Aspirin and the Battle Against Cancer

aspirin

Have a headache? Take aspirin. Have inflammation, a fever, pain, or want to prevent a stroke/heart attack? Take an aspirin. It would seem that Aspirin is an extraordinary drug that we have created. Apparently researchers are now seeing that there are other uses that this magical white pill can due: stopping initial tumor cancer cells. Thats right, there needs to be more work and studies done but it would seem that there is more that this drug can do. It may be able to play a major role in cancer therapies within the feasible future.

Everyone responds differently to everything, and for some too much aspirin can be disastrous. However researchers are looking into making a genetic test to see who may be able to benefit in the long-term use of aspirin.

So originally scientist found that aspirin treats prostaglandins which are a hormonelike substance which can cause inflammation, trigger pain, fever, and blood clotting. You don’t want to suppress these all the time because obviously fevers have an important role in our immune system, likewise with some of these other symptoms, however they realized that by turning down the prostaglandin count with aspirin, it prevents lots of heart attacks and tumors. Another way is that it boost a molecule called resolvins which help stop inflammation.

Rather recently they found that aspirin stops metastasize, meaning cancer cells ability to spread throughout the body which is incredibly significant. Typically tumor cells need a blood source and the malignant cells usually cross walls via nearby blood vessels and enter the bloodstream to not get detected by the immune system. The tumor cells also seem to need platelets and use a chemical to allow them to surround the malignant cells so they act as a shield and way to breakout of blood vessels.

It would seem that aspirin stops platelet cells from combining to tumor cells which therefore they cant travel through the body and create a secondary tumor. They believe it targets a certain set of genes or the nuclei of blood cels but they still aren’t quite sure. They are conducting more test, however this is significant because you can give people controlled amounts of aspirin and will more than likely see effects. This drug is truly interesting and hopefully with further research the science community will make full use of it when tackling cancers.

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Sahota

Sahota.jpgToday I wanted to talk and mention a little about a man who is quite interesting. Almost now around two months ago it was my pleasure to conduct an interview with a Rutgers researcher named Amrik Sahota.

Dr. Sahota is very extraordinary and he is in a field that seems to be overlooked. He was born and raised in England where he graduated with both his BA, and MA in genetics/ molecular biology. He came to America and did some post graduate work to obtain a doctorate. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Dr. Sahota actually worked at a hospital to gain some experience and more hands on with people, and he actually taught at another university. Upon coming to Rutgers, he taught a higher level genetics and molecular biology class, but has recently stopped. He has stopped because he is also heavily in the field of research which is what fascinated me about him.

While he may do some clinical work such as diagnosing people with illness, conducting them on how to use medicine, and counseling, his main focus is working in the lab which is something I want to do. He is specialized and mostly works with Kidney disorders such as urinary tract stone diseases and is looking for means to cure them with a drug. He is currently working with mice and evaluating new approaches to Cystinuria therapy and understanding more what exactly the relationship between stone type and pathology, and in what ways this may affect an individual. By looking at genes and the coding of certain genes that may be inherited and cause a kidney problem, his team has developed a drug and it is currently undergoing early clinical trials to see if the drug is acceptable and safe for humans.

Ed Young and His book

 

i containEd Yong is quite a young renowned science writer who blogs and writes science articles in The Atlantic. He writes and covers a multitude of science topics that can range from how the government and politics sees science to the tiny, naked to the human eye, microscopic organisms that live inside of us.

On that last note, he recently published a new book in 2017 called, I contain Multitudes-the Microbes within us and a Grander view of life. This book is rather quite interesting in the aspect that Ed Yong tries to show us how we are more connected at a microscopic level than we think. First Ed Yong wants to get rid of the generalization that modern society has depicted of microscopic organisms, that they are “bad and dangerous”.

Through the chapters of the book, he shows us like the evolutionary history and talks about how we got to where we are today. Then then within each chapter there is some sort of significance that can be related back to you, the reader. For example one chapter states how your first gut bacterium and immunity can be traced from your mother because through vaginal births, you get a swab of her when you first come out. And he talks about studies where that those babies who came out via C-section may lack certain microbes that are crucial in early life. He also tells us some stories and snippets of what he got from interviewing well renowned doctors and researchers.

Ultimately Ed Yong is trying to change some misconceptions on microbes and he wants the general public to have and view a bigger picture about life. This read is particular good because he simplifies terminology for those who may not be familiar in the science field, he relates it back to the reader, and he even gives tips on what we can do.  You can now find his book on Amazon on your preferred platform ranging from $10.99 to $33.99. This book is an amazing read and I hope that you check it out. Ed and Tardigarde

Bioinformatics to the People

Bioinformatics

 

I recently interviewed my scientist for a research project for school. Dr. Sahota is a Genetics and Molecular Biologist working at Rutgers University. Along from conducting research to figure out diseases with genetics he mentioned that genetic counseling is also what he does.

