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"Nineteen months later, I feel safe answering"

"Why biotech whiz kid Jack Andraka is not on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list." Forbes science and medicine reporter Matthew Herper sends out Andraka's draft paper on his cancer diagnostic test to scientific experts, who find the results do not match the breathless excitement attracted by initial coverage, seen previously on MetaFilter and elsewhere. [more inside]
posted by grouse on Jan 8, 2014 - 30 comments

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus

"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]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 22, 2013 - 37 comments

As Paracelsus put it, "the dose makes the poison."

Dr Bruce Ames, a toxicologist and one of the world's most cited scientists, discusses the impact of his Ames test, "toxic chemicals," and scaremongering [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 6, 2013 - 22 comments

X Inactivation and Epigenetics

X inactivation is a type of gene dosage compensation. In humans, the sex chromosomes X and Y determine the sex of an individual - females have two X chromosomes (XX), males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). All of the genes on the Y chromosome are required in male development, while the genes on the X chromosome are needed for both male and female development. Because females receive two X chromosomes, they inherit two copies of many of the genes that are needed for normal function. Extra copies of genes or chromosomes can affect normal development. An example is Down's syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of part or all of chromosome 21. In female mammals, a process called X inactivation has evolved to compensate for the extra X chromosome. In X inactivation, each cell 'switches off' one of its X chromosomes, chosen at random, to ensure the correct number of genes are expressed, and to prevent abnormal development.
Here is a helpful eleven minute description of what it is and why it's important by Etsuko Uno and metafilter's own Drew Berry in a fucking gorgeous Goodsell-esque 3D animation.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 14, 2013 - 34 comments

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what's typically found in a routine diet. Industry representatives, backed by a fascinating history, argue that foods don't contain enough, and we need supplements. Fortunately, many excellent studies have now resolved the issue.
(SLAtlantic)
posted by anazgnos on Jul 28, 2013 - 110 comments

Paddling 1,500 Miles for Science and Adventure

Starting on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind. Along the way, he kept a blog, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies", and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia. [more inside]
posted by Orinda on Jul 27, 2013 - 10 comments

HIV vs. Cancer: Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

"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"
posted by 3rdparty on Jun 20, 2013 - 10 comments

Gene genie, let yourself go

After a decade or so of legal back-and-forth between Utah-based Myriad Genetics and medical researchers, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Forum, the US Supreme Court will hear a case next week which attempts to address whether genes — isolated (derivative) or original — can be patented. The stakes are high on both sides: opponents use Myriad's actions to argue that giving short-term monopoly control over humanity's genetic constituency is not in the public interest, while proponents defend the use of patents to spur private research in biotech, alternative energy and other nascent industries.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 12, 2013 - 58 comments

291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die

As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us: five data visualizations of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks by region. Changes in leading causes and risks between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010. [more inside]
posted by hat on Dec 14, 2012 - 11 comments

Hope is not a good strategy, in life or in disease research.

An influential US advocacy group has set a deadline to beat breast cancer by 2020. But it puts public trust at risk by promising an objective that science cannot yet deliver. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 29, 2012 - 64 comments

Breast cancer rules rewritten in 'landmark' study

What we currently call breast cancer should be thought of as 10 completely separate diseases, according to an international study which has been described as a "landmark". The categories could improve treatment by tailoring drugs for a patient's exact type of breast cancer and help predict survival more accurately. The study in Nature analysed breast cancers from 2,000 women [Abstract] . It will take at least three years for the findings to be used in hospitals. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 5, 2012 - 37 comments

Modern Times: The Way of All Flesh (1997)

A documentary by Adam Curtis on Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cell line created from her cells. Previously. Previously.
posted by hat_eater on Sep 4, 2012 - 7 comments

"Take the death off the table."

The Billionaire Who Is Planning His 125th Birthday. Also: The Die-Later Diet [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 6, 2011 - 66 comments

Breast cell animation

Etsuko Uno and metafilter's own Drew Berry have released three new animations illustrating breast stem cell differentiation, a control mechanism for the process, and how this relates to carcinogenesis. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 2, 2011 - 6 comments

Cancer: A "modern, man-made disease"?

Science meets the news cycle, part n: Researchers look at cancer rates in the ancient world and conclude that cancer is "a modern, man-made disease." The story makes headlines in the UK (and pops up on the political fringe). Meanwhile, New Scientist and others debunk the claim. Will that critical perspective get as much coverage as the original story? [more inside]
posted by twirlip on Oct 15, 2010 - 43 comments

"You Can't Patent Nature"

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]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2010 - 51 comments

Untying the Pink Ribbon

October's focus on breast cancer is a curvy pink double-edged sword and those in the fight agree. [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Oct 2, 2009 - 49 comments

Cancer Causing Viruses

Paul Ewald, an evolutionary biologist at University of Louisville in Kentucky states his conviction, in one interview with Discover Magazine that, that by 2050 the human species will have found that between 80% and as high as 95% of cancers are caused by viruses. [more inside]
posted by mdpatrick on Sep 30, 2009 - 19 comments

Scientists: cancer prevention causes cancer

Kill or cure: making sense of the Daily Mail’s ongoing effort to classify every inanimate object into those that cause cancer and those that prevent it. Paul Battley uses automation and crowd-sourcing in the war against bad science reporting.
posted by fatllama on Aug 31, 2009 - 27 comments

Do they preserve scientific transparency, protect profits or both?

