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March 13, 2011, 11:56 AM CT

Prostate cancer patients on ADT gain significant weight

Prostate cancer patients on ADT gain significant weight
Seventy per cent of men who received androgen-deprivation treatment (ADT) after surgery to remove their prostate gland gained significant weight in the first year, putting on an average of 4.2kg, as per a paper in the recent issue of the urology journal BJUI.

Scientists studied the recorded weights of 132 men who underwent radical prostatectomy between 1988 and 2009 at four US Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in California, Georgia and North Carolina, before and after they received ADT.

This showed that the majority of the men gained significant weight during the first year of treatment, but did not put on any more weight after that.

"ADT is a hormone treatment that deprives the patient's body of androgens, such as testosterone, which have been shown to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells" explains Dr Stephen J Freedland, from the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University School of Medicine and the Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

"Having been established as the mainstay therapy for recurrent or secondary prostate cancer, ADT is now being increasingly used to treat localised disease.

"This rising use of ADT makes it even more important that we pay close attention to the side-effects of the treatment, including weight gain, as obesity is linked with many chronic and potentially life-threatening health problems".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 8, 2011, 7:47 AM CT

Improving capture of circulating cancer cells

Improving capture of circulating cancer cells
Circulating tumor cells, which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, have been known to science for more than 100 years, and scientists have long endeavored to track and capture them. Now, a UCLA research team has developed an innovative device based on Velcro-like nanoscale technology to efficiently identify and "grab" these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in the blood.

Metastasis is the most common cause of cancer-related death in patients with solid tumors and occurs when these marauding tumor cells leave the primary tumor site and travel through the blood stream to set up colonies in other parts of the body.

The current gold standard for determining the disease status of tumors involves the invasive biopsy of tumor samples, but in the early stages of metastasis, it is often difficult to identify a biopsy site. By capturing CTCs in blood samples, doctors can essentially perform a "liquid" biopsy, allowing for early detection and diagnosis, as well as improved monitoring of cancer progression and therapy responses.

As per a research findings published this month and featured on the cover of the journal Angewandte Chemie, the UCLA scientists announce the successful demonstration of this "nano-Velcro" technology, which they engineered into a 2.5-by-5�centimeter microfluidic chip. This second-generation CTC-capture technology was shown to be capable of highly efficient enrichment of rare CTCs captured in blood samples collected from patients with prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 22, 2011, 7:35 AM CT

How many mammograms radiologists must read?

How many mammograms radiologists must read?
Radiologists who interpret more mammograms and spend some time reading diagnostic mammograms do better at determining which suspicious breast lesions are cancer, as per a new report published online on February 22 and in print in the recent issue of Radiology

In direct response to a report from the Institute of Medicine that called for more research on the relationship between interpretive volume and performance in screening mammography, the multi-site team undertook the largest and most comprehensive study of U.S. radiologists. The Institute of Medicine is the health arm of the National Academies, advisors to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine.

Funded largely through a unique collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, the study examined information from 120 radiologists who interpreted 783,965 screening mammograms at six mammography registries in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) over five years. The scientists looked at how screening outcomes were correlation to four different measures of each radiologist's annual volume: the number of screening and diagnostic mammograms�separately and in combination�and the percentage of total mammograms that were for screening rather than diagnosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 17, 2011, 7:08 AM CT

Key culprit in breast cancer metastasis

Key culprit in breast cancer metastasis
When doctors discover high concentrations of regulatory T cells in the tumors of patients with breast cancer, the prognosis is often grim, though why exactly has long been unclear.

Now new research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests these regulatory T cells, whose job is to help mediate the body's immune response, produce a protein that appears to hasten and intensify the spread of breast cancer to distant organs and, in doing so, dramatically increase the risk of death.

