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March 4, 2010, 9:43 PM CT

Key cause of chronic leukemia progression

Key cause of chronic leukemia progression
COLUMBUS, Ohio Scientists have discovered a key reason why a form of leukemia progresses from its more-treatable chronic phase to a life-threatening phase called blast crisis.

The study, led by cancer scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), indicates that chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) progresses when immature white blood cells lose a molecule called miR-328.

Loss of the molecule traps the cells in a rapidly growing, immature state. The cells soon fill the bone marrow and spill into the bloodstream, a tell-tale sign that the disease has advanced to the blast crisis stage.

The research, reported in the March 5th issue of the journal Cell, should provide a better understanding of the blast-crisis stage of CML, and it suggests a possible new therapy strategy for the disease, the scientists say.

"These findings indicate that the loss of miR-328 is probably essential for progression from the chronic phase of the disease to the blast crisis stage," says principal investigator Danilo Perrotti, associate professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a member of the OSUCCC-James.

"Our findings also suggest that maintaining the level of this microRNA might represent a new therapeutic strategy for CML blast crisis patients who do not benefit from targeted agents such as imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel)," Perrotti says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 17, 2010, 7:26 AM CT

Genetic link between mammographic density and breast cancer

Genetic link between mammographic density and breast cancer
A University of Melbourne study has revealed that certain breast cancer genetic variants increase mammographic density, confirming the link between mammographic breast density and breast cancer.

Professor John Hopper of the University's School of Population Health says women vary greatly in their underlying risk of breast cancer. "These findings provide an insight into possible new pathways into the development of breast cancer".

"We hope our research on mammographic density will eventually help identify women at higher risk of getting breast cancer. That is still a way off, but for now women should follow national guidelines for screening," he says.

The research was conducted in the University's School of Population Health and Department of Pathology along with key national and international collaborators. The paper was published recently in the prestigious international journal Cancer Research

"Prior twin studies have suggested there is a genetic link between mammographic density and breast cancer. For the first time, we have been able to identify some of the breast cancer genetic variants involved".

The amount of light areas on a mammogram reveals the mammographic density of a woman's breast. Women who have high mammographic density for their age are at an increased risk of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 17, 2010, 7:24 AM CT

Key interaction that controls telomeres

Key interaction that controls telomeres
In the dominoes that make up human cells, scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have traced another step of the process that stops cells from becoming malignant.

It starts with the enzyme telomerase, which affects the caps, or telomeres, at the end of a chromosome. Telomeres shorten over time. But telomerase prevents this from happening, making the cell immortal. If cancer is triggered in the cell, the presence of telomerase leads to the growth of the cancer.

Telomerase is kept in control by the protein TRF1, which keeps the telomeres operating correctly. But another protein, Fbx4, can bind to TRF1 and degrade it, causing the telomeres to lengthen.

Now, scientists have discovered, a third protein, TIN2, can step in and override Fbx4 by binding to TRF1 first and preventing Fbx4 from attaching to it.

This finding paves the way for developing a drug that acts like TIN2, keeping everything in check and stopping the first domino from falling.

Results of the study appear in the Feb. 16 issue of Developmental Cell.

"In 90 percent of cancers, no matter what caused the cancer to form, it needs telomerase activity to maintain the cell. Without telomerase, the cell will die. Our work is key to understanding a detailed mechanism for how these molecules interact and how to design a drug to block Fbx4," says senior author Ming Lei, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:58 AM CT

Killing cancer with nano

Killing cancer with nano
Rapidly expanding nanobubbles blasted through arterial plaque in a 2009 study. Gold nanoparticles were sprayed on the plaque (from left) and illuminated with a laser from above. With the backlighting turned off, each bubble shows up as a brilliant flash.

Credit: D. Lapotko/Rice University
Using lasers and nanoparticles, researchers at Rice University have discovered a new technique for singling out individual diseased cells and destroying them with tiny explosions. The researchers used lasers to make "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In tests on cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create either small, bright bubbles that were visible but harmless or large bubbles that burst the cells.

