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September 26, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?

Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?
September 26, 2007 (Toronto) - Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have clarified the link between alcohol consumption and the risk of head and neck cancers, showing that people who stop drinking can significantly reduce their cancer risk.

As per CAMH Principal Investigator Dr. Jrgen Rehm, existing research consistently shows a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity. Dr. Rehm and his team analyzed epidemiological literature from 1966 to 2006 to further investigate this association and their results, reported in the recent issue of the International Journal of Cancer, showed that:
  • The risk of esophageal cancer nearly doubled in the first two years following alcohol cessation, a sharp increase that may be due to the fact that some people only stop drinking when they are already experiencing disease symptoms. However, risk then decreased rapidly and significantly after longer periods of abstention.
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  • Risk of head and neck cancer only reduced significantly after 10 years of cessation.
  • After more than 20 years of alcohol cessation, the risks for both cancers were similar to those seen in people who never drank alcohol.


These results have important implications for tailoring alcohol policies and prevention strategies, particularly for people with a family risk of cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

HPV might cause bladder cancer

HPV might cause bladder cancer
HPV
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is considered the cause of one of the most important sexually transmitted diseases nowadays, and affects both men and women. HPV is so common in our society that only people who have never had sexual relations can be sure that they have not been exposed to this disease. However, as with other microbes, people infected do not necessarily develop the disease, because, in most cases, it only means the colonization. Only some of the people colonized will fall ill with different processes.

Nevertheless, the development of this disease might have serious consequences: It is probable that HPV is correlation to bladder cancer, as per a recent study carried out by the Department of Microbiology of the University of Granada, in collaboration with the Department of Biostatistics and the Urology Service of San Cecilio Hospital.

Several prior studies point out the possibility that HPV might cause, in certain subjects, some types of cancer: cervical, anus, vulva, penis, oropharyngeal (the middle part of the throat behind the mouth including the back of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat) and bladder cancer. The scientists from Granada have focused their study on bladder cancer and have found some evidence of the relationship between both diseases. Nevertheless, they warn that further research on this matter is needed, especially in order rule out the assumption that this infection is only a viral colonization and does not cause cancer (that is to say, the tumor appeared before the tissue was infected by the virus).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:21 PM CT

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop
A report from the American Cancer Society finds the breast cancer death rate in the United States continues to drop more than two percent per year, a trend that began in 1990 and is credited to progress in early detection and therapy. But the report says African American women and women of other racial and ethnic groups have benefited less than white women from the advances that have led to those gains, and that a recent drop in cancer incidence (the rate at which news cancers are diagnosed) is due in part to fewer women getting mammograms.

The findings appear in Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008 (available online September 25 at http://www.cancer.org/statistics). The report, published every two years since 1996, provides detailed analyses of breast cancer trends and presents information on known risk factors for the disease, factors that influence survival, the latest data on prevention, early detection, therapy, and ongoing and future research.

While a number of women live in fear of breast cancer, this report shows a woman today has a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than shes had in decades, said Harmon J. Eyre, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, not all women are benefiting at the same level. Perhaps most troubling is the striking divergence in long-term mortality trends seen between African American and white females that began in the early part of 1980s and that by 2004 had led to death rates being 36 percent higher in African American women.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 5:08 AM CT

Novel strategy for aggressive leukemia

Novel strategy for aggressive leukemia
A novel strategy to hopefully beat into oblivion one of the most aggressive forms of acute myelogenous leukemia combines the strengths of some of the newest leukemia agents, scientists say.

"These are not traditional chemotherapy regimens. These are targeted therapies that our earlier laboratory studies have shown have a synergistic effect," says Dr. Kapil N. Bhalla, director of the Medical College of Georgia Cancer Center.

The strategy takes on the mutated protein receptor that enables the deadly proliferation of leukemic cells by degrading it with histone deacetylase and heat shock protein 90 inhibitors. It uses protein kinase inhibitors to reduce the function of any remaining protein and kills off leukemic cells with a natural cell death mechanism called TRAIL.

