Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Detecting Any Cancer with One Drop of Blood

Image result for sample blood

     Cancer research is clearly at the head of science right now. It seems that everywhere we turn nowadays we hear of some new and upcoming treatment that could change the way we view cancer, so it can be hard to tell what's real and what isn't. When it comes to treating cancer, early detection is often the key to success. The earlier that treatment can begin, often the less intensive it has to be and the better the rates of remission. As we seek to find new treatments, research is often also looking into how to improve these early detection rates.
     In this article, a recent discovery is discussed. This article reports on a new use for a discovered heat shock protein that is a known hallmark of cancer, Hsp90. It states that scientists have now discovered a way in which to use the qualities of this protein to detect the presence of any cancer, and that therefore all that is needed is a single drop of blood. While this seems plausible in theory, it is not the case of the work being discussed. Luo Yongzhang and his team are working on using this protein, and blood samples in order to detect a specific kind of cancer, and to monitor this cancer's growth.
     As shown in this publication, Hsp90 is being looked into for use in specifically detecting liver cancers, but they are not discussing the use of it to detect any other types of cancer. The levels of the protein tend to correlate well with the size of liver tumors, again going back to its use in monitoring cancer. While it seems like a fairly similar conclusion to assume this new method can be used for detecting all cancers, it is rather detrimental and distributes false information. I think this was a genuine mistake as it can be rather confusing, but this information is misleading and could elicit some false hope in early detection methods of other cancers.

Posted by Alexandra McGuire (2)


  1. This is a really interesting new founding that I haven't heard of before. I think the misconception being made here is one that happens a lot, as common people are reading the work of an extremely well versed professional. They pull from the article only the pieces they understand and a lot of misinterpretation can occur. It is definitely a problem, but a difficult one to stop.
    -Posted by Jamie Downer

    1. I definitely agree as I think this was a very innocent mistake, as opposed to one meant to spread misinformation. I think what this makes me consider though, is if science publications should work to put some discoveries in more plain terms so that misinterpretations like these do not occur. Do you think that is a plausible action to take?

      Alexandra McGuire

  2. Articles like these that sensationalize "cures for cancer" have definitely been popping up more often. I always view them as a low effort way to get people to click on your article or website, and it's unfortunate that many people don't know how to sort through this type of information. Being skeptical and knowing how to figure out what's fake and what's real is a skill that needs to start being taught. Regarding this article, I can't tell if this was written purposefully to spread fake information or if it was just a misunderstanding of the current research being performed, but either way it's misinforming the public when all that's required is a simple search of the scientists' name to learn the truth.

    -Matt Murdoch

    1. I agree that any sort of cancer related work these days is definitely being used by outside sources as a way to gain attention. They know it will catch people's eye. It is also true that such skepticism is not as prevalent as it should be, as there is a lot of misinformation out there and sometimes it can be hard to notice. How do you think we go about working against such issues?

      Alexandra McGuire

  3. I find this extremely terrifying because the accuracy of the new method is not all there. Imagine being told you have cancer after testing one drop of your blood, only to find out it was false information? Terrifying.

    Posted by Josha Cruz

    1. This is what I was thinking of as well while reading this. It sounds like such an amazing advancement, but as you said it's not completely accurate. I couldn't imagine the feelings it would evoke if told incorrectly that one does or does not have cancer, but it's definitely something that should be avoided if possible.

      Alexandra McGuire

  4. This is a great new discovery and seems very helpful. However there does seem to be a major misconception about the uses of this protein. This is a perfect example of how accurate information can get misconstrued and falsified to change the original context and meaning.

    Posted by Danielle Bermingham (1)


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