Image via AZ Public Media
Renowned bioinformatician Yves A. Lussier, MD, FAMCI, gave one of his first major interviews
since joining the Arizona Health Sciences Center, speaking with host Alan Fischer and the wonderful folks at AZ Illustrated.
Dr. Lussier, who joined ASHC on Dec. 2
, serves as UA professor of medicine; associate vice president for health sciences and chief knowledge officer for AHSC; associate director for cancer informatics and precision health for the University of Arizona Cancer Center; and associate director, BIO5 informatics, for the UA BIO5 Institute.
So what exactly is bioinformatics?
"Since the advent of the human genome in 2001, there's this nascent field of trying to translate in words that physicians can understand the meaning of the genome for clinical practice," Dr. Lussier said.
His primary role within AHSC will be to develop more personalized treatments for cancer patients, while lending his unique areas of expertise to various fields of study.
Watch the entire interview at the Arizona Public Media website
• Emerging field of bioinformatics connects docs, gene researchers
(Arizona Public Media
, Dec. 10, 2013)
• Renowned bioinformatician Yves A. Lussier, MD, FAMCI, joins UACC
, Nov. 27, 2013)
Most folks spend the days right after Thanksgiving searching for the best deals to get ahead on their holiday shopping. Just because Cyber Monday has passed, though, it doesn't mean people have finished scouring the web for bargains.
If you or someone you know shops at Amazon.com
, please consider using our affiliate link. Just click the link below and shop as you normally would. Any purchases made through this site help to support the University of Arizona Cancer Center, our research, our patients, and a cancer-free future.
Thank you for supporting your University of Arizona Cancer Center, and happy holidays!
Here is the latest entry in our ongoing coverage of unorthodox cancer-fighting strategies
: trained honeybees that can actually smell cancer.
: New research
from Inscentinel, a UK-based firm specializing in insect research, suggests that honey bees can be trained to detect certain early-stage cancer in humans.
Yes, honeybees may be the trained, much like service dogs, to help save lives. Their ultra-sensitive sense of smell has already been harnessed to aid in the detection of explosive devices, but scientists believe these bees can be used to identify "biomarkers associated with tuberculosis, lung cancer, skin cancer and diabetes" -- each of which can all be detected through smell on a patient's breath.Susana Sores
, a Portuguese designer/researcher, has developed a device that will allow patients to take advantage of these bees' phenomenal sniffers, while keeping them safe from beestings. Early results are very encouraging, so this appears to be a development worth tracking.
If you spent any time on the internet the past few days, then it's likely that you were swept up by the adventures of Batkid
Five-year-old Miles has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia
since before he turned two. Patricia Wilson, the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Bay Area executive director, heard about his story and enlisted the entire city of San Francisco to help Miles achieve his dream.
This weekend, we saw Batkid save Gotham-by-way-of-San-Fran and renew everyone's faith in humanity. Type "Batkid" into Google and read everything you can find on it, but start with these letters
sent into the San Francisco Chronicle
. I can't remember anything quite so sweet. Three cheers for Batkid!
Our latest issue of Act Against Cancer
has arrived, and we couldn't be more proud of how this edition turned out.
We conducted around a dozen interviews and poured through hundreds of historical documents and photos to tell the story of this tremendous organization. In the fight against cancer, it's important to know where you came from so you can effectively decide where you want to go.
This issue covers the early days of the National Cancer Act, the circumstances that led to the formation of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, and the unique leadership abilities of Sydney E. Salmon, MD, as the UACC became one of the research world's most influential and respected institutions.
We delve into the UACC's atmosphere of innovation and imagination, and how that led to some major breakthroughs in translational research, as well as how that spirit of teamwork and will carry us -- and the field of cancer research as a whole -- through the present and into the future to help everyone achieve our common goal: to prevent and cure cancer.
Download the PDF here
, but be sure to also visit our website at arizonacancercenter.org
, where we'll be supplementing these stories with audio clips from the researchers who have been there from the beginning.
Christian von Wagner, PhD
If you are reading this blog post right now, you may be on your way toward better cancer prevention techniques.
According to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,
older men and women who used the internet were more likely to participate in screening for colorectal cancer, participate in physical activities, eat healthily, and smoke less, compared with those who did not use the internet.
From the study, via the American Association of Cancer Research
: "A large, population-based, cohort study of older adults in England, called the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, collected data from men and women aged 50 or older, and found that men and women who were consistent internet users were twice as likely to participate in colorectal screening than nonusers. Both men and women who used the internet consistently were also 50 percent more likely to take part in regular physical activity, 24 percent more likely to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and 44 percent less likely to be current smokers."
“We accounted for sociodemographic factors that influence internet use and various measures of physical capabilities and cognitive function that decline with age, and still found an association between internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors,” said Christian von Wagner, Ph.D.
, senior lecturer in behavioral research in early diagnosis of cancer at the University College London
, United Kingdom. “The interesting aspect here is a dose-response relationship between internet use and cancer preventive-behaviors: Intermittent users were more likely to have cancer-preventive behaviors than never-users, and consistent users were more likely to have cancer-preventive behaviors than intermittent users.”
The issue at hand here is what is known as a "digital divide"
-- internet use is not consistent across socio-economic categories. According to the study, internet use was higher in younger, male, white, wealthier, and more educated participants and lower in older, less wealthy, and nonwhite individuals with physical disabilities.
