OncoSec’s “What We’re Reading”: Volume 2

Each week at OncoSec, we come across a wide range of news material. This week, we continue our “What We’re Reading” series, with our second instalment. There have been quite a number of recent articles regarding cancer, the biotech industry and treatment methods but we would like to highlight three that you might find interesting and informative.

Red heads are ‘100 times more susceptible to the most lethal form of skin cancer’, warn scientists – Daily Mail

While the article uses UK data and is geared towards a UK audience, the claims are universal: those with the MC1R-RHC gene – the redhead gene – are far more at risk for melanoma than the average person. It has been known for quite some time that those with a fair complexion – light eyes, light skin, light or red hair – are at a greater risk but this recent study puts more data behind the warnings. This story was covered by a very large number of news outlets but this particular article mentions another realization from the study that others seem to have missed:

…upon UVB exposure, we saw an increased destruction of PTEN in the mutated pigment cells,’ said Dr Wei. The same mutation was linked to the ramping up of a biological signaling pathway, P13K/Akt which is implicated in a number of cancers, including breast, ovarian and lung.

These indications link the redhead gene to several other cancers: a very important factor, when it comes to awareness and prevention of the diseases. This encourages researchers, doctors and the public to pay more close attention to fair skin, when it comes to cancer risk.


29% of white high school girls use tanning beds despite staggering cancer risksNY Daily News

While research on the dangers of indoor tanning beds has been well-documented, American youth continue to regularly use them: especially teenage girls. Based on this recently released data on non-Hispanic youth and tanning, the article highlights the disconnect between the danger factor and the mindset of those who insist on using the devices. In the past few years, six states have moved to ban underage tanning and many more have placed strict guidelines on it.

Earlier studies cited by the CDC have shown that indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 59% to 75%, and use before the age of 25 increases non-melanoma skin cancer risk by 40% to 102%.

This short description may indicate that these state-mandated measures may not be having the impact desired. Whether a matter of enforcement, better educational materials or otherwise, this epidemic needs to be resolved quickly. If not, countless more lives will be at risk.


Report Shows Majority of States Falling Short on Policies to Fight and Prevent Cancer – American Cancer Society

No state received a green rating in seven or more of the measures. Only Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island reached a benchmark in six legislative areas in the fight against cancer. Ten states – Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee – did not meet the benchmark on any of the 10 issues and another 11 received high marks on only one issue.

While it is up to each US state to govern legislation surrounding cancer awareness, prevention and treatment, the How Do You Measure Up? program has identified that few states are responsibly addressing these issues. With so many unfortunate indications in the report listed, we hope that lawmakers move to more effectively address these issues, before more lives are lost. Considering the wide reach of the American Cancer Society, politicians are sure to be aware of these problems that must be approached as soon as possible.

If you have a current news article you find interesting or important to cancer prevention, awareness or treatment, we’d love for you to share it with us. Please connect with us, on Twitter and Facebook.