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March 17, 2006

Detecting Breast Cancer Early

Detecting Breast Cancer Early
Detecting small amounts of proteins in the blood is very important in the diagnosis of many diseases including breast cancer. Now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have developed a revolutionary new technique for detecting small amounts of proteins in the blood. This technique is expected to improve accuracy of many tests including blood tests aimed at early detection of breast cancer.

This technique may also help in the detection of other diseases such as, Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases, and possibly psychiatric diseases, since protein detection using this technique relatively easy and more accurate compared with the current methodology, including the widely used ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay).

The new method is called FACTT, short for Florescent Amplification Catalyzed by T7-polymerase Technique. This technique is 100,000 times more sensitive than the usually ELISA.

"The current ELISA tests can only detect proteins when they are in high abundance," says Zhang. "But the problem is that many of the functional proteins - those that have a role in determining your health - exist in very low amounts until diseases are apparent and cannot be detected or measured at early stages of medical pathology. It was important to develop a technique that can detect these rare molecules to detect abnormalities at an early stage."

Sherin      Permalink

March 15, 2006

Pepper Component To Kill Prostate Cancer Cells

Pepper Component To Kill Prostate Cancer Cells
Capsaicin, the stuff that turns up the heat in jalapenos, not only causes the tongue to burn, it also drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, according to studies published in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.
According to a team of researchers from the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in collaboration with colleagues from UCLA, the pepper component caused human prostate cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis.

Capsaicin induced approximately 80 percent of prostate cancer cells growing in mice to follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis. Prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in non-treated mice.

"Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture," said Soren Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D., visiting scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine. "It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models."

Lehmann estimated that the dose of pepper extract fed orally to the mice was equivalent to giving 400 milligrams of capsaicin three times a week to a 200 pound man, roughly equivalent to between three and eight fresh habañera peppers - depending on the pepper's capsaicin content. Habañeras are the highest rated pepper for capsaicin content according to the Scoville heat index. Habañero peppers, which are native to the Yucatan, typically contain up to 300,000 Scoville units. The more popular Jalapeño variety from Oaxaca, Mexico, and the southwest United States, contains 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units.

Mark      Permalink

March 14, 2006

Radon And Lung Cancer

Radon And Lung Cancer
Researchers and scientists point out that recently there is an increase in the number of lung cancer diagnosis among nonsmokers. This is especially true for women. Recent sad and untimely demise of Dana Reeve has heightened public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked.

While cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, other factors such as passive smoking and exposure to radon gas from the house environment are increasingly coming in to highlight. Lung cancer from smoking and passing exposure to smoke claims an estimated 163,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. every year. It is estimated that radon is the cause of another 21,000 cases of lung cancer deaths annually in the United States, as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

Experts claim that many of these deaths due to exposure to radon gas could be prevented if enough precautions are taken. Nationally, about 1 in 15 homes has high radon levels, and that number is higher in some states.

It is not possible to detect the presence of radon gas in your house environment because it is a colorless, odorless tasteless gas. Radon gas is produced as part of the natural decay process of uranium. Areas, which have high content of mineral such as some mountainous areas, may have a higher risk of increased levels of radon gas.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the degree of exposure to radon gas. Your house can be tested for the level of radon gas. Radon gas testing is easy and inexpensive and if the level of radon is found to be high it can be reduced by repaired at the cost of the average home repair. You can purchase a radon gas test kit in the local hardware store for under $35.

Scott      Permalink

March 13, 2006

New Drugs Improve Outlook For MDS

New Drugs Improve Outlook For MDS
A new drug known as Decitabine which is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials, may prove to be a beneficial treatment for patients with a type of bone marrow disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS is a disease which has very few treatment option. Published in the April 15, 2006 issue of CANCER (, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that decitabine provided longer disease-free responses compared to supportive care. While the development of decitabine and other chemotherapies is making an impact on the lives of patients with MDS, an accompanying editorial argues that these current treatments are palliative at best and will have little additional improvement in survival.

MDS is a bone marrow disease of the elderly and one of the common geriatric blood-related cancers. It causes an increasing number of dysfunctional blood cells called blasts to proliferate in the blood at the expense of normal, functional cells - i.e., red blood cells to carry oxygen; white blood cells to fight infections; and platelets to control bleeding. MDS can be a chronic progressive disease with median survival over 5 years or a rapidly progressive disease complicated by acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with survival less than 5 years.

However, because most MDS patients are elderly and have too many risk factors to undergo a bone marrow transplant, therapy is often supportive. Chemotherapy regimens used for leukemia have been used, but results are disappointing and suggest great risk to patient lives than benefit. New drugs, such as 5-azacytidine, lenalidomide, decitabine, and cytarabine, are now being tested for efficacy and safety to treat MDS. Compared to supportive care, they generally have some quality of life and survival benefits.

