Cancerous tumors must evade immune destruction to survive. They can achieve this by preventing the immune cells from gaining access to the tumor (“immune cold”) or by tipping the balance of immunoactivating and immunosuppressing signals toward immunosuppression. Immunosuppression means that, even if the immune cells penetrate the tumor, they cannot kill the cancer. The cytotoxicity … Read moreIntratumor Immunotherapy Kills Injected and Distant Tumors
The latest advances in detecting cancers through a blood test (a type of liquid biopsy) are exciting. After I read the blog posts by the NIH Director Francis Collins and by Derek Lowe, I started wondering where all this screening will lead. Whereas Collins emphasizes the encouraging aspects of the latest liquid biopsy results, Lowe … Read moreChallenges from Improvements in Cancer Screening
Coordinating growth with heart health ensures that the heart can keep up with the demands placed on it by the body. A recent study (1) identified a molecule called growth differentiation factor 15 [GDF15, also known as macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC1)] that was released from the heart that signals to the liver to inhibit … Read moreGDF15: Heart Hormone, Appetite Suppressant, Marker of Neurodegenerative Disease
Spasers are energy-absorbing particles that release light. Spaser stands for “surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” These tiny particles are a type of plasmonic nanoparticle. Lasers activate spasers, which can be targeted to cancer cells. Once internalized by cancer cells, spasers can selectively kill them. Galanzha and colleagues generated and tested spasers of … Read moreSpasers: Nanoparticles that Make Deadly Bubbles to Kill Cancer Cells
A vaccine may be described as medicine that stimulates an immune response with a “memory.” Many people also consider a vaccine to be a medicine that prevents a disease caused by a pathogen. Indeed, the first vaccines were ones that prevented infectious diseases, such as polio and measles. Some vaccines have been so successful that … Read moreCan you be vaccinated against yourself?