While 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:
An 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:
This 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!
Video from the Foundation for Biomedical Research
Venomous 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!
The human lymphatic system
Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland have discovered that a protein called IL-7 (a protein that regulates T-cells and is important in immune defense) could possibly be the answer to a treatment for lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that is caused by impaired lymphatic system function. Breast cancer treatment is the most common cause of lymphedema in the U.S. (tumor removal often damages lymph tissue and vessels), but it also has other causes, including parasite infection. Characterized by swelling in the extremities, currently there is no treatment or cure for lymphedema, and patients must rely on physical therapy and compression of the affected extremity to relieve symptoms. In mouse studies, mice with functioning IL-7 receptors were shown to have much better lymphatic drainage than mice that were modified to lack a functioning IL-7 receptor. Mice with increased production of IL-7 showed an increase in lymphatic drainage, and normal, healthy mice given the protein also showed an improvement in lymphatic drainage function. Researchers can now use these findings to develop new experiments to possibly create a treatment with IL-7 that could either help prevent lymphedema or treat existing lymphedema. Is it is estimated that 140-250 million people are affected worldwide by lymphedema, so a potential for a new treatment is very encouraging. Even more encouraging is the fact that IL-7 is already being tested in clinical trials for other indications, so if further research shows promise, a treatment could be closer than you might think!