Tag Archives: cancer

One mutation every day

At least some people believe that once it’s published in Nature, it must be superior science – even when it’s rather trivial (or even wrong). There is a category “Brief Communications Arising” but when you are trying to get your comments there you will get this message by email:

In the present case, while we appreciate the interest of your comments to the community, we do not feel that they challenge key data or conclusions of the papers by Pleasance et al., and therefore we cannot offer to consider your paper for publication in our Brief Communications Arising section.

Pleasance et al. is a recent paper accompanied by a press release that tells you Continue reading One mutation every day

Formal proof is difficult if not impossible

At least in medicine but also in many other fields, formal proof of a scientific hypothesis is difficult if not impossible. Reading again Greaves’ cancer book, I discover even more insights there. Talking about the hormonal stress leading to breast cancer he makes the point that

there is no ’cause’ in the straightforward, singular, or usually perceived meaning of the word; no tubercle bacillus equivalent. Neither is a mutant gene the common cause. Chronic hormonal stimulation driving persistent epithelial stem cell division seems to be a major factor (cycles driving cycles) and this reflects in large measure our social divorce from evolutionary adaptations for reproduction … Superimpose some degree of inherited predisposition and chance itself on this prescription and a very plausible causal network imbued with evolutionary principles becomes evident.

This is a very different view to the current sequencing headlines like “Lung cancer and melanoma laid bare“.

High doses of vitamin D may induce cancer

Having been approached by a GP about a rising interest of high dose vitamin D therapy (that a German website praises as a panacea for all kind of diseases) it took me some time to recall a recent IARC monograph.
Sure, it’s all about the correct dose, while excess vitamin supplementation may even kill people. Here is what the IARC says about 100,000 IU vitamin D daily: Continue reading High doses of vitamin D may induce cancer

Evolutionary legacy

It’s an exceptional good science book – Cancer, The evolutionary legacy – by Mel Greaves. Having written last year a grant application about resequencing of lung specimens (and more recently a correspondence letter about the lung cancer genome that updates our earlier 31 events to 22,910) Continue reading Evolutionary legacy