The Checkup: New Cancer Research Hailed as ‘Breakthrough’

A team of US scientists has figured out how to keep cancer cells alive in a lab—something no one's ever been able to do before.

• Researchers announced early this morning that they’ve found a technique that can keep cancer cells alive in laboratory settings, opening the door to new (and better) treatment options for patients. Apparently, before this, the only way researchers could study cancer cells was to use frozen tissue or tissue set in wax. But now a new technique, which harnesses lessons learned from stem cell research, allows them to keep cells alive indefinitely in order to study them and develop new treatments. One of the study authors says it might even allow labs to one day come up with personalized treatments using a patient’s own cancer cells. Neat right? Read more here.

• Have a booze-fest this weekend? A recent study looked at how those who suffer alcohol-fueled blackouts reconstruct sequences of events—yes, yes, sort of like the plot of The Hangover. You can read about that research here, but what I think is interesting (read: scary) from the article is the fact that among those study subjects who admitted to drinking, nearly a quarter said they’d had total blackouts before, and 37 percent said they’d had partial ones. Do those seem like terrifyingly high numbers to anybody else?

• Facebook announced late last week that it’s getting into suicide prevention, launching a new service that allows people to report a friend’s suicidal comments. The friend then receives an email from Facebook encouraging them to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via phone or through an embedded link that immediately begins a live chat with a crisis worker. Crisis workers will be available around the clock for online chats. More here.