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November 9, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Women with denser breasts have higher cancer recurrence

Women with denser breasts have higher cancer recurrence
A newly released study finds that women treated for breast cancer are at higher risk of cancer recurrence if they have dense breasts. Reported in the December 15, 2009 issue of Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study's results indicate that patients with breast cancer with dense breasts appears to benefit from additional therapies following surgery, such as radiation.

Prior studies indicate that women with dense breast tissue are at increased risk of breast cancer. Scientists have suspected that high breast density may also increase the risk of cancer recurrence after lumpectomy, but this theory has not been thoroughly studied.

Scientists led by Steven A. Narod, MD, of the Women's College Research Institute in Toronto, evaluated the medical records of 335 patients who had undergone lumpectomy for breast cancer. Investigators monitored the patients for cancer recurrence and compared recurrence with breast density as seen on mammogram, categorized as low density (<25 percent dense tissue), intermediate density (25 percent to 50 percent dense tissue) or high density (>50 percent dense tissue).

The scientists observed that patients with the highest breast density had a much greater risk of cancer recurrence than did women with the lowest breast density. Over ten years, women in the highest breast density category had a 21 percent chance of cancer recurrence, compared with a 5 percent chance among women in the lowest category. The difference in the recurrence rates at ten years was even more pronounced for women who did not receive radiation. In those women, 40 percent with high-density breast tissue had a recurrence compared with none of the patients with low density.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 6, 2009, 8:56 AM CT

New Synthetic Molecules Trigger Immune Response

New Synthetic Molecules Trigger Immune Response
Scientists at Yale University have developed synthetic molecules capable of enhancing the body's immune response to HIV and HIV-infected cells, as well as to prostate cancer cells. Their findings, published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could lead to novel therapeutic approaches for these diseases.

The molecules - called "antibody-recruiting molecule targeting HIV" (ARM-H) and "antibody-recruiting molecule targeting prostate cancer" (ARM-P) - work by binding simultaneously to an antibody already present in the bloodstream and to proteins on HIV, HIV-infected cells or cancer cells. By coating these pathogens in antibodies, the molecules flag them as a threat and trigger the body's own immune response. In the case of ARM-H, by binding to proteins on the outside of the virus, they also prevent healthy human cells from being infected.

"Instead of trying to kill the pathogens directly, these molecules manipulate our immune system to do something it wouldn't ordinarily do," said David Spiegel, Ph.D., M.D., assistant professor of chemistry and the corresponding author of both papers.

Because both HIV and cancer have methods for evading the body's immune system, therapys and vaccinations for the two diseases have proven difficult. Current therapy options for HIV and prostate cancer - including antiviral drugs, radiation and chemotherapy - involve severe side effects and are often ineffective against advanced cases. While there are some antibody drugs available, they are difficult to produce in large quantities and are costly. They also must be injected and are accompanied by severe side effects of their own.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:28 AM CT

Religion and medicine

Religion and medicine
Do pediatric oncologists feel that religion is a bridge or a barrier to their work? Or do they feel it can be either, depending on whether their patients are recovering or deteriorating? A novel Brandeis University study examines these questions in the current issue of Social Problems

Through in-depth interviews with 30 pediatricians and pediatric oncologists at elite medical centers, the authors discovered that physicians tend to view religion and spirituality pragmatically, considering them resources in family decision-making and in end of life situations, and barriers when they conflict with medical decisions, said main author Brandeis sociologist Wendy Cadge.

Pediatricians, more than pediatric oncologists, say that religion is outside the purview, or boundary, of their profession, most likely because they deal primarily with healthy children. Pediatric oncologists, conversely, say that religion can help families cope with a dying child or an unfavorable medical outcome, said Cadge.

"Physicians view religion and spirituality as a barrier when it impedes medical recommendations and as a bridge when it helps families answer questions medicine inherently cannot," the authors wrote.

Only one doctor in the study directly asked patients and their families about religion and spirituality regularly. The other pediatricians said that direct conversations about religion were either not relevant or too personal, drawing a clear boundary between public and private that puts religion on the private side of the line.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:19 AM CT

Green tea may prevent oral cancer

Green tea may prevent oral cancer
Green tea extract has shown promise as cancer prevention agent for oral cancer in patients with a pre-cancerous condition known as oral leukoplakia, as per scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The study, published online in Cancer Prevention Research, is the first to examine green tea as a chemopreventative agent in this high-risk patient population. The scientists observed that more than half of the oral leukoplakia patients who took the extract had a clinical response.

