Smartphone apps are great at a lot of things. They can make our pictures look
terrible "artistic", they can keep us connected to friends, they can even set us up on random blind dates with strangers we know nothing about, but it turns out they're not great at identifying skin cancer -- at least not most of them. A new study shows that smartphone apps designed to identify cancerous lesions misdiagnose them more than half the time. Good news, dermatologists! You haven't been replace by robots yet!
Researchers looking to treat cancer patients without subjecting them to the ravages of chemotherapy have published some promising results in the journal of Science Translational Medicine on "adoptive T-cell therapy." Using this technique, researchers removed cells from nine melanoma patients immune system that fight disease, called T-cells. They then "trained" the cells, by exposing them to genetically engineered cells that carried tumor antigens, which signaled the T-cells to attack. The new, smarter, more experienced cancer-fighting cells were then multiplied and re-introduced to the patient's body. After two weeks, the cancer in four of the nine patients had stabilized, neither growing nor shrinking. In one patient, the cancer had disappeared entirely and was still cancer-free after two years. Five of the nine patients also responded much better to cancer drug treatments later on. Though this is only an early study, and will require many more experiments before it can be considered for widespread use, it does bode well for researchers. Especially, since previous T-cell training experiments failed when the cells died off when put back in the body. With any luck, future research will be just as promising as this study. (via Discover, image via Wikipedia)Read More