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September 1, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Individualized chemotherapy in lung cancer

Individualized chemotherapy in lung cancer
Chemotherapy is the best broad defense against cancer recurrence after surgical resection. However, it is difficult to predict which patients will benefit from which regimen of anticancer drugs, if at all. Building on existing knowledge, a study reported in the September edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO), analyzed the usefulness of adjuvant chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) based on the histoculture drug response assay (HDRA). After seven years of study, scientists concluded that the use of adjuvant (post-operative) chemotherapy based on results of the in vitro HDRA improved the survival and prognosis of patients with NSCLC who had undergone surgery and whose results of the HDRA assay showed chemosensitivity to the specific drugs used for therapy.

The patients' chemosensitivity to cisplatin, carboplatin, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine and irinotecan were examined by the HDRA assay. The patients in the study were then split into two groups: (1) those whose tumors were sensitive to at least two of the HDRA drugs and received two HDRA positive drugs per chemotherapy session (31 patients) and (2) those whose tumors were sensitive to one or none of the HDRA drugs and were treated with a combination of one HDRA positive drug and one HDRA negative or two HDRA negative drugs per chemotherapy session (34 patients).........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


August 23, 2010, 7:14 AM CT

Protein made by breast cancer gene purified

Protein made by breast cancer gene purified
A key step in understanding the origins of familial breast cancer has been made by two teams of researchers at the University of California, Davis. The scientists have purified, for the first time, the protein produced by the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 and used it to study the oncogene's role in DNA repair.

The results will be published online Aug. 22 in the journals Nature, and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. They open new possibilities for understanding, diagnosing and perhaps treating breast cancer.

BRCA2 is known to be involved in repairing damaged DNA, but exactly how it works with other molecules to repair DNA has been unclear, said Stephen Kowalczykowski, distinguished professor of microbiology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis Cancer Center member and senior author of the Nature paper.

"Having the purified protein makes possible far more detailed studies of how it works," Kowalczykowski said.

Kowalczykowski's group has purified the protein from human cells; another group led by Professor Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, also in the UC Davis Department of Microbiology and leader of the Cancer Center's molecular oncology program, used genetic engineering techniques to manufacture the human protein in yeast. That work is published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 23, 2010, 7:11 AM CT

Rectal cancer rates are rising

Rectal cancer rates are rising
A new analysis has observed that while colon cancer rates have remained steady over the past several decades among people under the age of 40, rectal cancer rates are increasing in this population across races and in both sexes. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that greater efforts are needed to diagnose rectal cancer in young individuals who show potential signs of the disease.

Rectal cancer is considered to be rare among young individuals in the United States. Because underestimating rectal cancer's incidence may lead to missed or delayed diagnoses in younger people, Joshua Meyer, MD, a radiation oncologist currently at Fox Chase Cancer Center, led a team that analyzed trends in rectal cancer incidence in the United States compared with colon cancer trends. Dr. Meyer worked on this research while at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

By conducting a retrospective study using data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry, the researchers identified 7,661 colon and rectal cancer patients under age 40 years between 1973 and 2005. The scientists then calculated the change in incidence over time for colon and rectal cancers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 7:19 PM CT

Earlier detection of melanoma

Earlier detection of melanoma
This skin tumor is shown after treatment with a new contrast agent that can improve the visualization of skin cancer cells using an advanced medical imaging device.

Credit: American Chemical Society

Researchers are reporting development of a substance to enhance the visibility of skin cancer cells during scans with an advanced medical imaging system that combines ultrasound and light. The hybrid scanner could enable doctors to detect melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in its earliest and most curable stages, the report in the monthly journal ACS Nano indicates.

Lihong Wang, Younan Xia, and his colleagues point out that early diagnosis is key to improving survival in patients with melanoma. The five-year survival rate for melanoma is about 98 percent if detected early but can be as low as 15 percent when detected at an advanced stage. Existing imaging techniques for early detection of melanoma produce low-quality images, can "see" only a fraction of an inch below the skin, and use potentially harmful radioactive materials. A promising new technique called photoacoustic tomography (PAT) can overcome these problems. The system shoots light into tumors, which slightly heats up the cancer cells and produces high frequency sound waves that provide images of the tumor. But the PAT system lacks an optimal contrast agent that can easily enter skin cancer cells and make them visible.

