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Posts Tagged "cancer"

Extinction Countdown

A Wild Idea: Save Tasmanian Devils While Controlling Killer Cats

tasmanian devils

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) disappeared from mainland Australia centuries ago, probably not long after humans first brought dingoes to the continent. A new plan could bring the infamous, snarling predators back from the island of Tasmania to Oz. That would not only benefit the devils, which are dying out due to a communicable cancer, but [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Has an infectious cancer doomed Tasmanian devils to extinction?

Tasmanian Devil Facial Cancer

Are Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) doomed to extinction in the wild? The infectious cancer known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) has killed off as much as 90 percent of the world’s Tasmanian devils since it was first observed in 1996 (up from 70 percent when we last wrote about the species nine months ago). [...]

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Guest Blog

Lifestyle Choices Could Affect Gene Sequences That Code for Cancer

Couch potatoing. (Credit: El Alvi via Flickr)

It’s no secret that diet and exercise can directly impact our health. But for many people, genetic predisposition to disease – be it hypertension or diabetes or cancer – is often perceived as a risk that is out of their hands. New findings in the field of epigenetics, however, suggest that we may have more [...]

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Guest Blog

The Hallmarks of Cancer 9: Reprogramming Energy Metabolism

Cancer cells consume more glucose than normal cells. This is exploited when imaging cancer. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) combined with Computer Tomography (PET/CT) is used to detect the absorption of the glucose analogue fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) by tumours. In this image, besides the normal accumulation of the FDG molecule in the heart, bladder, kidneys, and brain, liver metastases of a colorectal tumor are visible in the abdominal region. (Image credit: Jens Maus, Wikimedia Commons)

The Hallmarks of Cancer are ten underlying principles shared by all cancers. You can read the first eight Hallmarks of Cancer articles here. The ninth Hallmark of Cancer is defined as “Reprogramming Energy Metabolism”. Uncontrolled growth defines cancer. Growth requires a cancer’s cells to replicate all of their cellular components; their DNA, RNA, proteins and [...]

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Guest Blog

Dogs Sniff Out Clues to Cancer

Young Scientist Floryne O. Buishand, The Netherlands

Dogs play a crucial role in human cancer research. More young scientists and physicians should know this, says Floryne O. Buishand, a Young Scientist at the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. With her DVM, Buishand is a small animal surgery resident at the faculty of veterinary medicine at Utrecht University in The Netherlands and also [...]

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Guest Blog

Hallmarks of Cancer 8: Tumor-Promoting Inflammation

Tumors and their TAMs. Tumors secrete signalling molecules known as chemokines to attract circulating monocytes, a type of white blood cell. Once in the tumor, the monocytes differentiate into Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs). Oxygen-starved (hypoxic) areas of the tumor secrete VEGF, which attracts these TAMs. TAMs can also secrete VEGF, which in turn attract more TAMs to the tumor. / Image by Buddhini Samarasinghe.

The Hallmarks of Cancer are ten underlying principles shared by all cancers. You can read the first seven Hallmarks of Cancer articles here. The eighth Hallmark of Cancer is defined as “tumor-promoting inflammation.” We consider the immune system as our friend; it protects us by fighting infections while keeping us healthy. But there is a [...]

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Guest Blog

Hallmarks of Cancer 7: Genome Instability and Mutation

BRCA1 structure

All cancers share ten underlying principles, also known as the Hallmarks of Cancer. You can read about the first six here. The seventh is defined as genome instability and mutation. Cancer Cells Evolve Not all cancer cells are equal. They vary, they compete, and the fittest survive to pass on their genes to daughter cells, [...]

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Guest Blog

Hallmarks of Cancer 6: Tissue Invasion and Metastasis

The Hallmarks of Cancer are 10 underlying principles shared by all cancers. You can read the first five Hallmarks of Cancer articles here. The Sixth Hallmark of Cancer is defined as “Tissue Invasion and Metastasis.” A growing tumor will eventually spawn pioneer cells; these move out of the original clump of mutant cells to invade [...]

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Guest Blog

Hallmarks of Cancer 5: Sustained Angiogenesis

Before and After Image depicting Angiogenesis

The Hallmarks of Cancer focus on 10 underlying principles shared by all cancers. You can read the first four Hallmarks of Cancer articles here. The Fifth Hallmark of Cancer is defined as “Sustained Angiogenesis.” In a developing embryo or a healing wound, communities of cells organize themselves into tissues, undertaking specialized tasks beyond the ability [...]

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Guest Blog

Learning from Insect Swarms: Smart Cancer Targeting

Research published in Nature Materials this month takes lessons from cooperation in nature, including that observed in insect swarms, to create better targeting methods for cancer therapeutics [1]. "Smart" anticancer drug systems can use mechanisms similar to swarm intelligence to locate sites of disease in the human body. Swarm intelligence arises when swarm behavior, for [...]

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Guest Blog

Cell Phones, Cancer and the Dangers of Risk Perception

May 31, 2011, was a bad day for a society already wary of all sorts of risks from modern technology, a day of celebration for those who champion more concern about those risks, and a day that teaches important lessons about the messy subjective guesswork that goes into trying to make intelligent choices about risk [...]

