Friday, April 03, 2009

Cancer Research Blog Carnival #20

Welcome to the 20th edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival - a monthly collection of cancer related blog writing. I think we set a new record for number of spam submissions this go round, but of course I'll ignore those and focus on the good stuff.

Kicking things off, our friend Alexey at Hematopoiesis continues his series on cancer progression and metastasis with a post on the premetastatic niche.
Here we discuss a lot about bone marrow niches for hematopoietic stem cells, but what is the so-called premetastatic niche? It is a specific microenvironment that allows malignant cells to migrate from primary tumor and develop metastasis. I’d like to distinguish the premetastatic niche from the cancer stem cell niche, which is characterized by steady-state tumor and doesn’t necessarily require bone marrow cell involvement.
The article is a nice literature review on the events leading to the establishment of a metastatic site and delves into possible therapeutic interventions to prevent tumour metastasis.

Here at the Bayblab, Rob points us to new research that describes mRNA structures that are preferentially transcribed in cancer cells.
Translation initiation is often over-activated in cancer cells, however, this over-activation does not favour mRNAs equally. In fact it seems translation over-activation favours mRNAs that promote tumourgenesis and tumour progression. Santhanam et al. in PLoS ONE recently took a look at what general mRNA structural characteristics determine translational activity in cancer cells with over-activated translation initiation.
Go check it out to find out what cancer cells look for in an mRNA, and join the discussion in the comments about interpreting their results.

Over at HighlightHEALTH, Walter discusses a common health concern: meat consumption. The post describes a detailed piece of research that compares gender, meat consumptions (red vs. white vs. processed) and mortality risk (including cancer risk).
Two years ago, a similar study identified an association between red and processed meat and cancers of the colorectum and lung, but this is the first large-scale study to assess the relationship between red, white and processed meat consumption and the overall risk of death.
The conclusions? Read the post to find out, but you may want to hold off on that second hamburger in the meantime.

From the survivor side of things, Mike Freije sends us the story of Melissa Buhmeyer who shares her experience surviving breast cancer.
As women, especially American women, much of our femininity is centered on our breasts. No matter where you look, there are pictures, billboards, commercials, television shows, and movies with women with these beautiful breasts and ample cleavage. The thought of losing one or both breasts, to breast cancer, can be devastating for many of us.
It's a detailed story about coping with a mastectomy, particularly in the period shortly after surgery. In a similar vein, Nancy Miller shares with us Kat Sanders' list of the Top 30 Inspirational Cancer Survivor Blogs

Finally, GrrlScientist at Living the Life Scientific (Scientist, Interrupted) points us to a game that lets you help research from your computer screen. While not strictly cancer related, Foldit (which I've mentioned briefly before) tasks the player with solving different protein structures.
The results from this game are helping Baker and other scientists learn how to design proteins to do particular jobs, from vaccinating against malaria to fighting cancer.
The game is available cross platform (Win/Mac/Linux) but no word on when you might see it on Xbox Live Arcade.

That concludes the 20th Edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival. We always need hosts and posts so email the Bayblab to sign up, and get your posts in here. Visit the Carnival Homepage for previous editions.

And don't forget, the Cancer Research Blog Carnival now has subscription options; you can follow by email or RSS feed. An aggregated feed of credible, rotating health and medicine blog carnivals is also available.


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