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November 27, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Chemotherapy Temporarily Affects The Brain

Chemotherapy Temporarily Affects The Brain
Scientists have linked chemotherapy with short-term structural changes in cognitive areas of the brain, as per a new study. Reported in the January 1, 2007 issue of CANCER (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer-newsroom), a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that within 12 months of receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, significant regions of the brain linked to memory, analysis and other cognitive functions were significantly smaller in patients with breast cancer who received chemotherapy than those who did not. Within four years after therapy, however, there were no differences in these same regions of the brain.

While the development of chemotherapy has had substantial and beneficial impact on cancer survival rates, it is also associated with significant short- and long-term adverse effects. Gastrointestinal complaints, immunosuppression, and painful mucositis, for example, are the immediate risks of the therapy.

Patients receiving chemotherapy have also long complained of problems with memory, problem-solving and other cognitive abilities. Eventhough chemotherapy was thought not to affect brain cells due to the blood-brain barrier, recent clinical studies have confirmed declines in cognitive functions in patients receiving chemotherapy. Animal studies have shown physical changes in the brain and in neurons caused by chemotherapy drugs. In human studies, however, the little data that is available is only available through imaging and is not consistent in the long-term. In addition, lack of controls in studies makes it difficult discern cancer- versus drug-effects.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 27, 2006, 4:52 AM CT

Second Cancer Risk For Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

Second Cancer Risk For Stem Cell Transplant Recipients
Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients face a significant long-term risk for developing a second cancer, especially if they were older at the time of transplant or received stem cells from a female donor, as per a new study. Published in the January 1, 2007 issue of CANCER (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer-newsroom), a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that within 10 years of an allogeneic HSCT, the relative risk of a second, solid cancer is almost twice that of the general population. In addition, cancer risk almost quadruples for patients who were over 40 years old at the time of transplant or for patients who received stem cells from a female donor.

Myeloablative, allogeneic HSCT is an effective standard treatment for specific life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome, for which blood cell lineages (which originate principally in the bone marrow and circulate in the blood) are abnormal. Destroying the patient's own unhealthy stem cells in the bone marrow and replacing them with a compatible donor's stem cells offers the chance of cure for a disease that otherwise has a high mortality rate with non-transplant therapies. While the procedure can be lifesaving, it is linked to serious short-term adverse effects, such as mucostitis, infections, and liver vascular obstruction as well as the potential long-term complication of developing of a second, commonly solid cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 23, 2006, 5:21 AM CT

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems
Stretching out a dose of chemotherapy over six or more hours may reduce the risk of heart problems caused by certain usually used cancer drugs, as per a new review of recent research.

Anthracycline drugs like daunorubicin and doxorubicin are used to treat a number of types of solid tumors and blood cancers such as leukemias in adults and children.

Anthracycline treatment can be very successful at controlling cancer, but heart damage caused by anthracycline therapy is a considerable and serious problem, said Dr. Elvira van Dalen of the Emma Childrens Hospital in the Netherlands.

She and her colleagues observed that the rates of heart failure among adult patients receiving anthracycline treatment were significantly lower when the patients had an infusion of the drug that lasted six or more hours, in comparison to shorter infusions times.

In five studies involving 557 patients, the longer therapy cut the risk of heart failure by nearly 75 percent in comparison to the risk in patients who received the short therapy.

van Dalen said the prolonged dose of six hours or more might be justified if a patient is at high risk of heart damage or needs a high cumulative dose of the chemotherapy.

The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 9:33 PM CT

Tooth Whiteners Do Not Cause Cancer

Tooth Whiteners Do Not Cause Cancer
Common tooth whitening products, which have been used by millions of people, are found to be safe and do not increase the risk of oral cancer when used as directed. This exhaustive review of the literature, including numerous unpublished clinical studies involving over 4,000 human subjects, appeared in an article by Dr. Ian Monroe entitled, " Use of Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Tooth Whitening Products and it Relationship to Oral Cancer," published in Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry.

