Natural Cancer Killers Take off During Flu Season: Cancer Research Roundup



Here’s a quick glance at a few interesting cancer research studies that have come out recently, edited here for your weekend reading pleasure — enjoy!

Transplanting killer cells into cancer patients: Apparently, there are some people just aren’t prone to getting cancer due to a higher than normal healthy stock of immune system soldiers called granulocytes. Wake Forest University-based Dr. Zheng Cuit and his colleagues are looking to see if they can transplant some of those natural born killer cells into cancer patients — um, as long as it’s not flu season.

Average cancer-killing ability appeared to be lower in adults over the age of 50 and even lower in people with cancer. It also fell when people were stressed, and at certain times of the year.

“Nobody seems to have any cancer-killing ability during the winter months from November to April,” says Cui, who presented preliminary results at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge, UK, earlier this month.

See “‘Cancer-resistant’ people lend out their killer cells” for more.

Looks like access to better diagnostic technologies doesn’t get people to the doctor any sooner:  A new paper published in The Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds that individuals diagnosed with colorectal and lung cancer who live in cities often present in later stages than their counterparts in less urban areas.

“The proportion of urban patients presenting with metastatic cancer is alarming,” said Ian Paquette, MD at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH. “This study highlights the need for better screening efforts for colorectal cancer and the need to develop an effective screening program for people at high risk for lung cancer.”

This finding is contrary to the common assumption that rural patients with cancer present at a later stage of disease in comparison with urban patients.

Read more at “Study reveals differences in cancer stage presentation between rural and urban patients.”

Take a break this weekend — your body may thank you.  A recent study headed by Dr. Yonghua Yang at MCG Cancer Center has recently helped expose how environmental stress can contribute to the incidence of cancer.

This fundamental finding about the relationship between stress and cancer opens the door for treatments that increase SENP1 activity, making it easier for cells that are becoming cancerous to die, says Dr. Yang, first author on a paper published in the November issue of Nature Cell Biology.

“This is one of the things that makes cancer cells so durable, one way they survive so well,” says Dr. Yang. “We want to see if we can block that process and make cells die.”

Find out more information at “Relationship between environmental stress and cancer elucidated.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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