Monday, April 30, 2012

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in the news

This April 21, 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal may require a login or subscription to view - check with your local library if the link doesn't work.
Title: Lab mistakes hobble cancer studies but scientists slow to take remedies
Reporter: Amy Dockser Marcus
Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204571404577257513760102538.html

A recent research project conducted and written up by Dr. Robert Mandic (University Hospital Giessen and Marburg, Germany) was discovered to not have been conducted on ACC, but cervical cancer cells, and had to be retracted at a loss of research support given by the ACCRF.

Turns out, cancer cell lines aren't always authenticated. In my humble opinion, being just a librarian and all, I would have figured that cell lines would be as closely watched as thoroughbred blood lines - the result is only as good as the dam and sire that begat it. Since I have a personal stake on horses running in this cancer-cure race (if scientists locate anything that offers a true treatment of ACC, I will get in line), I am shocked to find out that the scientists working so hard have been working blindly, not knowing for sure that they are growing ACC cells to test their treatment on. What the...? Heck, I think my cheek tumor is still in paraffin here in Omaha, and I know there are tumor banks brimming with samples around the nation, like that at the University of Virginia. I saw this company that sells cell culture products http://www.invitrogen.com/site/us/en/home/References/gibco-cell-culture-basics/cell-lines.html 
-even they advise not borrowing cultures from other labs. As shown in this research paper mentioned in the WSJ article, the supposed-ACC cells that scientists have worked on in the past are not only contaminated with other cancer cells, but some come from non-human sources: Genetic profiling reveals cross-contamination and misidentification of 6 adenoid cystic carcinoma cell lines: ACC2, ACC3, ACCM, ACCNS, ACCS and CAC2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19557180

My heart goes out to the scientists that are caught unawares and have to flush their research. I also send good wishes to ACCRF, for the funds that were raised by myself and others with or touched by ACC were spent without expected results. I have a cold shoulder for anyone that is not vetting their cell lines, though - again, the phrase that comes to mind: "What the ...?!"The scientists and the NIH, just like the Kentucky Derby, should require that cell lines are authenticated. Make sure you know the sire and dam before you enter that horse into my race for longer life, please. And for all of us paying attention to published research, please consider this another "caveat emptor"-buyer beware - for us to keep in mind.

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