“It is important that policymakers recognize the role internet use plays in influencing inequalities in cancer outcomes, and help increase access to the internet among this demographic,” he said.
Are you looking for an easy, enjoyable way to increase your protection against cancer? Just put one foot in front of the other.
A recent study
from the American Cancer Society shows that "walking at a moderate pace for an hour a day was associated with a 14 percent reduced breast cancer risk, compared to leading a sedentary lifestyle."
The study, published online Oct. 4 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
, identified more than 73,000 women past menopause who were enrolled in an American Cancer Society study on cancer incidence.
"The nice message here is, you don't have to go out and run a marathon to lower your breast cancer risk," said study researcher Alpa Patel, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. "Go for a nice, leisurely walk an hour a day to lower risk."
Those who can handle more strenuous physical activity are encouraged to do so. The study showed that "an hour or more of daily strenuous physical activity was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk."
This study doesn't break very much new ground in the field of cancer prevention. All researchers agree that there is a link between physical activity and reduced cancer risk. But it is a terrific reminder of the importance of staying active.
"This is something nearly every woman can do," said Dr. Laura Kruper, co-director of the breast cancer program at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif."If you get off the couch and walk around, it would help."• Daily Walk May Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk
(WebMD, Oct. 4, 2013)
Each October, the University of Arizona Cancer Center is among the nation's leaders in raising awareness for breast cancer.
The following is just a sampling of our efforts. Look for more updates on "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" throughout October.
• Throughout the month of October, Bashas’ and K-LOVE 88.1 have joined forces to conduct a breast cancer awareness drive
in the Bashas’ stores throughout Southern and Eastern Arizona to support breast cancer research at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
• ¡VIDA! The Eighth Annual Mujer Latina Breast Cancer Conference
will take place Saturday, Oct. 12, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Arizona Medical Center - South Campus, Abrams Building, 3950 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson. This year's conference will feature new workshops on the Affordable Care Act, adolescent health, nutrition and wellness, patient navigation and an extensive educational program on breast health delivered in both Spanish and English. Click here for more information, as well as conference registration, and watch KGUN-9's interview with Ana Maria Lopez, MD, MPH, FACP.
• Speaking of KGUN-9, they've teamed up with MixFM to take part in the the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
. The event takes place on Oct. 27 at the Kino Sports Complex. Registration starts at 7 a.m.
• KGUN-9 also put together a nice piece on our Healing Spirit Boutique
The American Association for Cancer Research released its 2013 progress report
on Tuesday. Each year, it's the nation's most comprehensive, eye-opening collection of cancer-related statistics.
The major takeaways from this year's report:
1) There have been more than 1 million fewer cancer-related deaths since 1990, with nearly 14 million Americans having survived their fights with cancer. The research is working, and it's saving lives.
2) Even with progress, cancer remains a serious public health threat. From the report: "Even with the advances in cancer research, it is projected that more than 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and more than 580,350 Americans
will die from one of the more than 200 types of cancer. Global cancer incidence is predicted to increase from 12.8 million new cases in 2008 to 22.2 million in 2030."
3) Research is a wise investment. The budget for the National Institutes of Health continues to shrink annually, and that's not including the devastating 5.1-percent budget cut ($1.6 billion) that came as a result of sequestration. Cancer is an expensive disease, and the report warns that "if the United States does not increase its investments in the scientific research needed to develop more effective interventions, the increased economic burden will cost lives and harm the economy."
The majority of the report can be understood by taking a look at this tremendous infographic the folks at the AACR put together (click "Read More" to see the infographic):
It may only be his second week on the job, but Joe G. N. "Skip" Garcia, MD
, the new senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona, took part in a Town Hall event at Kiewit Auditorium on Monday.
Dr. Garcia is wasting no time in communicating his message and laying out his goals for the Arizona Health Sciences Center - specifically, his vision for the UA Cancer Center.
"As the senior vice president of health sciences, I believe we should be focusing our thinking on expanding our research prowess as a university. Everyone around here knows that the cancer center resides at the epicenter of our research goals. The translational and applied research that takes place here has an impact across colleges. It is a key area for us to deploy key resources," Dr. Garcia said.
Dr. Garcia - along with UA Cancer Center interim director Anne Cress, PhD
, UA Health Network CEO Michael Waldrum, MD, and College of Medicine - Tucson Dean Steve Goldschmid - addressed the Kiewit Auditorium audience and covered a wide range of topics regarding the UA Cancer Center and its direction going forward.
As the UA senior vice president for health sciences, and a key member of UA President Ann Weaver Hart's executive team, Dr. Garcia provides academic leadership for the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) colleges: the UA College of Medicine – Tucson; the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix; the UA College of Pharmacy; the UA College of Nursing; and the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also has direct oversight of the UA Cancer Center.
"I'm a physician scientist myself. I have a very deep respect for the breadth and type of science that is involved in clinical cancer research. I’m really interested in expanding our research portfolio, particularly our translational and applied research. We need to recruit program leaders and game-changers that can advance our science," Dr. Garcia added.
Watch the archived video from the Town Hall event
at the AHSC Biomedical Communications website. Dr. Garcia's next speaking event will take place at the BIO5 Institute (Thomas W. Keating Building, Room 103) on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 3:30-5 p.m.