The researchers developed such an agent by attaching a peptide (one of the building blocks of proteins) that targets skin cancer cells to gold "nanocages." These hollow gold nanoparticles have a box-like shape and are barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. When injected into mice with skin cancer, the nanocages improved the image quality of the cancer cells by three-fold in comparison to nanoparticles lacking the peptide. The gold nanocages also show promise as a way to kill skin cancer cells using heat or anti-cancer drugs, they add.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 7:03 AM CT

Breast cancer among progestin HRT users

Breast cancer among progestin HRT users
Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professor in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center.
Progestins are used in hormone replacement therapies to counteract the negative effects of estrogen on the uterus and reduce the risk of uterine cancer. However, evidence in recent studies and clinical trials has demonstrated that progestins increase the risk of breast cancer. Now, University of Missouri scientists have compared four types of progestins used in hormone replacement therapies and found significantly different outcomes on the progression of breast cancer in an animal model depending on the type of progestins used.

"Synthetic progestins have different biological effects, due to differences in their structure, stability and how they interact in the body," said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professor in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "Clinical use of progestins requires caution. These powerful steroids should only be prescribed when a person has no latent, or dormant, cancer and does not have a family history of cancer. However, it is difficult to diagnose latent tumor cells in women since there are no symptoms".

In the study, scientists compared the effects of four clinically relevant progestins on breast cancer tumors in an animal model. The progestins used in the study were the synthetic progestin medroxporgresterone acetate (MPA), norgesterel (N-EL), norethindrone (N-ONE) and megestrol acetate (MGA). In the United States, most women on hormone replacement treatment are treated with MPA, the progestin in Prempro, Hyder said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 10, 2010, 7:06 AM CT

A "Magnetic" Solution for Tumors

A
Human lung epithelial tumor cell among healthy epithelial cells
Though a valuable weapon against malignant tumors, radiation treatment often harms healthy tissue as it tries to kill cancerous cells. Now, Prof. Israel Gannot of Tel Aviv University's Department of Biomedical Engineering is developing a new way to destroy tumors with fewer side effects and minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

His innovative method, soon to be reported in the journal Nanomedicine, uses heat to kill the tumor cells but leaves surrounding healthy tissue intact. Using specific biomarkers attached to individual tumors, Prof. Gannot's special mixture of nano-particles and antibodies locates and binds to the tumor itself.

"Once the nano-particles bind to the tumor, we excite them with an external magnetic field, and they begin to heat very specifically and locally," says Prof. Gannot. The magnetic field is manipulated to create a targeted rise in temperature, and it is this directed heat elevation which kills the tumors, he says.

The therapy has been proven effective against epithelial cancers, which can develop in almost any area of the body, such as the breast or lung. By using a special feedback process, also developed in his laboratory, the process can be optimized for individual therapy.

A cure without casualty

The specialized cocktail of nano-particles and antibodies is administered safely and simply, through topical local injection or injection into the blood stream. As an added benefit, the mixture washes out of the body without leaving a trace, minimizing side effects.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 10, 2010, 6:50 AM CT

Breast Cancer and Body Rhythms

Breast Cancer and Body Rhythms
For years, researchers thought that the function of biological clocks was relatively straightforward. Now, NSF-supported research by Jonathan Arnold, a geneticist, Heinz-Bernd Schuttler, a computational physicist, and their colleagues at the University of Georgia is showing that the number of genes in bread mold (Neurospora crassa) under the control of the biological clock is dramatically higher than anyone ever suspected. "We're just now beginning to see why the clock is so far-reaching in its effects on the organism," says Arnold. Read more details in this discovery.


Credit: Andrew Tucker, University of Georgia
"One minute you're a healthy person, the next minute you have breast cancer".

Ettamay (last name withheld) is up early these days. She lives a much different life than she did when she was a nurse working the night shifts. She would be just getting to sleep at this early morning hour.

"I was always exhausted," she says. "I don't know any of the nurses, particularly the night shift gals, that weren't exhausted all the time".

She wonders if her crazy work schedule might have contributed to her breast cancer.

