Monday, November 27, 2006

Don't mess with Hormone!!

Hormone treatment or replacement was one of the major medication for women after menopause. But people's understanding about hormone replacement has changed since more and more evidence showing that there actually could be serious side-effects, e.g. heart attack, breast cancer... (there is a 10- or 20-year study about this led by NIH, which I don't have time to check in detail.)

The important point here is that DON'T MESS with HORMONE. Hormones are supposed to do their proper functions at proper tissue (organ) at proper level and proper time during life. If any of these factors is improper, then there will very likely be unexpected effects, --could be very serious sometimes. Mother nature designed human beings as what we are. Many biological processes, such as aging and menopause, are physiological phenomena. Although there are ways to manipulate them, like hormone replacement, please be very careful. Some ways are always proper for example, GOOD NUTRITION and EXERCISE.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

specialized services

Just received a postcard from introducing their specialized poster services. "Don't be caught empty handed!"

This reminds me of another very interesting services I noticed a couple of years ago. A group of people in Boston provides scientific illustration services to biological and medical researchers. Basically, they make figures or diagrams for scientists to use in their publications. Nowadays, biomedical research is becoming more and more complicated. As a result, it is very difficult for the people actually doing research to explain it in a comprehensive way, especially to people out of the field. But these group could make it easier to understand by their specialized graphical or other visual-based techniques. They originated their service in Boston because there are huge amount of demand for their service, Harvard, MIT etc. It turns out to be a big success. Now you can find their work in many important publications.

Now, there's this poster service available. They understand science, and they understand computer techniques. Therefore, they are unique.

Try to be unique! (in a good way though)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This is what a crowded lab bench looks like.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cancer and Stem Cell

When it comes stem cell, most people might think about human cloning and the ongoing huge ethical debate (embroynic stem cell) etc. But actually there is another different type of stem cells-Cancer Stem Cells, which should have come to people's attention earlier.

People have gained great understanding of cancer from decades of research. But we only have limited success in cancer diagnosis and treatment, in general. So, there must be something fundamental and important which we haven't really understood about cancer. Cancer Stem Cell might be one of the answers.

Basically, the concept of cancer stem cell is that there is a very small population of cells in cancer which have the abilities to self-renew (create themselves) and to differentiate into other malignant cells. Also, because these cells always live very long time, they could potentially accumulate damages from various sources and eventually give rise to cancer cells. As a result, any kind of treatment, if these cells are not targeted, will not be successful.

Cancer stem cells have been been identified from a handful of cancers, e.g. breast cancer, brain cancer (glioma), prostate cancer, and many leukemia. Scientists are trying different ways to target these cells by either taking advantages of stem cell specific markers or engineering body's own immune system.

It might still be a long way until we conquer all cancers. But we are moving forward!!