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April 22, 2009, 5:11 AM CT

New chemo combination against recurrent gynecologic cancers

New chemo combination against recurrent gynecologic cancers
Recurrent and metastatic endometrial and ovary cancers can be notoriously difficult to treat: They have spread to other organs and typically have developed resistance to chemotherapy; and patients already heavily treated with chemotherapy may not be able to endure more chemo. Now, physicians at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that a combination of two chemotherapy drugs not only produced clinical benefit for such patients but were also well tolerated. The findings are published online in the journal Gynecologic Oncology

"Women with recurrent gynecologic cancers have often had multiple rounds of chemotherapy, which can cause tumor cells to develop resistance to these drugs," says Mark H. Einstein, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Einstein, who headed the study. "This resistance can make it difficult for doctors to devise a therapy protocol that will impact the cancers while avoiding the often-severe side effects that certain chemotherapy drugs can cause, especially when patients have already been heavily pretreated with other anti-cancer drugs".

In prior clinical studies, the chemotherapy drugs topotecan and docetaxel showed effectiveness when used separately against recurrent gynecologic cancers. The phase 2 trial conducted by Dr. Einstein and colleagues─the first to evaluate the combination of the drugs for this purpose─involved 24 women with recurrent uterine, ovarian, fallopian or peritoneal cancers. The women were given the topotecan-docetaxel combination on Day 1 of the trial and then weekly for three weeks; after a one-week rest, the women received another three-week therapy cycle, ultimately undergoing six such therapy cycles.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:24 AM CT

New biomarker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

New biomarker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center have evidence of a potential new biomarker to predict the aggressiveness of an often difficult-to-treat form of leukemia. They observed that high levels of a particular enzyme in the blood are an indicator that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) the most common form of adult leukemia will be aggressive and in need of immediate therapy.

The researchers, led by Paul A. Insel, MD, professor of pharmacology and medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, say that the enzyme, PDE7B, is also critical to the development of CLL and a potential target for drugs against the disease. They present their results April 19, 2009 at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver.

One of the problems in deciding on the right treatment for CLL is that it is difficult to know which type of leukemia a patient has. One form progresses slowly, with few symptoms for years while the other form is more aggressive and dangerous. While tests exist and are usually used to help doctors predict which form a patient may have, their availability and usefulness are limited.

In prior work, Insel's group had discovered that among a group of enzymes, cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, one of the phosphodiesterases, PDE7B, was 10 times higher in CLL patients than in healthy individuals. PDE7B controls the levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP), a molecule that can promote programmed cell death, a process that is defective in CLL. Typically whereas most cancers have out-of-control cell growth, cll is characterized by an overabundance of white blood cells that do not die when they should. High levels of PDE7B mean less cAMP and as a result, less cell death.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:14 AM CT

Antioxidant benefits of tart cherries

Antioxidant benefits of tart cherries
Eating just one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body, as per new University of Michigan research reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans.1 In the study, healthy adults who ate a cup and a half of frozen cherries had increased levels of antioxidants, specifically five different anthocyanins the natural antioxidants that give cherries their red color.

Twelve healthy adults, aged 18 to 25 years, were randomly assigned to eat either one and a half cups or three cups of frozen tart cherries. Scientists analyzed participants' blood and urine at regular intervals after they ate the cherries and found increased antioxidant activity for up to 12 hours after eating cherries.

"This study documents for the first time that the antioxidants in tart cherries do make it into the human bloodstream and is coupled with increased antioxidant activity that could have a positive impact," said Sara L. Warber, MD, Co-Director of University of Michigan Integrative Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "And, while more studies are needed, what's really great is that a reasonable amount of cherries could potentially deliver benefits, like reducing risk factors for heart disease and inflammation." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Herbal extra to against pancreatic cancer

Herbal extra to against pancreatic cancer
An herb recently found to kill pancreas cancer cells also appears to inhibit development of pancreas cancer as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties, as per scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The data were presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver. (Abstract #494).

