Choose your own science

4 08 2009

In the lead up to Australia’s National Science Week this month (don’t forget to sign up for that), the Australia Museum is holding People’s Choice Awards for their Eureka Science Prizes.

GO VOTE. (There are prizes for Australian residents)

I actually have connections with one of these scientists! Squeee! I am like legitimate (or not…). Kathy Belov, nominated for her work regarding the genetics of the Tadmanian Devil facial tumour (DFTD). Marsupial immunology is a small field, so Kathy was one of the collaborators with my ex-supervisor on the launchblock for my research (one of my former lab-mates now has Kathy as a PhD co-supervisor) – near the end of my research our lab received some very useful American marsupial DNA libraries from her.Good luck Kathy.

And if transmissible facial cancer in devils is not cool enough for you there is also:





For just one dollar a day

29 06 2009

No, I am not about  to con you into some religious sponsorship program.* Absolutely no African children for sale here.

It’s about SunSmart awareness and skin cancer prevention. The idea is that for $1 per day per person the Australian government could encourage people to regularly use sunscreen and prevent over 100,000 cancers and 20 deaths each year. This is based on some trials done in Queensland.

Now some of you might be trying to do the math. It is a little over 8 billion dollars annually for Australia’s 22 million inhabitants. But the authors make a compelling case by comparing it to the cost of public cosmetics expenditure, as well as government spending on vaccines (which cost $100s per dose).

Sunscreen is important for all Australians.

An exemplary example of framing science?

*Food for thought on religious-based missions here, here, and here





Who is testing cancer vaccines?

15 06 2009

ResearchBlogging.orgAs I wrap up my “Pharma is your Phriend” series, lets take a look at some more research.

This is a very interesting analysis of cancer vaccine trials using data mining from Open Access journal, Immunome Research.

The authors have taken advantage of there being quite a lot of publicly available information on clinical trials these days (yes, it is there, if you know where to look¹) to amass a whole host of information on cancer vaccine clinical trials for a type of analysis known as data mining.

There own summary of the results reads:

This application enables rapid extraction of information about institutions, diseases, clinical approaches, clinical trials dates, predominant cancer types in the trials, clinical opportunities and pharmaceutical market coverage. Presentation of results is facilitated by visualization tools that summarize the landscape of ongoing and completed cancer vaccine trials. Our summaries show the number of clinical vaccine trials per cancer type, over time, by phase, by lead sponsors, as well as trial activity relative to cancer type and survival data. We also have identified cancers that are neglected in the cancer vaccine field: bladder, liver, pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and all of the low-incidence cancers.

Two cool things I learned from the paper were: Vaccines for cancers have been in development since the 1970s, and melanoma has been the cancer studied most for a vaccine, even though the first ones out to market have been for cervical cancer (expect melanoma vaccines in the next 1-5 years?).

But as we are looking to shift this discussion towards the pharmaceutical industry, let’s look at who runs clinical trials (Pop up: Figure 2a).

Read the rest of this entry »





Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

1 06 2009

Last time I posted a peer review blog, I saw a significant spike in readership (partly in thanks to a digg stumbleupon).

I’m going to selfishly* capitalise on a similar expected spike by asking readers to consider visiting: THIS LINK and donating to my office’s fundraising for The Australian Cancer Council with the Biggest Morning Tea.

The Cancer Council is engaged on all levels of Cancer Support – whether sponsoring clinical trials, providing patients with information, or support services for friends and families. These days it’s pretty rare to find anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by cancer – even $5.00 can help one patient receive information and other resources.

THAT LINK AGAIN.

If you live in Australia, you might even consider hosting your own morning tea event in the coming weeks. There’s always time for cake…

*It’s for charity

Image credit: Swamibu (Creative Commons)
+++++ +++++ ++++++

UPDATE

Thanks to everyone who donated. Our event raised $228.00$248.00. You can register your office, school, organisation or even your lonseome self as a host for 2010 on the biggest morning tea website.





Under the house is not a cancer clinic

26 04 2009

The definition of quackery – offering cure for cancers bought of the internet being supplied by untrained staff in someone’s garage.

Choice quotes:

“We haven’t announced it yet, we haven’t told the world, it’s very secret.” (Naturopaths don’t care about curing cancer, they care about making money).

“It’s not a garage, Chris, it’s under the house*, okay” (In response to why she was not operating but in her “backyard, garage”).

You’ll all be quite thankful that successful investigation and prosecution has seen Ms Newlands fined $12,000 and banned from “making any claims she is able to treat, cure, or benefit any person suffering from cancer”.

I must say, it is good to see some action, but it is awfully lenient (especially seeing as she was charging $2,000 per client). And I don’t think I’m alone in being a little perturbed that making such claims (when not a registered medical practitioner) is not already an offense of some kind.

(Press release and more info at Sceptic’s book of Pooh-Pooh)

*For those of you not familiar with Queensland architecture. Most older “Queenslander” style homes are built up on stilts to promote airflow. “Under the house” is usually an semi-enclosed space not fully protected from the elements that can be used as a storage area, carport, laundry and/or tool shed.





Snip decision

29 09 2008

Warning to guys be ready for story below the line (or belt…) Read the rest of this entry »





denialism blog : Cancer 101

17 09 2008

denialism blog : Cancer 101

Posted using ShareThis

*update* so it works like that