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March 15, 2007, 6:25 PM CT

Poliovirus To Destroy Neuroblastoma Tumors

Poliovirus To Destroy Neuroblastoma Tumors
The cause of one notorious childhood disease, poliovirus, could be used to treat the ongoing threat of another childhood disease, neuroblastoma. In the March 15 issue of Cancer Research, scientists from Stony Brook University report that an attenuated -- or non-virulent -- form of poliovirus is effective in obliterating neuroblastoma tumors in mice, even when the mice had been previously vaccinated against the virus.

By its nature, poliovirus destroys the cells it infects in an attempt to replicate copies of itself. When released from the cells it kills, the replicated particles then attack surrounding cells. The Stony Brook scientists took advantage of this viral property by injecting a stable, attenuated strain of poliovirus directly into neuroblastoma tumors transplanted into 12 mice engineered to contract polio. The virus was able to destroy tumors in all 12 mice; however tumors reoccurred in two mice by the end of the 180-day study period.

None of the mice experienced any ill effects from the virus itself. As per the researchers, any viral particles that make it to the bloodstream would be destroyed by antibodies created through poliovirus vaccination. The scientists think that their findings, if developed to work in humans, could represent a safe, practical means of treating a deadly childhood cancer and possibly a number of other cancers in adults.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 15, 2007, 6:23 PM CT

Soy Protects Against Prostate Cancer

Soy Protects Against Prostate Cancer
The largest study examining the relationship between the traditional soy-rich Japanese diet and development of prostate cancer in Japanese men has come to a seemingly contradictory conclusion: intake of isoflavone chemicals, derived largely from soy foods, decreased the risk of localized prostate cancer but increased the risk of advanced prostate cancer.

The prospective study of 43,509 men, reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggests that the effects of isoflavones on prostate cancer development may differ as per disease stage, say scientists at the National Cancer Center in Japan.

One possible explanation is that isoflavones may delay the progression of latent prostate cancer only; once tumors lose estrogen-receptor beta expression and become aggressive, isoflavones may fail to protect against the development of advanced cancer, and might even increase the risk of progression, possibly by reducing serum testosterone, scientists say. It is also possible that advanced and localized prostate cancer may be different tumor subtypes, which may react differently to isoflavones.

"The present findings provide no clear understanding of when or how localized cancer will develop to aggressive cancer, and of the related effect of isoflavones," said the study's first author, Norie Kurahashi, M.D., of the Epidemiology and Prevention Division of the National Cancer Center.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 12, 2007, 9:01 PM CT

Compound With An Improbable Trigger

Compound With An Improbable Trigger
Even miniscule amounts of chromium 6 can cause cancer. Blame that do-gooder nutrient, vitamin C.

Brown University scientists have discovered that naturally occurring vitamin C reacts inside human lung cells with chromium 6, or hexavalent chromium, and causes massive DNA damage. Low doses of chromium 6, combined with vitamin C, produce up to 15 times as a number of chromosomal breaks and up to 10 times more mutations - forms of genetic damage that lead to cancer - compared with cells that lacked vitamin C altogether.

This finding is startling, said Anatoly Zhitkovich, an associate professor of medical science at Brown who oversaw the experiments. Outside cells, Zhitkovich said, vitamin C actually protects against the cellular damage caused by hexavalent chromium, the toxic chemical that starred as the villain in the true-to-life Hollywood drama, Erin Brockovich. In fact, vitamin C has been used as an antidote in industrial accidents and other instances when large amounts of chromium are ingested.

Vitamin C works protective wonders because it is a powerful antioxidant, blocking cellular damage from free radicals. Specifically, the vitamin rapidly "reduces," or adds electrons, to free radicals, converting them into harmless molecules. This electron transfer from vitamin C to chromium 6 produces chromium 3, a form of the compound that is unable to enter cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 11, 2007, 8:30 PM CT

Target For Treatment For Leukemia

Target For Treatment For Leukemia
Ali Shilatifard, Ph.D., Investigator, has identified a cellular factor that can reverse histone trimethylation caused by the trithorax gene, the Drosophila homologue of the human mixed lineage leukemia gene, MLL. MLL, which is found in translocations in a variety of hematological malignancies, is a histone H3K4 methyltransferase.

