Welcome to the latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, grab whatever you drink on a Sunday afternoon and let’s carry on.
As mentioned last week, I’m a big believer/supporter of genetic/molecular diagnosis and treatments of cancer. In concert with Charles’ fine article, here is the latest with OSU medical research regarding lung cancer. This is significant, because lung cancer is a brutal disease. To start, lung cancer is the 2nd most prevalent cancer. Interestingly, there are more cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but with a 70% mortality rate, lung cancer patients aren’t as prevalent. Sadly enough.
Researchers at the (OSUCCC – James) have discovered that levels of the gene microRNA-31 (miR-31) predict the spread of the most common form of lung cancer to nearby lymph nodes.
They found that high levels of miR-31 in primary tumor cells predicted lymph node metastasis and poor survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Low expression levels were associated with the absence of metastases and excellent survival.
“Our findings suggest that microRNA expression in the primary lung tumor can estimate whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes and can help direct patients to the most appropriate treatment,” says principal investigator Tim Lautenschlaeger, MD, a researcher in Radiation Oncology and the OSUCCC – James Experimental Therapeutics Program.
This process gives researchers and treatment providers a much clearer picture of the disease, which determines treatment protocols. Once the treatment protocol is determined, the patient has a better chance of recovery, or at least holding the course.
Since moving to Australia last year I have grown used to talking with people who do not understand many aspects of America. Things like US politics, our view on guns, our appreciation of good Mexican food, etc… seem to baffle many Australians. This lack of understanding continues to sports and one of the things that many Australians seem to have a hard time understanding about Americans sports, other than our realization that cricket is boring, is our love affair with college sports. It’s not that Australians do not understand or appreciate American sports, the NFL, NBA, and MLB all have decent followings over here; NFL and MLB games are on free television here at least once a week and you can find NBA jerseys in many sporting goods stores here. This interest in American sports does not extend to the college ranks though and many Australians cannot understand the passions that Americans have for college sports and the amount of money that is involved in them.
A big reason why Australians do not understand the love of college sports is that students here have a very different relationship with the university they attend than students do in the States. The obvious difference is that college sports do not exist here but it goes even beyond that. When most Americans go to university they live in the dorms for at least a year and then move to an apartment, normally near campus. This means that most American students spend a major portion of even their non-class time on or near campus. It is a very different story in Australia where dorms are pretty much non-existent, the small amount of on campus housing that exists is mostly in the form of residential colleges which function as a sort of academic fraternity in many ways, and a large percentage of students live at home due to the high cost of housing. This means that students here tend to spend far less of their non-class time on campus.