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May 30, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy
In a study featured in the recent issue of Radiology, scientists found that imaging suspicious breast lesions with magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy reduced the need for biopsy by 58 percent. The investigators, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, discovered that with the addition of MR spectroscopy to their breast MR imaging (MRI) protocol, 23 of 40 suspicious lesions could have been spared biopsy, and none of the resultant cancers would have been missed.

"All cancers in this study were identified with MR spectroscopy. There were no false-negative results," said Lia Bartella, M.D., lead investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Breast Imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "With the addition of MR spectroscopy to our breast MRI exam, we found that the number of biopsies recommended on the basis of MRI findings decreased significantly. These results should encourage more women to take this potentially life-saving test."

MRI is playing an increasingly important role in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer. One drawback of the technology, however, has been a considerable number of breast biopsy procedures recommended on the basis of imaging findings, which turn out to be benign. With MR spectroscopy, the radiologist is able to see the chemical make-up of a tumor, so in most cases, he or she can tell without biopsy whether or not the lesion is malignant.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 30, 2006, 6:39 AM CT

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
Currently radiation therapy extending to 5 weeks or more is often given to breast cancer patients after lumpectomy. This prolonged course of radiation therapy often causes hardship for many breast cancer patients. Over the years researchers have been trying various alternative methods of delivery of radiation, aimed at cutting the duration of radiation therapy of breast cancer.

In a recently published article a team of researchers from U.K. is showing that fewer but larger doses of radiotherapy may be a safe and effective way to treat breast cancer. These UK researchers have found that giving 13 larger doses was as effective for breast cancer prevention compared to the regular way of treating with 25 small doses extending over a period of 5 weeks. This new research finding could lead to more convenient way of radiation therapy of breast cancer for thousands of breast cancer patients.

This study, which spanned for a period of 10 years was done by researches from Cancer Research UK and involved 1,410 women. These research findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet Oncology.

The research was a collaboration between the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Gloucestershire Oncology Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Wisconsin. ........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 29, 2006, 9:19 PM CT

Fatty Diet Does Not Increase Skin Cancer Risk

Fatty Diet Does Not Increase Skin Cancer Risk
Eating fatty food does not appear to increase the risk of skin cancer. A study published recently in the open access journal BMC Cancer contradicts prior research that showed a link between high fat intake and certain types of skin cancer. The results of this latest study suggest that high fat intake might even play a protective role in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Robert Granger and his colleagues from the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart, Australia and his colleagues from Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne studied 652 people who had been diagnosed with skin melanoma - the aggressive skin cancer that spreads to other tissues - or non-melanoma skin cancers - skin cancers that are less likely to spread to other tissues - between 1998 and 1999. They compared these patients with 471 individuals who did not have skin cancer. Both patients and control subjects were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their fat intake, history of sun exposure and other factors of interest. The data was analysed at that point, showing that the control subjects reported marginally higher levels of fat consumption. All subjects were subsequently followed for about 5 years to see if they developed any non-melanoma skin cancers.

Granger and his colleagues found no evidence that high fat intake increases the risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Patients who had previously been diagnosed with a skin cancer other than melanoma even had a lower risk of getting a further non-melanoma skin cancer if they reported consuming more fat. Statistical analyses reveal a lowered risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in people who consumed the most fat.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 29, 2006, 9:12 PM CT

A Tumour Suppressor In Action

A Tumour Suppressor In Action Activity of a tumour suppressor in skin cells
Growth, separation, and differentiation of cells is one of the body's most well regulated processes. Even just a single cell escaping this regulation can lead to a tumour. Oncogenes are, in this sense, like ticking time bombs, which can cause cancer. Their activity is controlled in healthy cells by tumour suppressor genes. The cellular "opponents" of the Bcl-3 oncogene, however, had still not been known before this study. The protein has to find its way to the nucleus to function as what is called a "transcription factor". These initiate and support genetic transcription - DNA fragments codified by proteins. This process is necessary for transcribing genetic information during protein synthesis.

During the process of genetic transcription, Bcl-3 cooperates with other, uncommonly important transcription factors which belong to the NF-?B-family. Its five members influence a broad spectrum of disease processes, like infections and immune reactions, as well as cell growth. Two representatives of this group, p50 and p52, must themselves first be activated in order to initiate the transcription. One important mechanism for doing that is Bcl-3 binding. Until now, we have known that Bcl-3 can cooperate with p50 or p52, causing intense cell growth and ultimately cancer. For such cooperation, however, Bcl-3 has to first enter the nucleus, where DNA and the NF-?B proteins can be found. The team from Munich, led by Prof. Reinhard Fässler, showed that the transcription factor is helped by a molecular "ticket".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 26, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene
Couple of weeks ago I wrote about Raloxifene (a drug usually used in the prevention of osteoporosis), and discussed a study, which showed significant reduction of breast cancer risk associated with this drug. This drug was hailed as a breakthrough for breast cancer prevention. National Cancer Institute has recently reported that one of the largest breast cancer studies ever done showed that the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene (Evista) is as effective as tamoxifen in the prevention of breast cancer.

Now there are some setbacks uncovering for Raloxifene. But now, Eli Lilly, who makes Raloxifene, says it has uncovered an increased risk of deaths from stroke in users of Raloxifene. This unexpected finding was seen in the course of a study looking for effectiveness of Raloxifene in reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

In this study involving about 10,000 women, scientists found that the incidence of stroke mortality was 1.5 per 1,000 women per year taking a placebo, compared to 2.2 per 1,000 per year for raloxifene according to a warning sent by the company to physicians. However incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular mortality and overall mortality were comparable between for Raloxifene and placebo which was used in the above said trial.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 26, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

Revolution In The Fight Against Cancer

Revolution In The Fight Against Cancer
A recent scientific discovery could herald the introduction of fast, effective therapys for cancer and viruses.

