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April 3, 2011, 9:27 AM CT

New target identified for squamous cell lung cancer

New target identified for squamous cell lung cancer
Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have identified a mutation in the DDR2 gene that may indicate which patients with squamous cell lung cancer will respond to dasatinib.

The findings appear in Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, debuting here at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, from April 2-6.

As per lead researcher Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, there are currently no targeted therapies for squamous cell lung cancer, which affects approximately 50,000 people annually in the United States. Meyerson estimates that DDR2 mutations would be present in lung cancers from about one to two thousand people a year in the United States.

"As a percentage of the millions of people who get cancer each year it is small, but cancer treatment is going more in the direction of personalized medicine as we learn more and more about the complicated biology of each tumor," he said.

Using standard genetic sequencing techniques, Meyerson and his colleagues identified mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene in about 3 percent of squamous cell lung cancers and cell lines. Furthermore, they observed that tumor cells with these DDR2 mutations responded to therapy with dasatinib. A patient whose cancer carried a DDR2 mutation also showed a clinical response to dasatinib.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:23 AM CT

Immune system may guide chemotherapy

Immune system may guide chemotherapy
ORLANDO, Fla. � A study published in Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, debuting here at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held April 2-6, showed how evaluating the immune response in the tumor microenvironment may help scientists better target treatment in breast cancer.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, demonstrated that the level of macrophages and CD8+ T-cells, two key components of the human immune system, can help predict recurrence and overall survival. New biologic-targeted therapies impairing macrophage recruitment into tumors show promising results in preclinical studies.

"Phase I clinical trials are blunt instruments because their goal is often limited to determining a safe dose for a new drug," said Lisa Coussens, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology at the University of California, San Francisco. "Using preclinical transgenic mouse models of cancer development, researchers cannot only help determine a safe dose for a new drug, but also identify biomarkers indicative of the biological response of the new drug. Identification of relevant biomarkers can then be translated to clinical studies and help to determine which patients are or are not responding to the drug".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:03 AM CT

Heart drug cuts prostate cancer risk

Heart drug cuts prostate cancer risk
Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues paired laboratory and epidemiologic data to find that men using the cardiac drug, digoxin, had a 24 percent lower risk for prostate cancer. The researchers say further research about the discovery may lead to use of the drug, or new ones that work the same way, to treat the cancer.

Digoxin, made from the foxglove plant, has been used for centuries in folk medicine and for decades to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities. It also emerged as a leading candidate among 3,000 drugs screened by the Johns Hopkins team for the drugs' ability to curb prostate cancer cell growth, as per the investigators, who published their findings in the April 3 issue of Cancer Discovery

Additional research, by the team, in a cohort of more than 47,000 men revealed that those who took digoxin for heart disease had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer. The researchers cautioned, however, that their work does not prove digoxin prevents prostate cancer nor are they suggesting the drug be used to prevent the disease. "This is not a drug you'd give to healthy people," says Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology, oncology, and urology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Serious side effects include male breast enlargement and heart rhythm irregularities, and the drug usually causes nausea, vomiting and headache.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:54 AM CT

Stress, anxiety of aggressive breast cancer

Stress, anxiety of aggressive breast cancer
Dr. Georita M. Frierson
When an aggressive form of breast cancer strikes a young woman, what kind of stress, anxiety and other psychological and social challenges does she face?

That question hasn't been answered in the published psychological cancer literature, but a new pilot study just launched is gathering data to change that, as per psychology expert Georita M. Frierson at SMU.

The two-year study will survey up to 60 women recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that typically strikes younger women under 40, mostly African-American or Hispanic, or those who test positive for a mutation of the human gene that suppresses tumors, BRCA1.

Known as Triple Negative Breast Cancer, this unconventional subtype categorized as "nonhormonal" strikes 10 to 20 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study is probing patients' stress, anxiety and concerns about the psychological and social hurdles they face, said Frierson, principal investigator. SMU is collaborating on the Triple Negative study with the University of Texas Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

"We don't know anything about this population psychologically," said Frierson, an expert in behavioral health psychology and an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Psychology. "But based on this study, for any of their concerns we could tailor a psychological intervention to help other women like the women in my pilot. These women will be our pioneers in the psychological area to help their sisters that may have Triple Negative in the future".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:50 AM CT

Good-bye to cat allergy

Good-bye to cat allergy
Good-bye itching, watering eyes and sneezing. McMaster University scientists have developed a vaccine which successfully treats people with an allergy to cats.

Traditionally, frequent allergy shots have been considered the most effective way to bring relief � other than getting rid of the family pet -- for the eight to 10% of the population allergic to cats.

Both options � one difficult and costly, the other troubling - may now be tossed aside thanks to the work of immunologist Mark Larch�, professor in the Department of Medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Allergy & Immune Tolerance.

Building on research he's conducted for the past 10 years in Canada and Britain, Larch� and his research team have developed a vaccine which is effective and safe with almost no side effects. The research is published in a recent (January 2011) issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, a leading journal in the allergy field.

The scientists took one protein (molecule) that cats secrete on their fur which causes the majority of allergic problems. Using blood samples from 100 patient volunteers allergic to cats, they deconstructed the molecule and identified short regions within the protein which activate T-cells (helper cells that fight infection) in the immune system.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:30 AM CT

Promising target for AIDS vaccine

Promising target for AIDS vaccine
A section of the AIDS virus's protein envelope once considered an improbable target for a vaccine now may be one of the most promising, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers indicates.

