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September 5, 2006, 9:55 PM CT

Vioxx Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Polyps

Vioxx Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Polyps John A. Baron
A researcher from Dartmouth reports the results of a clinical trial that shows that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor rofecoxib (VIOXX®) reduces the risk of colorectal adenomas, or polyps. Polyps are non-malignant tumors that are precursors to colon cancer, and they are often found in elderly adults.

The results of the study appeared online on August 30 at the American Gastroenterological Association website (212kb PDF) in advance of being reported in the journal, Gastroenterology. Extensive data have suggested previously that aspirin and non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could reduce colon cancer risk, and this study now demonstrates a similar effect for VIOXX®.

"These are exciting findings," says Dr. John Baron, the lead author of the paper and a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, who has been studying chemoprevention of colorectal cancer for more than twenty years. "They show once again the potential for NSAIDs to interfere with the development of cancer in the colon and rectum."

This study, called the APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on VIOXX®) study, was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial conducted by Merck Research Laboratories. The study involved 108 sites in the United States and abroad and followed 2,587 patients with a recent history of confirmed colorectal adenomas. After removal of all polyps, the subjects were randomized to receive daily placebo or 25 mg rofecoxib on a daily basis. The primary endpoint was to analyze all adenomas diagnosed during the three-year therapy period based upon colonoscopies conducted one year and three years after baseline.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 7:11 PM CT

Tough Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

Tough Fight Against Ovarian Cancer
Gene therapy might be the answer to ovarian cancer as per some researches from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These researchers have used gene therapy with surprising ability by either completely abolishing or significantly inhibiting tumor progression in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. University of Pittsburgh researchers believe these findings, which was presented at the American Society of Gene Therapy annual meeting would significantly improve the prognosis for ovarian cancer patients.

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than 25,000 women in the United States each year, and about 16,000 American women die from the disease annually. Despite aggressive surgery and chemotherapy approaches, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is poor, and most women have a life expectancy of only three to four years after their diagnoses.

In this study, the Pitt scientists inoculated mice with an ovarian cancer cell line. They treated some of the mice immediately with a genetically engineered vaccinia virus containing a gene coding cytosine deaminase, a suicide gene, and delayed treatment of other mice for 30 or 60 days. Control mice were inoculated with ovarian cancer cells but were not given the gene therapy.

The researchers found complete inhibition of tumor growth in the mice that were treated immediately with gene therapy and significant tumor inhibition in the 30- and 60-day delayed treatment mice. In contrast, all non-gene-therapy treated mice either died or were euthanized due to overwhelming buildup of fluid in the peritoneal cavity by 94 days following tumor inoculation.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 3, 2006, 7:37 AM CT

Combined therapies for brain tumors

Combined therapies for  brain tumors
One treatment for treating brain tumors alerts the immune system to the presence of foreign material. A second treatment enhances the first and prolongs the immune system's response. Now, in an animal study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, scientists have combined the two in a form that appears effective when injected directly into a cancerous brain tumor.

The result, extended length of survival, even after "rechallenge," is detailed in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Dendritic cell immunotherapy, pioneered at the Institute in the therapy of deadly, recurring brain tumors called gliomas, is one component of the experimental procedure. The therapy is commonly performed after a patient's tumor has been surgically removed. Proteins from the tumor are collected, cultured and introduced in a Petri dish to dendritic cells taken from the patient's blood. The "new" dendritic cells are then injected into the patient's bloodstream. When they encounter lingering tumor cells, they initiate an immune response.

Dendritic cells are specialized "antigen-presenting cells" responsible for alerting the immune system to foreign matter and eliciting an attack. They normally exist in the body to clear debris, such as dead cells, detecting antigens in the process.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts
MRI is better than MDCT for determining if and how far breast cancer has spread into the breast ducts and should be used before patients receive breast conserving treatment, a new study shows.

"Patients have a lower survival rate if their surgical margins are positive for tumor cells. A positive surgical margin is commonly the result of inadequate resection of the cancer's intraductal component," said Akiko Shimauchi, MD, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. "Accurate preoperative diagnosis of the intraductal component allows the surgeon to achieve a cancer-free surgical margin," she said.

The study included 69 patients with proven invasive cancer, 44 of which had an intraductal component, said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI correctly identified 33 of the 44 cases, while MDCT correctly identified 27. "MRI revealed the presence of the intraductal component with significantly higher sensitivity (75%) in comparison to MDCT (61%), Dr. Shimauchi said.

"The lesions that were missed by both examinations were the ductal extension type, i.e. the tumor included a dominant mass with an outward extension of cancer cells, with a relatively small ductal component," said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI was better able to detect the smaller ductal components than MDCT, she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune, inflammatory disease marked by progressive joint and organ damage, face a high risk of developing cancer. Their vulnerability, particularly to lymphoma and leukemia, may be due to the nature of RA. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) antagonists, a type of biologic DMARD have also been implicated. TNF blockers, which work by attaching to and impeding chemical messengers behind inflammation, have had a significant impact on the therapy of RA. They have also been associated with lymphoma among users. In fact, reports of lymphoma prompted the Food and Drug Administration to mandate adding a cancer risk warning to the labels of three TNF blockers: etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and adalimumab (Humira).

Motivated by persistent concerns and inconclusive studies, scientists at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to investigate the association between therapy with TNF blockers and occurrence of cancer in a large sample of patients with RA. Their results, featured in the September 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicate that biologic DMARD treatment poses no greater risk for cancer than treatment with a standard prescription DMARD, methotrexate (MTX).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 9:19 PM CT

How Cancer Drug Aids An Anti-cancer Virus

How Cancer Drug Aids An Anti-cancer Virus
Scientists here have discovered how a specific chemotherapy drug helps a cancer-killing virus. The virus is being tested in animals for the therapy of incurable human brain tumors.

