News

New Targets, Techniques Excite Cancer Researchers
New Targets, Techniques Excite Cancer Researchers
Editor's Note: In this issue, The Scientist focuses on the status of cancer research in the United States. The articles below and on pages 6-9 present glimpses of the latest advances. The article beginning at right describes how cancer and AIDS research are related. The article on page 10 offers a look at thyroid cancer treatments from the perspectives of patient and scientist. Commentary (12) and Opinion (13) are by prominent cancer experts. Profession (14-15) assesses the outlook for cancer
Cancer and AIDS: A Symbiotic Relationship
Cancer and AIDS: A Symbiotic Relationship
AIDS has commandeered media headlines, instigated public awareness, and garnered funding in more profound ways than any other disease in history. Bolstered by a tenacious activist community, HIV/AIDS research has blazed trails empirically, politically, and even philosophically. Since this disease took hold some 15 years ago, new insights and understanding in immunology, cytokine biology, antiviral research, vaccine development, and gene therapy have emerged from HIV/AIDS research laboratories a
Epilepsy Innovations Mount, but Key Mysteries Remain
Epilepsy Innovations Mount, but Key Mysteries Remain
If many epilepsy sufferers remain refractory to current therapies, it isn't for a lack of research and development effort. Presentations at the recent annual meeting of the professional American Epilepsy Society (AES) in San Diego described a spate of novel medications, advances in imaging technology, new surgery techniques, and the promising early results of a clinical trial using xenotransplantation. But the question remains: Will research finally dispel the stubborn mysteries of epilepsy tha
Taking Aim at p53: Researchers are targeting the tumor suppressor with vectors, viruses, and small molecules.
Taking Aim at p53: Researchers are targeting the tumor suppressor with vectors, viruses, and small molecules.
POTENT COMBINATION: Joining gene therapy with conventional cancer treatment may more effectively kill recurring tumor cells, thinks Georgetown University Medical Center's Esther Chang. In preclinical experiments, Chang and colleagues administered p53 via a compact, targeting nonviral vector along with DNA-damaging therapy to kill a variety of tumor types. The mice are cancer free 17 months after treatment, Chang reports. Selectivity and ubiquity. Because both properties characterize the tumor
NCI Launches Initiatives
NCI Launches Initiatives
In the last two months of 1998, the National Cancer Institute announced seven new initiatives set to cost a total of $343 million over the next five years: As part of a new report entitled The National Cancer Institute Tobacco Research Implementation Plan, Priorities for Tobacco Research Beyond the Year 2000, two initiatives, the "Transdisciplinary Tobacco Research Centers" and "Research in State and Community Tobacco Control Interventions" programs, will be funded at $142 million over five y
Turning to Telomerase: As Antisense Strategies Emerge, Basic Questions Persist
Turning to Telomerase: As Antisense Strategies Emerge, Basic Questions Persist
Even the most commonly mutated tumor suppressor genes, such as p53 and Rb, malfunction in only about half of all tumor types. However, excess telomerase appears in all major cancers. So why don't more pharmaceutical strategies exist to block the enzyme that, in excess, dictates cells to divide ad infinitum? The answer may be twofold, Serge Lichtsteiner, a researcher at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Geron Corp., reported during an interview following his presentation at a recent New York Academy of
Controlling Transcription: Delivery May Be Biggest Obstacle
Controlling Transcription: Delivery May Be Biggest Obstacle
Protein structure information from X-ray crystallography and bioinformatics has given biochemists a potentially potent anticancer target: specific segments of DNA's double helix. But, as a group of biochemists at a fall conference sponsored by the National Foundation for Cancer Research agreed, knowing the structure of proteins and protein complexes that bind to DNA segments and turn genes off and on may be only half the battle. Proteins or large synthetic molecules should, in theory, be able t
Human Breast Cancer Tissues for Research
Human Breast Cancer Tissues for Research
The NCI Cooperative Breast Cancer Tissue Resource can provide researchers with access to more than 9,000 cases of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded primary breast cancer tissues, with associated pathology and clinical data. Tissue and data area available from patients treated in four diverse geographic areas of the United States. Tissue sections are prespared to meet the criteria of individual research protocols. All specimens are reviewed to verify the pathological diagnosis. Clinical data inc
New Tests Monitor Thyroid Cancer
New Tests Monitor Thyroid Cancer
Editor's Note: Contributing Editor Ricki Lewis was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1993 and had standard treatment. She will be taking a recently approved test this summer and hopes to participate in the clinical trial of another, both discussed below. Michael Levine When a lump in the neck turns out to be thyroid cancer, many doctors announce, "If you had to get cancer, this is the one to get." Fortunately, treatment is straightforward and effective, but follow-up testing can be uncomfort

