Case Study on Cancer

As per the estimate, around 182,460 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,480 died of the disease. This is the best case when compared to the rest of the world, where around 1.1 million new cases were recorded and 420,000 deaths predicted for the year 2008.

In America, one out of every 8 women has a cancer or will have it during their lifetime. Additionally, 62,480 Americans got the diagnosis of melanoma in the year 2008, where 8420 deaths were attributed to the following disease.

At least one person was diagnosed for both breast cancer and melanoma and that too as two separate primary cancers. In words of a cancer patient, “when sitting in the doctor’s office you are told that you will be diagnosed for the cancer disease then believe me, time really stops. All the remainder’s including the doctor’s appointment start to happen in a slow motion. The words are being drawn out and motions are distorted as if you are walking though a haunted house display.

Such kinds of incidents happen when people are about to face the cancer diagnosis and there are many stories like this that are stated by many women who had cancer. The trauma they went through and all other issues like the scans, insurance company matter, all were bore by them. But what remains interesting in these stories is how it was diagnosed.

A new protein forces cancerous cells to self-destruct

A new therapeutic protein has been designed by the scientists that have the potential to target the receptors which are commonly found on the surface of weak cells linked to the improvement of a number of diseases, covering cancer. The hopes are high in terms of this new protein being discovered and the way it binds to the cells; carry the potential of leading you to new, more and effective treatments.

ProAgio is the name given to this protein which is generated from a human protein. It targets the transmembrane receptor on the cells surface called as an integrin that enables them to interact with one another. The receptor ProAgio explores out integrin αVβ₃, a molecule that helps the scientists as a focus for medicines

This molecule isn’t unique to any type of unhealthy cells and is basically expressed in the cells of new blood vessels, macrophages or the immune cells and bone cells.

A process called ligand binding has been developed by the scientists previously that hone in on αVβ₃ by docking with the integrin by a form of chemical bonding. But in any case, this kind of techs haven’t been so very successful, therefore, a different approach was adopted.

The enzyme recruited by ProAgio is known by the name of caspase 8 which plays a significant role in apoptosis, the programmed cell death. It can also be said that by targeting cells which bear the αVβ₃ receptors, ProAgio initially enlists caspase 8 and provides cells that stand a good chance of going cancerous to self-destruct.

Genetically modified yeast produces opioids

With the advancement in the field of biotechnology, various genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been developed in order to produce the products that are well suited for human consumption and are economical to produce. Adding to this quest, the researchers are developing a strain of the yeast which will be capable of producing the opioids to be used as a pain killer.

The researcher Christina Smolke and her colleagues from the Stanford have successfully altered the genes of the baker’s yeast enabling it to convert glucose in to hydrocodone which is an opioid widely used as pain killer. They have also developed another strain capable of producing ‘thebaine’ which is a precursor of opioids. Smolke’s research is better than other similar works as this strain can perform all 15 conversion strain itself which was not possible initially.

This newly developed strain is more efficient in producing the opioids than the conventional methods. So it has the potential to produce the drugs at much lower costs. Various concerns were raised on the security issues in case the addicts get their hands on this strain and obtain the opioids themselves. But Smolke rejected this idea stating that, “when you home-brew, you grow yeast populations very differently than in a lab or for commercial production.”