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Resident physicians seldom trained in skin cancer examination
By Dross at 2009-10-20 22:28
 

Many resident physicians are not trained in skin cancer examinations, nor have they ever observed or practiced the procedure, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

read more | 1664 reads

The evolving stem cell story. Will we live a thousand years?
By Dross at 2008-04-17 09:21
 

Stem cells are everywhere in the news these days. It seems that everywhere you turn they are being applied to uses as varied as heart repair to cloning of your favorite species of animal. If you are confused as to what stem cell is or isn't, or if you think they are illegal, read on. In the human body we have an enormous number of stem cells. Skin stem cells, blood stem cells, liver stem cells, and unfortunately even cancer stem cells. So what makes a stem cell? and what makes a cancer stem cell?

As of a few months ago, the Holy Grail of stem cell science was found. In a suite of papers in Nature Stem Cell, researchers were able to turn ordinary skin cells into cells capable of differentiating into many other cells, in effect taking the cell backwards in time, and providing a base for the creation of other cells that patient might need. The breakthrough was done by modifying only four genes in the cell. Imagine then that a cancer cell could, randomly, activate the same genes. So then what tells the cell what it should be? Its environment. Scientists have found that the answer to a cell's life cycle lies in large part outside of the cell. The key is the Extracellular Matrix, which mediates biochemical and biomechanical interactions with a cell. As stated in the Journal of Cell Biology "A common feature of mammary epithelial tumors in vivo is a disruption of tissue organization and polarity. Consistent with their structural function, catenin-cadherin- cytoskeletal interactions have been shown to be frequently altered in breast cancers, and loss of cell-cell interactions is associated with altered tissue organization and increased tumor invasiveness." In short, when a cancerous cell was tricked into believing it was receiving the proper signals from its environement it no longer acted in a cancerous fashion.

read more | 4507 reads

A classic method for modeling skin cancer is featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
By Dross at 2007-09-05 05:57
 

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Tues., Sept. 4, 2007) – Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of human cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But in order to more fully understand skin cancer in humans, scientists must use model organisms, such as mice, to study the disease in the laboratory.

This month’s release of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org) includes free access to a protocol for generating mice with squamous cell carcinomaterm (SCC), one of the most common types of skin cancer. The procedure involves injecting mice with a drug called DMBA, which mutates (and thereby activates) a tumor-promoting gene. A second drug, called TPA, then encourages the proliferation of cells that carry the mutated gene. The resulting mass of cells is a tumor.

read more | 1341 reads

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