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October 7, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Novel Lung Cancer Vaccine Trial Launched

Novel Lung Cancer Vaccine Trial Launched
Oncologists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla are hoping to stave off the relentless march of advanced lung cancer by treating patients with a novel kind of cancer vaccine. While a number of vaccines attempt to pump up the immune system to fight off a cancer, the new vaccine, Lucanix, is genetically engineered to also trick the cancer into turning off its immune system-suppressing activities.

The first patients have begun enrolling in a new clinical trial at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center testing the effectiveness of the vaccine. The trial will involve 700 patients at some 90 centers worldwide.

Current therapys for advanced lung cancer have limited effectiveness and new therapies are needed, said Lyudmila Bazhenova, M.D., director of the Lung Cancer Unit at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

"The future therapys for advanced lung cancer may involve combinations of chemotherapy and targeted agents, and possibly even biologicals such as this," she said.

Roughly 430 patients die of lung cancer every day in the United States, as per Bazhenova, making it the nation's number one killer, despite being the second most common cancer. "While breast cancer mortality has declined about 15 percent, there hasn't been much improvement in mortality in lung cancer in the past several decades," she said. As per the American Cancer Society, an estimated 215,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed, and 162,000 individuals will die from the disease this year in the United States.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 6, 2008, 10:14 PM CT

Stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer

Stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer
The first generation of a stool DNA test to identify early colorectal cancer has limitations, as per a Mayo Clinic-led study reported in the Oct. 7, 2008, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine Results did not corroborate findings of an earlier multicenter study that showed stool DNA testing was more accurate than fecal blood testing for colorectal cancer detection. *.

"But the concerns we identified with stool DNA testing are all solvable," says David Ahlquist, M.D., lead researcher in the study that included 4,482 participants and 22 academic medical centers. Scientists have hoped that stool DNA testing could be the user-friendly and accurate screening tool that would increase screening numbers.

More than half of adults in the United States have never been screened for colorectal cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths. While available screening tools work, the most effective tests involve time, effort and costs. For example, colonoscopy requires fasting, bowel cleansing, a doctor visit, sedation, an invasive procedure and lost work time -- factors that contribute to low screening participation.

This blinded study, conducted from 2001 to 2007, compared screening effectiveness of two widely used fecal blood tests (Hemoccult and HemoccultSensa) with a stool DNA test in average-risk patients, ages 50 to 80. The DNA test used was the prototype for PreGenPlus, the first commercially-used stool DNA test, and waccording toformed on samples sent to EXACT Sciences in Marlborough, Mass. All participants underwent a colonoscopy, the gold standard in current screening. Scientists used colonoscopy as the benchmark to detect cancer or premalignant polyps.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 3, 2008, 5:18 AM CT

Breast cancer cells recycle to escape death

Breast cancer cells recycle to escape death
A number of breast cancer cells facing potentially lethal antiestrogen treatment recycle to survive, scientists say.

About 70 percent of breast cancer cells have receptors for the hormone estrogen, which acts as a nutrient and stimulates their growth. Patients typically get an antiestrogen such as tamoxifen for five years to try to starve them to death, says Dr. Patricia V. Schoenlein, cancer researcher in the Medical College of Georgia Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies.

"About 50 to 60 percent of these women really benefit from hormonal treatment," says Dr. Schoenlein. Why others don't has been asked for at least two decades.

One reason may be breast cancer cells switch into a survival mode that normal cells also use when faced with starvation, as per research reported in the recent issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Dr. Schoenlein also is reporting on the research during the 2nd World Conference on Magic Bullets (Ehrlich II) Oct. 3-5 in N├╝renberg, Gera number of.

