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Articles on Oncology

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You can change your gut microbiome composition by eating different foods. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images

Microbes in your food can help or hinder your body’s defenses against cancer – how diet influences the conflict between cell ‘cooperators’ and ‘cheaters’

Cancer cells are ‘cheaters’ that do not cooperate with the rest of the body. Certain microbes in your diet can either protect against or promote tumor formation by influencing cell cooperation.
Hypoxia, or a state of low oxygen, can encourage tumors to spread. This microscopy image visualizes the microenvironment of a breast tumor. Steve Seung-Young Lee, Univ. of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health via Flickr

Stopping the cancer cells that thrive on chemotherapy – research into how pancreatic tumors adapt to stress could lead to a new treatment approach

Some cancers are notoriously resistant to chemotherapy and not curable with surgery. Stopping tumors from adapting to the harsh microenvironments of the body could be a potential treatment avenue.
This image shows pancreatic cancer cells (blue) growing, encased within membranes (red). Min Yu/Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC via NIH/Flickr

Triggering cancer cells to become normal cells – how stem cell therapies can provide new ways to stop tumors from spreading or growing back

Many tumors have cancer stem cells that help them grow and evade treatments. Differentiation therapy forces these cells to mature, stopping growth with less toxicity than traditional treatments.
Tumor cells traverse many different types of fluids as they travel through the body. Christoph Burgstedt/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How cancer cells move and metastasize is influenced by the fluids surrounding them – understanding how tumors migrate can help stop their spread

Counterintuitively, cells move faster in thicker fluids. New research on breast cancer cells explains why, and reveals the role that fluid viscosity plays in metastasis.
Killer T cells (green and red), or cytotoxic T cells, surround a cancer cell (blue, center). NICHD/J. Lippincott-Schwartz

Anti-cancer CAR-T therapy reengineers T cells to kill tumors – and researchers are expanding the limited types of cancer it can target

Immunotherapy has the potential to eliminate tumors, but works best for select patients. Engineering T cells to bypass cancer’s defenses could help expand treatment eligibility to more patients.
Melanoma is a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer. Dlumen/iStock via Getty Images Plus

How cancer cells can become immortal – new research finds a mutated gene that helps melanoma defeat the normal limits on repeated replication

One enzyme plays a key role in how tumor cells replicate and divide indefinitely. Identifying the genes that give these cells their immortality could provide new drug targets to treat cancer.
Stem cell transplants involve completely eliminating and then replacing the immune system of a patient, often by transplanting the bone marrow. xia yuan/Moment via Getty Images

Gut bacteria nurture the immune system – for cancer patients, a diverse microbiome can protect against dangerous treatment complications

Patients with blood cancer undergoing stem cell transplantation have a high risk of complications. The bacteria in their gut, however, can help their immune system recover and fight infections.
Black patients are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to have a biopsy delay of 90 days or more after an abnormal mammogram. Yellow Dog Productions/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Biopsies confirm a breast cancer diagnosis after an abnormal mammogram – but structural racism may lead to lengthy delays

Early detection of breast cancer is critical to improving chances of survival. But racial and ethnic minority patients systematically have delayed diagnoses that reduce the benefits of screening.
Dendritic cells (green) produce cytokines like IL-12, which can train T cells (pink) to attack tumors. Victor Segura Ibarra and Rita Serda/National Cancer Institute via Flickr

‘Masked’ cancer drug stealthily trains immune system to kill tumors while sparing healthy tissues, reducing treatment side effects

One promising cancer treatment has been in the works for decades, but severe side effects have kept it out of the clinic. A reengineered version may offer a way to safely harness its potent effects.
Identifying the difference between normal genetic variation and disease-causing mutations can sometimes be difficult. Andrii Yalanskyi/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Genetic mutations can be benign or cancerous – a new method to differentiate between them could lead to better treatments

Tumors contain thousands of genetic changes, but only a few are actually cancer-causing. A quicker way to identify these driver mutations could lead to more targeted cancer treatments.
Nanoparticles can help cancer drugs home in on tumors and avoid damaging healthy cells. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Nanoparticles are the future of medicine – researchers are experimenting with new ways to design tiny particle treatments for cancer

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines put nanomedicine in the spotlight as a potential way to treat diseases like cancer and HIV. While the field isn’t there yet, better design could help fulfill its promise.

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