Friday, August 07, 2009

Cancer Research Blog Carnival #24

Welcome to the 24th edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival - your monthly roundup of writing from the cancer blogosphere. This month, the CRBC turns 2 years old (on August 24th, to be precise), so a special thanks to AC for starting the whole thing, Ben who designed our awesome logo, Walter for setting up new subscription options and general support and of course all the hosts and writers who have got us this far. Of course to keep going for another year, or 2, or 4 we still need your help - the carnival is always looking for new hosts, so drop us an email, or a comment here, to sign up and keep sending us your submissions here.

Now, without further ado, here is the latest Cancer Carnival:

First up, we have a new blog, Blue Genes, that offers their first part of a series on understanding cancer.
What is cancer? Everyone knows that it is a terrifying disease and has some ideas about a mass of cells that grow uncontrollably but I get the feeling that many people don’t quite understand how it actually happens.
They promise to continue the series in the futures with posts on cancer treatment, different cancer types, and other cancer topics. Blue Genes is written by a pair of young scientists and is worth keeping an eye on.

Next up, we have a pair of posts from The Spittoon, the blog of genetic testing company 23andMe. From the SNPwatch files, these posts highlight research identifying new genetic variants associated with cancer. First off is a discussion of CDKN2A and CDKN2B variants associated with certain brain and skin cancers.
Five reports, published online this week in the journal Nature Genetics, show that variants near the CDKN2A and CDKN2B genes increase the risk of certain types of tumors. Previous research has implicated these “tumor suppressor” genes in both skin and brain cancer. Mutations in CDKN2A are found in about 2% of all people with melanoma, and outright deletion of CDKN2A and CDKN2B is seen in approximately half of all brain tumors.
The second new SNP is associated with follicular lymphoma.
In a study by Skibola et al., scientists analyzed the genomes of 4,805 people of European descent from the United States, Germany and Canada to search for genetic associations with four different subtypes of lymphoma. The results, published online this week in the journal Nature Genetics, newly linked one SNP to an elevated risk for developing FL in European populations.
A submission from Healthcare Hacks is next, which discusses triple-negative breast cancer
Negative--that's good, right? Unfortunately, this is one of those times that negative results aren't so positive. This form of breast cancer is named "triple-negative" because the tumor lacks the three receptors for the hormones estrogen, progesterone or Her-2/neu.
The post offers some facts about triple-negative breast cancer before briefly discussing some new therapies in the pipeline that offer hope to patients, as well as support resources for people diagnosed with this cancer.

Suture for a Living talks about a topic we've discussed a bit in the past: overdiagnosis of breast cancer, in this case putting some actual numbers to the problem.
Are breast cancers over-diagnosed? If so, how often? Those are the questions looked at by the systematic review of incidence reported data/articles done by Karsten Juhl Jørgensen & colleagues. Their results are published online in the June 9th issue of the British Medical Journal. Their review shows an estimated 52% over-diagnosis of breast cancer.
Click through for more stats and analysis.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, Alexey at Hematopoiesis provides a nice review of ways the immune system can be harnessed to kill cancer stem cells, as well as progress made to date. Orac at Respectful Insolence has a really interesting piece on the problems recruiting patients to clinical trials and what it means for cancer research. And Science and Reason discusses a new targeted therapy for leukemia stem cells.

That's it for the 24th Cancer Research Blog Carnival. For older editions, visit the Carnival Homepage. Don't forget, the CRBC 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.