Cornell Finds Success with Cancer-Inhibiting Protein

A recent Cornell study demonstrates a promising method for killing cancer cells in the bloodstream. Observing prostate cancer in mice, researchers injected liposomes containing a protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand that attach themselves onto white blood cells to destroy cancer cells spreading through the bloodstream. The experiment, performed as a collaboration between the labs of Prof. Michael King, biomedical engineering, and Prof. Chris Schaffer, biomedical engineering, served as a followup to a study published in January 2014 on the use of TRAIL to attack tumor cells. “In the 2014 paper, we first showed that the nanoscale liposomes, when injected into the bloodstream, can kill nearly all of the cancer cells in the blood.” King said, “We showed this with human blood samples flowing in laboratory experiments, and we also performed short-term mouse experiments.”

According to King, these experiments consisted of injecting male mice with human prostate cancer cells and the TRAIL-carrying liposomes, which attach to white blood cells, and observing changes within a two hour period. The effects on the prostate tumors were encouraging, but the next step was to see whether TRAIL would hold up for metastasis — the formation of new tumors distant from the original tumor, the reason for more than 90 percent of human cancer deaths.


Cornell Undergraduate Research Board Hosts Fifth Annual Fall Forum

On Nov. 4, more than 50 student presenters and 300 onlookers filled into the Physical Sciences Building’s Clark Atrium for the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board’s Fall Forum, sharing student research being performed on all corners of campus. This year’s event was the fifth ever and had one the largest turnouts yet, according to Jimmy Guo ’16, co-president of CURB. “We started the Fall Forum five years ago, as we saw that many students who conducted research over summer needed an outlet to share their work on campus,” Guo said. “It started off fairly small, but we’ve since grown it to be our second largest annual event.”

Research subjects spanned across several colleges and majors, and students of various class years presented.

Johnson Profs Develop Multi-Million Dollar Social Media Platform

HangIt — a social media platform with a development team including two Cornell professors — is set to launch in December with $6.2 million in seed funding. One of the co-founders of the platform is Prof. Jason Hogg MBA ’02, management, while the current chief executive officer is Prof. Steven Gal ’88, management. The cloud-based service seeks to provide location-based messaging and marketing for any mobile app, based on the idea of “hanging” notifications for users to view automatically, according to Gal. “The [mobile] market grew very, very quickly because demand has continued to go through the roof,” Gal said. “This issue of location … is one that really hasn’t been addressed.

Cornell Group, Ithacans Advocate for Living Wage

Chanting “What do we want? Living Wage! When do we want it? Now!”, more than 50 people — including labor advocates and students — gathered Tuesday in the City of Ithaca to rally for a living wage in Tompkins County. A living wage is the minimum amount a worker must be paid an hour to be able to meet basic needs.

In Hurricane Sandy’s Wake, Cornell Students Recount Fear for Loved Ones

At a University-organized support meeting Friday, students whose families were affected by Hurricane Sandy recalled the fear and stress they experienced trying to check in on their families over the week. Christian de Laszlo ’13 said his hometown of Rumson, N.J., became so flooded during the storm Monday night that boats ended up in trees and parking lots became sandbars. “The water stopped a foot before my house,” he said. “The house down the street was destroyed.”

As Sandy’s destruction unfolded, de Laszlo said he kept in close contact with family and friends, calling when possible and seeing pictures on Facebook showing the hurricane’s damage. “I didn’t sleep at all Monday night,” he said, referring to the night when the superstorm touched down in New Jersey, bringing 80 m.p.h. winds and massive flooding to the area.

Employee Sues Cornell for Violating Americans With Disabilities Act

A Cornell Information Technology employee is suing the University for $1 million for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act in a way that he says brought him “severe emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation [and a] loss of enjoyment of life.”

Jose Zavala, 51, has worked at the University since 1993. In his lawsuit — which was filed in November 2011 — Zavala alleges that he was criticized by his supervisors for attending medical appointments, was asked to obtain an excessive number of medical clearances to return to work, and was deprived of the vehicle and tools needed for his job. The University, denying the claims, said that its actions have not adversely affected Zavala’s employment. Cornell has filed a preliminary motion arguing that Zavala’s case has no merit, according to Wendy Tarlow, associate University counsel. “Mr. Zavala is a valued employee, and we don’t feel he has been treated unfairly,” Tarlow said in an interview with The Sun.