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September 23, 2009, 7:04 AM CT

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma
Berlin, Gera number of: Scientists have made significant advances in the therapy of metastatic cancerous melanoma one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully once it has started to spread as per a research studyto be presented at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin on Thursday.

In the phase I extension study, scientists have seen rapid and dramatic shrinking of metastatic tumours in patients treated with a new compound that blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutation of the BRAF gene, which is implicated in about 50% melanomas and 5% of colorectal cancers. In new results from 31 melanoma patients with the BRAF mutation who were treated with 960mg of PLX4032 twice a day, 64% (14) of the 22 patients who could be reviewed so far met the official criteria for partial response (this involves the diameter of tumours shrinking by at least 30% for at least a month). A further six of the 22 patients also showed a response, but, at the time of the congress presentation, it was too early to say whether the tumours would shrink far enough to meet these criteria.

Dr Paul Chapman, an attending doctor on the Melanoma/Sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) and who was one of the leaders of the trial, told a news briefing: "We are very excited about these results. Of the 22 patients we have been able to evaluate so far, 20 have had some objective tumour shrinkage. This is impressive as they all had metastatic disease and most of them had failed several previous therapies. A lot of these patients were pretty sick but a number of of them had a significant and rapid improvement in the way they function. We've had patients come off oxygen and we've got several patients who have been able to come off narcotic pain medicine soon after starting therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:02 AM CT

Sorafenib for breast cancer

Sorafenib for breast cancer
One of the first of a series of trials to investigate the use of sorafenib a targeted anti-cancer drug for the therapy of advanced breast cancer has observed that if it is combined with the chemotherapy drug, capecitabine, it makes a significant difference to the time women live without their disease worsening.

Principal investigator of the study, Professor Jos Baselga told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): "This is the first, large, randomised study that demonstrates significant clinical activity of sorafenib in breast cancer when given in combination with chemotherapy. Our results showed that patients who received sorafenib plus capecitabine had a 74% percent improvement in the time they lived without their disease worsening in comparison to those who received the chemotherapy alone. This is a very positive study and the magnitude of the benefit is such that it suggests that this agent will be an important addition to our therapeutic armoury in breast cancer."

Sorafenib (Nexavar) is a potent multi-kinase inhibitor, which works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells and slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumour. Until now, it has only been used in the therapy of kidney and liver cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:01 AM CT

New cancer drug shows promise

New cancer drug shows promise
A group of researchers from Hamburg may have taken a big step towards more effective cancer drug development, Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], heard today. Dr Ilona Schonn, Director of Cell Culture Research at Indivumed GmbH, told the conference that they had developed a preclinical drug test platform that would enable scientists to analyse tumour tissue for individual patient drug responses on the molecular level.

To date most tests for drug metabolism and toxicity testing have used tissue slices of normal organs like liver, kidney and lung. The new test was created specifically for oncology drug testing and uses tumour tissues from colorectal and patients with lung cancer.

A major problem of drug development at present is the inability to extrapolate response in preclinical cell models to patients. "Approximately 90% of clinical trials fail because the drugs used are too ineffective or too toxic," explained Dr Schonn. "Not only does this result in unacceptably high costs for drug development, but it also exposes patients to risks from toxicity or simply wastes their time in testing a substance which proves to be ineffective".

The problem arises from the fact that patients respond individually to drugs. In addition, each tumour consists of a variety of different cancer cells that interact in different ways with the framework of individual non-tumour cells, resulting in highly variable growth behaviour and response to drugs. Dr Schonn and her team set out to try to develop a drug test that would eliminate these problems and provide an accurate model of individual patient response.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 7:01 PM CT

New blood tests for gastrointestinal cancers

New blood tests for gastrointestinal cancers
Promising results from two new blood tests that can aid in the early identification of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers will be presented at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Monday September 21). The tests will make GI cancer detection simpler, cost-effective, and more acceptable to patients than current methods, the scientists say.

In the first study, Dr Joost Louwagie, from the company OncoMethylome Sciences, headquartered in Lige, Belgium, will present data on the way in which tumour markers for colorectal cancer were selected, the analytical performance of the test and the first results from a multi-centre feasibility study. "This test has potential to provide a better balance of performance, cost-effectiveness and patient compliance than other options currently available for colorectal cancer screening," he says.

The researchers collected blood before surgery from 193 patients known to have colorectal cancer, as well as from 688 controls undergoing colonoscopy for cancer screening. DNA was extracted from the blood plasma and tested for the presence of DNA methylation of specific genes. DNA methylation is involved in the regulation of protein expression, and methylation or silencing of key genes has been associated with the initiation and progression of tumours. Based on studies conducted in colorectal tissues, methylated genes that were capable of discriminating accurately between malignant and normal tissues were chosen. The researchers then reviewed the best-performing methylated genes in blood samples, with the ultimate goal of providing a sensitive, specific and patient-friendly option for colorectal cancer screening.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 6:37 PM CT

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects
Three drugs that reduce a woman's chance of getting breast cancer also have been shown to cause adverse effects, as per a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The report is based on a study led by Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., research professor in the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University and medical director of the Women and Children's Program and Research Center at Providence Health & Services. It is published online in the Sept. 15 issue of theAnnals of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to make a direct, comprehensive comparison of drugs that reduce the risk of breast cancer so that women and their health care providers can assess their potential effectiveness and adverse effects. It compares the use of tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone to reduce the risks of getting breast cancer in women without pre-existing cancer.

Tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. As per the study, all three drugs significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women, but benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 2:51 PM CT

Space-related radiation research to help cancer patients

Space-related radiation research to help cancer patients
Dr. Ted Bateman (standing) and Dr. Jeff Willey discuss data collected for a project seeking to understand space radiation-induced bone loss and to determine which treatments can reduce that loss of bone and lower the risk of fractures. The data, presented as a 3-D image, depicts bone loss in a sample of irradiated spongy bone.
A research project looking for ways to reduce bone loss in astronauts may yield methods of improving the bone health of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

It is well documented that living in the microgravity environment of space causes bone loss in astronauts, but until recently, little was known about the effects of space radiation on bones. Dr. Ted Bateman leads a project funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to understand radiation-induced bone loss and to determine which therapys can be used to reduce that loss and lower the risk of fractures.

"Our studies indicate significant bone loss at the radiation levels astronauts will experience during long missions to the moon or Mars," said Bateman, a member of NSBRI's Musculoskeletal Alterations Team.

Bateman, an associate professor of bioengineering at Clemson University, and his colleagues at Clemson and Loma Linda University have discovered in experiments with mice that bone loss begins within days of radiation exposure through activation of bone-reducing cells called osteoclasts. Under normal conditions, these cells work with bone-building cells, called osteoblasts, to maintain bone health.

"Our research challenges some conventional thought by saying radiation turns on the bone-eating osteoclasts," Bateman said. "If that is indeed the case, existing therapys, such as bisphosphonates, appears to be able to prevent this early loss of bone."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


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".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:36 AM CT

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors
A key statistic that consumer groups and the media often use when compiling hospital report cards and national rankings can be misleading, scientists report in a newly released study.

The statistic is called the mortality index. A number above 1.0 indicates a hospital had more deaths than expected within a given specialty. Lower than 1.0 means there were fewer than the expected number of deaths.

The study by Loyola University Health System scientists in the Journal of Neurosurgery illustrates how the mortality index can be misleading in at least two major specialties -- neurology and neurosurgery. The index fails to take into account such factors as whether a hospital treats complex cases transferred from other hospitals or whether a hospital treats lower-risk elective cases or higher-risk non-elective cases.

"A hospital with a lower mortality index may not be a better hospital for patient care, but rather a place where the patient mix has been refined or limited," said senior author Dr. Thomas Origitano, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

There is no "definitive or reliable source for rating the quality of overall neurosurgical care," Origitano and his colleagues wrote in the Journal of Neurosurgery, published by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2009, 6:52 AM CT

Management of breakthrough cancer pain

Management of breakthrough cancer pain
New data presented today further demonstrate the efficacy of Instanyl in management of breakthrough cancer pain. The data which were presented at the 6th congress of the European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain (EFIC) are from a multinational, crossover trial comparing Instanyl with oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) for the therapy of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer. The study concludes that pain relief was significantly greater for Instanyl in comparison to OTFC at all time points:
  • 25% of episodes showed meaningful pain relief already at 5 minutes after therapy with Instanyl, as in comparison to 7% with OTFC. (p<0.001) (1).
  • 51% of the Instanyl treated patients had a meaningful pain relief at 10 minutes, as in comparison to 24% with OTFC. (p<0.001) (1)


"These data confirm the superiority of the intranasal drug administration over OTFC. Rapid pain relief is essential for the management of breakthrough cancer pain and with evidence of onset of pain relief as early as 5 minutes, Instanyl offers patients a much more effective pain control than OTFC," said Professor Sebastiano Mercadante, principal investigator of the comparative study and Director of the Anesthesia and Intensive Care and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Units at La Maddalena Cancer Center, Palermo, Italy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 10, 2009, 7:09 AM CT

Rejecting Cancer Safety Fears

Rejecting Cancer Safety Fears
Fears about the cancer causing effects of the second most prescribed group of drugs in the Western world have been put to rest, following the largest ever study into their use.

'Proton pump inhibitors' (PPI) are the most usually used therapy for chronic acid reflux, or 'heartburn', a painful burning sensation in the chest, neck and throat which is experienced by almost a third of people in developed countries.

Regular and prolonged heartburn is known to cause 'non-malignant oesophagitis', a reversible inflammation of the gullet. However if left untreated a condition called Barrett's Oesophagus (BE) occurs in around 10 per cent of sufferers, which can in turn develop into a potentially fatal cancer called oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

BE is twice as common in the UK as it is in the USA, and oesophageal cancer rates in the UK are the highest in the world; up to four times more common than in other European countries.

Despite their excellent safety record, it was unclear if long-term use of PPIs to reduce the discomfort of heartburn could increase the risk of developing either BE or the spread of the associated cancer.

New research carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and Leicester Royal Infirmary, has given the most conclusive evidence yet that this is not the case. The work is reported in the peer evaluated journal Gut.........

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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