Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Novel therapy for stomach cancer; grand opening of Manhattan Project National Historical Park; 2015 Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign Award reception; Los Alamos scientist part of NASA’s select few; regional teams do well at Electric Car Challenge
December 1, 2015
Even the most carefully crafted science projects starts with a rough brainstorming session. This whiteboard is from an early Los Alamos National Laboratory and Van Andel Research Institute meeting to plan the approach for modeling lung cancer.

Los Alamos scientist Nina Lanza practices glacier travel techniques at the summit of Hvannadalshnukur, the highest mountain in Iceland.

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Novel therapy for stomach cancer

New research from a multidisciplinary team that includes Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Ludmil Alexandrov shows that a molecular fingerprint, termed “signature 3,” is found in stomach cancer. The finding has the potential to save thousands of lives a year by delivering a more effective, targeted treatment for afflicted cancer patients.

The research team includes partners at Los Alamos, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Addenbrooke’s Hospital National Health Service Trust and the University of Hong Kong Queen Mary Hospital. Two provisional patent applications have been filed based on the analyses and results reported in the study.

The team confirmed a previously noted presence of signature 3 in breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers but unexpectedly found new evidence for the presence of this same signature in stomach cancer.

“Gastric cancer is the third-most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and we have potentially identified a new treatment methodology for some of these patients,” said Alexandrov.  

“This is an extremely exciting finding, which shows the importance of genomic sequencing for personalized healthcare in the future,” said Professor Sir Michael Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “In years to come, routine genomic analysis of cancers could show which have the signature 3 fingerprint and inform and transform treatment of thousands of patients with these specific breast, ovarian, pancreatic and gastric cancers.”

Grand opening of Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Los Alamos not only celebrated Veterans’ Day on November 11 but also the grand opening of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which also includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Hanford Project Site in Washington State.

In New Mexico, the national park includes 17 sites at Los Alamos National Laboratory and 13 sites in downtown Los Alamos. Most of the Manhattan Project properties remaining downtown are along Bathtub Row and were originally built as part of the Los Alamos Ranch School before the U.S. Army acquired the school in 1942.

2015 Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign Award reception

The Regional Development Corporation of Española recently hosted a reception to honor a select group of companies that are receiving its 2015 Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign Award.

The 2015 awardees include AllTherm/Solar Logic (Santa Fe), Fast Ditch (Vallecitos), Santa Fe Spirits (Santa Fe), Seamless Medical Systems (Santa Fe), Taos Herb Company (Taos), Taos Mesa Brewing (Taos) and UBiQD (Los Alamos).

Award winners receive operational, financial and technical advice from nonprofit business service providers who share the Regional Development Corporation’s goal of identifying and nurturing companies with the potential to double their workforce and revenues by the end of the decade.

The campaign, which began in October 2012, exceeded its original 20-company goal last year, when the list of award-winners reached 25.

Los Alamos scientist part of NASA’s select few

Nina Lanza, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Space and Remote Sensing group, was selected as one of eight members for the 2015-2016 field campaign of the Antarctica Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program, which is supported by NASA.

“These meteorites can help us understand the formation and evolution of our solar system,” said Lanza. “They come from planets, their moons and asteroids. Few of these solar system bodies will be visited by NASA in our lifetimes and this is a superb opportunity to collect material from across the solar system without having to leave the Earth.”

Although meteorites land randomly all across Earth, Antarctica is the premier location for finding them because they are spotted more easily against the backdrop of the Antarctic ice. The meteorites are sent to NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Smithsonian Institution for initial characterization, curation and distribution to scientists for further analysis.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the ANSMET meteorite program, which has sent an expedition to Antarctica to search for meteorites nearly every year. More than 200 people have participated in the program since its inception, including six NASA astronauts, allowing for a broad scientific community to participate and understand the importance of meteoritic science that would otherwise not be possible.

Regional teams do well at Electric Car Challenge

The following regional teams recently won prizes at the New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge: Española Sayansi Club, Española (second place in the Design Competition); McCurdy Charter School, Española (Sportsmanship Award and also Second Chance Award); Turquoise Trail Charter Elementary School, Santa Fe (second place in the Oral Competition); Chamisa Elementary School, White Rock (third place in the Oral Competition).

Community Connections features news and opportunities that grow out of the Laboratory’s Good Neighbor Pledge: “To partner with our neighbors on strengthening math and science learning, diversifying the economy and expanding community giving in northern New Mexico.”

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