Cancer - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Who has won the Balzan Prizes for 2017?

a. Bina Agarwal
b. James Allison
c. Robert Schreiber
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
Two US scientists whose work has contributed to creating immunological treatments for cancer are among the winners of this year’s Balzan Prizes, recognising scholarly and scientific achievements.

Another winner is economist Bina Agarwal, a professor at the University of Manchester, who was recognised in the gender studies category for her “heroic” work studying women’s contributions to agriculture in India.

James Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Robert Schreiber of the Washington University School of Medicine were cited for their work on antibody treatments that has increased the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma.

The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialities to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere.

Recipients receive 750,000 Swiss francs (₹5 crore), half of which must be used for research, preferably by young scholars or scientists.

Nobel Prize-winner Jules Hoffman, a presenter of the awards, said the work focusing on using the immune system to fight cancer, expanding from the traditional treatments of removal, radiation and chemotherapy, has already had success in 25 to 30% of melanoma patients.


2)   Researchers have identified a new way to slow the growth of cancer cells using which gene editing technology?

a. CRISPR-Cas9
b. CRISPR-Cas10
c. CRISPR-Cas11
d. CRISPR-Cas12
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: CRISPR-Cas9

Explanation:
Researchers in the United States have reportedly identified a new way to slow down the growth of cancer cell, according to reports released on 28 May 2017.

The research, conducted by researchers belonging to the University of Rochester in the US, has been published in the latest issue of the journal, Science.

The new method involves a protein called Tudor-SN and the gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9.

Researchers after a comprehensive study discovered how Tudor-SN is significant in the preparatory phase of the cell cycle, the period when the cell gets ready to divide.

Tudor-SN is more abundant in cancer cells than in the healthy ones and so, targeting the protein could help slow down the fast-growing cancer cells.

The findings were made in kidney and cervical cancer cells in the laboratory and though they are still a long way from being applied on people, they could help cancer patients in the future.


3)   Which medicinal plant endemic to Western Ghats and Sri Lanka can cure cancer, wounds and burns?

a. Neurocalyx calycinus
b. Neurocalyx dalycinus
c. Neurocalyx talycinus
d. Neurocalyx kalycinus
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Neurocalyx calycinus

Explanation:
A medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka could offer scientists the key to new herbal formulations.

It could also pave the way for modern drugs for the treatment of cancer and wounds and burns.

Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus.

This herb used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.

The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.

The scientists came to know of the miracle plant in 1988 during a biological survey deep inside the Nilambur forests.

Neurocalyx calycinus is known as pacha chedi in local language.

Animal trials have proved that the leaves of N.calycinus possess wound-healing properties comparable to the standard drug Povidone/ Iodine in the early phase of inflammation.

The anti-inflammatory activity of the leaves was found comparable to the drug diclofenac sodium.

The pre-clinical trials confirmed the therapeutic effects of N.calycinus against burn wounds and pain, besides its immuno-enhancing, platelet augmentation, and anti-oxidant potential.

The presence of high Vitamin E content and potent cytoprotective activity in cell lines in the plant species have also enhanced the prospects of developing an anti-cancer drug.

In a presentation that won the best paper award at the Kerala Science Congress, Aneesh kumar AL, a researcher, said the work had thrown up promising leads for the development of novel herbal formulations and modern medicines.

Pada Chedi: Know More

  • Neurocalyx calycinus is a shrub endemic to South West India.
  • It is found in evergreen forests.
  • Recent researches suggests this plant has wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory.
  • Genus: Neurocalyx
  • Order: Gentianales
  • Rank: Species


4)   Scientists have identified a defect in which protein factory of the cell in patients with multiple myeloma?

a. Ribosome
b. Lysosome
c. Chromosome
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ribosome

Explanation:
Scientists have identified a defect in the ribosome, the protein factory of the cell in 20-40 per cent of the patients with multiple myeloma which is a type of leukaemia.

These patients have a poorer prognosis than patients with intact ribosomes, the scientists said.

In MM patients, one part of the ribosome is produced less in 20 to 40 per cent of the patients, depending on how aggressive the cancer is.

Cells are still producing protein, but that the balance is somewhat disrupted.

One possible treatment for MM is the use of proteasome inhibitors which is the protein demolition machine in a cell. How the defects in the ribosome influence the proteasome is not quite clear yet.

Tests can now be developed to identify defects in the ribosome and thus determine which therapy will have most effect in a specific patient.

Finding that cancer is related to ribosome defects is a relatively new concept in science.

What is Multiple Myeloma?

  • MM is also called Kahler’s disease.
  • It is a type of Blood cancer in which bone marrow cells start increasing rapidly. It is common among older people.


