Nobel Prize Awarded for Identifying How Cells Repair DNA Which May Impact Cancer Treatment

Cancer Gene

DNA carries genetic information that is essential for the development, function and reproduction of all life forms. Thanks to the discoveries of an international trio of scientists, these molecules may also provide a breakthrough in immuno-oncology therapies.

This past October, three scientists from the United States, Sweden and Turkey received the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry in recognition of their DNA research. Their work focused specifically on damaged DNA, resulting in a mapping of the molecular systems that monitor and repair these genomes.

Until these studies, DNA was believed to be stable, but Swedish native Tomas Lindahl found that it actually decays at a considerable rate due to spontaneous changes and damage from external forces. In reality, this disintegration should prevent the development of life, but Lindahl’s investigation led to the discovery of the repair processes.

Aziz Sancar, a Turkish scientist teaching in the United States, explains that this information has been valuable to cancer prevention and treatment. One or more of the cellular repair systems is broken in many types of cancer, leading researchers to develop immuno-oncology drugs targeting the molecular pathways of tumor cells.

According to Lindahl, understanding these processes allows selective application of therapies for maximum benefit. Paul Modrich, the third member of the trio, has done landmark work in understanding and diagnosing hereditary colon cancer.

Our IsselsĀ® immuno-oncology protocols include genomic testing along with extensive examination of a patient’s lifestyle, environment and other relevant factors. The result is a personalized course of treatment that works with the body’s own immune system. Contact us to learn more about our innovative, state-of-the-art programs.

Tips to Holding a Family “Cancer Update” Meeting

Grandparents posing with grandchildren
Cancer Updates for Family

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, sharing information with family members can sometimes be awkward. Loved ones want to be helpful and supportive, but they wait to take their cues from you about how to proceed. Their behavior can go to extremes as they either walk on eggshells or act overly cheerful.

Many patients have found a solution in holding “cancer update” meetings with their families. Here are tips for conducting productive meetings that keep everyone involved.

  • Make a list of the people you want at the meetings. Include only those who are truly close to you, such as your cancer caregivers. Don’t be driven by a sense of obligation.
  • Decide what you want to share and what you’re uncomfortable with discussing. If you have certain hot buttons that trigger your emotions, plan neutral and non-judgmental responses to keep the meeting on topic.
  • Honest discussions are likely to inspire questions from you as well as your family members and cancer caregivers. Write them down so you can consult your medical team for advice.
  • Don’t try to be noble by refusing offers of help or maintaining a cheerfulness you don’t feel. It helps both you and your family if you give them specific ways they can assist you while allowing them to see your true feelings.

Immuno-oncology programs at IsselsĀ® are administered by experienced physicians with a history of treating all forms and stages of the disease. Our personalized approach includes addressing any questions and concerns you may have along the way. Visit our website to read and hear testimonials from patients who have benefited from our specialized treatment protocols.