Under the Microscope
Oct. 2, 2013

Oncologists call for industry-led global fund to fight cancer
Reuters
The world faces a rapidly growing burden of cancer which will overwhelm governments unless the medical and pharma industry takes the lead on a multibillion dollar private-public fund, oncologists said. In a report on how rates of cancer diagnosis and death are rising across the world while access to diagnosis and treatment is extremely patchy, experts described the economics of the problem as daunting and current financing models as broken.More

New research offers potential to advance personalized treatment of neurological disease
HealthCanal
New research led by Dr. Matthew Hebb of Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute, has demonstrated for the first time, how small brain biopsies may be used to grow large numbers of cells that could possibly be transplanted back into the patient's own brain. This could prove beneficial in treating various neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, as well as injuries of the nervous system such stroke or traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. More

Researchers unveil findings on two new weapons against thyroid cancer
Medical Xpress
For many years, patients with advanced thyroid cancer faced bleak prospects and no viable treatment options. But now, building on recent discoveries about the genetics and cell signaling pathways of thyroid tumors, researchers are developing exciting new weapons against the disease, using kinase inhibitors that target tumor cell division and blood vessels. Two recent clinical trials led by a researcher from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania showcase the great promise of these new approaches.More

Stanford scientists build a microscope to spot the seeds of cancer
Standford Report
The rule of thumb with cancer is that the earlier you can detect the disease, the more effective the treatment, and hence better potential outcomes. Currently, doctors draw a patient's blood and analyze it using special antibodies to detect the presence of the seeds, called circulating tumor cells. This method works well if CTCs are present in large numbers, but may fail to detect smaller numbers released by earlier tumors. Now, a team of engineers, scientists, and doctors from Stanford is developing a mini-microscope that might be able to noninvasively detect the CTCs earlier than ever, allowing for earlier interventions.More

New hope for treating cancer? Patterns seen in 12 types of tumors
Los Angeles Times
Examining the molecular profiles of tumors from 12 different types of cancers, scientists working with the National Institutes of Health-backed Cancer Genome Atlas said they had found striking similarities between tumors originating in different organs. Their discoveries, made possible by improvements in sequencing technologies and computing methods, could herald a day when cancers are treated based on their genetic profiles, rather than on their tissue of origin, said UC Santa Cruz biomolecular engineer Josh Stuart.More

Inspired by the human eye, imaging system detects disease, hazardous substances
R&D Magazine
For hundreds of years, optical devices like telescopes and microscopes have relied on solid lenses that slide up and down to magnify and to focus. To tune how much light is received, conventional devices use mechanical contraptions like the blades that form the adjustable aperture in cameras. To meet demands for ever smaller imaging systems, researchers are working to create entirely unconventional ways of focusing light.More

Mexican scientists reveal aflatoxins relationship with cervical and liver cancer in humans
The Medical News
Mexican scientists identified and quantified the amount of aflatoxins (carcinogenic) in food such as corn tortilla, rice, chili pepper, processed sauces, chicken breast and eggs, and revealed its relationship with cervical and liver cancer in humans. The research won the National Award in Food Science and Technology in the Science Professional in Foods category organized jointly by National Council of Science and Technology and the Mexican Coca-Cola Industry. It explains that both types of cancer can be originated by the ingestion of food contaminated with aflatoxins produced by the fungi Aspergilus flavus and A. parasiticus.More

Medical: Flu vaccine gets a shot of innovation in design, delivery
The Republic
Until 2003, there was only the flu shot. A needle into the arm delivered vaccine, and a couple of weeks later your immune system was primed to fight off the top three strains of influenza likely to be floating around that winter and early spring. But over the past several years, flu vaccine developers and manufacturers have been doing a lot of tinkering. They've come up with at least seven different types of vaccine and/or delivery modes.More

Capturing cancer: Liquid biopsy could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment
Phys.org
A microfluidic chip developed at the University of Michigan is among the best at capturing elusive circulating tumor cells from blood — and it can support the cells' growth for further analysis. The device, believed to be the first to pair these functions, uses the advanced electronics material graphene oxide. In clinics, such a device could one day help doctors diagnose cancers, give more accurate prognoses and test treatment options on cultured cells without subjecting patients to traditional biopsies. More

'Jekyll-and-Hyde' protein may be the key to stopping cancer metastasis
Fox News
One of the deadliest aspects of a cancerous tumor is its ability to grow and spread, assimilating and destroying healthy cells throughout the body. Controlling this lethal expansion, known as metastasis, can be a difficult endeavor. But now, researchers have revealed that a notoriously fickle protein may be the key to stopping cancer's rapid development.More

Genetic cause of childhood leukemia uncovered
Oncology Nurse Advisor
"We're in unchartered territory," said study author Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH, chief of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York. "At the very least this discovery gives us a new window into inherited causes of childhood leukemia. More immediately, testing for this mutation may allow affected families to prevent leukemia in future generations."More