Synthetic biology approaches to improving immunotherapy

0000-0003-0319-5416 The AACR 2018 Meeting in Chicago is ending today and has featured the major new results in cancer treatment and immunotherapy treatments in particular. Immunotherapy, the use of the patient’s own immune system to

7 Ways to ‘Be Gutsy’ this March!

Let’s face it: your colon isn’t exactly a dinner party topic. It takes a lot of guts to bring up colorectal cancer—to your parents, your spouse, your doctor, your friends. Don’t be afraid to pipe up about the second-leading cancer killer of both men and women, because it’s proven that simple steps save lives.

Here’s how you can Be Gutsy for colorectal cancer prevention:

  1. Digest some information. CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign gives you the lowdown on what colorectal cancer is and who can get it. (Hint: it’s anybody, but there are ways to lower your risk.) You can hear celebrities like Meryl Streep share how colorectal cancer has affected their lives, share graphics and facts, and even test your knowledge with a quiz.
  2. Get yourself a little screen time. Be famous for smart choices—there are lots of different screening tests for colorectal cancer. Most colorectal cancer cases happen in people 50 and older, so if you’re between 50 and 75 years old, experts say you should be screened. Remember, the best test is the one that gets done!
  3. Go history hunting. Some people are at higher-than-average risk for colorectal cancer. If you or a family member has had it before, you could be at risk. You’re also more likely to get it if you have an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s or certain genetic illnesses. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened.
  4. Trust your gut. The point of recommended colorectal screening is finding growths called polyps that can turn into cancer if left alone. But if you’re having symptoms like stomach pains or weight loss for no reason, or if you see blood when you use the bathroom, talk to your doctor. Other problems than cancer can cause these symptoms, too.
  5. Scale it back. Here’s one a lot of Americans still don’t know: being overweight or obese is associated with at least 13 different types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. Healthy eating and physical activity help keep weight down and lower risk.
  6. If you drink, think. Drinking too much alcohol can cause your health to take a hit. That includes a higher risk of colorectal and other cancers, as well as other problems that might come up now or later in life.
  7. Quit for quality of life. Cigarette smoking can cause colorectal cancer and other cancers outside the lungs. If you smoke, you can cut your cancer risk by quitting now. You’ll do friends and family a favor, too, by keeping them away from damaging secondhand smoke.

You have the tools and know-how to lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Be Gutsy and spread the word!

A neuron’s eye view, recovering from intestinal cleanout, and models of cancer cell line metabolism

0000-0002-8715-2896 A neuron’s eye view, recovering from intestinal cleanout, and models of cancer cell line metabolism   post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above Check out our highlights from the PLOS Computational Biology August issue: A systems

Explore and analyze mutagenic factors leading to tumors with MutaGene, a novel resource

MutaGene is a new, freely available resource for understanding the mutagenic factors contributing to tumor development. Cancer arises from multiple changes in the DNA that can be caused by various extrinsic factors, such as sunlight and tobacco smoking, and intrinsic … Continue reading

Questions about GTR, ClinVar, or MedGen? Ask us at ASCO 2017!

NCBI will be exhibiting at the ASCO Annual Meeting 2017 from June 2-6. Exhibit Hall Booth #3046 ASCO attendees can get navigation tips and hands-on help with GTR and ClinVar submissions, take handout materials and meet with Adriana Malheiro, MS* … Continue reading

Engineering a Solution to Cancer

Catholic Laneby Steven Burgess I was stunned when I entered the hospice room. A shriveled, elderly woman sat in the corner, her tiny frame emphasized by the oversize chair that held her. It was hard to

The Enduring Need for Cancer Treatment

INFOGRAFIC_twitter-slice_aim-burden-640x320Danielle Rodin is a Radiation Oncology Resident at the University of Toronto and co-founded the group GlobalRT, which is a group of young professionals dedicated to improving the availability and accessibility of radiation therapy resources

5 Things You Might Not Know About Human Papillomavirus

Portrait Of Grandmother With Daughter And Granddaughter

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that infects both women and men. Although most HPV infections go away on their own, infections that don’t go away (persist) can cause changes in the cells and lead to cancer. With HPV vaccine, we have a powerful tool to prevent most of these cancers from ever developing.

While cervical cancer is the most common and well-known HPV cancer, it’s not the only type of cancer HPV infections can cause. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of that, here are five things you might not know about HPV.

HPV infections cause cancers other than cervical cancer.HPV facts

HPV infections can cause

  • cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;
  • cancer of the penis in men;
  • and cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx) in men and women.

Every year in the United States, 27,000 women and men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV infection—that’s a new case of cancer every 20 minutes.

HPV vaccination age is recommended at ages 11 or 12.

HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys (ages 11-12) to protect against cancer-causing HPV infections before they are exposed to the virus. HPV vaccination provides the best protection when given at the recommended ages of 11-12.

Mom and Kid and NurseScreening isn’t an alternative to HPV vaccination.

Every year, 4,000 women in the U.S. die from cervical cancer—even with routine screening and treatment. There is no routine screening test for the other cancers HPV causes. Many of those HPV cancers are not discovered until they are late stage or invasive and can be very painful, disfiguring, and even deadly.

That’s why it’s so important for girls and boys to get the full HPV vaccine series. HPV vaccines are given as a series of three shots over six months. Women who have had the HPV vaccine should still start getting screened for cervical cancer when they reach age 21.

HPV vaccination also prevents invasive testing and treatment for “precancers.”

Every year in the U.S., more than 300,000 women endure invasive testing and treatment for changes in the cells (lesions) on the cervix that can develop into cancers. Testing and treatment for these “precancers” can cause lasting problems such as cervical instability which can lead to preterm labor and preterm birth. HPV vaccination protects against the types of HPV that cause the majority of the cervical cancers and precancers.

HPV vaccination is protecting children from HPV disease.

In the four years after the vaccine was recommended in 2006, the amount of HPV infections among teen girls in the U.S. dropped by more than half. Also, fewer young women are being diagnosed with cervical precancer caused by HPV infections. HPV vaccination is critical to protecting the next generation against cancers caused by HPV infections.

Cancer Drivers, Protein Complex Prediction, and Crawling and Gliding Cells: the PLOS Comp Biol October Issue

crawler-690x320Cancer Drivers, Protein Complex Prediction, and Crawling and Gliding Cells: the PLOS Comp Biol October Issue   post-info Here are our highlights from October’s PLOS Computational Biology: A Pan-Cancer Catalogue of Cancer Driver Protein Interaction

Processed meat causes colorectal cancer

4430743342_f20ec33ccc_o-150x150Yesterday, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified processed meat as a cause of cancer in humans (‘carcinogenic to humans’, a Group 1 carcinogen) and red meat as a probable cause of cancer