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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Nov 8, 2011


In the British Journal of Cancer this week, US researchers report on cold plasma therapy as a possible cancer treatment. Plasma is an ionized gas typically generated in high-temperatures, however recent progress in atmospheric plasmas has led to the creation of cold plasmas with an ion temperature close to room temperature, the authors write. For this study, the team exposed various cancer cells to cold plasma both in vitro and in vivo, and observed that it selectively kills cancer cells without damaging normal cells. "It is shown that reactive oxygen species' metabolism and oxidative stress responsive genes are deregulated [with exposure to cold plasma]," the team says. "The development of cold plasma tumor ablation has the potential of shifting the current paradigm of cancer treatment and enabling the transformation of cancer treatment technologies by utilization of another state of matter."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Japan investigated the long-term survival of young ovarian cancer patients undergoing fertility-sparing surgery versus those patients undergoing radical surgery. The team retrospectively evaluated data from 572 total patients — 74 of which were about 40 years old and had received fertility-sparing surgery, 52 of which were 40 years old and had received radical surgery, and 446 of which were older than 40 and had received radical surgery. Overall, women in the three groups had similar five-year overall survival and disease-free survival rates, the team found. "Stage I epithelial ovarian cancer patients treated with fertility-sparing surgery showed an acceptable prognosis compared with those who underwent radical surgery," the authors write.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands report risk factors for long-and short-term complications following groin surgery for vulvar cancer. The team studied data from 164 consecutive patients who underwent an inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy as part of their surgical treatment for vulvar squamous cell carcinoma between 1988 and 2009. The analysis showed that older age, diabetes, and higher drain production on the last day of drain in situ were all high risk factors for the development of short-term complications, while younger age and lymphocele were risk factors for long-term complications.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.