This month, we didn’t see sugar plums dancing in our heads; instead, we witnessed the prospects for future scientific marvels, such as the curing of prostate cancer and the creation of kidneys.
Death to Prostate Cancer Cells!
The Bite-Sized Synopsis: UVA researchers found a link between prostate cancer treatments that could make it easier to kill prostate cancer cells.
What This Could Mean For You: A better prognosis for prostate cancer sometime in the future.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, but even if you don’t know someone affected by this cancer, these findings could very well influence treatments for other cancers, too.
Read about the newly discovered link between prostate cancer treatments.
Growing Kidneys: One Step Closer
The Bite-Sized Synopsis: As part of ongoing efforts to find out how to grow functional, complete kidneys, UVA researchers found a critical piece of the puzzle – the cells that create blood vessels in the kidney. Bonus surprise: They discovered that these same cells create the blood that goes in the vessels, too.
What This Could Mean For You: It’s possible that you or someone you know will benefit someday from a kidney grown in the lab; certainly this possibility would mean a new chance at life for the 101,189 Americans currently waiting for a kidney donation.
Learn more about kidney-growing research.
Feed the World? First, Treat the Gut
The Bite-Sized Synopsis: Researchers in Bangladesh discovered that a gut damaged by infections results in childhood malnutrition and vaccine failures, two culprits endangering the well-being of millions of children worldwide.
What This Could Mean For You: If you care about the welfare of children in underdeveloped countries, the insights revealed in this research should thrill your heart. Preventing intestinal infections could improve the effectiveness of existing efforts to eradicate diseases such as polio and the rotavirus, as well as nutritional programs that aim to keep children from being malnourished and stunted in their growth.
Read the full story of this research on the role gut damage plays in malnutrition.
Cause for Congratulations
UVA research earned recognition in December for:
- Prostate cancer research that shows it’s not better to delay radiation treatment as long as possible after prostate removal: Findings made doximity.com’s Top 10 Radiation Oncology Stories of 2015.
- Immune system/brain connection research: Nominated for Science’s Breakthrough of the Year award, this discovery ended up coming in third in reader voting; Scientific American named this to its list of the Top 10 Science Stories of 2015, and Huffington Post has named it one of “8 Fascinating Things We Learned About the Mind in 2015.”