September 25, 2006, 9:59 PM CT
Gene Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) are hoping a new gene treatment that takes a gene called RTVP-1 directly into the prostate tumor will prove effective in preventing recurrence of the disease.
The first phase of the study is designed to test the safety of the therapy and determine the proper dosage of gene, said Dr. Dov Kadmon, professor of urology at BCM. It will be carried out in the department of urology at BCM as well as at Ben Taub General Hospital, The Methodist Hospital and Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
"We are treating patients who are scheduled for a prostatectomy (prostate removal) but who also have a high risk that their disease will recur (or come back)," said Kadmon. "The operation itself is highly successful in eradicating local tumors (in the prostate)".
The design of the study is simple, said Kadmon.
"One injection into the prostate that should take no more than 10 minutes, eventhough patients will be monitored in a special unit of the hospital for 23 hours to make sure there are no side effects. After that, they come to the unit for a check-up once a week".
After about 30 days, the subjects undergo their surgery, which has already been scheduled, he said. He said the hope is that the gene treatment will reduce the risk that cancer will recur at or near the site of the tumor as well as in distant points in the body.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
September 25, 2006, 4:43 PM CT
Combination of Xeloda And Taxol Metastatic Breast Cancer
Combination of Xeloda and Taxol is an effective therapy for women with metastatic breast cancer. New research from US Oncology Network and the University of North Carolina has recently reported that the combination of Xeloda (capecitabine) and Taxol is an effective and tolerable regimen for initial therapy of women with metastatic breast cancer. Women who were HER-2 negative were not included in the study. This is a phase II study and it is reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In this study the scientists reviewed 55 patients who were newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer. These patients received oral Xeloda and weekly Taxol. Patients who had HER-2 positive tumors were not included in the study.
No patient had a complete response, however percent; of patients achieved a partial response. When stable disease is also taken into account 65 percent of patients derived benefit for the therapy. On average the response lasted for 10 months and median survival was 17 months.
From these findings the scientists have concluded that Xeloda plus Taxol is an effective, well-tolerated, and fairly convenient therapy combination as initial treatment for women with metastatic breast cancer.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink
September 25, 2006, 4:33 PM CT
Breast Density Contributes to Breast Cancer Risk
Recently there has been some discussion regarding inclusion of breast density in breast cancer prediction models. In a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this issue is highlighted. The discussion revolves around the question: should breast density be added to the Gail model in predicting breast cancer occurrence?
The Gail model is a breast cancer prediction tool that is widely used. Gail model estimates a woman's risk of developing breast cancer taking into account several factors like age, family history of breast cancer, reproductive history and history of previous biopsies. This model is widely used to identify the group of women who have high risk of developing breast cancer. This model was originally introduced for evaluation of Caucasian women and is yet to be validated in other ethnic groups.
Researchers have recently identified other risk factors like breast density and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy. In continuing effort to improve the accuracy of the Gail model experts are suggesting that these new risk factors should be included in calculation of the risk.
The term breast density refers to the extent of glandular and connective tissue in the breast. Breasts with more glandular and connective tissue are denser by definition. A mammogram gives an estimate of breast density. Increased breast density is linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Breast density is estimated on a scale of one to four, with one being "almost entirely fat" and four being "extremely dense." ........
Posted by: Janet Permalink
September 25, 2006, 5:11 AM CT
What's The Best Strategy For Follow Up Of An Abnormality?
You might be getting your regular mammogram follow ups, and some of you might get an abnormal result on the mammogram. You might be worried, quite understandable, but mammogram abnormality does not mean breast cancer. More important, now what should you do if the mammogram detects an abnormality?
Experts in the field indicate that if an abnormality is detected in the mammogram performing a breast biopsy is the best strategy, for follow up of the abnormality even though there are several other options available.
Breast biopsy is considered to be the standard approach to mammogram abnormality, and recently a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) compared the effectiveness of biopsy, with four other available options. These options includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound imaging, positron emission tomography (PET) scanning; and scintimammography.
The report convincingly concludes that biopsy is the gold standard; when it comes to the long-term follow up an abnormality that is detected in the mammogram.
Of course biopsy is more invasive, but is a more accurate test and requires sampling of the breast tissue. The removed tissue is analyzed under the microscope using special stain to determine the presence of malignancy.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink
September 24, 2006, 10:27 PM CT
Hearing Loss From Chemotherapy
Children with cancer who suffer hearing loss due to the toxic effects of chemotherapy might one day be able to get their hearing back through pharmacological and gene treatment, thanks to work done with mouse models at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Mice with a variety of genetic mutations that disrupt different parts of the ear will also help researchers understand age-related hearing loss in adults, as well as hearing loss caused by long-term exposure to loud noise, as per the researchers.
The researchers took the first step toward these ambitious goals by identifying 17 families of mice whose offspring carry one or more of a variety of mutations that cause them to lose the ability to hear high-frequency sounds, as per Jian Zuo, Ph.D., associate member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. Zuo is senior author of a report on this work that appears in the recent issue of Hearing Research.
These models will help researchers understand what happens in the ears of children who suffer ototoxicity (toxic damage to the inner ear due to chemotherapy) and eventually, which genes are responsible for that damage. "Our ongoing study of these mouse models will advance understanding of age-related and noise-induced hearing loss in humans--such as long-term exposure to loud music--which are similar to the damage that occurs in children receiving chemotherapy," Zuo said.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 23, 2006, 11:44 AM CT
Chronic Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery
A woman's young age, extensive surgery, and whether she suffered severe, post-operative pain are risk factors for developing chronic pain after breast cancer surgery, a University of Rochester study found.
Up to half of all women who undergo a lumpectomy or mastectomy feel pain weeks or months later near the breast, adjacent armpit and upper arm on the same side. It is often described as burning, throbbing, and/or a sharp pain.
