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expert-perspectives

UMN expert: Cancer screenings are best tool we have to lower cancer deaths

According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people in the United States get cancer each year. Furthermore, two in three people diagnosed with cancer survive at least five years, due in large part to early detection through cancer screening.

Cancer screenings are the best tool we have right now to lower the rates of death from cancer says Timothy Church, Ph.D., professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Church is also currently a member of the American Cancer Society’s Guideline Development Group.

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expert-perspectives

Use Of E-Cigarettes Triples Among U.S. Teens

A new national survey confirmed indications e-cigarettes are now more popular among teenage students than traditional cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.

The study was conducted by the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Youth Tobacco survey. Findings included the use of e-cigarettes has increased from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014 among middle school Children. The survey found the use among high school students almost tripled, from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent. The numbers equivocate to 450,000 middle school users and 2 million high school stu

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research-and-clinical-trials

UMN finding helps scientists better understand DNA binding protein’s role in vaccination success

T-cells are essential to keeping our bodies safe from infection and disease. They roam the body looking for infection, and upon discovering it, work to clean it up. Anything that can improve how effective T-cells are, or how we understand them to work is a step toward advancing human health.

In the same vein, a recent finding led by University of Minnesota researchers in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California unveils a new understanding of T-cell operation.

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news-and-notes

Minnesota invests in regenerative medicine

Last year, the 2014 Minnesota legislative session brought a big win for regenerative medicine, as legislators passed a bill allotting nearly $50 million over 10 years for regenerative medicine research, clinical translation and commercialization efforts.

Some of that research funding has now been awarded to Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D., professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, whose proposal was one of six funded out of 90 applications. Bruce is the principal investigator on a new $500,000 grant for research on engineering human pluripotent stem cells to generate enhanced natural killer cells for cancer therapy. The ultimate goal: treating cancer using the patient’s immune system.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: A more precise diagnosis for oral cancer

Identifying whether oral cancer has reached the mandible (jawbone) can create uncertainties early on or with small tumors for patients and health care providers.

“Right now, we identify oral cancer’s invasion into the jaw through clinical examination or CT scans but current technology often falls short, especially with early invasions. The problem is there are often uncertainties in knowing how far the cancer has spread,” said Samir Khariwala, M.D., surgeon and assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota. “For this reason, planning surgery is difficult and there is risk of taking out too much bone or not enough because we don’t know the degree of invasion ahead of time.”

There is, however, a technique available which will allow you to avoid the uncertainty of surgery, the amount of recovery time and the need for additional reconstructive surgery altogether.

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expert-perspectives

Cervical cancer screening: Is a Pap smear or HPV test better?

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, approximately 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States alone. To detect those cases, physicians use a Pap smear as the primary cervical cancer screening method.. However, a recent study published in the journal of Gynecologic Oncology, advocates for routine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening instead.

The study, authored by an expert panel from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), found that testing for HPV is more beneficial for cervical cancer screening than a Pap smear alone. The authors claim that routine Pap testing, performed every three years, isn’t as beneficial and accurate as routine HPV testing.

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