigger impact than just a moment in time of entertainment. That drives all of us.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesCatharina Lavers Mallet takes over as Maxis bossJoe Nickolls steps down to spend more time with his familyBy Christopher Dring 18 days agoEA partners with TBS for four-episode The Sims reality showThe Sims Spark’d will see 12 community personalities compete in creative in-game design challengesBy Rebekah Valentine 10 months agoLatest comments (1)Chaton Pute team lead, Oasis GamesA year ago Interesting article, thank you.I would be very curious to know his opinion about mods and the communities around themHis game lived that long thanks to a big number of mods and specially the ones for adultslast_img read more

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People Moves: Eurohypo, ING Real Estate and more

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Seward Highway Water Spout Closed Due To Falling Rocks

first_imgDOT is advising individuals to stay in their vehicles at all times for the safety of themselves and other travelers. McCarthy: “We are cautioning people not to stop in that area, don’t collect water, and if you don’t have to travel don’t do it.”  FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The popular Seward Highway MP 109 water spout is currently barricaded off and will be unavailable as rock continues to fall in the area. A travel advisory is still in effect for the highway between milepost 104 and milepost 114 due to the danger of rockslides from aftershocks. Shannon McCarthy with the Department of Transportation: “I had a lady call me to tell me she had actually stopped at mile 109 to gather water at the water spout. While she was trying to get some water an aftershock hit, the rocks came down on her she had to retreat very quickly, and we are very lucky we didn’t lose her.”last_img read more

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