Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fighting fire with fire

There was an article today in the WSJ on using tumor cells themselves to control the growth of cancer tumors. Although cancer is generally defined as uncontrolled growth, there is some control. The tumors send signalling chemicals apparently to distal sites to inhibit growth. Once the mother tumor is gone and therefore no longer signalling, the distal sites are free to grow. So in the study described today, the tumor cells are grown into beads and the  beads injected into the person (or in trials, animal). The tumor cells can grow within the  beads but can not escape. However their signals can escape and inhibit growth. In animal studies, this has worked in advanced prostate cancers extending lifetimes up to threefold. A small study in humans is just starting in patients with advanced prostate, pancreatic, or colon cancers.

Tumors are not the only entity sending signals. The digestive system also sends signals to the brain signalling.. feed me...feed me...feed me..... How to block this signalling? How to make the the gut feel satiety and stop asking the brain to send it more food? There are foods that take longer to digest and make people feel full earlier and longer. Food scientists are working on this.

How to deal with a friend's grief? Things not to say: I know just how you feel. He's happier in heaven. Time heals all wounds. We all go through this. You should move on.Good things come from bad. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You ought..you should..you need to...........

What do do? Be there and say you are sorry. Make no demands on the person. I think all above is appropriate too when a friend is diagnosed with cancer. Don't make a person feel bad for feeling grief and belittle the cause.

So my gift from cancer, curls, has faded completely now. My hair is straight and very fast growing. Today I will deal with it or rather my hair dresser. Hopefully she'll come up with a good solution.

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