For Thursday, Aug. 17, WGN’s Dina Bair has new medical information, including:

Injection of specific blood factor can replicate benefits of exercise in the brain

University of Queensland researchers found platelets, the tiny blood cells critical for clotting, secrete a protein that rejuvenates neurons. 

Physical activity also increases the production of new neurons in the brain critical for learning and memory. 

Platelets are involved in that process circulating in the blood after exercise. 

Now, scientists say by injecting those platelets, they can achieve the same exercise-induced response in the brain that includes cognitive improvement. 

Study: New breast cancer genes could identify women at increased risk

New breast cancer genes may help give more women an indication of their enhanced risk for the disease. 

For years, doctors have been able to test for BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 genes. 

But these only account for a small number of breast cancer cases. 

Now, a collaborative study including researchers at the University of Cambridge, identified new genes associated with breast cancer. 

The discovery opens the door for new tests to identify women at increased risk for cancer and employ early screening to find cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage. 

Immunotherapy drug combo helps extend lives of patients with metastatic melanoma

A new approach to treating melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer. 

A combination of immunotherapy helps extend lives according to University of California Los Angeles Health Sciences researchers.  

When a patient’s cancer spreads and is unresponsive to the most common treatment, PD-1 inhibitors, investigators found a new cocktail to help them live longer. 

In clinical trials, the combo immunotherapy stopped cancer from progressing and triggered a greater response rate to treatment.

The research funded by the national cancer institute is documented in the journal, Nature. 

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