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January 14, 2009, 11:27 PM CT

A new protein that initiates breast cancer

A new protein that initiates breast cancer
Canadian scientists have identified a novel protein in the advancement of breast cancer. As per a recent study from the Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta, reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the protein ARF1 plays a critical role in cancer cell growth and the spread of tumours. Targeting this protein with drug treatment may provide hope to women with breast cancer.

"Until now, ARF1 has been linked to harmless albeit important housekeeping duties of cells," says senior author Audrey Claing, a professor of pharmacology at the Universit de Montral. "The Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta team is the first to characterize the role of ARF1 in breast cancer."

Dr. Claing and her colleagues applied invasive breast cancer cell lines to study ARF1's role. These cells are sensitive to a particular growth factor, called epidermal growth factor or EGF, which has previously been demonstrated to stimulate tumour growth and invasion. Their findings suggest that EGF acts upon ARF1 in these cells. In addition, when ARF1 activity was chemically blocked, breast cancer cell migration and growth was reduced. On the other hand, when ARF1 was overproduced in these cells, their movement was enhanced.

"Taken together our findings reveal an unsuspected role for ARF1 and indicate that this small protein appears to be a potential therapeutic target for the therapy of invasive breast cancers," says Dr. Claing, who is a member of the Groupe d'tude des protines membranaires as well a the Groupe de Recherche Universitaire sur le Mdicament, two multidisciplinary research teams dedicated to the study of membrane protein functions and the identification of new therapeutic targets for drug discovery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:31 AM CT

New gene to predict outcome in pancreatic cancer

New gene to predict outcome in pancreatic cancer
Variations in mismatch repair genes can help predict therapy response and prognosis in patients with pancreas cancer, as per research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center presented today in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

In the study, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in DNA mismatch repair were linked to response to gemcitabine (Gemzar)-based preoperative chemoradiation, tumor resectability (the likelihood of removing the entire tumor), and overall survival.

"Gemcitabine is a major chemotherapeutic agent used to treat pancreas cancer, but we don't understand why some patients respond and most patients do not," said Donghui Li, Ph.D., the study's main author and professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. "There has been no biomarker for pancreas cancer used in the clinic to predict response. Our research interest has been to determine whether genetic variation in DNA repair can be a predictor of therapy response or a prognosis factor for patient survival".

DNA repair is a complicated process, Li noted, with various mechanisms responsible for identifying and correcting different types of DNA damage. Mismatch repair genes correct mistakes in DNA replication or trigger cell death (apoptosis) if repair is not possible. Ensuring cell death is critical to preventing the runaway cell division that occurs in cancerous tumors.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:29 AM CT

Hepatitis C May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Hepatitis C May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A newly released study shows that infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases a person's risk for a highly fatal cancer of the biliary tree, the bile carrying pathway between the liver and pancreas. This finding is in the recent issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

More than 4 million Americans are infected with HCV, which causes chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. However, the associations between the virus and other potentially-related cancers are less clear.

To better understand the associations between HCV and these cancers, scientists led by Hashem El-Serag of Baylor College of Medicine, conducted a retrospective cohort study of more than 718,000 U.S. veterans who were treated at Veterans Affairs medical facilities between October 1, 1988 and September 30, 2004. Among them, 146,394 were infected with HCV and 572,293 were not. Uninfected subjects were matched to infected ones by sex, age and type and date of visit.

The scientists followed the subjects for an average of 2.3 years to determine the incidence these cancers. They observed that "risk for biliary tree cancer in the HCV-infected cohort, eventhough low (4 per 100,000 person-years), was more than double that in the HCV-uninfected cohort".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 11:32 PM CT

New Clues To Understanding Cancer

New Clues To Understanding Cancer
In the 13th January print edition of the journal Current Biology, Instituto Gubenkian de Ciencia scientists provide insight into an old mystery in cell biology, and offer up new clues to understanding cancer. Ins Cunha Ferreira and Mnica Bettencourt Dias, working with scientists at the universities of Cambridge, UK, and Siena, Italy, unravelled the mystery of how cells count the number of centrosomes, the structure that regulates the cell's skeleton, controls the multiplication of cells, and is often transformed in cancer.

This research addresses an ancient question: how does a cell know how a number of centrosomes it has? It is equally an important question, since both an excess or absence of centrosomes are linked to disease, from infertility to cancer.

Each cell has, at most, two centrosomes. Whenever a cell divides, each centrosome gives rise to a single daughter centrosome, inherited by one of the daughter cells. Thus, there is strict control on progeny! By using the fruit fly, the IGC scientists identified the molecule that is responsible for this 'birth control policy' of the cell a molecule called Slimb. In the absence of Slimb, each mother centrosome can give rise to several daughters in one go, leading to an excess of centrosomes in the cell.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Insulin levels may have a say in breast cancer risk

Insulin levels may have a say in breast cancer risk
Higher-than-normal levels of insulin place postmenopausal women at increased risk of breast cancer, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report. Their findings, reported in the January 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggest that interventions that target insulin and its signaling pathways may decrease breast cancer risk in these women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Last year, approximately 182,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 died from the disease. The majority of breast cancers arise in women past the age of menopause.

Obesity is a well-established risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, but just how obesity and breast cancer are connected is unclear. A number of scientists have assumed that the link is estrogena hormone that is known to increase breast-cancer risk and is found at higher-than-average levels in obese women. But obese women also have other hormonal imbalances that may play a role in triggering breast cancer. One such imbalance is elevated levels of insulin, which stimulates the growth of breast cells in tissue culture. The Einstein study is the first to prospectively identify insulin's role in breast cancer while controlling for estrogen levels.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 6:19 AM CT

New genes that fuse in cancer

New genes that fuse in cancer
Using new technologies that make it easier to sequence the human genome, scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a series of genes that become fused when their chromosomes trade places with each other. These recurrent gene fusions are believed to be the driving mechanism that causes certain cancers to develop.

