Posts tagged: Cancer

Cancer and diet – how to ask the right questions

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In the panel discussion at the end of the first BioMed Central conference on Metabolism, diet and disease, the panellists confronted the overwhelming evidence for a link between obesity and cancer. The panel discussion at the second picked up where the first left off – Can cancer be prevented by diet?

The only categorical answer came from Stephen O’Keefe, starting from the epidemiology that shows a 100-fold difference in colon cancer risk between African Americans (high) and rural Africans (low). If you switch their diets – and he has done the experiment – the gut microbiota, he reports, switches within two weeks, with known carcinogens going up in the guts of the rural Africans and conversely down in African …

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A new test to predict breast cancer risk

Image credit: Danvasilis/Wikimedia Commons

A simple blood test is currently in development that could help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation, according to research published today in Genome Medicine. So what was found, and what could this mean for future cancer prevention and treatment?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and it’s highly likely you’ll know someone close to you who’s been affected by it.

My partner’s mother, soon to be my mother-in-law, was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly three years ago. What was particularly scary for all of us when we found out about her diagnosis, was that her sister had died of the same disease around …

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What’s it worth? The economic case for medical research

pound coins

This has been reposted, with kind permission from the author and the Wellcome Trust.

What’s it worth, a report published today in BMC Medicine, is one of the first ever estimates of the economic gains from investment in publicly funded UK cancer research. The research was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, Academy of Medical Sciences, Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. Liz Allen, Head of Evaluation at the Wellcome Trust, argues the case for investing in medical research…

Bill Clinton achieved a lot in the White House. He presided over the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history, he signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he was the first Democrat since FDR …

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What is cancer research worth?


A report published today in BMC Medicine has shown that for every £1 the public has spent on cancer research in the UK, 40p has been returned to the country’s economy every year following that investment. In this guest blog, Daniel Bridge of Cancer Research UK – one of the organisations that funded the research – takes a look at the findings of the report in more detail.

Today sees the launch of the joint RAND Europe, HERG and King’s College London study ‘Cancer Research: What’s It Worth’ funded by the Academy of Medical Science, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health and Wellcome Trust. The full paper is published today in …

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Recent advances in understanding breast cancer: focus on lifestyle, genes and molecular profiling


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with over a million cases diagnosed every year. Increasing evidence supports the benefits of consuming a healthy diet for preventing breast cancer incidence and maximizing the chances of recovery in patients with the disease. Last week, results from a study carried out in mice suggested that consuming a low calorie diet could stop the spread of breast cancer by strengthening tissues surrounding the tumor, and a number of different foods have been reported to modify breast cancer risk.

In an Opinion article published in BMC Medicine, Michel de Lorgeril and Patricia Salen explore the association between diet and breast cancer further, emphasizing that high …

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Cancer epigenomics and the new holy grail – turning cancer into chronic disease

DNA methylation


Genome Medicine introduces a new series on Cancer epigenomics - the first articles include an editorial from Guest Editor Stephan Beck, a comment from Christoph Bock and a Q&A from Andrew Feinberg, as well as research from Christoph Plass and colleagues.

Recently, Cancer Research UK reported that 50% of people currently diagnosed with cancer will survive for at least 10 years. This compares to just 25% in the early 1970s, when the then US President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, initiating a ‘war on cancer’ and paving the way for major national and international funding. A cure for the different types of cancer is still elusive, but the achievements of the Human Genome Project and subsequent large-scale cancer-focused …

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Less talking and more doing: the return of secondary genomic findings to patients

woman concentrating (Flickr, RelaxingMusic, CC)

A study published today in Genome Medicine describes a framework for returning ‘secondary’ or ‘incidental’ genomic findings to patients. We take a look at what the implications of this could be, both for patients and clinical researchers.

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment you’re a patient trying to decide whether to enroll in a genome sequencing project at the hospital where you’ re receiving treatment.

As part of the enrolment process it will be explained to you that information in your genome, unrelated to your disease, that might reveal you are at risk of developing another condition could be found. The so-called ‘incidental’ or ‘secondary’ genomic findings. The following questions might cross your mind: would I like to …

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Type 2 diabetes and cancer: further evidence for treating one to prevent the other


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whose prevalence has increased drastically in the past few decades, an increase which is largely attributed to an increase in levels of obesity.

It’s thought that 4 million deaths a year are related to this disease, the majority of which are due to cardiovascular complications. Recently though, cancer has also emerged as an important comorbidity to diabetes, and so appropriate diabetes control now has a key role to play in reducing the cancer burden.

It looks like at least part of the reason for this link between diabetes and cancer is hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level). There are several pathways by which it can cause an increased risk of cancer. One of the causes …

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Genome regulation: it’s the geometry, stupid!

Transcription factories (from Cope et al.)

The emerging realization that cells modify the three dimensional arrangement of DNA in order to regulate the genome is changing the way that scientists think about how and when genes are expressed. A new study in Genome Biology goes so far as to show that information about the shape of the genome is sufficient on its own to accurately classify cells according to leukemia subtype.

Traditional genomics studies have examined the genome as a linear DNA sequence. According to this viewpoint, each gene is surrounded by adjacent sequence – in particular the region of the genome immediately upstream – that regulates its expression: when the gene is turned off and on, and to what degree.

It has long been known that …

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Donating normal breast tissue – a gift to cancer researchers

Susan Clare

In this guest post, Dr Susan Clare of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and co-author of a recent paper published in Breast Cancer Research, writes about the importance of research on the ‘normal’ breast and what’s needed to allow this research to take place.

Our limited understanding of the developmental biology and genetics of normal breast tissue is a barrier to progress in understanding the causes of breast cancer and to developing successful prevention strategies and improved treatments. This oft repeated refrain is found in the periodic reviews of the state of breast cancer research and dates back at least to the NCI’s Report of the Breast Cancer Progress Review Group (1997).

Tissues banks and other initiatives mean there

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