Letter

ALTERNATIVE VIEWS
ALTERNATIVE VIEWS
Walter A. Brown's Opinion piece, "Alternative Medicine: It's Time to Get Smart," (The Scientist, 12[24]:13, Dec. 7, 1998) is timely and balanced. It is wishful thinking to argue that no placebo-controlled clinical studies are needed because herbs and the like have been used for hundreds of years. Those of us who have worked in pharmaceutical R&D for decades have seen too many compounds that were sworn efficacious by both physicians and patients, but could not be shown superior to a placebo.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWS
ALTERNATIVE VIEWS
I was appalled by the article by psychiatrist Walter A. Brown in defense of alternative medicine, in particular by his statement that "unproved alternative therapies do have a place in science-based health care." He further states that "that place has been defined not by experts on either side but by the consumers." Would it follow, then, that creationism be taught equally with evolution, and astrology with the sciences? Certainly creationism and astrology have as many followers (consumers) as

Commentary

The Conquest of Cancer
The Conquest of Cancer
We have harnessed the power of new technologies to identify genes involved in the development of cancers and forever change how we think about these diseases.

Opinion

Successfully Sharing Our Stories of Science
Successfully Sharing Our Stories of Science
Illustration: A. Canamucio The ethos of our science was articulated by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago: "A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law." This replaced the medieval mystical view that it was the soul of the bird that embodied the nature of flight. How beautifully the work honored recently by the Lasker Awards mirrors that transition.1 The work of Peter C. Nowell, Janet D. Rowley, and Alfred G. Knudson replaced the mystical soul of the cancer cell with the instrum

Profession

Cancer Research: An Outlook for Careers in 1999
Cancer Research: An Outlook for Careers in 1999
Joan Massague Joan Massague, chairman of cell biology and genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, affirms that translational and multidisciplinary science is expanding rapidly. "It's become apparent that the entire field is related to cell and molecular biology and genetics; but it's time to bring all the patient knowledge to fruition," he said. The Human Genome Project may have created thousands of positions in basic gene science, he continues. However, today's investigators "

Hot Paper

APOPTOSIS
APOPTOSIS
R.M. Kluck, E. Bossy-Wetzel, D.R. Green, D.D. Newmeyer, "The release of cytochrome c from mitochondria: A primary site for Bcl-2 regulation of apoptosis," Science, 275:1132-6, 1997. (Cited in more than 410 papers since publication) Donald D. Newmeyer Xiaodong Wang Comments by Donald D. Newmeyer , an assistant member of the division of cellular immunology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in La Jolla, Calif. J. Yang, X. Liu, K. Bhalla, C.N. Kim, A.M. Ibrado, J. Cai, T.I
CANCER STATISTICS
CANCER STATISTICS
S.L. Parker, T. Tong, S. Bolden, P.A. Wingo, "Cancer Statistics, 1997," CA-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians , 47:5-27, 1997. (Cited in more than 545 papers since publication) Phyllis A. Wingo Comments by Phyllis A. Wingo, director of the Surveillance Research Program at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta Because cancer registries are not fully operational in every state, it's difficult to get a reliable calculation of the number of new cancer cases that occur in the United States each ye

Technology

Easy as Y
Easy as Y
NUNC™ Brand EasY Flask from Nalge Nunc Designing the next generation of cell culture flasks would seem a difficult task. How can one improve upon a rather standard laboratory technology? Nalge Nunc International Corporation (a subsidiary of Sybron International) has answered that question with the new NUNC™ Brand EasY Flask product line, which incorporates three new design features: a large-aperture neck opening, allowing greater access to the growth surface; a quick-turn mechanism
Real-Time Imaging
Real-Time Imaging
The Scientist 13[2]:18, Jan. 18, 1999

Technology Profile

Fishing In A Molecular Sea
Fishing In A Molecular Sea
Date: January 18, 1999Labeling Kit Companies Labeling Kit Companies: Details In situ spatial localization of mRNA expressed only after ethylene treatment (left) compared to air grown seedlings used as a negative control (right). The RNA probe to the EIA0305 gene was labeled with fluorescein (NEL633) and visualized with NBT (Image courtesy of New England Nuclear) Remember the days when fishing for a sequence in the E. coli genome seemed like an overwhelming task? Somewhere along the way, it see
The Whole EST Catalog
The Whole EST Catalog
In the past few years a host of new instruments and tools (and even a few companies) have appeared for creating, imaging, and analyzing arrays. Below is a list of some of the companies that are active in this field, with the caveat that some new products and approaches may have inadvertently been missed.   The Expression Data Mining Tool (EDMT) is an intuitive query that sifts through large numbers of gene expression results and identifies those that meet selected criteria based on projects

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
DISEASE RESEARCH SUPPORT In response to a perceived need for increased clinical research funding, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recently established the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award Program. The Foundation will give $600,000 a year for five years to four research teams studying either cancer, AIDS, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia and related blood disorders. According to Alan Altschuler, the Foundation's acting program director for medical research, the clinic