Do a ketogenic diet and fat supplements make chemo more effective for children?

February 12, 2018
A ketogenic diet (aka “keto”) is a low-carb, high-fat diet designed to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Many popular diets are based on this premise. In a recent study described in Oncotarget, Volume 8, Issue 39, researchers wanted to find out if a keto diet supplemented with over-the-counter partially man-made fats (medium-chain triglycerides) enhanced the anti-tumor effects of chemotherapy on a cancer most commonly found in children (neuroblastoma). Neuroblastoma (NB) is the second most common solid cancer in children occurring outside the skull, accounting for ~15% of pediatric cancer deaths. Despite treatment advances, the outcome for… continue reading »

Human biomarkers database is game-changer for research on aging and mortality

February 12, 2018
Understanding the biomarkers that cause death (mortality) are of great clinical and research interest. These biomarkers enable clinicians to identify high-risk patient groups, provide a forecast of the likely course of a disease or ailment (prognosis) for individual patients, and help healthcare providers decide which treatment options will be most effective. Because the average human lifespan is long, study of these biomarkers can provide real insight into the aging process and play a key role in evaluating potential therapies. As a result of decades of research across hundreds of publications, researchers have created a publicly accessible database called MortalityPredictors.org to… continue reading »

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Spotlight: Alex Zhavoronkov wants you to live as long as possible

February 6, 2018
Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, a Board Member and Editor of the Journal Aging, wants you to live as long as possible and be younger at every level. “One hundred and fifty is just a number which I recommend everyone use just for subconscious life planning,” said Zhavoronkov. “The longer you plan to live, the longer you will live and the younger you will behave.” Zhavoronkov believes there is a psychological component to aging, and longer lifespan horizons are something we can reasonably achieve, but we first have to believe we can. Zhavoronkov is the Founder, CEO and CSO of Insilico Medicine,… continue reading »

When normal cells don’t die, cancer follows

February 12, 2018
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is an aggressive cancer that usually affects children—and recent research is paving the way for new treatments. Standard acute lymphoblastic leukemia occurs in B-cells, which are white blood cells that use antibodies to “tag” invaders for destruction. In T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), T-cells, which help coordinate attacks against invaders, are affected instead. A characteristic of many cancers is cells that do not die when they are supposed to. Normal cells undergo a natural, pre-programmed life cycle that ends in death, a system that prevents the decay of genetic material and the problems that come with… continue reading »

Exploring ways to overcome treatment resistance in lung cancer

February 12, 2018
Some lung cancers develop resistance to treatment, but researchers have recently learned more about a potential mechanism that fuels the cancer growth. These findings may lead to the development of a drug that can interrupt that pathway, according to a study published recently in Genes & Cancer. The most common form of lung cancer, called non-small-cell lung cancer, has been treated with some success with targeted therapies that work by blocking, or inhibiting, the signaling of enzymes that are responsible for activating proteins, called tyrosine kinases. However, the treatment eventually fails when a tumor develops resistance to the tyrosine kinase… continue reading »

Are Opioids Helpful or Harmful?

January 5, 2018
According to a report released in November 2017 by The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, the opioid crisis cost the economy $504 billion in 2015. The council plans to assess the economic viability of proposed and actual interventions to abate the crisis in the near future. Yet despite the attention given to the “Opioid Epidemic” in the media, many people are unsure of the implications for the use of opioids in treating patients. What are opioids? Opioids are a type of drug that acts on opioid receptors that are naturally found in… continue reading »

Tumor Growth and the 1931 Nobel Prize

February 12, 2018
Why do tumors grow? Cancer has increasingly drawn the public eye, accounting for the third-most yearly deaths after heart disease and accident. Current cancer treatments are becoming more sophisticated, examining the role of communication between cancer cells and methods of using patients’ own immune systems to battle tumors. But long before those developments, Otto Heinrich Warburg would win the 1931 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries related to the tumor growth. The understanding of cancer’s development and origins has advanced considerably since Warburg won the Nobel Prize. But his research served as part of the foundation that… continue reading »

What is the difference between in vitro and in vivo experiments?

February 12, 2018
Scientists use different methods of performing experiments in cell cultures, tissue, and animals in order to find treatments for human diseases and disorders. In vitro and in vivo are terms that describe the two most commonly experimental approaches used in science. In vitro is Latin for “within the glass.” In an in vitro experiment, scientists take parts of a living organism (cells or tissue, for example) and study them using Petri dishes, test tubes, or other glassware and lab equipment. In vivo is Latin for “within the living.” In an in vivo experiment, scientists are conducting their studies in whole… continue reading »