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Uninsured cancer patients pay more than twice as much out of pocket for their medical care than insured patients, but end up receiving half as much care, according to a new report. Hispanic cancer patients may be especially vulnerable within this trend: 20 percent of Hispanic cancer patients under age 65 lack insurance, compared with 11 percent of all uninsured cancer patients under age 65.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often endure painful side effects caused by the powerful drugs as they course through their entire bodies, damaging healthy tissue and tumors alike. Utah researchers are reporting in the December issue "Cancer Research" that they have successfully tested a new method in laboratory animals that would concentrate the impact of cancer drugs on specific cancerous tissues, thus sparing the rest of the body from harm.
It has been a big week for the common lab mouse. Tests in mice showed that the deadly botulism toxin could be neutralized with an experimental drug. The drug, fashioned from two antibodies from mice and one from a human, could be mass-produced and thus could be used as a deterrent to the use of botulism toxin as a weapon. In other mouse news, scientists at the Universiy of Pennsylania have figured out that they can turn mice into goat and pig sperm "factories" by grafting testes onto their backs. The technique could be used in the future to make sperm for young cancer patients left infertile after treatment, to help human couples struggling with male fertility problems, and to preserve species close to extinction. The most amazing mouse news of the week? Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston created a transgenic mouse with Lance Armstrong-like capabilities, able to endure hard exercise for extended periods of time.