Cancer is one of the most difficult foes medical science has ever faced, but a controversial new idea might just show a way to victory. A group of scientists have evidence that cancer might be an evolutionary throwback to our most distant animal ancestor. Astrobiologists Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University and Paul Davies of Arizona State have proposed that cancerous cells are a so-called "living fossil", the last remnant of a crucial evolutionary juncture some 600 million years ago. It's been proposed before that cancer dates back to the beginning of multi-cellular animals, an evolutionary innovation that required cells to stop replicating whenever they wanted and start coordinating with the rest of the organism. Cancer is what happens when these very ancient controls on cell replication break down, causing runaway cellular replication. But here's where Lineweaver and Davies take the idea a step further - they suggest cancer actually is our earliest animal ancestor. They suggest these organisms were the first to figure out some measure of control over cell replication, but they lacked more precise control over cell growth. This hypothesis, they argue, fits known tumor behavior better than the view that all cancer cells act independently. They point to angiogenesis, in which cancer cells built blood vessel networks to bring nutrients into the tumor, which suggests cooperation amongst the cells...
Tag Archives | Cancer
This may be a breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer, but it doesn’t mean you should pick up smoking just yet. BBC reports:
French doctors say they have made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer.
A medical team at Bobigny hospital in Paris removed a patient’s cancerous growth, and then gave him an artificial airway, or bronchus.
The bronchus was made from reconstituted aorta, the body’s largest artery.
The pioneering treatment in October 2009 avoided the complete removal of the patient’s lung.
In the later stages of lung cancer, only a third of patients survive a year.
The Paris patient, 78, is said be fit and well, some 16 months after surgery.
[Continues at BBC]
Labrador retrievers are known to be trained for many things. They can work as seeing-eye dogs, therapy dogs, sniff for drugs, sniff for bombs, and now, sniff bowel cancer? BBC News reports:
A Labrador retriever has sniffed out bowel cancer in breath and stool samples during a study in Japan.
The research, in the journal Gut, showed the dog was able to identify early stages of the disease.
It has already been suggested that dogs can use their noses to detect skin, bladder, lung, ovarian and breast cancers.
Cancer Research UK said it would be extremely difficult to use dogs for routine cancer testing.
The biology of a tumour is thought to include a distinct smell and a series of studies have used dogs to try to detect it.
[Continues at BBC News]
No doubt conservative Christians are going to make hay with this, claiming they knew it was a sin all along… Amanda Gardner reports on a new study showing that oral sex may be a principal cause of head and neck cancers, in USA Today:
… Read the rest
There’s a worrisome uptick in the incidence of certain head and neck cancers among middle-aged and even younger Americans, and some experts link the trend to a rise in the popularity of oral sex over the past few decades.
That’s because the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major trigger for these cancers, and HPV can be transmitted through this type of sexual activity.
“It seems like a pretty good link that more sexual activity, particularly oral sex, is associated with increased HPV infection,” said Dr. Greg Hartig, professor of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
There is currently no way to know how widespread this kind of chemical contamination is in food. Emily Sohn writes in Discovery News:
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As part of an ongoing investigation into chemicals in our food supply, scientists found extremely high concentrations of a flame-retardant compound in a supermarket sample of brand-name butter.
It is the first documented case of serious contamination in food in the United States with a class of chemicals known as PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Commonly used in furniture and electronics, among other products, PBDEs are known to disrupt hormone function and have been associated with a range of health concerns, including cancer as well as reproductive, developmental, and neurological problems.
Since no federal agencies currently track levels of chemicals like these in food, there is no way to know how widespread this kind of chemical contamination is in butter or other products. But it clearly happens at least sometimes.
Scaremongering to create a worldwide carbon tax? Or is this a reality? From the Daily Mail:
Melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing cancer-causing pollutants into the air and oceans, scientists say. The long-lasting chemicals get into the food chain and build up in people’s bodies – triggering tumours, heart disease and infertility.
The warning comes in a new international study into the links between climate change and a class of man-made toxins called persistent organic pollutants. The study – due to be published next month – says rising temperatures and more extreme weather are increasing human exposure to pollutants around the world, including in Britain.
Scientists are concerned about Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs, because they last decades in the environment and accumulate in body tissue. They include pesticides such as DDT and chemicals called PCBs used in electrical goods.
Donald Cooper, of the United Nations Environment Programme which published the report at the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, said melting glaciers and ice sheets were releasing POPs trapped years ago into the air and seas…
[continues in the Daily Mail]
Basing their findings on research conducted at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, professors Rosalie David and visiting Villanova professor Michael Zimmerman assert:
“In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.
You can read more here
Moving from prehistory to modern times utilizing literary and mummified remains, there is little occurrence or reference to cancer, until the 17th century, where the team found the first reports in scientific literature of operations for breast and other types of cancer.
It has been suggested that the short life span of individuals in antiquity precluded the development of cancer. Although this statistical construct is true, individuals in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and osteoporosis, and, in modern populations, bone tumors primarily affect the young.… Read the rest
The shamanic use of sacred plants has long demonstrated some amazing mental health benefits. Now a new study reports that magic mushrooms, a/k/a psilocybin, are beneficial for terminal cancer patients. Anne Harding reports for Health.com/CNN:
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Terminally ill cancer patients struggling with anxiety may get some relief from a guided “trip” on the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin, a new study suggests.
The study included 12 patients who took a small dose of psilocybin — the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” — while under the supervision of trained therapists. In a separate session, the participants took a placebo pill, which had little effect on their symptoms.
By contrast, one to three months after taking psilocybin the patients reported feeling less anxious and their overall mood had improved. By the six-month mark, the group’s average score on a common scale used to measure depression had declined by 30 percent, according to the study, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Not only can a breath test tell you how much you’ve had to drink, now it can tell you if you have cancer! Ok, not exactly the same thing, but it’s pretty interesting what your breath can tell. Medical News Today details:
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US scientists have developed and tested a prototype breath test to detect lung cancer
The results of the test is published in the international journal of respiratory medicine Thorax.
In tests, the colour testing device, which is about the size of a coin and is not expensive, had a 75 per cent success rate in detecting people with cancer.
It can also detect people with early stages of lung cancer.
However, in testing the device also showed false positives – it picked out people without lung cancer.
Using a technique called a “colorimetric sensor array”, the test picks up the chemical fingerprint of the breath of people with lung cancer.
… Read the rest
A half century ago, Linus Pauling began his pioneering research into how vitamin C impacts health (http://www.naturalnews.com/025802.html). Now, almost 25 years after Pauling’s death, a new study backs up his contention that vitamin C has remarkable healing and protective benefits. In fact, now scientists have discovered how vitamin C may put the brakes on the growth of cancer cells.
Margreet Vissers, associate professor at the University of Otago’s Free Radical Research Group in New Zealand, headed the study which was just published in the journal Cancer Research. “Our results offer a promising and simple intervention to help in our fight against cancer, at the level of both prevention and cure,” Dr.Vissers said in a statement to the press.