Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For All of Those Curious About Cancer Research Spending

So, I've often wondered what the breakdown is, from the top disease research organizations. I'm sure some of you have as well. Well, today we're taking a look at two of the most respected and also two of the biggest spenders. If you're wondering what they are, they're the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen.
Here is the breakdown of their program expenses.

Research - 17%
Prevention - 25%
Detection/Treatment - 21%
Patient Support - 37%

While the research consists of only a paltry 17%, you have to remember that that is only for the actual cure and newer treatments. Prevention is in some people's eyes, more important because you never get the diseases in the first place. Also, the actual detection and treatments along with the support you receive while being treated are keys that round out the entire process from prevention through treatment. Hopefully, one day these diseases will be ultimately cured and prevention and treatment and heartache and financial burdens can at least cease for millions of people.

To see more information:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Funding Cuts Not Just Limited to Disease Research

Other non-profits are hurting too in this economic downturn and not just in the area of disease research. In the valley area of Arizona for instance, cities like Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, and Surprise are all cutting back on their funding of various non-profits. For instance, Gilbert has cut back 40% on funding to areas such as food banks and homeless shelters. Scottsdale decreased their funding for shelters from 50 to 54%.

The reasons cited generally are from funding issues related to less overall governmental income due to a slowing economy, yet there are some that are making it a political statement. Some are stating that it isn't right to take money from one person and then give it to another, as would be the case of taking tax money and then giving it to a charity. Although, some would argue this is not unworthy giving, as those that are the recipients are in real need. Especially if those in need are homeless and living in a shelter. These would be considered "gifts" without any recompense.

Read more about funding crises here:

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Drug May Be the Answer to Duchenne

Duchenne, a type of muscular dystrophy, may be the target of a new drug that is set to be manufactured and begun in phase 1 clinical trials.

Summit Corporation plc has secured 1 million pounds, or 1.5 million U.S. dollars from various charities to begin manufacturing the drug. The drug SMT C1100 basically increases a natural protein called Utrophin in the body which researchers believe will compensate for the lack of another similar structural compound, Dystrophin.

Mice trials showed that this new drug led to increased muscle strength and less tired muscles. Initial phase 1 trials showed a lack of full absorption into the blood stream, but the drug has been reformulated and is set for further phase 1 trials in the near future. A bright spot for those with Duchenne and possibly Becker muscular dystrophy they hope as well.

Article here:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some Tips to Donating for Disease Research

Today instead of looking at advances in technology or actual funding numbers, I thought I'd share with you a couple of pointers to look for when donating, since this is what we're in it for. We're in it to help and that comes through donations and while many claim that they're here to help, some are simply better than others. Here we go:

1) Try to find a charity that spends at least 75% on program expenses. This means that they're actually putting the money where they promise - the actual disease research. You might ask why not more. Well, simply, there are overhead expenses when paying for their offices and staff, etc. The 75% means that they're putting more money into the actual research and the researchers that conduct that research.

2) To reference the last point, you should also look for administrative expenses, the overhead and such, to be less than 15%. This leaves about 10% to go towards advertising and miscellaneous expenses.

The National Institute of Philanthropy and the Charity Navigator are two that are good to use to get the actual data on the programs expenses.

Read More:,,20235965_1,00.html

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking Back: Best Advances in Heart Disease Research 2010

Today, we're going to take a different look at medical advances. We're going to go back almost a year to what has transpired in research on Heart Disease. Here is a top five look from 2010:

1) Tailored treatment for those with diabetes (While not the same disease, those with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease. 2 to 4 times higher in fact.)
2) Alternatives for those with aortic blockage such as the transcatheter aortic valve implantation or TAVI for short.
3) Reducing stroke risk in atrial fibrillation.
4) Updating the CPR guidelines to help save those before help can arrive.
5) New shunts, or catheter type balloons, for infants born with congenital heart disease.

