Cancer Research

It's no secret that science is popular these days.  I can't pick up a magazine or a newspaper without  seeing an article dealing with science and how it impacts society.   Global warming pieces are everywhere with scientists arguing about its causes or even if it exists.  Some scientists argue about framing the debate for non-scientists while others think science is too important to be left up to people.  

I read some politicians and they think they can fix every problem with regulation and laws.  I read some scientists and they think they can fix every problem with funding.

The vast majority of chemotherapy errors identified in children reach patients, according to one of the first epidemiological studies of cancer drug errors in children. Published in the July 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study concluded that the antimetabolite class of chemotherapeutic agents are most likely associated with errors, and that errors in drug administration and errors in drug dosing and frequency were the most common mistakes made and consequently, the most potentially harmful.


A team led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists has developed a more human-like mouse model of cancer they say will aid the search for cancer-causing genes and improve the predictive value of laboratory drug testing.

Ronald A. DePinho, MD, of Dana-Farber has created mice that form tumors that are more genetically complex and unstable -- and therefore a better stand-in for human cancers -- than those of conventional genetically engineered mouse models of cancer. To characterize these mouse tumors, DePinho collaborated with Lynda Chin, MD, also at Dana-Farber, to perform high-resolution array-CGH profiling, a genome-scanning technology that can define regions of DNA abnormalities.

Coffee is a habit for more than 50 percent of Americans, who drink, on average, 2 cups per day. This widely consumed beverage is regularly investigated and debated for its impact on health conditions from breast cancer to heart disease. Among its complex effects on the body, coffee or its components have been linked to lower insulin and uric acid levels on a short-term basis or cross-sectionally. These and other mechanisms suggest that coffee consumption may affect the risk of gout, the most prevalent inflammatory arthritis in adult males.

Researchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute describe in this week’s issue of Science a new candidate breast-cancer susceptibility gene. The Rap80 gene is required for the normal DNA-repair function of the well-known breast cancer gene BRCA1.

Upper panels: BRCA1 and Rap80 are recruited to the same structures at DNA damage sites in human cells treated with ionizing radiation. The merge panel is a digital overlay of the BRCA1 and Rap80 panels. Each circle represents a nucleus within one cell. Lower panels: Rap80 targets BRCA1 to DNA damage sites.


Cells have the remarkable ability to keep track of their genetic contents and -- when things go wrong – to step in and repair the damage before cancer or another life-threatening condition develops.

But precisely how cells monitor the integrity of their genomes, identify problems, and intervene to repair broken or miscoded DNA has been one of nature's closely held secrets. Now, however, a report in the journal Science describes a new database developed by a team of researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard Medical School that is providing the first detailed portrait of the army of more than 700 proteins that helps maintain DNA’s integrity.

I’ve recently decided to deepen my knowledge on the field of personalized genetics/genomics as it has an exceptional future in the realm of medicine (and business). And who is the right person to answer my geek questions? Of course, Steven Murphy, MD, the blogger of the Gene Sherpa. He is the Clinical Genetics Fellow at Yale University and is also the founder of a Personalized Medicine practice.

Call it the cellular equivalent of big glasses, a funny nose and a fake mustache.

Bone marrow stem cells attracted to the site of a cancerous growth frequently take on the outward appearance of the malignant cells around them, University of Florida researchers report in a paper to be published in the August issue of Stem Cells.

A colon cancer researcher at the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center (UHCMC) has laid out the roadmap for how medical science should employ aspirin and new aspirin-like drugs for use in preventing colon cancer in certain high-risk individuals.

UCLA and Dartmouth scientists have identified a crucial enzyme in plant vitamin C synthesis, which could lead to enhanced crops. The discovery now makes clear the entire 10-step process by which plants convert glucose into vitamin C, an important antioxidant in nature.

"If we can find ways to enhance the activity of this enzyme, it may be possible to engineer plants to make more vitamin C and produce better crops," said Steven Clarke, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry, director of UCLA's Molecular Biology Institute and co-author of the research study, to be published as a 'Paper of the Week' in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and currently available online.