"On a sunny day in 1998, Maura Gillison was walking across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, thinking about a virus. The young oncologist bumped into the director of the university's cancer centre, who asked politely about her work. Gillison described her discovery of early evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) — a ubiquitous pathogen that infects nearly every human at some point in their lives — could be causing tens of thousands of cases of throat cancer each year in the United States. The senior doctor stared down at Gillison, not saying a word. “That was the first clue that what I was doing was interesting to others and had potential significance,” recalls Gillison."
Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer— leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments. [more inside]
The Rising Cost of Cancer Drugs
: "New drugs could extend cancer patients’ lives—by days. At a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars. Prompting some doctors to refuse to use them."
"Emma Whitehead was near death from acute lymphoblastic leukemia but is now in remission after an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia."
The New York Times has a feature from December 2012
and this incredible story was the subject of a short film
as part of a GE/cinelan-sponored Vimeo series of 3 minute documentaries on "big ideas"
by Adam Curtis on Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cell line created from her cells. Previously. Previously.
Using a 3-D petri dish,
Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island have built a completely functional artificial human ovary
that will allow doctors to harvest immature human egg cells (oocytes) and grow them into mature, ready-to-be-fertilized human eggs
outside the body. (In vitro
) The advance could eventually help preserve fertility for women facing chemotherapy
or other medical treatments that may be destructive to ovarian folliculogenesis. Press Release.
. (paywall) [more inside]
Followup to this post:
A US District Court has ruled
that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights
to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid
. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling
in two posts
. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
In the background behind attention-grabbing headlines
) cancer patients, a quiet revolution may be on the brink of changing oncology. [more inside]
1999: Researchers at Wake Forest University
discover an incredible oddity: a mouse resistant to many forms of cancer
. The resistance is found to be inherited
(Pubmed link). 2006: They show that cancer resistance can be transferred
(Pubmed link) to non-resistant mice. 2008: They've found that the resistance is mediated through blood cells called granulocytes
, and that some humans potentially have the same ability to resist cancer. Now they need your help
. [more inside]
is a student at Duke who is researching and advocating
to find a cure for chordoma
, a rare type of cancer that he was diagnosed with during his freshman year of college. He's not new to being an advocate-- when he was in high school, he and his mom (Dr. Simone Sommer) spoke publicly about the dangers of toxic mold
, which they had both experienced firsthand.
Teenager Thiogo Olson
achieved nuclear fusion with an apparatus built in his basement from parts found at his local hardware store and on eBay. Another teenager
put together her very own Littrow Spectrograph for $300. Young people have been doing some fascinating science
ever since the first kid combined vinegar and baking soda in their model volcano
. Not only are they making some remarkable discoveries
, they're finding it pretty lucrative
is a 3rd-person shooter designed for teens and young adults with cancer, developed by HopeLab
and RealTime Associates
. Players pilot a nanobot, Roxxi, through the
body of a fictional cancer patient to destroy cancer cells and infections. The Re-Mission Outcomes Study
enrolled 375 teens and young adults with cancer, randomized them to receive a computer with the game or without. Data from the study showed statistically significant improvements in cancer-related self-efficacy, social quality of life, cancer-specific knowledge, and adherence to prescribed medication regimens in patients who played Re-Mission. The game (and related online community
) is free of charge to teens and young people living with cancer
and will be available to others in May at a suggested donation of $20. (related
Fighting cancer one computer at a time
- Following in the footsteps of the SETI@Home
project, a new program
is being launched enabling you to use your spare computer power helping to research new treatments in the fight against cancer.