Immune System

A One-Two Punch to Knock Out Leukemia

Scientists at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have been looking into better ways to treat leukemia.  

Specifically, their concern for leukemia patients is that drugs will restrict the progression of their disease, but not completely eliminate it.  Therefore, leukemia patients are constantly taking drugs to manage their disease, often with unpleasant side effects, and comes with a risk of resistance and then failure to respond.

An Unexpected Path to Cell Death Before Cancer Starts

Scientists at the Salk Institute made an interesting discovery (published in the journal Nature, on January 23, 2019), when studying how telomeres relate to cancer.  A cellular process called autophagy (the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells), can actually promote cell death, which would prevent damaged cells from becoming cancerous.

There are many checkpoints in the body that try to prevent cells from dividing out of control (become cancerous), but this was not expected.

An Experimental Drug Slows Cancer's Circadian Clock

We are beginning to learn about the circadian rhythms that happen throughout the body.  Not just the rhythms that tell us when to sleep and when to wake up, but also when to eat, and as we are learning, even our cells have their own rhythm.  We've learned that when these rhythms are disrupted, like if we don't get regular sleep, or eat on a regular schedule, then our health is negatively impacted.