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January 28, 2011, 7:14 AM CT

To better predict breast cancer outcomes

To better predict breast cancer outcomes
Scientists from McGill University's Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC), the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC), the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have discovered a gene signature that can accurately predict which patients with breast cancer are at risk of relapse, thereby sparing those who are not from the burdens linked to unnecessary therapy.

For years, clinicians have been faced with the problem that breast cancer cannot be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Some cancers respond to specific therapys while others do not. Close to 50 per cent of patients with breast cancer belong to a group - defined as "estrogen receptor positive/lymph node negative (ER+/LR-)"- that is at low risk of relapse. The majority of patients in this group may not require any therapy beyond the surgical removal of their tumour, while a small minority should receive additional therapy.

"The added information provided by our test would enable oncologists to identify those at very low risk of relapse, for whom the risk-benefit ratio might be in favour of withholding chemotherapy, and to identify patients in this low-risk group who would benefit from more aggressive therapys," explains Dr. Alain Nepveu, GCRC and RI MUHC researcher and co-author of the study. "Since a number of therapys are linked to short- and long-term complications including premature menopause, cardiotoxicity and the development of secondary cancers, risks must be balanced against the potential benefit for each patient to avoid unnecessary suffering, needless expense and added burdens on the health-care system".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 26, 2011, 7:18 AM CT

Concerns about experimental cancer approach

Concerns about experimental cancer approach
Washington University in St. Louis
Anti-Notch therapies are being evaluated for cancer. When Washington University scientists disrupted Notch1 signaling in mice, they developed vascular tumors, primarily in the liver, which filled with blood (shown) and eventually led to massive hemorrhages and death.
A study by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has raised safety concerns about an investigational approach to treating cancer.

The strategy takes aim at a key signaling pathway, called Notch, involved in forming new blood vessels that feed tumor growth. When scientists targeted the Notch1 signaling pathway in mice, the animals developed vascular tumors, primarily in the liver, which led to massive hemorrhages that caused their death.

Their findings are reported online Jan. 25 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and will appear in the journal's February issue.

Many anti-Notch therapies now are being reviewed in preclinical and early clinical trials for cancer. They target Notch1 as well as the three other signaling pathways in the Notch receptor family. The current research did not study any of these specific therapies in mice but instead focused on the potential side effects of chronically disrupting the Notch1 signal in individual cells.

"Our results suggest that anti-Notch1 strategies are bound to fail," says Raphael Kopan, PhD, professor of developmental biology and of medicine at the School of Medicine. "Without the Notch1 signal, cells in the vascular system grow uncontrollably and produce enlarged, weakened blood vessels. Eventually, the pressure within those vessels exceeds their capacity to hold blood, and they rupture, causing a dramatic loss of blood pressure, heart attack and death".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 26, 2011, 6:57 AM CT

Hot flushes reduce breast cancer risk

Hot flushes reduce breast cancer risk
Women who have experienced hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause may have a 50 percent lower risk of developing the most common forms of breast cancer than postmenopausal women who have never had such symptoms, as per a recent study by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The results of the first study to examine the relationship between menopausal symptoms and breast cancer risk are available online ahead of the February print issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention

The protective effect appeared to increase along with the number and severity of menopausal symptoms, as per senior author Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., a breast cancer epidemiologist in the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division.

"In particular we observed that women who experienced more intense hot flushes � the kind that woke them up at night � had a especially low risk of breast cancer," he said.

Li and his colleagues suspected a link between menopause misery and decreased breast cancer risk because hormones such as estrogen and progesterone play an important role in the development of most breast cancers, and reductions in these hormones caused by gradual cessation of ovarian function can impact the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 25, 2011, 7:26 AM CT

Conversion of brain tumor cells into blood vessels

Conversion of brain tumor cells into blood vessels
Glioblastoma tumor cells (shown in green) can transform into endothelial cells (shown in red), which line the interior surface of a tumor vessel.

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Yasushi Soda, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer and the disease that killed Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, resists nearly all therapy efforts, even when attacked simultaneously on several fronts. One explanation can be found in the tumor cells' unexpected flexibility, discovered scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

When faced with a life-threatening oxygen shortage, glioblastoma cells can shift gears and morph into blood vessels to ensure the continued supply of nutrients, reports a team led by Inder Verma, Ph.D., in a feature article in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Their study not only explains why cancer therapys that target angiogenesis--the growth of a network of blood vessels that supplies nutrients and oxygen to malignant tissues--routinely fail in glioblastoma, but the findings may also spur the development of drugs aimed at novel targets.

