Inside Cancer

Inside Cancer Homepage Feature

Evaluating our DNALC Inside Cancer website

Every multimedia developer is from time‐to‐time faced with the difficult question from a board member, critic or funding body: “This program is all very nice, but can you prove it actually helps students to learn?”

This year, we found the answer.

As part of my job as a producer at the DNA Learning Center, I evaluate our suite of resources, including websites, teacher training workshops and apps. We recently completed the evaluation of our cancer biology website, Inside Cancer, which included conducting experiments in 2010–11 to see if the site improves student learning in genetics and cancer biology.

There is increasing pressure on More >

Doctor and Patient

Cancer Overtreatment. When the solution is worse than the problem.

We often focus on cancers that are lethal, and especially those that can’t be treated, and for obvious reasons. This week, the National Institutes of Health addressed a different concern- that sometimes a cancer that isn’t life threatening is best left alone. In this case, it is prostate cancer, which affects about 30 to 40 percent of men over 50. About 240,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer a year, and over 30,000 die of the disease – so it is far from being rare or harmless for many. However, over half of prostate cancers are localized and many will More >

Adapted from Xie, et al.

Designer Biology in the Fight against Cancer

As many of you know and I have discussed before, cancer therapies have to target cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal cells. This is very difficult, in part because cancer cells are, although altered, still human cells. Synthetic biology is a new field that engineers biological systems for different applications. One interesting area where synthetic biology is now being applied is to cancer therapies. One advantage is that it may be possible to engineer sensors that can differentiate normal cells from tumor cells.

Early approaches have used engineering to create bacteria that specifically invade tumor cells. In one approach, bacteria More >

The fastest sneeze on record if 115 mph!

The Upside of Allergies

Are you one of those unfortunate souls who suffers from allergies? Do you shudder at the thought of spring time, with all its budding flowers, new growth and pollen flying through the air? Can’t visit Aunty Annie’s house because of the cat dander? Have to ask the ingredients of every cookie for traces of nuts, eggs, or wheat?

Well you may actually be one of the lucky ones! Your immune system’s sensitivity may be protecting you from contracting brain cancer.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago asked over 1,000 hospital patients about their allergy histories. Astonishingly, patients who had high-grade More >

A Prize and a Passing

As some of you may have noticed, I have blogged about pancreatic cancer in the past because it is such a nasty type of cancer. Now, pancreatic cancer is in the news because, sadly, Ralph M. Steinman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his ground-breaking work on the immune system, died before he could receive the Award. Dr. Steinman primarily worked on immune cells, but his work also touched on cancer. The immune system monitors the body for both foreign invaders, like bacterial infections, and rogue cells that might become cancerous. The immune system is More >