Tag: cancer

Blog Posts (12)

September 22, 2014

Tobacco is Taking Over the World!

We’ve done a lot of things in the United States over the last few decades to curb tobacco consumption. We’ve warned people cigarettes will kill them, created persuasive ad campaigns to scare people away from cigarettes, and added a hefty … Continue reading
April 25, 2014

Artistic Inquiry: Screening of “Decoding Annie Parker”

BEI Young Professionals member Betsy Campbell covers artful media around the world that touches upon topics in bioethics. The 2013 Drama Decoding Annie Parker tells the story of a major 20th century genetic discovery — that cancer can have a genetic link. The film is based on the true story of a cancer survivor, Annie […]
February 18, 2014

Health Insurance Execs Watch Patient Battle Cancer

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

The Moral Failure of HPV Vaccination

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

Is Hope a Culprit in Cancer Clinical Trials?

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

Skin Cancer, Your Hairdresser and You

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

Drug Shortages Hurt Man....and His Best Friend

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

The (In)Justice of Cancer Treatment

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

Icarus, again: Adversity in another Gene Transfer Trial

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 announceda 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

What's It Like to Be a Middle Aged Guinea Pig?

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.…

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Published Articles (3)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 12 - Dec 2011

Forfeited Health: Response to Open Peer Commentaries on "What's Wrong With Chemoprevention of Prostate Cancer?"

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 12 - Dec 2011

What's Wrong With Chemoprevention of Prostate Cancer?

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 8 Issue 6 - Jun 2008

Waiting to be Born: The Ethical Implications of the Generation of NUBorn and NUAge Mice from Pre-Pubertal Ovarian Tissue

News (11)

January 29, 2014 3:25 pm

Antioxidants including vitamin E can promote lung cancer: study

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

Cancer risk gene testing announced

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

Cancers Share Gene Patterns, Studies Affirm

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

Unique study reveals genetic 'spelling mistakes' that increase the risk of common cancers

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

Breast cancer among young women increasing (L.A. Times)

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

DNA pioneer James Watson takes aim at "cancer establishments" (Reuters)

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

N.C. Woman With Stage 4 Cancer Fights Foreclosure (ABC News)

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

2 California neurosurgeons banned from human research (Sacramento Bee)

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

Woman files lawsuit charging transplanted organ was cancerous (Chicago Sun-Times)

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

Bioethicist complains that the rich are getting breakthrough cancer treatments first (Reason by Ronald Bailey)

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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