As per a research findings reported in the September 2006 Journal of Pain, lead author Robert H. Dworkin, Ph.D., a University of Rochester Medical Center professor of anesthesiology, neurology, oncology and psychiatry, and international pain management expert, recommends that women facing breast-cancer surgery should be counseled beforehand to alleviate any distress they may have and improve coping skills. Results of the study suggest that a combination of analgesic drugs and counseling immediately after surgery might also help to prevent long-term problems, he said.
"Women with breast cancer have unique concerns and fears that may be connected to pain," Dworkin said. "And despite considerable changes over time in surgical approaches, these results are consistent with other studies".
Few prospective studies have identified the characteristics of patients who are most likely to develop chronic pain, which can diminish a woman's quality of life by leading to job loss or marriage stress, even if the cancer is successfully treated.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 20, 2006, 10:10 PM CT
Prenatal vitamins may reduce risk of brain tumors in children
Women who take multivitamins early in pregnancy may reduce the risk that their child will develop some types of brain tumors.
Public health agencies already urge pregnant women to take multivitamins that contain folic acid early in pregnancy to reduce their fetus's risk of developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. "This current study suggests another possible protective effect for the vitamins," said study leader Greta R. Bunin, Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She added, "Children whose mothers took multivitamins close to the time of conception seemed less likely to suffer medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain".
While childhood brain tumors are, fortunately, relatively rare, medulloblastoma is the second most common brain tumor in children. Occurring in one in 20,000 children under age six, it appears in the cerebellum, the lower portion of the brain, and the area of the brain that coordinates movement. Primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain (PNET) are similar to medulloblastoma but occur in other parts of the central nervous system.
Dr. Bunin led a study comparing 315 children diagnosed with those tumors before age six to 315 randomly chosen healthy children. The children with cancer, all of whom were diagnosed between 1991 and 1997, were registered in the Children's Oncology Group, a multicenter collaborative organization of pediatric cancer programs in the U.S. and Canada.........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
September 20, 2006, 5:09 AM CT
Why Food Tastes Bad To Chemotherapy Recipients
It's a common experience among patients who are receiving chemotherapy to have no tast for food. About two million cancer patients currently receiving certain drug therapies and chemotherapy find foods and beverages to have a foul metallic flavor, as per a medical study. In general, more than 40 percent of hospitalized patients suffer from malnutrition due to taste and smell dysfunction.
"Unfortunately, these problems that impact nutrition and quality of life are underestimated and understudied by oncologists," said Andrea Dietrich, Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE).
Dietrich believes there are two components to the metallic flavor the taste of metal ions on the tongue and the production of metal-catalyzed odors in the mouth that create a retro-nasal effect. "I am attempting to gain a better understanding of the metallic sensation, its prevention, and application to human health," Dietrich said.
Along with two of her university colleagues, Susan E. Duncan, professor of food science and technology, and YongWoo Lee, an assistant professor in the biomedical sciences and pathology department and a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Dietrich is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Public Health and Water Research (IPWR) to examine the problems of foul flavored water. The interdisciplinary investigative team combines proficiency in food oxidation and off-flavors, water chemistry, cell biology, and human perception.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 20, 2006, 4:57 AM CT
Higher Suicide Rate Among Women With Breast Implants
Does women with breast implants have a higher mortality rate? This was the question the researchers were asking, but they came up with a surprising finding. In study that evaluated 24,600 women by the Canadian Public Health Agency and Cancer Care Ontario found that having breast implants does not increase mortality risk. However, the study found that the suicide rate among women with breast implants is 73% higher than in the general population. Researchers have published these findings in a recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Reserchers Universit Laval's Jacques Brisson and Louis Latulippe and their colleagues collected data on 17,400 women from the province of Quebec and 7,200 from Ontario who had received breast implants for cosmetic purposes between 1974 and 1989. These women, who had undergone the surgery at an average age of 32, were followed regularly during a 15-year period. The researchers found that a total of 480 women with breast implants died during that period, comparable to the mortality rate of the general population.
Researchers found mortality rate in women with breast implant to be 26% lower than in the control group. Fewer deaths occurred from breast cancer and heart occurred in this group. The researchers say that this lower mortality rate is not the result of the breast augmentation procedure itself, but rather of a double selection bias. "First, a woman must be in relatively good health to undergo breast implant surgery," points out Dr. Brisson. "Also, women who receive breast implants tend to be of higher-than-average socioeconomic status. Thus, women who undergo breast augmentation surgery are more likely to be in better health than the general population".........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 19, 2006, 10:01 PM CT
A spicy solution for colon cancer?
A spicy turmeric solution for colon cancer.
In the last few years, that tactic has proved productive for scientists investigating turmeric, a curry spice used for centuries in Indian traditional medicine.
They've observed that turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, works in the lab to fight skin, breast and other tumor cells. In fact, human clinical trials employing curcumin have already been launched.
Now, working with cell cultures in a laboratory, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have discovered that curcumin blocks the activity of a gastrointestinal hormone implicated in the development of colorectal cancer, the country's second leading cancer killer with nearly 60,000 deaths annually. In a paper reported in the current issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the UTMB scientists link the gastrointestinal hormone neurotensin, which is generated in response to fat consumption, to the production of IL-8, a potent inflammatory protein that accelerates the growth and spread of a variety of human cancer cells, including colorectal and pancreatic tumor cells.
"We observed that in colon cancer cells, neurotensin increases not just the rate of growth but also other critical things, including cell migration and metastasis," said UTMB surgery professor B. Mark Evers, senior author of the article and director of UTMB's Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology. "The fact that all that can be turned off by this natural product, curcumin, was really remarkable".........
Posted by: Sue Permalink Source