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December 21, 2010, 6:21 AM CT

Chemotherapy boost survival of older teenage leukemia patients

Chemotherapy  boost survival of older teenage leukemia patients
More effective risk-adjusted chemotherapy and sophisticated patient monitoring helped push cure rates to nearly 88 percent for older adolescents enrolled in a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy protocol and closed the survival gap between older and younger patients battling the most common childhood cancer.

A report online in the December 20 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology noted that overall survival jumped 30 percent in the most recent therapy era for ALL patients who were age 15 through 18 when their cancer was found.

The study compared long-term survival of patients treated between 2000 and 2007 in a protocol designed by St. Jude researchers with those enrolled in earlier St. Jude protocols. About 59 percent of older patients treated between 1991 and 1999 were cured, compared with more than 88 percent of children ages 1 through 14 treated during the same period. But overall survival for older patients rose to almost 88 percent between 2000 and 2007, when long-term survival of younger patients soared to about 94 percent. Nationally, about 61 percent of ALL patients age 15 to 19 treated between 2000 and 2004 were still alive five years later.

Not only did more patients in the recent therapy era survive, but Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Oncology and the paper's main author, said they are also less likely to suffer serious late therapy effects, including second cancers and infertility. That is because the regimen, known as Total XV, eliminated or dramatically reduced reliance on drugs linked to those side effects.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 15, 2010, 7:02 AM CT

Breast inflammation is key to cancer growth

Breast inflammation is key to cancer growth
PHILADELPHIA It took 12 years and a creation of a highly sophisticated transgenic mouse, but scientists at Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have finally proven a long suspected theory: Inflammation in the breast is key to the development and progression of breast cancer.

In the December 15 issue of Cancer Research, the researchers say they can now definitively show that an inflammatory process within the breast itself promotes growth of breast cancer stem cells responsible for tumor development.

They also demonstrate that inactivating this inflammation selectively within the breast reduced activity of these stem cells, and stopped breast cancer from forming.

"These studies show for the first time that inactivating the NFKB inflammatory pathway in the breast epithelium blocks the onset and progression of breast cancer in living animals," says Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Kimmel Cancer Center and Chairman of Cancer Biology.

"This finding has clinical implications," says co-author Michael Lisanti, Leader of the Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics of Cancer at Jefferson. "Suppressing the whole body's inflammatory process has side effects. These studies provide the rationale for more selective anti-inflammatory treatment directed just to the breast." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 15, 2010, 7:01 AM CT

Strategy to improve cancer vaccines

Strategy to improve cancer vaccines
The promise of vaccines targeted against various types of cancer has raised the hopes of patients and their families. The reality, however, is that these promising therapys are difficult to develop. One of the challenges is identifying a discrete cellular target to stop cancer growth without inactivating the immune system. Researchers at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center report a laboratory finding that has the potential to increase the effectiveness of therapeutic cancer vaccines.

The team observed that the absence of the function of a protein called NLRP3 can result in a four-fold increase in a tumor's response to a therapeutic cancer vaccine. If this finding proves consistent, it appears to be a key to making cancer vaccines a realistic therapy option. Their findings were reported in the Dec. 15, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Jonathan Serody, MD, a study author, explains, "This finding suggests an unexpected role for NLRP3 in vaccine development and gives us a potentially pharmacologic target to increase vaccine efficacy".

The research team was headed by co-leaders of the UNC Lineberger Immunology Program: Serody, MD, an expert in tumor immunology, and Jenny Ting, PhD, a pioneer in understanding the NLR family of proteins. Serody is the Elizabeth Thomas Professor of Hematology and Oncology. Ting is UNC Alumni Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Inflammation Center at UNC.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 13, 2010, 7:44 AM CT

HOXB7 gene promotes tamoxifen resistance

HOXB7 gene promotes tamoxifen resistance
A gene target for drug resistance, a triple-drug cocktail for triple negative breast cancer, and patients' risk for carpal tunnel syndrome are among study highlights scheduled to be presented by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers during the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8-12. The information is embargoed for the time of presentation at the symposium.