"Single-cell targeting is one of the most touted advantages of nanomedicine, and our approach delivers on that promise with a localized effect inside an individual cell," said Rice physicist Dmitri Lapotko, the lead researcher on the project. "The idea is to spot and treat unhealthy cells early, before a disease progresses to the point of making people extremely ill".

The research is available online in the journal Nanotechnology

Nanobubbles are created when gold nanoparticles are struck by short laser pulses. The short-lived bubbles are very bright and can be made smaller or larger by varying the power of the laser. Because they are visible under a microscope, nanobubbles can be used to either diagnose sick cells or to track the explosions that are destroying them.

In laboratory studies published last year, Lapotko and his colleagues at the Laboratory for Laser Cytotechnologies at the A.V. Lykov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute in Minsk, Belarus, applied nanobubbles to arterial plaque. They observed that they could blast right through the deposits that block arteries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:52 AM CT

Barriers to screening for colorectal cancer

Barriers to screening for colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Despite evidence and guidelines supporting the value of screening for this disease, rates of screening for colorectal cancer are consistently lower than those for other types of cancer, particularly breast and cervical. Although the screening rates in the target population of adults over age 50, have increased from 20-30 percent in 1997 to nearly 55 percent in 2008 the rates are still too low. An NIH state-of-the-science panel was convened this week to identify ways to further increase the use and quality of colorectal cancer screening in the United States.

"We recognize that some may find colorectal cancer screening tests to be unpleasant and time-consuming. However, we also know that recommended screening strategies reduce colorectal cancer deaths," said Dr. Donald Steinwachs, panel chair, and professor and director of the Health Services Research and Development Center at the Johns Hopkins University. "We need to find ways to encourage more people to get these important tests".

The panel found that the most important factors associated with being screened are having insurance coverage and access to a regular health care provider. Their recommendations highlighted the need to remove out-of-pocket costs for screening tests.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 4, 2010, 8:20 AM CT

Plant derivative may fight cancer

Plant derivative may fight cancer
Celastrol, derived from trees and shrubs called celastracaea, has been used for centuries in China to treat symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain and inflammation. Medical College of Georgia researchers think it may also play a role in cancer treatment by inactivating a protein required for cancer growth.

Credit: Medical College of Georgia

Medical College of Georgia scientists are seeking to refine cancer therapy with an anti-inflammatory plant derivative long used in Chinese medicine.

Celastrol, derived from trees and shrubs called celastracaea, has been used for centuries in China to treat symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain and inflammation. The MCG scientists think it may also play a role in cancer therapy by inactivating a protein mandatory for cancer growth.

That protein, P23, is one of a number of proteins helping the heat shock protein 90. Researchers are just beginning to realize the potential of controlling inflammation-related diseases, including cancer, by inhibiting HSP90.

"Cancer cells need HSP90 more than normal cells because cancer cells have thousands of mutations," said Dr. Ahmed Chadli, biochemist in the MCG Center for Molecular Chaperones/Radiobiology and Cancer Virology. "They need chaperones all the time to keep their mutated proteins active. By taking heat shock proteins away from cells, the stabilization is taken away and cell death occurs".

But most HSP90 inhibitors lack selectivity, disabling the functions of all proteins activated by HSP90 rather than only the ones implicated in a specific tumor. Those proteins vary from one tumor to another.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:23 AM CT

Curing More Cervical Cancer Patients

Curing More Cervical Cancer Patients
Cervical cancer is highly curable when caught early. But in a third of cases, the tumor responds poorly to treatment or recurs later, when cure is much less likely.

Quicker identification of non-responding tumors appears to be possible using a new mathematical model developed by scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

The model uses information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken before and during treatment to monitor changes in tumor size. That information is plugged into the model to predict whether a particular case is responding well to therapy. If not, the patient can be changed to a more aggressive or experimental treatment midway through therapy, something not possible now.

The study, reported in the journal Cancer Research, uses MRI scans and outcome information from 80 cervical cancer patients receiving a standard course of radiation treatment designed to cure their cancer.

