Friday, January 04, 2008

Cancer Research Blog Carnival #5

Welcome once again to the Cancer Research Blog Carnival! There were a lot of submissions - seems like people had some spare time over the holidays - of varying quality, and a real mixed bag in terms of content (read my postscript. If anybody is interested in hosting future editions contact us here at the Bayblab. Off we go!

Cancer Biology

Ramunas from offers us a one-two punch of articles on cancer genetics. First off, he offers a round-up of diagnostic and prognostic genetic markers for cancer. He writes:

"2007 will be known in history as a breakthrough in understanding of our genome variation and enormous success in genome wide association studies (GWAS) for complex disorders) cancer included.

2008 will be definitely an exciting journey through a highway (yet in a desert) of personalized genomics."
It's a nice summary of commercially available tests, as well as a hint of what's to come.

He follows this up with an even more recent list of new tumour markers and targets. Hot off the presses for 2008, these are molecules that we may see in future diagnostic tests or as therapeutic drug targets.

Our very own Rob here at the Bayblab informs us about p53 and microRNAs: an unholy alliance between one of the hottest topics in biology and everybody's favourite tumour suppressor.
"So the question was if p53 has all these important cellular functions how much of that can be attributed to the microRNAs transcribed by activated p53? As it turns out quite a bit."

The small RNA involved is miR-34 whose expression is decreased in a variety of cancers. Check the link for more details.

Ryan DuBois at The Daily Dub gives us a brief overview of HeLa cervical cancer cells and their 1991 designation as their own species, Helacyton gartleri. He uses this as a recent, obvservable example of evolution in action.

Standard Care

Jose DeJesus from Physician Entrepreneur tells us about the use of stem cells in breast reconstruction.

"Current treatments for breast cancer include lumpectomy and radiation treatment, which are more conservative than mastectomy and reconstruction with an implant, but these more conservative approaches may result in deformity that is harder to reconstruct, because the use of mini-implants to replace tissue removed in lumpectomies are not a normal procedure."
As discussed in a previous carnival drastic changes in appearance are one of the emotional issues faced by survivors post-treatment. This new technique using stem cell enhanced grafts may lead to more natural breast reconstructions post-surgery, as well as other reconstructive surgeries.


Kate and gregre write to inform us of a resource for people interested in mesothelioma - an aggressive cancer caused primarily by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. In particular, they highlight how to find a good mesothelioma specialist, disease prognosis once diagnosed, and asbestosis.

Steve Pavlina writes to us with his personal experience switching to a vegan diet: how he did it, and what the effects have been.

" I read that vegetarians supposedly live longer, need less sleep, and have lower risks of many major illnesses like cancer and heart disease. That sounded attractive..."
The article doesn't discuss the relationship between diet and cancer any further than that, but it does chronicle a change from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan for any who are interested in making a similar lifestyle choice.

In a similar vein, Roger Haeske's infomercial blog gives us not one, but two advertisements submissions encouraging and supporting a switch to a raw diet. As he writes:

"If you feel excited and motivated to go raw, it will be easy. If you feel it's going to be difficult and painful then you will likely fail in your attempts to go raw and stay raw. Maybe reading these points below will help to motivate you to go raw with a little bit of help from your friend Roger."


Mitch McDonald writes to us about natural alternatives to chemotherapy further linking to a site called ''.

"Your first instinct is to listen to everything your doctor says. But you need to seek a second opinion if he says chemotherapy."
And you need a third opinion if you're being directed to untested, unproven natural products. In typical fashion, there's a lot of fear-mongering, no real alternatives presented and a complete failure to recognize that some chemotherapeutics (taxol) ARE natural compounds. Chemotherapeutic treatment isn't something anybody looks forward to, but as this site demonstrates 'natural alternatives' are lacking.

Postscript: As I mentioned before, the nature of submissions was quite varied. I decided, for better or worse, to include them all regardless of quality or relevance (with a certain degree of editorializing in the descriptions). However, since this is a cancer blog carnival, if I'm writing up future editions I'll be more selective of stories relating to cancer and cancer research and exclude those that are unrelated, obviously marketing a product or of other dubious merit.


Anonymous said...

thank you for mentioning! All the best in 2008.

Doctor David said...

I'm sorry I didn't submit something this time around. I do want to support what you said about being selective. If this exercise is to have any value, there needs to be some screening process... not so that you only include posts you agree with, but so that there is a focus on cancer (not vegetarianism) and some standards (ie. no "obvious marketing" or "dubious merit." To proceed otherwise will be to chase away your colleagues with something of value to contribute.

That having been said, I enjoyed your editorializing, and I will submit something to the next blog carnival.

Kamel said...

I'm sorry I didn't submit something this time around.

No problem, you can make up for it by hosting a future edition. :)

Obviously I agree with you, hence my postscript. I let it slide this time since I'm loath to censor and the posters may have felt that their submissions were genuine contributions (there is no shortage of people who support a red meat-cancer link) so to dismiss them without explanation may discourage future contributions with a cancer-focus.

(I would also be resistant to guidelines that are too strict, which could also deter submission)

Anyhow, since AC usually writes these things up when the Bayblab hosts, I guess it's his problem. ;)

And if anybody is interested in hosting a future edition, just drop us a line.