What We’re Reading
Palliative care not yet a routine part of full cancer experience
By Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
A new report released by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer reinforces the need for integrating end-of-life care immediately following a cancer diagnosis.
Evidence suggests that we need early inclusion of palliative care, given its role in improving treatment outcomes and prolonging survival. It also reveals that in-home care improves quality of life and reduces unnecessary and repeated hospital stays.
Stem cells help patch up brain damage in stroke victims
By Michael Irving
Researchers at University of Georgia have developed a new stem-cell-based treatment for strokes, called AB126. Dosage applied in animal test models produced an approximate 35 per cent decrease in the size of stroke-induced brain injuries, as well as halving the amount of brain tissue that was lost as a result of stroke. Encouraged by these findings, the team is now preparing for human studies, which are expected to begin in 2019.
Why finding cures for genetic disabilities shouldn’t be our main goal
By Alaina Leary
Iceland was recently the subject of controversial headlines proclaiming that the country is “eliminating” Down syndrome through prenatal screening and subsequent termination of pregnancies. While these news stories were later found to be sensationalist, disability activist Alaina Leary argues that we need to discuss the implications of prenatal screenings and other advancements in genetics in connection to people who are living with disabilities, and how cure-focused language can be harmful to living people with disabilities.
Newly unveiled research chairs take aim at diversity gap in Canadian Science
By Ivan Semeniuk
In 2018, Canadian universities will welcome new chairholders that include a neuroscientist who studies the biological basis of memory and imagination, a cell biologist who focuses on gene expression in the developing embryo, a computer scientist whose interests include the application of technology to healthcare, and a mathematician who analyzes the interactions and evolution of disease-causing pathogens.
All four international scientists—three of whom are women—are among the first researchers to be hired under the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, a government initiative to capture global academic talent while promoting diversity.
Hockey legend overcomes the odds in the toughest battle of his life
Paul Henderson was part of the Canadian hockey team that rallied back from a three-game deficit to defeat the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series. Almost 40 years later, Henderson faced even bigger challenges as he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL is the most common form of leukemia in adults.
By 2012, Henderson’s health had deteriorated—it wasn’t until his wife began to search online and found information on targeted therapy studies that things began to look hopeful. Targeted therapies attack specific molecules inside cancer cells or on their surface and are used to kill those cells, slow their growth or relieve some of the symptoms. Of his clinical trial treatment, Henderson stated, “I went from having tumours the size of grapefruits to having them disappear. I still have cancer… but my quality of life has improved.”
Half of editors at high-end science journals are getting paid by pharmaceutical companies, U of T study finds
By Jayson MacLean
According to recently published research, approximately half of the editors of 52 prestigious US medical journals received honorariums, royalties, food, beverage or travel expense payments from the pharmaceutical and medical device industry in 2014. And, only a fraction of these journals publish conflict-of-interest policies for editors that address these payments. Which is why the financial ties between industry and journal editors needs to be made more transparent, say the authors of the study, published in the British Journal of Medicine.