Long investigated in laboratory, epidemiological and clinical settings for several cancer types, green tea is rich in polyphenols, which have been known to inhibit carcinogenesis in preclinical models. Still, clinical results have been mixed.

"While still very early, and not definitive proof that green tea is an effective preventive agent, these results certainly encourage more study for patients at highest risk for oral cancer," said Vassiliki Papadimitrakopoulou, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, and the study's senior author. "The extract's lack of toxicity is attractive - in prevention trials, it's very important to remember that these are otherwise healthy individuals and we need to ensure that agents studied produce no harm".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 4, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

Weight training for breast cancer survivors

Weight training for breast cancer survivors
In addition to building muscle, weightlifting is also a prescription for self-esteem among breast cancer survivors, as per new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research. Breast cancer survivors who lift weights regularly feel better about bodies and their appearance and are more satisfied with their intimate relationships compared with survivors who do not lift weights, as per a newly released study reported in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Survivors' self-perceptions improved with weight lifting regardless of how much strength they gained during the year-long study, or whether they suffered from lymphedema, an incurable and sometimes debilitating side effect of breast surgery.

"It looks like weight training is not only safe and may make lymphedema flare ups less frequent, but it also seems help women feel better about their bodies," says senior author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "The results suggest that the act of spending time with your body was the thing that was important -- not the physical results of strength."

The new insights come from a randomized controlled trial that tested the impact of twice-weekly weight lifting for 12 months on survivors' health and emotional status. In the first report from the trial, reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) in August, Schmitz and his colleagues observed that lymphedema sufferers who lifted weights were less likely to experience a worsening of their arm-swelling condition.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 4, 2009, 8:13 AM CT

Size and shape of the blood vessels predict prostate cancer behavior

Size and shape of the blood vessels predict prostate cancer behavior
A diagnosis of prostate cancer raises the question for patients and their physicians as to how the tumor will behave. Will it grow quickly and aggressively and require continuous therapy, or slowly, allowing treatment and its risks to be safely delayed?

The answer may lie in the size and shape of the blood vessels that are visible within the cancer, as per research led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study of 572 men with localized prostate cancer indicates that aggressive or lethal prostate cancers tend to have blood vessels that are small, irregular and primitive in cross-section, while slow-growing or indolent tumors have blood vessels that look more normal.

The findings were published Oct. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

"It's as if aggressive prostate cancers are growing faster and their blood vessels never fully mature," says study leader Dr. Steven Clinton, professor of medicine and a medical oncologist and prostate cancer specialist at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

"Prostate cancer is very heterogeneous, and we need better tools to predict whether a patient has a prostate cancer that is aggressive, fairly average or indolent in its behavior so that we can better define a course of therapy surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal treatment, or potentially new drugs that target blood vessels that is specific for each person's type of cancer," Clinton says.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 2, 2009, 11:01 PM CT

Space-Industry Technology to Treat Breast Cancer

Space-Industry Technology to Treat Breast Cancer
Scientists at Rush University Medical Center and Argonne National Laboratory are collaborating on a study to determine if an imaging technique used by NASA to inspect the space shuttle can be used to predict tissue damage often experienced by patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment. The study is examining the utility of three-dimensional thermal tomography in radiation oncology.

Preliminary results from the study are being displayed during the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, being held from November 1 - 5, 2009.

Approximately 80 percent of patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy develop acute skin reactions that range in severity. The more severe reactions cause discomfort and distress to the patient, and sometimes result in therapy interruptions. The severity is quite variable among patients and difficult to predict.

"Because reactions commonly occur from 10 to 14 days after the beginning of treatment, if we could predict skin reactions sooner we appears to be able to offer preventative therapy to maximize effectiveness and minimize interruption of radiation therapy," said Dr. Katherine Griem, professor of radiation oncology at Rush.

