Research Digest

Lab notes: A new subtype of cervical cancer that may need new treatment

A round up of the latest in medical research.

Most cervical cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. Patients of cervical cancer are usually all treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation and yet, these treatments do not help almost one-third of such patients. New research shows that these patients might have a previously unidentified subtype of cervical cancer that may not respond to standard chemotherapy and radiation.

Medical researchers from the University of South Carolina have identified this new subtype of cervical cancer that, like other cervical cancers, is triggered by HPV but the virus does not control the growth of this type of cancer. The team analysed 255 cervical cancer samples ad found that two HPV oncogenes – genes that have the potential to transform a normal cell into a tumour cell – are expressed at very high levels in what is called the HPV active class or very low or zero levels in the HPV inactive class. This HV inactive class may cause tumours triggered by the virus, which subsequently grow independent of the virus.

Therefore, standard therapies targeting mutations caused by HPV were unlikely to work for patients with the type of cervical cancer caused the HPV inactive oncogene. In the study published in the journal Oncotarget, the researchers have recommended that doctors managing cervical cancer patients test for HPV oncogene expression in these tumors and consider personalised treatment based on the HPV activity found.

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Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.