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October 28, 2009, 6:21 AM CT

Exercise for lymphoma patients

Exercise for lymphoma patients
A healthy dose of exercise is good medicine, even for lymphoma patients receiving chemotherapy, University of Alberta scientists have found.

The Healthy Exercise for Lymphoma Patients (HELP) trial, a three-year study led by Kerry Courneya, Canada Research Chair in physical activity and cancer in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, observed that a regimen of aerobic exercise training produced significant improvements in physical functioning and overall quality of life benefits in patients with lymphoma.

Scientists recruited 122 patients with Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, then stratified participants by disease type and therapy status; whether they were undergoing chemotherapy at the time or receiving no therapys. Participants were randomly assigned to an exercise program designed to maximize cardiovascular fitness or to usual care, which did not include an exercise component.

Exercisers trained three times a week for 12 weeks and were encouraged to stay the course with behavioural support techniques that included perks like free parking, a well-equipped gym, flexible exercise schedules, variation in exercises, follow-up phone calls reminders and positive reinforcement by staff.

Lymphoma patients who received the exercise intervention reported significantly improved physical functioning, overall quality of life, less fatigue, increased happiness, less depression and an improvement in lean body mass. Cardiovascular fitness in the exercise group improved by over 20 per cent. The group receiving chemotherapy benefited as much as the group that was off therapys.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 21, 2009, 11:20 PM CT

Cancer diagnosis using sensor biochips

Cancer diagnosis using sensor biochips
Sensor biochips like this one, developed at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, could be used to establish in the laboratory whether or not a particular cancer drug is likely to work in an individual patient's body. Shown here is a ceramic version of the chip -- just a few millimeters across but packed with sensors.

Credit: Technische Universitaet Muenchen

It is very difficult to predict whether a cancer drug will help an individual patient: only around one third of drugs will work directly in a given patient. Scientists at the Heinz Nixdorf Chair for Medical Electronics at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have developed a new test process for cancer drugs. With the help of microchips, they can establish in the laboratory whether a patient's tumor cells will react to a given drug. This chip could help in future with the rapid identification of the most effective medicine for the individual patient.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the Western world. As per the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, approximately 450,000 people develop cancer every year in Gera number of. Eventhough the doctors who treat cancer have numerous cancer drugs at their disposal today, the therapy must be precisely tailored to the patient and the type of cancer in question to be as effective as possible. If it takes a second or third try to find a drug that works, the patient loses valuable time in which the tumor can continue to grow.

In the future, miniature laboratories could provide the fast help mandatory here. A lab-on-a-chip is a device -- made of glass, for example -- that is just a few millimeters across and has bioelectronic sensors that monitor the vitality of living cells. The chips sit in small wells, known as microtiter plates, and are covered with a patient's tumor cells. A robot changes the culture fluid in each well containing a chip at intervals of just a few minutes. The microsensors on the chip record, among other things, changes in the acid content of the medium and the cells' oxygen consumption; photographs of the process are also taken by a microscope fitted underneath the microtiter plate. All of the data merge in a computer that is connected to the system, and which provides an overview of the metabolic activity of the tumor cells and their vitality.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:15 PM CT

Melanoma treatment options

Melanoma treatment options
A targeted chemotherapy for the therapy of skin cancer is one step closer, after a team of University of Alberta scientists successfully synthesized a natural substance that shows exceptional potential to specifically treat this often fatal disease.

U of A chemistry professor Dennis Hall said after three years of work, his research team has successfully produced the substance called Palmerolide A.

"The potency of palmerolide is exceptional and melanoma is a very aggressive cancer for which there is almost no chemotherapeutic recourse," said Hall. "Natural substances like palmerolide offer real hope for such therapys.

"Current chemotherapy as an overall strategy is not very effective in treating melanoma. Less than a quarter of patients respond to chemotherapy and it typically only works for less than a year, and it has little to no effect on survival time. Palmerolide A as a targeted treatment may prove to be more effective [for therapy] with less toxicity," said Hall.

"One of the problems with most cancer drugs is the lack of selectivity for cancer cells versus normal cells. Preliminary data for Palmerolide A looks very promising in terms of solving this issue," he said.

