Community News (Vol. 13 Issue 43)

Penn. State researcher reports virus kills breast cancer cells

Penn State College of Medicine researchers, led by Dr. Samina Alam,  say they have found a virus that kills human breast cancer cells in the laboratory, a development that could lead to new treatments of the disease.

Researchers used a naturally occurring version of the adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) on three different breast cancer types, representing various stages of the disease. In the culture dishes in the laboratory, the virus destroys all the cancer cells within seven days.

Craig Meyers, professor of microbiology and immunology at the medical college in Hershey and one of the researchers on the project, said breast cancer is problematic to treat because of its multiple stages. “Currently, treatment of breast cancer is dependent on multiple factors such as hormone-dependency, invasiveness and metastases, drug resistance and potential toxicities. Our study shows that AAV2, as a single entity, targets all different grades of breast cancer,” Meyers said in a news release.

The study, published Aug. 9 in the online journal Molecular Cancer, was led by Samina Alam of Penn State College of Medicine.

Additional research needs to be completed to determine how the virus is killing the cancer cells and whether therapeutic applications should involve the virus itself or a drug that mimics what it does.

Dupage County’s new rules expected to hurt mosque

DUPAGE COUNTY, IL–A new set of zoning laws, expected to be voted on shortly by the Dupage County Board has sparked concerns from activists.

The changes would allow houses of worship into all zoning districts by right, unlike before. However, they would have to follow new requirements for larger lot sizes, access to major arterial roads, use of public water and sewer lines and they would be limited as to how much of the land could be covered by building.

Amy Lawless of DuPage United told WBEZ news that the changes will “prevent many, many congregations from even considering to build,” said Lawless, “because it will be so costly in order to meet all of these restrictions.”

Lawless says the new rules would particularly hurt DuPage County’s fast-growing Muslim population, which has lately submitted more applications for new worship spaces than any other faith group.

Northwestern students raise funds for Africa famine

EVANSTON,IL–The Muslim-cultural Students Association, in association with the African Students Association and other groups of Northwestern University, is raising funds for the victims of famine in the horn of Africa.

The campaign, called NU Sounds the Horn for East Africa, kicked off  fundraising last week with a  booth in the Norris University Center. The ASA plans to begin selling t-shirts and reaching out to other groups on campus for donations later next week.

The campus-wide effort is in response to a cycle of severe droughts that have led to food shortages in regions of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, affecting an estimated 12 million people, according to the American Red Cross.

Hate crime charges in VA assault

WASHINGTON D.C.– CAIR has called on the Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Maryland to bring hate crime charges against a Prince Frederick man scheduled to go to trial on Monday, October 17, for allegedly assaulting a Virginia Muslim limousine driver.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the alleged assault took place on March 11 of this year when the Muslim limo driver of Moroccan origin reported that he picked up two passengers in Washington, D.C., shortly after midnight and was asked to take them to National Harbor.

After learning that the driver’s name is Mohammed, one of the passengers asked whether he was Muslim. When the driver said he is Muslim, that admission allegedly prompted both passengers to use religious and ethnic slurs and make threats to the life of the driver.

When the limo arrived at the destination, one of the passengers allegedly punched the driver in the head, knocking him to the ground and fracturing his wrist. Both passengers were subsequently arrested and charged.

“The State of Maryland should pursue this incident for what it is — a hate crime,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is representing the alleged victim. “There have been too many American Muslims who have borne the brunt of growing anti-Muslim sentiment in our nation. These crimes will stop only when those responsible for enforcing the law make it clear that perpetrators of hate crimes against American Muslims will be held to account.”