Sep 30, 2005
Actis plans phase II study with colon cancer drug
Actis Biologics Inc, a US-based pharmaceutical company, has received worldwide license for Angiozyme from Sirna and Chiron, who co-developed this novel compound with Actis. Angiozyme, a ribozyme based anti-cancer agent, has demonstrated activity against colon cancer in phase II clinical trials.
Sanjeev Saxena, president and CEO of Actis Biologics Inc., who is now in India told Pharmabiz, "The acquisition of Angiozyme accelerates the evolution of Actis Biologics into a clinical-stage oncology company in less than two years, and is in line with our business strategy of building a strong portfolio of targeted, novel, mechanism-based anti-cancer agents through the integration of internal discovery and in-licensing efforts." He added, "Actis is uniquely positioned to develop Angiozyme. The company has an experienced clinical development team, collaborations with global partners and a strong commitment to expedite the advancement of this molecule."
Angiozyme has been tested in over 90 advanced colorectal cancer patients in the US per FDA guidelines and has demonstrated anti-tumor activity. The company is planning to initiate additional phase II trials by the end of 2005.
Angiozyme is an anti-angiogenic compound designed to inhibit the growth of new blood supplies to tumors and prevent tumor growth and metastasis. Angiozyme is a phase IIb clinical product. Angiozyme is a ribozyme that specifically cuts up mRNA for VEGF-R1.
Sep 28, 2005
Defective gene that leads to Colon Cancer
Researchers have long established that defective genes are involved in the development of colorectal cancers. Now a group of researchers have found that inactivation of a specific gene may be the underlying molecular defect leading to the development of some colorectal cancers.
A gene, called 06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), is involved in the repair of DNA. The team from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has stated that the detection of changes in MGMT would help in measuring a person's risk for colorectal cancer.
In this study, researchers analyzed samples from 95 colorectal cancer patients and 33 people without cancer. MGMT promoter methylation was found in 50 percent to 94 percent of colorectal tumors.
The researchers have reported their findings in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Where does a cancer start?
It is now known to doctors and scientist that cancer can begin in region of cells with what's called a "field defect." These cells appear normal but have an underlying molecular defect. In colorectal cancer cells, MGMT is often methylated, resulting in an unhealthy inactivation of the gene.
The researchers have written that given the high lifetime risk of colorectal tumor development in the U.S. population, it is reasonable to propose testing, to determine whether healthy persons with MGMT promoter methylation in normal colorectal [lining] are at higher risk of developing a colon tumor than those without such methylation.
Sep 25, 2005
Check colon tumor for Lynch syndrome
All colon cancer tumors should be checked for the presence of Lynch syndrome, which is also known as a hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC).
These recommendations are the results of findings from a new study, which showed that one in 45 of surgically removed colon cancer tumors might have mutations for Lynch syndrome. This study was led by De la Chapelle from the Ohio State University and the results are published in the recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved testing of 1,066 newly diagnosed colorectal tumors and found the Lynch mutation in 23 of those tumor samples. Screening of first-degree relatives of these 23 patients with Lynch syndrome revealed an additional 52 people with undiagnosed Lynch syndrome.
Lynch syndrome runs in families and if some one has a Lynch mutation they have very high risk (close to 100 percent lifetime risk) of developing colorectal cancer. These people may also have increased risk of development of uterine and other types of cancer as well. If Lynch syndrome is identified other family members can be counseled regarding genetic testing and if found to be positive can take measures for early detection and prevention of development of colorectal cancer.
Sep 21, 2005
Beer increases risk of colorectal cancer
Think twice before you drink your next bottle of beer, since this can increase your risk of colorectal caners. Alcoholic drinks including beer may increase the risk of colorectal cancers as per a study report published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The report also states that wine drinkers may have a lower risk.
These findings are the results of study conducted by Dr. Joseph C. Anderson and colleagues from Stony Brook University, New York told who studied 2,291 people who were undergoing screening colonoscopy. Heavy beer or spirit consumption may be associated with 100 percent increased risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to people who do not use these drinks as per the study findings. Moderate use of these drinks may be associated with about 50 percent increase in the risk.
The study leaders believe that since heavy use of spirit is associated with 100 percent increase in the risk of colorectal cancer, physician should attempt life style modifications and place special emphasis on screening this group of people.
Sep 15, 2005
New Warnings for Erbitux
The drug Erbitux (cetuximab) used for advanced colorectal cancer can lead to some problems after the injection. The government is warning doctors to monitor patients who take Erbitux, for an hour after they receive an injection because of occasional reactions that include trouble breathing, hives or dangerously low blood pressure.
The Food and Drug Administration, along with manufacturers ImClone and Bristol-Myers Squibb, on Wednesday announced changes to the drug's warning label that includes the monitoring advice.
As per the issued warning about 3 percent of patients who receive an Erbitux injection may have a severe reaction. Fatalities are rare, in the order of fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of patients on the drug, but does not provide specific details.
