Cancer

Kimberly Blackwell
medicaloncology.medicine.duke.edu / Duke Medical Oncology

Time Magazine comes out with a list of the 100 most influential people each year. Names like Justin Timberlake and Barack Obama made the grade in 2013. But also on the list was Duke oncologist Dr. Kimberly Blackwell.  She was celebrated for her achievements improving chemotherapy treatments for a certain kind of breast cancer.

Would you believe us if we told you that glowing mice might be the next step in saving human beings from cancer? Well, Ned Sharpless and his research team are trying to see if that very thing is possible. They have been injecting mice with the enzyme that makes fireflies glow in an effort to improve cancer treatment and detection.

A research team out of Duke has developed a way to use sickle cells to treat cancerous tumors. Sickle cells are typically associated with a potentially lethal genetic blood disease. Lead author Mark Dewhirst is a radiation oncologist and director of Duke's Tumor Micro-circulation Lab. He says when the crescent-shaped sickle cells are injected into mice, they tend to stick like Velcro to the vessel walls - thereby blocking the blood vessels that surround the tumor.

A new study finds that breast cancer survivors had limited knowledge about their surgical options, including decisions that can help prevent recurrence of the disease. The findings are reported in this month's issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Clara Lee, a surgeon at UNC Hospitals, is a co-author of the study. She says the quality of decisions patients make is directly related to how well health providers inform patients about their choices.

A team of researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke have taken a step forward in targeting diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. Scientists studied parts of human cells called mitochondria, which produce a cell's energy. The study found a protein linked to cancer causes mitochondria to divide. Duke Medicine doctor David Kashatus says that division can cause cancer cells to form under the right conditions.

UNC Chapel Hill is partnering with the state's community colleges in an effort to fight cancer. Public health researchers will work with all 58 of the state's community colleges to identify cancer prevention programs that work and implement them in the schools. Laura Linnan is a professor at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health and the project's principal investigator.

Fayetteville barbers have joined with health officials to inform their customers about the risks of prostate cancer. Cumberland County is one of seven counties in North Carolina with a prostate cancer rate higher than the national average. Barber shops serve as a social hub for many minority communities. Officials hope a barber's suggestion will motivate customers to get a prostate-cancer test. Douglas Dolberry of the Konnecte Kut Barber shop in Fayetteville, says the response so far has been great.

Cancer Patients Pay High Out Of Pocket Expenses

Jun 7, 2011

Patients are spending hundreds of dollars a month for out- of-pocket expenses while they're being treated for cancer - even if they're insured. 

The new study led by Duke researcher Yousuf Zafar queried more than 200 cancer patients - all but a handful were insured and most had prescription coverage. Zafar says he found patients were spending an average of $712 a month on out-of-pocket expenses. And Zafar says 30 percent of patients reported having a significant financial burden as a result of care.

Doctors at UNC Hospitals are enlisting hair stylists to help detect skin cancer. The university's Cancer Care center hosts an event today called Care Behind the Chair to teach barbers about melanoma and how to spot it. Doctor David Ollila says hair stylists get a close look at melanoma problem spots like the scalp, neck and shoulders.

A new microscope developed at Duke University may increase doctors’ abilities to detect melanoma. Chemistry professor Warren S. Warren oversaw the development of the laser-based microscope. He says doctors may be “overcalling” melanoma and removing moles in case they are cancerous.

Pages