Posts tagged with "cancer"

Summer Watson inside 360 MAGAZINE

Premiere: Summer Watson Inspires People To Take Their Masks Off And Show Their Core On New Single “Unveiled” 

The wonderful Classical crossover icon, singer-songwriter Summer Watson, is releasing a much anticipated new single, “Unveiled,” following-up on her previously released song “Break The Silence.” Both singles are off her upcoming album, also titled Unveiled. Summer Watson has graduated from the Royal College of Music, and throughout her education, she has received numerous individual awards and grants. Blending her classical textures with pop sonic constructions, Summer is the first-ever classical artist to sign a £1mln deal with Sony Music, which comes as no extraordinary fact once we listen to her hypnotic and incredibly beautiful voice. This time, Summer Watson is releasing her own music, after singing other artists’ music for years. What radically changed her approach in life is a series of difficulties to face, among which being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It is noteworthy to mention that she has overcome cancer with natural treatments only, as she refused to undergo chemotherapy. Her warrior spirit and skills to adapt to new situations have helped her become a stronger version of herschel;f than she ever was before. 

Both “Break The Silence” and “Unveiled” are aligned in their purpose and mission; to heal and be true to oneself. She is a lyrical healer, and uses music as a powerful tool of expression to help others overcome and understand what she herself has painfully learned along the way. The LA-based classical crossover star is rapidly and exponentially expanding her fan base this year, with her wisdom, beauty, and charisma simply being mind blowing, and after listening to the first two parts of her upcoming album, we are highly anticipating its release. 

Listen HERE.

Kaelen Felix illustrates article for 360 MAGAZINE

Finding New Light

by Sonya Keshwani, two year breast cancer survivor & founder of StyleEsteem Wardrobe

There are many things no one tells you about getting diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old. How you will meet physical limits you didn’t know existed, and then keep pushing beyond them. How your entire identity – past, present and future – will be viewed through the lens of your diagnosis. And how the diagnosis and healing process are much more challenging and tough than pinkwashed TV commercials would have you believe. 

Through all these instances, every cancer patient experiences moments when they have to make a decision to either see themselves as a continuous human being experiencing cancer and healing, or as a new person who is living a second chance life. I saw a third option for myself. I decided that the person who was going to be a “survivor” deserved to wear her challenges as beautiful accomplishments, while also appreciating the fullness of her new life. 

Since a young age, fashion had been a medium for expressing my joy and vibrancy. So when I lost my hair to chemo, I channeled that same approach into the creation of fashionable turbans. Through the lens of beautiful fabrics and patterns, I learned that challenging situations are wrought with beauty and sparkle. I started the shift from seeing my bald head as a symbol of cancer, to seeing myself – my true character and strength – as beyond skin deep.  I went from creating new styles between chemo sessions, to launching a company that empowers women through cancer and hair loss, called StyleEsteem Wardrobe. This company and the mission to help others became my “why” on the path to healing.

One of the greatest blessings of my “why” is how it has enabled me to connect with other profound individuals and organizations on a similar mission – to improve and empower the quality of life for cancer patients. Earlier this year, my “why” brought me to A Silver Lining Foundation gala in Chicago, where I met Twist Out Cancer Advisory Board Member Gudrun Wu Snyder. We instantly connected as she told me about Twist Out Cancer, a place where cancer patients’ stories are turned into inspirational works of art. Their mission and the story of their founder, Jenna Benn Shersher, spoke to me like a glittering beacon of hope, similar to the one that inspired me during the creation of StyleEsteem. Right away, I knew I wanted to get involved, so Gudrun encouraged me to apply to the Brushes with Cancer program. 

When I was selected as an inspiration for the Brushes with Cancer 2020 Chicago cohort, it was an emotional experience for me. Like we are told when we are young “you can be anything you want to be when you grow up”, I similarly told myself this as a cancer patient. That I could be anything through cancer – inspirational, fashionable, fierce and graceful. Two years into my survivorship, what I had told myself in my heart was being amplified by others in my community, and this alone was such a powerful experience for me. 