Dr. Bhalla recently received a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute that will enable his research team to do more preclinical testing of the strategy in human leukemic cells and an AML animal model.

About six years ago, scientists found the mutation in the FLT-3 gene that results in the mutated protein receptor on the cell surface. This receptor commonly responds to a growth factor that gives rise to normal bone marrow cell proliferation. "But in this case, this mutated protein receptor is constantly triggered, is constantly on and it drives proliferation, promotes survival and shuts down differentiation," Dr. Bhalla says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 24, 2007, 10:03 PM CT

A search for biomarkers for colorectal cancer

A search for biomarkers for colorectal cancer
Scientists at the Zhejiang University, Hangzhou have discovered that mimecan and Thioredoxin Domain-Containing Protein 5 (TXNDC5) were differentially expressed in colorectal adenoma. The research article describing this work entitled Differential Expression of Mimecan and Thioredoxin Domain-Containing Protein 5 in Colorectal Adenoma and Cancer: A Proteomic Study will be featured in the October 2007 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Adenoma is the major precursor lesion of colorectal cancer, one of the most common cancers worldwide. The elucidation of the molecular mechanism underlying adenoma is essential for early detection, prevention and intervention of colorectal cancer.

The research team, led by Maode Lai, a professor of molecular pathology, found 27 differentially expressed proteins in colorectal adenoma using two dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry. Western-blot analysis clearly validated 2 differentially expressed proteins, mimecan downregulation and TXNDC5 upregulation in colorectal adenomas and cancers.

Adenoma is a very important step in the development of cancer. Discovering the biomarker of adenoma will improve the early detection and prevention of cancer, said Lai. 2-DE is an efficient traditional approach for the identification of differentially expressed proteins in cancer biology. Using this technology, we first identified 27 differentially expressed proteins in individual-matched colorectal normal, adenoma and cancer tissues.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

Osteoporosis drug for breast cancer patients

Osteoporosis drug for breast cancer patients
Breast cancer survivors who took a weekly dose of risedronate, sold as Actonel, lost significantly less bone than those who did not take the drug, as per a two-year study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Scientific sessions continue through Wednesday at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Susan Greenspan, M.D., director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center and Bone Health program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and his colleagues reviewed 87 women, mean age 50, enrolled in the Prevention of Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer Following Chemotherapy study. All participants in the randomized, double-blind trial received calcium and vitamin D supplements. However, half took 35 milligrams of risedronate once a week while others took a placebo.

Chemotherapy drugs and other medical therapys for breast cancer are known to induce menopause, which can kick-start bone loss, putting survivors at risk for osteoporotic fractures, said Dr. Greenspan, an internationally respected osteoporosis researcher and professor of medicine at Pitt. This study also looked at changes in spine and hip bone mineral density, as well as evidence of bone breakdown.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 10:20 PM CT

Results of phase 1 metastatic melanoma study

Results of phase 1 metastatic melanoma study
Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced preliminary results of its Phase 1 clinical trial of Provecta for the therapy of metastatic melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Provecta demonstrated minimal side effects, significant efficacy and bystander effect on melanoma tumors in stage III patients. The study reviewed safety and efficacy of Provecta in a total of 20 subjects at two sites in Australia.

In the study, Provecta was injected once into one to twenty tumors in each subject. In addition to these treated tumors, an additional one to three tumors were left untreated in each subject to allow assessment of a potential "bystander effect" resulting from immune system response to tumor therapy. A total of 114 tumors were injected and 39 bystander tumors were observed in the study. Subjects were followed for 4 to 27 weeks. Study therapys were well tolerated and elicited minimal side effects, the most common being mild to moderate pain at the injection site.

Results for all evaluable tumors were tabulated using the RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) approach, which objectively grades response for each subject based on change in the sum of the longest diameter for each of the subject's tumors vs. baseline. Subject outcome was scored in terms of complete response (CR -- complete tumor disappearance or negative histopathology), partial response (PR -- 30% or more tumor shrinkage), stable disease (SD -- 29% shrinkage to 20% growth), and progressive disease (PD -- greater than 20% growth).........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 10:35 PM CT

Does black men have more aggressive prostate cancer?

