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Sep 18, 2023

Microsoft Azure Data Leak Exposes Dangers of File-Sharing Links

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Shared Access Signature (SAS) link exposed a storage bucket with 38TB of private data, including passwords, Teams messages, and the backups of two Microsoft AI research employees’ workstations.

Sep 18, 2023

Hook: New Android Banking Trojan That Expands on ERMAC’s Legacy

Posted by in categories: finance, robotics/AI

Discover the evolution of Android trojans — ‘Hook’ inherits its powers from ‘ERMAC.’ How does it outperform its predecessor? Read on.

Sep 18, 2023

Removing the barrier surrounding solid tumors clears path for T cells, study shows

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

While immunotherapies have shown great promise in treating blood cancers, most clinical trials aimed at treating solid tumors such as pancreatic or lung cancer have failed. Researchers have long thought that solid tumors’ resistance to treatment is due to the tumor microenvironment—the cells and matrix that surround solid tumors—but the exact mechanisms behind this blockade were unclear, until now.

In a new study, University of Pennsylvania researchers reveal how the microenvironment prevents T cells from attacking tumors. Using mouse models, they showed that cancer-associated fibroblasts along with extracellular matrix within the create a physical barrier to T cell entry, and these cells also actively suppress T cell function. When the researchers used CAR T cells to target and remove these fibroblasts, rather than targeting the tumor cells themselves, T cells were able to infiltrate and attack the tumor.

“The physical barrier and immunosuppressive environment derived from cancer-associated fibroblasts limits or traps T cells and prevents them from entering into the tumor,” says first author Zebin Xiao, a physician and postdoctoral researcher in the School of Veterinary Medicine. “We showed that targeting those fibroblasts can disrupt that barrier and has a very great tumor inhibition effect.”

Sep 18, 2023

Researchers discover possible new treatment for triple-negative breast cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Zachary Schug, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program of the Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center at The Wistar Institute, has published a new paper in the journal Nature Cancer. Schug’s paper, titled “Acetate acts as a metabolic immunomodulator by bolstering T-cell effector function and potentiating antitumor immunity in breast cancer,” demonstrates a double-acting mechanism for fighting a particularly aggressive, difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer. Schug’s research shows how silencing a certain gene, ACSS2, may improve existing treatments for patients.

Triple-negative , or TNBC, affects 10–15% of patients with breast cancer in the US. TNBC is called “triple-negative” because the cancer lacks an , a , and a HER2 (human epidermal growth factor) receptor. The absence of any of these receptors—receptors that when present in other forms of breast cancer, can be effectively targeted during treatment—makes treating TNBC quite difficult, and patients with TNBC have limited treatment options.

TNBC’s notorious aggression makes the technical challenge of finding a reliably effective treatment target all the more serious: compared to other breast cancers, TNBC grows faster and resists treatment more stubbornly. All these factors contribute to the fact that TNBC patients suffer from worse prognoses.

Sep 18, 2023

Generating biskyrmions in a rare earth magnet

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

Magnetic skyrmions have received much attention as promising, topologically protected quasiparticles with applications in spintronics. Skyrmions are small, swirling topological magnetic excitations with particle-like properties. Nevertheless, the lower stability of magnetic skyrmions only allow them to exist in a narrow temperature range, with low density of the particles, thus implying the need for an external magnetic field, which greatly limits their wider applications.

In a new report published in Science Advances, Yuzhu Song and a team of researchers formed high-density, spontaneous magnetic biskyrmions without a magnetic field in ferrimagnets via the thermal expansion of the lattice.

The team noted a strong connection between the atomic-scale ferrimagnetic structure and nanoscale magnetic domains in a ferrimagnet compound by using neutron powder diffraction and Lorentz transmission electron microscopy measurements.

Sep 18, 2023

A modern digital light processing technology to 3D print microfluidic chips

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, computing

Conventional manufacturing methods such as soft lithography and hot embossing processes can be used to bioengineer microfluidic chips, albeit with limitations, including difficulty in preparing multilayered structures, cost-and labor-consuming fabrication processes as well as low productivity.

Materials scientists have introduced digital light processing as a cost-effective microfabrication approach to 3D print microfluidic chips, although the fabrication resolution of these microchannels are limited to a scale of sub-100 microns.

In a new report published in Microsystems and Nanoengineering, Zhuming Luo and a scientific team in , and chemical engineering in China developed an innovative digital light processing method.

Sep 18, 2023

Plate tectonics 4 billion years ago may have helped initiate life on Earth

Posted by in category: futurism

The Earth’s oldest surface layer forming continents, termed its crust, is approximately 4 billion years old and is comprised of 25–50km-thick volcanic rocks known as basalts. Originally, scientists thought that one complete lithospheric crust covered the entire planet, compared to the individual plates we see today which were believed to have only begun formation 1 billion years later. However, attitudes towards this hypothesis are being challenged.

The formation mechanism of this is somewhat enigmatic, with academics now suggesting it may have been driven by , the movement of Earth’s major surface plates across the globe over billions of years, forming the landmasses and topographic features which we see today.

One theory focuses on when the plates converge, often causing one to subduct beneath the other, resulting in partial melting to change magma composition, while another studies mechanisms occurring within the itself (at less than 50km depth) that are entirely separate from plate boundaries but also cause partial melting.

Sep 18, 2023

Innovative Gene Screening in Human Tissue May Unlock Autism’s Secrets

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Summary: Researchers pioneered a groundbreaking method called “CHOOSE” to investigate genes tied to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within human tissue. This technique allows for simultaneous examination of key transcriptional regulator genes linked to autism in a single organoid.

Utilizing CHOOSE, the team pinpointed mutations in 36 genes known to heighten autism risk, shedding light on how they influence brain development. The revelations from these organoids mirrored clinical observations, underscoring the potential of this method in advancing our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sep 18, 2023

Inside PwC’s push to train its workers on AI

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

PwC plans to train 75,000 workers in the US and Mexico on artificial intelligence. The training comes as some new hires don’t posses certain necessary tech.

Sep 18, 2023

New study uncovers origin of ‘conscious awareness’

Posted by in category: climatology

Living things act with purpose. But where does purpose come from? How do humans make sense of their relation to the world and realize their ability to effect change? These fundamental questions of “agency”—acting with purpose—have perplexed some of the greatest minds in history including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Erwin Schrödinger and Niels Bohr.

A Florida Atlantic University (FAU) study reveals groundbreaking insight into the origins of agency using an unusual and largely untapped source— . Since goal-directed action appears in the first months of human life, the FAU research team used young infants as a test field to understand how spontaneous movement transforms into purposeful action.

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