Anti-Angiogenesis - Stopping the blood supp

There is a recent TED talk discussing how eating certain foods can prevent tumours from attracting a blood supply and growing.  As with many things in science, the reality is not that simple, thousands of labs all over the world are working on treatments that aim to stop tumours attracting their own blood supply [...]

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Does asparagus cure cancer? Nope.

My Dad forwarded me an email called “read the contents below and pass to your friends”.  The gist of it was that aspargus can cure cancer.  It gives three case studies of people with different types of cancer who were cured by eating asparagus and cites a study done in 1979 that I can’t [...]

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Science Links

I’ve come across a few good science links lately, if you know of any more feel free to leave a comment below.

Naturally Obsessed – The Making of a Scientist.

This is a one hour documentary about how scientific research works. It follows 3 people in the lab of Dr Lawrence Shapiro in New [...]

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Breast Cancer in the News

There have been several interesting stories about new research into breast cancer.  Firstly, a local one that I whole heartedly agree with, is a study at Aberdeen University to look at how Vitamin D levels might affect breast cancer.  We get most of our vitamin D from the sun (and a bit from oily [...]

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Fashion in Science

Fashions come and go in science as they do in any other industry. New experiments are “trendy” and “hot” and are soon replaced by the next big thing. If you don’t work in science, it’s easy to think that science should be rational and above such petty concerns, but the life science industry is [...]

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Cancer Research - Highlights and Opportunities

I’d like to draw your attention to a video on YouTube about cancer research. It is produced by the American Association of Cancer Research and it is in part, an advert for the American Association of Cancer Research and (the US) National Cancer Institute. Most of the statistics relate to research in America, however, [...]

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Kidney Cancer News and Resources

A few things have caught my interest this week, including this research on kidney cancer. A very early study has shown that two proteins in your urine (called aquaporin-1 and adipophilin) may act as markers of kidney cancer. This study only looked at 42 people with kidney cancer, so it will need to be [...]

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Is there any point in eating fruit and veg?

This week, there have been many news reports saying “Five-a-day has little impact on cancer” and “Five fruit and veg a day won’t keep cancer away”. This is a result of new research, published by in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, you can read the study in all it’s glory here “Fruit [...]

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Breast Cancer and Exposure to Chemicals at Work

There have been several news reports about how exposure to certain chemicals at work, before you are 36, increases your chances of getting breast cancer when you are older.  There is a video summary of this research at Insider Medicine, called “Work exposure to certain chemicals increases breast cancer risk“  You can also read [...]

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The Human Genome - Still more to learn...

There is a nice feature in Wired magazine about “The Genome Revolution”, it is ten years since all the genes in a human were first mapped.  The article is called “10 years on ‘the genome revolution is only just beginning‘”.  There are a few quotes in the article that particularly struck me

The Human [...]

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Seroxat, Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

The bmj have just published a study that showing that tamoxifen may not prevent breast cancer if women also take the antidepressant Seroxat (paroxetine). This only applies to the Seroxat, other antidepressants did not have this effect. It seems that Seroxat reduces or completely stops the benefit of tamoxifen. The full (technical) article is [...]

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Nuclear Pore Proteins and Cancer

I read an interesting article today about nuclear pore proteins The image on the left, is a cell, the nucleus is the blue dot on the right hand side of the green cell. Nuclear pore proteins control what gets in and out of that blue dot.  Researchers have discovered that some of these proteins [...]

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Scottish Chromatin Group – Meeting and Webcast

This one is for the scientists, the Scottish Chromatin group are having a meeting next Wednesday (the 10th of February 2016).  The meeting is being held at the University of Edinburgh from 2pm-6pm, so obviously if you are in (0r near) Edinburgh you can just go along. Interestingly they are also webcasting the meeting, [...]

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Watch a video showing a neutrophil destroying a germ

Everybody has white blood cells inside them, these white blood cells help us fight off infection and keep us healthy. In a drop of blood about this size • you have roughly 6,000 neutrophils.  Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. For more information on this topic  see my post “What is a [...]

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Studying lots of proteins at once

I read an interesting paper in Nature Methods this week called “Systems analysis of EGF receptor signalling dynamics with microwestern arrays“.  EGF stand for Epidermal Growth Factor, the EGF receptor is a small protein that “knows” when EGF is present.  Growth Factors generally make cells grow and so if your growth factors are faulty [...]