The paper, "The trithorax-group gene little imaginal discs in Drosophila encodes a histone H3 trimethyl-Lys4 demethylase," was posted today in the Advanced Online Publication section of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The publication identified a cellular factor that can reverse histone trimethylation linked to mixed lineage leukemia. This, in turn, may allow for the identification of new targets for the therapy of leukemia caused by MLL translocations.

"This work demonstrates that a Drosophila gene product, little imaginal discs (Lid), removes methyl groups from histone H3K4," explains Dr. Shilatifard. "A reduction of Lid results in a specific genome-wide increase in H3K4 trimethylation levels with no effect on other patterns of histone trimethylations. Animals with reduced Lid levels have higher levels of H3K4 trimethylation, resulting in altered distribution of the chromo-helicase protein, the CHD1."

"Dr. Shilatifards first publication since joining the Institute earlier this year is a fascinating one," said Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D., Scientific Director. "The role of MLL in a variety of blood-related cancers has been well-established. These findings give us a promising option for developing targeted therapys to combat these types of leukemia".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 6, 2007, 3:43 PM CT

Probe To Detect Spread Of Breast Cancer

Probe To Detect Spread Of Breast Cancer Physicist Audrius Brazdeikis, right, London surgeon Dr. Michael Douek, left
Credit: Mark Lac
High-temperature superconductors hold the key to a handheld tool for surgeons that promises to be more accurate, cost-effective and safer than existing methods for staging and treating various cancers, including breast cancer.

Audrius Brazdeikis, research assistant professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston, and Quentin Pankhurst, a professor of physics from the University College of London (UCL), have developed a novel detection procedure combining nanotechnology and advanced magnetic sensing based on high-temperature superconductors. Their innovation will enable surgeons to more effectively locate the sentinel lymph node the first lymph node to which a tumors metastasizing cancer cells will drain.

The scientists produced an ultrasensitive magnetic probe to detect minuscule magnetic fields in the body. The probe is a supersensitive magnetometer an instrument used to track the presence of clinically introduced magnetic nanoparticles. During breast cancer surgery, a surgeon will inject a magnetic nanoparticle dye, already approved as an imaging contrast agent by the Food and Drug Administration, into the tumor or into tissues surrounding the tumor.

Receiving a $250,000 grant to be used from 2004 to 2006 from the United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry under the UK-Texas Bioscience Collaboration Initiative, Brazdeikis and Pankhurst were mandatory to show "proof of concept" by building a device and showing it worked. An ethics committee in the UK since has approved the detection procedure for a clinical trial of women undergoing breast cancer surgery at University College Hospital, London.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 1, 2007, 4:53 AM CT

Green Tea And Cox-2 Inhibitors To Fight Prostate Cancer

Green Tea And Cox-2 Inhibitors To Fight Prostate Cancer
Drinking a nice warm cup of green tea has long been touted for its healthful benefits, both real and anecdotal. But now scientists have observed that a component of green tea, combined with low doses of a COX-2 inhibitor, could slow the spread of human prostate cancer.

In the March 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, scientists from University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate that low doses of the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib, administered with a green tea polyphenol called pigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can slow the growth of human prostate cancer. Their experiments were performed in cell cultures and in a mouse model for the disease.

"Celecoxib and green tea have a synergistic effect -- each triggering cellular pathways that, combined, are more powerful than either agent alone," said Hasan Mukhtar, Ph.D., professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin and member of Wisconsin's Paul Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We hope that a clinical trial could lead to a preventative therapy as simple as tea time."

Prior research has linked the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, usually known as COX-2, to a number of cancer types, including prostate cancer, said Mukhtar. Mukhtar and colleagues have previously shown COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib (known under the brand name CelebrexTM) suppress prostate cancer in animal models. COX-2 inhibitors also have been shown to cause adverse cardiovascular effects when administered at high doses over long durations.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 27, 2007, 8:30 PM CT

Taxotere Improves Survival in Prostate Cancer

Taxotere Improves Survival in Prostate Cancer
One step forward in prostate cancer:

As per a press release by Sanofi-Aventis, long-term results indicate that Taxotere (docetaxel) improves survival in patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is second only to non-melanoma skin cancers as the most usually diagnosed cancer in men in the U.S. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is located between the bladder and rectum. It is responsible for forming a component of semen.