A number of postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancers who initially respond well to tamoxifen become resistant to the drug over time and develop recurrent tumors. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have observed that a gene called HOXB7 appears to be the culprit in tamoxifen resistance.

Taken by mouth, tamoxifen is used at every stage of breast cancer to treat existing tumors and prevent new ones from developing. The drug works only in women whose tumor cells have a protein, called the estrogen receptor, which binds to the estrogen hormone. Tamoxifen binds to this estrogen receptor and blocks estrogen's effect on fueling cancer cells.

In experiments on cancer cells, the researchers observed that when the HOXB7 gene is overexpressed, as occurs in a number of breast cancers, tumors cells became resistant to tamoxifen. Overexpression of HOXB7 results in proteins that interact with a series of other estrogen-activated genes and proteins, including the HER2 gene, known to make breast cancers aggressive. When the researchers knocked out the HOXB7 gene in one group of breast cancer cells, HER2 activation decreased and the cells became more responsive to tamoxifen. The researchers then showed how the HOXB7-HER2 interaction works.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 13, 2010, 7:26 AM CT

Breast cancer in pregnant women

Breast cancer in pregnant women
Do not delay therapy of breast cancer just because a woman is pregnant, said lead researcher Sibylle Loibl, Dr. med, of the German Breast Group.

This suggestion is based on study results detailing the effects of different therapy options on the infant. Loibl presented this data at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8-12, 2010.

"At the time we started the study in 2003, there was hardly any information on breast cancer treatment during pregnancy, but we felt there was a medical need for it," she said.

Eventhough the occurence rate of pregnancy among patients with breast cancer is small (about 2 to 3 percent), women are delaying childbirth until later in age, which may increase the instances of cancer cases among pregnant women, as per Loibl.

The scientists collected data from women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant to see how the infants fared.

From April 2003 until June 2010, they collected data from 313 women, aged 23 to 47 years old. The women had various subtypes of breast cancer, and the cancer was in various stages when diagnosed. All of the women were pregnant when they were diagnosed with cancer: 23 percent were in the first trimester, 42 percent were in the second and 36 percent were in the third trimester. Some women received various therapy regimens while the rest received chemotherapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 13, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Pomegranate juice components to fight cancer

Pomegranate juice components to fight cancer
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have identified components in pomegranate juice that both inhibit the movement of cancer cells and weaken their attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone. The research could lead to new therapies for preventing cancer metastasis.

Performed in the lab of Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology, the research was presented today (Dec. 12, 2010) at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology taking place in Philadelphia.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the United States. To date, there is no cure for it. If prostate cancer recurs after therapys of surgery and/or radiation, commonly the next therapy is the suppression of the male hormone testosterone, which inhibits the growth of the cancer cells because they need this hormone to grow. But over time, the cancer develops ways to resist hormone suppression therapies, becomes very aggressive, and metastasizes to the bone marrow, lungs, and lymph nodes, commonly resulting in the patient's death.

The Martins-Green lab applied pomegranate juice on laboratory-cultured prostate cancer cells that were resistant to testosterone (the more resistant a cancer cell is to testosterone, the more prone it is to metastasizing).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 7, 2010, 7:47 AM CT

Mammogram sensitivity and menstrual cycle

Mammogram sensitivity and menstrual cycle
Try to schedule your screening mammogram during the first week of your menstrual cycle. It might make breast cancer screening more accurate for pre-menopausal women who choose to have regular mammograms. This recommendation comes from an article published online December 3 in Radiology by Diana Miglioretti, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute.

Dr. Miglioretti and her co-authors are working on an issue at the heart of recent controversies about breast cancer screening mammograms. In November 2009, new recommendations-including that women should discuss with their doctors whether to begin having regular screening mammograms at age 40 or wait till age 50-were issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of health care providers who generate medical guidelines based on clinical research.

