What are the best ideas for how we could prevent breast cancer in whole populations? This was the big question behind a recent competition sponsored by the California Breast Cancer Research Program. I attended the final round of the competition via livestream and was impressed by the variety and creativity of the proposals presented. Continue reading
What’s the latest news in cancer research that stands out the most? In this post, I’ll briefly review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this summer.
These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.
Topics covered this time include the first approval of a cancer drug based on a biomarker rather than the where in the body the cancer started, as well as a first approval for an innovative therapy in which a patient’s immune system cells are genetically engineered to attack cancer.
About a year ago, a study published in the journal Science received a lot of attention and comment because it seemed to suggest that most cancers were mainly the result of random mutations or “bad luck.” I wrote about the study, including what commenters identified as some of its major weaknesses, in a post last January on Cancer Risk and “Bad Luck.”
A new study by a different team, published recently in Nature, revisits the question. It expands on the analysis in last year’s study and examines the question using several different approaches. It arrives at the conclusions that the development of cancer is heavily influenced by external factors. Continue reading
It’s recognized that environmental factors play a role in the development of many types of cancer, including breast cancer. But, unfortunately, there are more questions than there are answers right now about the extent of that role. Studies so far have not been able to clarify how and to what extent exposures to harmful substances in the environment increase our risk for breast cancer.
An opportunity to gain some insight on this issue could potentially come from a study now underway of male breast cancer and exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Results from the study are expected some time this year.