"For commercialization, the structure needs to be made more 'drug-like;' smaller and more water-soluble, while preserving the potency," said Hall, who is optimistic that his U of A team is moving forward in the race to develop a therapy for melanoma.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:01 PM CT

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer
Laura Esserman, MD, MBA
Twenty years of screening for breast and prostate cancer - the most diagnosed cancer for women and men - have not brought the anticipated decline in deaths from these diseases, argue experts from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in an opinion piece reported in the "Journal of the American Medical Association".

Instead, overall cancer rates are higher, a number of more patients are being treated, and the occurence rate of aggressive or later-stage disease has not been significantly decreased, the authors conclude. Current screening programs are leading to "potential tumor over-detection and over-treatment," they write in the Oct. 21, 2009 issue of JAMA.

"Screening does provide some benefit, but the problem is that the benefit is not nearly as much as we hoped and comes at the cost of over-diagnosis and over-treatment," said Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor of surgery and radiology, director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and co-leader of the breast oncology program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We need to focus on developing new tools to identify men and women at risk for the most aggressive cancers, to identify at the time of diagnosis those who have indolent or 'idle' tumors that are not life-threatening," she added. "If we can identify groups of patients that don't need much therapy, or don't need to be screened, wouldn't that be great? Screening is by no means perfect. We should want to make it better. For both breast and prostate cancer we need to invest in changing our focus from the cancers that won't kill people to the ones that do".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 7:05 AM CT

Exercise after your radiation therapy

Exercise after your radiation therapy
Exercise is a key factor in improving both memory and mood after whole-brain radiation therapys in rodents, as per data presented by Duke University researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

"This is the first demonstration that exercise can prevent a decline in memory after whole-brain radiation therapy," said lead researcher and graduate student Sarah Wong-Goodrich of the Duke Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Whole-brain radiation is sometimes used to treat brain cancers in humans.

"We observed that exercise following radiation prevented a decline in erasable memory in mice and this is analogous to the type of memory problems people have after whole-brain radiation for brain tumors," said senior researcher Christina Williams, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience. "This is the type of short-term memory people use to find their car after they have parked it in a large lot. After radiation, this type of memory becomes impaired in a number of people."

In the experiment, one group of mice that had brain radiation stayed in their cages under normal conditions, living with other mice, eating and playing as they liked. But a different group of mice that had radiation were given daily access to a cage with a running wheel, which they could use if they wanted to.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 6:52 AM CT

New chromosomal abnormality identified in leukemia

New chromosomal abnormality identified in leukemia
Scientists identified a new chromosomal abnormality in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that appears to work in concert with another mutation to give rise to cancer. This latest anomaly is especially common in children with Down syndrome.

The findings have already resulted in new diagnostic tests and potential tools for tracking a patient's response to therapy. The research, led by researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, also highlights a new potential ALL therapy. Clinicians are already planning trials of an experimental medicine targeting one of the altered genes.

This study is reported in the October 18 online edition of Nature Genetics

"A substantial proportion of children with ALL lack one of the previously identified, common chromosomal abnormalities. Also, children with Down syndrome have an increased risk of ALL, but the reasons why are unclear," said Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant member in the St. Jude Department of Pathology. Mullighan is senior author of the study, which involved researchers from 10 institutions in the U.S. and Italy. "Our results have provided important data regarding the mechanisms contributing to leukemia in these cases," he said.

Instead of the normal pairs of 23 chromosomes, individuals with Down syndrome inherit an extra copy of one chromosome, in this case chromosome 21. Chromosomes are made of DNA and carry the genes that serve as the assembly and operations manual for life. Down syndrome is linked to a variety of medical and developmental problems, including a 10-to-20fold increased risk of ALL. But patients with Down syndrome rarely have the genetic and chromosomal alterations usually linked to childhood ALL. Until recently the genetic basis of the elevated risk for these patients was unknown.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 6:46 AM CT

Metals could form an effective treatment against cancer

Metals could form an effective treatment against cancer
Professor Peter Sadler, University of Warwick

Credit: University of Warwick
Drugs made using unusual metals could form an effective therapy against colon and ovary cancer, including malignant cells that have developed immunity to other drugs, as per research at the University of Warwick and the University of Leeds.