My pairing with my artist, Sujata Gazder, a talented, intuitive and bold fashion designer, couldn’t have been more perfect. She saw beneath the surface of my diagnosis, into a story of family unity, broken stereotypes, and audacious hope. She saw my diagnosis as a catalyst for taking back control of my joy and my purpose in life. And we both agreed that hair loss was not loss entirely, it was the adornment of something new and beautiful in my life. 

Due to the pandemic, as well as Sujata being based out of Chicago and me being based out of New York, creating the final masterpiece had unique requirements from each of us. Phone catch ups, Zoom fittings, and photo sneak peeks of her work in progress.  The dress beautifully and perfectly honored each element of my survivorship, from my hair journey and attitude, to my family and spiritual roots. I was amazed at how Sujata could create something I so deeply connected with after knowing me for such a short period of time. 

Outside of my experience with Sujata, being part of this cohort has bonded me with countless other individuals who found their own path to beauty through the darkness of diagnosis. I am proud to stand among them as a survivor and a supporter. And I am so grateful for this space where our stories are transformed into inspiring works of art and unforgettable experiences.

Today I look forward to our virtual gala where we will celebrate each other’s stories, and to seeing my gown in person for the first time when I meet Sujata. This process has taught me that diagnosis is like a crystal. Whoever is holding your crystal in their hands can see new beauty, color and light in your story. And when you exercise vulnerability and trust to let that happen, you can find new meaning and purpose in your own path.

CBD vape cartridge illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

Who Can Use CBD Vape Cartridges


Vaping is a method of taking CBD that became popular in the last years, and there are many reasons for this. The leading one is the effectiveness of this compound and its health benefits. Then, there is the ease of use, convenience, and swift action of CBD after inhaling.

The safety of cannabidiol use is also one of the main reasons why this substance is a buzz. Vaping, as explained on Cheef Botanicals, is a way to administer CBD that has the least side effects. If you use vape gear and cartridge according to the instructions, the risk of abuse is minimal.

Whether this natural remedy is used as a supplement or adjunct to conventional therapy, it is suitable for both healthy and sick people. Still, in some people, vaping will have an excellent effect. This method of CBD ingestion is especially recommended to them.

People Suffer from Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are common conditions that can have devastating effects on health and well-being. These mental issues always lead to many difficulties in all areas of life. Sufferers try to keep these conditions under control using medication.
Still, no matter how effective, conventional drugs often have many side effects. Even worse, they can be addictive. Natural remedies like CBD have minimal side effects and are safe for use whenever you feel upset or depressed.

CBD is proving to be an excellent choice for relieving all the symptoms of anxiety. The healing properties of this compound reflect in its positive effect on receptors in the brain. CBD ingested through vaporizers can affect how these receptors respond to serotonin. That way, it reduces nervousness, stress, and depression.

Everyone with Sleep Issues

Sleep issues don’t always manifest as a disease, but these are not normal condition as well. In some people, poor sleep can be an acute problem. It can occur for various reasons – night work, rest, time zone changes, etc. Also, insomnia can be directly related to stress and anxiety. People who feel anxious have trouble falling asleep and sleeping continuously. That is why it’s necessary to act first on the cause of insomnia and then on this condition.

As described in the previous paragraph, CBD’s soothing effect will help anxious people improve their mood and get rid of anxiety. As for sleep, that means it will be easier to fall asleep and have more extended periods of sleep without interruption.
Why people need a quality night’s rest, read on the following source:
https://www.popsci.com/why-we-need-sleep/ 

People with Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading condition among many others that occur as a result of inflammation. There is still no cure for this disease, and those currently in use can have harmful effects on inner organs. That is why more and more patients turn to natural remedies that can be used along with prescribed therapy. They don’t damage the kidneys, pancreas, and heart.

Some receptors in the endocannabinoid system are responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system. They also keep the inflammations under control. CBD affects these receptors, which means it directly treats the cause of arthritis. It also reaches the painful place where it ‘fixes’ the damage.

Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that gives outstanding results but often has some side effects. Read more about them on this web source. They are not risky, but they reduce the quality of life of a cancer patient.
 Sometimes it can last for years after treatment is completed. These are most often neuropathic pain, chills, appetite disorders, nausea, fainting, and many others. CBD can help people struggle with these adverse effects of chemo. 

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic features, this compound acts as pain relief. Thus cancer patients who vape CBD don’t feel neuropathic pain. They are in a better mood, have a healthier appetite, and so on. All these mean these people can return to daily activities soon after chemo.

Inhaling CBD is a safe way to provide your body with the dose of cannabidiol needed to treat or prevent disease. This substance affects many processes in the body, which means it can help treat and fix the damages resulted from diseases.

American Cancer Society charity digital pop up for MCM illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE

MCM x ACS

By Armon Hayes

On Wednesday, October 14 MCM and style architect Misa Hylton will go LIVE promptly at 10:55am from Soho for an exclusive virtual shopping event. An RSVP only experience for their partnership with the American Cancer Society; together they fight relentlessly for a world free of Cancer. This year, I was welcomed to support the first-ever virtual shopping event, hosted by iconic stylist and MCM’s Global Creative Partner, Misa Hylton. With intense purpose, she inspires us by remixing her vision with functionality. Provided with live updates leading up to the event via text, coupled with the means to interact and shop look-book in a touchless society.

How it works: 

Request desired favorites with SKU and await an invoice by email to complete transaction. 20% of proceeds from sales of this event will be donated to support the ACS. The 30-minute live event will feature MCM’s Fall 2020 pink assortment. At 11am the full assortment preview will begin, followed by a Q&A from Hylton. Qualifying orders will additionally receive a gift. Misa will style six looks on-model and show different ways you can wear these must-have pieces. With the goal being to shop to one’s content, if you ever needed a reason to shop until you drop, this event would be it. No trick, but certainly a treat for a cause we all know and are too familiar with. For those survivors and current fighters, their families and community warriors stand proudly with them through the fight despite at times feeling hopeless. This month in particular creates a driving force within me. Currently, I am approaching the five year anniversary of Liam Maurice Fields; my cousin who transitioned during his fight with leukemia. Only a child and here for a short time, it’s often the smallest things that are the most impactful. 

MCM and the American Cancer Society are providing an opportunity to join the fight against cancer. Funds raised through the 2020 campaign will assist cancer patients in a variety of ways, including:

Education: The American Cancer Society educates the public, providers, community members and employers regarding cancer screening guidelines.

Advocacy: The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM, the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, advocates on behalf of cancer patients at local, state and federal levels (including access to no-cost COVID-19 testing for insured and uninsured individuals).

Research: The American Cancer Society has dedicated over $4.9 billion dollars toward cancer research since 1946.

Service: The American Cancer Society provides cancer information and support through its 24/7 helpline at 1-800-227-2345 and online at cancer.org.

MCM is proud to participate this year with innovative concepts in these times. Last October, MCM’s pink product campaign raised over $20,000. The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. The coronavirus pandemic has brought challenges for cancer patients worldwide, but cancer hasn’t stopped and neither has the American Cancer Society. Together, both organizations are committed to moving us closer to a world without cancer and appreciate the support from supporters, clients and friends. 

About The Host: 

Misa Hylton’s global influence can’t be overstated; she reaches +3.1 billion people worldwide through her relationships and collaborations with networks and publications, celebrities and brands. She has the admiration and ear of today’s biggest household names in music, entertainment and popular culture. She continues to revolutionize fashion at various levels – collaborating with luxury fashion house MCM as Global Creative Partner, styling private celebrity clients, featuring as a commentary subject in two documentaries on music epochs, leading a new generation of creatives at her Misa Hylton Fashion Academy and instructing professional studies courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Misa continues to transcend categories by constantly redefining modern style.

