Cancer Research UK Explores New Development in Immunotherapy

Cancer Research UK Explores New Development in Immunotherapy

The One Million Project was developed to help raise funds for worthy causes like Cancer Research UK (http://www.cruk.org ) and EMMAUS which works to help the homeless.

The ongoing battle against cancer has had some successes with improved diagnostics for early detection and new treatments which have reduced mortality rates in some types of cancer.  Cancer Research UK’s research has shown a potential breakthrough in immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to destroy abnormal cells much like it destroys bacteria to prevent infection.

One of the challenges of immunotherapy in cancer treatment has been identifying specific molecules on cancer cells that can be targeted by the immune system.  Specialized immune cells, called T-cells, need to recognize the specific molecules or “flags” on the surface of the cancer cells so they can destroy them.

Tumors change as they grow, and their genetic codes will also undergo change during this process.  With traditional treatment modalities, these adaptations to the DNA can affect the efficacy and outcomes of current therapies.  A persistent problem with immunotherapy is the effectiveness of the drugs used can vary significantly from patient to patient.

Researchers from Cancer Research UK have discovered this tendency for developing cancer cells to change can help make them visible to the immune system.  The early DNA faults in the tumor’s evolution can persist throughout its development.  These faults are the flags used in immunotherapy.  Computer prediction models based on collected data on a variety of tumors are being used to spot these flags.

Advancements in this area could lead to personalized treatment therapies which would target an individual patient’s tumor based on the type of flag present on the cancer cells. Once the immune system recognizes these specific flags, they can destroy cancer cells with this indicator throughout the human body.  Treatments would be systemic in nature instead of the current protocols which focus on treating cancer cells within a certain organ.

In June 2017, the research led to the discovery of significant amounts of a particular type of T-cell called tissue-resident memory T-cells in the tumors of some lung cancer patients.  The patients with this tissue-resident memory T-cells are 34% less likely to die from their cancer.  This cell is present in the skin and helps in its healing and repair process. Although continued research is needed to develop these theories, it is a step forward in understanding the role of the immune system in targeting specific cancers wherever they occur in an individual’s body.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

@katemcginn6

https://www.katemcginn.com/

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Ban on Creative Arts Allows Control Over Individual Freedom Under Kim Dynasty

Ban on Creative Arts Allows Control Over Individual Freedom Under Kim Dynasty

I recently watched a video of a young North Korean woman, Park Yeon-mi, when she spoke at the One Young World Conference in Dublin, Ireland in 2014.  Her eloquence and passion were evident, and her courage was a testament to the human will when faced with seemingly unbeatable odds.

As a little girl, she remembers her mother telling her that she shouldn’t whisper so even the birds or mice couldn’t hear her thoughts and words.  Park thought their supreme leader could read her mind, in large part due to the vast amount of propaganda about the power of the head of the government consistently presented to the people.

The cultural influences most of us take for granted weren’t even a possibility for her or her people.   She’d never seen books, movies, or heard songs about love stories.  There was one state-run TV station, and internet wasn’t available.  Park had witnessed her friend’s mother executed for watching a Hollywood movie.

The North Korean regime controlled all aspects of its citizens’ lives.  Women and young girls are sold to sex traffickers, and some are raised from birth specifically for that purpose.  If you committed a crime, the government could execute, imprison and punish three generations of your family for your actions.

Park watched an illegal copy of the movie, Titanic, and she realized how oppressive the Kim Dynasty was to its people.  She credits the film with teaching her the true meaning of love and showing her a level of freedom she hadn’t known existed.

Her journey to freedom was fraught with danger and fear they’d be sent back to North Korea.  Her father died when she was 14 years old, and she had to bury him in an unmarked grave on the side of a mountain without a chance to mourn or tell anyone of his death.  But, in April 2009, Park and her mother were flown to Seoul and freedom.

There are three actions which we can act upon to help the citizens of North Korea and the 300,000 refugees in China.  The first is to educate yourself about the situation in North Korea and share the information with others.  Secondly, we can provide help and monetary support to aid the North Korean refugees; and finally, petition China to stop the repatriation of North Korean refugees.

Park Yeon-mi is an activist, author, and speaker.  She has written for the Washington Post and was selected as BBC’s 100 Women in 2014.  She is currently enrolled in Columbia School of General Studies pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

To see the inspirational video of Park at the One Young World conference,  click here.

The power of creativity and its ability to change thought and influence the actions of others is one of the lessons to be learned by Park’s story.  The Kim Dynasty forbids the creative spirit in its citizens and deprives them of any type of art–motion pictures, books, and music–to maintain control, squash independent thought and enslave them.

The One Million Project group wanted to bring attention to the story of this brave young women.  We believe the creative spirit can serve the good, and through our stories we work to raise funds for charities, hoping to improve the lives of others.  We have the freedom to make a difference, and with our collective efforts use our pens for beneficial change.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter – @katemcginn6

https://www.katemcginn.com/

The Cultural Bridge

The following  idea is developed after a lot of research and consultation with a lot of people. The idea written below is not solely a product of my imagination. I must agree, Sharon Rhoads has helped me change my views comepletely. With this, I extend my gratitude towards her and give her the credits she deserves.

