Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Cancer

Beating Cancer Cells at Their Own Game

By Karen Kreeger | November 9, 2016 | Comments Cartwheel Ben Aston Flickr Creative Commons

Most cells do metabolic somersaults to survive under stressful a condition – which is to say, they enlist the most expedient biochemical pathways to produce essential molecules in order to survive. By comparison, cancer cells perform high-wire cartwheels to recruit alternative pathways to thwart cancer drugs. As cancer cells do... Read more

Coming Soon in Penn Medicine: Health Costs and Innovators

By John Shea | October 28, 2016 | Comments image from

The villain of the piece may change from year to year or even month to month -– it may be a cancer drug that costs more than $120,000 a year, or Turing’s Daraprim, or Mylan MV’s EpiPen -– but drug companies have been excoriated in the media with increasing frequency... Read more

Non-Communicable Diseases: The Next Great Global Health Challenge

By Johanna Harvey | October 21, 2016 | Comments image from

“We all have the same health problems, but we don’t all have the same access to health care.” That was the message Ernest Madu, MD, chairman and CEO of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean, shared with Perelman School of Medicine students and faculty during the Penn Center for Global... Read more

Autophagy Is the New Black

By John Infanti | October 7, 2016 | Comments N000756_ohsumi_pic1

Autophagy is having a moment. At least that’s the clickbait headline that would likely be jamming up your Twitter feed if science news was covered like celebrity news. But while it may not involve celebrity sightings or Kardashians, make no mistake: For the people who have been working for years... Read more

On the Road with Data Science

By Karen Kreeger | September 28, 2016 | Comments Olson NPS Road trip map

Randy Olson, PhD, a senior data scientist with Penn’s Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI), started publishing optimized road trip maps -- a modern Trip Tik of sorts -- while still a graduate student at Michigan State University in 2014. They’ve remain a big hit on social media and in the... Read more

Aromatherapy: How Essential Are Those Oils?

By Sally Sapega | July 20, 2016 | Comments Aroma

Aromatherapy—the therapeutic use of essential oils—has been shown to have a positive impact on a variety of physical and emotional conditions. A recent study showed that the level of anxiety of women in labor decreased after exposure to orange essential oil. Another showed that lavender helped an elderly population with... Read more

How Microbes are Informing the Fight Against Cancer

By Karen Kreeger | July 14, 2016 | Comments Wherry Immunity post NIAID healthy T cell

Like many therapies today, the so-called checkpoint inhibitor drugs that boost the immune system to fight cancer have an interesting back story on how they made it into the clinic. Hint: it didn’t all start in a cancer biology laboratory. A major part of the story began with microbiologists studying... Read more

Moonshot Gains Momentum at DC Summit

By Steve Graff | July 11, 2016 | Comments 6a017c3873ae3e970b01b7c87a1445970b

It’s not easy to galvanize and unify the cancer research field on a national level, but that’s what Vice President Joe Biden has successfully done since he took the lead on the Moonshot Initiative six month ago. He has engaged people from all sectors, and empowered them to start thinking... Read more

Precision Medicine Takes Center Stage at Penn

By John Shea | June 27, 2016 | Comments image from

What once was called “personalized medicine” at Penn used to be practiced primarily by individuals or small groups of researchers and clinicians drawn to its possibilities. But as the cover story in the Summer 2016 issue of Penn Medicine demonstrates, the ability to harness vast amounts of information and apply... Read more

Penn at ASCO: Immunotherapy and Much More

By Steve Graff | June 8, 2016 | Comments Lynn and david

Immunotherapy once again dominated headlines during the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, the medical conference that drew a record-breaking 35,000 oncologists and other health care professionals from the United States and around the world this year. That these stories float to the top... Read more

FDA’s Latest Tobacco Ruling: A Q&A about E-Cigarettes

By Stephanie Simon | May 13, 2016 | Comments Strasser, Andrew

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new rules last week pertaining to what they have labeled “all tobacco products.” These products include cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco and others, but perhaps the most controversial of all products now governed is the e-cigarette. The ruling, which will help... Read more

Breathing Better Under Pressure

By Steve Graff | May 11, 2016 | Comments Slide-image-3

The prick of a strategically placed needle is felt by nearly two million Americans every year looking to reap the benefits of acupuncture. Back problems, migraines, allergies: The 2,500-year-old Eastern medical technique has been shown to help relieve pain or discomfort stemming from a host of ailments. At Penn’s Abramson... Read more

The Power of Writing for Cancer Patients

By Sally Sapega | May 2, 2016 | Comments image from

“To what shall I claim definition? My life which is no longer the same, The disease which ravages me, Or the hope the trial brings? The strong and vibrant man of yore has changed.” Jack Ivey wrote those words – part of a longer poem (see below) – following a... Read more

Better Together: Penn Joins Unprecedented Collaboration to Tackle Cancer Immunotherapy

By Holly Auer | April 22, 2016 | Comments Parker

It had all the makings of a science-fiction blockbuster: A can’t-lose mission with high stakes, an effort to trick a devious enemy into destroying itself, the promise of gizmos like futuristic cell replicas on tiny chips, and a cast of Hollywood’s most beautiful, bold-face names – plus a killer sound... Read more

Penn Medicine’s New Issue: The Power of Partnership

By John Shea | April 8, 2016 | Comments image from

Although Penn Medicine magazine has often run articles on the work of physicians and researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who are associated with the Perelman School of Medicine, this issue’s cover story is perhaps the first to look more broadly at the longstanding relationship between the two institutions.... Read more

Small But Mighty

By Karen Kreeger | April 1, 2016 | Comments Cells

There is a long-held tradition in fruitfly research for silly gene nomenclature. For example, take the inspiration from mutations that affect fruit fly testes. The so-called “defenders of DNA,” the Piwi (for P-element induced wimpy testis) family of proteins, got its incongruous name from the researcher who discovered the gene... Read more

Penn Research Holds Promise for Patients with Advanced Colon Cancer

By Lee-Ann Donegan | March 2, 2016 | Comments image from

Colon cancer is the most common of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in in the United States, but it’s also largely preventable and often curable with early detection. Thanks to an increase in education and awareness around the disease, greater numbers of Americans are... Read more

Let’s Take a “Micro-break” and Talk about Standing Desks

By Steve Graff | February 26, 2016 | Comments Standing

As news media professionals working for a health system, the people in Penn Medicine’s Communications office are not only an inquisitive bunch, but also a health-conscious one. So when the opportunity to get standing desks, a workplace trend sweeping through cube farms and office spaces around the world, came our... Read more

Abramson Cancer Center Joins Nation’s Cancer Centers to Urge HPV Vaccine

By Steve Graff | January 27, 2016 | Comments Hpv

Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) joined 68 other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated centers today urging for increased human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in both girls and boys for the prevention of cancer. Each year in the United States, 14 million new HPV infections occur, and 27,000 men and women are diagnosed... Read more

Vice President Biden Kicks off “Moonshot” Effort at Abramson Cancer Center (PHOTOS)

By Steve Graff | January 22, 2016 | Comments Biden

Days after President Obama announced the “moonshot” to find a cancer cure during his State of the Union, Vice President Biden visited Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center to kick off the national effort he said aims to “accelerate the progress already underway” – much of which is happening right here. "You're... Read more

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