Early diagnosis and improved treatments have reduced the mortality and morbidity of many cancers. However, a major obstacle to achieving more effective cancer treatment or even a cure, is the ability of cancer cells to develop multi-drug resistance to cancer drugs in a wholesale fashion.
The new “weapons” to defeat cancer drug resistance, as described by Dr. Gottesman et al. starting from page 18, are 3P’s and 3E’s - Predictive, Personalized, and Preemptive, and Engage, Exploit, and Evade, respectively.
Among them, personalization stands out. The primary culprit behind the multi-drug resistance is P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a transmembrane protein encoded by the MDR1 gene ... Read more
Cancer morbidity and mortality is mostly due to metastasis. Curing cancer can only be achieved by a better understanding of the mechanism of metastasis and ultimately devising the means to predict and stop metastasis. If cancer were simply an issue at the primary site, most cancers would have been cured.
Therefore, in order to cure cancer, metastasis must receive much more attention in research and development than it has so far. Not a single drug has been developed solely for slowing down or stopping the process of metastasis.
To be sure, metastasis is a complex process. As Dr. Hunter pointed out starting ... Read more
Western medicine treats a patient’s disease. Traditional Chinese medicine, one of the longest practiced and used by the most number of people, treats a diseased patient (see Dr. Jiang’s article on page 455). It makes the most sense to treat both the patient’s disease and the diseased patient.
Tuberculosis is a disease that illustrates the importance of both aspects in curing it. Mycobacterium tuberculosis invades and dwells in a compromised body with a weakened immune system. Since the bacteria live within cells, it takes persistent use of anti-mycobacterial drugs for an extended period of time to contain the bacteria. To completely ... Read more
“Between 500 and 1,000 microbial species colonize the mammalian colon to a density of approximately 1012 bacteria per gram of content, comprising in total 100 times more cells than those that make up the host itself,” said Drs. Lanning and Knight in an article published in this issue of the journal. Given the immensity of the bacteria living inside our bodies, it is almost a miracle that they do not cause more trouble than they occasionally do (e.g., diarrhea, enterocolitis, imbalance of intestinal flora, etc.).
On the contrary, the commensal bacterial flora in the gut performs important, unconventional tasks ... Read more
Much of our current understanding of biology, disease mechanisms, and treatment is based on thought conventions and “logical” inference. At times, these can lead to wrong conclusions and impede medical progress.
Cases in point are stories in this issue about the relationship between chemotherapy and immunotherapy by Dr. van der Most and colleagues and the relationship between infections and the occurrence of allergy and autoimmune diseases by Dr. Kamradt. Conventional thinking is that chemotherapy kills off immune cells and thus negates any effects by immunotherapy, which attempts to boost the immune response against cancer. However, depletion of most of the existing ... Read more
For many of the difficult-to-treat diseases, gene-based therapies and gene-based drug deliveries offer hope and excitement. In this issue of Discovery Medicine, articles describe the use of gene therapy to manipulate stem cells for treating heart diseases (Dr. Rosen et al. on page 18), to produce vaccines for the immunotherapy of cancer (Dr. Acres et al. on page 25 and Dr. Stevenson on page 37), and to fight HIV-1 infection (Dr. Egan on page 58).
However since their first use about two decades ago, gene therapies have remained experimental. Genes with therapeutic potential have been injected into test animals and patients ... Read more
Discovery Medicine is endowed with a passion to facilitate a greater utilization of cutting-edge biomedical research information for the advancement of both continued research and patient care. This includes the cross-referencing of important information such as new ideas, technical breakthroughs, and illuminating conclusions among various medical specialties. Non-research physicians and other professionals can quickly obtain the latest information on the new understanding of diseases, new treatment options, and investigational therapies.
Now we are pleased to add non-medically trained, healthcare-conscious individuals to the journal’s audience. Although some articles may be technical in nature and may inevitably use some scientific terms, readers of ... Read more