5)   Researchers discover new non-invasive method to kill cancer cells in 2 hours- what chemical compound does it use?

a. Nitrobenzaldehyde
b. Carbonbenzaldehyde
c. Heliumbenzaldahyde
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Nitrobenzaldehyde

Explanation:
Researchers have developed a new, non-invasive method to kill cancer cells in two hours, which will help people with inoperable or hard to reach tumours as well as young children stricken with deadly disease

  • Method involves the injection of a chemical compound called nitrobenzeldahyde which turns the tumour into diffused tissues
  • A beam of light is focused on the tissue causing the cells to become acidic inside out and kill themselves
  • Within two hours, close to 95 percent of the targeted cells are dead or estimated to be so
  • Induced cell suicide is the method that therefore works to deal with deadly diseases like triple negative breast cancer


6)   Scientists have engineered novel proteins working like _______________ to seek out cancer cells and deliver chemotherapy drugs.

a. Guided missiles
b. Guided rockets
c. Guided drones
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Guided missiles

Explanation:
Scientists have worked out novel proteins that work like guided missiles which seek cancel cells and deliver chemotherapy drugs to cure had to reach tumours without harming healthy cells.

  • Chemotherapy drugs do kill cancer cells, they damage other quickly dividing cells in the human body causing everything from cosmetic to disabling impact
  • Drug dose needed to kill tumour may be more than what the human body can handle
  • Dose high enough to infiltrate the tumour could also harm other cells in the human body
  • Recently approved therapies deliver drugs directly to the tumours
  • Now, researchers are using engineered protein rather than antibodies to direct drug to the tumour
  • Specialised protein reaches out faster and is smaller in size than antibodies. Big size limits penetration by antibodies. Smaller molecule could diffuse into the tumour better.


7)   Scientists have synthesised a new drug for treating melanoma - what is it called?

a. HA 14
b. HA 15
c. HA 16
d. HA 17
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: HA 15

Explanation:
Scientists have synthesised a new drug that they say can treat melanoma, a highly aggressive form of skin cancer.

  • The drug, known as HA15, reduces the viability of melanoma cells without being toxic for normal cells.
  • Melanoma affects melanocytes, the cells responsible for the synthesis of melanin, which gives skin its colour. The tumour progresses in three stages: radial growth, in which the cells proliferate in a disordered manner in the epidermis; the vertical growth phase, which involves invasion of the dermis, and finally the metastatic phase, corresponding to the dissemination of the cancer cells in the peripheral tissues.


8)   Scientists have discovered new gene mutation found in many human cancers which promotes the growth of aggressive tumours. Which protein does the gene code for?

a. POT1
b. POT2
c. POT3
d. POT4
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: POT1

Explanation:
Scientists have discovered how a gene mutation found in several human cancers promotes the growth of aggressive tumours, a finding that may develop new treatment for the deadly disease.

  • The mechanism through which the mutation leads to the scrambling to the genome is when you really get massive tumours.
  • Research also suggests a possible way to kill these tumours by targeting important enzymes
  • Researchers studied mutations in a gene that codes for protein POT1. This protein forms a protective cap across the ends of the chromosomes called telomeres, stopping cell machinery from mistakenly dancing DNA and causing harmful mutations
  • POT1 is so critical that cells without functional POT1 would die rather than passing on POT1 mutations- stress in these cells leads to activation of an enzyme called ATR triggering programmed cell death
  • Scientists in recent years were surprised to find recurring mutations affecting POT1 in several human cancers including melanoma and leukaemia.
  • Those cells found a way to survive and thrive sometimes and scientists have discovered its mechanism.


9)   Scientists discover new way of triggering cell death- what is the natural process of programmed cell death to remove unwanted cells from the body called?

a. Apoptosis
b. Oxytocin
c. Sepsis
d. Osmosis
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Apoptosis

Explanation:
Scientists have discovered a new way of triggering cell death, a finding that may lead to drugs for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases

  • Programmed cell death, also called apoptosis is a natural process to remove unwanted cells from the human body
  • Failure of apoptosis allows cancer cells to grow unchecked or immune cells to incorrectly attack the body
  • Protein called Bak is central to apoptosis. Researchers from Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have discovered a novel way of activating Bak to trigger cell death
  • This can lead to development of drugs that trigger Bak activation to treat diseases such as cancer where apoptosis has gone awry
  • Researchers used information about Bak 3D structure to ascertain how the antibody activated Bak


10)   By what percent is the incidence of cancer estimated to grow in India by 2020 according to ICMR?

a. 23
b. 24
c. 25
d. 52
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 25

Explanation:
New cancer cases or its incidence in India is estimated to grow by 25% by 2020, according to the cancer registry released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

  • While new cases in Delhi have increased rapidly since 2008-09, the burden in northeastern states is also high. Cancer cases in India are expected to jump from around 14 lakh in 2016 to over 17.3 lakh by 2020.
  • Deaths due to cancer are projected to go up from 7.36 lakh to over 8.8 lakh in the next four years.
  • Breast, lung and cervical cancer have topped the list of new cases, the data show. Data also revealed that only 12.5% of patients come for treatment in their early stages.


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