Patient Develops an Allergy to Kiwis Following Surgery

A 46-year-old man who underwent a bone marrow transplant has suddenly contracted an allergy to kiwi fruit. Scientists say it’s the first evidence that allergies can be carried to a patient from a donor’s stem cells.

Source: Patient Develops an Allergy to Kiwis Following Surgery

That’s awful! They’re tasty AND adorable!  The fruit too 🙂

Treatment Saved ~90% of Terminal Cancer Patients…

…but it has scary side effects

Militarizing the body’s natural immune responses so that it can fight off cancerous uprisings has been seen as a promising strategy for years. Now, a sneak peek of data from a small clinical trial suggests that the method may in fact be as useful as doctors hope—but there are still some serious kinks to work out.

Source: Treatment saved ~90% of terminal cancer patients, but it has scary side effects

To recap – 95% full remission, 5% death compared to 100% death.  I’d take those odds, and it’s not like you’d suffer the decision for the rest of your life.  I do hope they get the remaining 5% to at least not die.

Sandalwood Odor Could Be a Treatment for Leukemia

Olfactory receptors are not limited to your nose. You have them all over your body, including your blood. Now, synthetic sandalwood has been shown to promote cell death in cancer cells for patients with a certain kind of leukemia. This could open the door for a whole new kind of treatment.

Source: Sandalwood Odor Could Be a Treatment for Leukemia

It’s been known to cause cell death in my nose, too 😉

It’s extremely specific to that one type of cancer, which is understandable – cancer really is just a catch-all for unregulated cell growth.  Different locations have different responses to therapy.

First-of-their-Kind Gene-Edited Cells Treat Baby’s Leukemia

With genetic tweaks and snips, researchers created cancer-busting immune cells that, so far, seem to have wiped out a life-threatening form of leukemia in a one-year-old girl.

The new cells are one-size-fits-all, beating out earlier cell-based cancer therapies that required custom engineering of each patient’s own immune cells. If proven effective in more trials, the new, generic cells could offer an easy, off-the-shelf treatment for life-threatening forms of leukemia.

Source: First-of-their-kind gene-edited cells treat baby’s leukemia

Fingers crossed. Nobody – and certainly no child – should have to suffer cancer.

Rabbit Virus Improves Bone Marrow Transplants, Kills Some Cancer Cells

University of Florida Health researchers have discovered that a rabbit virus can deliver a one-two punch, killing some kinds of cancer cells while eliminating a common and dangerous complication of bone marrow transplants.

For patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma, a bone marrow transplant can be both curative and perilous. It replenishes marrow lost to disease or chemotherapy but raises the risk that newly transplanted white blood cells will attack the recipient’s body.

Now researchers say the myxoma virus, found in rabbits, can do double duty, quelling the unwanted side effects of a bone marrow transplant and destroying cancer cells.

Source: Rabbit virus improves bone marrow transplants, kills some cancer cells

Why is it not a treatment?  This is likely preliminary findings on white blood cells in a petri dish.  It needs a delivery mechanism, dosage calculate and long term study…  It’s like vitamin C – eating high concentrations just gets filtered out, so there’s tests about injection to bypass safeguards.

How A Notorious Chemical Weapon Led To The Invention Of Chemotherapy

Mustard gas was, and is, one of the most terrifying weapons of war. It made people break out in blisters, and killed them slowly over weeks. It also inspired one of the first effective forms of cancer therapy. Here’s how.

Source: How A Notorious Chemical Weapon Led To The Invention Of Chemotherapy

Knowing is half the battle.  The other half is violence 😉

Regular Coffee Consumption Contributes to DNA Integrity

Coffee consumption has been reported to decrease oxidative damage in peripheral white blood cells (WBC). However, effects on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks, a well established marker of health risk, have not been specifically reported yet. We analyzed the impact of consuming a dark roast coffee blend on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks.

Source: Consumption of a dark roast coffee decreases the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks: a randomized controlled trial.

Your DNA gets damaged in a variety of ways, and when your DNA repair mechanisms can’t fix it or don’t fix it correctly – you get mutations and improper protein function (because your cell is accessing corrupted data). This can lead to constantly active growth signals or inactive anti-growth signals, both of which will lead to cancer. On the flip side, DNA can be mutated into overall lack of function, which leads to cellular aging – effectively organism aging.

What they did in this experiment was measure in peripheral white blood cells for a single type of DNA damage, the strand break.  As the name implies, a strand break is when one or both strands of a molecule of DNA break apart. This is a nasty type of damage – a double strand break can cause chromosomal translocations, which is where two different chunks of broken DNA are put together to potentially result in improper genetic function. For example, the “always active” switch of a tumor suppressor gene may be fused to a gene coding for a protein that promotes cell proliferation, which will promote cancer. If a single strand break occurs, improper repair of the strand can lead to new mutation on its own.

The study findings indicate that those who drank 750 ml (~3 cups) of coffee per day experienced 27% fewer strand breaks in white blood cells than those who only drank water, controlling for diet and body weight.  Why did they look at white blood cells?  Leukemia, literally meaning “white blood,” is cancer of the white blood cells.

Would decaffeinated coffee has the same effects?

According to this study, that caffeine is not the significant DNA damage-preventing chemical in coffee. But that’s only one study.  Still…

Death before decaf... or medium roast

…or medium roast

Current evidence suggests that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of liver, kidney, and to a lesser extent, pre-menopausal breast and colorectal cancers, while it is unrelated to prostate, pancreas and ovary cancers. Coffee drinking may still help reduce death due to liver cancer.  But they aren’t quite sure what the reason for coffee being good – it’s not solely caffeine, so they’re wondering if it’s a combination of caffeine and other things in coffee.

Coffee just runs right through me

That’d be me after 3 cups

Arsenic in Drinking Water Linked to 50% Drop in Breast Cancer Deaths

One typically does not hear talk of the health benefits of arsenic, but a new study by researchers from UC Berkeley and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile has linked arsenic to a 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths.

The study, published this month in the open-access journal EBioMedicine, presents results of breast cancer mortality data from a region in Chile where residents were inadvertently exposed to high levels of arsenic, a naturally occurring element found in many minerals. Instead of an increase in mortality, as with many other cancer sites, the study found that breast cancer deaths were cut in half during the period that coincided with high arsenic exposure. The effect was more pronounced among women under age 60, with mortality in these women reduced by 70 percent.

So should arsenic now be used to treat breast cancer?

“Not yet,” said Smith. “We do not know if the treatment will work, but carefully designed clinical trials should take place as soon as possible based on this new evidence.”

Source: Arsenic in drinking water linked to 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths

I have to wonder if the drop was due to how death was reported.  I’ve heard of some countries choosing how they classified cause of death to make statistics look like the country had a better quality of life.  IE: Classifying “cancer” as “old age”.

Remember When People Used To Eat Arsenic As A Health Supplement?

Probably not, unless you’re well over 100 years old. In the 1800s, arsenic began being marketed as a health supplement, even though it had been a known poison for thousands of years. So why were people suddenly eating it on purpose?

…Today, people are no longer impressed with the health benefits of arsenic, inside Austria or outside of it. Not only does it cause cell death, but even low doses of it increase a person’s risk of cancer. Whenever natural arsenic has leaked into the drinking water of communities, cancer rates have sky-rocketed.