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Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

A Cancer Research UK press release out today suggests that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood have a lower risk of colorectal cancer (you can read the original paper in the British Medical Journal Jenab et al 2016).  This is particularly important in Scotland because we only get about 5 [...]

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Microscopes using mobile phone cameras

Not really a cancer post, but certainly an interesting idea.  Researchers in America are developing a new way of using the camera on a mobile phone,  to take pictures of microscope slides when you don’t have access to a full blown laboratory.  This sort of thing will probably be of most use in the [...]

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Cell Journal – 60 Day Free Trial

This is a geeky post aimed at the scientists, the journal “Cell” is trying out a new way of showing scientific articles online and (in my opinion), it looks great. Normally you have to pay a lot of money to read Cell (an online only individual subscription for one year costs about £180). For [...]

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Can a CT scan give you cancer?

Can a CT scan give you cancer?  Yes, occasionally. A research study published on the 14th of December 2015  looked at whether CT scans increase your risk of cancer, this was covered in the Press and Journal “CT scans may increase risk of cancer“.  CT scans (also known as CAT scans) use X-rays (a [...]

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VEGF – How can we stop the blood supply to cancer cells?

I haven’t written about VEGF before, not because it’s not important, it is, in fact VEGF has been shown to be important in a whole range of solid (i.e. lump forming) tumours, these include:

Bladder Breast Cervical Colorectal (bowel) Esophageal (food pipe) Glioblastoma multiforme (brain tumour) Head and neck cancer Lung cancer Ovarian cancer [...]

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Does loneliness cause cancer?

Yes, if you are a genetically in bred rat. If you are not? Well the jury is still out.  This story was widely reported in the Times, The Daily Mail and the BBC News website (among others).  As usual, the best place to find out more is the NHS Choices website “Can loneliness cause [...]

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Are you a student? Do you want to work in a lab over the summer holidays?

Are you a student? Do you want to work in a research laboratory in the summer of 2016? If so you need to start planning it now. If you are doing an undergraduate (first) degree in a biological/biomedical science then you can apply for money to work in a laboratory over the summer (a [...]

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Does morphine make cancer cells grow?

I am a bit reluctant to write this post as I don’t want to scare people. Morphine based pain killers are often used to treat cancer pain and this recent news report does not change any treatment your consultant or doctor may have prescribed.

This week the BBC news website had a story “Morphine [...]

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Local Research – Preventing Bowel Cancer

Well, almost local, researchers at the University of Dundee have been awarded £1 million pounds to help bowel cancer patients “BeWELL”.  BeWELL is a project to help overweight people reduce their risk of bowel cancer by improving their diet and increasing their physical activity. Professor Annie Anderson, one of the leaders of the study [...]

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Can you prevent cancer? Is it possible?

Can you prevent cancer? Yes, you can prevent some types of cancer, some of the time.  How is that for hedging your beats?  I could be a politician!

Many people think that getting cancer is solely down to fate.  Some people blame faulty genes, after all, you can’t choose your parents.  Many people think [...]

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New research -

There are several news reports out today about a new way of turning off cancer causing proteins. These reports are based on a study in the journal Nature called “Direct Inhibition of the NOTCH transcription factor complex“, you will need to pay to read the article in it’s full technical detail, but there are [...]

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More on microRNAs and why cancer spreads

This is another geeky post.  If you are currently having treatment for cancer the research described in this post will not alter your treatment as this work is being carried out in cells in a laboratory (and not in people) but it is very interesting and will hopefully be used to design new treatments [...]

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Naked Mole Rats and Cancer...

Naked mole rats? Little, bald, ugly rodent creatures. Yep, it takes all sorts and some scientists have been studying these creatures for years. Most little rodents (e.g. mice) only live for a couple of years, but these naked mole rats live for about 30 years and apparently they don’t develop cancer.

Researchers have [...]

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Why is cancer research so expensive?

The  Huntly Relay For Life 2015 finished on Saturday with the announcement of the final total, a fantastic sum of £85,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK.  Plans are already underway for another Relay in 2016.

At the final meeting I gave a talk called “Why is cancer research so expensive?”. Obviously £85, [...]

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Wellcome Trust PhDs 2016

Applications are now open for Wellcome PhDs starting in October 2016. To do a PhD (doctorate) you need to have an undergraduate degree and you usually need to get a first class or upper second class degree to get onto a PhD programme.

The Wellcome Trust fund PhD’s on medical topics (usually these are [...]

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