Clinical and laboratory data on tooth whitening products show no evidence for the development of oral cancer or of other effects that could be linked to increased oral cancer risk. Exposures to hydrogen peroxide, generally the effective ingredient in tooth whiteners, are too low and of too short of a duration (30-60 minutes) to cause any oral tissue changes that could enhance risks for oral cancer development. Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide rapidly decline to near undetectable levels commonly within 15 to 60 minutes.

Given the likely use of tooth whitening products by smokers, the review also sought to examine any possibility of increased oral cancer development due to combined exposure (i.e., hydrogen peroxide and carcinogenic agents that are present in cigarette smoke). A possible combined-effect, as seen in the increased likelihood of lung cancer development in smokers also exposed to asbestos, was found to be groundless with regards to bleaching and smoking and further illustrates the relative safety of tooth whitening products.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 4:41 AM CT

New Treatment Strategy For Thyroid Cancer

New Treatment Strategy For Thyroid Cancer Dr. Lois Mulligan and PhD student Taranjit S. Gujral (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) used a three-dimensional model of a protein to chart its particular molecular mechanisms.
The actions of a mutated protein in cells associated with thyroid cancer have been uncovered by scientists at Queen's University. The discovery paves the way for the future development of drugs to more effectively target, treat and possibly even prevent both inherited and non-inherited thyroid cancers.

"We now know why this gene causes these tumours and can start looking at how best to target the mutant proteins so that the cells expressing them can be killed or stopped from growing," says Lois Mulligan, professor of pathology and molecular medicine with the Division of Cancer Biology and Genetics of the Queen's Cancer Research Institute. She is senior author of a study would be published November 15 in the journal Cancer Research.

Taranjit S. Gujral, a Ph D student in Queen's Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and lead author on the paper, developed three-dimensional models of the mutated RET protein implicated in a condition causing malignant thyroid tumours. The model allowed him to predict and compare the protein's molecular actions and to see that the protein was ten times more active than normal in cells linked to Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 2B (MEN 2B) syndrome, an inherited cancer syndrome. Co-authors on the study include Vinay K. Singh and Zongchao Jia of Queen's Biochemistry Department.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 4:51 AM CT

Vascular Targeting Agent Halts Bone Metastasis

Vascular Targeting Agent Halts Bone Metastasis
A novel vascular targeting agent completely prevented the development of bone tumors in 50 percent of the mice tested in a preclinical study, providing early evidence that it could treat, or thwart, growth of tumors in bone, a common destination for many cancers when they start to spread.

Scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center published in the journal Cancer Research that this "Trojan Horse" agent, VEGF121/rGel, stopped specialized cells within the bone from chewing up other bone material to make room for the implanted tumor to grow.

Eventhough this study tested the ability of VEGF121/rGel to halt the growth of human prostate cancer cells in the bones of mice, researchers say it likely could help prevent the growth of other cancers in bones such as breast, multiple myeloma, lung and renal cell.

"A number of tumors invade bone in the same way, so these findings suggest it may be possible to shut down this process regardless of the tumor type," says the study's lead author, Michael G. Rosenblum, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics. "If that could be done - and we are a long way from determining if it is possible - we may be able to offer the first therapy that specifically targets bone metastasis".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 4:42 AM CT

Nanoparticles To Target Brain Cancer

Nanoparticles To Target Brain Cancer
Tiny particles one-billionth of a meter in size can be loaded with high concentrations of drugs designed to kill brain cancer. What's more, these nanoparticles can be used to image and track tumors as well as destroy them, as per scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Scientists incorporated a drug called Photofrin along with iron oxide into nanoparticles that would target malignant brain tumors. Photofrin is a type of photodynamic treatment, in which the drug is drawn through the blood stream to tumor cells; a special type of laser light activates the drug to attack the tumor. Iron oxide is a contrast agent used to enhance magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