The gene fusions discovered could potentially serve as a marker one day for diagnosing cancer or as a target for future drug development.

In the newly released study, published in Nature, the scientists identified several gene fusions in prostate cancer cells. Some of the fusions were seen in multiple cell lines studied, while other gene fusions appeared only once. The fusions were found only in cancer cells, and not in normal cells.

"We defined a new class of mutations in prostate cancer. The recurrent fusions are believed to be the driving mechanism of cancer. But we found other fusions as well, some of which were unique to individual patients. Our next step is to understand if these play a role in driving disease," says Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology at the U-M Medical School.

Chinnaiyan's team was the first to identify rearrangements in chromosomes and fused genes in prostate cancer. Gene fusions had previously been known to play a role in blood cell cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, and in Ewing's sarcoma.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 6:14 AM CT

New evidence for warburg theory of cancer

New evidence for warburg theory of cancer
German scientist Otto H. Warburg's theory on the origin of cancer earned him the Nobel Prize in 1931, but the biochemical basis for his theory remained elusive.

His theory that cancer starts from irreversible injury to cellular respiration eventually fell out of favor amid research pointing to genomic mutations as the cause of uncontrolled cell growth.

Seventy-eight years after Warburg received science's highest honor, scientists from Boston College and Washington University School of Medicine report new evidence in support of the original Warburg Theory of Cancer.

A descendant of German aristocrats, World War I cavalry officer and pioneering biochemist, Warburg first proposed in 1924 that the prime cause of cancer was injury to a cell caused by impairment to a cell's power plant or energy metabolism found in its mitochondria.

In contrast to healthy cells, which generate energy by the oxidative breakdown of a simple acid within the mitochondria, tumors and cancer cells generate energy through the non-oxidative breakdown of glucose, a process called glycolysis. Indeed, glycolysis is the biochemical hallmark of most, if not all, types of cancers. Because of this difference between healthy cells and cancer cells, Warburg argued, cancer should be interpreted as a type of mitochondrial disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 10:11 PM CT

Hormone therapy and colorectal cancer

Hormone therapy and colorectal cancer
The combination of estrogen plus progestin, which women stopped taking in droves following the news that it may increase their risk of breast cancer, may decrease their risk of colorectal cancer, as per a report reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"In comparison to women who had never taken these hormones, the use of estrogen plus progestin was linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer," said Jill R. Johnson, M.P.H., a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The largest risk reduction, approximately 45 percent, was seen among women who had completed use of estrogen plus progestin five or more years previously.

Johnson and her colleagues extracted data from 56,733 postmenopausal women who participated in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project follow-up study. Hormone treatment use and other risk factors were ascertained through telephone interviews and mailed questionnaires between 1979 and 1998. During an average 15 years of follow-up, Johnson and his colleagues identified 960 new cases of colorectal cancer in this population.

Any use of estrogen treatment was linked to a 17 percent reduced risk in colorectal cancer. Among those who used estrogen, the largest reductions were seen among those who were current users (25 percent reduced risk) and users of ten or more years duration (26 percent reduced risk).........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 10:04 PM CT

Cancer prevention properties of black raspberries

Cancer prevention properties of black raspberries
A study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, identifies components of black raspberries with chemopreventive potential.

Scientists at the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center observed that anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids in black raspberries, inhibited growth and stimulated apoptosis in the esophagus of rats treated with an esophageal carcinogen.

"Our data provide good evidence that anthocyanins are important for cancer prevention," said the study's main author, Gary D. Stoner, Ph.D., a professor in the department of internal medicine at Ohio State University.

Stoner and his team of scientists fed rats an anthocyanin-rich extract of black raspberries and observed that the extract was nearly as effective in preventing esophageal cancer in rats as whole black raspberries containing the same concentration of anthocyanins. This study demonstrates the importance of anthocyanins as preventive agents in black raspberries and validated similar in vitro findings. It is among the first to look at the connection between anthocyanins and cancer prevention in vivo.

Stoner and colleagues have conducted clinical trials using whole berry powder, which has yielded some promising results, but mandatory patients to take up to 60 grams of powder a day. "Now that we know the anthocyanins in berries are almost as active as whole berries themselves, we hope to be able to prevent cancer in humans using a standardized mixture of anthocyanins," said Stoner.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2009, 11:43 PM CT

Healthy cells Vs cancer cells

Healthy cells Vs cancer cells
One of the current handicaps of cancer therapys is the difficulty of aiming these therapys at destroying cancerous cells without killing healthy cells in the process. But a newly released study by McMaster University scientists has provided insight into how researchers might develop therapies and drugs that more carefully target cancer, while sparing normal healthy cells.

Mick Bhatia, scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and his team of researchers have demonstrated for the first time the difference between normal stem cells and cancer stem cells in humans.

The discovery, reported in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology today, could eventually help with the further customization and targeting of cancer therapys for the individual patient. It will immediately provide a model to discover drugs using robotic screening for available molecules that may have untapped potential to eradicate cancer.

"Normal stem cells and cancer stem cells are hard to tell apart, and a number of have misconstrued really good stem cells for cancer stem cells that have gone bad - we now can tell the ones masquerading as normal stem cells from the bad, malignant ones," said Bhatia.........

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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