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Over the past two decades researchers have identified around 20 estrogen-activated genes that play a role in development of breast cancer. "That's about one gene discovery per year," says Dr. Giguère. "Using cutting edge new technology derived directly from the human genome project, this study adds over hundred additional genes to this total."
The technology used information obtained from the human genome project to create a new type of DNA microchip containing the partial DNA sequences of approximately 19,000 genes. Dr. Giguère's team was able to localize where the estrogen receptor was bound in the genome of breast cancer cells, thereby identifying a large number of genes that respond to this hormone in a single experiment. "This technology, first developed for the study of yeast, now offers the opportunity to rapidly identify, in a genome-wide manner, the genes involved in the response to natural hormones or drugs in normal and cancer cells," says co-author Dr. François Robert from the IRCM.
Of particular importance was the discovery of a gene called FOXA1, known as a transcription factor. "FOXA1 can be viewed as a facilitator of estrogen action on cancer cells," says Josée Laganière, a graduate student at the MUHC and principal author of the paper. "It is found in breast cancer tumours that express the estrogen receptor." In their study, the researchers found that the FOXA1 gene was required for the estrogen receptor to activate the growth of breast cancer cells.
"By inactivating the FOXA1 gene in laboratory cell cultures, we were able to block the growth-inducing effect of estogen, and thus halt the growth of breast cancer cells," says Dr. Giguère. In FOXA1 researchers have found a new target that affects the development of breast cancer. In practical terms, efforts can now be focused on developing a more precise cure/treatment for cancer based on this gene. "The problem with cancer drugs in general has been that they are often untargeted, which is why patients experience side effects," notes Dr. Giguère. "The more focused the drugs the less side effects and the more chance you have to cure the disease."
"Research targeting individual molecules associated with pathogenesis of cancer has led to positive clinical results," says Dr. Joseph Ragaz, Director of MUHC Oncology Program. "Evidence-based data on agents such as Gleevac in leukemia, Avastin in colorectal cancer, and more recently with Herceptin for breast cancer, confirm that the efforts of researchers like Dr. Giguere and his team save lives and money. These connections between research and health care are one of the strengths of academic hospitals like the MUHC."
Source: McGill University
Bamboo Mañalac is well-admired for his powerful presence and breathtaking voice that people wonder if his true persona takes a 180-degree turn when he’s on stage. On this perceived notion of being “wild” on stage, he simply notes that he’s focused in all of his performances. It is this unique concentration and energy that blows away the fans who admire him enormously. But even as such charm endears him to many, others have supposedly been turned off by his aloofness. “I maybe mysterious to some people, but if you see me walk in a mall, and come up to me…I’m fine,” Bamboo says.
Bamboo is no newbie to the world of rock. He was previously the lead vocalist for Rivermaya before leaving the country to study and work abroad. Upon his return, formed a new band interestingly named after him. He didn’t favor the band’s name at first but agreed to it as long as it referred to the four-member group. Since Bamboo, the band, introduced its kind of music, it has been praised by many critics and fans alike.
His creativity and music sense could have only come from his family’s gene pool. He recalls sticking to the walls the poems he got from his grandparents when he was young. His dad is into music as well and his mom has a background in theater. It could be his creativity that makes Bamboo an ambitious individual and at heart, simply a serious performer. And if the “astig” image is part of the consequence, so be it. “Astig means you’re cool,” Bamboo says, quickly adding, “I just know who we are [as a band] and what we do so I just focus on that.”
Eraserheads was the most popular Pinoy rock band in the early ‘90s, thanks to the talent, extraordinary charm and experimental ingenuity of its members, vocalist/guitarist, Ely Buendia in particular. His voice and words matched with the mix of retro, rock and alternative beats were a fresh, dramatic and hypnotic hit to Pinoy music. However, the group disbanded a decade later, spurred by the departure of Ely.
Despite the dissolution of the Eraserheads, Ely remains visible in the music scene as the leader of the band, The Mongols. And his image as a haughty pop sensation remains. “I don’t live up sa kung anumang image ng tao sa ‘kin…. kaya maraming naaasar,” remarks Ely. ”Gusto ko tao pa rin ako when I get out, when I perform… Hindi ‘yung kung ang image ng audience sa iyo ‘yun ang gagawin ko. Kung gutom ako, galit ako, papakita ko talaga.”
Ely kids himself as the rebel “without” a cause, but take that lightly folks. He isn’t really headstrong and is never a moment shallow. His band mates from The Mongols have always given him the highest regard, some even initially intimidated from assuming he’s a stern perfectionist. But hang around with him a little bit more and you’ll find out he’s a generous guy who brings out the best in the group. Also, contrary to rumors, he doesn’t have a wild personality. Remember how quiet the break-up of Eraserheads was? His exit after all had nothing to do with any grudges. It was just simple way of moving on. “Physically, mentally, emotionally, I had to take a vacation because 10 years with the Eraserheads was sobrang draining, na-burn out ako…” recalls Ely.
Today, Ely combines fame and fatherhood and is also more open to talking about his life. However fans or critics perceive this music icon, he says “I’m just always true to myself.”