Humans have a relatively high risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes. But cancer is not unique to humans. Across the tree of life, we can trace cancer vulnerabilities back to the origins of multicellularity. Cancer is observed in almost all multicellular phyla, including lineages leading to plants, fungi, and animals.
However, species vary remarkably in their susceptibility to cancer. And some organisms are much better at killing problem cells. Amy Boddy discusses how this variation is characterized by life history trade-offs, especially longevity. Interestingly, different species have evolved different ways to fight cell mutations that cause cancer. This may lead to a better understanding of cancer susceptibility across human populations.
Amy Boddy is an Assistant Professor in the Integrated Anthropological Sciences Unit and a Research Associate in the Broom Center for Demography at UC Santa Barbara. Boddy completed her PhD in molecular biology and genetics at the Wayne State University – School of Medicine in 2013. Her work uses applications from evolution and ecology to understand human health and disease. She uses a combination of genomics, computational biology and evolutionary theory to understand life history trade-offs between survival and reproduction across different levels of biological organization. One component of her research program examines how environmental cues, such as high extrinsic mortality, may guide resource allocations to cancer defenses and reproduction. Current cancer research topics include comparative oncology, intragenomic conflict, cellular life history trade-offs, and early life adversity and cancer outcomes later in life. In addition to her cancer research, she studies maternal/fetal conflict theory and the consequences of fetal microchimeric cells in maternal health and disease.
Watch Cancer Across the Tree of Life: New Insights into an Ancient Disease
Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide and is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease. But the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis is rising every year as medical knowledge increases.
Join the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s team for a series of discussions highlighting the latest advances in cancer research by UCSF’s distinguished physicians and scientists.
Engineering Immune Cells to Recognize and Kill Cancer
Find out how scientists are using immune proteins to mobilize immune cells to fight cancer.
Preventing Cancer: Genetics, Lifestyle, and Environment
Genetic testing, expanded screening, along with behavioral and lifestyle changes, may be the key.
Immunotherapy: Unleashing the Body’s Natural Defense Systems to Fight Cancer
Learn how immunotherapy research is leading to more precise treatments based on individual biology, tumors, and immune system response.
Personalizing Cancer Care and Treatment
Find out how genome-based analysis is providing critical information about the precise cancer type and giving clues about which therapy may be effective.
Patient-Centered Care in the 21st Century
What does patient-centered care look like in practice? How does it differ from the health care that most of us receive? What will it mean for patient health?
The UC Wellbeing Channel is the place to discover what top medical and scientific experts believe will lead to a mindful, balanced and healthy life. Whether it’s understanding the risks of eating genetically modified foods, as explained by Dave Schubert of the Salk Institute on Biological Studies (and backed up by peer-reviewed journal articles) or, upon getting a cancer diagnosis, embracing a comprehensive treatment plan like those offered by Daniel Vicario, MD, of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute, the UC Wellbeing Channel introduces you to respected academics who integrate traditional healing techniques with the best practices of Western medicine.
Every discovery and invention starts with a question.
Find out how scientists dive into the big questions that drive their research in two video presentations from Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s Science at the Theater.
“Questions drive science. Questions that provoke other questions keep science fresh and alive,” explains host Jeff Miller. “In fact, if you think about the root of the word question – quest – it’s really about a journey, it’s about momentum, it’s about a zest for answers that scientists have and need to keep propelling their research forward.” In short, “The questions never stop – and neither do we.”
5 Big Questions: Dark Energy, Electron Microscopy, Energy from Ocean Waves, Climate and Building a Tabletop Accelerator
In this presentation, scientists explore the following questions: Is learning about dark energy going to get us anywhere? When I’m a scientist in 10 years, what will I be able to see with an electron microscope that you can’t see now? Is it possible to power all of San Francisco on ocean wave energy? Is climate change going to kill all the forests in California? What can a tabletop accelerator do that a big one, like the LHC, can’t do?
5 Big Questions: Cancer and Aging, Radiation, Biofuels, Supernovae, Urban Food Initiative
In this presentation, scientists explore the following questions: What causes age-related disease? How can we see radion and how harmful is it? Do insects contain the secrets to sustainable food and energy production? Do we need math to blow up a star? Is sustainable urban food production possible?
Browse more videos from Science at the Theater to get all the latest research from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and explore cutting edge science with leading scientists.
If some medical care is good, more must be better. Right?
Unfortunately, this is often not the case. In fact, the opposite can be true—some measures of health are worse in areas where people receive more health services.
Join leaders in research and health policy at UCSF who highlight situations in which the overuse of medical care may result in harm and in which less care is likely to result in better health. It’s time to challenge the implicit belief, on the part of both clinicians and patients, that more is better.
See what you should know about risks and benefits of cancer screening, “routine” examinations, alternative medicine, drug prescriptions, cardiac testing and end-of-life care.
Bottom line for consumers – choose wisely, change the question from Why don’t you do that test? to Why did you do that test?, and challenge the belief that more is better.
Check out all the latest programs in High Value Medical Care: Why Sometimes Less is More:
High Value Medical Care: Why Sometimes Less is More
We Don’t Always Get High Value Medical Care: Examples from Cataract Surgery and Telemedicine
Cardiac Screening – Why Sometimes Less is More
Too Many Tests and Treatments: Why More is Not Always Better For Seniors
Radiation Safety and Medical Imaging
Antibiotics – When Less is More
Vitamins and Supplements: Less is More
Cancer Screening: When Less is More
Periodic Health Examination – Why Sometimes Less is More