Thymoquinone, the major constituent of the oil extract from a Middle Eastern herbal seed called Nigella sativa, exhibited anti-inflammatory properties that reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreas cancer cells, as per Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary & Related Cancers Center.

Nigella sativa seeds and oil are used in traditional medicine by a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries. It helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders, Dr. Arafat said. Prior studies have also shown it to have anti-cancer effects on prostate and colon cancers.

Based upon their previously published findings that thymoquinone inhibits histone deacetylases (HDACs), Dr. Arafat and her colleagues compared the anti-inflammatory properties of thymoquinone and trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor that has previously shown to ameliorate inflammation-associated cancers.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


April 16, 2009, 5:00 AM CT

New target for melanoma

New target for melanoma
A protein called Mcl-1 plays a critical role in melanoma cell resistance to a form of apoptosis called anoikis, as per research published this week in Molecular Cancer Research

The presence of Mcl-1 causes cell resistance to anoikis. This resistance to anoikis enables the melanoma cells to metastasize and survive at sites distant from the primary tumor, as per Andrew Aplin, Ph.D., an associate professor of Cancer Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The research was conducted at Albany Medical College in New York by Dr. Aplin and his colleagues.

Mcl-1 is part of the Bcl-2 protein family, and is regulated by B-RAF proteins, which are mutated in approximately 60 percent of all human melanomas. The Bcl-2 family includes several prosurvival proteins that are linked to the resistance of cancer cells to apoptosis, or cell death. Dr. Aplin and his colleagues analyzed three candidate Bcl-2 proteins: Mcl-1, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL.

"When we depleted Mcl-1 from the tumor cells, they were susceptible to cell death," Dr. Aplin said. "Mcl-1 showed dramatic results in comparison to Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL, which was a surprise. Our findings show that targeting Mcl-1, which is upregulated in a majority of melanoma cells, could be a viable therapy strategy".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


April 15, 2009, 5:14 AM CT

Is that chemotherapy working?

Is that chemotherapy working?
Oncologists often have to wait months before they can determine whether a therapy is working. Now, using a non-invasive method, scientists at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have shown that they can determine after a single cycle of chemotherapy whether the toxic drugs are killing the cancer or not.

Using a combination Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) scanner, scientists monitored 50 patients undergoing therapy for high-grade soft tissue sarcomas. The patients were receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy therapys to shrink their tumors previous to surgery. The study observed that response could be determined about a week after the first dose of chemotherapy drugs. Typically, patients are scanned at about three months into chemotherapy to determine whether the therapy is working.

"The question was, how early could we pick up a response? We wanted to see if we could determine response after a single administration of chemotherapy," said Dr. Fritz Eilber, an assistant professor of surgical oncology, director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and senior author of the study. "There's no point in giving a patient a therapy that isn't working. These therapys make patients very sick and have long-term serious side effects. ".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

Sleeplessness leads to increased cancer pain

Sleeplessness leads to increased cancer pain
A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that sleep problems lead to increased pain and fatigue in cancer patients. The results indicate that interventions aimed at trouble sleeping would be expected to improve both pain and fatigue in this patient population.

Results show that more than half the sample reported having trouble sleeping, with 26 percent reporting moderate or severe trouble sleeping. Compared with patients who reported no trouble sleeping, patients with moderate to severe trouble sleeping reported significantly more fatigue, pain and depressed mood. Using structural equation modeling analysis to evaluate causal relations and directions of effect, the best-fitting model indicates that trouble sleeping led to increased ratings of pain.

As per the authors, the relationship between pain and sleep often has been assumed to be reciprocal. In the present study, however, a model of reciprocal causation could not be fit to the data, and models in which pain caused trouble sleeping did not fit as well as the model in which trouble sleeping caused pain.

