August 7, 2020

Reed Sternberg cell
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Cell senescence

I am on a quest

I have never truly believed that we can cure cancer. It is so diverse a disease, particularly in the elderly. Once it is metastatic, the odds are very poor. 

I have a skewed view of the disease, as I see patients who are the sickest, the most elderly, and the ones who cannot go home for therapy. They have come to our rehab/hospice units to care. 

However.......I don't see the ones our oncologists see. The ones who have been given years of life, keeping toxicity at bay, supporting each patient like a fragile flower. Those are the successes.

Is there a way, though, to reach those where standard therapy has not been succesful?  Is there a way to reduce toxicity?

I have this vision for how cells work

Through my researching how proteins work in cells, I can put myself in the position of a protein within the cell membrane. I can visualize what effect different proteins have on different parts of the cell.  

Clearly, in metastatic cancer, the nucleus is acting in an autonomous and unconstrained fashion. It is no longer listening to any signals from the environment. 

That is bad, but it is also good. 

It means that we may be able to ostracize and extinguish cancer nuclei without damaging those of normal cells. 

So what's the next step(s)?

Here is where I want to go: 

  • Complete The two ways our brain and skin cells age
  • Complete How cells stay young
  • Complete the final common pathway
  • Complete why cancer cells are so different from each other
  • Complete What would i do if I had cancer?

One step at a time, building a case for best case scenarios in the management of cancer. 

Picture Credits:
  1. By David A Litman. Shutterstock ID: 1012664833. Photomicrograph of a lymph node in a patient with Hodgkin's Disease (lymphoma), showing a Reed Sternberg cell variant.
  2. By Designua .Shutterstock ID: 172477928. Telomeres ends serve to protect the coding DNA of the genome. When a telomeres shorten to critical lengths, the cell senescence and die off.

About the author 

Juman Hijab

Juman has been in clinical practice as a physician for more than three decades. Her lifelong interest has been in the chemistry of life.

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