By Dr. Lawrence Jones, II
The last article from Professor Li (2022) on how cancer cells move and metastasize is influenced by the fluids surrounding them gives insights into how fluids affect cell migration. The amount of water traveling in and out of a cell causes it to shrink or swell, inducing movement by translocating different parts of the cell. Better treatments for pancreatic cancer The researchers in the cell migration lab are studying how cancer cells interact with endothelial cells, which are the cells that create your blood vessels. One of the ways cancer cells can metastasize in the body is by going into the blood vessels.
Once inside, the cancer cells can go very far, very quickly throughout the body as they are Jacquemet (September 28, 2022) reports that one of the main reasons why cancer is so deadly is because cancer cells can escape the tumors where they originate from and move throughout the body. The objective is to track and understand the movements of the cells to prevent them from spreading. We want to know how the cancer cells can, once in the circulatory system, attach to the side of, cross the boundary into the blood vessel, and create a metastatic lesion.
Chi (2016) explains that bits of DNA constantly flood the bloodstream. Genetic material flows in the bloodstream of healthy people and could come from anywhere in the body. However, when there are tumors in the body, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that shed from the primary tumor and migrate through fluids such as the blood system responsible for spreading cancer cells. Sensitive detection of CTCs from clinical samples can be an effective tool in cancer diagnosis and prognosis through liquid biopsy.
Jones (December 5, 2022) reported that “generally speaking, various forms of cancer are often detected way too late.” Today, we see liquid biopsy as part of the standard of care in tissue genotyping for patients with advanced cancer. Liquid biopsy screening tests can find types of cancer breast, colon, cervical, advanced prostate, and lung. A key component to fighting cancer is early cancer detection.
Blood-based liquid biopsy technology provides a quick and noninvasive way to analyze tumors using biomarkers circulating in the blood. Cell migration through surrounding bodily fluids offers a pathway for information by the latest medical tests now available. However, medical science still understands how cancers evolve and migrate through the body.
Chi, K. R. (2016). The tumour trail left in blood. Nature, 532(7598), 269-271.
Deng, Z., Wu, S., Wang, Y., & Shi, D. (2022). Circulating tumor cell isolation for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. EBioMedicine, 83, 104237.
Jacquemet, G. (September 28, 2022). Understanding cell movement is a step towards cancer treatments | Åbo Akademi University (abo.fi)
Jones, L. (December 5, 2022). Cancer Screening: Detecting Cancer Early with Liquid Biopsy Technology. The Narrative Matters. St. Louis, MO Cancer screening: Detecting cancer early with liquid biopsy technology - The Narrative Matters
Li, Yizeng. (2022). How cancer cells move and metastasize is influenced by the fluids surrounding them – understanding how tumors migrate can help stop their spread – St. Louis Argus (stlargusnews.com)
By Dr. Lawrence Jones II
I was invited to attend the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., which featured ten top-performing startups from the HBCU Founders Fellowship program who competed for up to $25,000 in funding. I joined fellow founders of companies and corporate executives, investors, government officials, university administrators, and HBCU faculty, students, and alums from the DMV region. I have been a fractioned Chief Science Officer for the Idhini team from 2021-2022. Their platform still has an outstanding value proposition. All of the teams that pitched have an exceptional value proposition.
I had the opportunity to speak with Marlon Evans, the President of the HBCU FI and CEO of Nex Cubed. He explained that "this is an awesome opportunity for the participants, the venue is superb, and the networking opportunity here at this event is priceless. PR Newswire (April 21, 2023) also explains that Mr. Evans stated, "We are excited to showcase HBCU founders, who often lack access to the resources necessary to scale their businesses, at the Better Futures competition." The HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI), a startup accelerator and non-profit that works with founders at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for Black students and 37 HBCUs.
I also quickly connected with Dr. Chad Womack, the UNCF's vice president of National STEM Programs and Tech Initiatives. It is always a pleasure to see Dr. Womack. He emphasizes that "the pitch competition represents a capstone experience for students participating in the HBCU Founders Fellowship program and provides a wonderful showcase of their entrepreneurial talents so the world" . The ten Better Futures finalists are students and alumni from the following HBCUs: Bowie State University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, and Oakwood University.
Below are the companies that presented:
· Co-Lab Instrumental Radio - Instrumental Radio generated by hosting beat submission contests and DJ mix contests (Bowie State University) Jarrell Washington
· Car Seat Companion - Improving car seats today to make them safer tomorrow (Elizabeth City State University) Angel Teagle $5 K Friday night’s second place winner.
· Vaila Shoes - A modern dress shoe brand for women with extended shoe sizes (Fayetteville State University) Ahriana Edwards Friday night’s first place winner $15K. She also announced on April 21 her new collaboration with Macy's.
