Spanish and Italian researchers have proven that when honey from strawberry trees, a product typical of Mediterranean areas, is added to colon cancer cells grown in the laboratory, cell proliferation is stopped. The authors hope that these promising results and the anti-tumour potential of this food will be confirmed in in vivo models.
A qualitative study of 22 cancer patients shows how acceptance is key to living as well as possible, although it requires time and is a process with ups and downs. Led by the University of Navarre, this research emphasizes the importance of focusing on life rather than on the disease.
Spanish epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant, lung cancer and terrains with increased copper content, brain tumor with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals from the earth's surface on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed.
A sugar called Neu5Gc, present in red meat, some fish and dairy products, is related to the appearance of spontaneous tumors in humans. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, led by Spaniard David Álvarez Ponce, have analyzed the evolutionary history of the CMAH gene - which allows the synthesis of this sugar - and shown which groups of animals have lost the gene and therefore are more suitable for human consumption and for organ transplants.
Life with a tumor becomes complicated when the patient suffers a serious psychiatric disorder. In people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression, early detection often fails. And although the cancer is detected, in some cases, the mentally ill refuse to receive treatment. Psychiatrists ask for specific diagnostic and coordination programs to work with oncologists.
About 80% of children who suffer some type of cancer overcome it. But their struggle does not end when they receive medical discharge. Heart, endocrine and fertility problems or even the appearance of a new tumor are some side effects that can manifest many years later. To prevent and deal with these consequences, survivors ask for a long-term follow-up protocol.
Researchers at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability in Denmark have developed a method of producing P450 enzymes – used by plants to defend against predators and microbes – in bacterial cell factories. The process could facilitate the production of large quantities of the enzymes, which are also involved in the biosynthesis of active ingredients of cancer drugs.
Spanish and German researchers have successfully seen for the first time the pores, shaped like rings and crescent moons, that the Bax protein perforates in mitochondrial membranes. This advance has been achieved thanks to super-resolution microscopy and may help find the “holy grail” of cell suicide, a crucial process in preventing cancer.
An analysis of one hundred coffees sold in Spain has confirmed the presence of mycotoxins -toxic metabolites produced by fungi. In addition, five of the samples that were tested were found to contain ochratoxin A, the only legislated mycotoxin, in amounts that exceeded maximum permitted levels. While the authors point out that these results are not alarming, they do recommend assessing the risk that exposure to mycotoxins from coffee poses to the general public. They also suggest reviewing production processes in order to reduce the levels of these natural contaminants in coffee.
Saying that the link between alcohol and cancer is dangerous is nothing new. Five Spanish universities and more than 300,000 female volunteers participated in a European investigation that is now confirming that alcohol intake increases the chances of developing breast cancer. This risk quadruples with the intake of each daily glass of wine or beer.