For further reading:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Neurons Implanted Can Become Brain Cells

Scientists in Wisconsin have discovered a way to use stem cells, grown outside of the body, and then implanted to become fully functioning brain neuronal cells. These cells then integrate into the functioning electrical impulses that neurons are responsible for. You see, neurons are what control all of our electrical functioning and control everything from neurotransmitters with a host of functions such as serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, etc., to movement and many other functions. Everything we do takes neuronal functioning.

The way they stimulate these is also new in that light is used rather than just an electrical current. They are also stating that in the future, they will be able to not only transplant grown brain neurons, but any other cell of the 220 types of human tissue. This obviously is great news as Parkinsons and A.L.S., Lou Gehrig's Disease, can be treated with this therapy method. Also the ability to graft new cells without taking tissue from another area of the body is also a possibility. This also gives rise to the ability to use light based stimulation technology called optogenetics on transplanted cells.

Read more here:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Synthetic Molecules That Promote Neuronal Growth. Science Fiction?

No it's science fact. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed actual synthetic molecules that promote neuronal growth and could lead to a reversal of damage in spinal cord injuries.

Nanofibers help neuron growth by allowing an abundance of amino acids known to help progenitor cells turn into neuronal cells. Progenitor cells care young cells that can turn into other cells through catalysts such as amino acids and gene triggers. Without these nanofibers, these progenitor cells generally turn into astrocyte cells that lead to scar tissue that can and usually prevents new neuronal growth.

Here is the article:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Findings May Help Researchers in the Fight Against M.S.

It was once thought that Multiple Sclerosis began in the inner brain and traveled outward to the cortex, or outer layer, but researchers in Minnesota have found that the disease may actually work the other way around, going inward. This new finding may lead to unlocking the mystery that is finding a cure for M.S. This will also lead to better therapeutic options which at times, ignore the cortex. They also support that the disease is of inflammation rather than neurodegeneration.

Read about the actual research here:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Could Something in Plastics Hold a Link to Some Breast Cancers?

You drink that water out of a plastic bottle while you open up the wrapping of your lunch. There's not much time left on your lunch break with so much going on. Could what you just did actually be more harmful to you than say, the afternoon commute home everyday? Researchers at UCLA are trying to figure that out.

Bisphenol A, or B.P.A., has been linked to cancer in animal studies and now UCLA is getting a $450,000 grant from Susan G. Komen to study whether this chemical found in plastic water bottles and food packaging, amongst other things, increases one's risk for breast cancer.

This new move is part of the planned $66 million in new research, patient support, and scientific conferences Susan G. Komen is spending this year. Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has invested a gross amount of $685 million in breast cancer research, making them the largest breast cancer organization in the world.

Read further here:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Requests for Funding on the Rise, Despite Actual Funding Decreases

Scientists have put in an additional 33% increase in the number of grants they have applied for in Alzheimer's research to the American Health Assistance Foundation, in the face of impending lacking in national funding. The AHAF is a non-profit organization that funds innovative research in the area of Alzheimer's Disease.

Due to the deadlock in Congress on how to best handle funding to lower the national budget deficit, funding to the NIH and then onto other areas has been lacking in recent months. Currently 5.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer's  with that number expected to triple over the next 30 years. With so many people expected to develop the debilitating disease, this could be a major issue on the health care system, something Congress might think about addressing as this could completely hinder the system in the future.

Here's the article:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Too Much of Anything is a Bad Thing

We've all heard this before. Taking too much or doing too much of anything is a bad thing. Seems pretty common sense. Well, researchers have just discovered that the once beneficial regimen of selenium and vitamin E are a bad thing. Vitamin E more precisely.

Researchers have found that men taking extra Vitamin E to the tune of 400 I.U. a day causes an increased risk of prostate cancer. While only 17% increase in risk may not sound like much, it's still statistically significant. It was once thought that taking selenium and vitamin E to supplement the vitamin E you already get in your diet would prevent some forms of cancer. Now researchers are saying that may not be such a good thing for men. This is kind of one of those, 'what can help you in one way can possibly hamper you in another.'

Here's the article: