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Can Spider Silk Boost our Immune Systems?


New research showcases an innovative method of delivering vaccines straight to our white blood cells, strengthening the immune system against cancer and serious infections.

Immunotherapy, which is a widely used form of treatment against cancer, boosts the body’s immune system in the fight against tumors.

Immunotherapy works primarily with T cells, which are a type of white blood cell, or lymphocyte.Largely, our immune systems rely on B lymphocytes, which are active in a variety of infections, and T lymphocytes which must be activated when combating cancer or more serious infections such as tuberculosis.

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Anti-Cancer Immunity Boosted by Newly Created Compound


Scientists might have found a way to activate the body’s “natural killer T cells” in the fight against cancer. The findings might lead to more effective treatments that stop cancer from spreading.

A  new study, Dual Modifications of α-Galactosylceramide Synergize to Promote Activation of Human Invariant Natural Killer T Cells and Stimulate Anti-tumor Immunity which has recently been published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology — was led by chemistry professor Amy Howell, from the University of Connecticut in Mansfield.

Prof. Howell and her team sought a compound that would activate human immune cells called Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells for any years.

iNKT cells give our immune system crucial ammunition in the fight against infections but also against illnesses such as cancer, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

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Can Berries Help Fight Cancer?


Most of us know that fruit is good for us, and most of us even know that various berries contain certain compounds that are extra healthy, but could berries really help fight cancer?

Speak to any “health-nut” and they will say definitely, berries are the way to go for everything health-wise but it is not that clear-cut as to whether berries are as beneficial in combating cancer as one might think.

While nobody can dispute the fact that berries are extremely healthy, when it comes to cancer studies, some laboratory animal studies have offered hope, while observational studies in humans have not been so encouraging.

Let’s face it, a lovely colourful bowl full of berries is very pleasing to the eye, and to the palate too, and this is partially due to their pigments, or anthocyanins, which are particularly prevalent in blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackcurrants.

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Pet Dogs May Speed Human Brain Cancer Trials


Dogs and humans share a particularly deadly form of brain cancer: glioblastoma, the most common – and a very aggressive – type of malignant brain tumour among adults.

A new five-year canine cancer research project, awarded to the University of Minnesota, may improve survival rates in dogs and give researchers more insight into glioblastoma to apply to human trials.

The $2.7 million grant funded as part of the 21st Century Cures Act by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is led by Dr. Liz Pluhar, professor of veterinary surgery at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Glioblastomas are a highly invasive tumour that carries a grim prognosis in humans, with a median survival of 14 months despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Pet dogs diagnosed with these tumours have few treatment options and are often euthanised shortly after diagnosis. Pluhar’s project hopes to improve those outcomes by combining complementary therapies.

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Forecast of Cancer Research and Treatment Advances in 2018


2017 saw many “firsts” in the oncology community, in the form of several revolutionary advances in the research and treatment of cancer, including  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of an immunotherapeutic to treat patients based on biomarkers rather than the site of tumour origin; the approval of the first CAR T-cell immunotherapy; and the approval of a comprehensive next-gen companion diagnostic test to identify the right patients for the right molecularly targeted therapeutic.

In 2017, the FDA also approved the FoundationOne CDx test, which can detect genetic mutations in 324 genes and two genomic signatures in any solid tumour type, and the first “biosimilar” cancer drugs, which could potentially help drive down the costs of some cancer treatments.

While immunotherapies lead to long-lasting responses for some patients, a sizable portion of patients do not respond to these agents; some patients who respond ultimately develop resistance; and we still do not have precise biomarkers to predict who will respond and who will not. The same can be said about targeted therapies, where challenges with treatment resistance continue to be a major roadblock. Above all, patients from underrepresented and underserved communities quite often do not benefit from cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment advances.

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Patients with Cachexia need Nutritional Support


Anorexia is a common symptom in patients with cancer, which can lead to poor tolerance of treatment and can contribute to cachexia in extreme cases. … Currently, there are no instruments that measure common concerns specifically associated with anorexia and cachexia in children with cancer.

By some estimates, nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a wasting syndrome called cachexia that can be devastating for patients and their families.

Characterised by a dramatic loss of skeletal muscle mass and often accompanied by substantial weight loss, cachexia (pronounced kuh-KEK-see-uh) is a form of metabolic mutiny in which the body overzealously breaks down skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, which stores fat. Patients suffering from cachexia are often so frail and weak that walking can be a Herculean task.

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Immunotherapy May Help Stop Cancer Recurrence


Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.

Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.

New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.

The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Hope for Cancer Research in Africa


 

Mubarak Labaran Liman

Mubarak Labaran Liman has overcome the death of his father and a scarcity of resources to develop a thriving career in his native Nigeria, studying the role of African ethno-medicine in the management, prevention, and control of cancer and diabetes.

Liman is one of five recipients of the 2017 AACR African Cancer Researchers Travel Awards (ACRTA). These travel awards provide financial assistance to meritorious early-career African cancer researchers who wish to attend and present their research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in the United States.

Intended to enhance the education and training of African researchers engaged in all fields of cancer research, the ACRTA are also designed to encourage cross-cultural collaborations and learning.

Receiving this award is an honour for me and for my whole family,” says Liman, who presented his work on the potential of African sweet detar, a plant used in West African cooking, to prevent colon cancer.

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Powerful Resource to Advance Treatment of Childhood Solid Tumours Unveiled at St. Jude


In an effort to improve outcomes for patients with some of the deadliest Childhood Cancers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have created the world’s largest collection of Childhood solid tumour samples, drug-sensitivity data and related information and have made the resource available at no charge to the global scientific community.

St. Jude and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute collaborated to create the resource, known as the Childhood Solid Tumour Network (CSTN), which was launched in 2013.

Survival rates for children with recurrent solid tumours have not improved significantly in more than 20 years and remain below 30 %,” said corresponding author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., Chair of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This research will change that by promoting scientific collaboration to leverage the efforts of researchers worldwide to advance understanding and ultimately treatment of Childhood solid tumours.”

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J&J Loses Ovarian Cancer Court-Case – Must Pay $417 Million


In another case regarding Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and its possible link to ovarian cancer, in which a Californian woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based Baby Powder led to her ovarian cancer, the jury has just ordered J&J to pay Eva Echeverria, 63, from Los Angeles, a whopping $417 million in what may be the largest award yet concerning the product.

Eva was too ill to testify during the trial, but instead sent a video deposition stating that she had used the company’s talc-based powder for decades, even after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. When she found out about the product’s potential risks last year, she stopped using it.

Echeverria’s legal team arrived armed with studies dating back to 1971, when a group of researchers from Wales first discovered a correlation between talcum powder and cervical and ovarian tumours.

Johnson & Johnson maintains that the product is safe.

We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson representative said in a statement after the verdict. “Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease.”

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