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July 19, 2006, 10:29 PM CT

Breast Stem Cell Secrets

Breast Stem Cell Secrets
The most aggressive form of breast cancer may originate from breast stem cells that have undergone genetic mishaps.

Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium researchers from The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, using mouse models, have discovered that breast stem cells do not express receptors for the female hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These and other features of the stem cell resemble the aggressive 'basal' subtype of breast cancer. There is increasing evidence that breast cancer is not simply a single disease. Researchers now view breast cancer as a heterogeneous disease, made up of various subtypes. This observation has led to speculation that breast tumours are derived from different cell types that could include the breast stem cell or its descendents that have suffered genetic accidents.

This possibility has generated great interest in understanding the composition of normal breast cells including the stem cell. A question of particular interest is whether the breast stem cell expresses receptors for oestrogen and progesterone and the marker 'Her2', since these help define the subtypes of breast cancer; and also guide current approaches to treatment.

The WEHI team, together with the Eaves group in Vancouver, have observed that the breast stem cell in mice is 'triple negative' for oestrogen, progesterone and Her2 receptors but does express certain 'basal cell' markers. These characteristics also define the basal subtype of breast cancer, which is more usually seen in tumours that develop in women who are carriers of the breast cancer predisposing gene BRCA1.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 18, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

Tumor Escapes From Attacks

Tumor Escapes From Attacks
Like the fictional wizard Harry Potter, some malignant tumors seem capable of wrapping themselves in an invisibility cloak. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have observed that pancreatic tumors hide from the body's immune surveillance by surrounding themselves with cells that make it hard for the immune system to detect them.

The tumor-protecting cells are white blood cells called regulatory T cells, or T-reg for short. Under ordinary circumstances, T-reg cells inhibit immune components responsible for killing unwanted cells - this allows T-reg cells to help prevent autoimmune reactions.

The researchers discovered that malignant cells take advantage of T-reg cells' suppressor ability, enlisting them to keep the immune system at bay. Their report appears in the July/recent issue of the Journal of Immunotherapy.

"Earlier, we observed that T-reg cells are much more prevalent in patients with breast cancer and pancreas cancer than in healthy patients," says David C. Linehan, M.D., associate professor of surgery and a researcher with the Siteman Cancer Center. "The new findings show that tumors are directly responsible for the increase of T-reg cells and can attract T-reg cells to their vicinity. This could be one way for tumors to evade immune surveillance."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 4:47 AM CT

New Strategy Identifies Cancer Targets

New Strategy Identifies Cancer Targets
In a step toward personalized medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Brian J. Druker and his colleagues have developed a new technique to identify previously unknown genetic mutations that can trigger malignant growth. By analyzing the proteins - instead of the genes - inside acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells, the scientists have dramatically reduced the time it takes to zero in on molecular abnormalities that might be vulnerable to specific drug therapys.

"This approach gives us a way to figure out what's driving the growth of a cancer in an individual patient and ultimately match that patient with the right drug," said Druker, who is based at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Druker's team collaborated on the research, which was reported in the July 17, 2006, issue of the journal Cancer Cell, with researchers in the lab of D. Gary Gilliland, an HHMI investigator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as scientists at the Portland VA Medical Center, Cell Signaling Technology, the University of Chicago, and Yale University.

Traditionally, cancer-gene hunters have scanned the genome looking for mutations that trigger out-of-control cell growth. Druker tried this approach, but found it wanting. "We were doing some high-throughput DNA sequencing, and we weren't really finding much," he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Combined treatment for lung cancer

Combined treatment  for lung cancer
Combining thermal ablation with radiation treatment extends average life expectancy and decreases recurrences of tumors in patients who have early stages of inoperable lung cancer, as per scientists at Rhode Island Hospital.

In a retrospective study looking at patients over seven years, the median survival rate at three years increased from 20 months after radiation alone to 42 months when thermal ablation was followed by radiation for therapy of non-small-cell lung cancer. The results are reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

"This study shows us that even patients who are not eligible for surgery can still get very good results," says senior author Damian Dupuy, MD, director of ultrasound at Rhode Island Hospital and professor of diagnostic imaging at Brown Medical School, both in Providence, RI. "By combining thermal ablation and radiation, you have a better chance of survival than with either therapy alone".

With radiation alone, overall survival rates were as follows:
  • one year - 57 percent
  • two years - 36 percent
  • three years - 21 percent
.

With thermal ablation and radiation, they were significantly higher:
  • one year - 87 percent
  • ........

    Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


    July 12, 2006, 9:22 PM CT

    Mesothelioma Drug In Progress

    Mesothelioma Drug In Progress
    CuraGen Corporation and TopoTarget have initiated patient dosing in a phase II clinical trial evaluating the activity of PXD101, a small molecule histone deacetylase inhibitor, for the treatment of a type of cancer called mesothelioma.

    Mesothelioma is a type of cancer arising from the cells, known as mesothelium, with the majority of cancers beginning in the chest cavity. The incidence of mesothelioma increases with age and is rarely diagnosed in patients under 55 years old. Exposure to asbestos is believed to be the main cause of the disease.

    National Cancer Institute is sponsoring the current clinical trial with CuraGen. Those who are having a diagnosis of mesothelioma, which is not removable by surgery and who have failed at least one line of chemotherapy are eligible for the clinical trial. The drug PXD101 is given by intravenous infusion once every three weeks.

