Surprising finding with cancer stem cells drives home the need for testing any hypothesis.

In science a logical hypothesis is not good enough. You have to do the science to put the logic to the test. A team at Ohio State proved this in spades in a recent study looking at cancer stem cells.

Specifically looking at oral cancers, the team compared those cancers associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) and those not associated with the virus. Since cancer stem cells are believed to be associated with tumor recurrence, and patients with HPV-positive tumors have better outcomes from treatment, the researchers hypothesized that HPV-positive tumors would have fewer cancer stem cells.

They found just the opposite. The HPV-positive tumors had anywhere from 2.4 to 62 times more cancer stem cells than the virus free tumors.

HealthCanal ran the university’s press release that had a quote from the senior researcher, Quintin Pan:

We show that high levels of cancer stem cells are not necessarily associated with a worse prognosis in head and neck cancer, a finding that could have far-reaching implications for patient care.

The team suggested that HPV-induced head and neck cancer may be highly curable because the cancer stem cells associated with it are different than with HPV-negative tumors and are more sensitive to therapy.

Sounds to me like they have set up another hypothesis that is ripe for testing.

CIRM funds a disease team that plans to begin a clinical trial in the next year or two using drugs to attack cancer stem cells in solid tumors.

Don Gibbons

Hangout with us tomorrow, it’s one hour that could change your life

Photo courtesy Fotos GOVBA

It’s been well known for many years that the number of people with diabetes is on the rise, but the sheer impact of that increase is staggering. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the annual direct and indirect health care costs associated with diabetes rose to $245 billion in 2012. That’s billion with a ‘b’. And it’s an increase of 41 percent over just 5 years.

While the causes of the increase are many the solutions are far from easy, particularly for type 1 diabetes which is not caused by lifestyle factors but by the body’s inability to produce insulin.

On Thursday, January 23rd from noon till 1pm PT (3 – 4pm ET) we are holding a free Google Hangout to look at the progress being made in searching for stem cell treatments for diabetes.

We’ll have several experts and a Patient Advocate joining us online to talk about the latest and most promising research. Two of those experts are from ViaCyte, a San Diego-based company that has a Disease Team award from us and has developed a device they hope will be able to help people with type 1 diabetes. The device is about the size of a credit card and it is inserted under the skin where it can not only measure when blood sugar levels are low, but it can also secrete insulin to help restore those levels to normal.

We’re also going to be joined by Dr. Francisco Prieto, a practicing physician and researcher with an expertise in diabetes and a long-time active member of the ADA. Dr. Prieto also happens to be the Diabetes Patient Advocate member of our governing Board, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.

The fourth guest is Chris Stiehl, a longtime Patient Advocate who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years and who can bring a lifetime of experience to the discussion, and his hopes for the future.

It promises to be a lively, engaging and informative hour. And it’s all free! And if you sign up on Google + (which is also free) you can post questions for the experts to answer.

To join us all you have to do is click here

We look forward to seeing you there.

kevin mccormack