"The model enables us to better interpret clinical data and predict therapy outcomes for individual patients," says principal investigator Jian Z. Wang, assistant professor of radiation medicine and a radiation physicist at the OSUCCC-James.

"The outcome predictions presented in this paper were solely based on changes in tumor volume as derived from MRI scans, which can be easily accessed even in community hospitals," Wang says. "The model is very robust and can provide a prediction accuracy of 90 percent for local tumor control and recurrence".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:18 AM CT

Approval of oncology drugs at FDA

Approval of oncology drugs at FDA
Over a two and half year period, beginning in 2005 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's oncology drug product's office began reviewing marketing applications, a total of 60 new oncology and hematology drugs were evaluated, of which 53 were approved, as per a new article published online January 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

To provide an overview of recent regulatory actions by the FDA's Office of Oncology Drug Products in the Center for Drug Assessment and Research, Rajeshwari Sridhara, Ph.D., of the FDA's Office of Biostatistics, in Silver Spring, Md., and his colleagues identified all applications evaluated, as well as actions taken, from July 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007. Their review included "New Drug Application" and "Biologics Licensing Application" approvals.

Marketing applications for 60 new products were evaluated and regulatory action was taken on 58 of them based on a riskbenefit assessment. Products that demonstrated efficacy and had an acceptable riskbenefit ratio (i.e., the magnitude of the therapy effect was statistically persuasive and clinically meaningful) were granted either regular or accelerated marketing approval. A total of 53 new indications were approved: 39 received regular approval, nine received accelerated approval, and five were converted from accelerated to regular approval. Two applications were withdrawn before action was taken, and five were not approved.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:06 AM CT

New computational tool for cancer treatment

New computational tool for cancer treatment
A number of human tumors express indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an enzyme which mediates an immune-escape in several cancer types. Scientists in the Molecular Modeling group at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and Dr. Benot J. Van den Eynde's group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd (LICR) Brussels Branch developed an approach for creating new IDO inhibitors by computer-assisted structure-based drug design. The study was presented in the January 2010 online issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

The docking algorithm EADock, used for this project, was developed by the Molecular Modeling Group over the last eight years. It provides solutions for the "lock-and-key" problem, wherein the protein active site is regarded as a "lock", which can be fitted with a "key" (commonly a small organic molecule) able to regulate its activity. Once an interesting molecule has been obtained, synthesis and laboratory experiments are necessary to confirm or reject the prediction. This algorithm will soon be made available to the scientific community worldwide.

The researchers obtained a high success rate. Fifty percent of the molecules designed in silico were active IDO inhibitors in vitro. Compounds that displayed activities in the low micromolar to nanomolar range, made them suitable for further testing in tumor cell experiments and for in vivo assessment in mice. If these studies are successful, researchers can begin evaluating these new compounds in patients undergoing cancer-immunotherapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 29, 2010, 8:10 AM CT

How pancreatic cancer able to defeat drugs

How pancreatic cancer able to defeat drugs
Scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have found one reason that pancreas cancer tumors are so difficult to treat with drugs. They have shown how a molecular switch steps up pancreas cancer cell survival as well as resistance to a standard chemotherapy drug, and have identified alternate routes cancer cells take to avoid the effects of the treatment.

The findings, by a group led by Andrew M. Lowy, MD, professor of surgery and chief of surgical oncology at the UCSD School of Medicine and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, are reported online and will appear February 1 in the journal Cancer Research The study provides new insights into pancreas cancer development and new potential drug targets and therapy strategies against the disease.

"To understand how to treat pancreas cancer tumors, we need to better understand their circuitry and behavior," Lowy said.

Pancreas cancer is a especially deadly cancer, fast-moving and difficult to detect early. It's estimated that more than 35,000 people died from pancreas cancer last year in the United States.

RON is a signaling protein known as a tyrosine kinase, essentially a switch that turns on various activities in cells. Prior work in Lowy's lab showed that RON is overexpressed in a majority of premalignant and pancreas cancer cells, and could also help cells resist dying. The scientists wanted to find out what role, if any, RON played in pancreas cancer development and progression.........

Posted by: Sue      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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