· Idhini, Inc - Connecting the BIPOC community to medical research (Morgan State University) Trevor Alexander
· Monocle - A social e-reader that enables a community-focused reading experience through shared notes wit
hin a book (North Carolina A&T State University) $5 K third place winner Leslie Winston
· Scholist App - A scholarship platform designed to help students discover, apply, and keep track of scholarships (Prairie View A&M University) Abidemi Awojuyigbe
· WellMiss - Virtual and holistic healing space for women of all backgrounds to work through trauma (Spelman College) Jennifer "Jaki" Johnson
· Back to the Roots - Solving food insecurity by providing quick, accessible, and healthy solutions (North Carolina A&T State University) Back to the Roots Team
· Covered Always - Protect your investment with Covered Always Car Warranty (Oakwood University) Nancy Pierre
· All Things College - Informing students and parents nationwide on college readiness, standardized test prep, and scholarships (Spelman College) Gia Tejeda
HBCUFI (April 21, 2023) reports that HBCU founders initiative was launched by Nex Cubed. The HBCU Founders Initiative aims to catalyze investment in African Americans by supporting HBCU students and alums along their entrepreneurial journey, encouraging them to pursue technology solutions that close the racial wealth gap ranging from increasing access to healthcare, education, and financial services.” As of the beginning of 2022, over 650 students and alums from 75+ HBCUs have benefitted from the program. A job well done in Washington, D.C. April 21, 2023. I look forward to the next competitions.
The Narrative Matters!
Cision PR Newswire (April 21, 2023). The HBCU Founders Initiative and UNCF Host Better Futures Pitch Competition for Startup Founders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The HBCU Founders Initiative and UNCF Host Better Futures Pitch Competition for Startup Founders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (prnewswire.com)
HBCUFI. (April 21, 2023).HBCU Founders Initiative (hbcufi.org)
HBCUFI. (April 21, 2023).Corporate Partners — HBCU Founders Initiative (hbcufi.org)
Nex3. (April 21, 2023). Nex Cubed (nex3.com)
UNCF. (April 21, 2023). Who We Are - UNCF
Photo credit: CNN
The American Cancer Society (2018) states that while breast cancer is more common in White women, the mortality rate for Black women is higher. The differences may be attributed to poor access to healthcare, screenings, and education. Satarian and Metz (March 6, 2023) report that advancements in artificial intelligence (A.I.) are beginning to deliver breakthroughs in breast cancer screening by detecting the signs that cancer specialists could miss. So far, the technology is showing an impressive ability to spot cancer at least as well as human radiologists, according to early results and radiologists, in what is one of the most promising signs of how A.I. can improve public health.
The country of Hungary, which has one of the most robust breast cancer screening programs, has become one of the most significant testing grounds for the technology on actual patients. In Hungary, at least five hospitals and clinics, according to Satarian and Metz, perform more than 35,000 screenings a year. Their A.I. systems became part of their screening program a few years ago to help to check for signs of cancer that a radiologist may have overlooked. Clinics and hospitals in the United States are also beginning to test or provide data to help develop the systems.
Although the added A.I. screen is potential, additional clinical trials are needed before the systems can be automated as a second reader of breast cancer screens. Ultimately, an A.I. tools must consistently produce accurate results on women of all ages, ethnicities, and body types. And the technology must prove it can cut down on false positives that are not cancerous. Harlow (March 8, 2023) featured a segment where she met with Dr. Larry Norton, the medical director at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, regarding the benefits of using artificial intelligence in breast cancer detection.
Dr. Norton discussed the application of A.I. technology to look at mammograms and identify areas a human radiologist may want to look at more carefully. But, first, Dr. Norton discussed that computer-assisted detection is familiar and has been around for about three decades. Fortunately, technology is continually improving. For example, MIT used artificial intelligence to predict breast cancer; on the left side of your screen, you see an area in a woman’s breast identified as high risk; four years later, cancer developed right, and the point is a doctor’s human eyes might miss lots of abnormalities you can’t call everything cancer cause.
MIT and the Massachusetts General Hospital are collaborating with Memorial Sloan Kettering. Machines can look at previous mammograms and see if there are any changes, and so and so other than a human eye can compare to images. Individual judgments about individual people tests such as contrast-enhanced mammograms, MRI’s, and other tests people sometimes should go for testing to see if they’re carrying an abnormal gene to know if they’re at high risk. The more individualized approach using A.I. may be a plus for screening for women and especially Black women in the future.
American Cancer Society. (2018).https://www.cancer.org/content...
Harlow, P. (March 7, 2023). Images show AI detecting breast cancer 4 years before it developed.https://www.cnn.com/videos/hea...
Satarian, A. and Metz, C. (March 6, 2023). Using A.I. to Detect Breast Cancer That Doctors Miss. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/0...
By Lawrence Jones, Ph.D.
Walmart (October 11, 2022) announces the Walmart Healthcare Research Institute SM (WHRI) launch. The institute aims to increase community access to healthcare research believed to be higher quality and more equitable. Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart’s Chief Medical Officer, expresses that Walmart is aware that customers are interested in participating in healthcare research. The aim is to also provide access to medical research by raising patient trust and engagement in their care.
