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News & Views: The hidden cost of mammograms: More testing and overtreatment
Posted on April 21, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

Hero Images/Corbis

Each year the U.S. spends billions of dollars on unnecessary tests and treatments that result from inaccurate mammograms, some scientists say. They’re calling for more selective screening.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Personalizing cancer treatment with genetic tests can be tricky
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Cancer | | Add comment |

Kevin Curtis/Science Source

Genetic profiling of cancer cells can help guide treatment, but such profiles can be ambiguous. Results would be more accurate if all labs tested normal cells from each patient too.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Angelina Jolie Pitt has ovaries removed, citing cancer fears
Posted on March 24, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

angelina jolie

Writing in the New York Times, the actress, who had a preventative double mastectomy two years ago, says she carries a gene that gives her an elevated risk of cancer and describes the decision to undergo preventative surgery to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

Read more her full statement at NYTimes.com.

News & Views: Stats split on progress against cancer
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

cancer line graphMatthias Kulka/Corbis

When you dig into the numbers on cancer, the results are mixed. Overall, deaths are up. But survival five years after diagnosis has improved for many forms of the disease, including breast cancer.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Why hasn’t the war on cancer been won?
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit1, Ca Unit5, Cancer, News | | Add comment |

doctor searchingVidhya Nagaragjan for NPR

Medical researchers have made only modest progress treating the most common cancers since the war on cancer was declare in 1971. The disease has proved far more complicated than doctors had hoped.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: How much can women trust that breast cancer biopsy?
Posted on March 19, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

slide pathologists use to look for signs of cancer in biopsyBoilershot Photo/Science Source

A new study finds pathologists are great at spotting cancer, but less so at identifying atypical cells and DCIS, which is troubling because both conditions can go on to become invasive cancer, and misdiagnosis could lead to women getting too much treatment — or not enough.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Harnessing the Immune System to Treat Cancer
Posted on February 9, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

what if you could help the immune system respond to cancer cells?

Our immune systems constantly fight off disease — protecting us from colds, flu and infection, but could they also help us treat cancer? An experimental new treatment called immunotherapy is helping patients’ immune systems fight cancer.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Can Connecticut force a teenager to undergo chemotherapy?
Posted on January 20, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit4, Ca Unit5, Cancer | | Add comment |

Cassandra, a 17-year-old with Hodgkin lymphoma

A 17-year-old says she doesn’t want to undergo treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, but her doctors and the state say she will die without it. The Connecticut Supreme Court is hearing the case.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: A bed of mouse cells helps scientists identify new cancer treatments
Posted on January 7, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Cancer | | Add comment |


Dr. Richard Schlegel and postdoctoral fellow Nancy Palechor-Ceron use a microscope to look at human epithelial cells growing on mouse fibroblasts at Georgetown University Medical Center. Source: Lauren Wolkoff/Georgetown University.

Historically, it has been difficult to culture human cell lines in the lab, but the discovery that human cells grow well on a bed of mouse cells has opened the door for new studies of human disease. Using this new technique of culturing human cancer cells on a bed of mouse cells, researchers at Georgetown University have identified a new treatment for cervical cancer — a drug that is used to treat malaria.

Read the full story at NPR.org.

News & Views: Paint the Tumor
Posted on November 22, 2013 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Cancer, Neurological Disorders, News | | Add comment |

In an effort to help surgeons identify and remove brain tumors, scientists have developed a paint that is attracted to specific channels on cancerous cells. The hope is that with this paint, doctors can more accurately remove just the tumor and not any healthy brain tissue. By sparing the surrounding healthy brain tissue, patients will have fewer symptoms after surgery. Read more at NPR’s coverage: Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

News & Views: Cancer Dilemmas
Posted on January 28, 2013 by Jane Newbold | Categories: Cancer, News | | Add comment |

Digital collage with partial female nude, upper- and lowercase letters suggestive of notation for dominant and recessive alleles, a golden coffin silhouette nestled in radiating outlines, and a sketchy outline of a human head, among others
Illustration by Stuart Bradford. Source: New York Times website.

How far would you go to avoid getting a certain type of cancer? How far would you go to avoid getting it again? In Facing Cancer, a Stark Choice, New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope talks about the dramatic increase in women with breast cancer or at risk of breast cancer seeking to have healthy breasts removed. Commentator Jeanne from Ohio suggests that cosmetics are also a factor.

Cancer’s Dark Matter
Posted on by Jane Newbold | Categories: Cancer, News | | Add comment |

The New York Times summarizes two recent papers on melanomas, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, that provide strong evidence that such cancers start not with mutations in genes, but mutations in the DNA regions that control them. The vast majority of our human genetic code comprises of these and other non-coding regions of DNA; what was once dismissed as mostly ‘junk DNA’ might be better called ‘dark matter’, considering how much we still have to learn about their function.

Using HIV to Fight Cancer
Posted on January 23, 2013 by Jane Newbold | Categories: Cancer, Infectious Disease, News | | Add comment |

University of Pennsylvania photo of T cells and tiny magnetic beads
Caption via New York Times: “Tiny magnetic beads force the larger T-cells to divide before they are infused into the patient.” (Photo: University of Pennsylvania)

The HIV virus causes AIDS, one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. It is also the surprising key to a new cancer treatment with revolutionary promise. The New York Times tells the story.