Monday, July 18, 2011

Cancer people

This sign just appealed to me. It has little to do with my post
Last week I had lunch with my birthday buddy (whose actual birthday is today..have a good one!). I couldn't remember if his time overlapped with my now deceased friend Dave's. It had but as the birthday buddy was in a different group, he didn't ever speak to Dave.

You Cancer people shut us out. You were a closed group.

By Cancer people, he didn't mean people with cancer or people with Cancer birthdays (which he has anyway) but people who were trying to treat cancer or diseases like cancer. The name of our group of twenty or so was Cancer and tropical diseases. What do cancer and tropical diseases have in common? (The main tropical disease was malaria. It used to be the top killer in the world and might be still if it weren't for AIDS)Private companies did not want to expend their own resources to work on them as cancer seemed hopeless and tropical diseases did not happen to anyone who had money to pay for treatment. We were all on contracts: some with the Army, some with the National Cancer Institute (There was a war declared on cancer in the early 70s. If we could put a man on the moon, certainly we could cure cancer)some with various world health agencies. Also there was some synergy. Some of the malaria drugs were found effective against cancer such as methotrexate. Most tropical diseases are caused by advanced (at least compared to a bacterium) organisms. Protozoa (one type can cause malaria)are eukaryotes just as higher animals are. You may not think you have much in common with a protozoa but you have the same enzymes and biochemicals necessary for life. What kills them would kill you thus the problem. You have to concentrate on subtle differences. Protozoa grow faster than us and need more folic acid. We block this with so-called antifolates. Cancer cells are dependent on folic acid too.

So much more is known about cancer now, it is almost embarrassing to remember our strategies. As it was, the company got rid of all of the contracts and kept just a small anti cancer group. I was shifted to another area: the central nervous system where I remained for most of the remainder of my career.

News has been light on the TNBC front. Recently a company came up with a new way to test whether one has estrogen positive BC and found that using the old way, 10-20% of people who were told that they were negative actually are positive.

And not all TNBC is the same. By analyzing the genetic make-up of various TNBC tumors, researchers came up with 6 different sub-types, each with a preferred method of killing them. Two of the types are not nearly as aggressive. No hints on the distribution of these subtypes. I am hoping that older (defined as post-menopausal) seem to have the less aggressive type. It seems that way but no literature to back me up. The link to the subtypes:

Still ungodly hot here. I went out before 8 am and it was already 80 deg with 100% humidity. No fun to run in but at least we had a little rain. Then off to the cavities, just old fillings about to fall apart. I will just wait until they do.

No radon was found in Shanna's potential home so another hurdle overcome.

We watched The Misfits the other night. What a sad movie!

More enjoyable: Zen on PBS. Parts of it were filmed in Abruzzo; the rest in Rome. What's not to love?

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