Personalizing Cancer

Testing patients’ genetic makeup could be used in a pioneering new cancer treatment which seeks to provide bespoke drug regimes based on genetic propensity.

Testing patients’ genetic makeup could be used in a pioneering new cancer treatment which seeks to provide bespoke drug regimes based on genetic propensity. "Scientists are developing a genetic test that may tell the difference between cancer patients who are likely to respond to treatment with a powerful anti-tumour drug and those people for whom the drug will be useless. The test should allow doctors to prescribe drugs only to those people who are likely to benefit from the medicines rather than giving them – and their side-effects – to a wide range of patients in the knowledge that only some individuals will respond to the treatment. A way of distinguishing between patients who are ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’ to drugs is seen as one of the most important developments in modern medicine. ‘Personalised’ treatment based on the analysis of a person's DNA is considered one of the key achievements that will emerge from the decoding of the human genome. The researchers have identified six genes that are critical to the proper functioning of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel, known by the brand name Taxol, which is widely used in the treatment of breast cancer prior to surgery."

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less