Cigarette smoke cannot only cause cancer, but it’s also responsible for the spread of it, according to research by UC Merced biochemistry Professor Henry Jay Forman.
Forman discovered tobacco smoke activates an enzyme - called Src - that causes cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body. The study will appear in the April 15 edition of Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
Cigarette smoke is the major cause of lung cancer, Forman said, but nearly half of lung cancer patients remain active smokers. Nonetheless, researchers haven’t understood how cigarette smoke causes cancer to metastasize.
The lab was also able to prevent cigarette smoke from activating the enzyme by introducing an antioxidant. Forman’s discovery could prove useful in the fight against cancer, as it creates more understanding on how it spreads and how antioxidants can help combat this.
Malaria continues to be a major disease worldwide, but while funding projects are working hard to improve malaria prevention it is difficult to measure how effective these interventions are. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Malaria Journal has used a Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model to show that the increase in funding for the prevention of malaria has prevented 850,000 child deaths in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across Africa.
According to the WHO, malaria caused an estimated 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children. They estimate that a child dies every minute due to malaria in Africa. Deaths which are unnecessary, because malaria is both preventable and curable. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of sick children, simple solutions to prevent the diseases like insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITN) and malaria prevention during pregnancy, (IPTp), have all been shown to reduce the number of deaths due to malaria. Initiatives like Roll Back Malaria, set up in 1998, aim to reduce child mortality due to malaria by two thirds, by 2015, using large scale implementation of these simple solutions.
Researchers from USA at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the WHO and the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), used the LiST model to investigate the impact of malaria prevention in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is endemic. The team, led by Dr Thomas Eisele, based their model on UN estimates of malaria deaths over the year 2000 and future population growth, the effectiveness of ITNs and IPTp in preventing child deaths, and the number of households using ITN to protect their children.
Researchers have developed multiple techniques and procedures to detect cancer cells during the earliest stages of the disease or after treatment. But one of the major limitations of these technologies is their inability to detect the presence of only a few cancer cells.
Now, a research collaboration between the University of Missouri-Columbia and Mexico’s Universidad de Guanajuato shows that pulsed photoacoustic techniques, which combine the high optical contrast of optical tomography with the high resolution of ultrasound, can do just that, in vitro. Most cancer cells are naturally elusive, so they used a photoacoustic enhancer to detect them.
New developments are necessary, the researchers say, to be able to properly use photoacoustic techniques to recognize different cancer cell types inside the human body or in blood or tissue samples.
In search of a different perspective on the physics of cancer, Princeton University and University of California, San Francisco researchers teamed up to use game theory to look for simplicity within the complexity of the dynamics of cooperator and cheater cells under metabolic stress conditions and high spatial heterogeneity. In the context of cancer, cooperator cells obey the general rules of communal survival, while cheater cells do not.
The ultimate goal of this research was to gain an understanding of the dynamics of cancer tumor evolution under stress. Since cancer can be likened to a community of bacteria, the researchers zeroed in on a simple bacterial model to examine the progression of resistance to drugs under high competition and stress conditions.
Among their key findings: they discovered emergent cooperative outcomes between the two cell types after modifying their game theory framework to account for heterogeneous stress patterns.