Tag Archives: organisation

Freezing semen doubles chances of fatherhood for men after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

In the first study to investigate the impact on fatherhood of freezing semen prior to cancer treatment, researchers questioned 902 male survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma in five European countries (France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland) and found that among the 334 who wanted to have children, the availability of frozen semen doubled their chances of doing so when compared with men who had not frozen their semen. Dr Marleen van der Kaaij (MD), who carried out the work while she was a PhD student at the University Medical Centre in Groningen (The Netherlands), said: "Our study shows that cryopreservation of semen before cancer treatment has a large impact: one in five children born after Hodgkin lymphoma treatment was born using cryopreserved semen. …

Clearest new pictures of immune cells

They show how the cells, which are responsible for fighting infections and cancer in the human body, change the organisation of their surface molecules, when activated by a type of protein found on viral-infected or tumour cells. Professor Daniel Davis, who has been leading the investigation into the immune cells, known as natural killers, said the work could provide important clues for tackling disease…

Blood tests could detect sexually-transmitted oral cancers

Antibodies to a high-risk type of a virus that causes mouth and throat cancers when transmitted via oral sex can be detected in blood tests many years before onset of the disease, according to a World Health Organisation-led team of researchers. In a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers said their findings may in future lead to people being screened for human papillomavirus (HPV) antibodies, giving doctors a chance to find those at high risk of oral cancers. “Up to now, it was not known whether these antibodies were present in blood before the cancer became clinically detectable,” said Paul Brennan, of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who led the study and described the findings as “very encouraging”. “If these results are confirmed, future screening tools could be developed for early detection of the disease,” he said. While HPV is better known for causing cervical and other genital cancers, it is also responsible for an increasing number of cancers of the mouth and throat, particularly amongst men. The issue was highlighted earlier this month by Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, who said his throat cancer was caused by HPV transmitted through oral sex. Oral, head and neck cancers are traditionally associated with heavy smoking and alcohol consumption, but over the past few decades rates of the diseases have increased dramatically, especially in Europe and North America. Brennan said this is probably due to HPV infections because of changing sexual practices, such as an increase in oral sex. According to IARC data, about 30 percent of all oral cancers are estimated to be HPV-related, and the main type of HPV associated with these tumours is HPV16. EARLIER DETECTION A study in the British Medical Journal in 2010 also found rates of head and neck cancer linked to HPV were rising rapidly, prompting calls from some doctors for boys as well as girls to be offered vaccinations to protect them against HPV. Two vaccines - Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, and Gardasil, made by Merck & Co - can prevent HPV. This new study, by scientists from IARC as well as the German Cancer Research Center and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, used data from a large study known as EPIC, which involves 500,000 people from 10 European countries who were recruited in the 1990s and have been followed up since. Researchers found that of the 135 people in the study who developed oral cancers, 47, or about one third of them, had HPV16 E6 antibodies up to 12 years before the onset of disease. In a telephone interview, Brennan said early detection would also allow doctors to track patients with antibodies and intervene early if tumours develop. “The earlier the detection, the better the treatment and the greater the survival,” he said. The antibody test used in the study was relatively simple and cheap and could be developed as a tool for more widespread screening within about five years if these results are confirmed in future studies, he added. He cautioned, however, that more work was needed to improve the tests' accuracy, since in this research there were about 1 in 100 “false positives” - where a person with the HPV16 antibodies did not go on to develop an oral cancer. Brennan said another significant finding of the study was that patients with oral cancers linked to HPV16 were three times more likely to be alive five years after their diagnosis than oral cancer patients whose tumours were not HPV-related and may have been linked to other risks such as smoking or drinking.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/18/blood-tests-could-detect-sexually-transmitted-oral-cancers/

Genomics and particle physics top the scientific charts

Genomics and particle physics - offering different perspectives on the fundamental nature of life and the cosmos - are the two hottest areas of scientific research. Eight of the 21 most closely followed scientists in 2012 studied genes and their functions, while the single most-cited paper last year covered the hunt for the long-sought Higgs boson particle, according to a Thomson Reuters survey on Wednesday. It was the third year in a row in which genomics researchers topped the rankings, in terms of authoring the most highly cited scientific papers, underscoring the central importance of genetics in biological science and medicine. “Genomics is a perennially hot topic as we learn more about how (DNA) sequences play out in the manifestation of disease,” said Christopher King, editor of Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, which tracks trends in research. The relevance of the work in genomics was evident this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) congress in Chicago, where key advances in cancer medicine on display hinged on understanding the genetic basis of tumors. The world's “hottest” researcher, as measured by the number of citations during 2012 for papers published between 2010 and 2012, was Richard Wilson at the Washington University School of Medicine, the survey showed. Wilson's laboratory was the first to sequence the genome of a cancer patient and discover genetic signatures related the development of disease. Formation of the universe Other hot genomics researchers on the list included Eric Lander of the Broad Institute of MIT at Harvard and Kari Stefansson, the founder of Icelandic biotech company Decode Genetics, which was acquired last December by Amgen. Papers related to the search for the Higgs boson accounted for nearly one fifth of the 51 papers published in the 2012 hottest research list. The boson and its linked energy field are viewed by physicists as vital in the formation of the universe and in giving mass to matter. No single scientists working on the Higgs particle, however, were identified in the rankings because of the highly collaborative nature of the particle physics research, with some papers involving upwards of 3,000 authors. Scientists working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, outside Geneva received an honorable mention as a group. The survey also highlighted the growing importance of Chinese research in a number of fields, with institutions in the country producing four of the 21 hottest researchers, including Jun Wang from the Beijing Genomics Institute. “When you look at the quantity of papers published by various nations, China has sky-rocketed in the last few years,” said King. “That hasn't necessarily been commensurate with impact in the literature, as measured by citations, but this seems to be starting to change.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/genomics-and-particle-physics-top-scientific-charts/