Prostate cancer is stimulated to grow by male hormones, especially testosterone. Hormone treatment, which is intended to reduce levels of male hormones available to cancer cells, is a therapy option for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. By reducing levels of male hormones, the cancer cells are deprived of their growth stimulus, causing the cancer to shrink. Unfortunately, patients ultimately stop responding to hormone treatment after receiving therapy for a period of time; they are then referred to as having hormone-refractory or androgen-independent prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 27, 2007, 7:49 PM CT

Eat well, get fit, stop smoking - prevent cancer

Eat well, get fit, stop smoking - prevent cancer
If you wanted to start today to reduce your chances of getting cancer, what would you have to do? Lose excess weight, get more exercise, eat a healthy diet and quit smoking.

Watch video

Those basic behavior changes would have a tremendous impact on the occurence rate of the most prevalent types of cancer - lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer - says Graham Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., associate director of Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "We estimate that more than 50 percent of cancer incidence could be prevented if we act today on what we already know," Colditz says.

Every year, more than 500,000 Americans die from cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that on average each person who dies from cancer loses 15 years of life, and altogether cancer deaths were responsible for nearly 8.7 million person-years of life lost in 2003, the most recent year for which the data were available.

"The loss of life and earning potential and the social impact of cancer are enormous," Colditz says. "Reducing risk by adopting changes in lifestyle like quitting smoking and losing weight isn't always easy, but it may help to remember that these behavior changes can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 26, 2007, 8:49 PM CT

Creating New Life Forms to fight cancer

Creating New Life Forms to fight cancer
Instead of using the usual cancer-fighting modalities, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, researchers from a drug development company called Advaxis, have embarked on a novel approach to fighting cancer: Engaging the immune system to attack cancer in the same the way it would a flu vaccine, by creating new life forms.

Dr. Vafa Shahabi, Advaxis' Director of Research and Development, reports that because the human immune system is not designed to fight cancer on its own, she and her colleagues are trying to harness its power through a new kind of life form: specifically a family of vaccines, which they call Lovaxin. The vaccines are comprised of new strains of bacteria created in Advaxis' laboratory that are programmed to kill off specific cancers.

The Key: A Microbe Found in Dairy Products Central to this startling discovery is the microbe Listeria monocytogenes, a common bacterium found in milk, cheese and other dairy products. This microorganism apparently aids in fighting cancer by activating the body's own killer (cytotoxic T) cells to elicit a stronger than normal immune response to the presence of cancer cells. The vaccines "teach" the immune system to mount a specialized, targeted response that is lethal to cancer.

When Listeria is introduced in the body, it has a powerful, direct stimulatory effect on the activities of tumor-killing T cells. "Essentially the modified Listeria vaccines harness the power of the immune system against this infectious agent," explains Dr. Shabahi, "and then directs it to successfully attack cancer cells. The bacterium in effect then becomes a cancer-fighting 'Trojan horse,' with the enemy tucked inside."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 21, 2007, 9:45 PM CT

Taxol chemotherapy in breast cancer

Taxol chemotherapy in breast cancer
Cancer scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have taken a step towards understanding how and why a widely used chemotherapy drug works in breast cancer patients.

In laboratory studies, the scientists isolated a protein, caveolin-1, showing that in breast cancer cells this protein can enhance cell death in response to the use of Taxol, one of two taxane chemotherapy drugs used to treat advanced breast and ovary cancer. But in order to work, they found the protein needs to be "switched on," or phosphorylated. The results were published in the current (February 23) issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Their finding suggests it may eventually be possible to test individual patients with breast cancer for the status of such molecular markers as caveolin-1 in their tumors to determine the efficacy-to-toxicity ratio for Taxol, said the studys first author, postdoctoral fellow Ayesha Shajahan, Ph.D., of Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown.

"Because breast tumors are not all the same, it is important to know the cancers molecular makeup in order to increase the efficiency, and lower the toxicity, of chemotherapy drugs, and this work takes us some steps forward in this goal," she said. "It also offers insights into why some breast cancer cells can become resistant to therapeutic drugs".........

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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