Thursday, March 03, 2011

Cancer Carnival #43

Welcome to the 43rd edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival. The Carnival relies on posts and hosts, so be sure to submit your posts for next month or drop us a line to sign up as a future host.

Kicking things off is Biotunes who writes about the PSA screening test for prostate cancer and how it falls short.
Our overzealous “war” on prostate cancer in particular has been devastating to the quality of life of millions of men: it has been estimated that 48 men are treated to save one life from prostate cancer.
Issues with screening techniques (such as false positive rates) have been discussed before on this blog and last month's Cancer Research Blog Carnival contained a post about genetic determinants of baseline PSA levels - a subject that really underscores one of the issues raised in the Biotunes post.

Dwarfism seems to be a big topic this month with two posts discussing dwarfism in Ecuador and a link between diabetes and cancer.
Can a gene that causes dwarfism also confer major health benefits? Perhaps, according to a new study showing that a group of extremely short people in Ecuador get no diabetes, even though they are unusually obese.

The 22-year study of people living in villages on the slopes of the Andes mountains also found just one case of cancer in the 99 patients it tracked, many fewer than among non-dwarf relatives.

The absence of two of the worst diseases of aging was strong evidence that the mutation that causes what’s called “Laron syndrome” has an upside.
This study was also sent to us in a different post at Genome Engineering.

Genome Engineering also sends us a news brief about a study looking at the genetics of inflammatory bowel disease, which can increase the risk of bowel cancer.

Our friends at Highlight HEALTH have a post up about the drug Crizotinib and a movement towards personalized cancer care.
Unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, drugs like crizotinib and Gleevec cannot be the last line of defense. Once they are administered, the kinases they target can mutate to resistant them. The third research study published in the NEJM, by Choi et al., enumerates the mutations in EML4-ALK that confer such resistance to crizotinib [5]. Additional kinase inhibitors are being developed to act as backup therapies for both crizotinib and Gleevec once drug resistance has occurred.
The post points out the importance of tumor gene expression profiling to determine which drugs are best suited for individual treatment.

Finally, a guest post at Hematopoiesis discusses the role of cancer stem cells in mesothelioma, a cancer typically traced back to asbestos exposure.
Recent research has explored the idea that cancer stem cells (CSC) play a role in the metastasis of mesothelioma tumors. Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Division of Clinical Immunology transferred malignant mesothelioma cells into mice and studied the cell lines as they developed. They found that many of the cells displayed markers for CSC such as SP, CD9, CD24, and CD26. The cells with those markers were also found to generate larger tumors.
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. For a broader collection of science-related blog carnivals, sign up for the Science, Medicine, Environment and Nature Blog Carnival Twitter Feed.


Biotunes said...

Thanks for including my post! Unfortunately there's a problem with the link, where an extra character was inadvertently added. Here is the correct one:

Great carnival.

Kamel said...

Whoops. Thanks for the heads up. Link should be fixed now.