Some facts correlation to the new recommendations prompted the study by Dr. Miglioretti and his colleagues:
  • Mammography can detect cancer in women in their 40s.
  • But these women are at higher risk than are older women for a false-negative result (missing a cancer that is present) or a false-positive result (recalling a woman for further workup when cancer is not present).
  • False positives lead to unnecessary tests, including biopsies.
  • ........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 23, 2010, 7:53 AM CT

Thermotherapy instead of chemotherapy?

Thermotherapy instead of chemotherapy?
Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the engineering science and mechanics department at Virginia Tech, is a member of the research team that introduced thermotherapy to destroy cancer cells.

Credit: Virginia Tech Photo

Using hyperthermia, Virginia Tech engineering scientists and a colleague from India unveiled a new method to target and destroy malignant cells. The research was presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society Nov. 23 in Long Beach, Calif.

The cancer therapy uses hyperthermia to elevate the temperature of tumor cells, while keeping the surrounding healthy tissue at a lower degree of body heat. The researchers used both in vitro and in vivo experiments to confirm their findings.

The collaborators are Monrudee Liangruksa, a Virginia Tech graduate student in engineering science and mechanics, and her thesis adviser, Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the department, along with Ranjan Ganguly of the department of power engineering at Iadavpur Univesity, Kolkata, India.

Liangruska of Bangkok, Thailand, presented the paper at the meeting.

In an interview previous to the presentation, Puri explained that to further perfect the technique they used ferrofluids to induce the hyperthermia. A ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. The magnetic nanoparticles are suspended in the non-polar state.

"These fluids can then be magnetically targeted to malignant tissues after intravenous application," Puri said. "The magnetic nanoparticles, each billionths of a meter in size, seep into the tissue of the tumor cell due to the high permeability of these vessels."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model
Sean Morrison
Michigan scientists have determined that most types of melanoma cells can form cancerous tumors, providing new evidence that the deadliest form of skin cancer does not conform to the increasingly popular cancer stem cell model.

In addition, the scientists observed that melanoma tumor cells can change their appearance by switching various genes on and off, making the cancerous cells a stealthy, shape-shifting target for scientists seeking new therapys, as per a team led by Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology.

Both findings fly in the face of the cancer stem cell model, which states that a handful of rare stem cells drive the formation, growth and progression of cancerous tumors in a number of cancers. Some supporters of the model have suggested that melanoma might be more effectively treated by taking aim specifically at these rare cancer stems cells, rather than attempting to eliminate all melanoma cells.

But after conducting an exhaustive search for this elusive sub-population of tumor-forming melanoma cell, the U-M team concluded that it probably does not exist. The scientists analyzed 44 sub-populations of human melanoma cells, and all 44 had a similar ability to form tumors when transplanted into mice.

"Some have suggested that melanoma follows a cancer stem cell model in which only rare cells are able to proliferate extensively and form new tumors," said Morrison, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Radiation fears should not deter women from mammography

Radiation fears should not deter women from mammography
The risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from mammography screening is slight compared to the benefit of expected lives saved, as per a newly released study appearing online and in the recent issue of the journal Radiology

"Recently, there have been reports in the press focusing on the potential radiation risk from mammography, especially as used for periodic screening," said the study's main author, Martin J. Yaffe, Ph.D., senior scientist in imaging research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and professor in the departments of medical biophysics and medical imaging at the University of Toronto. "Our study shows that the risk of cancer linked to routine screening in women age 40 and over is very low, particularly when in comparison to the benefits linked to early detection".

Dr. Yaffe and his colleague, James G. Mainprize, Ph.D., developed a model for estimating the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer following exposure of the breast to ionizing radiation from various screening mammography scenarios and estimated the potential number of breast cancers, fatal breast cancers, and years of life lost attributable to mammography screening.

Using a radiation dose estimate of 3.7 milligrays (mGy), which is typical for digital mammography, and a cohort of 100,000 women, the scientists applied the risk model to predict the number of radiation-induced breast cancers attributable to a single examination and then extended the model to various screening scenarios beginning and ending at different ages.........

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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