Monthly Archives: September 2013

Breast cancer linked to teen drinking?

FemaleWhile studies in the past have shown that alcohol can definitely be a factor in the development of breast cancer, recent research has found that women who started drinking at a younger age were 34% more likely to develop the disease than non-drinkers. 34%! That’s huge!

This study found this trend in women who consumed an average of one drink a day or more in the decade following the onset of their menstrual cycles. Women who started drinking at a young age and conceived their first child at a later age were at an even higher risk.

While the reasons for this aren’t quite understood yet, it seems that the amount of alcohol consumed before a woman becomes pregnant for the first time can really make a big difference in a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. More investigation is certainly warranted, but in the meanwhile, this new research may give your daughters an even better reason to avoid underage drinking and excessive alcohol consumption. 

Read more here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/active/10272121/Teen-drinking-among-girls-increases-chance-of-breast-cancer-by-one-third.html

Breast cancer hope from an osteoporosis drug?

Heart framing on woman chest with pink badge to support breast cAn osteoporosis drug has been shown to stop the growth of breast cancer cells in both animal and cell culture studies! Bazedoxifene, a drug approved in Europe for osteoporosis treatment, was successful at inhibiting growth in breast cancer cells- even in cancer cells that proved to be resistant to the two most commonly used drugs currently used in breast cancer treatment (tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors). A variety of breast cancer cell types were tested, with promising initial results. And there is definitely a benefit in re-purposing a drug that is already on the market- bazedoxifene could be approved for use as a breast cancer treatment much sooner than drugs in early testing phases. Read more here:

http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/osteoporosis-drug-stops-growth-of-breast-cancer-cells-even-in-resistant-tumors

Who are the people and animals behind the cures?

jenstoryThis is Jen. She is a researcher- and breast cancer survivor- who studies breast cancer in animals. Because of Jen, and researchers like her, you and your sister, mother, and daughter can have HOPE. Jen is a breast cancer survivor because of animal research, and her work and the work of other researchers allows the number of cancer survivors to grow each and every year.

Are you a survivor? Do you have a loved one who has beaten cancer? Please know that a cure would not be possible without these brilliant researchers and wonderful animals. Take a minute to watch a part of Jen’s story below- I hope it will give you a new appreciation for the work behind the scenes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAkq2wtE4VA

Video from the Foundation for Biomedical Research

Obesity: “Little” girls more susceptible?

iStock_000001306071XSmallIf your daughter is on the low end of the birth weight curve, it may not be a good idea to encourage her to ‘catch up’ to get within the normal curve. A surprising new study, perfomed at Baylor College of Medicine, showed that female mice who were growth-restricted in utero (and thus born at a lower birth rate) were more prone to obesity as adults. After realizing this, researchers looked at historical reports of people born in famine conditions (growth-restricted early in life) and found that these women were more likely to be obese. This trend was not seen in males.

It seems that the reason for this is not over-eating later in life, but lack of activity. From an evolutionary sense, growth-restricted females may be more likely to conserve energy for future bearing of children. As there are millions of babies born each year with low birth weights- and obesity is certainly a growing problem worldwide- this study might prompt pediatricians to rethink their recommendations to moms with small little girls. While further research will yield more information, in the meanwhile, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that your little ones are getting plenty of exercise and learning healthy habits at a young age!

Check it out:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/bcom-ek080713.php

What do you think?

Children’s cancer needs big attention!

iStock_000006901657XSmallIn 2012, it was estimated that over 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. Only about 12,000 of those cases were children. While in many ways, it’s good that childhood cancer isn’t more prevalent, it’s not all good news, because children’s cancer is considered to be a rare disease and does not get the funding needed to develop the number of drugs and treatments that become available each year for adults.

Only about 4% of NIH’s funding is dedicated to children’s cancer research. So when you factor in sequestration and budget cuts, funding is cut to a critical point. 700 fewer research grants will be funded this year. The number of people who are able to participate in clinical trials is sliced in half at many institutions. Research projects will be outsourced overseas- to the lowest bidders- to countries where quality control may be compromised.

Take a few minutes to watch this beautiful video, dedicated to children who have lost their battles with cancer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G48EsEMobp4

It hits hard, doesn’t it? Looking at these little angels who have lost this fight makes us sad- and angry- and it SHOULD make us want to DO something! So what can YOU do? Follow this link via the American Cancer Society to tell Congress to INCREASE funding for cancer research! http://www.acscan.org/research/ Let’s do everything we can to make sure that children suffering from cancer can blow out another set of birthday candles. Will you share this story? Will you make a difference?

