Cancer Research Blog Carnival #21 – National Cancer Research Month

Reading time: 8 – 12 minutes

Welcome to the 21st edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival, the monthly blog carnival that discusses what’s new in cancer research and includes posts covering cancer biology, cancer genetics, cancer diagnostics and cancer therapeutics. Concomitant with this edition is the start of National Cancer Research Month.

There’s a revolution occurring on the Web: those “authoritative” articles written on traditional, static websites are being replaced with blogs, wikis and online social networks. In the sphere of health, medicine and information technology, this “real-time Web” consists of many who are professionals in the field; their posts are listed below.
In the digital age, these are the characteristics of new media: recent, relevant, reachable and reliable.

In 2007, the United States Congress declared May National Cancer Research Month. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) secured resolutions to raise awareness of the critical advances in cancer research made by its 27,000 members and cancer researchers worldwide, and its efforts to ensure a secure future for continued progress against a group of diseases which strike one in every two men and one in every three women.


Today, ten million cancer survivors are alive in America due to advances in cancer research [1]. National Cancer Research Month reminds us that basic, clinical, epidemiological and behavioral research are essential to identifying causes and developing strategies for cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures.

With that, let’s find out more about what’s happening in cancer research this month.

Cancer Research Blog Carnival #21

NeuroLogica Blog

Dr. Steven Novella discusses a review of eight clinical trials on Homeopathy for Cancer Treatment Side Effects, specifically investigating homeopathic treatments for the side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy [2]. The positive result of the study in fact had nothing to do homeopathy and illuminates the flaw with evidence-based medicine: lack of prior scientific plausibility.


Two studies, one on breast cancer and the second on colorectal cancer, recently identified differences in cancer severity between black and white Americans [3-4]. Alisa Hughley, the Health Advocate, asks Cancer Risk, Ethnicity & Race: Is It All in the Genes?

Wall & Main

Stanley Samuel presents A Glimpse Into the Future where he describes five research findings as published in various scientific journals representing the cutting edge of scientific research. In particular, he includes a study that assessed the efficacy and tolerability of fluorescent labeled serum albumin for fluorescence-guided surgery of malignant brain tumors [5].


Kamel at Bayblab reports that Investors are Keen on a Cancer Vaccine for prostate cancer, highlighting the controversy over a recent study showing an increase in 3-year survival for patients receiving the vaccine Provenge [6]. If it works and is approved, it will be the first vaccine therapy for cancer.

Tumors Galore

Cancerous tumors are well adapted for survival, altering processes including apoptosis (cell death) and angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) to increase cell survival. Brittany Held asks why natural selection hasn’t eliminated cancer, pondering Cancer Evolution [7].

Greg Laden’s Blog

Grapefruit juice contains enzymes that break down common types of pharmaceutical compounds. Nevertheless, Greg Laden points to the results of a small clinical trial showing that Grapefruit Juice Might Boost Cancer Drug’s Effects [8].

Dr Shock MD PhD

Besides cancer favoring mutations in genes that control cell division or differentiation, other explanations for cancer resistance include variations in DNA repair, intercellular surveillance and immunological rejection [9]. Dr. Walter van den Broeck reviews the alternatives and thinks that the Genetics of Cancer Resistance look promising.


A recent study found that a single round of HPV testing was associated with a significant reduction in the numbers of advanced cervical cancers and deaths from cervical cancer [10]. Henry Stern compares DNA vs PAP and believes that only time will tell whether the new DNA test will decrease current cervical cancer deaths and replace traditional PAP smears.

The Medical Quack

Barbara Duck finds Personalized Medicine a Success for Cancer Patients, highlighting the results of a recent clinical trial on the use of molecular profiling to determine treatment for a variety of differet types of cancer [11]. Individual genetic profiling increased progression-free survival with varying levels of improvement.

