Posts Tagged ‘cancer research’

Targeting Suppression of B-Cell Lymphoma Proliferation

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-21-2011

Dr John J Rossi’s titles and accolades are many and varied — and well earned. In his current affiliation with the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rossi serves as chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology, dean of the graduate school of biological sciences, and associate director for laboratory research. He is co-leader of the cancer biology program and the first holder of the Lidow Family Research Chair. These professional accomplishments are complemented by numerous awards, including a 2002 Merit Award in the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The common thread that weaves all of these activities and achievements together continues to be an unabashed enthusiasm for and curiosity toward scientific discovery — specifically in the molecular genetics of disease.

Rossi received his doctoral degree in microbial genetics in the late 1970s. At the time, cloning was only just becoming a tool that researchers could use, and with Rossi’s exposure to this now basic technique, his fascination with genetics turned to the molecular aspects of the discipline. Rossi was drawn to postdoctoral studies in Dr Arthur Landy’s lab at Brown University because of Landy’s groundbreaking work in sequencing genetic information for the bacteriophage lambda. Landy’s work focused on trying to understand some of the sequences of the attachment site of the bacteriophage in its host chromosome. He also completed the first restriction map of any lambda phage. Rossi was particularly attracted by the technology he would have access to in this forward-thinking environment.

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Cancer cells as cross dressers

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-22-2011

While many scientists have espoused the theory that each type of cancer cell comes from a unique cancer stem cell, research out of the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard and Whitehead Institute points to a much more decentralized society, with cancer cells able to interconvert between different types.

To characterize how cancer maintains cellular equilibrium, the researchers studied two different breast cancer cell lines and examined three different cell states that were similar to normal breast epithelial cell types, known as basal, luminal, and stem-like. The team sorted the different cell types from each other and then grew their relatively pure populations for six days. Remarkably, each of the three populations quickly returned to the same equilibrium – and populations of non-stem cells generated new stem-like cells.

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Citation: Gupta PB et al. Stochastic state transitions give rise to phenotypic equilibrium in populations of cancer cells. Cell. August 19, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.026

Explaining Cancer Through Narrated Cartoons

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-16-2011

The New York Times has a great cartoon video explaining three predominant theories of how cancer progresses from a single cell into a metastatic tumor. The narrated video discusses:

  1. The microbe theory-whereby an otherwise symbiotic relationship between bacteria and their host is spoiled by miscommunication
  2. The Junk DNA theory
  3. The MicroRNA theory-whereby microRNA either prevents mRNA from reaching the ribosome or intercepts and changes the mRNA message

Click on the picture below to see the video on the NYT website.

Facebook Fans Finance Cancer Research

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-07-2011

The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation (KCRF), which raises funds primarily through grass-roots fundraising, has recently added Facebook to its arsenal in the war against cancer.

According to All Facebook, an anonymous donor has agreed to contribute $1 to the Foundation for every new KCRF Facebook Fan. The company has already garnered 10,000 fans and needs 240,000 more fans to hit its goal of raising $250,000.

Kanzius non-invasive radio-wave cancer treatment is based on the delivery of antibody coated gold nanoparticles to tumor cells which are “cooked” by a dose of radio waves, thereby selectively killing tumor cells while leaving healthy tissue intact.

A basic “laymans” description of the treatment was featured in this Wired article a few years ago.

Research on the Kanzius treatment is currently being conducted by Dr. Stephen Curley at the Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and Dr. David Geller at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To become a Facebook fan of KCRF visit the KCRF Facebook page.

Fighting Cancer from Within

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-01-2011

I recently saw the video below posted on the Punctuated Equilibrium blog and I decided to share it with the our esteemed readers.

In this TED presentation, scientist Danny Hill explains a fundamental difference between infectious diseases and cancer and why physicians need to change their method of treating both of them in a similar manner. According to Hill, infectious disease is an external attack on one’s body which can be defended against by a wide array of treatments (such as antibiotics). Cancer, on the other hand, is something that occurs naturally in every individual but spins out of control when naturally-occurring protection mechanisms fail. Hill proposes that we begin thinking of cancer as a verb and recognize that while everyone is “cancering” certain individuals have aberrant defense mechanisms which results in “cancer” related symptoms.

While the presentation was intended for a lay audience, seasoned scientists will appreciate Hill’s demonstration of how 2D Gel Electrophoresis can be used to identify differences in protein expression between healthy and diseased individuals. Automated analysis of serum protein is the most efficient way to diagnose patients and is what Hill’s company Applied Proteomics focuses on.

Grrl Scientist commented that she is skeptical that proteomic analysis of blood proteins can be used to track solid tumor progression. However, a quick pubmed search reveals thousands of articles written on tumor biomarkers found in serum, indicating that certain tumors either directly or indirectly secrete biomarkers into the blood which may eventually be used to detect tumor progression.