Pifer (October 12, 2022) reports that the Company Walmart aims to improve diversity in clinical trials. The Company expresses that focusing on interventions and medications may help to make an impact in underrepresented communities. In addition, this newfound venture may become a valuable revenue stream for Walmart. Pifer adds that “according to Food and Drug Administration data, in 2020, 75% of trial participants were White, 11% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, and 6% were Asian.”
Also (Pifer,2022) adds that the FDA has said that improving diversity in clinical trials is a priority for the agency “since 20% of drugs respond differently across ethnic groups.” Unfortunately, many clinical trials generally do not represent the population at large. Diversity is essential to understand how efficiently new drugs work in various groups of people. The Walmart Healthcare Research Institute will be part of Walmart Health & Wellness. Its initial focus will be on chronic conditions, such as diabetes.
Walmart Health & Wellness won’t be running actual trials. Still, they will primarily help identify patients who may benefit from clinical trials based on their chronic conditions. DeFeudis (October 11, 2022) mentions that the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Wigneswaran, says, “Four thousand of our 5,000 locations are in underserved areas.” Walmart Healthcare Research Institute has several partners, including CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services and Laina Enterprises. This Company develops management systems for decentralized trials.
Walmart hopes to accomplish education and awareness around chronic conditions and treatments. Walmart launched a digital tool MyHealthJourneySM that lets patients take control of their data through easy access to their eligible medical records online in one place. With MyHealthJourneySM, patients receive reminders for care services and research opportunities to help them keep their health on track. The Narrative Matters!
DeFeudis, N. (October 11, 2022)(Walmart buys into pharma research, following in footsteps of CVS and Walgreens – Endpoints News (endpts.com)
Filipek, D. (October 17, 2022). Healthcare News of Note: The Walmart Healthcare Research Institute could bring more diversity to medical research. Healthcare News of Note: The Walmart Healthcare Research Institute could bring more diversity to medical research (hfma.org)
Pifer, R. (October 12, 2022). Walmart steps into clinical trials, joining rivals Walgreens, CVS. Walmart steps into clinical trials, joining rivals Walgreens, CVS | Healthcare Dive
Walmart. (October 11, 2022). Walmart's Healthcare Research Institute Launches With Mission To Improve Care for Underserved Communities Through Research. Walmart's Healthcare Research Institute Launches With Mission To Improve Care for Underserved Communities Through Research
By Lawrence Jones, Ph.D.
Let’s face it all medications and all vaccines have their risks. However, some are riskier than others. Riskier means the side effects may have mild to life-threatening side effects depending on the drug and the person. Although the public experienced the mRNA Moderna and Pfizer vaccine for the first time two years ago, the technology has been well-researched for over three decades. Unfortunately, the funding was lacking, but it took the pandemic to have the budget to expedite vaccine production.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Operation Warp Speed funded the first million of COVID Vaccine doses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that a possible safety issue in which people 65 and older may be at risk of having an ischemic stroke 21 days after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent shot, compared with days 22-44.” This announcement may be rare; however, safety concerns must be reported. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been working tirelessly and overtime during these last three years since the United States has been inundated with the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus.
Just recently, Reuters (January 13, 2023) reported that a safety monitoring system cautioned that Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shot could be linked to a type of brain stroke in older adults. In addition, Leonard and Gardner (January 13, 2023) report that millions of doses of the messenger-RNA Covid vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have shown an elevated risk of myocarditis and pericarditis inflammation of the heart muscle and membrane after the second mRNA vaccine dose among males ages 12 to 39, with those in their late teens and 20s most affected.. Jones recently covered this topic (November 14, 2022) in The Narrative Matters. The CDC recommends that everyone ages six months and older stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination.
The upcoming months will usher in some people taking their fourth, fifth, and possibly sixth booster. Every person’s physiology and disposition are different. There will continually be updated on the vaccines and boosters. We urge everyone to discuss their concerns with their physician, nurse, or other healthcare providers.
Erickson, E. (2022). Expert answers to the top three concerns about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Expert answers to the top three concerns about COVID-19 vaccine safety - Plan Blog (healthpartners.com)
Jones, L. (November 14, 2022). Research on long term risks of myocarditis after covid vaccination is now being closely studied. Research on possible long-term risks of myocarditis after Covid vaccination is now being closely studied - The Narrative Matters The Narrative Matters. St. Louis, MO
Leonard, B. and Gardner, L. (January 13, 2023). CDC, FDA see possible link between Pfizer’s bivalent shot and strokes. CDC, FDA see possible link between Pfizer’s bivalent shot and strokes - POLITICO
Reuters. (2023).U.S. FDA, CDC see early signal of Pfizer bivalent COVID shot's link to stroke. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/us-says-pfizers-bivalent-covid-shot-may-be-linked-stroke-older-adults-2023-01-13/