Breast Cancer Illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are many ways to support the cause this month. This annual campaign is held to both spread awareness and raise money for the cause. 

The website for the National Breast Cancer Foundation provides many resources to help with this cause. Although things are challenging for everyone this year, this important organization has been fighting for women since 1993 and continues to thrive thanks to its supporters. 

New this year on the foundation’s website anyone is able to designate a donation to one of four specific causes. Donations are being accepted to screening, education, support and the general fund. 

The screening fund allows the National Mammography and Patient Navigation programs to provide free cancer screenings and mammograms to those in need; this helps remove barriers in the cancer care system. By donating to education, more women will be given resources and education to detect breast cancer early and lower their risk. To help women that have been diagnosed, donating to the support services will help them gain resources and support they need to heal. This money goes to funding HOPE Kits, Metastatic Retreats and Support Groups.

If you are unsure which program you would like to donate to, giving to the general fund allows the National Breast Cancer Foundation to designate your donation to the area they believe needs it most. You can even donate in honor or memory of someone in your life that has been impacted by breast cancer. 

The National Breast Cancer Foundation is sharing stories of hope through October. They are sharing stories of hope of survivors and those impacted by breast cancer. Stories and photos can be submitted here. This is a great way to spread hope and positive messages to those struggling with breast cancer and their loved ones. 

Available for download from the foundation is the Breast Problems That Aren’t Breast Cancer ebook. This free resource will help women recognize common problems versus breast problems that need to be looked at by a professional. 

Breast cancer screenings are important for women to get regularly so they can detect problems from the start. The United States Preventive Services recommends women ages 50 to 74 get screened every two years, while women 40 to 49 should talk to their doctor about getting screened sooner if they are at higher risk. Self-examinations are recommended for all women to check that there is no concern. 

The American Cancer Society has been hosting Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for over twenty years. This walk helps fundraise for research and support for breast cancer patients. Even though the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has canceled many events, the walk will still be taking place virtually. Donations are still being accepted and people everywhere will be coming together virtually to support the cause. 

Ways to volunteer with the National Breast Cancer Foundation are being moved virtually as well. This is a great way to give back in October instead of donating. People everywhere are helping to pack HOPE Kits for women in treatment and write encouragement cards to put in the kits. There are many ways to help in the month of October to spread awareness about breast cancer and give hope to those in need.

The non-profit organization, Susan G. Komen for the cure, also supports women with breast cancer and their families. On their website, women can find information, resources and assistance to help them with their journey. Founded in 1982 by Nancy Brinker, is the largest breast cancer organization in America.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Cassandra Yany

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday after her long battle with cancer. The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice was a trailblazer who continuously worked to end gender discrimination and preserve our civil liberties. 

The Supreme Court announced Friday that Ginsburg passed away at her Washington D.C. home due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She had previously overcome lung, liver and colon cancer. In July, she revealed that the cancer had returned, but that she would continue to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg’s revolutionary career started when she graduated at the top of her class from Cornell University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in government. Two years later, she attended Harvard Law School with her husband, Martin Ginsburg. There, she was one of only nine women in her class of over 500 students, according to NPR.

During their time at Harvard, Martin was diagnosed with testicular cancer, so Ruth would take notes for the two of them and help him with his work, all while trying to juggle being a new mom. When Martin landed a job at a firm in New York, the family packed up and Ruth finished her education at Columbia University. 

Once Ginsburg finished school, she began to experience the discrimination that came with being a female lawyer. According to TIME, she was unable to secure a position at a premier law firm or one of the Supreme Court clerkships, regardless of the fact that she had been the first students to serve on both the Harvard and Columbia Law reviews, and graduated at the top of her class. These jobs were instead easily given to males who had ranked lower than her in school. This led her to work a lower court clerkship and teach at the Rutgers Law Newark campus.

At Rutgers, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter. While she was there, she learned that she wasn’t earning the same wage as one of her male counterparts. The dean attributed this pay disparity to the fact that the male professor had a family to support, while Ginsburg’s husband already had a good-paying job. This type of discrimination caused her to hide her second pregnancy.

