Opinions wanted for an anti-cancer thesis please!

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Opinions wanted for an anti-cancer thesis please!

Post by cellsignaling » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:38 pm

Hi there everyone,

I am a master degree student and am interested to do my thesis in the field of cancer, especially in the area of cancer and drug resistance. However, since the field is highly competitive in these days followed by like to find a research niche I came-up with a small hypothesis/plan, but certainly not sure whether it’s already established issues and missed to locate the right literatures or whether it might be worth to experiment further with the expensive techniques such as gene targeting/knock-out or RNAi, etc..? Not at all sure..!

So being in this basic preparative situation, I would like to ask your opinion for the following question. Please allow me to explain the proposal-question in a simplistic form: Imagine there are 3 genes are located in a genomic region. Among the 3 genes, 2 of them are partner to each other (i.e. ligand and receptor, for an example) and it’s regulate the normal physiological functions. The third gene plays something different function; it’s regulating the drug resistance, for an example. In this scenarios, what’s your opinions please – whether the signaling pathway and or functions from the 3rd gene might influence upon other partner genes during drug treatment (because they’re residing in a same genomic regions...) or it’s just doesn’t matter (staying together 3 genes and playing different functions) and it’s just an evolutionary in nature..?

Any of your suggestions/opinions and or feedbacks, including any literature suggestions etc are very welcome and appreciated.

Thank you very much for your courteous attention, in an advance.
Last edited by canalon on Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Julie5 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:20 am

Whilst, as a cancer victim myself, I applaud all research into cancer biology, may I urge you to consider another topic. The best way to reduce cancer mortality is to diagnose it as early as possible, which is a huge huge challenge, as early stage tumours are seldom symptomatic. Screening techniques are extremely limited at the moment (we only screen for breast, cervical and bowel - and image-based screening for ovarian cancer is only in trial, and image-based screening for other cancers is non-existent!)

Image-based screening is also expensive, and relies on interpretation of images by highly skilled clinical staff - what therefore the population urgently needs is screening based on bio-markers.

The ideal biomarker would be one that had very few false negatives (doctors worry about false positives, but a false positive won't kill anyone whereas a false negative will!), and one that was sensitive at very early stage post-malignant transformation (or even better, pre-full malignant transformation, when only some of the average 6-10 mutations necessary to complete malignant transformation have taken place!).

Whilst blood-based biomarkers are good, even better are urine-based ones, as they can be tested by ordinary people, without any need for clinical examination (eg, just like pregnancy tests or the current bowel-cancer FOB - faecal occult blood - self-test).

Searching for any kind of detectable bio-marker evidence of the earliest possible cancers will be the key to reducing mortality - far, far more than drug therapy which is applied usually when the tumour is already readily detectable (ie, more advanced). Pharmas invest hugely into therapeutic drugs, but as we know, those designed to work at metastatic stage are highly unsucessful as nearly all metastatic cancer is lethal. Drug therapy is, largely, too little too late, and in the great scheme of cancer mortality, drug resistance is, sadly, a minor issue....

The other area, apart from biomarkers to bring diagnosis right down to stage 1 or better still stage 0, that will, eventually, be the key to making cancer a non-lethal disease, is vaccine therapy, which has hit huge huge problems.

I would urge, therefore, that research not be focussed on drug-resistence, which is a 'fire-fighting' strategy, and far more on early detection for the greatest chance of curative therapy (usually surgery), and harnessing the immune system to destroy cancer from within the body itself.

Thank you - Julie.

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