News Briefs

Today's top news stories for March 20, 2008.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A step toward curing cancer
Finding a cure for cancer might be just around the corner, due to recently published research in the journal Nature.

According to Dr. Matthew Vander Heiden, an instructor in medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the research sheds light on something never before understood.

He explained cancer cells metabolize glucose in a different way than normal cells. The research determined there are two forms of an enzyme that metabolize glucose: a normal and a cancer form. The cancer form is only found in cancer cells and allows the cells to consume glucose at a faster rate, Dr. Heiden explained, which fuels the cancer cells’ growth.

When the cancer cells were forced to switch to the normal form in laboratory experiments, their growth was halted.

He described this unique cancer form as a universal property of tumours, meaning a drug targeting the enzyme could cure almost any type of cancer. The researchers are now working on an inhibitor for the cancer enzyme.

Since the possibility for the drug is now known, it is only a matter of time before it is developed, Dr. Heiden pointed out.

“It is conceivable that we will see an impact in four or five years.”
"Hannah Faye Rosen

Tuition fees frozen
Hoping to alleviate one of the highest student debts in the country, the New Brunswick government will freeze its tuition fees in the province for the one year.

New Brunswick is the second most expensive place to study in Canada; the average full-time undergraduate tuition fee is $5,733.

Following a 4.8 per cent tuition increase from 2007-08, the largest increase in Canada last year, New Brunswick attempted to relieve student debt by freezing the current rates.

Bradley Mullins, president of University of New Brunswick Student Union, was skeptical of the proposal.

“It’s a small step in the right direction,” Mullins said. “Those who can’t afford school this year still can’t afford it next year.

“The debt is bad, but at least we know it’s not getting any worse.”

Mullins explained the average student debt in his province reached more than $30,000 compared to the national average of about $20,000.

The province currently offers $2,000 grants for all first-year students, and up to $10,000 for those who work within New Brunswick for four years after graduation. However, Mullins believes that this money could be better allocated.
"Jared Lindzon

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