Somatic Mutation Across Mammals

Reading time: 3 minutes Hannah Young Somatic mutations are changes in DNA that occur as cells in our body divide. They are distinct from germline mutations, which occur in germ cells (e.g. eggs and sperm) and are passed down from parent to child. Both somatic and germline mutations contribute to cancer and aging. While we’ve... Continue Reading →

Targeting Transcription Factors in Cancers

Reading time: 4 minutes Bhavuk Garg Cancers are characterized by uncontrolled growth and failure of differentiation, whereby cells lose their physiological characteristics and acquire malignant phenotypes, also known as neoplastic properties. Examining the distinct properties of cancer cells and their underlying mechanisms are active areas of investigation. Broadly, these properties are summarized as hallmarks of... Continue Reading →

Cancer’s Jumping Gene Problem

Reading time: 3 minutes Gabby Budziszewski Proteins, the molecular machines that perform functions within our cells to keep us alive, are all encoded in DNA, but only 1-2% of our three billion base pairs of DNA encode proteins. For many years, the other 98-99% of DNA was referred to as “junk” DNA. However, we now... Continue Reading →

Breast Milk May Give a Glimpse into Breast Cancer

Reading time: 4 minutes Jessica Desamero Breastfeeding is essential for a baby’s first few months and can even reduce a mother’s risk of breast cancer. The exact cause is unclear, but it could be due to the associated hormonal changes that delay the mother’s menstrual cycles. This delay reduces the mother’s lifetime exposure to menstrual... Continue Reading →

A Common Denominator That Links All Cancers

Reading time: 4 minutes Aishat Motolani Cancer is a heterogeneous genetic disease notorious for dodging several bullets of treatments. Tumors can develop in different organs and tissues of the body. As a result, there are over 100 types of cancers according to the National Cancer Institute. One of the current approaches pursued to solve cancer... Continue Reading →

Can Eating Plant-based Prevent Cancer?

Reading time: 4 minutes Christina Snyder Cancer is a massive problem that affects almost 2 million new people each year in the U.S. alone. But what if you could drastically decrease your risk for cancer later in life simply by changing your diet? While, unfortunately, there is no single magical fruit that can prevent cancer,... Continue Reading →

Is Cancer a Sort of Monster?

Reading time: 4 minutes Leandro de Lima Coutinho It may seem a bit naive to associate cancer with an imaginary creature that is large, ugly, frightening, and often destructive. However, to understand why we would consider cancer as a monster, we need to first revive a creature from Greek mythology and then recall the etymology... Continue Reading →

Meet the Laser-focused Protein Bulldozers: PROTACs

Reading time: 5 minutes Aishat Motolani Just as bulldozers work to demolish dilapidated buildings or clear weeds on farmlands, PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACs) are small bifunctional molecules designed to degrade proteins that are present in excess in diseased conditions. In cancer, these specific proteins are called oncoproteins. Oncoproteins are capable of transforming a normal cell... Continue Reading →

Our Bodies — a Weapon Against Cancer?

Reading time: 5 minutes Mahrukh Fatima Our bodies are quite spectacular and are well-equipped to protect us from most dangers we encounter, both internal and external. The tools our bodies use to protect us against microscopic threats are collectively known as the immune system, and just like tools in a toolbox, the different types of... Continue Reading →

Cancer’s Sweet Tooth Can Lead to its Downfall

Reading time: 5 minutes Michael Marand   The term cancer research may invoke images of scientists with grand ideas mixing this or that until the next groundbreaking treatment avenue is uncovered. Indeed, discovering new therapeutic approaches has been an important factor in the progress made in the cancer research sphere. However, it is perhaps even more... Continue Reading →

Unlocking Nature’s Cancer Therapies

Reading time: 2 minutes Rachel Cherney Nature is magnificent, simply put. It is indispensable, diverse, and more complex than we currently understand. Its diversity ranges from from the Mantis Shrimp, which can see millions of colors as compared to humans, to the Axolotl, which has the remarkable ability to regenerative any of the limbs. However,... Continue Reading →

Tumor Dormancy – A Case of a “Sleeping” Cell

Reading time: 4 minutes Ifeoluwa Oyelade Pretending to be dead to deceive opponents in fights and strike unexpectedly is a well-known cliche in books and movies. This is an analogy that loosely describes the activities of some dormant tumor cells in cancer treatment. Tumor dormancy has garnered a reasonable amount of buzz in cancer research... Continue Reading →

Targeting cancer’s sweet spots

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes Payal Yokota One of the main differences between a rapidly dividing cancer cell and a normal cell is that the cancer cells rely on glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation, rather than oxidative phosphorylation. This effect is called the Warburg effect, one we have previously discussed in the context of... Continue Reading →

AlphaFold: A game changer in cancer?

Reading time: 4 minutes Chamath Chandrasekera Proteins are the molecular machines that perform nearly every bodily function including contracting muscles, digesting food, and healing wounds. They also provide structural support by reinforcing the shape of cells and tissues. So how do proteins go from a string of amino acids to a 3D structure with a... Continue Reading →

A Link Between Neurodegeneration and Cancer

Reading time: 5 minutes Jessica Desamero Cancer and neurodegenerative disease (a group of disorders that involve progressive degeneration of the central nervous system) are two very serious and distinct ailments. The basis of their development is distinctly different, with hallmarks of cancer centering around abnormally prolonging cell life and hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease centering around... Continue Reading →

In sickness and in health: Myc and Max

Reading time: 4 minutes Suchitra Mitra Normal cells grow, age, and ultimately die to be replaced by new cells. Cancer cells, on the other hand, experience cell cycle malfunctions and grow out of control to become invasive, spreading undesirably and harmfully. This anomalous cell proliferation is a consequence of genetic alterations, or changes in the... Continue Reading →

The road not taken – Cancer cells adore a lymphatic detour to avoid being ‘ferried’ to death

Darshak Bhatt Reading time: 4 minutes Migration is tough! The International committee for the Red Cross states that “… on their journey, migrants face multiple risks and high degree of vulnerability”, and adds “Thousands (of migrants) die or disappear along the way every year.” Similarly, a cancer cell faces challenges related to migration and the... Continue Reading →

Promiscuous kinase inhibitors: When having more than one partner can be good

Reading time: 4 minutes Chris Wang Unlike the Merriam Webster definition of promiscuous, describing a kinase inhibitor as promiscuous actually refers to the number of kinases it inhibits. The more promiscuous an inhibitor is, the higher number of off-targets it has. Traditional drug development strategies avoid promiscuous compounds because off-target effects can lead to side... Continue Reading →

Welcome to the (DNA) Neighborhood

Reading time: 3 minutes Rachel Cherney Six feet. Two meters. This is the length of DNA we have in each one of our cells. That’s almost the height of Michael Jordan! But those six feet of DNA need to fit into a tiny space that is between 5-10 micrometers. To put it into perspective, that's... Continue Reading →

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