Survivorship Issues Reshape a Researcher’s Career

When I started my postdoc at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in May 2016, I was thrilled to experience a truly comprehensive training in breast cancer. During my tenure, I decided to take advantage of opportunities offered to me outside of the lab to learn about cancer from every angle, including attending weekly breast tumor boards and presenting my work to the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates (GBCA).

I’ll never forget at the end of my presentation with GBCA, one of the advocates, Jamie, asked what the side effects were for a new treatment I was proposing. I was proud that I had done some research on this and confidently stated, “they are the same as tamoxifen,” a commonly used breast cancer treatment.

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Highlights from AACR Meeting Focusing on Environmental Carcinogenesis

Decades of research have led to the identification of an increasing number of cancer-causing substances in our environment. These substances, known as environmental carcinogens, can be found anywhere, including in our air, water, food, and workplace.

Despite the progress we have made in identifying and increasing awareness of such carcinogens, experts believe that we have a long way to go before we have fully delineated them and successfully regulated our exposures to reduce cancer incidence. Therefore, establishing methods to better identify all of the carcinogens in our environment, to measure our exposure to them, and to prevent cancer caused by them are areas of active investigation in the field.

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June Editors’ Picks from AACR Journals

Back for the month of June are the editors’ picks from the eight scientific journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Selections this month range from the identification of a long noncoding RNA involved in the canonical TGFβ/Smad signaling pathway to results from a clinical trial for patients with neuroendocrine tumors, a rare cancer type. Articles highlighted below are freely available for a limited time.

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AACR Takes Action Against the “Epidemic” of Youth E-cigarette Use

In the past year, the number of American teenagers using tobacco products has increased by nearly 40 percent, reversing a trend that public health officials worked tirelessly to achieve.
The primary culprit in the resurgence of smoking? E-cigarettes. Taking aim at this growing public health problem, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) held a congressional briefing on Wednesday, June 12, titled “E-cigarettes and Nicotine Addiction: A Potential Health Crisis for Youth and Young Adults.” The roster of speakers included leaders from government, research, and policy sectors.

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How Can Identifying and Measuring Exposures to Environmental Carcinogens Help Prevent Cancer?

A recent estimate suggests that more than 40 percent of cancers could be prevented. Modifiable factors linked to cancer include tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and exposure to ­environmental carcinogens, which are substances in our surroundings that can cause cancer and may facilitate progression of the disease.

Environmental carcinogens could be present in our air, water, or food. While some of these carcinogens have been identified, scientists believe that current measures to mitigate our exposures are inadequate. Other carcinogens present in our environment have yet to be fully defined.

To address these issues, the AACR is hosting a conference focusing on Environmental Carcinogenesis: Potential Pathway to Cancer Prevention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. This meeting will review current advances in the field with the goal of sparking ideas and discussion about novel ways to prevent cancer.

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Taking Aim at Tobacco: Highlights From Annual Meeting Symposium

The tobacco product landscape is evolving and the AACR Tobacco Products and Cancer Subcommittee has been cognizant of the shift from combusted products (e.g., cigarettes) to alternative nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes. While it is generally accepted that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, these products still present risks and the AACR has been active in trying to keep children from having access to them.

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From the Journals: Editors’ Picks for May

Every month, the editors from the eight AACR journals select one “must read” article from each issue, which we highlight on this blog. For May, research articles span from an investigation of enzalutamide resistance in prostate cancer to an examination of how distance to care affects treatment initiation and completion among patients with cervical cancer living in urban and rural areas. As usual, all articles summarized here are freely available for a limited time.

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Educating the Public on Cancer Prevention

On Saturday, May 4, Philadelphians flooded the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Franklin Institute’s ninth annual Philadelphia Science Festival. For the fourth consecutive year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was a sponsor of the community event, giving eager kids and their families the opportunity to learn about science with hands-on experiments and activities.

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Why Are Liver Cancer Death Rates Up?

Since the 1990s, the cancer mortality rate in the U.S. has steadily declined. Yet liver cancer death rates in the U.S. have increased. Why?
Liver cancer is caused principally by the combination of a chronic hepatitis B virus infection and dietary exposure to aflatoxin B1, a contaminant that grows on corn and peanuts. Recent efforts to better control liver cancer globally include wide distribution of hepatitis B virus vaccines—more than a billion so far—and deployment of food safety tactics to prevent exposure to aflatoxin B1.

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