Janet      Permalink

March 13, 2006

3,000 Miles For Breast Cancer Awareness

3,000 Miles For Breast Cancer Awareness
Denise Purdue and 23 other women are looking forward to a long journey in their effort to make awareness for breast cancer. They have started their journey on March 10, from San Diego, Calif. their journey would last 58 days and are planning to cycle cross-country 3,098 miles to St. Augustine, Fla. This is part of Woman Tours 2006 Cycle for Life, which is an effort to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer. The group does not expect this to be an easy task, but they are looking ahead with courage and enthusiasm to the rest of the journey.

"I am bound and determined to ride every mile of this ride," said Purdue from her home at Entrada before starting the journey.

For Purdue, simply signing on for the ride gave her new perspective.
"I've been really stunned at the number of people who are experiencing this," she said.

Purdue has personal experience with breast cancer. Her own mother was a cancer victim and her great aunt died of the disease.

"I actually had a scare during a yearly mammogram," she said. Though test results were negative, Purdue still found the experience frightening.

Purdue's anticipating several portions of the trek; meeting her husband on the other side of the continental divide and seeing the whole family at the tours end on the beach in St. Augustine.

But the ride will also bring personal satisfaction too for a woman who's spent years running a business and a family.

"There's just this feeling of freedom and movement when you're on a bike. It's probably the only time in your life where you can spend an extended amount of time where you don't have to worry about anyone but you - which will be interesting for me," said Purdue. Read

Sherin      Permalink

March 10, 2006

How Landmines Are Related To Breast Cancer?

How Landmines Are Related To Breast Cancer?
You might be wondering what in world landmines have to do with breast cancer. I am going to tell you today do today how the technique of landmine detection could be used in breast cancer detection.

This is a radical new idea to screen for breast cancer and uses microwave radar technology to detect early breast cancer. Researchers are hoping that this would save thousands of lives.

It's all happening in UK. Bristol-based Micrima Ltd, a spin-out from Bristol University, has received a £150,000 investment from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) to help the company develop this innovative technology. This is part of a funding round worth £475,000 with co-investment from private investors and Sulis, the University Challenge Fund managed by Quester.

As you all know, at this mammography remains the main screening technique for breast cancer worldwide. Each year 1.5 million women are screened for breast cancer in the UK. Mammography is best suitable for women over 50 when breast tissue is less fibrous. The new method involves no radiation but instead uses a radar technology and is suitable for screening younger women. This new technique absolutely has no health risks.

Micrima's microwave radar technology is poised to revolutionize breast screening as it can offer a quick method of imaging which may help avoid unnecessary and expensive biopsies.

The company's innovative technology was originally developed for detecting buried landmines. The similarities between mine detection and breast screening are striking. Both involve the discovery of a discrete object whose electrical properties are different from the surrounding medium. At microwave frequencies, tumors contrast well with normal breast tissue.

Sherin      Permalink

March 10, 2006

Ligt That Seeks Cancer Cells

Ligt That Seeks Cancer CellsImage courtesy of Optics Express
A novel device that could use light to harmlessly and almost instantly probe for early signs of cancer has been developed by scientists at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. The device would allow physicians to search for cancer in epithelial cells that line body surfaces, including the skin, lungs and digestive and reproductive tracts, by simply inserting a fiber optic probe.

The team has reported the first clinically practical version of their "angle-resolved low coherence interferometry" (a/LCI) technology designed to diagnose incipient cancer in the esophagus. Adam Wax, professor of biomedical engineering at the Pratt School, and graduate student John Pyhtila, lead author of the study, reported tests of their device in the March 15, 2006, Optics Letters. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Preliminary results of a further study of the latest a/LCI device in human esophageal tissue look promising, Wax said. The next step will be to test the device in human trials.

In principle, the scientists said their technology could be adapted to detect pre-malignant cells on the surfaces of any organ, where the disease most often begins.

"The majority of all cancers - some 80 percent - start in the epithelium," Wax said. "Fiber-optic probes have the potential to test for early evidence of cancer in seconds, providing biopsy-type information without removing tissue. They could also serve as a guide to biopsy, directing physicians to suspicious sites to increase the likelihood that cancer will be detected." Biopsy surveillance in the esophagus removes tissue at random, he said.

Acid reflux can lead to changes in the esophageal lining as the organ attempts to adapt to acids normally limited to the stomach, a condition called Barrett's esophagus, he explained. The condition raises the risk of esophageal cancer, and patients are generally tested for cancer periodically through random biopsy.

Prior studies by Wax's team used a/LCI to identify pre-cancer in animal tissue. Typically pre-malignant cells are characterized by an enlarged nucleus, the structure that houses the cell's genetic material. It is such cellular changes that pathologists rely on to identify cancer in biopsied tissue, Wax said.