This is interesting because essentially he takes a look with a patient and looks at their family’s tree history to see if they are pre-disposed to a certain disease. Why this is significant and growing in today’s society is that we believe the key to a lot of or problems is based on genetics and if we could change it or look further into our genes, they will help us discover answers to new medicines and treatments.

One field of science that helps push this forward is bioinformatics: which is the science of collecting, analyzing and storing information such  as genetic codes. Part of the problem when it comes to treating individuals is that some symptoms for certain diseases aren’t so clear as day and night. This is why gene-sequencing technologies help but having a lot of data can cause headaches. Doctors at US Naval Medical Research Unit-6 (NAMRU-6) have recently found a new way to speed up the process sending a sequence of DNA to get analyzed from what took weeks to now you can get in a few hours.

Doctors there developed this new program called EDGE, (Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise). This new bioinformatics tool hides common microbial-genomics tasks, such as sequencing assemblies and species identification, behind an interface that allows it’s users to create  polished analyses. Some positives that this brings is that the software itself is very cheap to use, and can be bought relatively cheap for $10,000 USD. Users can explore those and other data sets using a free demo hosted on the LANL server, and all one would have to do is download the software and then they can go on to getting the genetic codes quickly.

It’s still in the early works and they need to need to understand what the algorithms are doing, and how different parameters affect their output, however very soon this could be out to the general publics hand for our own use and seeing our own genetic codes.

Full Cryopreservation Becoming a More Feasible Reality?

fry

The Sci-Fi future that we thought was so far away is actually nearing and becoming more of a reality everyday. As seen in the animation show Futurama where our young protagonist Fry get frozen in a container and later he gets thawed out one thousand years later into the future, this type of freezing all though maybe not as long is looming among us. We turn to look at this concept becoming more reliable in the field of medicine when it comes to with organs for organ transplants.

One of the main problems with organ transplants is essentially like with food, organs outside of the body have a certain “Shelf life”. Because of this we are losing many organs and money trying to keep these organs only to have them lost. Part of the problem is when chilling organs the problem isn’t chilling them, but getting them rewarmed to use them in a quick manner because ice particles will form if they aren’t unfrozen fast enough and the organ will be lost. Apparently at the University of Michigan have created an innovative way to help increase the viability of the organs. nano

A solution of silica with iron coated nanoparticles seem to be the answer. Essentially how it works is that they would freeze the organs in a process called vitrification where theoretically the organs would be viable for an eternity and when you need to use them, they would use an electromagnetic field, and through the electromagnet waves the nanoparticles would be excited which is called inductive heating. And since the problem is with getting the whole organ heated, they would have the nanoparticles equally but well dispersed and because of this the whole organ would be heated at the same time.

They scaled this and tested with this up to 50 milliliters which brought back a pig’s artery but that is really far from a whole heart. They are planning to do with Rat kidneys but there is still so much to do. The other problem occurs because since the heart has many valves and chambers, dispersing them equally will be harder than a more compacted organ like a kidney so thats one obstacle they need to get around. Although we are a long way away from freezing full bodies like Fry from Futurama, we are getting closer to a future of  full cryopreservation.

New Beetle Species Discovered!

beetle

Take a second and look at the photographs above. Do you notice something particularly off or strange about this ant? Well if you fail to notice what is off with this ant, don’t be too sad, entomologist almost missed it too. In fact entomologist looking at this picture had to analyze it several times due to a pondering question of “why does this ant have two abdomens?” In fact scientist are now happy to announce that they have found a new species of beetle named: Nymphista Kronaeuri

Found on the small Latin American Country of Coasta Rica, in the rainforest they found this new species of beetle attached to and riding along an army ant. Interestingly enough this beetle has extremely strong pinches to latch up on the ant and a remarkable color which helps it camouflage against predators and even in fact the army ant that it is attached to.

These army ants in Coasta Rica, live in huge colonies that can range from hundreds to  thousands of these arthropods. However sometimes they can migrate in a nomadic sort of manner usually during the Queen Ant’s breeding season, where they travel up to 3 weeks and gather a mass amount of food in the process when the colony moves. Along with them this new species of beetles hitchhike on usually medium size worker ants that are towards the end of the colony. When the ants sleep, they usually are quite close around as well. Interestingly enough scientist aren’t exactly sure why they do this.

However what they do know is that they aren’t the only insects to do this, but seemingly they are the one and only or are few to have evolved and hide from their chauffeurs. Discoveries like this show us how much we still don’t know.