The findings are published in the Feb. 16 advance online edition of the journal Nature

The scientists observed that mice with breast cancer were more likely to develop metastatic lung cancer due to elevated levels of RANKL, an inflammatory protein normally involved in bone remodeling. Regulatory T cells were found to be the primary source of RANKL in these tumors. However, the same increase in metastasis was seen when synthetic RANKL was injected directly into tumors, suggesting that RANKL was the key to the ability of regulatory T cells to promote the spread of breast cancer. The researchers also determined that interfering with the ability of RANKL to interact with cancer cells seemed to block tumor progression, and may represent a potential target for drug treatment.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 14, 2011, 7:33 AM CT

Circulating Tumor Cell Detection

Circulating Tumor Cell Detection
Gold-based nanoparticles can detect circulating tumor cells.
Tiny gold particles can help doctors detect tumor cells circulating in the blood of patients with head and neck cancer, scientists at Emory and Georgia Tech have found.

The detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is an emerging technique that can allow oncologists to monitor patients with cancer for metastasis or to evaluate the progress of their therapy. The gold particles, which are embedded with dyes allowing their detection by laser spectroscopy, could enhance this technique's specificity by reducing the number of false positives.

The results are published online in the journal Cancer Research.

One challenge with detecting CTCs is separating out signals from white blood cells, which are similarly sized as tumor cells and can stick to the same antibodies normally used to identify tumor cells. Commercially available devices trap CTCs using antibody-coated magnetic beads, and technicians must stain the trapped cells with several antibodies to avoid falsely identifying white blood cells as tumor cells.

Emory and Georgia Tech scientists show that polymer-coated and dye-studded gold particles, directly associated with a growth factor peptide rather than an antibody, can detect circulating tumor cells in the blood of patients with head and neck cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 2, 2011, 7:57 AM CT

PET Scans May Allow Early Prediction

PET Scans May Allow Early Prediction
Positron emission tomography (PET) can image metabolic changes following therapy with the protein kinase inhibitor vandetanib, helping to define the treatment response or the effectiveness of the therapeutic agent, as per research reported in the recent issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Currently being tested in clinical trials, vandetanib inhibits the function of the RET (rearranged-during-transfection protein) proto-oncogene and other protein kinases involved in the development and progression of cancer.

"For the most part, clinical trials have been measuring the effectiveness of vandetanib by changes in tumor size. Based on the activating effects of mutated RET and other protein kinases on numerous intracellular metabolic pathways, we hypothesized that PET imaging could play a role in the early assessment of response to vandetanib," said Martin A. Walter, MD, main author of the study "Metabolic Imaging Allows Early Prediction of Response to Vandetanib".

The study examined the usefulness of metabolic imaging to determine response to vandetanib in three ways. First, medullary thyroid cancer cells were used to create an in vitro model. After cultivation, the cells were treated with vandetanib, and changes in the metabolic profile of the cells were successfully monitored by transcriptional profiling and by radiotracer uptake studies.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 2, 2011, 7:50 AM CT

Targeted particle fools brain's guardian to reach tumors

Targeted particle fools brain's guardian to reach tumors
Wadih Arap, M.D., Ph.D. and Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., of University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Credit: MD Anderson

A targeted delivery combination selectively crosses the tight barrier that protects the brain from the bloodstream to home in on and bind to brain tumors, a research team led by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center published in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

In experiments with mice, the scientists demonstrated that the targeted particles guide payloads to image tumors, treat tumors, or can potentially do both to monitor therapy as it occurs. Their findings open a new research avenue for detecting and treating brain tumors in human patients.

"We've identified an iron-mimic peptide that can hitch a ride on a protein complex that transports iron across the blood-brain barrier," said co-senior author Wadih Arap, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the David H. Koch Center at MD Anderson. "Employing the iron transport system selectively opens the blood-brain barrier for tumor imaging and therapy while keeping it otherwise intact to play its protective role".

