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May 13, 2007, 9:56 PM CT

Spiritual Beliefs, Practices May Help Smokers Quit

Spiritual Beliefs, Practices May Help Smokers Quit
Unlike a number of traditional alcohol and drug dependence therapy programs, mainstream smoking cessation programs generally exclude spiritual practice and beliefs from the therapy process. But a study by Oregon Health & Science University Smoking Cessation Center scientists reveals a number of smokers are receptive to and may benefit from their own spiritual resources, when attempting to quit.

The study, thought to bethe first to look at the potential use of spiritual resources for quitting in adult smokers, recently was published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

For decades, the OHSU research team encountered some patients in clinical practice who reported that in addition to the therapys provided by the team, they used personal spiritual beliefs and practices in their quit attempts. This led the team to question why spiritual resources were not part of mainstream tobacco dependence therapy programs.

"We theorized the absence of spiritual resources in smoking cessation programs may be due to perceived resistance from smokers or, until recently, the social acceptance of smoking, which may have prevented patients and providers from considering the health effects of tobacco dependence as life-threatening," said David Gonzales, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study, and co-director, OHSU Smoking Cessation Center, OHSU School of Medicine. "We know that smoking cessation medications coupled with behavioral interventions increase quit rates, but quitting is still difficult and some smokers need more support in order to quit successfully. We may be missing opportunities to assist these smokers".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 9, 2007, 11:31 PM CT

FDG-PET Predicts Response to Chemotherapy

FDG-PET Predicts Response to Chemotherapy
An earlier indication of whether chemotherapy benefits non-small cell patients with lung cancer-provided by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging-can guide doctors in offering them better care, as per scientists in the May Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Our study demonstrates that patients who respond to chemotherapy can be identified early in the course of their therapy, and these patients will generally exhibit prolonged overall survival," explained Claude Nahmias, professor of radiology and medicine at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. "Eventhough we studied a relatively small number of patients-and our results should be interpreted with caution-it is clear that a repeat PET study with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) at the end of the first cycle of chemotherapy would allow the identification of those patients for whom the treatment was futile," he said. "The ability to provide an early indication of therapeutic response has the potential to improve patient care by identifying those patients who do not benefit from their current therapy," explained Nahmias. "Patients would benefit from either having chemotherapy and its associated toxic side effects stopped or going on to a different, and hopefully more adequate, therapeutic approach," added the co-author of "Time Course of Early Response to Chemotherapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients With 18F-FDG PET/CT".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

May 7, 2007, 10:41 PM CT

Diabetes Drug With Chemotherapy

Diabetes Drug With Chemotherapy
A widely used diabetes drug dramatically boosted the potency of platinum-based cancer drugs when administered together to a variety of cancer cell lines and to mice with tumors, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report.

Combining a platinum chemotherapy agent and the diabetes drug rosiglitazone halted or shrank mouse tumors as much as three times more effectively than either of the drugs given alone, as per the article in the recent issue of Cancer Cell.

If pairing the drugs has the same synergistic effect in humans, the scientists say, it could improve control of ovarian, lung and other cancers routinely treated with platinum-based chemotherapy, to which tumors eventually become resistant. Moreover, the experiments suggest the combination might extend the use of platinum drugs to other cancers where they haven't previously been shown to be effective.

"There's still a huge gulf between these experiments and human cancers," said Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, senior author of the report. "But it's worked in every animal model of cancer weve looked at, and I think theres a fair chance it will help people".

Dana-Farber scientists are already drawing up plans for initial clinical trials, which could begin sometime this year.

"We really see a way forward here to improve the chemotherapy's effectiveness for multiple forms of cancer," said George Demetri, MD, a Dana-Farber researcher who is preparing a proposal for a pilot study of rosizitaglone and platinum chemotherapy drugs in lung and ovary cancer and sarcomas.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 6, 2007, 5:48 PM CT

Computer-aided detection of breast cancer

Computer-aided detection of breast cancer
The use of computer-aided detection (CAD) with computed radiography (CR) is effective in the detection of breast cancer, as per a recent study conducted by radiologists at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC and iCAD in Nashua, NH.