Information from:

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/06/21/how-the-sequester-hurts-cancer-patients

http://www.cancer.org/

 

Cat and mouse games raise eyebrows… and questions!

Katz und MausMice infected with Toxoplasma gondii (a parasite found in cat feces that is especially dangerous to pregnant women) lose their fear of cats- researchers have known that for years. But new research suggests that the loss of fear of cats is a permanent behavioral change for these mice, even after the parasite is completely out of their systems.

It’s an amusing image that comes to mind- mice, unafraid of cats?

But on a serious note, this discovery has more important implications than the possibility of a dramatic reduction in the mouse population. By proving that there are permanent changes to the disposition of the mouse, even after the parasite infection is long gone, it raises the question as to whether or not this is an isolated phenomenon. If you go to the doctor and take a medication to rid yourself of an illness, even if you believe you are fully recovered, are there lingering effects that you might not know about?

Thanks to the mice for a heads-up… I think more research is warranted on this one!

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37541/title/The-Ultimate-Game-of-Cat-and-Mouse/

Cancer treatments: Can cutting calories improve effectiveness?

iStock_small pastaNew research suggests that restricting calories may improve the success of certain cancer treatments.

When studying mouse models of human cancer, the mice that were calorie-restricted while receiving cancer treatment lived for much longer than the mice receiving cancer treatments alone!

When we eat, our bodies metabolize the food and then produce energy that assists in protein building. Limiting the production of certain proteins could be beneficial in some cases- specifically, proteins linked to cancer!

This is significant, because not only could this be a relatively easy way for patients to increase their chances of survival, but it could also lead to new research that could identify specific aspects of our diets that may be able to increase cancer cells’ sensitivity to treatment. Check it out!

http://www.hematology.org/News/2013/10958.aspx

Copperheads curing cancer?

CopperheadVenomous snakes, while usually beautiful, aren’t really the kind of animals that come to mind when we think of “animals helping people.” But researchers are discovering that proteins in snake venom could be extremely effective as cancer treatments!

To put it as simply as possible, cancer cells are problematic because they spread through the bloodstream, attach to new sites in the body, and signal new blood vessels to grow and supply them with nutrients.

Snake venom, on the other hand, is problematic because it prevents clotting and disrupts the nervous system. But it turns out that in addition to preventing clotting (by preventing platelets from attaching together), copperhead venom proteins also prevent cancer cells from attaching to other cells. AND- research showed that the venom also prevented cancer cells from signaling new blood vessel growth! In mouse studies, these proteins were very successful in preventing the spread of cancer cells.

The next step will be testing this protein compound on women with breast cancer. And don’t think it stops there- read more about the potential for snake venom to treat stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s patients. Rattlesnakes, pit vipers, mambas- the amazing research taking place is yet another reason to be in awe of these beautiful animals!

http://science.education.nih.gov/animalresearch.nsf/Story1/Making+Medicines+from+Poisonous+Snakes

Stem cells may bring hope to burn victims

skin gunThis is awesome- stem cells are taken from a burn patient’s healthy skin, put into solution, and then sprayed onto damaged skin with the “skin gun.” This technique is still experimental but has shown amazing results! Just another example of research saving lives. Follow the link to the National Geographic video below!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXO_ApjKPaI

Clinical trials: YOU can save a life!

iStock_000004456709MediumAre you suffering from a disease or illness? Do you have a friend or loved one who is? The answer, I’m sure, is yes. Have you ever wanted to help others with your condition, but didn’t know how? Clinical trials are extremely important parts of the drug discovery and treatment process. By joining a clinical trial, YOU can make a HUGE difference! And it’s so easy to get involved!

In a clinical trial, participants may take part in studies where they receive a new drug, medical procedure, or other treatment. A trial might compare two drugs that are already on the market to find out which is more effective, or it might compare a new drug to an existing drug or a placebo. Some trials need simple involvement, like a one-time blood sample from a patient suffering from a certain kind of cancer, and some studies are more involved. Others simply need information about the treatment you are currently using and its effectiveness.

Visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ to see what’s out there! Make a choice to find out if there is a clinical trial you can participate in that could help yourself as well as others.