The drug can also cause electrolyte imbalance and the label calls for periodic monitoring of blood electrolytes in patients who are taking the drug for several weeks.
Erbitux is FDA approved to treat patients with advanced colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Erbitux is the first monoclonal antibody approved to treat this type of cancer and is indicated as a combination treatment to be given intravenously with irinotecan, another drug approved to fight colorectal cancer, or alone if patients cannot tolerate irinotecan. Avastin (bevacizumab) is another monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.
Sep 12, 2005
Gallbladder surgery increases the risk of colon cancer
Researchers from UK say that Gallbladder may increase your risk of developing colon cancer. Gall bladder surgery, which is also called "Cholecystectomy" increases the risk of colon cancer but not rectal cancer.
The investigators published their findings in the American Journal of Gastroenterology and say that their findings support the studies that have been published earlier on the link between gallbladder removal and colon cancer.
Researchers say that that since there is only a slight increase in the risk, it should not influence the decision to undertake gall bladder surgery if there is a necessity.
Drs. Theresa Shao and Yu-Xiao Yang from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, who published the study, say that the underlying mechanism behind this could be stone-forming bile. They said that exposure of more of colon lining to bile acids and undigested fat following cholecystectomy, may lead to damage and subsequent development of cancer. The fact, cholecystectomy increases the risk of colon cancer, but not rectal cancer, is consistent with the bile acid exposure theory.
Sep 10, 2005
Johns Hopkins to develop blood test for colon cancer risk assessment
Good news for Johns Hopkins and for colon cancer patients! A team of scientists from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere has been selected to receive a $2.25 million, five-year grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to develop a practical test to predict a person's risk of colon cancer by looking for a particular biological marker in the blood.
If the research become successful, the test could be broadly applied to identify those who most need to be monitored with invasive but standard colonoscopy or who should make changes in their diet or in other factors to help lower their risk of developing colon cancer.
The researchers' test is based on the fact that five percent to 10 percent of people have improper control of a growth-promoting gene called insulin-like growth factor 2 or IGF-2. The Johns Hopkins scientists reported in February that, in mice, the double dose of IGF-2 protein sets the stage for cancer development -- by increasing the number of primitive cells found in the colon -- and that early evidence suggests the same could be true in people.
"If everything works out -- if IGF-2 status is tied to colon cancer risk in people and the blood test is workable -- then IGF-2 status could be the colon cancer equivalent of cholesterol levels as a risk factor for heart disease," says Andrew Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and one of the leaders of the project. "We've never had a broad molecular screening tool like that for any cancer."
Sep 9, 2005
Beckman promotes Better Colon-Cancer Screenings
David Bull devotes most of the time in a day as a marketing manager, conversing with the people about fecal matter. He works with Beckman Coulter, in Fullerton in promoting products, which uses stool samples for the screening of colorectal cancer.
A combination of this job and his name 'Bull' has made him hear all the jokes. However he has a good sense of humor and keeps urging people to safeguard their health.
Bull said that they were conversing about that part of the anatomy, which nobody wants to talk about, and asking the people to play with something they didn't want to. But we would do it for our kids, parents or dogs. So it is necessary for us to do it ourselves.
Beckman Coulter is one amongst several other companies that has introduced improved products called fecal immunochemical tests or FIT. These products are being recognized by the medical world as a more reliable way of detecting cancer and the polyps, which have the chances of developing into cancer.
Beckman's Hemoccult ICT makes use of antibodies for detecting the particular type of blood that can indicate colon cancer at an early stage.
Sep 8, 2005
Risk of Colorectal Cancer cut by the long-term use of Aspirin
Women who take long-term anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Advil or Motrin for the treatment of diseases like arthritis may have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. However the beneficial effects of anti-inflammatory drugs may not become apparent until the person takes the drugs for at least a decade. It should be noted that long-term use of these drugs is associated with other health risks including gastrointestinal bleeding.
In a recently published study, Dr. Andrew Chan, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that the risk of colorectal cancer is cut by as much as 53 percent by long term use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. The reduction in risk is related to the dose taken every week and number of years the person was taking the drug.
Long-term use of aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs do cut the risk of colorectal cancer, as per Chan, however considering the risks associated with the long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs it would not be advisable to take anti-inflammatory drugs for the purpose of prevention of colorectal cancer.
The side effects of using these drugs and the risks of colorectal cancer have to be weighed out. Colorectal cancer screening is one of the other prevention strategies and the benefits of aspirin above and beyond the current prevention needs to be examined says Dr. Chan
Eric Jacobs, a is a senior epidemiologist for the American Cancer Society says that American Cancer Society or any other group does not recommend the use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs at any dose for the prevention of cancer owing to the potential for serious side effects.
Even though advancement has been made in the screening and detection of colorectal cancer, it is still considered to be the second most deadly form of the disease. The first deadly disease is lung cancer. According the American Cancer Society, there are nearly 56,000 Americans who die due to colorectal cancer every year.