Blog Posts (11)
April 14, 2014
[Los Angeles Times] For nearly two decades, Barbara Garnaus maintained a modest, delicate life balance: keeping her part-time Orange County school district job and juggling her bills and credit card debt. Now 63, living alone, she counts every dollar, has no cellphone and commutes an hour in traffic so she can keep an affordable apartment […]
February 18, 2014
This story from The Onion, which is a parodic source of "news," is really funny.What makes it especially funny is that it's so far-removed from the truth. Really. Far-removed. Really. I swear. Hardly true at all.
January 15, 2013
Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
Among the greatest failures in American public health—and the list is a long one—is the rise in the incidence of cervical cancer. …
February 10, 2012
A recent study conducted by Emory University School of Medicine found that therapeutic misconception is alive and well in Phase I cancer research.…
October 19, 2011
Public health experts are arguing to enlist an unlikely set of professionals in the fight against and early detection of skin cancer.…
August 11, 2011
When a reproductive oncologist in our clinical ethics certificate program did a presentation on drug shortages in oncology last month, I thought perhaps this was just a highly specialized problem.…
June 6, 2011
It is striking the juxtaposition of the two major headlines today regarding cancer treatment:
“Cancer costs put treatments out of reach for many”
“Drug to treat breast cancer may help prevent it“.…
November 29, 2010
Two weeks ago brought good news and bad news for gene transfer. First the good news. New England Journal of Medicine beatified a new gene transfer strategy for Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome (WAS). WAS is a primary immunodeficiency that primarily affects boys. It is thus in the same family of disorders that have been, in varying degrees, successfully addressed using retroviral gene transfer. Like other immunodeficiencies, this represents relatively low hanging fruit for an approach like gene transfer, because scientists can access and target stem cells, and because corrected cells should be at a selective advantage for survival compared with uncorrected cells.
The NEJM article reported clinical, functional, and molecular outcomes for two boys in a trial based in Germany. Briefly the two boys were given a type of chemotherapy (in order to make space for genetically corrected cells), and then transplanted with “corrected” blood stem cells. The corrected blood stem cells contained a viral vector similar to those used in previous gene transfer trials of primary immune deficiency. The team saw: 1) stable levels of genetically corrected stem cells that expressed the WAS protein (indicating the genetically modified cells “took,” and produced WAS; 2) recovery of the function of a variety of immune cells; 3) reduction of disease symptoms, including improvement of eczema, and reduced severity of infections.
The article exhaustively ruled out events that have occurred in other, similar gene transfer trials in which children developed leukemias from the vector. Now the bad news. The same day NEJM published the results, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (the largest professional society devoted to gene transfer) released a statement saying that the German team just announced “a serious adverse event in a gene therapy trial for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS)”- one of the ten children in the German trial developed a leukemia.
And so continues the saga of gene transfer: three steps forward, one back. (photo credit: vk-red 2009)
April 17, 2009
If you want to know, read the L.A. Times Booster Shots post which recounts Rosie Mestel’s recent experience volunteering for a cancer epidemiology study.…
October 29, 2008
News reports say that researchers from the John Innes Center in the UK have grown a potentially cancer-preventing tomato. These tomatoes genetically altered to grow with the dark purple pigment anthocyanin are hoped to either prevent or reduce the effects of a number of chronic diseases including cancer.…
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January 29, 2014 3:25 pm
Antioxidants do not protect against cancer in healthy people and may increase it or promote it in those who already do.
May 29, 2013 12:06 pm
A pioneering programme to test cancer patients for nearly 100 risk genes is to start in London and could represent the future of treatment in the NHS.
May 2, 2013 4:13 pm
Scientists have discovered that the most dangerous cancer of the uterine lining closely resembles the worst ovarian and breast cancers.
March 28, 2013 4:49 pm
More than 80 genetic ‘spelling mistakes’ that can increase the risk of breast, prostate and ovarian cancer have been found in a large, international research study within the framework of the EU Network COGS.
February 27, 2013 5:38 pm
The rate of advanced breast cancer for U.S. women 25 to 39 years old nearly doubled from 1976 to 2009, a difference too great to be a matter of chance, a study finds.
January 9, 2013 2:38 pm
A day after an exhaustive national report on cancer found the United States is making only slow progress against the disease, one of the country’s most iconic – and iconoclastic – scientists weighed in on “the war against cancer.” And he does not like what he sees.
September 20, 2012 8:42 pm
When Kirk Davis of Mount Holly, N.C., describes his wife’s cancer and subsequent treatment, he never says it was “her” diagnosis or chemo. He says “we were diagnosed with breast cancer” on June 2, 2008. The diagnosis, which was followed by medical bills and both having to take pay cuts, led to the Davis’ struggle to save their home from a scheduled foreclosure in December. Cindi Davis, 50, had to resign from her job as a school teacher to go on long-term disability. She said she has stage four cancer, now that it has spread to her lymph nodes, lungs and liver.
July 23, 2012 12:16 pm
The actions described by two prominent bioethicists as “astonishing,” and a “major penalty” for the school threaten both the doctors’ professional careers and the university’s reputation and federal-funding status. “This is really distressing” said Patricia Backlar, an Oregon bioethicist who served on President Bill Clinton’s national bioethics advisory commission. “UC Davis is a very respectable school, but even the best places have trouble,” Backlar said. “These men have put that school in jeopardy.”
July 11, 2012 6:53 pm
It was supposed to be a life-changing organ transplant. But the pancreas given to patient Rashia Wimley at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the summer of 2008 was cancerous, a lawsuit filed Monday alleges. Now Wimley, 39, says she’s been diagnosed with cancer as a result. Her lawsuit alleges the doctor who performed the transplant, the University of Chicago and the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network all acted carelessly and negligently by giving her the diseased organ.
July 10, 2012 12:30 pm
Ethicists ask whether those with money and connections should have options far out of reach for most patients before such treatments become a normal part of medicine. And will people of more limited means be tempted to bankrupt their families in pursuit of a cure at the far edges?
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