The virus, a modified herpes simplex virus, is injected directly into the tumor, where it enters only the cancer cells and kills them. The study found, however, that within hours of the injection, infection-fighting immune cells are drawn into the tumor to attack the virus, reducing the therapy's effectiveness.

They also observed that a chemotherapeutic drug called cyclophosphamide briefly weakens those immune cells, giving the anti-cancer virus an opportunity to spread more completely through the tumor and kill more cancer cells.

Specifically, the drug slows the activity of immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, which are the body's first line of defense against infections.

The virus and drug cannot be used yet in humans because they require further study, as well as testing for safety and effectiveness through the clinical trials process.

The research, led by researchers with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, is reported in the Aug. 22 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 5:11 AM CT

Proton Treatment Could Replace Radiation Therapy

Proton Treatment Could Replace Radiation Therapy
Researchers at MIT, collaborating with an industrial team, are creating a proton-shooting system that could revolutionize radiation treatment for cancer. The goal is to get the system installed at major hospitals to supplement, or even replace, the conventional radiation treatment now based on x-rays.

The fundamental idea is to harness the cell-killing power of protons -- the naked nuclei of hydrogen atoms -- to knock off cancer cells before the cells kill the patient. Worldwide, the use of radiation therapy now depends mostly on beams of x-rays, which do kill cancer cells but can also harm a number of normal cells that are in the way.

What the scientists envision -- and what they're now creating -- is a room-size atomic accelerator costing far less than the existing proton-beam accelerators that shoot subatomic particles into tumors, while minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissues. They expect to have their first hospital system up and running in late 2007.

Physicist Timothy Antaya, a technical supervisor in MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, was deeply involved in developing the new system and is now working to make it a reality. He argues it "could change the primary method of radiation therapy" as the new machines are put in place.

The beauty of protons is that they are quite energetic, but their energy can be controlled so they do less collateral damage to normal tissues, in comparison to powerful x-ray beams. Protons enter the body through skin and tissue, hit the tumor and stop there, minimizing other damage.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 9:25 PM CT

Lead Exposure Leads To Brain Cancer

Lead Exposure Leads To Brain Cancer Lead paint
People who are routinely exposed to lead on the job are 50 percent more likely to die from brain cancer than people who are not exposed, as per a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

More than 18,000 brain and spinal cord tumors will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Yet little is known about what causes brain cancer; the only established risk factor is radiation, as per the American Cancer Society.

Results of other studies attempting to show a clear link between lead and cancer have been inconclusive. The new data, based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Death Index, may be the largest study ever to find a lead-cancer link. In doing so it provides further evidence that widespread environmental risk factors such as lead must be explored, said study author Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D.

"If we are able to help explain the cause of even 1 or 2 percent of the total number of cases, that's important," said van Wijngaarden, an assistant professor and epidemiologist in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester.

Reported in the Sept. 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Cancer, the study computed the risk estimates for lead exposure and brain cancer from a census sample of 317,968 people who reported their occupations between 1979 and 1981. Van Wijngaarden was looking for evidence of an exposure-response trend, or a rise in cancer incidence or mortality linked to an exposure to a toxic substance. The goal among scientists who do this type of investigation is to identify preventable, environmental risk factors that might cause the gene mutations that lead to cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 8:52 PM CT

Sunscreens Can Damage Skin

Sunscreens Can Damage Skin UV filters generate reactive oxygen species in skin
Credit: K. Hanson, UC Riverside
Are sunscreens always beneficial, or can they be detrimental to users? A research team led by UC Riverside chemists reports that unless people out in the sun apply sunscreen often, the sunscreen itself can become harmful to the skin.

When skin is exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation (UV) is absorbed by skin molecules that then can generate harmful compounds, called reactive oxygen species or ROS, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause "oxidative damage." For example, ROS can react with cellular components like cell walls, lipid membranes, mitochondria and DNA, leading to skin damage and increasing the visible signs of aging.

When sunscreen is applied on the skin, however, special molecules - called UV filters - contained in the sunscreen, cut down the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the skin. Over time, though, these filters penetrate into the skin below the surface of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, leaving the body vulnerable to UV radiation.

Led by Kerry M. Hanson, a senior research scientist in the Department of Chemistry at UCR, the scientists report that three UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3 and octocrylene), which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and widely used in sunscreens, generate ROS in skin themselves when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, thus augmenting the ROS that is naturally produced. The scientists note that the additional ROS are generated only when the UV filters have penetrated into the skin and, at the same time, sunscreen has not been reapplied to prevent ultraviolet radiation from reaching these filters.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 5:18 AM CT

Obesity Leads To More Aggressive Ovarian Cancer

Obesity Leads To More Aggressive Ovarian Cancer
Whether or not a woman is obese will likely affect her outcome once she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a new study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The study, published online on Aug. 28 in the American Cancer Society's journal Cancer, showed that obesity affected survival rates, shortened the length of time to recurrence of the disease, and led to earlier death from the cancer than for women diagnosed at their ideal body weight.

"This study is the first to identify weight as an independent factor in ovarian cancer in disease progression and overall survival, suggesting that there is an element in the fat tissue itself that influences the outcome of this disease in obese women," said Andrew Li, M.D., the study's principal investigator at Cedars-Sinai's Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer, one of the most lethal cancers, affects almost one in 60 women. Most will be diagnosed with advanced disease, and 70 percent will die within five years. There are several types of ovarian cancer, but tumors that begin with the surface cells of the ovary (epithelial cells) are the most common type. While previous studies have shown that obesity is a factor in the development and prognosis of cancers such as breast, uterine and colorectal, the nature of the relationship in ovarian cancers has been less well understood. Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above.........

Posted by: Emily      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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