The section, a twisting strand of protein known as the V3 loop, is an attractive vaccine target because immune system antibodies aimed at the loop may offer protection against multiple genetic subtypes of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. This is a key prerequisite of any AIDS vaccine because the viruses mutate rapidly and by now comprise millions of different strains that are grouped into different genetic subtypes, or "clades." The researchers' findings are published online in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One. .

In the study, researchers injected a monoclonal antibody -- a preparation of millions of identical antibodies that fight viral infection -- into Asian monkeys known as macaques. The antibody came from a person infected with a specific clade of HIV-1. The macaques were then exposed to virus of a different clade. Investigators knew the antibody would latch onto a portion of the virus's V3 loop, potentially barring the virus from invading nearby cells, but they didn't know whether it would prevent infection from a separate subtype of the virus.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:19 AM CT

Soy increases radiation's ability to kill lung cancer cells

Soy increases radiation's ability to kill lung cancer cells
A component in soybeans increases radiation's ability to kill lung cancer cells, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official monthly journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

"To improve radiotherapy for lung cancer cells, we are studying the potential of natural non-toxic components of soybeans, called soy isoflavones, to augment the effect of radiation against the tumor cells and at the same time protect normal lung against radiation injury," said Dr. Gilda Hillman, an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Wayne State University's School of Medicine and the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

"These natural soy isoflavones can sensitize cancer cells to the effects of radiotherapy, by inhibiting survival mechanisms which cancer cells activate to protect themselves," Hillman said. "At the same time, soy isoflavones can also act as antioxidants in normal tissues, which protect them against unintended damage from the radiotherapy. In a recent study, reported in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, we demonstrated that soy isoflavones increase killing of cancer cells by radiation via blocking DNA repair mechanisms, which are turned on by the cancer cells to survive the damage caused by radiation".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:16 AM CT

Skip the coffee, study says

Skip the coffee, study says
Eating a fatty fast food meal is never good for you, but washing that meal down with a coffee is even worse, as per a new University of Guelph study.

Researcher Marie-Soleil Beaudoin has discovered not only that a healthy person's blood sugar levels spike after eating a high-fat meal, but that the spike doubles after having both a fatty meal and caffeinated coffee � jumping to levels similar to those of people who are at risk for diabetes.

"The results tell us that saturated fat interferes with the body's ability to clear sugars from the blood and, when combined with caffeinated coffee, the impact can be even worse," said Beaudoin, a PhD student who conducted the study with U of G professors Lindsay Robinson and Terry Graham. "Having sugar remain in our blood for long periods is unhealthy because it can take a toll on our body's organs".

Published recently in the Journal of Nutrition� the study is the first to examine the effects of saturated fat and caffeinated coffee on blood sugar levels using a novel fat cocktail which contains only lipids. This specially designed beverage allows scientists to accurately mimic what happens to the body when we ingest fat.

For the study, healthy men drank about one gram of the fat beverage for every kilogram of body weight for their first meal. Six hours later, they were given a second meal consisting of a sugar drink.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2011, 7:06 AM CT

Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment

Hepatitis C drug may revolutionize treatment
The drug boceprevir helps cure hard-to-treat hepatitis C, says Saint Louis University investigator Bruce R. Bacon, M.D., author of the March 31 New England Journal (NEJM) article detailing the study's findings. The results, which were first reported at the 61st annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease's last November, offer a brighter outlook for patients who have not responded to standard therapy.

Bacon, who is professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the HCV RESPOND-2 study, studied the protease inhibitor boceprevir and observed that it significantly increased the number of patients whose blood had undetectable levels of the virus.

"These findings are particularly significant for patients who don't respond to initial therapy," said Bacon. "When the hepatitis C virus is not eliminated, debilitating fatigue and more serious problems can follow".

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that is transmitted by contact with blood. The infection may initially be asymptomatic, but for patients who develop chronic hepatitis C infection, inflammation of the liver may develop, leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), as well as other complications including liver cancer and death.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 31, 2011, 6:56 AM CT

Sleep during adolescence

Sleep during adolescence
Eventhough adolescents need just as much sleep as younger children, sleep times decrease over the course of development, leaving a number of teens chronically sleep-deprived. Studies have consistently indicated that insufficient sleep can have a negative effect on a number of aspects of adolescents' lives, leading to mood disturbances, poorer physical health, and academic difficulties. But few studies have examined how sleep affects the ways adolescents function on a daily basis or how the effects of sleep change over time.

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) will host a symposium during its Biennial Meeting at which scientists will consider the effects of sleep on adolescents. All of the papers that will be presented look at day-to-day variation in adolescents' sleep by using daily diaries, and consider how sleep patterns are related not only to concurrent well-being but also to outcomes later in development.

Among the questions that will be addressed:
  • How do nightly variations in teenagers' sleep affect their experiences the following day? In turn, do daily experiences one day affect sleep the next night?
  • What are the delayed effects of sleep (or lack of sleep)? For example, does insufficient sleep in one year lead to problems in later years?........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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