Red meat and organs may pose a significant health hazard
Neu5Gc, a non-human sialic acid sugar molecule common in red meat that increases the risk of tumor formation in humans, is also prevalent in pig organs, with concentrations increasing as the organs are cooked, a study has found. The research suggests that Neu5Gc may pose a significant health hazard among those who regularly consume organ meats from pigs.
Cold medicine could stop cancer spread
Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide. Every year, about 20,000 people in Japan are diagnosed with bladder cancer, of whom around 8,000–mostly men–succumb to the disease. Bladder cancers can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancers, which have a five-year survival rate of 90 percent, and muscle-invasive cancers, which have poor prognoses.
Vaccine clears some precancerous cervical lesions in clinical trial
Scientists have used a genetically engineered vaccine to successfully eradicate high-grade precancerous cervical lesions in nearly one-half of women who received the vaccine in a clinical trial. The goal, say the scientists, was to find nonsurgical ways to treat precancerous lesions caused by HPV.
Study details ‘rotten egg’ gas’ role in autoimmune disease
The immune system not only responds to infections and other potentially problematic abnormalities in the body, it also contains a built-in brake in the form of regulatory T cells, or Tregs. Tregs ensure that inflammatory responses don’t get out of hand and do damage. In autoimmune diseases, sometimes these Treg cells don’t act as they should.
Cellular zombies: Mutant cells that can’t copy DNA keep dividing when they shouldn’t
Researchers at USC have developed a yeast model to study a gene mutation that disrupts the duplication of DNA, causing massive damage to a cell’s chromosomes, while somehow allowing the cell to continue dividing.
Stem cells: From pluripotency to totipotency
While it is already possible to obtain in vitro pluripotent cells (ie, cells capable of generating all tissues of an embryo) from any cell type, researchers from Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla’s team have pushed the limits of science even further. They managed to obtain totipotent cells with the same characteristics as those of the earliest embryonic stages and with even more interesting properties. (more…)
Childhood cancer cells drain immune system’s batteries
Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body’s immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease, according to new research. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered that the cells in neuroblastoma – a rare type of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells – produce a molecule that breaks down arginine, one of the building blocks of proteins and an essential energy source for immune cells.
Prostate cancer is 5 different diseases
Cancer Research UK scientists have for the first time identified that there are five distinct types of prostate cancer and found a way to distinguish between them, according to a landmark study. The findings could have important implications for how doctors treat prostate cancer in the future, by identifying tumours that are more likely to grow and spread aggressively through the body.
Less intensive chemo avoids irreversible side effects in children’s cancer
Children with a rare type of cancer called Wilms’ tumour who are at low risk of relapsing can now be given less intensive treatment, avoiding a type of chemotherapy that can cause irreversible heart problems in later life. The move follows the results of a Cancer Research UK trial showing that the drug doxorubicin can be safely omitted from treatment without affecting patients’ chances of survival.
How the tumor escapes the immune response
Natural killer cells of the immune system can fend off malignant lymphoma cells and thus are considered a promising therapeutic approach. However, in the direct vicinity of the tumor they lose their effect. Scientists have now elucidated which mechanisms block the natural killer cells and how this blockade could be lifted.
Avocados may hold the answer to beating leukemia
Rich, creamy, nutritious and now cancer fighting. New research reveals that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer. Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo has discovered a lipid in avocados that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. Worldwide, there are few drug treatments available to patients that target leukemia stem cells.
How gene expression is kept in check and the implications for cancer
Cancers are alive in a sense, they are similar to a parasite and they fight to stay alive when we just want them gone. Cancers have access to complex ways of avoiding elimination and because we cannot easily do anything to treat it short of surgery or chemotherapy, we regularly lose to some of the more cunning types. Now researchers have learned how living beings can keep gene expression in check — this might partly explain the uncontrolled gene expression found in many forms of cancer.
Predicting the effectiveness of cancer vaccines
Cancer vaccines, once they were science fiction and now they are designed to turn the body’s own immune system specifically against tumor cells. Particularly promising are vaccines that are directed against so-called neoantigens — which are proteins that have undergone a genetic mutation in tumor cells and, therefore, differ from their counterparts in healthy cells.
Scientists find the genetic trigger for immune system response
Mitochondria are the “powerhouse of the cell.” We all learn in biology that they have seemingly one function in the body, converting food and oxygen into energy. Well that might not be the case anymore; the thousands of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules present in each cell have been identified in an unexpected relationship with the innate immune response.
Everyday chemical exposure leads to early menopause
Seems like everything is killing us these days. Well ladies, you have one more thing that is causing you problems. New research has shown that women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals.
New cancer treatment targets telomeres
Cancer, right now we don’t have much to fight it besides the standard surgery or chemo, neither of which is a great option. Well now scientists have targeted telomeres with a small molecule called 6-thiodG that takes advantage of the cell’s ‘biological clock’ to kill cancer cells and shrink tumor growth. Ideally this new technique will help eliminate the need for nasty drugs like those used in chemotherapy.