Virginia Tech molecular biologist Carla Finkielstein says studies back up Ettamay's suspicions. "There are many epidemiological studies that show women working night shifts have a higher occurence rate of breast cancer," she says.

Finkielstein is studying this question microscopically, one cell at a time. She wants to know the impact of night-shift work on a woman's physiology. Can working odd hours actually alter a woman's body chemistry--turning healthy cells into cancer cells?

"What we're trying to understand is how changes in environmental conditions influence the expression of genes that regulate cell division," explains Finkielstein.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Finkielstein uses frog embryos to help figure out on a molecular basis the physiological changes in women who work the night shift. She says studies show that working "night owls" have abnormal levels of specific proteins in their cells, which act by turning on and off genes that regulate how cells grow and divide. Finkielstein injects some of the molecules into frog cells to study their effects.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 9, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

Surgery, radiation or hormone

Surgery, radiation or hormone
Surgery for localized prostate cancer offers a significantly higher survival rate than either external-beam radiation or hormonal therapies, as per a newly released study led by scientists at UCSF.

The differences among therapies were more prominent at higher levels of cancer risk, and suggest, the scientists say, that in a number of cases surgery should play a greater role in therapy strategies for prostate cancer patients that is likely to recur or spread.

The study is available online in the journal "Cancer," the journal of the American Cancer Society, at this site

Most prior reports comparing therapy outcomes among different therapy options have looked only at PSA responses to therapy, rather than at the more important long-term survival outcomes, as per the researchers. Measuring levels of PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, in the blood, is intended to help determine whether prostate cancer has recurred or spread, eventhough in a number of cases a rising PSA level does not necessarily mean the cancer will progress.

Roughly one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, as per the American Cancer Society.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 2, 2010, 6:33 AM CT

Meat components may cause bladder cancer

Meat components may cause bladder cancer
A newly released study suggests that consuming specific compounds in meat correlation to processing methods appears to be linked to an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings appears to be relevant for understanding the role of dietary exposures in cancer risk.

Eating red and processed meats has been associated with an increased risk of developing several different types of cancer. Animal studies have identified many compounds in meat that might account for this association. These include heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and N-nitroso compounds. Nitrate and nitrite are added to processed meats and are known precursors to N-nitroso compounds.

Amanda J. Cross, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville and his colleagues conducted one of the first prospective studies the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Studyto assess the relationship between intake of these meat-related compounds and the risk of developing bladder cancer. They used information gathered through questionnaires to assess the types of meat consumed as well as how meat was prepared and cooked to estimate the intake of these meat-related compounds.

The researchers had information from approximately 300,000 men and women aged 50 to 71 years from eight US states. At the start of the study (1995 to 1996), all participants completed lifestyle and dietary questionnaires about their usual consumption of foods and drinks. The participants were followed for up to eight years, during which time 854 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 2, 2010, 6:30 AM CT

How cancer-causing bacterium works?

How cancer-causing bacterium works?
A protein produced by some strains of H. pylori interacts with a host tumor suppressor protein. This leads to degradation of the tumor suppressor protein, researchers found.

Credit: Yutaka Tsutsumi, M.D. Professor Department of Pathology Fujita Health University School of Medicine
Scientists have discovered a mechanism by which Helicobacter pylori, the only known cancer-causing bacterium, disables a tumor suppressor protein in host cells.

The newly released study, in the journal Oncogene, reports the discovery of a previously unknown mechanism linking H. pylori infection and stomach cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

About two-thirds of the world's population is infected with H. pylori, a bacterium that can survive in the harsh environment of the stomach. Most infected people never develop disease. For a significant minority, however, infection with H. pylori leads to inflammation, ulcers and in some cases, stomach (gastric) cancer.

H. pylori's ability to cause disease is closely linked to a virulence protein called CagA. Prior studies have observed that CagA-positive strains are much more likely to cause inflammation and spur the abnormal cell division and growth of cells that lead to cancer.

H. pylori injects CagA into the epithelial cells that line the stomach. Within the cells, CagA is able to hijack various signaling pathways and disrupt proper cellular functions.

Other studies have identified RUNX3 (pronounced RUNKS-three) as an important gastric cancer tumor suppressor.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

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