The New Trojan Horse: Using tumor cells to kill tumors

Cancer immunotherapy exploits our immune system to kill cancerous cells. Recently, researchers have discovered a novel way to do this. They engineered cells that are programmed to die and injected them into tumor. They have successfully shown that the dying cells is able to kill tumor cells via recruitment of the immune system. This strategy might be a potential new method to improve the efficacy of current cancer immunotherapy methods. Continue reading The New Trojan Horse: Using tumor cells to kill tumors

Checks and Balances: “Unblocking” the fight against cancer

by Apurva Govande figures by Rebecca Clements The single greatest challenge of fighting cancer is that cancerous cells come from our body’s own cells. Because cancer cells are similar to healthy cells, successfully and specifically targeting cancerous cells with minimal damage to healthy cells and tissue is difficult. A major advance against cancer in the past decade, cancer immunotherapy is a therapeutic treatment that helps our own … Continue reading Checks and Balances: “Unblocking” the fight against cancer

CRISPR-Scanning Towards New Drugs — drug discovery is difficult, but CRISPR might be able to help

by Michael Vinyard figures by Nicholas Lue Most therapeutic drug candidates that are put through clinical trials fail. Given that most of these fail during early development, the cost of bringing a single drug to market is now over $2.5 billion. If we focus on cancer alone, this high cost of drug development, combined with the fact that cancer is one of the leading killers in … Continue reading CRISPR-Scanning Towards New Drugs — drug discovery is difficult, but CRISPR might be able to help

Facing Facts: Why a transmissible facial cancer is decimating Tasmanian devil populations

by Garrett Dunlap figures by Aparna Nathan Perhaps no animal is better suited to its name than the Tasmanian devil. While it might look cute and cuddly, in reality this animal is quite the opposite. With the strongest bite of any mammal and an infamous blood-curdling scream, the Tasmanian devil is a fierce and formidable creature known to attack animals many times its size. But … Continue reading Facing Facts: Why a transmissible facial cancer is decimating Tasmanian devil populations

Transposons: Your DNA that’s on the go

by Francesca Tomasi figures by Olivia Foster Rhoades Argonaut. Idéfix. Flamenco. These words invoke movement: the ancient Greek Argonauts were a band of adventurous sailors famous for their epic quests. Meanwhile, Idéfix is the name of an adventure-loving dog in the French Astérix comic book series. And finally, flamenco conjures images of vivacious dancers. You would think the similarities between Greek mythology, French comic books, and … Continue reading Transposons: Your DNA that’s on the go

Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment, using drugs to destroy cancer cells. However, cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs by developing “efflux pumps”, pumps in the cell membrane that work to actively expel the chemotherapy drugs from the tumor cells. Shana Kelley and her team in University of Toronto developed nanomaterials that can deliver drugs into cancer cells and suppress their drug resistance. … Continue reading Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

Zombie genes help eradicate elephant cancer in early stages

Let’s consider a paradox of probabilities. If all cells have the same risk of becoming cancerous, then the likelihood of developing cancer is proportional to the number of cells in an animal. This argument generally holds true for the incidence of cancer and body size for individuals within a given species. However, when comparing across different animal species, there is no constant proportionality between body … Continue reading Zombie genes help eradicate elephant cancer in early stages

Using Genetics to Fight Cancer: The pros and cons of direct-to-consumer testing

by Alyson Warr figures by Olivia Foster One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This statistic makes breast cancer the leading cancer diagnosis for women in the US. With such staggering numbers, a focus on prevention is key: how can we stop breast cancer before it starts? One way is to develop fast and convenient methods of … Continue reading Using Genetics to Fight Cancer: The pros and cons of direct-to-consumer testing

Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

by Christopher Gerry figures by Abagail Burrus A few weeks ago, a nurse took six gallons of blood out of my left arm; my body only holds about a gallon and a half of blood, so I wouldn’t be here if she had decided to keep it. The blood that was continuously returning to my right arm, however, was missing an important ingredient: peripheral blood … Continue reading Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

The Circle of Lactate: How cancer cells can reuse their own waste

by Lara Roach figures by Aparna Nathan There are trillions of cells in the human body, and each one needs nutrient molecules they can convert into energy or useful chemicals to survive, grow, and divide. Cells can get their “fuel” from a variety of sources, but the most common is the sugar glucose, which is abundant in foods like fruit and honey. When cells transform … Continue reading The Circle of Lactate: How cancer cells can reuse their own waste