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May 22, 2009, 5:02 AM CT

Low vitamin D cancer link

Low vitamin D cancer link
Food rich in Vitamin D
In studying the preventive effects of vitamin D, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have proposed a new model of cancer development that hinges on a loss of cancer cells' ability to stick together. The model, dubbed DINOMIT, differs substantially from the current model of cancer development, which suggests genetic mutations as the earliest driving forces behind cancer.

"The first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels," said epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who led the work. "In this new model, we propose that this loss may play a key role in cancer by disrupting the communication between cells that is essential to healthy cell turnover, allowing more aggressive cancer cells to take over".

Reporting online May 22, 2009 in the Annals of Epidemiology, Garland suggests that such cellular disruption could account for the earliest stages of a number of cancers. He said that prior theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 20, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Post menopausal hormone replacement and breast cancer

Post menopausal hormone replacement and breast cancer
The risk of developing breast cancer due to taking hormone replacement treatment may be the same for women with a family history of the disease and without a family history, a University of Rochester Medical Center study concluded.

The study, published online this week in the journal Epidemiology, adds to the evolving picture of what factors, either alone or in combination, boost breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. It also refutes the notion, held by a number of in the medical community, that a familial predisposition to breast cancer enhances the carcinogenic effects of estrogen.

"Eventhough we know that family history is a risk factor, we don't know yet what it is about family history that conveys the risk," said Robert E. Gramling, M.D., D.Sc., assistant professor of Family Medicine and of Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC. "Some have proposed that it might be an increased sensitivity to estrogen, but our data did not support that notion. In fact, this study suggests the causal pathway based on family history is probably not estrogen sensitivity".

Scientists analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative randomized trial, which followed 16,608 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 79, who took hormone replacement treatment (HRT) or a placebo pill between 1993 and 2002. Among the participants, 349 cases of invasive breast cancer occurred during a mean follow-up period of 5.6 years.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 20, 2009, 5:11 AM CT

Predicting breast cancer outcome

Predicting breast cancer outcome
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center scientists have uncovered a gene signature that may help predict clinical outcomes in certain types of breast cancer.

In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Harold (Hal) Moses, M.D., and his colleagues report that this gene signature which is linked to the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling pathway correlates with reduced relapse-free survival in breast cancer patients, particularly in those with estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumors.

The results suggest that assessing TGF-β signaling appears to be a useful aid in determining breast cancer prognosis and in guiding therapy. The work also sheds light on how TGF-β affects tumor growth and progression.

TGF-β is a well-known regulator of tumor growth and metastasis. In the early stages of cancer, TGF-β signaling inhibits tumor growth. But for unclear reasons, most tumors eventually lose their sensitivity to TGF-β, and the once-beneficial protein begins promoting tumor growth and metastasis during later cancer stages. Loss of TGF-β signaling has been associated with tumor progression in human breast cancer.

To identify mechanisms by which TGF-β regulates tumor progression and metastasis, Brian Bierie, Ph.D., a former graduate student in the Moses lab, developed mammary cancer cell lines from mice lacking the TGF-β type II receptor (TβRII), an important component of the TGF-β signaling pathway.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 19, 2009, 5:25 AM CT

Computer Model Predicts Brain Tumor Growth

Computer Model Predicts Brain Tumor Growth
The virtual and the real
Computer-generated depictions of a growing brain tumor show growth at six, eight and 12 months (top, left to right), with development of infiltrative cell front (arrow) at 12 months. Tissue slide (bottom) shows tumor finger (black arrow) advancing in substrate gradient (white arrow).
Scientists from Brown University and other institutions have developed a computational computer model of how brain tumors grow and evolve.

The model is the product mathematical formulas based on the first principals of physics, such as conservation of mass, and it has allowed scientists to recreate tumor growth in a computer. Through subsequent repetitive testing against real tumors, they have also linked their computerized tumors to real-world brain tumors, or "gliomas," and can now watch tumor growth on a computer screen.

Creating such a model is significant because it could help design specific, targeted therapys for individualized treatment. There is no cure for gliomas, which can kill quickly, often within 15 months of diagnosis. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy announced a year ago that he was suffering from this type of tumor, a cancerous glioma of the brain.

Details of the research were highlighted at an April meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The full article is included in the May 15 edition of the journal Cancer Research.

"This helps us design a therapy," said Elaine Bearer, the main author and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Brown. "By testing potential therapies in the computer, we can get our new drugs much faster to patients".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 19, 2009, 5:02 AM CT

DNA patterns of cancer and genetic disorders

DNA patterns of cancer and genetic disorders
A new tool will help scientists identify the minute changes in DNA patterns that lead to cancer, Huntington's disease and a host of other inherited disorders. The tool was developed at North Carolina State University and translates DNA sequences into graphic images, which allows scientists to distinguish genetic patterns more quickly and efficiently than was historically possible using computers.

David Cox, a Ph.D. student in computer science at NC State, devised the "symbolic scatter plot" tool to provide a visual representation of a DNA sequence. Cox explains, "The human visual system is more adept at identifying patterns, and differentiating between patterns, than existing computer programs such as those that try to identify repetitions of DNA sequences." In other words, the naked eye sees patterns better than computers can.

