Role of activating mutation in potentiating cancer

Article in Nature, Vol. 539, 10 November 2016, pp. 304, “Leukaemogenic effects of Ptpn11 activating mutations in the stem cell microenvironment”   Summary of article: Effect of the postulated activating mutation, Ptpn11, on leukaemia was investigated in genetically altered mice harbouring the mutation.   Link to the original article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27783593   Category: cancer, biochemistry, developmental … More Role of activating mutation in potentiating cancer

Inability to predict cancer risk through mathematical modelling

Perspective article in Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1266-1267, “Genes, environment, and “bad luck”   Summary of article: Multiple papers have used mathematical modelling to simulate cancer risk profile at the population level with varying success. Specifically, attempts have been made in correlating cancer stem cell division number with cancer risk; however, can we … More Inability to predict cancer risk through mathematical modelling

Single cell RNA sequencing for understanding the lineage of cancer cells

Article in Nature, Vol. 539, 10 November 2016, pp. 309, “Single-cell RNA-seq supports a developmental hierarchy in human oligodendroglioma”   Summary of article: Single cell RNA sequencing of cancer cells from human oligodendroglioma reveals hierarchical development pathway in the cancer; thereby, opening up the technique for use in profiling the developmental pathway and lineage traversed … More Single cell RNA sequencing for understanding the lineage of cancer cells

Microfluidics in biomedical science technology feature

Technology feature in Nature, Vol. 545, 25 May 2017, pp.511-514, “The making of a medical microchip”   Summary of article: A good overview of the use of microfluidics technology in medical diagnosis and point of care detection of etiological agents. Specifically, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based microfluidics technology was featured and its use in many areas of … More Microfluidics in biomedical science technology feature

The arduous process of drug discovery and development

Drug development is a continuous process. Specifically, there will always be drugs in preclinical development and more advanced ones in clinical trials. These medicines are typically exorbitant in cost due to a variety of reasons, the most important of which is their small production volume coupled with the need to recoup the hefty investment needed … More The arduous process of drug discovery and development

Transmissible cancer in marine bivalves: Implications for mode of transmission of cancer

With their rapid growth rate and need for nutrition, cancer cells move as they seek new niches for nutrients and space for colony expansion. Thus far, the most well studied invasive mechanism for cancer cells is metastasis, where a cancer cell from a primary tumour migrate, through the bloodstream, to a new site suitable for … More Transmissible cancer in marine bivalves: Implications for mode of transmission of cancer

Explaining checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy

Checkpoint inhibitors are one class of potent drugs currently in clinical trials for use in cancer immunotherapy approaches for cancer treatment. But, their mode of operation and underlying concept is more difficult to understand compared to other classes of immunotherapy for cancer such as chimeric antigen receptor engineered T cells (CART).   Specifically, checkpoint inhibitors … More Explaining checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy

Autoimmune reactions of cancer immunotherapy

Harnessing the potency and specificity of the immune system in fighting cancer, cancer immunotherapy drugs have been shown, in many clinical trials, to significantly reduce the size of both liquid (i.e., blood) and solid tumours. However, relatively little is reported on the potential side effects of the treatment where antibodies release the brakes on the … More Autoimmune reactions of cancer immunotherapy

News articles introducing cancer immunotherapy

Here are a couple of news articles in the New York Times describing the basis for cancer immunotherapy and how initial trials of the treatment approach has helped patients in need for a last resort treatment as well as potential concerns such as the massive uncontrolled proliferation of immune cells brought about by the approach. … More News articles introducing cancer immunotherapy

Immunotherapy: a new approach to treating cancer

I will start off this blog with a brief note on a new direction for cancer treatment: cancer immunotherapy. Briefly, common treatments for cancer use a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy to remove or shrink a tumor. But, a key problem for cancer treatment is the recurrence of tumor formation months or years … More Immunotherapy: a new approach to treating cancer