"Photofrin goes into tumor blood vessels and collapses the vasculature, which then starves the tumor of the blood flow needed to survive. The problem with free photofrin treatment is that it can cause damage to healthy tissue. In our study, the nanoparticle becomes a vehicle to deliver the drug directly to the tumor," says study author Brian Ross, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School and co-director of Molecular Imaging at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Photofrin has been used to treat several types of cancer, including esophageal, bladder and skin cancers. It works by traveling through blood vessels until it reaches the vessels supplying blood to the tumor. When activated by light, the Photofrin collapses these blood vessels, starving the tumor of the blood it needs to survive.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 15, 2006, 4:31 AM CT

Vaccine Against Colorectal Cancer

Vaccine Against Colorectal Cancer
British scientists have developed a vaccine that stimulates colorectal cancer patients' immune systems to fight malignant cells.

In a clinical trial of 67 patients, scientists at the University of Nottingham found that when the vaccines were administered before and after surgery to remove malignant tumors, they helped stimulated immune cell production in up to 70 percent of patients. These results are reported in the November 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

"This is the first vaccine shown to stimulate TNF-alpha an immune-system protein that is very effective at killing cancer cells," said Lindy Durrant, senior author of the study and professor of cancer immunotherapy at the university.

The vaccine works by stimulating the patients' immune response to generate infection-fighting white blood cells called T cells, which in turn produce immune system proteins called cytokines that destroy cancer cells. The antibody contained in the vaccine, called 105AD7, was cloned from a patient who survived seven years with liver metastases from colorectal cancer, Durrant explained.

"This is very unusual as most patients die within one year of getting liver metastases," she said. "I thought if this antibody had helped this patient, if we could clone it, it might help others".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:47 PM CT

Cancer In Women With Rare Breast Condition

Cancer In Women With Rare Breast Condition On a mammogram, LCIS and ALH typically look like small deposits of calcium.
Women whose mammograms reveal a suspicious lesion need a needle biopsy to confirm or rule out cancer. But if that biopsy reveals only abnormal - not malignant - cells, is a more extensive evaluation necessary?.

Yes, suggests a new study by doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They looked at the medical records of women whose initial core-needle breast biopsies found rare, yet non-malignant breast conditions: atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) or lobular carcinoma-in-situ (LCIS). These lesions are known to increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, but what the scientists found was surprising.

Follow-up surgical biopsies in which more breast tissue was removed observed that up to 25% of the women actually had cancer in addition to their high-risk breast conditions. Most of the cancers were invasive, meaning the tumors had penetrated normal breast tissue and would require therapy. None of the tumors had spread beyond the breast.

"This is very significant," explains lead author Julie A. Margenthaler, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and a breast surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "We now know that we can't assume that women with ALH or LCIS are cancer free."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:38 AM CT

Genes offer researchers a 'crystal ball'

Genes offer researchers a 'crystal ball'
The science of cancer prevention has advanced to the point where scientists now say they can detect "cancer genes" in the breath of smokers, and can test the presence of two proteins in men they say will predict development of prostate cancer a decade in advance. All of these novel findings need much more examination, of course, but researchers at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting, say these examples illustrate how it is becoming increasingly possible to use genes and their protein products to help predict and diagnose cancer, as well as choose treatment that offers the most potential for a good result. These scientists will also discuss a test that can pick out patients who have pancreas cancer - an advance that offers hope the disease can be treated at earlier stages than it is now - and how several unique genes can predict which prostate cancer or patients with lung cancer will develop aggressive tumors that need additional therapy. Cancer is a disease of genes, they say, so genes can be employed as a crystal ball to thwart the disease.

Lung carcinogenesis tracked by DNA methylation mapping in exhaled breath.

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to detect DNA methylation in the breath of smokers and patients with lung cancer, suggesting that, in theory, it may be possible to use this technique to identify people who have undiagnosed lung cancer or are at high risk of developing the disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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