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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Ruling parties back eco minister as new Hungary PM

Hungary's ruling parties approved the nomination of Economy Minister Gordon Bajnai to replace outgoing Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.
After a week of talks during which they failed to agree on a candidate, the Socialists and Liberals, which together hold a majority in parliament, finally found common ground with Bajnai, who has no political affiliation.
Gyurcsany's Socialists approved him on Sunday evening while their former partners in government, the Liberals, followed overnight.
Bajnai must now be officially nominated for the premiership at the Socialists' party conference on April 5 before he can take over from Gyurcsany.
The prime minister announced his resignation on March 21, after failing to get reforms through parliament that were designed to pull Hungary, one of the countries worst hit in eastern Europe, out of the economic crisis.
Gyurcsany, who has led a minority government since last April, will be officially replaced after parliament votes on a so-called constructive no-confidence motion on April 14.
This procedure allows for a change of leadership without the need for early elections.
But widespread support for the incoming candidate was needed to ensure the motion was passed.
On Sunday, Gyurcsany also gave up the presidency of the Socialist party, just a week after he was re-elected with 85 percent of votes.
He did not give any reason for his decision, only announcing through his spokesman that he wished "to stay in politics, and his future role will depend on his Socialist colleagues."
Gyurcsany was re-elected as party head on March 21 at the same meeting where he announced his intention to resign as prime minister.
The Socialists will now elect a new leader on April 5.

Gene found to suppress skin cancer

U.S. researchers said on Sunday they had identified an enzyme gene that suppresses tumor growth in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that one of the most often mutated genes that code for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes, MMP-8, actually serves as a tumor suppressor gene, but not an oncogene, as was previously thought.
MMP enzymes play a key role in the process of remodeling skin after sunburns, cuts or other injuries, and the MMP gene family has long been thought to increase the risk of cancers, including breast, colon and melanoma.
"The study suggests that a better approach may be to look for drugs that restore or increase MMP-8 function or for drugs that block only those MMPs that are truly oncogenes," the researchers said in a press release.
The findings were published in the British journal Nature Genetics.
In their study, the researchers studied a bank of tumor and blood samples collected from 79 patients with aggressive melanoma and found that at least six percent of melanoma patients had mutations in MMP-8.
In laboratory tests, mice injected with cells expressing normal MMP-8, said the researchers, did not develop skin ulcers, which are one of the most important measures of cancer aggression in melanoma.
In contrast, mice injected with cells expressing mutated MMP-8 went on to develop ulcerations and metastases in their lungs, they said.
Globally, melanoma is becoming more common every year. A major cause is thought to be overexposure to the sun. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can damage DNA and lead to cancer-causing genetic changes within skin cells.

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