Friday, June 05, 2009

Cancer Carnival #22

Welcome to the June edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival - your monthly stop for cancer-related news and breakthroughs. I've been a bad keeper this month, both in soliciting hosts/posts and in timely delivery, so let's jump right in to the good stuff.

Omics! Omics!
Dr. Keith Robison ponders tumor supressors as he moves back into the cancer field, likening cancer researchers to the seven blind men who hasn't yet figured out the elephant in front of them
A great mystery for many such genes is why the tissue specificity of the tumor syndrome? In each of the genes mentioned above, the tumor syndrome appears to be very specific to a tissue type, yet in each of these cases the genes involved have been shown to be parts of cellular machinery used by every cell. Why does a failure of a general part manifest itself so specifically?

The Spittoon
Erin Cline Davis sends us a couple of links from the 23andMe blog's SNPwatch feature.
SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals.
The first discusses new SNPs associated with testicular cancer, including one that may explain why the disease is more common among caucasians. The second involves a recent study that identifies genetic differences between benign and malignant neuroblastoma, including several SNPs in the BARD1 gene, also mentioned in Dr. Robison's post, above. 23andMe customers can browse their own data for these SNPs, which of course doesn't substitute for professional advice.

Here at the Bayblab, Bayman talks about new systems biology approaches to predicting anti-tumor activity of immune cells.
They fed the info into some sort of machine learning algorithim, which came up with some pretty clear-cut boolean style predictive rules that a mere organic being (aka tumor immunologist) could never have possibly concieved of with a million years of deductive reasoning and experimental testing.
As Bayman puts it: "It's Big Blue beats Kasparov all over again!"

Respectful Insolence
Orac at Respectful Insolence has a post up, Cancer research explained briefly, that explains why we'll never have "a cure for cancer". It's a simple explanation, and one that's important to be aware of. While there, be sure to click through to see the full comic in the post.

Framing Science
Have you ever wondered how accurate some of the information on medical dramas is? What about using a show like House to teach medical ethics? Matt Nisbet writes about misleading medical programs and the balance between raising issue awareness and getting medical facts right, citing the recent cancer-related Gray's Anatomy finale as an example.
"Many people view the cancer problem as much simpler than it actually is," Brawley says. "That's because they get their medical information from television shows. But television shows are by and large fictional, and much of the medical information there is also going to be fictional."

Finally, our friend Alex at Hematopoiesis has written about stem cell derived cancer killing NK cells.
Dan Kaufman’s lab from University of Minnesota demonstrate for the first time efficient cancer killing activity in vivo, mediated by immune cells derived from hESC. They generated natural killer (NK) cells using previously published protocol and investigated their anti-cancer activity on the range of tumors in vitro and in mouse leukemia model.
He goes on to the results and the advantages of such an approach. For a Hematopoiesis bonus, check out this post about the cancer stem cell hypothesis complexity/controversy and how it's changed over the years.

That's it for this installment 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.


Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Damn! I missed the deadline.

Kamel said...

My fault... I didn't put up a reminder post. Next one is July 3, so get your posts in for then!