The a/LCI device emits light that scatters when it hits the cell nucleus. To enable a/LCI to be used as a diagnostic technology, the scientists developed a model of how light is scattered by the nucleus of healthy cells versus malignant ones.

"What really sets a/LCI apart is its ability to focus on light scattered from a single cell layer," Wax said.

The device is also fast, he added. While early versions of the technology mandatory up to 30 minutes to scan a 1 millimeter point, further development led to a "Fourier-domain" device (faLCI) that captures the same information in a fraction of a second, Wax said.

The scientists now have devised an endoscopic fiber bundle probe incorporated into the faLCI system. Endoscopes are thin, flexible tools used to examine the inner lining of the esophagus. In laboratory tests, the endoscopic faLCI probe could precisely and accurately determine the size of tiny polystyrene beads in solution, the team found. The beads represented a clinically relevant size range comparable to the dimensions of nuclei found in normal to malignant tissue.

Read more......andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp;Source

Janet      Permalink

March 8, 2006

Ann Richards Diagnosed With Cancer

Ann Richards Diagnosed With Cancer
Ann Richards, former Gov of Texas has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer as per her own reports. She will undergo treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Seventy two year old Ann Richards was diagnosed with esophageal cancer yesterday, said spokesman Bill Maddox. More tests are underway to determine the extent of the cancer.

Ms. Richards served as a Democratic Governor in Texas from 1991 to 1995 until, but lost re-election bid to George W. Bush. Since 2001, she has been an adviser at a public relations and lobbying firm.

Esophageal cancer is a relatively rare disease, which affects about 15,000 persons per year in the United States. Incidence of esophageal cancer is three times more in males compared to females. It is also three times more common in the African Americans compared to the Caucasian population. Esophageal cancer occurs much more frequently in many developing countries including China and India and parts of Africa. For example the occurrence of esophageal cancer china is 20 to 30 fold higher compared to United States.

Janet      Permalink

March 8, 2006

The Economics Of The Cancer Chemotherapy Treatment

The Economics Of The Cancer Chemotherapy Treatment
How much money is reimbursed may affect the choice of chemotherapy drugs of oncologist according to a new study. However payment methods did not have any affect whether doctors favor chemotherapy over other therapys.

The study, done by scientists from the University of Michigan and Harvard University, covered only physicians in the United States. This study can be seen in current issue of the academic journal Health Affairs.

The study has observed that once the decision to use chemotherapy is made, the current payment system appears to prompt some physicians to use more expensive drugs, the study found. The research found that providers who were more generously reimbursed prescribed more costly chemotherapy regimens to metastatic breast, colorectal and lung cancer patients.

Oncology practice is unique in the sense that the doctor can dispense his or her own drugs in the clinic. A number of times profit derived from the chemotherapy drugs may be a factor in the choice of specific chemotherapy drugs. These oncologists are paid for the cost of the chemotherapy drugs given intravenously in their offices, even though they frequently purchase the drugs at lower prices than the amounts they are paid in insurance reimbursements.

Critics of the drug reimbursement policy say that a potential conflict of interest among oncologists advising patients on therapy, while cancer doctors argue that profit is needed to pay the high cost of running their practices. Unlike other office practices an oncology requires more office space, chemotherapy chairs and skilled chemotherapy nurses. They also argue that revenue allows patients to be treated in their offices, rather than in the hospital, which is more expensive and less convenient to patients.

A spokesperson of the with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Joseph Bailes, disputed the study's findings, saying that cancer doctors selected therapys on the basis of clinical evidence only. Newer drugs are more expensive and are likely to have higher reimbursements. He argues that some of the oncologists maybe just trying to use newer drugs, which may be automatically bringing more reimbursement.

Janet      Permalink

March 7, 2006

A Tribute To Dana Reeves

A Tribute To Dana Reeves
When Dana Reeves announced the news of her lung cancer in August nobody expected that she would go away so quickly. The singer-actress Dana Reeves married the super star of the "Superman" movies and soon found herself to be devoted his care and his cause after he was paralyzed. Less than a year after her husband's death she was diagnosed with lung cancer and she died, a year-and-a-half after her husband because of this disease. She was 44 years old.

On 12th of January she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at a packed Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring hockey star Mark Messier, a friend. She looked quite healthy at that time and this sad demise was sudden and unexpected.

It is not surprising for many of us who have seen the realities of patients who are suffering from this awful disease.

Dana Reeve, who lived in Pound Ridge, died Monday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan, said the Christopher Reeve Foundation president Kathy Lewis.

Officials would not discuss Reeve's treatment or say when she entered the hospital. But Lewis said she visited her there on Friday, when Reeve was "tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality."

"The brightest light has gone out," said comedian Robin Williams. "We will forever celebrate her loving spirit."

Former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton described Reeve as "a model of tenacity and grace."

Scott      Permalink

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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. Archives of cancer-blog

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