The barrier thwarts drug delivery because its tight layering of blood vessel cells and certain types of brain cells forms a nearly impenetrable wall against most blood-borne compounds, which can harm the brain. The iron-transporting transferrin protein and receptor complex is a potential path to therapy, the authors noted, because its receptor gene is the most overexpressed in human glioblastomas.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


February 1, 2011, 8:03 AM CT

Computer-assisted diagnosis tools

Computer-assisted diagnosis tools
A research group led by Ohio State's Metin Gurcan, Ph.D., has been leveraging Ohio Supercomputer Center resources to develop a computer-assisted diagnosis tool to improve grading of a common cancer
Scientists are leveraging Ohio Supercomputer Center resources to develop computer-assisted diagnosis tools that will provide pathologists grading Follicular Lymphoma samples with quicker, more consistently accurate diagnoses.

"The advent of digital whole-slide scanners in recent years has spurred a revolution in imaging technology for histopathology," as per Metin N. Gurcan, Ph.D., an associate professor of Biomedical Informatics at The Ohio State University Medical Center. "The large multi-gigapixel images produced by these scanners contain a wealth of information potentially useful for computer-assisted disease diagnosis, grading and prognosis".

Follicular Lymphoma (FL) is one of the most common forms of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma occurring in the United States. FL is a cancer of the human lymph system that commonly spreads into the blood, bone marrow and, eventually, internal organs.

A World Health Organization pathological grading system is applied to biopsy samples; doctors commonly avoid prescribing severe therapies for lower grades, while they commonly recommend radiation and chemotherapy regimens for more aggressive grades.

Accurate grading of the pathological samples generally leads to a promising prognosis, but diagnosis depends solely upon a labor-intensive process that can be affected by human factors such as fatigue, reader variation and bias. Pathologists must visually examine and grade the specimens through high-powered microscopes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 1, 2011, 7:05 AM CT

Race gap narrows for some cancers

Race gap narrows for some cancers
While the overall death rate for cancer continues to drop among African Americans, the group continues to have higher death rates and shorter survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers. The findings come from Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2011-2012, the latest edition of a report produced every two years by the American Cancer Society.

The higher overall cancer death rate among African Americans is due largely to higher mortality rates from breast and colorectal cancers in women and higher mortality rates from prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers in men. In recent years, death rates for lung and other smoking-related cancers and for prostate cancer have decreased faster in African American men than white men, leading to a narrowing of the gap in overall cancer death rates. Notably, lung cancer death rates for young African Americans and whites have converged in both men and women. In contrast, the racial disparity has continued to increase in recent years for colorectal cancer in both men and women and for breast cancer in women, cancers for which progress has been made through screening and improvements in therapy.

"While the factors behind these racial disparities are multifaceted, there is little doubt socioeconomic status plays a critical role," said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., American Cancer Society chief medical officer. "African Americans are disproportionately represented in lower socioeconomic groups. For most cancers, the lower the socioeconomic status, the higher the risk. It's important to note as well that the factors linked to socioeconomic status contribute to substantial differences in cancer incidence and mortality within racial and ethnic groups as well. People with lower socioeconomic status have higher cancer death rates, regardless of demographic factors such as race/ethnicity".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 28, 2011, 7:43 PM CT

Antibiotic against cancer

Antibiotic against cancer
Zhong-Yin Zhang, Ph.D.
Robert A. Harris Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

An antibiotic known for its immunosuppressive functions could also point the way to the development of new anti-cancer agents, scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine have reported.

The study determined that the compound, tautomycetin, targets an enzyme called SHP2, which plays an important role in cell activities such as proliferation and differentiation. Interestingly, SHP2 mutations are also known to cause several types of leukemia and solid tumors. The findings were published in the Jan. 28, 2011, issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology.

The potential for developing anti-cancer agents grew out of an attempt to determine how the compound, tautomycetin, exerts its immune suppression activities, said Zhong-Yin Zhang, Ph.D., Robert A. Harris Professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The finding is also encouraging because SHP2 is a member of a large family of enzymes called protein tyrosine phosphotases (PTPs), which are important in the signaling processes that control all essential cellular functions. Dysregulation of PTP activity has been associated with several human diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and immune dysfunctions. But their makeup has made it difficult to find potential drugs to act on them, characteristics that have labeled the PTPs as "undruggable," Dr. Zhang said.........

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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