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October 29, 2009, 11:08 PM CT

Drug-radiation eliminates lung cancer

Drug-radiation eliminates lung cancer
Researchers, including Drs. Pier Paolo Scaglioni (right) and Georgia Konstantinidou, have eliminated non-small cell lung cancer in mice by using an investigative drug in combination with low-dose radiation.
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have eliminated non-small cell lung (NSCL) cancer in mice by using an investigative drug called BEZ235 in combination with low-dose radiation.

In a study appearing in the recent issue of Cancer Research, UT Southwestern scientists observed that if they administered BEZ235 before they damaged the DNA of tumor cells with otherwise nontoxic radiation, the drug blocked the pro-survival actions of a protein called PI3K, which normally springs into action to keep tumor cells alive while they repair DNA damage.

Scientists tested this novel therapeutic strategy in mice transplanted with NSCL cancers obtained from patients.

They observed that tumors in the mice treated with BEZ235 alone were significantly smaller than those in mice not given the drug. Eventhough the tumors stopped growing, they did not die.

By contrast, tumors were completely eradicated in mice treated with a combination of BEZ235 and radiation.

"These early results suggest that the drug-radiation combination might be an effective treatment in patients with lung cancer," said Dr. Pier Paolo Scaglioni, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.

NSCL cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The cancer cells often harbor mutations in a gene called K-RAS. Patients with such K-RAS mutations typically are more resistant to therapy with radiation and have a poor prognosis.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 7, 2009, 8:01 PM CT

Why African American lung cancer patients respond differently?

Why African American lung cancer patients respond differently?
Clinical research out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center has observed that African Americans with a common form of lung cancer have a lower frequency of drug-sensitizing genetic mutations, which may impact response to new cancer-fighting drugs. Published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study by Rom Leidner, MD, and his colleagues report that ethnicity plays a significant role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) genetics and more personalized therapys appears to be beneficial to cancer patients.

African American patients with NSCLC are significantly less likely than Caucasian counterparts to harbor activating mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene in their cancers, which suggests that common oral EGFR inhibitor drugs, such as Tarceva (erlotinib), are unlikely to yield dramatic remissions. Additionally, cancer biopsy testing revealed that African American patients with NSCLC are significantly more likely to have increased copies of the EGFR gene than Caucasians. Detection of increased copies of the Her2 gene in breast cancer, a gene closely correlation to EGFR, has been the basis for major advances in treatment using drugs which target Her2.

"We are finding that ethnicity may play a significant role in a variety of cancers," says Dr. Leidner, an oncologist with Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Visiting Instructor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "It was already known that a higher proportion of East Asian NSCLC patients harbor mutations of the EGFR gene than Caucasians, and that these mutations are linked to a higher likelihood of major responses to EGFR inhibitors. Before our study, however, surprisingly little data existed for African American patients with this common type of lung cancer."........

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September 15, 2009, 2:41 PM CT

Link Between Protein And Lung Disease

Link Between Protein And Lung Disease
Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., right, and Daniel Schneider discover link between protein and lung disease.
In a development that could lead to a novel approach to the therapy of a devastating lung disease, biochemists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston report they are the first to link the osteopontin (OPN) protein to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Findings appear online and will be in the January 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal, the journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

More than 12 million Americans are currently diagnosed with this incurable illness, which is the fourth leading cause of death, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports. In the United States, the term COPD includes two main conditions - emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis.

The scientists were able to prevent COPD features in a mouse model by genetically removing osteopontin. To gauge the applicability of their findings to humans, the researchers analyzed the airways of people with COPD and found elevated levels of the protein.

"This is an important crossover study," said Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "Because we can show osteopontin is elevated in people with COPD, this suggests that osteopontin could serve as both an indicator of disease progression and a therapeutic target".........

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June 25, 2009, 6:49 PM CT

Big Tobacco dead by 2047

Big Tobacco dead by 2047
President Barack Obama's signature on a bill this week to grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco was historic, and represents a step in the march to eliminate tobacco use in this country by 2047, two national tobacco experts said today (June 25).

The pair published "Stealing a March in the 21st Century: Accelerating Progress in the 100-Year War Against Tobacco Addiction in the United States" in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker, director and associate director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI), respectively, chart milestones in beating tobacco addiction and map a battle plan to eradicate tobacco use in the next few decades. The scientists analyzed data from the 1960s, when the first systemic tracking of smoking rates began, until the present.

"Numerous observers have claimed over time that tobacco use has plateaued and progress against its use has stalled," the authors write. "However, the remarkable decline in rates of tobacco use since the 1960s belies this claim and underscores the remarkable success of tobacco control efforts to date."

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show adults smoking between 1965 and 2007 dropped by an average of one half of one percentage point per year, from 42 percent to the current rate of about 20 percent rate. While this rate of decline hasn't occurred each year, the overall decrease has been quite steady.........

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June 4, 2009, 3:33 AM CT

Brain irradiation in lung cancer

Brain irradiation in lung cancer
A national Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) study led by a Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center doctor at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee has observed that a course of radiation treatment to the brain after therapy for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer reduced the risk of metastases to the brain within the first year after therapy. The study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Orlando, June 1.

"With improved therapys for non-small cell lung cancer, patients are living longer and we are seeing more brain metastases," says study author Elizabeth Gore, M.D. "This study compared the efficacy of prophylactic (preventive) cranial irradiation (PCI) vs. observation in these patients, and observed that those not receiving cranial irradiation were two and one-half times more likely to develop brain metastasis than those who did".