"We believed we would find a bi-directional relationship between insomnia and pain, but instead observed that trouble sleeping was more likely a cause, rather than a consequence, of pain in patients with cancer," said main author Edward J. Stepanski, chief operational officer at the Accelerated Community Oncology Research Network in Memphis, Tenn.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 13, 2009, 2:07 PM CT

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Benefit Cancer Patients

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Benefit Cancer Patients
Omega 3 fats are essential fats found naturally in oily fish, with highest concentrations in salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Recently food manufacturers have begun to add omega 3 to foods such as yogurt, milk, juice, eggs and infant formula
New research from Trinity College Dublin published in this month's Annals of Surgery points to a potentially significant advance in the therapy of patients undergoing major cancer surgery. The study was carried out by the oesophageal research group at Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital. A randomised controlled trial showed omega-3 fatty acids given as part of an oral nutritional supplement resulted in the preservation of muscle mass in patients undergoing surgery for oesopahageal cancer, a procedure normally linked to significant weight loss and quality of life issues.

The trial was designed by Professor John V Reynolds, Professor of Surgery at Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Aoife Ryan PhD, a research dietitian at St James's Hospital, Dublin*.

Omega 3 fats are essential fats found naturally in oily fish, with highest concentrations in salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Recently food manufacturers have begun to add omega 3 to foods such as yogurt, milk, juice, eggs and infant formula in light of a body of scientific evidence which suggests that they reduce cardiovascular disease risk, blood pressure, clot formations, and certain types of fat in the blood.

Prior studies had observed that nutritional supplements containing one form of omega 3 fat, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), significantly reduced weight loss among inoperable cancer patients. The scientists hypothesised that a nutritional supplement rich in calories and a high dose of EPA would stem the debilitating weight loss seen in patients following oesophageal surgery. The group chose to study patients undergoing surgery for oesophageal cancer as this surgery is one of the most stressful and serious operations a patient can undergo.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 13, 2009, 1:23 PM CT

Behind racial disparities in cancer

Behind racial disparities in cancer
While cities have shown considerable racial disparities in cancer survival, those racial disparities virtually disappear among smaller populations, such as neighborhoods within that city. The finding comes from a new analysis reported in the May 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study examined breast and prostate cancer survival rates at different geographic levels, and the results suggest that there are significant societal factors at the root of cancer-related racial disparities.

Prior research has shown that considerable health disparities exist relating to race, ethnicity, geographic location, and other factors. While scientists have been striving to understand the causes of such disparities in survival from some cancers, including cancers of the breast and prostate, the potential roles of innate factors, such as genetic differences, versus modifiable factors, such as socioeconomic differences, remain unclear.

Scientists led by Jaymie Meliker, Ph.D. of Stony Brook University investigated if these disparities remained among different population sizesfor example whether disparities seen in counties persisted in cities and even neighborhoods. They studied regions in Michigan, drawing from the Michigan Cancer Surveillance Program, which compiled information from 1985-2002 on 124,218 breast cancer and 120,615 patients with prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 13, 2009, 12:50 AM CT

DNA Sensors That Could Identify Cancer

DNA Sensors That Could Identify Cancer
Kansas State University engineers think the possibilities are deep for a very thin material.

Vikas Berry, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is leading research combining biological materials with graphene, a recently developed carbon material that is only a single atom thick.

"The biological interfacing of graphene is taking this material to the next level," Berry said. "Discovered only four years ago, this material has already shown a large number of capabilities. K-Staters are the first to do bio-integrated research with graphene".

To study graphene, scientists rely on an atomic force microscope to help them observe and manipulate these single atom thick carbon sheets.

"It's a fascinating material to work with," Berry said. "The most significant feature of graphene is that the electrons can travel without interruptions at speeds close to that of light at room temperature. Commonly you have to go near zero Kelvin -- that's about 450 degrees below zero Fahrenheit -- to get electrons to move at ultra high speeds".

One of Berry's developments is a graphene-based DNA sensor. When electrons flow on the graphene, they change speed if they encounter DNA. The scientists notice this change by measuring the electrical conductivity. The work was published in Nano-Letters.........

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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