The study, reported in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, showed that a range of compounds containing the two transition metals Ruthenium and Osmium, which are found in the same part of the periodic table as precious metals like platinum and gold, cause significant cell death in ovarian and colon cancer cells.

The compounds were also effective against ovary cancer cells which are resistant to the drug Cisplatin, the most successful transition metal drug, which contains the metal platinum.

Dr Patrick McGowan, one of the main authors of the research from the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, explains: "Ruthenium and Osmium compounds are showing very high levels of activity against ovary cancer, which is a significant step forward in the field of medicinal chemistry.

Sabine H. van Rijt, lead researcher in the laboratory of Professor Peter Sadler in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick, said:.

"Most interestingly, malignant cells that have shown resistance to the most successful transition metal drug, Cisplatin, show a high death rate with these new compounds."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 15, 2009, 5:39 PM CT

Girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits

Girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits
Contrary to concerns that the human papillomavirus vaccine might promote promiscuity, a national survey of girls and young women observed that the majority of respondents did not believe the HPV vaccine protected them against other sexually transmitted infections.

The study, conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago researchers, appears online and in the recent issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health

The findings are reassuring in that girls and young women did not believe that the vaccine provided benefits beyond protecting them from HPV, said Dr. Rachel Caskey, assistant professor of pediatrics and general internal medicine at UIC and main author of the study. "We also observed that they did not believe that they could stop cervical cancer screening, or pap smears, which is critical".

Scientists used a national sample, representative of the U.S. population, to conduct an online survey of more than 1,000 females ages 13 to 26.

The data provide some of the first nationally representative estimates of both adolescents' and young women's adoption of the HPV vaccine, barriers to vaccination, and sources of information about HPV and the HPV vaccine, as per the researchers.

Knowledge about the HPV virus itself ran the gamut, said Caskey. Some people knew absolutely nothing and a few people were moderately informed. Knowledge about the HPV vaccine, however, was better.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 14, 2009, 7:16 AM CT

Transcendental meditation reduces stress

Transcendental meditation reduces stress
Women with breast cancer reduced stress and improved their mental health and emotional well being through the Transcendental Meditation technique, as per a newly released study reported in the current issue of the peer-evaluated Integrative Cancer Therapies (Vol. 8, No. 3: September 2009).

"A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Quality of Life in Older Breast Cancer Patients" was a collaboration between the Center for Healthy Aging at Saint Joseph Hospital; the Institute for Health Services, Research and Policy Studies at Northwestern University; the Department of Psychology at Indiana State University; and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.

"It is wonderful that physicians now have a range of interventions to use, including Transcendental Meditation, to benefit their patients with cancer," said Rhoda Pomerantz, M.D., co-author of study and chief of gerontology, Saint Joseph Hospital. "I believe this approach should be appreciated and utilized more widely".

One hundred thirty women with breast cancer, 55 years and older, participated in the two-year study at Saint Joseph Hospital. The women were randomly assigned to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or to a usual care control group. Patients were administered quality of life measures, including the Functional Evaluation of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), every six months for two years. The average intervention period was 18 months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT
Women who developed new-onset breast tenderness after starting estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement treatment were at significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer than women on the combination treatment who didn't experience such tenderness, as per a new UCLA study.

The research, reported in the Oct. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, is based on data from more than 16,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative estrogen-plus- progestin clinical trial. This trial was abruptly halted in July 2002 when scientists observed that healthy menopausal women on the combination treatment had an elevated risk for invasive breast cancer.

Scientists do not know why breast tenderness indicates increased cancer risk among women on the combination treatment, said the newly released study's lead researcher, Dr. Carolyn J. Crandall, a clinical professor of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"Is it because the hormone treatment is causing breast-tissue cells to multiply more rapidly, which causes breast tenderness and at the same time indicates increased cancer risk? We need to figure out what makes certain women more susceptible to developing breast tenderness during hormone treatment than other women," Crandall 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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