After her son was born, Ginsburg began teaching at Columbia, becoming the university’s first tenured female professor. There, she also co-authored the first case book on discrimination law. She later went on to co-found the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972.

During her work as a lawyer, Ginsburg established that equal protection under the law, as stated in the 14th Amendment, should extend to gender. She won five out of the six cases that she argued before the Supreme Court on gender discrimination. She often chose to find this prejudice in cases where males were the plaintiffs being discriminated against, as seen in the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex. 

In 1980, Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg as a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She became the second woman on the Supreme Court, and the first Jewish justice since 1969 when she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993. During her time, she eliminated almost 200 laws that discriminated against women. 

Ginsburg also fought for the rights of immigrants, the mentally ill, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. She approved gay marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, stating that if you can’t deny a 70-year-old couple the right to marriage due to their inability to procreate, you can’t deny a gay couple of that right either.

Ginsburg supported women’s reproductive rights, fighting for the coverage of contraceptives despite anyone’s religious beliefs. At the time of Roe v. Wade, she litigated a case where a pregnant Air Force captain was told she would have to have an abortion in order to return to her job. She noted the hypocrisy present in this case— that the U.S. government was encouraging abortion – and found that it served as a clear example of why women should have the right to make their own life decisions.

Ginsburg’s passing gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump the ability to appoint a new justice, despite her dying wish to not be replaced until after a new president is elected. This opportunity could make the Supreme Court more right-leaning and jeopardize cases like Roe v. Wade that are at the forefront of equal rights movements. 

This comes four years after McConnell’s 11-month Republican blockade of President Obama’s nominee for the court, where he argued “that a president shouldn’t be able to seat a new justice in the final year of their term.” Obama noted this in a statement released early Saturday, where he said “A basic principle of law— and of everyday fairness— is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”

After the news broke Friday night of Ginsburg’s death, hundreds of people gathered outside the Supreme Court to pay tribute and create a memorial on the building’s steps. Many signs have since been left outside of the court honoring her legacy.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday morning that there will be a statue built in Ginsburg’s hometown of Brooklyn to “serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today…”

Trump issued a proclamation Saturday ordering flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of interment “As a mark of respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg…”

RBG will be dearly missed by Americans on both sides of the aisle. We have lost a longtime champion of equal rights, but her legacy will never be forgotten.

Brain Cancer illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Cancer Discovery Reveals Key Process in Tumor Formation

A discovery from the University of Virginia School of Medicine may open the door to an entirely new approach to treating cancer: by disrupting a vital condensation process inside cancer cells.

Researchers led by Hao Jiang, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, discovered that cancer cells are exceptionally dependent on the proper condensation of a particular protein, AKAP95, during tumor formation. Blocking this process halted the cancer cells in their tracks.

“It is now clear that biomolecular condensation is a fundamental mechanism that underlies numerous biological processes in normal physiology and also in human disease including cancer,” said Jiang, of UVA’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and the UVA Cancer Center. “Our work reveals a new level of regulation – how liquid-like the condensates are can affect their activity in cancer control.”

Cancer and Condensation

The process of “biomolecular condensation” inside our cells is an area of great interest for scientists. In essence, our cells use condensation to create little compartments for important biological processes. You might think of these compartments as virtual mixing bowls that cells manufacture as needed.

It has been largely unclear if this condensation process is important in cancer. Jiang and his team showed that both the formation of the condensates and their material properties are important for cancer, and their work suggests that disrupting condensation or changing the condensate properties may offer a new treatment strategy.

The researchers’ lab experiments show that the AKAP95 protein gets condensed in cells, and cancer cells become heavily reliant on it. For that to happen, the condensed proteins, which are liquid-like, must be just the right consistency. Hardening them, for example, significantly impaired tumor formation, Jiang and his team discovered. Disrupting the condensation process halted cancer formation entirely.