Steak raises cancer risk and now we know why
Some of you may remember a recent study showing why red meat is bad for the heart, while now there is a study showing why steak — or in particular red meats — raise the risk of cancer. To be clear, I am still very much a red meat eater and this is no way intended to change anyones opinions on steak consumption, but it is nice to understand the science behind what we put in our mouths.
Vegetable oil in the fight against gastric disease
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric ulcers and cancer. Unfortunately, treating the bacteria with antibiotics is difficult and with the increase in antibiotic resistance it can be a dangerous fight to take on. Given the high rate of ulcers and stomach cancers, the need for a better treatment is becoming more apparent. New research may bring hope (and of all things) in the form of vegetable oil.
Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music
When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your body acting like a musician, making those notes it’s own. This is even more evident when you realize that all human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence. Up until now we’ve had to be the audience to this genetic symphony, but new research is helping scientists take control of the music.
Assemblages: 50 Years Later, We Know Nothing About Them
You would think we learn about every part of a cell in biology, but we really don’t. Case in point, about 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. The reason you probably haven’t heard of these structures is because scientists really don’t know what they do even 50 years later. Although they do have an idea about them, these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and will ideally offer a new approach to disease treatment.
At risk for Cancer? Try Spicy Food!
Like spicy food? Well next time you eat some you should hug that chili pepper, because he might just save your life. This is an interesting find, researchers have found that dietary capsaicin — the stuff that gives chili pepers that spicy burn — produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, which just happens to trigger a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors [a fancy way of saying tumors in the intestinal tract].
Antioxidants can Accelerate Cancer, ya really!
Oxidative stress on the body caused by free radicals, billed as a bad thing. Fruits, veggies and just about anything with the word healthy in the title is “jam packed” with antioxidants. But they don’t provide the health benefit the are billed to have, that’s because oxidative stress isn’t a bad thing for the body in some cases. Now researchers have shown that antioxidants can accelerate cancer and we also know why.
Lose Weight, Live Longer. Simple, Right?
Suprise! Really this shouldn’t come as a shock, but adults with extreme obesity have increased risks of dying at a younger age from cancer and other complications like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney and liver diseases, according to results of an analysis of data pooled from 20 large studies of people from three countries. The study found that people with class III obesity [or extreme, as defined as a BMI of greater than 40] had a dramatic reduction in life expectancy compared with people of normal weight.
Breast Cancer… and Cholesterol?!
Cholesterol, it’s bad for the heart. We know LDL bad, HDL good, eat healthier or ruin your arteries. I’m sure most of us have seen the public service announcements [at least here in the states]. But if that wasn’t a good enough reason for people to watch their cholesterol then how about cancer?An association between high blood cholesterol and breast cancer has been found in a study of more than 1 million patients over a 14 year time period in the UK.
Herpes and Brain Tumors: Or What happens in Vegas?
Herpes, it isn’t just a pest that follows you home from Vegas, not anymore anyway. New research has found a [not so] new use for the virus. Harvard Stem Cell Institute [HSCI] scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have repurposed the herpes virus to help fight brain tumors.
The investigators reported that by trapping virus-loaded stem cells in a gel and applying them to tumors they significantly improved survival in mice with glioblastoma multiforme, which is not only the most common brain tumor in human adults, it also happens to be the most difficult to treat.
Could a Vaccine for Cancer be a Reality?
How do you take out an unstoppable enemy? You don’t take the enemy head on, you take out the supply lines and the rest will take care of itself. This is not a new idea, but this not so new approach to war is being taken to an enemy on a new battlefield, your body.
Cancer in most cases can be an unstoppable force, collateral damage from chemotherapy can be, and in most cases is unacceptable. That was the thinking from a group of researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Their idea, to attack the supply lines instead of the enemy directly.
Zombie Cancer Cells Return from the Dead
Zombies, they are the stuff of movies. But an interesting new study by the University of Colorado Cancer Center shows that sometimes reality mirrors fantasy. The study shows that cancer cells will partially eat themselves in times of distress just to come back to life and divide later on.
Autophagy [from the Greek “to eat oneself”] is a process in which proteins, or other surplus materials in the cell that are not explicitly needed for cellular function are cannibalized in times of stress. What was surprising, in this study we see this process used as a method to survive chemotherapy.
Vitamin C Cures Cancer?
Does Vitamin C actually cure cancer?
Well, no, not quite. But new research shows that vitamin C can improve the response of the chemotherapy drugs. The tests, which have primarily been done on mice and in the lab, show promise for future options in treatment.
Vitamin C, which is water soluble, easily passed from the body, and has low side-effect risk might be the key to better cancer therapies. If larger trials show promise, this could prove to be a low-cost addition to treatments already in place.