The study analyzed 356 patients. While the results did not show a statistically significant difference in survival between the two groups, it did show that PCI significantly decreased the occurence rate of brain metastases during the first year post-treatment. Dr. Gore anticipates that additional study of the impact of PCI --on neuro-psychological function and quality of life in these patients-- will help determine if use of PCI should become standard care.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


June 1, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Drug combination improves outcome for advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Drug combination improves outcome for advanced non-small cell lung cancer
A new, international study observed that the combination of two drugs delays disease progression for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Results from the Phase III "ATLAS" trial were presented today by Dr. Vincent Miller of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

The goal of the study was to determine whether adding erlotinib (Tarceva), a targeted agent, to maintenance treatment with bevacizumab (Avastin), an agent usually used as a component of therapy for advanced NSCLC would delay disease progression. Maintenance treatment involves using one or more agents of a chemotherapy regimen, but not the entire regimen, to delay disease progression and possibly improve survival after patients have previously received stronger standard chemotherapy, which can have significant side effects.

"This is the first study to show the addition of erlotinib to maintenance treatment prolongs progression-free survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer," said Dr. Miller, a thoracic oncologist at MSKCC and one of the study's main authors. "Knowing which patients will get the greatest benefit from this combination, based on the identification of biomarkers, will be an important next step in this research," Dr. Miller added.........

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May 15, 2009, 5:02 PM CT

Possible breakthrough drug in lung cancer

Possible breakthrough drug in lung cancer
Interim Phase II data from the LUX-Lung 2 study suggest BIBW 2992 has anti-tumor activity in advanced, second-line, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

"Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer.3 The LUX-Lung 1 and 2 studies represent an opportunity to investigate BIBW 2992 across a range of different patient populations," said Dr. Manfred Haehl, corporate senior vice president, Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim. "The preliminary data from the LUX-Lung 2 study suggests that BIBW 2992 may have activity in the second-line setting among NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations, which is encouraging news".

BIBW 2992 is an orally-administered, irreversible dual inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epithelial receptor 2 (HER2) tyrosine kinases.1 It is the first irreversible EGFR-TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor) to reach Phase III for third/fourth-line NSCLC.

In the emerging era of personalized cancer medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the first companies to prospectively identify appropriate patients for clinical trials based on biomarkers. As part of the LUX-Lung clinical development program, Boehringer Ingelheim is evaluating BIBW 2992 in NSCLC patients who test positive for EGFR activating mutations.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 4, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Personalized treatment for early lung cancer

Personalized treatment for early lung cancer
Cancer vaccines and targeted therapies are beginning to offer new therapy options following surgery for patients with early stages of lung cancer, experts said at the first European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO) in Lugano, Switzerland (1-3 May 2009).

"Personalizing treatment is the key strategy for longer and better survival in lung cancer," said Prof Paris Kosmidis, head of the second Medical Oncology Department at Hygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece. "This is especially important for early stage disease when following surgery, decisions about preventive treatment are based on specific prognostic and predictive factors."

Prof Walter Weder, head of thoracic surgery at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, adds: "At the meeting, several research groups will present data from new and ongoing studies that show how existing therapys might be combined with targeted therapies and new cancer vaccines. We hope that these new therapys will provide further progress."

In one poster presentation at the meeting, scientists describe the results of a study that sought to identify which patients are likely to benefit from an immune-boosting vaccine designed to help the immune system recognize MAGE-A3, a protein that is expressed on about 30% of lung cancers.........

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April 27, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

Improving treatment of lung cancer

Improving treatment of lung cancer
Prevention, personalized therapies and closer collaborations between surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists will result in better outcomes for patients with lung cancer and those at risk, a leading European expert says.

"Lung cancer is a complex disease. It is one of the most complex cancers, and the more we learn about the biology of the disease, the more we realize that improved cancer care will result from multidisciplinary therapy," said Prof Robert Pirker, from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Prof Pirker is co-chair of the scientific committee of a new medical conference, the European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO), being held for the first time this year, 1-3 May, in Lugano, Switzerland. The conference aims to further clinical and scientific cooperation between disciplines to help in the fight against lung cancer.

Over the past 5 years, scientists have established that for patients with operable cancer, surgery followed by chemotherapy can result in good outcomes. Now, large clinical trials are beginning to evaluate that adding molecular targeted therapies can further improve the chance of a successful outcome for some patients. In addition, doctors are now attempting to refine their therapys based on the clinical characteristics of individual patients, and based on the molecular profile of their tumour.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 18, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Lung cancer: Molecular scissors in action

Lung cancer: Molecular scissors in action
In the past few years, many anti-cancer drugs have been developed which are directed selectively against specific key molecules of tumor cells. Among these is an antibody called cetuximab, which attaches to a protein molecule that is found in large amounts on the surface of a number of types of cancer cells. When this surface molecule, called epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGF-R for short, is blocked by cetuximab, the cancer cell receives less signals stimulating cell division.

Clinical studies of non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most frequent type of lung cancer, have shown so far that only part of the patients treated with cetuximab benefit from the therapy. Therefore, doctors are urgently searching for biomarkers which reliably predict responsiveness to the antibody treatment.

Professor Heike Allgayer heads the Department of Experimental Surgery of the Mannheim Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and the Clinical Cooperation Unit "Molecular Oncology of Solid Tumors" at DKFZ. The scientist suspects that the therapeutic antibody can disarm, in particular, individual cancer cells that have detached from the primary tumor, invade other tissues and grow into secondary tumors there. Therefore, Allgayer and her team focused on lung cancer cells' ability to metastasize. Indeed, the researchers were the first to show in lung cancer cell lines that cetuximab inhibits growth and invasion of cancer cells and reduces the frequency of metastasis.........

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Lung cancer
We engage a never-ending daily struggle to understand and defeat the hidden mysteries of cancer. This is a long and laborious fight, but some moments stand out as grim reminders of the severity of the problem and ruthlessness of the enemy. We recently heard about the sad demise of Peter Jennings, who was the news anchor of ABC News for a long time.

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