In a paper reported in the May edition of Nature Biotechnology, researchers describe how they have manipulated a process that occurs naturally throughout the human body, into a potential therapeutic tool.

"The process, called RNA interference, blocks the production of proteins that create cancer and viruses," said research leader and Director of the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR), Professor Bryan Williams.

"We've exploited this process by creating short interfering RNA, or siRNA, that are being developed into drugs to fight viruses and cancer," he said. "We've now taken this a step further and worked out how we can create siRNA with different cellular properties to target different diseases."

While prior studies had demonstrated siRNA had the potential to be a potent anti-cancer and anti-viral agent, Professor Williams had shown there was a danger siRNA-based drugs could cause a dangerous inflammatory response.

Professor Williams and his team have now discovered the physical structure of siRNA are key to creating effective anti-cancer and anti-viral drugs. This will allow both the development of siRNA-based drugs to react differently for different diseases.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 25, 2006, 6:46 AM CT

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.
A year and a half ago, these women gathered for the first time for a writing and performance workshop. Having been through the world of oncology, they arrived needing to express their feelings of fear and powerlessness - as they would say, to Get It Off Our Chests. They joined the workshop to reclaim their power and use their voice and words to help other women who would follow them through the world of cancer. They knew they had a powerful message to share - there is life after cancer; there is hope; you are not alone.

Facilitated by a theatre director (me, Leah Carey) and a writing coach (novelist Jodi Picoult), the group spent three months writing, sharing their stories with each other, and learning new skills that would help them share their stories onstage. I developed a script from their writing, and three nights of performances were planned for their family, friends, and medical teams. What happened next took us all by surprise.

The response to our show, by both media and audiences, was astounding. Word spread. We were invited to perform in three states. The women jumped at the chance to take their message of hope and healing on the road (on weekends only, since all of the women have jobs and families). At each stop, audience members urged the group to record the show so it could be seen by a wider audience. ........

Posted by: Leah Carey      Permalink

May 25, 2006, 0:21 AM CT

Switch For Skeletal-Muscle Atrophy

Switch For Skeletal-Muscle Atrophy Amber Pond, a research scientist at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, tests skeletal muscle and heart tissue as Xun Wang, a graduate student in basic medical sciences, takes notes. The two are part of a research team investigating treatments that arrest the muscle atrophy caused by cancer and other diseases. (Purdue photo/David Umberger)
Scientists in Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered genetic and drug-treatment methods to arrest the type of muscle atrophy often caused by muscle disuse, as well as aging and diseases such as cancer.

The findings might eventually benefit people who have been injured or suffer from diseases that cause them to be bedridden and lose muscle mass, or sometimes limbs, due to atrophy, said Amber Pond, a research scientist in the school's Department of Basic Medical Sciences.

"The weight loss and muscle wasting that occurs in patients with cancer or other diseases seriously compromises their well-being and is correlated with a poor chance for recovery," Pond said. "In addition, muscle weakness caused by atrophy during aging can lead to serious falls and bone loss. Exercise is the most beneficial strategy to treat atrophy. However, a number of individuals are too ill to adequately participate in exercise programs.

"We've found a chemical 'switch' in the body that allows us to turn atrophy on, and, from that, we also have learned how to turn atrophy off."

Findings based on the research, funded in large part by the American Heart Association, are detailed in a study available online today (Wednesday, May 24) in The FASEB Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The study will be in the journal's print edition in July.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

May 24, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is a much more sensitive test for detecting breast tumors when compared to mammogram. A recent study has observed that women who have genetic mutation and high risk of developing breast cancer should receive MRI of the breast rather than mammogram as the screening test for breast cancer.

Women who inherit BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations have about 60 to 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the best screening test for those women who have BRCA mutation. MRI is expensive and costs 10 times more than mammography but is capable of detecting small tumors, which may be missed by mammogram giving a chance to treat such tumors earlier. However the high sensitivity of MRI causes significant false positive results, by showing a number of non-malignant breast abnormalities.

Scientists used computer models that set a threshold of $100,000 spent for each year of life gained and demonstrated that use of MRI in high-risk women is cost effective for young women (35 to 54 years) who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 22, 2006, 1:44 PM CT

Cancer Cells Eating Themselves

Cancer Cells Eating Themselves
An engineered virus tracks down and infects the most common and deadly form of brain cancer and then kills tumor cells by forcing them to devour themselves, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The modified adenovirus homed in on cancerous glioma cells in mice and induced enough self-cannibalization among the cancer cells - a process called autophagy - to reduce tumor size and extend survival, says senior author Seiji Kondo, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at M. D. Anderson.

"This virus uses telomerase, an enzyme found in 80 percent of brain tumors, as a target," Kondo says. "Once the virus enters the cell, it needs telomerase to replicate. Normal brain tissue does not have telomerase, so this virus replicates only in cancer cells".

Other cancers are telomerase-positive, and the scientists showed in lab experiments that the virus kills human prostate and human cervical cancer cells while sparing normal tissue.

In addition to demonstrating the therapeutic potential of the virus, called hTERT-Ad, Kondo says the international research team also clarified the mechanism by which such conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAs) infect and kill cancer cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

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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. Archives of cancer-blog

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