    The scientists are trying to determine if the drug PXD101 has any significant activity on mesothelioma in terms of clinical response. The study is also aimed at determining the safety of the drug and time to therapy failure. The study would also look for any survival advantage resulting from the use of the drug.

    Scientists are planning to enroll a total of 37 patients at different sites across the United States.........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink


    July 12, 2006, 5:42 PM CT

    Teen Cancer Patient And Treatment Decision

    Teen Cancer Patient And Treatment Decision Image courtesy of CNN
    No more chemotherapy! That’s what Starchild Abraham Cherrix telling the judge. He received three months of chemotherapy and this has made him nauseated and weak some times so weak and unable to walk by himself.

    When he learned that he is having a recurrence of cancer, he said to the doctors, “No more chemotherapy”. Abraham is only 16 years old. The question is: can he decide about his own treatment.

    "I think it would kill me the second time," said Abraham. He wants to try a sugar-free organic diet, which is a form of alternative treatment provided in Mexico to treat his Hodgkin's disease.

    The judge is hearing the testimony and arguments. Judge has heard 11 hours of testimony. Judge will decide if the teen can make his own medical decisions and live with his parents and four siblings on Chincoteague, an island off Virginia's Eastern Shore.

    The judge is expected to issue a written decision by July 18.........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


    July 12, 2006, 7:26 AM CT

    Physical activity does not protect from ovarian cancer

    Physical activity does not protect from ovarian cancer
    There are several benefits to a regular exercise program. It keeps you fit, it prevents heart attack, and it protects you from breast cancer. But the benefits of exercise do not extend to the field of ovarian cancer.

    A new research has found that exercise programs do not protect women from developing ovarian cancer. This is as per reports published in International Journal of Cancer.

    "However, despite not protecting for ovarian cancer, physical activity has so many other positive health effects that women should be encouraged to exercise daily, if possible," study chief Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm emphasized in comments to Reuters Health.

    She and her colleagues assessed associations between physical activity during different periods of life and ovarian cancer incidence in roughly 96,000 women from Norway and Sweden who were followed for more than a decade.

    "We asked the women how much they exercised at ages 14, 30 and between ages 30 and 50 year," Weiderpass said.

    A total of 264 women developed ovarian cancer during the time they were followed.........

    Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


    July 12, 2006, 7:10 AM CT

    Removal Of Ovaries Does Not Completely Eliminate Risk

    Removal Of Ovaries Does Not Completely Eliminate Risk
    Even after having their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed on a preventive basis, women who carry one of two gene mutations known to be linked to high rates of breast and ovary cancer are still at risk of developing a form of ovary cancer, cancer in the peritoneum, a large international study released Tuesday confirms.

    About four per cent of women who had the preventive procedure, called a salpingo-oophorectomy, went on to develop peritoneal cancer within 10 years of the operation, the researchers, from the Hereditary Ovarian Cancer Clinical Study Group, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Senior author Dr. Steven Narod, a leading researcher in the field of inherited breast and ovary cancers, said that means that even after having their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed women with the mutations - known as BRCA1 or BRCA2 - still face a risk of developing peritoneal cancer that is significantly higher than that faced by women who didn't inherit either of the genes.........

    Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


    July 11, 2006, 5:00 PM CT

    Secrets Of Metastasis Viewed In 3D

    Secrets Of Metastasis Viewed In 3D
    A story begins! A cancer cell acquires capacity to break away from the main tumor and move to relocate in a new surrounding. Once settled in the new environment, the cancer cell would start dividing again.

    Pharmaceutical companies typically use simplistic two-dimensional assays for this process, which is known as metastasis, to evaluate anti-cancer therapeutics. In these assays, cells crawl across the surface of a matrix, traveling in a single plane. But a new study indicates that this approach misses some crucial phenomena.

    Working in the labs of Whitehead Member Paul Matsudaira and MIT professor Douglas Lauffenburger, postdoctoral researcher Muhammad Zaman discovered that cells move quite differently in three dimensions. His study, which focused on human prostate tumor cells, appeared this week in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    "Two-dimensional assays ignore the obstacles that cells face in their natural contexts," explains Zaman, who recently became an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "In 3D, cells move through a thick jungle of fibers, or 'vines', that hinder forward progress".

    Cells must either squeeze through or chop up these putative vines to get anywhere. As a result, they move slower in three dimensions.........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


    July 11, 2006, 7:15 AM CT

    Higher risk for cervical cancer with multiple HPV types

    Higher risk for cervical cancer with multiple HPV types
    The risk for developing the tissue abnormalities, or lesions, that typically precede cervical cancer is much higher for women infected with multiple genotypes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) than previously reported, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

    Eventhough doctors have known that the cervical tissue at the opening to the womb can harbor multiple HPV types, this study is the first to document that the risk for developing cervical cancer, the second most common form of cancer in women worldwide, is higher in females infected with multiple HPV types than those infected with just one HPV type.

    In addition, the study's findings provide baseline data for analyzing over time the impact of the newly approved vaccine, Gardasil, on the dynamics of HPV infection.

    "Women who harbor multiple infections are at higher risk for cervical lesions than those ever infected with one type only and should be followed more closely," said Eduardo L. Franco, Dr.PH., leader of the study and professor of epidemiology and oncology, and director, division of cancer epidemiology at McGill University.

    Like prior studies on HPV in cervical cancer, the new research found that pre-malignant abnormalities primarily occurred in women infected with HPV 16 and 18, the targets of Gardasil.........

    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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