“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
Cancers associated with being overweight or obese account for 40% of all diagnoses of the disease in the United States, an increasing share of all cancer diagnoses nationwide.
Although new cases of cancer have fallen since the 1990s, diagnoses of overweight- and obesity-linked cancers increased between 2005 and 2014, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being overweight is associated with increased risk for 13 types of cancer.
“When we step back and lump together all the types of cancer associated with overweight and obesity, we saw a direction upwards,” said Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the CDC.
“That’s not a smoking gun, but it’s a note of caution for us.”
Researchers at the CDC used data from the US Cancer Statistics database from 2005 to 2014, looking specifically at cancers the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as linked to being overweight.
What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology “cancer alarm” that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares his dream for how we might revolutionize cancer detection and, ultimately, save lives.
Nature is wonderfully abundant, diverse and mysterious — but biological research today tends to focus on only seven species, including rats, chickens, fruit flies and us. We’re studying an astonishingly narrow sliver of life, says biologist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, and hoping it’ll be enough to solve the oldest, most challenging problems in science, like cancer. In this visually captivating talk, Alvarado calls on us to interrogate the unknown and shows us the remarkable discoveries that surface when we do.
Finding could herald a big shift in treatment of the deadliest cancer
A study could lead to wider use of Merck’s Keytruda. Photo: Michael Lund/Merck/Associated Press
Patients with advanced lung cancer who took Merck& Co.’s immune-boosting drug Keytruda as their first treatment lived longer on average than those who received chemotherapy in a new study that could herald a big shift in treatment of the deadliest cancer.
The finding could lead to wider use of Keytruda and help Merck gain ground on rival Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.in the multibillion-dollar market for new drugs that fight cancer by harnessing patients’ immune systems.
Bristol’s immunotherapy Opdivo, which has so far outsold Keytruda, failed to significantly prolong survival beyond chemotherapy in a separate study of lung-cancer patients. Opdivo had global sales of $1.54 billion for the first six months of 2016, while Keytruda had sales of $563 million.
Both companies previously revealed limited results of their respective lung-cancer studies this year; researchers presented full results Sunday at a meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology in Copenhagen, and Merck’s study was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Multiyear, peer-reviewed study found ‘low incidences’ of two types of tumors in male rats exposed to type of radio frequencies commonly emitted by cellphones
A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer. — Photo: iStock
A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer, an explosive finding in the long-running debate about whether mobile phones cause health effects.
The multiyear, peer-reviewed study, by the National Toxicology Program, found “low incidences” of two types of tumors in male rats that were exposed to the type of radio frequencies that are commonly emitted by cellphones. The tumors were gliomas, which are in the glial cells of the brain, and schwannomas of the heart.
“Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health,” according to a report of partial findings from the study, which was released late Thursday.
A spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health, which helped oversee the study, wasn’t immediately available for comment. Earlier in the week, the NIH said, “It is important to note that previous human, observational data collected in earlier, large-scale population-based studies have found limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cellphone use.”
While not all biological effects observed in animals necessarily apply to humans, the National Toxicology Program’s $25 million study is one of the biggest and most comprehensive experiment into health effects from cellphones.
“Where people were saying there’s no risk, I think this ends that kind of statement,” said Ron Melnick, who ran the NTP project until retiring in 2009 and recently reviewed the study’s results.
This was the night the revelation happened. This was when Sean Parker, serial entrepreneur—co-founder of Napster, founding president of Facebook FB-2.54%, blunt-talking oracle of Internet disruption, and occasional subject of tabloid scuttlebutt—recognized his legacy.
It was a Saturday night in November 2010. At Café des Amis on Union Street in San Francisco, Parker and legendary angel investor Ron Conway—both part owners of the place—were sitting across from each other at a crowded banquette at what amounted to a family dinner. Ron’s wife, Gayle, was next to him; Alexandra Lenas, Parker’s new girlfriend and future wife, was curled up beside him. Still, the crowd was boisterous, and it was so loud that Parker had to shout to be heard.
“I’m going to cure cancer!” he yelled.
The outburst was vintage Sean. “We’d both had plenty of wine,” remembers Conway, who has known Parker, now 36, since he was an “edgy” 19-year-old—a daredevil hacker from Herndon, Va., whose music file-sharing company would almost single-handedly humble the recording industry. Conway, now 65, had mentored Parker through nearly every company he had helped start or lead—Napster; Plaxo, an automated address book that had made clever, if infuriating, use of viral marketing; and of course Facebook, the college-dorm-project-turned-juggernaut that had made Parker truly rich. (When the company went public in May 2012, Parker’s 66 million shares turned him into an instant paper billionaire. Sources close to him say that he’s currently worth between $2 billion and $3 billion.)
Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join Hammond’s quest to fight a disease that affects us all.