On behalf of medical organizations, universities, & individual patients, pathologists and genetics researchers, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Utah-based Myriad Genetics and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Myriad holds the US patents to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, associated with hereditary causes of breast and ovarian cancers. Their patents guarantee the company the right to prevent anyone else from testing or studying those genes, which the ACLU says is unconstitutional and inhibits researchers from finding treatments and cures. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 13, 2009 - 64 comments

I give them 50 years for me.

Functional Neurons Induced From Adult Stem Cells. Meanwhile, stem cells may be better than bone marrow for certain cancers, and have the potential to revolutionize the supply of blood. Anecdotal success stories continue to pile up.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Feb 25, 2009 - 21 comments

Children's Hospital Boston

Interactive Features at the Children's Hospital Boston's Website. [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 17, 2007 - 4 comments

Evolution and Cooperation

In Games, an Insight Into the Rules of Evolution. Carl Zimmer writes about Martin Nowak (previously mentioned here), a mathematical biologist who uses games to understand how cooperation evolved. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 11, 2007 - 4 comments

Cancer

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers. That's the good news. The bad news is that because there's no patent and it's so cheap to make, researchers may not be able to get funding from the private sector for further research since the treatment wouldn't make a profit. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 18, 2007 - 122 comments

Dogs trained to sniff out cancer.

Dogs trained to sniff out cancer. In this study which will be published in the March 2006 issue of the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies published by SAGE Publications, researchers reveal scientific evidence that a dog's extraordinary scenting ability can distinguish people with both early and late stage lung and breast cancers from healthy controls. A BBC Four documentary will be aired soon in the US, an article and a clip from the documentary can be found here.
posted by Meredith on Jan 12, 2006 - 20 comments

One yellow wristband at a time...

"The biggest downside to the war in Iraq is what you could do with the money," he said. "What does the war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change... Polls say people are much more afraid of cancer than of a plane flying into their house or a bomb or any other form of terrorism. It is a priority for the American people." Does this sound like the next governor of Texas to you?
posted by docgonzo on Jul 25, 2005 - 108 comments

Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone

"...but trust me on the sunscreen." That memorable, always-infallible commencement advice (not from Kurt Vonnegut) takes a hit as scientists now propose that we all need to get more direct sunlight, in order to... wait for it... fight cancer!
posted by soyjoy on May 23, 2005 - 32 comments

Blinded By Science

Blinded By Science: How `Balanced' Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality. How and why the media has failed so completely to educate the American public on the massive environmental dangers we face. (via WorldChanging)
posted by stbalbach on Nov 11, 2004 - 11 comments

Like goatse, only safe for work

Check out the giant cancer fighting colon... of science! "It's part of a national tour to educate people about various types of common and preventable cancers. The 'Check Your Insides Out -- Top to Bottom' tour is full of interactive educational exhibits on colon, lung, oral, breast, prostate and skin cancers."
posted by ilsa on Jun 24, 2004 - 4 comments

Worlds Longest Hockey Game

The worlds longest hockey game came to an end this afternoon after 80 hours of ice time. 39 players (all with ties to cancer through loved ones lost or afflicted) participated to raise money for pediatric cancer research. What lengths would you go to for your cause?
posted by Starchile on Feb 16, 2003 - 7 comments

Journey to Planet Prostate

Journey to Planet Prostate is an online (Shockwave) game created by the UK's Prostate Cancer Charity to help raise awareness and educate people about the importance of the prostate in men's sex lives, by way of a "pre-ejaculatory biological tour." It's also just the thing for a Friday morning. Are you one of the seven in eight who doesn't know what the prostate does?
posted by nickmark on Sep 6, 2002 - 28 comments

The famous biologist and anthropologist Stephen Jay Gould died in his home today of cancer at the age of 60.
posted by steve.wdc on May 20, 2002 - 21 comments

You can get cancer from everything.

You can get cancer from everything. Now even the good old spud carries a warning, discovered by the potatoloving swedes.
posted by dabitch on Apr 24, 2002 - 17 comments

Scientists in Australia have discovered a new gene. Called BRCA3, this genetic mutation causes up to 10% of the breast cancer cases which run within families. This breakthrough completes the search for the trilogy of gene mutations. The first two gene mutation markers were discovered in 1994 and 1995 respectively.
posted by lucien on Feb 8, 2002 - 1 comment

Cure for Cancer in 10 Years?

Cure for Cancer in 10 Years? Anyone else see West Wing last night? Apparently, drugs called signal transduction inhibitors (STIs) - such as phenoxodiol, the drug referred to by Pres. Bartlet - are a reality, and early studies have shown their effectiveness in striking cancer's Achilles heel. Furthermore, in the Law and Order episode which followed, Gleevec was mentioned as the key to curing a type of leukemia, which is in fact a remarkably potent STI recently FDA-approved. Perhaps Aaron Sorkin isn't spinning a fantasy tale as I initially thought -- any oncologists in the house? [If Newsgurus doesn't let you in, try Google's cache.]
posted by padjet1 on Jan 17, 2002 - 27 comments

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