"I wanted to undertake this study because we need to further define the performance of CAD with CR," said Rachel Brem, MD, lead author of the study. "There is no doubt that CR will be an increasingly important technology in breast imaging and multiple studies have unequivocally demonstrated the improved detection of breast cancer with CAD. Therefore, we wanted to investigate these two technologies' synergies," she said.

The study included 53 cases with breast cancer that were reviewed using a CAD system. The scientists assessed the sensitivity of cancer detection by CAD, and the mammmographic density as well as cancer sizes.

The study showed that 47 of 53 cancer cases were detected by CAD (30 cancers in non dense breasts and 17 cancers in dense breasts). As per the study results, CAD detected 11 of 12 cancers manifesting as calcifications and 36 out of 41 masses.

"CAD had a high sensitivity of 89% with CR mammography that was maintained even in conditions that may lower the sensitivity of mammography, such as dense breasts and small lesions one millimeter or less," said Dr. Brem.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 2, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

risk of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke

risk of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke
Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from secondhand tobacco smoke, as per a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. While the health risks linked to indoor secondhand smoke are well documented, little research has been done on exposure to toxic tobacco fumes outdoors.

Now, Stanford University scientists have conducted the first in-depth study on how smoking affects air quality at sidewalk cafs, park benches and other outdoor locations. Writing in the recent issue of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association (JAWMA), the Stanford team concluded that a non-smoker sitting a few feet downwind from a smoldering cigarette is likely to be exposed to substantial levels of contaminated air for brief periods of time.

"Some folks have expressed the opinion that exposure to outdoor tobacco smoke is insignificant, because it dissipates quickly into the air," said Neil Klepeis, assistant professor (consulting) of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and lead author of the study. "But our findings show that a person sitting or standing next to a smoker outdoors can breathe in wisps of smoke that are a number of times more concentrated than normal background air pollution levels".

Klepeis pointed to the 2006 Surgeon General's report, which observed that even brief exposures to secondhand smoke may have adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increase the severity of asthma attacks, particularly in children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

April 30, 2007, 6:53 PM CT

The Tungsten Nevada Leukemia Link

The Tungsten Nevada Leukemia Link Paul Sheppard
Credit: Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, the University of Arizona.

Tungsten began increasing in trees in Fallon, Nev. several years before the town's rise in childhood leukemia cases, as per a new research report.

The amount of tungsten in tree rings from Fallon quadrupled between 1990 and 2002, whereas the amount in tree rings from nearby towns remained the same, as per a research team led by Paul R. Sheppard of The University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

This is the first study that has examined changes in levels of heavy metals in Fallon over time.

"Trees take up metals from the environment and those metals show up in the tree rings. By analyzing chemicals in tree rings, we can look back in time years, and even decades," said Sheppard, a UA assistant professor of dendrochronology.

"Tree ring values for the early part of 1990s for tungsten are roughly equivalent to nearby towns, but go up in Fallon in the mid-1990s while staying the same in other towns," he said.

Tungsten levels in Fallon trees began increasing in 1994, while levels in neighboring towns remained the same. Since 1997, 17 cases of childhood leukemia have been diagnosed in children who lived in the Fallon area for some time previous to diagnosis. Fallon's high occurence rate of leukemia has been acknowledged as a leukemia cluster by the Nevada State Health Division. ........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

April 25, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

New hereditary breast cancer gene discovered

New hereditary breast cancer gene discovered
A new hereditary breast cancer gene has been discovered by researchers at the Lundberg Laboratory for Cancer Research and the Plastic Surgery Clinic at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden. The scientists observed that women with a certain hereditary deformity syndrome run a nearly twenty times higher risk of contracting breast cancer than expected.

Several research teams around the world have long been searching for new hereditary breast cancer genes, but thus far few have been found.

"Our findings are extremely important, providing new knowledge of hereditary cancer genes and how they can cause breast cancer. The discovery also makes it possible to uncover breast cancer in women who have a predisposition for Saethre-Chotzen malformation syndrome," says Gran Stenman.

By detailed mapping of families with Saethre-Chotzen syndrome, the Gteborg researchers have now observed that women with this syndrome have an elevated risk of contracting breast cancer. Saethre-Chotzen is a syndrome that primarily involves malformations of the skull, face, hands, and feet. The syndrome is caused by mutations in a gene called TWIST1.