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Culture is the part and parcel of human society. It is a prism of realities. In simpler words, culture is just like our mother tongue. Just as we start learning our language even before we understand its importance and use, we start learning our culture way before we are even aware of what it is.

Culture seeps into us, through the bedtime stories that we read, or the music that we listen. It also gets into us subtly through the religious traditions, holidays, celebrations, and the works of literature and mythology.

Strangely enough, culture still remains one the most misunderstood concepts in the world of humanities.

People, since ages, have misunderstood the meaning of the term, ‘culture’. Culture is how you live and who you are, not where you live. For instance, fishermen have a “culture”. People who live in homeless camps and shelters have a “culture”. People who are very wealthy have a “culture”. The people of a certain culture will understand each other and the life they live, but outsiders will not. Every one of us has our own “culture” that has nothing to do with where we live and still everything to do with who we are.

Nations these days rarely contain a single “culture” within their borders. When we talk about “culture” we need to be clear about its meaning. When we use that word, we are not referring to different countries. We are, in fact, referring to the differences in how we see the world, how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we live our lives. Did you know that deaf people have a “culture”? Or for that matter, circus performers have a “culture”. Even the surfers have a “culture”. And all these “cultures” separate people from each other because they don’t understand the other “cultures” around them.

But ‘culture’ hasn’t always remained a favourable influence.

A lot of times, in fact, it has worked against us. It made us look down at others as ‘different’. It acted as a wall, more than the link it was supposed to be. It stood for ages, dividing us on the basis of our differences. These are quite evident from the outright wars that had been waged between the east and the west, the Arabs and the Non-Arabs, the blacks and the whites and so on.

The internet, television and movies today, show us all the other parts of the world. But, they seldom help us understand the people who have different “cultures”. How well do you understand the “culture” of the deaf? They have their own language and a set of social expectations.

These are the walls that need to be knocked down!

In order to further this, One Million Project, OMP came up with this idea; the idea of knocking down the Cultural Walls and converting them into Cultural Bridges. So here we are, starting another wonderful project where we would like to have writers, artists, musicians and others share something about their culture on this online platform. Let our audience know about a different culture every few days, not through the humdrum routine textbooks they’d pick up in their high schools or libraries, but through the real stories about the real human experience.

Because sometimes we need more than an anthropologist or a sociologist to teach us culture. We need each other!

Moinak Das
(with special thanks to Sharon Rhoads)

The Cultural Bridge

For more information on the project, please visit us on The Cultural Bridge and tell us how you feel about it. We are currently in our initiation stage. So if something doesn't work for you, don't hesitate to comment there. Thank you.

 

Revisions and Insanity

Revisions and Insanity

I discovered late yesterday I would have to post a blog on the One Million Project website.  I’m not usually so scatter-brained about deadlines, but I have a deadline of my own at the moment.  I’m in the Revision stage of my latest book; so needless to say, I’m going insane a little more each day.

I think it’s appropriate to give you, the reader, a bit of history about the revision process and moi.  With my first full-length book, I approached the revision and editing process without a plan or a clue, if I’m being frank.  Yeah, I read different articles about various steps other writers had used during the final revisions and edits.  I chose to go my own way, and I was so very wrong.  I had several beta readers helping me by pointing out punctuation and spelling errors, sentence structure, point-of-view issues, and other helpful suggestions.  I appreciated their help so very much.  They were not the issue.

I ran the book through the Grammarly program, and I even purchased the updated version of the application.  It gave me several suggestions and caught some items I’d overlooked.  It proved to be a wise decision, in light of my special talent for creating sentences akin to a freshly made pot of alphabet soup.

Last but not the least of my revisionist plans, I sat down and read my book out loud to get a feel for the sentence flow and spot any errors which had remained hidden from the multiple orbs perusing the pages.  This was sound advice I’d read on someone’s blog, and it is effective for someone without a mix of youthful daydreaming and the memory problems of advancing age.   I would have such good intentions, and before I realized it, I was vacuuming the rug, messing around with widgets on my website or shopping online.

Authors will tell you they are often their own worst critics.  It’s true.  Once I start reading what I’ve written, I will dutifully begin revising sentences.  Not one or two, but every single one will be cut, put back together and ripped apart again.  After a few glasses of wine mingled with my wretched tears, I begin to start calling friends to inform them that my writing is “pure ___.”  Fill in whatever word seems fitting.

I keep re-reading the same chapters and the changes continue.  After two weeks, I find I’m still on the first paragraph of my book (a slight exaggeration for dramatic purposes).  I have chapters which include the same character’s name twelve-hundred times in a fifteen-hundred-word count chapter.  Another of my special talents, it seems.

So, here I am a year later in the throes of revising/editing my second book.  Please wish me well.  This could well be my last blog post, because I need to re-write every sentence about forty times.

If you’ve read this far, I hope you understand much of what I’ve written is satire, but with satire comes a basic truth about my own foibles and shortcomings.  Every book will have some errors, and I’ve yet to read one without something my third-grade teacher would have marked with a red checkmark.  The moral of my tale is simply to avoid losing the creative essence of the story as you look for the imperfections.

My job is done.  I must get back to my revisions before the men in white suits bring my straight jacket.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. Her full-length book EXODUS is also available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter: @katemcginn6

https://www.katemcginn.com/