Viruses are skillful mutants, changing their structures or outer proteins to evade the shifting natural defenses of their targets. (This is why you have to get a flu shot every year.) Now researchers in France report using one of the most proficient mutants, HIV, to fight another intractable disease: Cancer.
Despite the ethical and political differences they incite, stem cells are still a miraculous medicine, potentially able to change into whatever a sick body needs them to be. If we could get around the controversies behind them, theoretically, the problems would be gone.
A simple blood test that offers early detection of cancer in the human body has long eluded medical researchers, but a team at UCLA is getting closer. By blending an ultra-fast camera and a powerful optical microscope with software that can process the data they produce at extremely high speeds, the team hopes it can spot circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that have broken away from cancerous tumors in blood samples, potentially making early cancer detection as simple as taking a blood draw.
When you check in to a hospital in the future, along with checking your vitals and ordering a blood panel, your doctors may assign you a personal mouse. The immune-deficient creature will receive a transplant of your tissue, which will allow it to mimic your immune system, or maybe your specific type of cancer. Then doctors can try out a cocktail of drugs or gene therapies to see what might work on you.
Good news for the countless people across the globe suffering from some kind of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which includes a large proportion of those dealing with skin cancer. Australian researchers have discovered the “stop signal” gene for SCC that is absent in virtually every SCC tumor they looked at. Without it, cells replicate uncontrolled causing a tumor, but knowing what gene is missing gives researchers the means to develop new strategies to treat and prevent this common form of cancer.
Trapping and preserving biomarkers will help doctors detect cancer sooner
By Madhumita Venkataramanan
Posted 10.17.2011 at 10:15 am 7 Comments
When Alessandra Luchini was a girl growing up in Italy, she visited the Museo Galileo in Florence, where she saw the telescope that Galileo Galilei had invented four centuries before, in 1610. She was struck by its simplicity. with a just a couple of pieces of curved glass, anyone could see whole new worlds.
From the island nation known for the quality of its cigars comes some pretty big news today: Xinhua reports that Cuban medical authorities have released the first therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer. CimaVax-EGF is the result of a 25-year research project at Havana’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and it could make a life or death difference for those facing late-stage lung cancers, researchers there say.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.