"Our findings show that women with this syndrome run a nearly twenty times greater risk of contracting breast cancer than expected. Moreover, a number of of the women were young when they were affected by breast cancer," says Gran Stenman.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

April 25, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

Short chromosomes put cancer cells in forced rest

Short chromosomes put cancer cells in forced rest
A Johns Hopkins team has stopped in its tracks a form of blood cancer in mice by engineering and inactivating an enzyme, telomerase, thereby shortening the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres.

"Normally, when telomeres get critically short, the cell commits suicide as a means of protecting the body," says Carol Greider, Ph.D., the Daniel Nathans chair of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins. Her study, appearing online this month at Cancer Cell, uncovers an alternate response where cells simply - and permanently - stop growing, a process known as senescence.

In an unusual set of experiments, the research team first mated mice with nonoperating telomerase to mice carrying a mutation that predisposed them to Burkitts lymphoma, a rare but aggressive cancer of white blood cells. Telomerase helps maintain the caps or ends of chromosomes called telomeres, which shrink each time a cell divides and eventually - when the chromosomes get too short - force the cell to essentially commit suicide. Such cell death is natural, and when it fails to happen, the result may be unbridled cell growth, or cancer.

The first generation pups born to these mice contained no telomerase and very long telomeres. These mice all developed lymphomas by the time they were 7 months old. The scientists then continued breeding the mice to see what would happen in later generations. By the fifth generation, the scientists discovered that the mice had short telomeres and stopped developing lymphomas.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

April 23, 2007, 5:19 PM CT

Prostate Cancer Treatments Impact On Quality Of Life

Prostate Cancer Treatments Impact On Quality Of Life
A rigorous, long-term study of quality of life in patients who underwent one of the three most common therapys for prostate cancer observed that each affected men's lives in different ways. The findings provide invaluable information for men with prostate cancer who are facing vital therapy decisions.

Scientists studied quality of life in men who either underwent radical prostatectomy, implantation of radioactive seeds in their prostate gland or had external beam radiation treatment. The three therapy options rank about equally in survival outcomes for most men, so specific impacts on quality of life become paramount in making therapy decisions, said Dr. Mark Litwin, the study's lead author and a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center.

"The good news is that overall mental and physical well-being were not profoundly affected by any of the three therapy choices," Litwin said. "That's good news for men with the sword of prostate cancer hanging over their heads. In general, they'll be OK no matter which of the three options they choose".

However, each of the three options did negatively affect quality of life, at least temporarily, with problems ranging from erectile dysfunction and minor incontinence to urinary and bowel irritation.

The study tracked 580 men for five years. The study results, reported in the June 1, 2007 issue of the peer-evaluated journal CANCER, represent data from the first two years of the study. Those years, Litwin said, are when most of the negative impacts surface and resolve.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

April 19, 2007, 7:34 PM CT

Novel drug for treating leukemia

Novel drug for treating leukemia
Scientists from the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have observed that a novel targeted treatment effectively treats acute leukemia in animal models by preventing cancer cells from being purged of damaged proteins.

In the March online issue of the journal Blood, researchers reported that the new proteasome inhibitor, NPI-0052, not only successfully kills leukemia cells, but also shows greater efficacy than its predecessor bortezomib when combined with other agents in animal models.

As per researchers, proteasomes clean out mutated or damaged proteins within cells, which promotes cell growth and allows cancer cells to rapidly reproduce. Proteasome inhibitors block this process, resulting in apoptosis, or cell death, of the cancerous cells.

Bortezomib is the first and only FDA-approved proteasome inhibitor. Eventhough it is effective for treating multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, it was proven to be ineffective as a single agent against leukemia in clinical trials. NPI-0052 varies from bortezomib in ways that scientists at M. D. Anderson hope will make NPI-0052 effective in a human clinical trial.

"NPI-0052 targets the proteasome through different intermediaries and is more potent than bortezomib in leukemia cells," says senior author Joya Chandra, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics from the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson. "Therefore we can use less of the drug to inhibit the proteasome".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         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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