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Easy on the Eyes

Monday, June 15th, 2015

  Jude Kee’s amber eyes are framed with brown glasses—the better to see his favorite “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” show, which he requests over and over again, or to read his favorite books, like “The Little Engine That Could” and “Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop.” Since he was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer in 2014, [...]

Generation Next

Monday, June 15th, 2015

R01. One letter and two numbers, often considered the holy grail of grant funding. It is the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) original grant mechanism, typically offering $1 million or more over five years, with the possibility of competitive renewal for years afterward. But it can take years of research and reams of data to [...]

The Evolution of Aspirin

Monday, June 15th, 2015

A cancer cell is an evolutionary marvel, built for survival—and speed. Born of genes gone bad, it hijacks normal parts of its environment to survive and divide until it is not one, but many cells, a mushroom cloud of danger called a tumor. Sporting camouflage when it travels, a cancer cell can hide from the [...]

Cancer Killers

Monday, June 15th, 2015

  T cells. Killer T cells. They’re on the prowl inside you right now, these “hit men” of the immune system. Their surfaces are armed with receptors that have the dossiers of their “marks”—virus-infected cells, cancer cells or other damaged cells. When they recognize a target, they have the power to kill. But they aren’t always effective. [...]

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 [...]