Friday, February 06, 2009

Cancer Research Blog Carnival #18

I confess. I like to categorize things. There's something about neat little pigeonholes that I find simply irresistible. So, especially for this carnival, I've done the category thing.

But first, I want to take this opportunity to raise a question that readers here may be able to offer some insight on. Actually, I already raised it: Where are the books on cancer for general readers? If anyone can shed some light on that, please leave a comment to that post.

Cancer research

There's more about "alternative" medicine further down, but there's also some relevant research to discuss. Namely, herbal supplements can occasionally be helpful. However, as Kamel at Bayblab explains, it can also happen that an Anti-cancer supplement interferes with [a] cancer drug. In this case, it's something as seemingly innocuous as green tea.

Animal cells have many remarkable mechanisms for protecting an organism against cancer, including mechanisms for detecting damage to DNA, trying to repair damaged DNA if possible, or inducing cell senescence or death if repair fails. Unsurprisingly, damage to genes associated with these mechanisms is one of the main biological reasons for an animal to develop cancer. Yours truly discusses several recent research papers about this: DNA repair genes and cancer and DNA repair and cancer II.

Personalized medicine

Erin Cline at 23andMe, a start-up company in the business of providing customers with information on their personal genetic makeup, and what it means, discusses a study that identified More than 100 Genetic Variations Associated with Leukemia Treatment Response. The study is said to be important because it could identify genetic variations (SNPs) in normal cells that might positively or negatively affect treatment outcomes, rather than genetic abnormalities only in the cancerous cells.

In a detailed and informative comment to a post about personalized medicine at Discovering Biology in a Digital World, Gregory Pawelski explains how Personalized Cancer Medicine Is Here, Now.

Exposés of "alternative" medicine

Frank Swain of SciencePunk pens a droll review of an expensively produced film on a quack "diet-based cure for cancer": Stupidity caught on celluloid: The Beautiful Truth. Executive summary: "Is it possible to pack a DVD with idiocy so dense that light bends around it?"

Is it true that advocates of "alternative" medicine will stoop to "abuse" of celebrities in order to promote their delusions? Orac at Respectful Insolence thinks so: Abusing celebrities with cancer in order to promote quackery. I'd say he makes a good case.

Orac also, in an atypically succinct post, tells us about An even more typical than typical "alternative medicine" breast cancer testimonial. How alternative medicine can cure a cancer that isn't even there! That's powerful indeed.

Good health advice

Surfer Sam offers what looks like generally sound advice on how to Prevent and Cure Colon Cancer. Well, at least how to lower the risk. If a cancer at a sufficiently early stage is found during a colonoscopy, removal of it during the procedure may be a cure – if you're lucky.

General information

Jessica Merritt at U. S. PharmD (a portal of information for prospective pharmacists) offers her selection of Top 50 Genetics Blogs. It's not all about cancer, but most of the choices look sound, and there are a few familiar names on the list.

Sayonara

That's it for this month. The next Cancer Research Blog Carnival is scheduled for March 6. Watch the carnival home page for details, or better yet, volunteer to host the carnival yourself.

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