Scientists at Rush and Argonne are studying if three-dimensional thermal tomography (3DTT) can detect the earliest changes that may trigger a skin reaction. 3DTT is a relatively new thermal imaging process that is currently being used as a noninvasive away to detect defects in composite materials. The basic idea of thermal imaging is to apply heat or cold to a material and observing the resulting temperature change with an infrared camera to learn about its composition.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 2, 2009, 8:46 AM CT

Nano-scale drug delivery for chemotherapy

Nano-scale drug delivery for chemotherapy
This is Ashutosh Chilkoti from Duke University.

Credit: Duke University Photography

scale delivery vehicles and demonstrated in animal models that this new nanoformulation can eliminate tumors after a single therapy. After delivering the drug to the tumor, the delivery vehicle breaks down into harmless byproducts, markedly decreasing the toxicity for the recipient.

Nano-delivery systems have become increasingly attractive to scientists because of their ability to efficiently get into tumors. Since blood vessels supplying tumors are more porous, or leaky, than normal vessels, the nanoformulation can more easily enter and accumulate within tumor cells. This means that higher doses of the drug can be delivered, increasing its cancer-killing abilities while decreasing the side effects linked to systematic chemotherapy.

"When used to deliver anti-cancer medications in our models, the new formulation has a four-fold higher maximum tolerated dose than the same drug by itself, and it induced nearly complete tumor regression after one injection," said Ashutosh Chilkoti, Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. "The free drug had only a modest effect in shrinking tumors or in prolonging animal survival".

The results of Chilkoti's experiments were published early online in the journal Nature Materials........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 29, 2009, 11:08 PM CT

Drug-radiation eliminates lung cancer

Drug-radiation eliminates lung cancer
Researchers, including Drs. Pier Paolo Scaglioni (right) and Georgia Konstantinidou, have eliminated non-small cell lung cancer in mice by using an investigative drug in combination with low-dose radiation.
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have eliminated non-small cell lung (NSCL) cancer in mice by using an investigative drug called BEZ235 in combination with low-dose radiation.

In a study appearing in the recent issue of Cancer Research, UT Southwestern scientists observed that if they administered BEZ235 before they damaged the DNA of tumor cells with otherwise nontoxic radiation, the drug blocked the pro-survival actions of a protein called PI3K, which normally springs into action to keep tumor cells alive while they repair DNA damage.

Scientists tested this novel therapeutic strategy in mice transplanted with NSCL cancers obtained from patients.

They observed that tumors in the mice treated with BEZ235 alone were significantly smaller than those in mice not given the drug. Eventhough the tumors stopped growing, they did not die.

By contrast, tumors were completely eradicated in mice treated with a combination of BEZ235 and radiation.

"These early results suggest that the drug-radiation combination might be an effective treatment in patients with lung cancer," said Dr. Pier Paolo Scaglioni, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.

NSCL cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The cancer cells often harbor mutations in a gene called K-RAS. Patients with such K-RAS mutations typically are more resistant to therapy with radiation and have a poor prognosis.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 29, 2009, 9:14 PM CT

Blocking heat shock protein to fight cancer

Blocking heat shock protein to fight cancer
This image shows an accumulation of holes, called vacuoles, inside a cell, which are associated with protein aggregation and disrupted regulation of normal protein degradation processes following exposure of cells to the HSP70 inhibitor.

Credit: Donna George, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Like yoga for office drones, cells do have coping strategies for stress. Heat, lack of nutrients, oxygen radicals all can wreak havoc on the delicate internal components of a cell, potentially damaging it beyond repair. Proteins called HSPs (heat shock proteins) allow cells to survive stress-induced damage. Researchers have long studied how HSPs work in order to harness their therapeutic potential.

Donna George, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics, and Julie Leu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics, both at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in collaboration with the lab of Maureen Murphy, PhD at Fox Chase Cancer Center, identified a small molecule that inhibits the heat shock protein HSP70. They also showed that the HSP inhibitor could stop tumor formation and significantly extend survival of mice. They describe their findings in this month's issue of Molecular Cell

HSP70 is an intracellular quality control officer, refolding misfolded proteins and preventing protein aggregation, which among other disorders, is linked to neurodegenerative diseases. HSP70 also ferries proteins to their proper intracellular locations. Tumor cells, which face an abundance of cellular stresses, typically overexpress HSP70, making it a potentially interesting anticancer target.........

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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