A treatment based on the discovery might take a similar approach. Disrupting the condensation of AKAP95, the research suggests, could prevent cancer from hijacking our cells.

While much more work needs to be done to determine the possibility of developing a treatment based on the discovery, Jiang is happy to have shed light on tumor formation and to have provided cancer researchers a new avenue to explore.

“I was completely enthralled by this mechanism, as I had never learned or thought of such a seemingly simple principle of molecular organization in textbooks, previous classes or training, but it actually makes great sense and has such a profound impact on almost all basic cellular activities. My lab is thus very interested in how biomolecular condensation regulates gene expression on various levels, especially in the context of cancer,” Jiang said. “Further studies in this field will likely provide us unconventional strategies in cancer treatment.”

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology. The research team consisted of Wei Li, Jing Hu, Bi Shi, Francesco Palomba, Michelle A. Digman, Enrico Gratton and Jiang.

The research was supported by startup funds from UVA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, along with Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Breakthrough Award BC190343. The work used the confocal microscopy system at UVA’s Keck Center that was supported by National Institutes of Health grant OD016446.

Jiang was supported by the American Society of Hematology Scholar Award, the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award (RSG-15-166-01-DMC) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar Award (1354-19). Palomba and Digman were supported in part by National Science Foundation grant MCB-1615701. Digman and Gratton were supported by NIH grant P41-GM103540.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA:

Subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog HERE.

 

Twist Out Cancer

Twist Out Cancer will host its Brushes With Cancer program Sept. 25.

The program will be held in Warren, Michigan, at GM‘s Design Center and will kick off with a virtual art exhibition. Brushes With Cancer takes cancer survivors, battlers and caretakers and pairs them with artists who are able to depict the struggles, emotionally and physically, faced by those with cancer.

For the 2020 event, all 25 people affected by cancer and all 23 artists are employed by GM Design, and their story-inspired art will be on display virtually.

After the event, the art will remain on display until Oct. 30 and will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder with proceeds going right back to Twist Out Cancer to provide psychosocial support to those in a face-to-face fight with cancer.

Jenna Benn Shersher, the CEO of Twist Out Cancer, said 2019’s event was a smash success and that Twist Out Cancer was honored to be working with GM Design for the 2020 program.

“We have worked hand-in-hand with employees at GM Design during this unprecedented time to continue our program virtually, which is offering our Inspirations and Artists the same transformational experience our participants have come to expect over the past eight years,” Shersher said. “As Twist Out Cancer has grown, we continue to bring our impactful programming to new cities and new audiences around the world and are thrilled with the start of this new program.”

Virtual events will also be held in Austin Oct. 25 and in Chicago Nov. 14. Twist Out Cancer also encourages anyone to bring an event to their hometown by contacting Amelia Hanrahan at amelia@twistoutcancer.org.

To purchase tickets for the event on Sept. 25, you can click right here.

Brain Cancer illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Brain Cancer Gene Identified

Scientists have identified an oncogene (a cancer-causing gene) responsible for glioblastoma, the deadliest brain tumor. The discovery offers a promising new treatment target for a cancer that is always fatal.

The researchers say the oncogene is essential to the survival of the cancer cells. Without it, the cancer cells die. Scientists have already developed many targeted therapies for other cancers with a similar “oncogene addiction.”

“Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly cancers. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment option for the disease. The current standard option, radiation plus temozolomide, which displayed a 2.5-month better survival rate, was hailed as a great success. Clearly, better understanding and new therapeutic targets are urgently needed,” said researcher Hui Li, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “The novel oncogene we discovered promises to be an Achilles’ heel of glioblastoma, with its specific targeting potentially an effective approach for the treatment of the disease.”

Targeting Glioblastoma

Oncogenes are naturally occurring genes that spiral out of control and cause cancer. The oncogene Li and his colleagues identified, AVIL, normally helps cells maintain their size and shape. But the gene can be shifted into overdrive by a variety of factors, the researchers found. This causes cancer cells to form and spread.

