Almost one in every two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and one in four Canadians will die from the disease, a new report by the Canadian Cancer Society predicts. In 2017, an estimated 206,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer and an estimated 80,800 will succumb to their malignancy (leading cause of death). The four cancers — prostate, breast, lung and colorectal — continue to top the list of the most common malignancies.
"Currently, every year we're seeing an increase in the number of cancer cases in Canada," said the society's epidemiologist, Leah Smith. About 45% of those cases will occur in people age 70 and older, said Smith, noting that as more people move into old age, the number of cancer cases will rise. Despite the projection that cancer will cause the deaths of one in four Canadians, cancer mortality rates have been declining since their peak in 1988. Survival rates for some cancers have improved dramatically over time: overall, 60% of Canadians diagnosed and treated for cancer will survive five years or longer, said Smith.
A quick history lesson - In 1667, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys performed the first documented blood transfusion to a human. His subject, an unnamed mentally ill 15-year-old boy, had been bled to promote his health, so much that he was suffering from blood loss. Writing for Wired, Tony Long points out that the transfusion was a little different than those performed in modern hospitals. "He used a sheep’s blood," writes Long. "And, somehow, the kid survived."
The boy didn’t get better, unsurprisingly. He was lucky to have survived due to the negligible quantity of blood given (5-6 ounces). By the third transfusion, though, the inevitable happened. The outcome was a subsequent trial in which Denys was found not responsible for the death. Arsenic, a known poison, was ruled as the culprit. The French court banned transfusion all the same. "For some, the risk that science could create monsters—or worse, corrupt the entire human race with foreign blood—was simply too much to bear," writes medical historian Holly Tucker. After Denys’ experiments and some failed experiments later the same year in England, no member of the mainstream scientific community attempted to do it again until the nineteenth century.
More than 3.4 million diagnostic tests are performed for Lyme disease each year in the United States. In a recent webinar, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updates on Lyme disease diagnostics.
The current recommended testing strategy is serology-based and uses a standardized two-tiered testing (STTT) approach. According to CDC’s Martin Schriefer, PhD, one of the diagnostic challenges is in the lack of pathognomonic features associated with the disease, which increases the need for effective laboratory testing methods. The small number of spirochetes in a clinical sample also poses a challenge, he said, thus increasing the need for an amplification step in the testing method. Dr. Schriefer discussed using modified two-tier strategies (MTTT) to achieve these objectives. One such MTTT approach uses a 2-EIA (whole cell EIA followed by EIA for C6 antibody). This approach takes advantage of the greater diagnostic sensitivity in early Lyme disease that the C6 EIA provides, minimizes the complexity and subjective interpretation of western blotting, and maintains the specificity of STTT.