jm + cancer   13

DNA databases: biology stripped bare
Unlike other biometrics, [DNA] also provides revealing [data regarding] thousands of other related individuals; even to an entire ethnic group.

Such markers may reveal a genetic predisposition towards cancer, or early onset dementia. Mining that data and linking it to family trees and thus, individuals, might interest insurance companies, or state health bodies, or – as ever – advertisers. Or? Who knows?

And the ability of a third-party potentially to reveal such information about me, about you, without us having any say, by providing their DNA profile for some personal purpose? Consider how furious so many have been on the basis of their Facebook profile data going to Cambridge Analytica via some Facebook friend deciding to do a quiz.

Facebook profile data is revealing enough. But DNA is you, fully, irrevocably, exposed. And whatever it displays about you right now, is trivial compared to what we will be able to read into it in the future.

That’s why this case isn’t just about a solitary law enforcement outcome, but about all of us doing an unintended, genetic full monty.
dna-matching  dna  data-privacy  privacy  future  health  cancer  insurance  karlin-lillington 
18 days ago by jm
Yes, bacon really is killing us - The Guardian Long Read
Nooooo!
Since we eat with our eyes, the main way we judge the quality of cured meats is pinkness. Yet it is this very colour that we should be suspicious of, as the French journalist Guillaume Coudray explains in a book published in France last year called Cochonneries, a word that means both “piggeries” and “rubbish” or “junk food”. The subtitle is “How Charcuterie Became a Poison”. Cochonneries reads like a crime novel, in which the processed meat industry is the perpetrator and ordinary consumers are the victims.

The pinkness of bacon – or cooked ham, or salami – is a sign that it has been treated with chemicals, more specifically with nitrates and nitrites. It is the use of these chemicals that is widely believed to be the reason why “processed meat” is much more carcinogenic than unprocessed meat. Coudray argues that we should speak not of “processed meat” but “nitro-meat”.

[...] When nitrates interact with certain components in red meat (haem iron, amines and amides), they form N-nitroso compounds, which cause cancer. The best known of these compounds is nitrosamine. This, as Guillaume Coudray explained to me in an email, is known to be “carcinogenic even at a very low dose”. Any time someone eats bacon, ham or other processed meat, their gut receives a dose of nitrosamines, which damage the cells in the lining of the bowel, and can lead to cancer.

You would not know it from the way bacon is sold, but scientists have known nitrosamines are carcinogenic for a very long time. More than 60 years ago, in 1956, two British researchers called Peter Magee and John Barnes found that when rats were fed dimethyl nitrosamine, they developed malignant liver tumours. By the 1970s, animal studies showed that small, repeated doses of nitrosamines and nitrosamides – exactly the kind of regular dose a person might have when eating a daily breakfast of bacon – were found to cause tumours in many organs including the liver, stomach, oesophagus, intestines, bladder, brain, lungs and kidneys.


But there IS some good news for Parma ham and sausages:

In 1993, Parma ham producers in Italy made a collective decision to remove nitrates from their products and revert to using only salt, as in the old days. For the past 25 years, no nitrates or nitrites have been used in any Prosciutto di Parma. Even without nitrate or nitrite, the Parma ham stays a deep rosy-pink colour. We now know that the colour in Parma ham is totally harmless, a result of the enzyme reactions during the ham’s 18-month ageing process.

[...] the average British sausage – as opposed to a hard sausage like a French saucisson – is not cured, being made of nothing but fresh meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, salt and E223, a preservative that is non-carcinogenic. After much questioning, two expert spokespeople for the US National Cancer Institute confirmed to me that “one might consider” fresh sausages to be “red meat” and not processed meat, and thus only a “probable” carcinogen.
bacon  sausages  meat  parma-ham  ham  food  cancer  carcinogens  big-meat  nitrates  nitrites 
11 weeks ago by jm
New DNA nanorobots successfully target and kill off cancerous tumors
This is amazing.
“Using tumor-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumor-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumor necrosis and inhibition of tumor growth,” the paper explains.

DNA nanorobots are a somewhat new concept for drug delivery. They work by getting programmed DNA to fold into itself like origami and then deploying it like a tiny machine, ready for action.
dna  nanorobots  origami  cancer  cures  medicine 
february 2018 by jm
We’re more likely to get cancer than to get married. This is a wake-up call | Ranjana Srivastava | Opinion | The Guardian
Later, in clinic, I see patients ranging from a stoical university student to a devastated father to the frail octogenarian who can’t remember the day, let alone that he has cancer – each patient an illustration of a recent Macmillan Cancer Support UK finding that it is more common for an individual to be diagnosed with cancer than to get married or have a first child. One in two people will encounter a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, which is why the report says that, alongside marriage, parenthood, retirement and the death of a parent, cancer is now “a common life milestone”.
cancer  life  milestones  death  uk  health  medicine 
september 2017 by jm
Novartis CAR-T immunotherapy strongly endorsed by FDA advisory panel
This is very exciting stuff, cytokine release syndrome risks notwithstanding.
The new treatment is known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy. It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That's why some scientists refer to this as a "living drug."

