One of the more unfortunate developments in the field of cancer research last month was the death of Dr. Judah Folkman. Dr Folkman was a pioneer in cancer research, and changed our understanding of how cancer tissue growth is dependent on blood vessel growth. He also did much much more in the field of medecine. As such, he will be remembered as a role model for many physicians and scientist including Ben Ferguson who writes on his weblog:
" For instance, in the course of his life’s work, he invented a new technique for repairing patent ducti arteriosi and presented it to the American College of Surgeons while a freshman medical student; made significant contributions to the development of the implantable cardiac pacemaker; happened upon the concept of slow-release drugs; became the first-ever instructor of surgery to be promoted directly to professor of surgery and the youngest-ever professor of surgery in the history of Harvard, having been appointed surgeon-in-chief of Children’s Hospital in Boston at the age of 34"
Dr David, a pediatric oncologist explores the virus/cancer connection in a post about karposi sarcoma. You may be familiar with this rare type of cancer which often manifest itself as skin lesions and oral sores in AIDS patients. What you may be less aware of are the endemic forms which affect men in certain areas of the world and are often fatal. Dr. David discusses the role of the HHV-8 virus in karposi sarcoma but also draws parallels with other viruses which can cause cancer, follow the link to learn how:
"How do viruses cause cancer? Well, EBV and HHV-8 are both thought to cause cancer by controlling the activity of genes already present in cells called proto-oncogenes. A few years ago, a group of scientists in Spain proposed another way viruses might cause cancer."
Highlight in Health brings us a list of the top6 most important advances in cancer treatment in 2007. The list includes MRI screening for breast cancer, The link between HRT and breast (and ovarian!) cancer, The clinical trial of sorenafib for liver cancer, the trials of bevacizumab and interferon for kidney cancer, the link between HPV and head and neck cancer and finally the use of preventative radiation of the brain for cases of advanced lung cancer. To learn more about these discoveries follow the link.
Our very own Kamel does an expose of plant-derived chemotherapeutic agents, showing how natural doesn't necessarily mean fewer side effects and reinforcing the point that once herbal remedies are tested and shown to work they become part of standard, evidence-based medicine. Why settle for anything else? from the post:
"A lot of the push for 'alternative medicine' is based on a fear of traditional medicine - that is, man-made chemical treatment. Personally, I think these fears are largely unfounded and ignore the history of many pharmaceuticals in use. Here are some natural products currently in use in the cancer clinic. Someone preaching natural cures over tested medicine probably doesn't know what they're talking about."
We have two stories this time. The first one comes from Katie who talks about the importance of understanding your diagnosis of mesothelioma and to take charge. She also wants to make sure you spell it correctly. The second one is from Andrew who talks about some of the more uncomfortable side effects of his antibody treatment.
We warned last time that we will not display links to websites promoting dubious alternative treatments for commercial interests. We got a submission from Hueina Su a wellness consultant, motivational speaker, and "certified empowerment coach". She and other members of the multi-level marketing scheme company sell essential oils and Goji berry juice. To learn more about this type of quackery you can revisit one of our previous post on the matter.