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Cancer Research 101: 3/25/12 - 4/1/12

Friday, March 30, 2012

Join the Ontario Health Study

If you live in Ontario (Canada) then I encourage you to be an active research participant (and it's easy to do!) and be part of the Ontario Health Study (OHS). The OHS website is here.

Not limited to cancer, but to all chronic diseases, the Ontario Health Study is a huge research undertaking that takes community involvement to the limit. You can help!

In their own words:

The Ontario Health Study is an ongoing research study investigating risk factors that cause diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and Alzheimer’s. If you live in Ontario and are 18 or older, you can take part in the OHS by filling out health-related questionnaires online. Researchers will use this health information to study how our lifestyle, environment and family history affect our health over time and to develop strategies for the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Society, Ethics and Cancer Genomics

In one of my earlier posts (you can read it here), I talked about some of the major societal issues that face us in ethics, health services and health policy arenas (to name but a few), now that we are about to turn the corner on the $1000 genome.

I know that I am not the only one (not by a long shot), who is concerned about these important issues) but it was gratifying today to learn that the US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is taking up the charge. I will be following this to see what happens....

See a report from Bloomberg News.

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Tobacco Company Profits are OBSCENE

The World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to produce the 4th edition of what they call the "Tobacco Atlas". It was released last week in Singapore.

The website of the Tobacco Atlas is a sobering stop for anyone who thinks that it is nothing short of insanity to continue to allow big tobacco to produce a product whose sole aim, aside from raking in Billions in profits ($35B estimated annual global PROFIT) is to continue to addict people, and, when used as intended, to hugely increase the probability of death and kill its own customers (at the rate of at least 6 Million deaths annually).

Here is a copy of the Press Release (in embedded PDF format - use the zoom in/out control to better view) from the Atlas launch that summarizes the report.

If ever you felt motivated to use your voices to effect some good, you could not pick a more worthy cause...

Tobacco Atlas Press Release March 21, 2012

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Monday, March 26, 2012

International Cancer Genomics Efforts - Marching Forward

I previously wrote about the International Cancer Genomics Consortium (ICGC)  and the promise of the genomics approach to solving some of the mysteries of cancers.

Earlier this month the ICGC released the latest round of data from a number of international sites that can now be used by researchers around the world.

From the ICGC web site

This update includes first data releases from France’s Liver Cancer project, Germany’s Pediatric Brain Cancer project, and the United Kingdom’s Myelodysplastic Syndrome Project. Also included are new submissions from the Australian Pancreatic Cancer project, the Canadian Pancreatic Cancer project, the Japanese Liver Cancer project, and the United Kingdom Breast Cancer (Triple Negative) project.

This data adds to previous data releases from the Chinese Gastric Cancer project, the Spanish Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia project and submissions from The Cancer Genome Atlas in the United States, which has contributed information on about 10 types of cancer affecting the blood, brain, breast, colon, kidney, lung, ovaries, rectum, stomach and uterus.

In total, 600 newly-available cancer datasets are provided in this release, with the ICGC data portal now containing data from 3,561 cancer genomes.
This clearly shows the power of collaboration and of open access to data generated by that collaboration.

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Check Out the New Enhanced Features of the Blog

For those of you who take notice of such things, I have done some work behind the scenes to add a new, easier-to-navigate look and feel to the blog. I hope you enjoy it....

For example, you will notice that there are now 2 sidebars to permit some future growth, but also some new informational features. Check out the new navigation bar - this will not only make it easier to navigate the blog but also adds some new resources that I hope you find useful: a full Table of Contents for posts, some drop-down links to a number of online resources to help you get more cancer research info from good quality, reputable sources and organizations, and I have even added links to a few online cancer "dictionaries" so that you can look up any terms that might be confusing you.

On the right sidebar, you will now find a drop down keyword search that should make it dead simple to identify any post on the blog by its label/tag/keyword.

On the left sidebar you will see more buttons to enable instant sharing of the blog. If you don't see one visible that you want, click the green "plus" button and you will be presented with dozens more choices. Feel free to share as you wish!

And finally, you will see in the footer that there is now a new section that links you to some of the blogs that I follow myself, and from which some of the information gets cross-posted.

More changes are coming - I am trying to make this site as informative and useful to readers as possible. 

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome!