Cancer Revolution: Genetics & Personalized Medicine
The way we think of and treat cancer is rapidly changing thanks to falling gene sequencing prices, growing data about cancer genetics and new drugs targeting specific mutated genes.
What's the Latest Development?
No longer a theoretical possibility, cancer treatments are fundamentally changing, ushering in the long-awaited era of personalized medicine. Foundation Medicine is a private medical laboratory on the cutting edge of some very promising cancer research. The company currently performs genetic biopsies on patient tumors, hunting for genetically mutated genes which could be countered by the pharmaceutical industry's growing interest in targeting specific genes with new drugs. Patients of these drugs are tested for specific genes first.
What's the Big Idea?
As with many breakthroughs that part ways with convention, the way we conceive of cancer is changing thanks to the abundance of genetic information we are able to gather about it. Thinking of cancer in terms of which organ it affects--breast cancer, lung cancer, etc.--may shortly become antiquated. The gene HER2, for example, which is found in breast cancer, is also frequently present in gastric cancers. Thus, new medications could target this gene in common, possibly treating both with the same pill.
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To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
The future of education and work will rely on teaching students deeper problem-solving skills.
- Asking kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question that used to make sense, says Jaime Casap. But it not longer does; the nature of automation and artificial intelligence means future jobs are likely to shift and reform many times over.
- Instead, educators should foster a culture of problem solving. Ask children: What problem do you want to solve? And what talents or passions do you have that can be the avenues by which you solve it?
- "[T]he future of education starts on Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and it's constant and consistent and it's always growing, always improving, and if we create that culture I think that would bring us a long way," Casap says.
These Jurassic predators resorted to cannibalism when hit with hard times, according to a deliciously rare discovery.
- Rare fossil evidence of dinosaur cannibalism among the Allosaurus has been discovered.
- Scientists analyzed dinosaur bones found in the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado, paying special attention to bite marks that were present on 2,368 of the bones.
- It's likely that the predatory carnivore only ate their already-dead peers during times when resources were scarce.
As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.