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Smart Choices

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The barrage of cancer prevention messages is a near constant in our Facebook feeds and on news broadcasts. Eliminate sugar from your diet. Eat more blueberries. Don’t grill your meat. Use only organic household cleaners. Filter your tap water. Stop using deodorant with aluminum. Get more sun exposure because vitamin D is good. Get less [...]

High Stakes

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Music has always filled Andrew Leahey’s mind and his heart. With a mom who taught music classes, Leahey spent his early years in Richmond, Virginia, plinking on the keys of the family piano, listening to melodies and singing along. “I thought it was just normal, that everybody walked around the house singing all the time. [...]

Missing the Mark

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Since the Pap smear debuted in the 1950s to detect pre-cancerous changes in a woman’s cervix, mortality rates for cervical cancer have dropped by 70 percent, according to the American Cancer Society, making the simple collection of cells from the opening of the cervix perhaps the biggest success story in the history of cancer screening. [...]

Mining the microbiome

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Ten-to-one. Cell for cell, they’ve got us outnumbered. And as a group, they have 100 times more genes than we do. Fortunately, these microbes that share our corporeal space are usually on our side. Known collectively as the microbiome, the microbial species that flourish along our mucosal surfaces—the linings of our intestines, mouth and nose, [...]

Bringing Cancer to Light

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

It all started with a faint glow. It was November 1895, and the German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was experimenting with an early cathode ray tube—a vacuum tube with a contained electric current. During his experiments he noticed an odd fluorescence in crystals on a nearby table. Surprisingly, the glow continued even when he covered the tube with [...]

First in Line

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Signing up as the first person to test a new cancer drug had never crossed Debbie Grider’s mind, even though she knew she might be at risk for breast cancer. Her mother, sisters and several aunts on her father’s side of the family had already been diagnosed years earlier. The 61-year-old Hendersonville, Tenn., wife, mother [...]

Genetic Explorers

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

  The human genome encompasses 3.3 billion base pairs in 25,000 genes, sequenced over 13 years in a $3 billion international effort. Like the moon landing or cloning Dolly the sheep, the Human Genome Project—the mission to map a human’s complete set of DNA—captured the public’s attention and blew open the genetics field. In the [...]

Behind the Scenes: Chemotherapy

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

From the Greek root meaning “chemical,” chemotherapy is the process of using drugs to destroy rapidly dividing cells, a hallmark of most cancer cells. As one of the pillars of cancer treatment, chemotherapy can come in pill form or a liquid given through the vein. Some patients have one treatment every few months, while others [...]

Global Impact

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

From the bustling streets of Shanghai and Lusaka, to the dairy and potato farms of Túquerres, on Colombia’s high Andean plateau, Vanderbilt University researchers are scouring the world to reveal the secrets of cancer. Aided by the latest genomic technologies as well as tried-and-true, door-to-hut epidemiology, these modern-day explorers are mapping out a previously unimagined [...]

Melanoma Tissue Repository

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

You have signed on the dotted line, giving Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center permission to keep whatever tissue is left over from the biopsy of your melanoma tumor. What happens next? You obviously don’t want these cells gone wild, but VICC researchers are clamoring for the tissue to use it for the next discoveries in genetics and [...]