Gene found in embryos can cloak cancer from common immunotherapy methods, researchers find

Researchers found that cancer cells avoid detection from the immune system by expressing a gene that is typically seen only during early embryonic development. Above, a colony of embryonic stem cells. (Wikimedia Commons Photo) The question of why immunotherapy eradicates cancer in some people while having little effect on the majority of patients has vexed scientists since the introduction of the treatment. Now, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have identified a gene from the earliest stages of human development that helps cloak the disease from the most common immunotherapy methods. The gene at the heart of the discovery is DUX4, which plays a role in the earliest… Read More

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Mobile marketplace OfferUp adds ‘Hold Offers’ feature as it battles Craigslist, eBay and Facebook

OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy) OfferUp is rolling out a new feature that aims to solve a major pain point for local buyers and sellers, letting a buyer reserve an item with an authorized payment before meeting up in person. The extra protection against “flaky buyers and sellers,” as the company calls them, was previously tested in a limited beta, but it’s now rolling out nationally. The new “Hold Offers” feature lets buyers reserve items and complete the transaction via QR code when the in-person exchange occurs. QR codes now trigger mobile payments on OfferUp. (OfferUp Image) It’s the latest attempt by the well-heeled startup to… Read More

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Michael Collins Was Just Fine

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series reflecting on the Apollo 11 mission, 50 years later. It’s been five decades since he went to the moon, and Michael Collins knows exactly what his next adventure will be. “I’m going to find a nice big rock and I’m going to hide under it,” Collins told me recently. As the big anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission approached, Collins was bombarded with requests for interviews, appearances, and other ceremonial events. Similar solicitations came at the last significant milestone, and the one before that, and the one before that. Collins is used to the attention; press conferences are part of an… Read More

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New space station ventures could boost manufacturing, medicine — and marketing

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins conducts tests and replaces parts inside the International Space Station’s Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, in 2016. The experimental module could be considered the space station’s first commercial facility. (NASA Photo) RENTON, Wash. — NASA’s plan to expand commercial ventures on the International Space Station is attracting lots of interest — and not just from would-be space tourists, according to the agency official who’s keeping track of the proposals. One of the ideas that’s most intriguing to Doug Comstock, a NASA deputy chief financial officer who serves as the liaison for commercial activities in low Earth orbit, has to do with growing artificial retinas in… Read More

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Ex-Microsoft worker charged in alleged scheme to steal $10M in gift cards and use funds to buy a Tesla and lakefront home

(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy) A former Microsoft worker has been arrested and charged with mail fraud, in an alleged scheme to steal $10 million worth of digital currency from his ex-employer and use the funds to finance extravagant purchases, including a Tesla and lakefront home. Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 25-year-old software developer and Ukrainian citizen who worked for Microsoft from 2016 to 2018, allegedly took advantage of a testing program meant to simulate customer purchases. He made test accounts to obtain Microsoft gift cards and then sold some or all of them through online resellers. According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kvashuk allegedly used a “bitcoin mixing… Read More

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Microsoft unveils ElectionGuard to shore up voting systems across the country

Microsoft demos ElectionGuard at the Aspen Security Forum. (Microsoft Photo) Microsoft debuted a new set of technology tools Wednesday as part of the company’s initiative to make elections safer. The open-source ElectionGuard Software Development Kit aims to secure election results and make systems more transparent for campaigns and voters. The company demoed ElectionGuard for the first time the Aspen Security Forum. Voters who cast their ballots at a polling center that uses ElectionGuard will receive a tracking code that allows them to go online and verify that their vote was counted and not altered. The system is designed to supplement paper ballots, rather than replace them. Voters receive a printed… Read More

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New legislation aims to prepare American infrastructure for Internet of Things explosion

Rep. Suzan DelBene discusses smart cities and privacy at the GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Forecasts predict that the average family of four will have 50 devices connected to the internet by 2022. That’s up from 10 so-called “Internet of Things” devices in 2015. U.S. lawmakers are worried our infrastructure isn’t ready for that shift, which could be accelerated by 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington and former Microsoft executive, has introduced legislation to prepare for the spike in internet-connected devices. She and Rep. John Kakto of New York introduced the “Internet of Things (IoT) Readiness Act” this week. Wireless… Read More

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NASA’s target for the first launch of its SLS moon rocket shifts from 2020 to 2021

NASA engineers load a test article for the SLS liquid-oxygen tank into its test stand at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (NASA Photo) NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told lawmakers today that the first launch of the heavy-lift Space Launch System was “definitely achievable by 2021,” seemingly signaling a shift in the plan for a 2020 maiden launch. Bridenstine’s testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation came just a day after he wrote in a blog post that NASA was “staying on schedule for flying the Artemis 1 mission with our Orion spacecraft on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket next year, and for sending the first… Read More

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BMW ReachNow car-sharing service shuts down in Seattle and Portland following joint venture deal

BMW’s ReachNow will shut down today. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Peace out, ReachNow. BMW’s car-sharing service abruptly ceased operation Wednesday, ending a mobility program that included 1,000 free-floating vehicles used by more than 100,000 members across Seattle and Portland. A spokesperson confirmed that ReachNow offices in those two cities will close in the next few months. ReachNow has 75 employees and contractors. The decision was made in light of a joint venture created earlier this year by Daimler and BMW designed in part to help the automakers compete more aggressively with sharing economy companies such as Uber, Lyft and Lime. The deal brought together a variety of mobility businesses,… Read More

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: Protests, political battles, and a record 175M items sold

Amazon One flys over Seafair 2016 in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Amazon said the latest edition of Prime Day, the multi-day summer sales bonanza, was its most popular shopping event yet, beating out last year’s combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Prime members purchased more than 175 million items on Monday and Tuesday, per Amazon, a 75 percent rise over the 100 million items sold last year. Amazon didn’t say how much Prime members spent over the two-day period, but it did note that “independent small and medium-sized businesses” sold more than $2 billion of items during the event. Overjoyed by the success of Prime Day, CEO Jeff… Read More

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