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Scientists find gene that inhibits pancreas cancer spread

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PARIS — Scientists have identified a gene that slows the spread of pancreatic cancer tumours, paving the way for targeted treatment of one of the deadliest forms of the disease, said a paper published Sunday.

After discovering the gene dubbed USP9X at work in a study of pancreatic cancer in mice, the international research team found it also played a role in humans.

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“We looked in human tumour specimens and we found that it was missing in a fraction of patients — the patients that did very poorly … the people who died the fastest,” researcher David Tuveson told AFP.

“Patients that had a low level of the gene expressed … they died very quickly after their operation and the patients who at the end of their life had lots of metastasis (spreading of the cancer), they had also a very low level of this protein.”

The existence of the gene, which is found in all of our cells but goes missing in some tumours, was known before but not its role as a cancer suppressor, said Tuveson.

Three other pancreatic tumour suppressor genes are known to exist, but this is the one whose absence “probably causes metastasis — that is what kills people with pancreas cancer,” said the scientist.

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The discovery means that “we can wake up the gene by using drugs” known as epigenetic modulators, he added.

“Our observation allows us to potentially treat people that have lost this gene in the pancreas tumours. It allows us to offer a therapy for the patients that actually have the worst prognosis.”

Tuveson said these kinds of drugs have already been developed, “but people haven’t figured out where exactly they would be useful.

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“We are proposing that these drugs would be useful in this subset of pancreas cancer patients.”

Pancreatic cancer kills about 96 percent of its victims within five years of diagnosis, one of the lowest cancer survival rates.

Early diagnosis is difficult, so the disease is often discovered only after it has already spread.

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USA mystified by ’15 Donald Trumps’ jibe at Rugby World Cup

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USA coach Gary Gold said he was mystified by a comment from England's Eddie Jones that the Eagles would play like "15 Donald Trumps" when they meet at the Rugby World Cup.

"I've absolutely no idea what he means by that," Gold said, ahead of Thursday's game in Kobe.

"We're just a team that's really got to focus on our own processes at the moment. We've got to worry about what we do when we get onto the rugby field.

"At this stage, with all due respect, we're not a good enough rugby team to be making comments or answers to questions like that. I don't know what it means."

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‘Absolutely disgusting’: Trump slammed for trolling Greta Thunberg climate speech

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US President Donald Trump stirred up fresh outrage on social media Monday with a tweet mocking an impassioned speech made by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg at the UN climate summit in New York.

Her voice shaking with emotion in an address that was the defining moment of the summit, Thunberg accused world leaders of betraying her generation by failing to act on rising emissions, repeating the words "how dare you" four times.

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I'm one of the lucky ones," she said. "People are suffering. People are dying."

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Pulitzer Prize-winner reveals why the White House thinks Trump’s Ukraine scandal ‘can be spun as positive’

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Despite the growing movement for impeachment, advisors to President Donald Trump believe the bombshell reports about soliciting foreign election interference from Ukraine can be "spun as a positive" for the president's 2020 re-election campaign.

Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post, was interviewed about the thinking of Trump's advisors by MSNBC's Steve Kornacki on Monday.

"This is a White House, a Trump White House, that is used to being under siege. There was of course the two-and-a-half-year saga with the Mueller investigation culminating in the Mueller report, Mueller’s testimony recently. There have been a million other controversies, flare-ups, moments when the White House was forced to defend a comment from the president, allegation against the president, these sorts of things," Kornacki noted.

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