Friday, December 04, 2009

Cancer Carnival #28

Welcome to the Cancer Research Blog Carnival #28, and the final edition of 2009. We have a full slate of editions open for hosting in the new year, so send us an email at bayblab@gmail or leave a note in the comments.

First up LabRat has some nice research blogging on the motility of cancer cells.
In order to break away from the neoplasm and spread the disease cancer cells must gain motility. Studying how cancer cells move can be difficult in vivo because the conventional method of immuno-histology (which involves taking slices out of a tumour during development then fixing and staining them) prevent movement all together. Newer work has been done using Intravital imaging [...], where a fluorescently-labelled tumour is generated in an animal and then observed while the animal is anaesthetised.
Lab Rat discusses some of the findings, and the difference between single cell and group motility.

Next our friend Alexey at Hematopoiesis has a review of a couple of papers that discuss the stem-like qualities of T-cells. How does this relate to cancer? He explains:
Because adult stem cells, cancer stem cells and self-renewing T-cells share common features (chemoresistance, quiescence…) chasing for efficient killing of the cancer we can also kill memory T-cells and shut down long-lasting immunity after therapy. Bad news.
Bad news indeed. But it is followed up by good news, so head there to read it.

Cancer screening - always an interesting topic as detection techniques get more sensitive - was discussed over at Scienceblogs recently, spurred on by new recommendations for breast cancer screening. Orac at Respectful Insolence kicked things off:
No, I wasn't surprised that recommendations to scale back mammographic screening were released. I saw it coming, based on a series of studies, some of which I've discussed right here on this very blog. What surprised me is how much of a departure from current mammography guidelines the USPSTF recommendations were and, even more so, that they were released this year.
It is a lengthy post, and worth the read for the details of the changes and the reaction of an oncologist. The recommendations call for a reduction in mammography (and self-examination) based in part on potential harms such as overdiagnosis and unnecessary biopsy. Greg Laden has a different point of view
It seems to me that the solution being recommended is this: Let's have less information at hand so that we don't fuck up our use of that information. If we don't have information that we can misuse, then we can't misuse it.
Finally, Mike the Mad Biologist discusses what happens when woo-ism meets cancer prevention wherein he discusses clinical trials of drugs which halve the risk of breast cancer. Yet they aren't embraced with enthusiasm.
I could understand if you tried the medication, and you felt lousy. Somehow, I don't think "a spiritual element" is going to halve the probability of breast cancer. (Before anyone thinks I'm picking on women, men seem just as idiotic regarding prostate cancer prevention--which has a much lower survival rate). But people who are frightened will engage in activities that lend the illusion of control (there is little conclusive evidence that diet can significantly lower breast cancer rates in older women*). The terror of knowing that there's is a one-in-five chance of getting cancer, combined with the knowledge that, even with medication, there is still a one-in-ten chance of getting cancer has to be terrifying.
That's it for this month's 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.


David said...

Hey, so I have a medical blog where I've been looking at breast cancer treatments - would it be possible for me to participate in your blog carnival for next month?

sasha said...

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