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March 2, 2008, 7:37 PM CT

Novel way to develop tumor vaccines

Novel way to develop tumor vaccines
Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have uncovered a new way to develop more effective tumor vaccines by turning off the suppression function of regulatory T cells. The results of the study, titled A20 is an antigen presentation attenuator, and its inhibition overcomes regulatory T cell-mediated suppression, will be published in Nature Medicine on March 2, 2008.

Under normal circumstances, regulatory T cells inhibit the immune system to attack its own cells and tissues to prevent autoimmune diseases. Cancer cells take advantage of regulatory T cells' suppressor ability, recruiting them to keep the immune system at bay or disabling the immune systems attack provoked by tumor vaccines. says Si-Yi Chen, M.D., Ph.D., professor of immunology and molecular microbiology at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Our study provides a new vaccination strategy to overcome the regulatory T cells immune suppression while avoiding non-specific overactivation of autoreactive T cells and pathological autoimmune toxicities.

The study identified a new molecular player called A20, an enzyme that restricts inflammatory signal transduction in dendritic cells. When it is inhibited, the dendritic cells overproduce an array of cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules that triggers uncommonly strong immune responses that cannot be suppressed by regulatory T cells. The resulting hyperactivated immune responses triggered by A20-deficient dendritic cells are capable of destroying various types of tumors that are resistant to current tumor vaccines in mice.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 28, 2008, 10:39 PM CT

Breast cancer death rates among black women

Breast cancer death rates among black women
A new study from the American Cancer Society finds that while breast cancer death rates are decreasing for white women in every U.S. state, for African American women, death rates are either flat or rising in at least half the states. The study, published early online in the journal Cancer Causes and Control, finds breast cancer death rates among African American women are decreasing in only 11 of 37 states with sufficient numbers for analysis and in the District of Columbia. In the rest, death rates are either flat (24 states) or actually increasing (two states: Arkansas and Mississippi).

American Cancer Society scientists led by Carol DeSantis, MPH, analyzed mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for the years 1975 through 2004 by state and race. At the national level, death rates began to decline in 1990 for white women and in 1991 for African American women. But they decreased far slower in African American women. As a result, the gap in death rates from breast cancer between African American and white women has increased substantially. In 1991, death rates among African American women were 18 percent higher in comparison to white women; by 2004, they were 36 percent higher. Eventhough breast cancer death rates have decreased in both African American and white women in the U.S. as a whole, the study found death rates have increased or remained level for African American women in 26 states.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 28, 2008, 10:24 PM CT

Targets Against Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer

Targets Against Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer
The identification of two cellular receptors that likely contribute to the genesis of hormone-dependent breast cancer points the way to new, highly targeted therapies against the disease, says a team led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The finding also helps explain how daily use of medicines such as aspirin might help keep these breast tumors at bay.

"These two receptors, called EP2 and EP4, form key links in a biochemical pathway that boosts estrogen production in fat and breast cancer cells - this, in turn, may increase a woman's risk for developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Finding ways to interrupt this pathway in a manner that causes few side effects is the ultimate goal of this research," explains the study's senior author Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, director of the newly established Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Henry R. Erle, M.D.-Roberts Family Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The new findings were published recently in the online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

About 75 percent of all breast malignancies are "estrogen receptor-positive," meaning that their cells carry receptors attuned to estrogen. In the presence of the hormone, these cancer cells will divide and grow. For this reason, anti-estrogen drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors have come to the forefront in the fight against hormone-dependent breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 26, 2008, 10:12 PM CT

New bladder cancer therapy

New bladder cancer therapy
As a number of as half of patients with superficial bladder cancer do not respond to the standard first-line chemotherapy placed into the bladder, as per current multi-center outcomes data. When this happens, typically, their only option is surgical removal of the bladder. Now, scientists at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center are investigating an FDA-approved metastatic breast-cancer drug called Abraxane that may prove a safe and effective alternative to surgery for these patients.

Bladder cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer in men and the ninth leading cause of cancer in women in the United States. In a given year, more than 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, and 13,000 will die from the disease.

"When the standard therapy does not work, currently the only option is surgical removal of the bladder -- something that, for all patients, is unappealing, and for some sicker patients is not even possible. With this study, we hope to find an effective second line medical option for these patients," says Dr. James McKiernan, director of urologic oncology at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, and vice chairman of the Department of Urology and assistant professor of urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 25, 2008, 9:14 PM CT

Test can reduce recurrence of breast cancer

Test can reduce recurrence of breast cancer
A new test that examines large sections of the sentinel lymph node for genes expressed by breast cancer could reduce the risk of recurrence and multiple surgeries, doctors say.