"This surprising effect of anti-angiogenic treatment with drugs such as Avastin tells us that we have to rethink glioblastoma combination treatment," says senior author Verma, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Science. "Disrupting the formation of tumor blood vessels is not enough; we also have to prevent the conversion of tumor cells into blood vessels cells".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 25, 2011, 7:24 AM CT

'Engineered organ' model for breast cancer research

'Engineered organ' model for breast cancer research
Purdue researchers' new model for breast cancer research, called "breast on-a-chip," mimics the branching mammary duct system. (Purdue University/Leary laboratory - Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry)
Purdue University scientists have reproduced portions of the female breast in a tiny slide-sized model dubbed "breast on-a-chip" that will be used to test nanomedical approaches for the detection and therapy of breast cancer.

The model mimics the branching mammary duct system, where most breast cancers begin, and will serve as an "engineered organ" to study the use of nanoparticles to detect and target tumor cells within the ducts.

Sophie Lelièvre, associate professor of basic medical sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and James Leary, SVM Professor of Nanomedicine and professor of basic medical sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine and professor of biomedical engineering in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, led the team.

Purdue team creates 'engineered organ' model for breast cancer research.

Januarty 20, 2011 Print Version.

Purdue researchers' new model for breast cancer research, called "breast on-a-chip," mimics the branching mammary duct system. (Purdue University/Leary laboratory - Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry).

Download image.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University scientists have reproduced portions of the female breast in a tiny slide-sized model dubbed "breast on-a-chip" that will be used to test nanomedical approaches for the detection and therapy of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 8:37 PM CT

MicroRNA suppresses prostate cancer stem cells

MicroRNA suppresses prostate cancer stem cells
Dean Tang, Ph.D. is a researcher at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Credit: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

A small slice of RNA inhibits prostate cancer metastasis by suppressing a surface protein usually found on prostate cancer stem cells. A research team led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported today in an advance online publication at Nature Medicine

"Our findings are the first to profile a microRNA expression pattern in prostate cancer stem cells and also establish a strong rationale for developing the microRNA miR-34a as a new therapy option for prostate cancer," said senior author Dean Tang, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis.

MicroRNAs, or miRNAs, are short, single-stranded bits of RNA that regulate the messenger RNA expressed by genes to create a protein.

Cancer stem cells are capable of self-renewal, have enhanced tumor-initiating ability and are generally more resistant to therapy than other cancer cells. They are linked to tumor recurrence and metastasis, the lethal spreading of cancer to other organs. These capacities are more prevalent in cancer cells that feature a specific cell surface protein called CD44, Tang said.

"CD44 has long been associated with promotion of tumor development and, especially, to cancer metastasis," Tang said. "A number of cancer stem cells overexpress this surface adhesion molecule. Another significant finding from our study is identifying CD44 itself as a direct and functional target of miR-34a".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 11, 2011, 6:49 AM CT

Powerful biomarker panel for the early detection of breast cancer

Powerful biomarker panel for the early detection of breast cancer
In the war on cancer, perhaps there is nothing more powerful in a physician's arsenal than early detection. Despite recent advances in early detection and therapy, breast cancer remains a common and significant health problem in the United States and worldwide. Approximately one in ten women will get breast cancer in their lifetime and more than half of women with late stage cancer (II and III) have no cure or effective therapeutic available.

Using a new, powerful method for rapidly screening molecules linked to disease, proteomics expert Joshua LaBaer and his colleagues from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have identified a broad panel of 28 early predictors, or biomarkers, that may one day aid in the early diagnosis of breast cancer.

"We do not have any available blood markers for breast cancer," said LaBaer, a Virginia G. Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine at ASU who directs the Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute. "Our hope is to combine a new type of blood test with mammography screening to aid in the early detection of breast cancer".

The findings represent the first demonstration of a custom protein array technology deployed to find biomarkers in patients with breast cancer before they were clinically diagnosed for cancer. These biomarkers were specific for patients with breast cancer and not in healthy women or women with a non-malignant form of breast disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 4, 2011, 7:02 AM CT

Peptide against Breast cancer

Peptide against Breast cancer
Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) have discovered what appears to become a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. For the first time, a peptide found in blood and tissue has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast tumors in mice, as per a research studyrecently reported in the journal Cancer Research.

