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

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

Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease

by Michael Vinyard figures by Jovana Andrejevic and Michael Vinyard Why do we have cures and medicines for some diseases but not others? Surprisingly, it is not because we cannot make the medicines; it is because we do not know enough about the diseases that need new medicines. To span the chasm between understanding the biology of a disease and successfully treating patients, we must foster … Continue reading Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease

Immunotherapy, with a Side of Poo: How gut microbes influence cancer treatment

by Katherine J. Wu figures by Neal Atsuka Are we flushing the next big cancer treatment down the toilet? Probably not – but the contents of our feces could very well be influencing how our bodies respond to cancer drugs. As it turns out, everybody poops – and everybody poops more than poop. I’m talking, of course, about the gut microbiota – the enormous collection … Continue reading Immunotherapy, with a Side of Poo: How gut microbes influence cancer treatment

Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

by Cathy Gutierrez figures by Lillian Horin “The history of cancer vaccines is a history of failure.” This is the leading sentence of a 2005 article that summarized the history of cancer vaccines. Cancer vaccines have long been the Holy Grail of cancer research. For centuries, scientists have been devising ways to train the body to destroy tumors. Despite the success of early preventive cancer … Continue reading Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Developing cancer drugs is challenging. Often, scientists will find a drug that kills cancer cells in a petri dish but fails to act on an actual tumor. Ravid Straussman from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Todd Golub from Harvard Medical School think that in situ, bacteria can protect cancer cells from drugs. To test their theory, Staussman and Golub mixed some healthy skin cells with cells from a … Continue reading Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?

Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly brain cancers because it is nearly impossible to destroy the cause of the cancer: cancerous stem cells. However, scientists are using Zika’s preference for stem cells to target and eliminate the cancerous stem cells in adults. The preliminary study shows the viability of this method, but more thorough research and a PR campaign may be necessary before Zika treatments for brain cancer can become standard protocol. Continue reading Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?