Unique Ways to Help with Cancer Research

Donating money for cancer patients is one way to help those in need—but, as cancer continues to ravage countless lives around the globe, support for cancer research is just as vital. Often when a person is diagnosed with cancer, he or she may start looking into ways to access assistance: programs that offer transportation to appointments, loans that provide money for cancer patients, employment-assistance initiatives to help people in recovery get back to work. While all of those efforts are vital, cancer patients may also find a source of comfort from giving back. Patients with cancer are part of a worldwide community, and investing in efforts to make that community smaller year by year can help those fighting their personal battle feel a bit more empowered and inspired. Here are a few ways that cancer patients, along with their loved ones, can support cancer research: Donate tissue: To really understand the root causes of cancer, researchers need to see the disease in action, and one of the best ways to do that is through live tissue. Agencies like the National Cancer Institute run large-scale research studies to which patients can donate tissue. Healthy tissue may also sometimes be needed, so family and friends of those fighting cancer should also explore this option. Organize a penny drive: A penny may not seem like much in the grand scheme of the need for money for cancer patients, but every cent counts. A penny drive in your neighborhood, through a child’s athletic group or at a local business can be a good way for the entire community of supporters surrounding a patient...

Could a Virus Help Kill Cancer?

The search to find help for cancer patients is never-ending. New research is focused on methods that “attack” or “kill” cancer cells through alternative ways including using one’s own body to fight the disease. The term “poliovirus” has long been deemed to be associated with the deadly disease polio. However, new research may have some looking at it in a new light. Scientists at Duke University recently unveiled a study that found poliovirus may be able to provide unique help for cancer patients. The study revealed that the virus can attack cancer cells, setting off a process that jumpstarts the body’s immune system to fight back against cancer. What Does the Research Say? Researchers introduced poliovirus to subjects suffering from melanoma and breast cancer and observed that the proteins in the cancer cells served as receptors for the virus. Once it attached itself, the virus attacked the cancer cells, which responded by releasing toxic antigens. After the toxins began circulating, the body’s immune system responded, attacking the tumor. The cyclical process that the poliovirus touched off halted tumor growth. What Now? The research points to a potentially significant breakthrough in cancer treatment and prevention. Scientists plan to continue to study the role poliovirus can play in reducing the growth of melanoma, breast cancer and prostate cancer. In particular, researchers intend to use combination treatments to explore even more effective ways to generate responses from the immune system. While poliovirus has traditionally been thought of as a threat to one’s health, modern innovations in cancer research highlight the potential health-saving benefits of the virus. This type of research is among...

Targeting Health Cells Could Provide Help for Cancer Patients

Promising research suggests a new method for attacking cancer cells, which scientists hope can ultimately lead to even more breakthroughs to prevent the spread of the disease. Researchers recently found that blocking the enzyme NOX4 can slow or halt the progress of cancer. Though many more studies are needed on the subject — pointing to the overall need for financial help for cancer patients and the research community — the recent report identifies a potential way forward. What does the science say? Scientists at University of Southampton focused their study on fibroblasts, which help hold together organs. However, when a person develops cancer, fibroblasts transform into cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which have been known to speed up the spread of tumor growth. NOX4 is vital to the development of CAFs — meaning that if that enzyme could be stopped, the cancer itself may be as well. What happens next?  There are several potential impacts of the study, among them the development of new drug therapies. If a pharmaceutical regimen can be developed that specifically attacks NOX4, that could be a lifesaving intervention for cancer patients, researchers say. Cancer Research UK is also using the results of the study to examine current chemotherapy and immunotherapy practices. Researchers will explore if there are ways to enhance modern techniques to specifically target NOX4, ultimately making them more effective. Life Credit CompanyWe are a licensed consumer lender that is dedicated to providing financial assistance for patients who are facing serious illness. With a Living Benefit Loan, from Life Credit Company, you can receive up to 50% of your life insurance policy’s death benefit today....

Could Alcohol Raise Skin Cancer Risk?

Everyone has heard that exposure to the sun can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. But now researchers are exploring the possibility that something else many people encounter frequently could also be compromising their health. Significant alcohol consumption is widely accepted to be a health hazard, and could be putting people at increased risk for skin cancer. The link between alcohol and skin cancer has been a source for study for some time, and a team from Brown University and Harvard Medical School recently delved deeper into the topic. Researchers undertook a review of several-hundred studies focused on the link between alcohol consumption and the development of basal and squamous-cell carcinomas — the two primary forms of skin cancer — which included about 95,000 cases. According to the study, an increase of 10 grams a day in alcohol consumption can up a person’s risk for skin cancer. Specifically, that amount increases basal-cell risk by 7 percent and squamous-cell risk by 11 percent. To put those numbers in context, 10 grams of alcohol is less than just one standard beer or glass of wine. So, what does the research mean for cancer prevention? The study highlights the need for increased awareness about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Unlike some genetic predispositions for cancer, alcohol consumption is behavior-related; the more people understand the link between drinking and skin cancer, the greater the likelihood they’ll avoid dangerous behaviors. While prevention is often targeted to populations who have never had a diagnosis, skin cancer is often a very survivable disease, and those who have beat it in the past should be...

Chemotherapy May Cause Cancer to Spread

Chemotherapy is one of the primary methods of cancer treatment, utilized to kill cancerous cells and stop the continued spread of the disease. However, a new study is raising questions about the effectiveness of chemo, suggesting that, in some instances, it could be doing as much harm as it is good. This research could provide much-needed financial assistance for cancer patients in the form of less treatment. Researchers recently published a study that explored the impact of chemotherapy for breast cancer patients. Breast cancer is among the forms of the disease most impacted by metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body, which can significantly increase the patient’s risk of death. While chemo was found to be effective in killing tumor cells, researchers also found a number of unintended outcomes. As the chemo attacks the cells, it was also found to activate a repair mechanism that in some instances could allow tumors to ultimately reform. It also facilitates a process known as intravasation, which scientists likened to the development of gateways that introduce cancer cells to other parts of the body. Currently, most breast cancer patients undergo chemotherapy before any attempts at surgery, but the research suggests some alternate approaches. Researchers proposed breast cancer patients should be monitored in the beginning stages of chemo, with tumor tissue extractions after a few doses to identify any spread of the cancer. If so, chemo should be discontinued in favor of surgery, the researchers said. The study was focused on breast cancer, but researchers plan to expand the scope to see if the results are similar for...

Japanese Researchers Capture Cancer Spreading on Film

The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is both hard to control and greatly contributes to a patient’s risk of death. Understanding how and why cancer cells spread is key to lowering one’s risk and providing potentially lifesaving help for cancer patients. New research out of Japan taps into technology to explore this process. According to BBC News, a team of scientists devised a method for observing cancer cells in mice as they grow and evolve, giving researchers a firsthand look at that process. In the study, the lab animals were injected with cancer cells, targeted toward their lungs, intestines, and livers, which were enhanced to light up on imaging. The cancer was left to grow before scientists administered a chemical that made the mice’s internal organs nearly transparent. The materials used caused the healthy tissue to reflect a shade of green and the cancerous cells to appear red, allowing researchers to see very clearly clusters of cells, patterns, and shapes, which were previously harder to identify without such imaging technology. With the new breakthrough, researchers can not only better identify where cancerous cells are located, but they can also gain integral insight into how the disease spreads from one area to another. That knowledge can inform new therapies that offer needed help for cancer patients to avoid further spread or recurrence of cancer. The method is still in its early stages and has so far only been tested in mice, but researchers envision human trials as the next phase of the project. “I hope this tissue-clearing and 3D imaging of human samples will...