Patricia E. Gallagher, Ph.D., and E. Ann Tallant, Ph.D., researchers in the High blood pressure and Vascular Research Center at WFUBMC, demonstrated that the peptide angiotensin-(1-7) attacked breast cancer in two ways: by inhibiting the growth of the breast cancer cells themselves and by inhibiting the growth of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), cells found in the tumor microenvironment -- the tissue surrounding the tumor. CAFs play a vital role in tumor initiation, growth and metastases by providing structural support for the tumor cells and by producing growth factors that help the tumor cells grow.

In this study, mice were injected with human breast cancer cells to form the two most common types of breast tumors -- estrogen-receptor and HER2 sensitive. In women with breast cancer, an estimated 50 to 60 percent have estrogen-receptor sensitive tumors and 20 to 30 percent have HER2 sensitive tumors.

Once the tumors grew, the mice were injected with either angiotensin-(1-7) or saline for 18 days. In the mice treated with angiotensin-(1-7), there was a 40 percent reduction in tumor size as in comparison to the saline-injected mice, whose tumors grew three times their size at the initiation of therapy. Breast tumor fibrosis also was reduced by 64 to 75 percent in the mice treated with the peptide as in comparison to the saline-injected mice. Fibrosis is the thickening of the breast tissue around and within the tumor that acts as a scaffold to support the spread of cancer cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 4, 2011, 6:59 AM CT

Fertility preservation for oncology patients

Fertility preservation for oncology patients
A number of young people who've just learned that they have cancer also are told that the therapies that may save their lives could rob them of their ability ever to have children. Infertility caused by chemotherapy and radiation affects a sizable population: Of the 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2009, nearly 10 percent were still in their reproductive years.

The good news, as per an article in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings (http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com ), is that techniques to harvest and store reproductive cells have vastly improved in the last several years. "Fertility preservation is still an emerging discipline," says Mayo Clinic reproductive endocrinologist (http://www.mayoclinic.org/reproductive-medicine/) Jani Jensen, M.D. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/bio/13767992.html) , main author of the paper, "but rapid advances in technology in the last several years are now providing new options for patients."

In the review, a team of Mayo scientists look at both long-standing and emerging fertility preservation technologies. Freezing sperm remains a stable and reliable technique, but one approach that has had considerable success in the last five years involves freezing eggs harvested from women. "Cryopreservation of eggs used to be considered the Holy Grail of treatment, not just for cancer patients, but for any woman who wanted to halt the biological clock," says Dr. Jensen. Oocytes are especially fragile cells that rupture easily, and even though research to preserve them dates back to the 1970s, the first successful birth from a stored egg didn't occur until the mid-1980s. "But in the last five years," Dr. Jensen says, "there have been considerable improvements in freezing technology. Since 2004, there have been thousands of babies born worldwide from frozen eggs".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 21, 2010, 6:38 AM CT

Robotic surgery for head and neck cancer

Robotic surgery for head and neck cancer
Less-invasive robotic surgery for upper airway and digestive track cancerous tumors is as effective as other minimally invasive surgical techniques based on patient function and survival, as per University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas account for about 4 percent of cancerous tumors diagnosed in the United States each year. Currently the standard minimally invasive surgery for these tumors is transoral laser microsurgery.

Prior studies have shown that the robotic surgery was better for patients to regain the ability to swallow, a common and serious side effect, but never looked at cure rate. Manguson wanted to know if you could achieve function and get rid of the cancer at the same time. This study, published Dec. 20, 2010, in the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, showed you could.

UAB otolaryngologist and the study's senior author J. Scott Magnuson, M.D., and his colleagues from UAB and the Mayo Clinic looked at 89 patients with various stages of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas whose primary tumor was resected using the da Vinci Robot. All of the patients were monitored during their hospital stay and up to 33 months after surgery.

"The overall two-year survival rate for these patients was 86.3 percent, which is comparable to the standard therapy," Magnuson, also a scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, said. "Those with earlier-stage tumors appeared to have slightly better recurrence-free survival than those with later stages, but it was not statistically significant".........

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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