At first blush, the newest emerging field in medicine might sound very old: Lymphatics. Medicine has put so little emphasis on lymph, a protein-filled fluid that flows through vessels throughout most of the body, that the term can sound as archaic as doctors treating the four humors by purging blood, phlegm, or black bile.
A parent’s love for a child is a powerful motivator. But when it comes to quitting smoking, often even the strongest motivation, in itself, is not enough. Only about 5 percent of smokers successfully quit each year, although many more try.
Imagine taking neuroscientists to a NASCAR race. While most spectators keep their eyes on the speeding cars, you might catch a few scientists in the crowd instead watching the activities of the pit crews at work on the sidelines, helping drivers to refuel and repair their cars to keep racing at top form.
When bacteria or viruses invade, the body’s ability to rapidly deploy white blood cells to attack the invader is a remarkable biological feat. But these rapid-attack cells, called myeloid cells, ideally work only as first responders to keep a pathogen contained.
A notable glowing success in the world of pediatric oncology is that there are more candles lighting up birthday cakes of young cancer survivors. As the years add up, these milestones are also significant reminders that cancer survivors must remain vigilant throughout their lifetimes to protect their hard-won health.
The oncogene MYC is a supervillain of the cancer world. This gene is known to power the activities of cancer cells in many types of tumors in children and adults. Its variant MYCN, which is active in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, is associated with the most high-risk forms of the disease.
It took nearly a decade and the loss of two infants before Khalid and Jabin Shaikh finally learned what was going wrong. Their third child, Zain, a son, was born in 2007 and immediately whisked away to a pediatric hospital for testing in an effort to identify the disease that took the lives of his siblings.
Young scientists may have passion and brilliant ideas, but unfortunately, they often do not add up to federal funding dollars. This is particularly problematic in pediatric cancer research, which receives just 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s $4.95 billion budget.