When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time.
Diagnostic imaging equipment has improved the resolution of its results and reduced the radiation patients receive, but the main advance has been in contrast agents. Using dye- or nano-antibody-‘decorated’ nanoparticles that circulate in the blood vessels, the scientific community is working to detect cancer and metastasis early and see if the treatment works.
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.