Brain Health Hacks

A recent study examined the association between patient information seeking and the adoption of cancer technologies [12]. Dr. Ward Plunet reviews the results and investigates whether information seeking and different treatments lead to better outcomes. Patient: Be Informed to Get Best Cancer Treatment

Bioblog by Biotunes

A recent study describes a method to protect normal cells from the effects of chemotherapy using a starvation-based differential stress resistance strategy, suggesting that specific agents among those that promote oxidative stress and DNA damage have the potential to maximize the differential toxicity to normal and cancer cells [13]. Bioblog explains why Starvation Never Felt So Good and discusses the use of fasting to reduce chemotherapy side effects.

Pharma Strategy Blog

Dr. Sally Church is impressed with the results of a recent study evaluating the efficacy of lapatinib, an oral reversible inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases, to patients with HER2-overexpressing recurrent or anthracycline-refractory inflammatory breast cancer [14]. Cancer Drug Effective in Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Heathy Theory

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphanes, a phytochemical that induces phase 2 detoxification and can act as an anticancer compound. Fred Lee reviews a recent study finding that Baby Broccoli May Help Prevent Stomach Cancer [15].

Living the Scientific Life

GrrlScientist inevitably finds herself shocked at the inaccuracies in science fiction books about scientific research. But she was pleasantly surprised with first-time novelist Jennifer Rohn’s book Experimental Heart: A Novel, which includes a fascinating look at the sociology of the cancer research laboratory [16].


That concludes this edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival. My thanks to everyone that contributed an article. Don’t forget, the Cancer Research Blog Carnival now has subscription options; you can follow by email or RSS feed. An aggregated feed of credible, rotating health and medicine blog carnivals is also available.

The Cancer Research Blog Carnival is looking for future hosts. You can find both the hosting schedule and past editions at the Cancer Research Blog Carnival website.

You can find out more about what’s happening in cancer research at the National Foundation for Cancer Research.


  1. May Is National Cancer Research Month. American Association for Cancer Research press release. 2008, May 7.
  2. Kassab et al. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD004845.
    View abstract
  3. Stead et al. Triple-negative breast cancers are increased in black women regardless of age or body mass index. Breast Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 25;11(2):R18. [Epub ahead of print]
    View abstract
  4. Katkoori et al. Prognostic significance of p53 codon 72 polymorphism differs with race in colorectal adenocarcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 1;15(7):2406-16.
    View abstract
  5. Kremer et al. Intraoperative fluorescence staining of malignant brain tumors using 5-aminofluorescein-labeled albumin. Neurosurgery. 2009 Mar;64(3 Suppl):53-60; discussion 60-1.
    View abstract
  6. UCSF Onconlogist Led Early Clinical Trials of Provenge. University of California, San Franscisco Science Cafe. 2009 Apr 28.
  7. Zimmer C. Evolved for cancer? Scientific American. 18, 14-21. 2007 Jan.
  8. Grapefruit juice boosts drug’s anti-cancer effects. University of Chicago news release. 2009 Apr 20.
  9. Klein G. Toward a genetics of cancer resistance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jan 20;106(3):859-63. Epub 2009 Jan 7.
    View abstract
  10. Sankaranarayanan et al. HPV screening for cervical cancer in rural India. N Engl J Med. 2009 Apr 2;360(14):1385-94.
    View abstract
  11. Personalized medicine helps cancer patients. TGEN new release. 2009 Apr 19.
  12. Gray et al. Colon cancer patient information seeking and the adoption of targeted therapy for on-label and off-label indications. Cancer. 2009 Apr 1;115(7):1424-34.
    View abstract
  13. Raffaghello et al. Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 17;105(24):8215-20. Epub 2008 Mar 31.
    View abstract
  14. Kaufman et al. Lapatinib monotherapy in patients with HER2-overexpressing relapsed or refractory inflammatory breast cancer: final results and survival of the expanded HER2+ cohort in EGF103009, a phase II study. Lancet Oncol. 2009 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]
    View abstract
  15. Yanaka et al. Dietary sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts reduce colonization and attenuate gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-infected mice and humans. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):353-60.
    View abstract
  16. Jennifer L. Rohn. Experimental Heart: A Novel. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 2008 Nov 1.
About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.