Doctors then infuse millions of the genetically modified T cells back into the patient's body so they can try to obliterate the cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy tissue unscathed.

"It's truly a paradigm shift," said Dr. David Lebwohl, who heads the CAR-T Franchise Global Program at the drug company Novartis, which is seeking the FDA's approval for the treatment. "It represents a new hope for patients."

The drug endorsed by the advisory panel is known as CTL019 or tisagenlecleucel. It was developed to treat children and young adults ages 3 to 25 who have relapsed after undergoing standard treatment for B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common childhood cancer in the United States.

While this blood cell cancer can be highly curable, some patients fail to respond to standard treatments; and a significant proportion of patients experience relapses that don't respond to follow-up therapies.
"There is a major unmet medical need for treatment options" for these patients, Dr. Stephen Hunger, who helped study at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told the committee.

In the main study that the company submitted as evidence in seeking FDA approval, doctors at 25 sites in 11 countries administered the treatment to 88 patients. The patients, ages 3 to 23, had failed standard treatment or experienced relapses and failed to respond to follow-up standard treatment. CTL019 produced remissions in 83 percent of patients, the company told the committee.
car-t  immunotherapy  cancer  novartis  trials  fda  drugs  t-cells  immune-system  medicine  leukemia  ctl019 
july 2017 by jm
‘This is not the end’: Using immunotherapy to target genes gives cancer patients hope - The Washington Post
Pembrolizumab, marketed by Merck as Keytruda, is an anti-PD-1 immunotherapy drug now going through US trials, targeting malignancies with certain molecular characteristics.

Good trial results vs melanoma here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1503093
cancer  trials  drugs  pembro  anti-pd-1  immunotherapy  merck 
may 2017 by jm
The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls
'The radium girls’ case was one of the first in which an employer was made responsible for the health of the company’s employees. It led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which now operates nationally in the United States to protect workers. Before OSHA was set up, 14,000 people died on the job every year; today, it is just over 4,500. The women also left a legacy to science that has been termed “invaluable.”'
osha  health  safety  radium  poisoning  regulation  history  us-politics  free-market  cancer  radiation 
may 2017 by jm
Immunotherapy Pioneer James Allison Has Unfinished Business with Cancer - MIT Technology Review
On the discovery and history of ipilimumab (trade named Yervoy), one of the first immunotherapy drugs
ipilimumab  cancer  yervoy  immunotherapy  medicine  melanoma 
april 2017 by jm
That time a priest and a nun and a guy who were on an Irish hospital board blocked cancer treatment that required contraception
Simon McGarr on Twitter: "That time a priest and a nun and a guy who were on an Irish hospital board blocked cancer treatment that required contraception. https://t.co/A7alospojJ"

This happened in 2003 in Dublin's Mater Hospital. useful the next time someone says that hospital board member ethos won't impact clinical care
cancer  treatment  contraception  prolife  trials  medicine  ethos  mater-hospital  boards  governance 
april 2017 by jm
Getting good cancer care through 3D printing
This is pretty incredible.
Balzer downloaded a free software program called InVesalius, developed by a research center in Brazil to convert MRI and CT scan data to 3D images. He used it to create a 3D volume rendering from Scott’s DICOM images, which allowed him to look at the tumor from any angle. Then he uploaded the files to Sketchfab and shared them with neurosurgeons around the country in the hope of finding one who was willing to try a new type of procedure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he found the doctor he was looking for at UPMC, where Scott had her thyroid removed. A neurosurgeon there agreed to consider a minimally invasive operation in which he would access the tumor through Scott’s left eyelid and remove it using a micro drill. Balzer had adapted the volume renderings for 3D printing and produced a few full-size models of the front section of Scott’s skull on his MakerBot. To help the surgeon vet his micro drilling idea and plan the procedure, Balzer packed up one of the models and shipped it off to Pittsburgh.
diy  surgery  health  cancer  tumours  medicine  3d-printing  3d  scanning  mri  dicom 
january 2015 by jm
How much can an extra hour's sleep change you?
What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours' sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

sleep  health  rest  cancer  bbc  science 
october 2013 by jm
IETF expedited publication of RFC6449 before J.D. Falk passed away
I had no idea JD was sick. Very saddened to hear about this, he was a nice guy and a great member of the anti-spam community :(
jd-falk  death  cancer  rfcs  ietf  anti-spam  people 
november 2011 by jm
One Mutation per 15 Cigarettes Smoked
aka, lung cancer develops after 50 pack-years of smoking. sobering thought
cancer  lung-cancer  smoking  tobacco  risk  mutation  from delicious
january 2010 by jm

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