Does black men have more aggressive prostate cancer?
A University of Minnesota study of prostate cancer tumors from Caucasian and African-American men has shown no evidence that the cancer is more aggressive in black men. Lead investigator Akhouri Sinha, a professor of genetics, cell biology, and development and research scientist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, said the belief that black mens tumors are more aggressive is based on studies that failed to match patients properly and used only indirect means to measure tumor aggressiveness. The work will be published in Anticancer Research Sept. 21 (vol. 27, issue 5A, pp. 3135-3142).

In prior studies of prostate tumors, those in black patients tended to be larger and at a more advanced stage, and black men had higher blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate that, at high levels, points to the possibility of prostate cancer. But all these criteria are interrelated and could be the result of delayed diagnosis or medical care, Sinha said.

Prior studies showing differences in prostate cancers among races require re-evaluation because inconsistent criteria were used in selection of patients, he said. Our data shows that for patients receiving similar therapy, African-American patients are not following up with their doctors as opposed to Caucasians, and this difference is highly significant. Also, Caucasian patients are four times as likely to receive additional therapy after prostatectomy. Cancer does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or caste system, like people do. Invasiveness of prostate cancer is not race-dependent.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies
University of Iowa scientists have discovered a gene that plays a linchpin role in the ability of breast cancer cells to respond to estrogen. The finding may lead to improved therapies for hormone-responsive breast cancers and may explain differences in the effectiveness of current therapys.

Estrogen causes hormone-responsive breast cancer cells to grow and divide by interacting with estrogen receptors made by cancer cells. Interfering with estrogen signaling is the basis of two common breast cancer therapies -- tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen's interaction with a primary estrogen receptor called ER-alpha, and aromatase inhibitors that reduce the amount of estrogen the body makes and therefore affect any pathway that uses estrogen.

The study, led by Ronald Weigel, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of surgery at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, reveals a central role for transcription factor AP2C (TFAP2C) in controlling multiple pathways of estrogen signaling. The findings appear in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"Estrogen binds to estrogen receptors and triggers a cascade of events including gene regulation," said Weigel, who also is a member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. "We observed that elimination of the TFAP2C from the cell causes all of those cascades that we associate with estrogen to go away. The treated cancer cells were not able to respond to estrogen by any normal pathway".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 12, 2007, 8:03 PM CT

Taxol bristle ball: a wrench in the works for cancer

Taxol bristle ball: a wrench in the works for cancer
Using gold nanoparticles, Rice chemists have created tiny spheres that literally bristle with molecules of the anti-cancer drug Taxol.

Credit: Eugene Zubarev/Rice University
Rice University chemists have discovered a way to load dozens of molecules of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel onto tiny gold spheres. The result is a tiny ball, a number of times smaller than a living cell that literally bristles with the drug.

Paclitaxel, which is sold under the brand name Taxol, prevents cancer cells from dividing by jamming their inner works.

"Paclitaxel is one of the most effective anti-cancer drugs, and a number of scientists are exploring how to deliver much more of the drug directly to cancer cells," said lead researcher Eugene Zubarev, the Norman Hackerman-Welch Young Investigator and assistant professor of chemistry at Rice. "We looked for an approach that would clear the major hurdles people have encountered -- solubility, drug efficacy, bioavailability and uniform dispersion -- and our initial results look very promising".

The research is available online and will appear in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, vol. 129, pgs.11653-11661).

First isolated from the bark of the yew tree in 1967, paclitaxel is one of the most widely prescribed chemotherapy drugs in use today. The drug is used to treat breast, ovarian and other cancers.

Paclitaxel works by attaching itself to structural supports called microtubules, which form the framework inside living cells. In order to divide, cells must break down their internal framework, and paclitaxel stops this process by locking the support into place.........

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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