It's called macroautophagy - autophagy means "self eating" - and within a week, breast cancer cells can reorganize component parts, degrade non-essentials and live in this state until antiestrogen treatment is stopped or the cells mutate and resume proliferation in the presence of tamoxifen. "It's like taking your foot off of the gas pedal of your car," says Dr. Schoenlein, corresponding author on the study. "The cancer cell is in idle, unable to grow or replicate. But the cell is smart enough to use component parts generated by macroautophagy for the most necessary things mandatory for survival." She notes that macroautophagy can't be maintained indefinitely; cells can actually self-digest. "This is a time-buying strategy".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 3, 2008, 5:09 AM CT

Colonoscopy reduces colorectal cancer

Colonoscopy reduces colorectal cancer
Patients who undergo a complete negative colonoscopy have a reduced occurence rate of colorectal cancer, confirms a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology However, in the proximal colon, the incidence reduction of colorectal cancer following complete negative colonoscopy differs in magnitude and timing. The reduction of colorectal cancer is observed in about half of the 14 follow-up years and for the most part occurs after just seven years of follow-up. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

"Our study raises a question about the effectiveness of colonoscopy in usual clinical practice," said Linda Rabeneck, MD, MPH, of the University of Toronto and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto and lead author of the study. "Our findings suggest that the effectiveness of colonoscopy is reduced for cancers arising in the proximal colon. Whether this is due to colonoscopy quality, or whether it is due to tumor biology is the key issue that we need to address."



Findings


The relative rate of colorectal cancer overall and the relative rate of distal (left-sided) colorectal cancer in the study group remained significantly lower than the control population. The relative rate of proximal (right-sided) colorectal cancer was significantly lower than the control population in half of the follow-up years, mainly after seven years of follow-up.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 1, 2008, 8:25 PM CT

Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk

Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk
Scientists at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and Northwestern University have discovered that fiber optic technology can for the very first time effectively measure blood levels in the colonic lining (mucosa) in humans, thus having potential applications for analyzing risk of colon cancer.

The study appears in the October 2008 issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

The study used fiber optic technology to map microvascular blood content in patients during colonoscopy. The results provide the first indication that the early increase in blood supply (EIBS) is detectable in humans and that a high blood level mirrors proximity to neoplasia (process of tumor formation). The findings also suggest that this technology could be a valuable screening tool for enhancing polyp detection and could lead to improvements in colon cancer prevention.

"Our premise is that since the lining of the large intestine -- rectum and colon -- is contiguous, if you see an abnormality in one part of the colon, then somewhere else in the colon you have a higher likelihood of harboring an adenoma [non-malignant tumor] or carcinoma [cancerous tumor]," said Hemant K. Roy, M.D., director of gastroenterology research at NorthShore University HealthSystem and the study's principal clinical researcher. "EIBS strengthens our premise thanks largely to the unique and accurate ability of Four Dimensional Elastic Light Scattering Fingerprinting (4D-ELF)".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:37 PM CT

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer
Birth size, and in particular birth length, correlates with subsequent risk of breast cancer in adulthood, as per a new study published in PLoS Medicine by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Associations between birth size, perhaps as a marker of the pre-natal environment, and subsequent breast cancer risk have been identified before, but the findings from epidemiological studies have been inconsistent.

In the new study, led by Isabel dos Santos Silva (Professor of Epidemiology), the scientists re-analysed data from published and unpublished studies to obtain more precise estimates of the extent to which birth size affects the risk of breast cancer during the later part of life and to investigate whether they could be explained by associations with other risk factors.

They examined 32 studies, comprising 22,058 cases of breast cancer among a total of more than 600,000 women, most of whom lived in developed countries. They observed that birth weight was positively linked to breast cancer risk in studies where information on birth size was based on birth records (eventhough not in those based on adult self-reports, which tend to be less accurate). Analyses of women with data from birth records showed that a 0.5 kg increment in birth weight was linked to an estimated 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Hepatitis B exposure and pancreatic cancer

Hepatitis B exposure and pancreatic cancer
Manal Hassan, M.D., Ph.D.

Credit: M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

HOUSTON - In a first-of-its-kind finding, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that exposure to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) may increase the risk of pancreas cancer.

The study, reported in the Oct. 1 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, also suggests that patients with this lethal form of cancer treated with chemotherapy may face danger of reactivation of their HBV.

Pancreas cancer is diagnosed in 37,000 people in the United States each year, and more than 34,000 people die of the disease annually, as per the American Cancer Society. It is often diagnosed in the late stages and is particularly perplexing because few risk factors are known.

"If this study is validated, it will give us more information about the risk factors of pancreas cancer and possibly even help prevent it in some cases," said lead author Manal Hassan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology.

HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are major global health problems, affecting about 2 percent of the population worldwide. In the United States 1.25 million people have chronic HBV, while 3.2 million have chronic HCV. These systemic viruses can harm the body in a variety of ways, including traveling through the bloodstream and damaging tissues throughout the body.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 28, 2008, 9:11 PM CT

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?
For decades now, cigarette makers have marketed so-called light cigarettes which contain less nicotine than regular smokes with the implication that they are less harmful to smokers' health. A new UCLA study shows, however, that they deliver nearly as much nicotine to the brain.

Reporting in the current online edition of the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, UCLA psychiatry professor Dr. Arthur L. Brody and his colleagues observed that low-nicotine cigarettes act similarly to regular cigarettes, occupying a significant percentage of the brain's nicotine receptors.

Light cigarettes have nicotine levels of 0.6 to 1 milligrams, while regular cigarettes contain between 1.2 and 1.4 milligrams.

The scientists also looked at de-nicotinized cigarettes, which contain only a trace amount of nicotine (0.05 milligrams) and are currently being tested as an adjunct to standard smoking-cessation therapys. They observed that even that low a nicotine level is enough to occupy a sizeable percentage of receptors.

"The two take-home messages are that very little nicotine is needed to occupy a substantial portion of brain nicotine receptors," Brody said, "and cigarettes with less nicotine than regular cigarettes, such as 'light' cigarettes, still occupy most brain nicotine receptors. Thus, low-nicotine cigarettes function almost the same as regular cigarettes in terms of brain nicotine-receptor occupancy.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 25, 2008, 11:01 PM CT

Prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer

Prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer
A number of gastrointestinal tumors, including pancreas cancer, have been shown to overexpress the EGFR. The overexpression of EGFR correlates with rapidly progressive disease and poor prognosis. Targeting EGFR pathway as a potential therapeutic strategy for pancreas cancer has been developed. Erlotinib is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that efficiently blocks EGFR. Preliminary results of phase III trial in pancreas cancer revealed an improvement in survival with the addition of erlotinib. Treatment with anti-EGFR agents is used as a potential therapeutic strategy for pancreas cancer, but the mechanisms are still not precisely understood.

This article was published on September 21, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology The research team from Department of Gastroenterology, Affiliated First People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China studied the effects of erlotinib on six different pancreas cancer cell lines. How erlotinib exhibits its antineoplastic activity in vivo needs to be further elucidated.

In this study authors revealed the efficacy of erlotinib, as a single agent, on pancreas cancer cells growth in vitro, and in vivo study using a nude mice xenograft model and the mechanisms involved were also explored. Erlotinib repressed BxPC-3 cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, triggered G1 arrest and induced cell apoptosis,and suppressed capillary formation of endothelium in vitro. In vivo, erlotinib treated mice demonstrated a reduced tumor volume and weight as compared with control. The relationship between EGFR and angiogenesis has also been investigated using tube formation assay in vitro and immunohistochemical analysis of tumor-associated blood vessels in vivo. These findings provide evidence for the inhibitive activity of erlotinib in pancreas cancer cells. Inhibition of EGFR may be a promising adjuvant in chemotherapeutic strategy in the therapy of the dismal disease. The results also demonstrate that EGFR signaling pathway is an important target in pancreas cancer.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 24, 2008, 9:40 PM CT

Age alone should not be used to determine whether to treat prostate cancer

Age alone should not be used to determine whether to treat prostate cancer
Concerns regarding the association of hormone treatment used to treat prostate cancer with cardiovascular disease in some older men may lead doctors to forgo hormone therapy solely on the basis of age. But a new study by physicians at Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that men over age 70 with high-risk prostate cancer lived longer and experienced increases in PSA less frequently when treated with long-term androgen deprivation treatment.

The benefit of long-term (i.e. 2-3 years) androgen deprivation treatment has been established in high-risk patients with prostate cancer in several prospective, randomized clinical trials. However, concern that androgen deprivation treatment may result in cardiovascular disease, especially in older patients men with certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease, has led researchers to question its role in older men.

"Several studies have demonstrated a survival benefit when androgen deprivation treatment is used along with radiotherapy in men with high-risk, clinically localized prostate cancer," said the study's lead author, Joshua Silverman, MD, PhD, a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase. "What we did not know until now is whether this benefit outweighs the risks of cardiovascular and metabolic adverse effects from androgen deprivation treatment." .........

Posted by: Mark      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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