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Guest Blog

Personalizing cancer medicine

Over 1.5 million new cancer cases were identified in the United States in 2010, and despite continued advances in cancer treatment, approximately 500,000 cancer-related deaths occurred in the same year (1). For a long time, cancer therapies were a one-size-fits-all, depending on the cancer type. In recent years however, the need has emerged to develop [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Fat Tuesday: Sugar, obesity and the big C

By Cesarachp, via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe we should all be scared of sugar.

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MIND Guest Blog

Prions May Develop Drug Resistance: The Implications for Mad Cow, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

The brain of a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob shows signs of neurodegeneration and the presence of  large clumps of prion protein (purple). Courtesy of Lary Walker.

Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capable of changing form to escape the [...]

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Observations

Could a Cow Virus Cause Colon Cancer?

photo of a hamburger

The remote possibility that I might develop mad cow disease as a result has never stopped me from diving into a nice juicy hamburger (preferably with a generous helping of ketchup and relish). But that was before I heard Harald zur Hausen hypothesize that a cow virus might be responsible for most cases of colon [...]

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Observations

What Do Your Tumor Genes Say about Your Prospects? The Quest, Part 7

In the past couple of months, three people have told me that they or someone they love has cancer. Fortunately in each case, the tumors were caught early and some combination of surgery and radiation was all the treatment that was likely to be needed. Now, however, all three patients are waiting to hear what [...]

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Observations

The Quest: My 2 Favorite Tricks for Searching PubMed

The short item I wrote about cancer immunotherapy quickly went viral on Monday and became the most-read article on Scientific American’s website. Seems like a good time to show folks interested in conducting their own medical searches how much deeper they can get into the topic on their own—if they know how and where to [...]

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Observations

Y Chromosome May Protect against Cancer, Other Diseases

The image shows our 23 pairs of chromosomes

Elderly men who have lost the Y in blood cells have their lives cut short, compared with men who still have the little chromosome

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Observations

Brainy Watson Computer to Tackle Cancer and Other Medical Research

IBM,Watson,computer,cognition

After vanquishing humans on Jeopardy!, IBM says its Watson computer is ready to help save human lives. The company on Thursday announced it has created a new business unit specifically to advance Watson and deliver its artificially intelligent wisdom to research organizations, medical institutions and businesses so that they can process “big data” for detailed [...]

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Observations

Hospital-Based Infections Could Be Moving to Doctors’ Offices

MRSA Image: Janice Haney Carr, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/WIkimedia Commons

When patients check into a hospital, they expect doctors there to fix what ails them, but one in 20 patients seeking care at hospitals contract a health care–based infection. Those infections escalate care costs to the tune of billions of dollars. And many of them–one in five–are part of the scary alphabet soup of superbugs [...]

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Observations

Fruit Flies Aid Efforts to Develop Personalized Cancer Treatments

For years clinicians have puzzled over the observation that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop certain malignancies, such as pancreatic, breast and liver cancers. The reason behind their confusion: standard biological principles predict that, if anything, folks with diabetes should suffer fewer tumors, not more of them. However, new research on [...]

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Observations

Supreme Court Rejects Patents on 2 Naturally Occurring Genes

supreme-court-breast-cancer

When Angelina Jolie announced last month that she decided to get a prophylactic double mastectomy, she based her decision on the presence of the BRCA1 gene in her body—a gene that was detected via a costly medical test. The Supreme Court today unanimously struck down patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2—two genes linked to hereditary forms [...]

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Observations

Video Game to Help Kids Fight Cancer

Doctors can’t inject cancer patients with intelligent nanobots programmed to launch surgical counterstrikes against the disease. That didn’t stop a team of medical researchers and software programmers from developing a video game several years ago that helped young patients imagine such an empowering scenario. Based on the success of that project, the team recently launched [...]

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Observations

Print It: 3-D Bio-Printing Makes Better Regenerative Implants

3-d bio-printing tissue scaffold cells

Desktop 3-D printers can already pump out a toy trinket, gear set or even parts to make another printer. Medical researchers are also taking advantage of this accelerating technology to expand their options for regenerative medicine. Brian Derby, of the School of Materials at the University of Manchester in England, details the advances and challenges [...]

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Symbiartic

Aren’t Cancer Cells the Worst?

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.08.38 AM

I try to find humor in some unfunny places, but I was never sure how to approach cancer. I first did a comic about cancer genes for my book What’s in Your Genes?, which seems to find the happy place between facts and silliness. I recently updated it in full color: To do a comic [...]

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Symbiartic

Wait, Electricity Isn’t Harmful To Health?

13-017FEATURE

Sometimes, the list of things to be paranoid about feels endless: BPA in your water bottles, pesticides on your food, prescription drugs in your drinking water, and nanotechnology in your donuts. Luckily, most of these things will not statistically be responsible for your ultimate demise (you can likely credit heart disease and cancer for that). [...]

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Talking back

Can Wall Street Financial “Wizardry” Foster Drug Innovation?

Most articles in the journal Nature Biotechnology have titles like “Selective Enrichment of Newly Synthesized Proteins for Quantitative Secretome Analysis.” They don’t usually contain sentences like this: “The special-purpose vehicle’s capital structure, priority of payments and various coverage tests and credit enhancements are collectively known as the ‘cash flow waterfall’—a reference to the manner in [...]

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