A new way to study cancer and its treatments

The National Cancer Institute has announced that they will begin a new study in which cancer patients will be sorted into treatment groups based on genetic mutations in their tumors as opposed to cancer type. This research aims to identify whether targeting molecular abnormalities in cancer is a more effective treatment than  traditional labeling of cancer types.

“Precision medicine”, as it has been dubbed, is the result of over a decade of attempting to create more efficient means of treating cancer by matching drugs to the patients who will best benefit from them. James H. Doroshow, director of the division of cancer treatment and diagnosis at the National Cancer Institute states, “[the effort] is the largest and most rigorous precision oncology trial that’s ever been attempted,” and is expected to cost 30 to 40 million dollars to undertake. the NCI hopes to receive additional funding from Congress.

The project plans to initiate screening for participants on July 1st of this year. More>>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on bioinformation and genomics. Learn more about Tulane research projects. 

 

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Americas Region Becomes World’s First to Eliminate Rubella

The Americas region has become the first to eliminate rubella, a contagious viral infection similar to measles. Rubella and the associated congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) are now the third and fourth vaccine-preventable diseases eliminated in the Americas following small pox and polio. Prior to mass vaccination, it is estimated that between 16,000 and 20,000 children were born with CRS in Latin America and the Caribbean. The elimination of the disease is the result of a fifteen year long vaccination initiative.

Rubella is typically less contagious and less aggressive than measles. However, it can cause birth defects or miscarriages if women are infected during pregnancy. Rubella is still prominent in other regions of the world, with the Americas and Europe being the only two with elimination goals for the disease. More>>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on infectious diseases. Learn more about Tulane research projects. 

 

Every Breath You Take: State of the Air 2015

Over the past 16 years, the AmericanSTATE OF THE AIR 2015 Lung Association has produced a “State of the Air” report which examines levels of air pollution across the United States. The report is particularly important in that 4 in 10 people across the US live in a region of unhealthy ozone (smog) or particle (soot) pollution. Findings in this years report show signs of progress, but conditions must be improved. Recent research has indicated that air pollution can be more harmful than expected and at lower levels. The reports findings have been used over the years to underscore the importance of the Clean Air Act.

While air pollution can harm healthy adults as well, those at greatest risk of harm are children and infants, the elderly, people with asthma or COPD, those with heart disease, and those who work or exercise outside. High levels of air pollution can induce asthma, strokes, or cardiac arrest. A recent report from the World Health Organization has linked particle pollution to lung cancer.

Climate change is one of the greatest contributors to both ozone and particle pollution. Rising temperatures have increased droughts, wildfires, and other sources of particle pollution. While there have been significant improvements since the original State of the Air report, climate change is creating conditions in which ongoing improvements will be made more difficult. Children with asthma and the elderly, among others, will bear the greatest health burden. More >>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on climate change and other environmental health topics. Learn more about Tulane research projects in the Global Environmental Health Sciences department.