The GeneSearch Breast Lymph Node Assay, manufactured by Veridex, L.L.C., a Johnson & Johnson company, is being used at the Medical College of Georgia to examine half of the tissue in the sentinel lymph node, the first place breast cancer typically spreads. The sample represents more than 10 times the amount of tissue examined in traditional biopsies.

And because the test examines the tissue with molecular tools, it is more sensitive, says Dr. Zixuan (Zoe) Wang, molecular biologist and scientific director of MCG's Georgia Esoteric and Molecular Diagnostic Labs, L.L.C.

"When we look at the tissue with the GeneSearch test, we are looking for excessive amounts of mamoglobin and cytokeratin 19, both genes that are expressed more in breast cancer tissue," Dr. Wang says. "If those genes are present in excessive amounts, we know the cancer has metastasized."

MCG is the first place in Georgia to offer the test, which Time Magazine named one of the top-10 medical breakthroughs of 2007.

Done during a lumpectomy, the GeneSearch test uses molecular diagnostic methods to examine more tissue than traditional sentinel node biopsies, reducing the chance of false negative results, says Dr. Stephen Peiper, chair of the MCG Department of Pathology and Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Physician and Scientist.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 24, 2008, 9:36 PM CT

5-fluorouracil in colonic neoplasm?

5-fluorouracil in colonic neoplasm?
5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a common chemotherapeutical drug. It exerts its antitumor effect through competitive thymidylate synthase (TS) inhibition. Thymidylate synthase (TS) catalyses deoxyuridine-5-monophosphate (dUMP) to 2-deoxythymydine-5-monophosphate (dTMP). It is the only de novo source of thymidylate, an essential precursor of DNA biosynthesis. In the 5-untranslated region of TS gene, there a unique tandem repeated sequence. There are three predominant genotypes of TS: (1) Homozygous with two tandem repeats (2R/2R); (2) homozygous with three tandem repeats (3R/3R); (3) heterozygous with both alleles (2R/3R). It was reported that TS genes with the triple repeats have higher expression activity than those with double repeats in vitro and in vivo.

The critical role of TS in nucleotide metabolism has made it an important target for cancer chemotherapy. Intratumoral TS protein expression before the chemoradiation therapy has been observed to inversely correlate with the response to 5-FU chemotherapy. Patients with low TS levels have better clinical outcome than those with high TS levels. Detecting the intratumoral TS levels is important for patients who are going to receive 5-FU-based chemotherapy, as these can be used to forecast the efficacy of chemotherapy. However, the classical assay for TS-activity determination (high-performance liquid chromatography with output monitored by radioactive flow detector) is tedious and expensive. A simple way to detect the TS levels is necessary. A research article would be published on January 28, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 21, 2008, 12:31:47 CT

Role of Antidepressants in cancer therapeutics

Role of Antidepressants in cancer therapeutics
Recently I have seen an interesting article by Julian Lieb titled "The multifaceted value of antidepressants in cancer therapeutics" and I saw some very interesting concepts in this article. In this review I am trying to look in to some of the theories and findings presented by Dr. Julian Lieb in this article (Ref 1).

Julian Lieb, M.D is a retired, Yale medical school psychiatry professor. His major interest is immunopharmacology of infectious disorders and cancer in which he is a recognized authority. Dr. Julian Lieb has authored or coauthored forty- five articles and nine books.

It has been shown that depression can predispose a person to infections, cancer, osteoporosis and degenerative diseases of the nervous system (Ref 2, 3). In a patient with depression excessive amounts of prostaglandin is produced which is responsible for this increased vulnerability of patients with depression to other disorders mentioned above (Ref 2, 3). Prostaglandins are believed to have regulatory influence on every component of the cellular microenvironment (Ref 4, 5).

Carcinogenesis is a complex mechanism and include among factors an up-regulation of cyclooxygenase, oncogene synthesis and expression, viral activation, signal disruption, accelerated cell replication, failed apoptosis, tumor initiation and promotion, angiogenesis, metastasis, immunosuppression and autoimmunity (Ref 1). These are intimately connected with prostaglandins and enzymes involved in their metabolism (Ref 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)........