Blocking the gene’s activity completely destroyed glioblastoma cells in lab mice but had no effect on healthy cells. This suggests targeting the gene could be an effective treatment option.

“AVIL is overexpressed in 100% of glioblastoma cells and clinical samples, and is expressed at even higher level in so-called glioblastoma stem cells, but hardly expressed in normal cells and tissues,” said Li, of UVA’s Department of Pathology. “Silencing the gene wiped out glioblastoma cells in culture and prevented animal xenografts, while having no effect on normal control cells. Clinically, high AVIL expression correlates with worse patient outcome. These findings and classic transformation assays proved AVIL being a bona fide oncogene.”

Identifying Oncogenes

Identifying an oncogene, as Li and his colleagues have done, is an important step toward developing a treatment. But identifying oncogenes is very difficult. The environment inside cells is so complex that it’s hard to determine cause-and-effect.

Li and his team weren’t even working on glioblastoma when they first caught the scent that led to the discovery. Instead, they were studying a rare childhood cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. (Childhood cancers typically are easier to understand and involve fewer mutations than adult cancers.)

During their research, the scientists discovered an abnormality in the AVIL gene. That prompted them to examine adult cancers to see if the gene could be contributing there. And it was. The researchers concluded the gene plays a “critical role” in glioblastoma, they report in a new scientific paper outlining their findings.

Li and his team believe their approach can be used to discover other oncogenes – hopefully leading to new treatments for a variety of cancers.

“In this day and age, many people thought that all the significant oncogenes have been discovered, Here we uncovered a novel, powerful oncogene and elucidated its signaling pathways, all starting from studying a structure variant in pediatric cancer. In the past, numerous significant discoveries in cancer also stemmed from studying pediatric tumors,” Li said. “We believe this is a strategy that can be applied to find novel players in other adult cancers.”

Glioblastoma Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Nature Communications. The research team consisted of Zhongqiu Xie, Pawel Ł. Janczyk, Ying Zhang, Aiqun Liu, Xinrui Shi, Sandeep Singh, Loryn Facemire, Kristopher Kubow, Zi Li, Yuemeng Jia, Dorothy Schafer, James W. Mandell, Roger Abounader and Li.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, grant CA240601, and Stand Up To Cancer, grant SU2C-AACR-IRG0409.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

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Jane Velez-Mitchell illustration by Mina Tocalini

Meat Causes Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) new guidelines for cancer reduction were revealed recently and it’s no surprise that they recommend avoiding or reducing meat intake. The ACS is advising the public to consume far less processed and read meats while shifting to more plant-based whole foods. In the guidelines they do advise consuming nutrient-rich, high in fiber foods like vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, and peas. “Eat the rainbow” as we’ve all heard for years. 

These new guidelines follow in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) stance released in 2015 where they famously classified red meats as a Group 2A carcinogen that was “probably carcinogenic to humans”. They referenced studies that lined consistent consumption of red meat to colorectal cancer.   

New Day New Chef: Support and Feed Edition focuses on the organization’s work supplying food to children’s charities, homeless and domestic abuse shelters, food banks, family and senior centers by supporting vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. Filmed largely with robotic cameras during the COVID-19 outbreak, the show follows Maggie Baird, (actress, screenwriter, vegan, and mother of musicians Billie Eilish and Finneas, who are also vegan) on her journey to create Support and Feed. Two episodes are now available to stream on Prime Video, with more released weekly. 

Animal Rights Activist & Host of “New Day New Chef: Support and Feed” Jane Velez-Mitchell is the founder and editor of JaneUnChained.com, a multi-platform social media news channel producing thousands of widely shared videos on animal rights and veganism. Jane is the winner of four Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. For six years she hosted her own show on HLN (CNN Headline News) where she did a weekly animal segment. Velez-Mitchell also reported for the TV show Celebrity Justice, and was a news anchor/reporter at KCAL-TV in LA and WCBS-TV in NY. Jane is active in the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. Two episodes are now available to stream on Prime Video, with more released weekly. 

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