Diagnosing Cancer, The Funny Side of Research and Predicting Medulloblastoma Prognosis: The Weekly Translation

weekly translation

Do you need your daily science fix but don’t know what to read?  Is there a question you’ve always thought too ridiculous to ask, but you wish someone would answer?  Well have no fear, the Weekly Translation is here!

Feel free to click on the links if you want to find out more about each topic.


The most common way of diagnosing a solid tumour is by PET-CT scanning which is very effective but requires the patient to be exposed to high amounts of radiation, and for children and teenagers this increases there chance of developing other types of cancer later in life. A new method that has been developed at Stanford University Medical Center is now emerging however which uses MRI based technology and no radiation. This method is just as effective at diagnosis and would allow numerous scans to be carried out during and after treatment without the risk of further damage.


Recently I happened to stumble on to this blog, and I am absolutely in love with this guy’s work!  If you have ever worked in a lab (or have friends who like to whinge at you about their research problems) then you should take a deeks at this blog: “et Al” has some brilliant comic style drawings and posts showing the bits of research they don’t tell you about in lectures.  Definitely worth a look if you have 5 minutes free and often find yourself wondering if other scientists have the same ridiculous issues as you…


Some of the techniques we talk about here might be what you’s call a scientists bread and butter – PCR, fluorescence microscopy, and many more! But have you probably haven’t thought about what a scientists fish and chips might be…

Occasionally, you find a paper out there with a really fantastic title. It’s rare, but it happens: scientists can be witty! This week, we found a paper entitles ‘FISH and chips:the recipe for improved prognostication and outcomes in children with medulloblastoma‘. FISH actually stands for Flourescence in situ Hybridization, and is a technique used to look at a cell’s chromosomes. This paper looks at ways by which such information can be used to improve outcome and prediction of prognosis in patients with medulloblastoma (the most common form of childhood brain cancer) – a disease which I’ve actually been working on for the past few months. Enjoy!

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