Identifying patterns in a sequence of DNA is important because it can help scientists identify the minute genetic variations between subjects that suffer from a disease, such as cancer, and subjects that do not. "Improved identification of relevant DNA sequences will hopefully expedite the development of successful therapy for a range of diseases," Cox says, "by allowing scientists to focus on the components of DNA that are correlation to the disease and improving our understanding of the genetic mechanisms of these diseases. For example, what turns specific genes on and off?".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 18, 2009, 5:25 AM CT

The future of personalized cancer treatment

The future of personalized cancer treatment
In technology that promises to one day allow drug delivery to be tailored to an individual patient and a particular cancer tumor, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have developed an efficient system for delivering siRNA into primary cells. The work would be reported in the May 17 in the advance on-line edition of Nature Biotechnology

"RNAi has an unbelievable potential to manage cancer and treat it," said Steven Dowdy, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "While there's still a long way to go, we have successfully developed a technology that allows for siRNA drug delivery into the entire population of cells, both primary and tumor-causing, without being toxic to the cells".

For a number of years, Dowdy has studied the cancer treatment potential of RNA inhibition which can be used to silence genes through short interfering, double-stranded RNA fragments called siRNAs. But delivery of siRNAs has proven difficult due to their size and negative electrical charge which prohibits them from readily entering cells.

A small section of protein called a peptide transduction domain (PTD) has the ability to permeate cell membranes. Dowdy and his colleagues saw the potential for PTDs as a delivery mechanism for getting siRNAs into cancer cells. He and his team had previously generated more than 50 "fusion proteins" using PTDs associated with tumor-suppressor proteins.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 15, 2009, 5:02 PM CT

Possible breakthrough drug in lung cancer

Possible breakthrough drug in lung cancer
Interim Phase II data from the LUX-Lung 2 study suggest BIBW 2992 has anti-tumor activity in advanced, second-line, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

"Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer.3 The LUX-Lung 1 and 2 studies represent an opportunity to investigate BIBW 2992 across a range of different patient populations," said Dr. Manfred Haehl, corporate senior vice president, Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim. "The preliminary data from the LUX-Lung 2 study suggests that BIBW 2992 may have activity in the second-line setting among NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations, which is encouraging news".

BIBW 2992 is an orally-administered, irreversible dual inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epithelial receptor 2 (HER2) tyrosine kinases.1 It is the first irreversible EGFR-TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor) to reach Phase III for third/fourth-line NSCLC.

In the emerging era of personalized cancer medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the first companies to prospectively identify appropriate patients for clinical trials based on biomarkers. As part of the LUX-Lung clinical development program, Boehringer Ingelheim is evaluating BIBW 2992 in NSCLC patients who test positive for EGFR activating mutations.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 14, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Implantable device for cancer monitoring

Implantable device for cancer monitoring
Surgical removal of a tissue sample is now the standard for diagnosing cancer. Such procedures, known as biopsies, are accurate but only offer a snapshot of the tumor at a single moment in time.

Monitoring a tumor for weeks or months after the biopsy, tracking its growth and how it responds to therapy, would be much more valuable, says Michael Cima, MIT professor of materials science and engineering, who has developed the first implantable device that can do just that.

Cima and colleagues recently reported that their device successfully tracked a tumor marker in mice for one month. The work is described in a paper published online in the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics in April.

Such implants could one day provide up-to-the-minute information about what a tumor is doing -- whether it is growing or shrinking, how it's responding to therapy, and whether it has metastasized or is about to do so.

"What this does is basically take the lab and put it in the patient," said Cima, who is also an investigator at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

The devices, which could be implanted at the time of biopsy, could also be tailored to monitor chemotherapy agents, allowing doctors to determine whether cancer drugs are reaching the tumors. They can also be designed to measure pH (acidity) or oxygen levels, which reveal tumor metabolism and how it is responding to treatment.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 14, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Novel therapy for cancer?

Novel therapy for cancer?
A ground-breaking Canada-wide clinical trial led by Dr. Katherine Borden, at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Universit de Montral, has shown that a common anti-viral drug, ribavirin, can be beneficial in the treatment of cancer patients. Published in the journal Blood (First Edition), the study demonstrates that ribavirin suppresses the activities of the eIF4E gene in patients. This gene is dysregulated in 30 percent of cancers including breast, prostate, head and neck, colon and stomach cancer.

The study, inspired by the exciting discoveries made by Dr. Borden at IRIC, was a joint project between her research group, who monitored molecular events in trial patients, and Dr. Sarit Assouline of the Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital, who led the clinical part of the trial.

The integration of these two teams made it possible to rapidly move from a research lab to patient tests. The study team targeted the gene by giving trial participants a mimic of its natural target, ribavirin. "Our results are the first to show that targeting eIF4E in humans is clinically beneficial," explains Dr. Borden. "We also found that ribavirin not only blocks eIF4E, it has no side effect on patients".

The trial studied patients with M4/M5 acute myeloid leukemia who had undergone several other treatments that had previously failed. "We had striking clinical improvements with even partial and complete remissions," indicated Assouline.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 11, 2009, 5:09 AM CT

City-dwellers more likely to develop late-stage cancer

City-dwellers more likely to develop late-stage cancer
People who live in urban areas are more likely to develop late-stage cancer than those who live in suburban and rural areas. That is the conclusion of a newly released study reported in the June 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results indicate a need for more effective urban-based cancer screening and awareness programs.

Diagnosing cancer at an early stage can improve outcomes. Studies show certain groups, such as low income populations, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages. While some studies have also observed that geography can affect the timing of cancer diagnoses, research on rural-urban disparities has produced mixed and conflicting findings.

To investigate the rural and urban differences in late-stage cancer diagnoses, Sara L. McLafferty, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois and Fahui Wang, Ph.D., of Louisiana Sate University analyzed data from the Illinois State Cancer Registry from 1998 to 2002. The researchers noted that Illinois is an appropriate area to study because it encompasses a diverse range of geographic regions from the densely populated Chicago metropolitan area to low-density, remote rural areas. They assessed late-stage cancer diagnoses of the four major types of cancer (breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate) throughout the state, comparing data from cities with those from less-populated regions.........

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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