Posted by: Kottapurath Kunjumoideen MD      Read more


February 14, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Single reader with CAD more efficient

Single reader with CAD more efficient
Single reading of screening mammograms with computer-aided detection (CAD) is more efficient than double reading and yields a higher sensitivity than the first reader in a double reading program, as per a research studyconducted by scientists at Charlotte Radiology in Charlotte, NC. In addition, the readings with CAD had a significantly lower recall rate than double reading.

The double reading method consisted of the mammogram being first read by sub-specialized mammographers, with the second reading performed by either a specialist or a general radiologist who is certified in mammography. Single reading with CAD waccording toformed by sub-specialized mammographers.

The study compared the recall rate, sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and cancer detection rate of single reading with CAD to double reading and to the first reader in the double reading program in 231,221 mammograms from 2001-2005. The study shows that single reading with CAD was as effective at finding cancers as double reading and had a lower recall rate.

Because double reading is time consuming and not generally reimbursed, CAD has become increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative way to increase sensitivity, said Matthew Gromet, JD, MD, author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:23 PM CT

Earlier colon cancer screening for smokers

Earlier colon cancer screening for smokers
New evidence suggests screening for colorectal cancer, which is now recommended to begin at age 50 for most people, should start five to 10 years earlier for individuals with a significant lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke, a University of Rochester Medical Center study said.

An examination of 3,450 cases observed that current smokers were diagnosed with colon cancer approximately seven years earlier than people who never smoked. The study is also one of the first to link exposure to second-hand smoke, particularly early in life, with a younger age for colon cancer onset.

The article appears online in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

The message for physicians and patients is clear: When making decisions about colon cancer screening you should take into account smoking history as well as family history of disease and age, said lead author Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester.

Peppones group examined data from patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1957 and 1997 at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. (Peppone joined the University of Rochester in 2007, coming from RPCI. Co-authors are from RPCI.).........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 12, 2008, 9:41 PM CT

Test detects early stage ovarian cancer with 99 percent accuracy

Test detects early stage ovarian cancer with 99 percent accuracy
Dr. Gil Mor at Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

Credit: Yale University
Scientists at Yale School of Medicine have developed a blood test with enough sensitivity and specificity to detect early stage ovary cancer with 99 percent accuracy.

Results of this new study are reported in the February 15 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The results build on work done by the same Yale group in 2005 showing 95 percent effectiveness of a blood test using four proteins.

The ability to recognize almost 100 percent of new tumors will have a major impact on the high death rates of this cancer, said Mor. We hope this test will become the standard of care for women having routine examinations.

Epithelial ovary cancer is the leading cause of gynecologic cancer deaths in the United States and three times more lethal than breast cancer. It is commonly not diagnosed until its advanced stages and has come to be known as the silent killer.

This new phase II clinical trial led by Gil Mor, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, included 500 patients; 350 healthy controls and 150 ovary cancer patients. Mor and his colleagues validated the prior research and used a new platform called multiplex technology to simplify the test into one single reaction using very small amounts of serum from the blood. The new platform uses six protein biomarkers instead of four, increasing the specificity of the test from 95 to 99.4 percent. The team looked for the presence of specific proteins and quantified the concentration of those proteins in the blood.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 10, 2008, 9:48 PM CT

Why certain ovarian cancers develop resistance

Why certain ovarian cancers develop resistance
A team of scientists led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has identified a new mechanism that explains why some recurrent ovarian tumors become resistant to therapy with usually used platinum-based chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and carboplatin. They describe their research online Feb. 10 in the journal Nature.

While these findings are based on the study of ovarian-cancer cells from women with inherited mutations in the BRCA2 gene, they also may help explain the mechanics of cisplatin resistance in ovarian-cancer patients with BRCA1-gene mutations. Together such genetic mistakes are thought to cause about 10 percent of ovary cancers, as per senior author Toshiyasu (Toshi) Taniguchi, M.D., Ph.D.

Because BRCA1 and BRCA2 have similar functions in terms of DNA repair, we may be able to generalize these findings for women with either mutation, said Taniguchi, an assistant member of the Hutchinson Centers Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions.

BRCA2 works to repair damaged DNA; inherited mutations in this gene disrupt that ability, which increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. At the same time, such mutations also make cancer cells more vulnerable to DNA-damaging agents such as cisplatin and carboplatin. While ovarian tumors initially respond very well to platinum-based chemotherapy, eventually between 70 percent and 80 percent of advanced-stage ovarian-cancer patients develop a resistance to these drugs.........

Posted by: Emily      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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