If you haven’t seen it in your news feed yet, take a few minutes from “interning” (we all know you found yourself here via social media) and get your weekend off to an inspiring start with this video, highlighting an amazing achievement by Penn doctors and CHOP. A cancer-stricken girl named Emma was saved by an experimental treatment in which she was purposely injected with HIV, and the heartwarming clip is going viral. Donna from Parks & Rec even tweeted it this morning, with the hashtag #Science. Word, Retta, science is incredible.
It’s summertime, and you’re tryin’ to get your bronze on. Everyone and their uncle may have warned you of the dangers of sun exposure, especially with recent end-of-times Philly temperatures and that pesky ozone hole. No worries, you think. There’s always spray tanning, you think.
NOT SO FAST! According to Penn Med toxicologist Dr. Rey Pannetieri, a chemical in spray tanner might be cancerous. DHA, the active ingredient that alters skin color, is fine when applied externally to skin. But when you breathe it in–like you might when it’s being sprayed right at your face—things could get ugly. When inhaled or ingested, the chemical stands a better chance of getting into the bloodstream. From there it could potentially act as a carcinogen, mutating DNA at the cellular level.
Pannetieri goes on to say that people who get occasional spray tans are not at serious risk for the potential side effects. But if you hit the showers on a weekly basis, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your options. With sun and spray tans both ruled out, you may have no choice but to go streaking through the chocolate fountain at Penn 16′s convocation. For beauty, for health, FOR SCIENCE!
It is a rare occasion when we post something that generates reader consensus, but the discovery of a possible leukemia treatment by Penn pathology and laboratory medicine professor Dr. Carl June certainly justifies widespread celebration. The treatment, a gene therapy that causes T-cells of the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells, leaves many optimistic about the medical community being one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.
While exciting, June’s treatment is still in its preliminary stages. The advanced therapy has only been used on three patients – an admittedly small sample size – two of whom have remained cancer-free one year after treatment. Despite limited testing, the demonstrated outcomes are telling because they confirm scientists’ previous hypotheses about the potential success that an alteration of T-cell genetics may have in the realm of cancer treatment. Translation for the scientifically illiterate: this is a huge deal!
We’re less than 24 hours away from Relay for Life, the all-night festival of performances, contests, and junk food that happens to be one of Penn’s biggest fundraisers of the year. As the event draws near, competition among the top fundraising groups is heating up. Current top teams include MARCH for a cure, Circle K and Penn MERT and friends. Competition is even stiffer among individual participants, the top three of whom have already raised over $3,500 apiece. Since we happen to be chilling on a couch watching Grey’s Anatomy with Emily Siegel, the current first place fundraiser (for the time being, at least), we decided to get the scoop on all things Relay, from how to raise thousands to whether anyone actually gets any sleep during the event. (This year, Emily is serving as team leader for Penn MERT and friends.)
UTB: You were last year’s #1 fundraiser and you’re currently in first place again. Are you proud of being #1?
ES: I am. To be honest, but it’s not about numbers. This is my two cents. It’s hard to watch a disease take over people you love, and this is a way that I could fight back along with them. Three years ago when I started, I didn’t know whether I was going to be walking in honor of my family member or in memory of him. I’m unbelievably lucky that he’s going to be at the event with me this year, celebrating. He’s been there every year, actually. Read the rest of this entry »