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November 13, 2007, 9:14 PM CT

Real-Time Analysis of Breast Cancer Biopsies

Real-Time Analysis of Breast Cancer Biopsies
A sophisticated microscope that offers a "real-time" 3-D analysis of tissue samples might, in the future, reduce the number of needle biopsies traditionally needed from women suspected of having breast cancer, as per recent research published at Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Such an instant test would mean that physicians could immediately tell if they have collected adequate samples of breast tissue and limit the number of repeat biopsies, said the investigators, whose study appeared in the September/recent issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Currently, physicians extract 6-8 tissue samples during a needle biopsy procedure to ensure proper sampling of the area of concern. In addition, at least one day is mandatory to prepare the samples for analysis using traditional methods. The new technology is designed to limit patient discomfort and anxiety.

"With this microscope, we can tell instantly whether we have cancer cells or not, or what kind of cells we are looking at, whether they are fat, structural, or epithelial cells that line breast milk ducts-all of this could give us a great advantage in treating breast cancer," said the study's lead investigator, Maddalena T. Tilli, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Priscilla Furth, MD, at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Environmental stress and cancer

Environmental stress and cancer
Drs. Kapil Bhalla (left) and Yonghua Yang.

Credit: Medical College of Georgia
One way environmental stress causes cancer is by reducing the activity level of an enzyme that causes cell death, scientists say.

They observed that stress-inducing agents, such as oxidative stress, recruit a protein called SENP1 that cuts a regulator called SUMO1 away from the enzyme SIRT1 so its activity level drops, says Dr. Yonghua Yang, postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kapil Bhalla, director of the MCG Cancer Center.

This fundamental finding about the relationship between stress and cancer opens the door for therapys that increase SENP1 activity, making it easier for cells that are becoming malignant to die, says Dr. Yang, first author on a paper reported in the recent issue of Nature Cell Biology.

This is one of the things that makes cancer cells so durable, one way they survive so well, says Dr. Yang. We want to see if we can block that process and make cells die. Increased SIRT1 activity which is routinely present in cancer even makes cancer cells more resistant to anticancer drugs such as chemotherapy.

The complication is that decreasing programmed cell death, or apoptosis, increases longevity, says Dr. Yang. However he now has evidence that SIRT1 also under study for its longevity role has different targets when it comes to cancer promotion and longevity that will provide distinct targets for manipulating each.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:26 PM CT

Scientists question folic acid fortification

Scientists question folic acid fortification
Researchers at the Institute of Food Research have highlighted possible consequences of fortifying flour with folic acid due to new evidence of how it is absorbed by the body.

In May, the Food Standards Agency's Board agreed unanimously that 'required fortification' with folic acid should be introduced to make sure the number of babies born with neural tube defects is reduced. This means that it would be compulsory to add folic acid to either bread or flour.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin found in a wide variety of foods including liver and green leafy vegetables. Folates are metabolised in the gut, whereas in a paper would be reported in the British Journal of Nutrition in October IFR researchers suggest that folic acid is metabolised in the liver. The liver is an easily saturated system, and fortification could lead to significant unmetabolised folic acid entering the blood stream, with the potential to cause many health problems.

"Fortifying UK flour with folic acid would reduce the occurence rate of neural tube defects", said Dr Siân Astley of the Institute of Food Research. "However, with doses of half the amount being proposed for fortification in the UK, the liver becomes saturated and unmetabolised folic acid floats around the blood stream.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 2:28 PM CT

Gene alterations in lung cancer

Gene alterations in lung cancer
An international team of scientists, supported in part by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that its systematic effort to map the genomic changes underlying lung cancer has uncovered a critical gene alteration not previously associated with any form of cancer. The research, reported in the advance online issue of the journal Nature, also revealed more than 50 genomic regions that are frequently gained or lost in lung adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer in the United States.

"This view of the lung cancer genome is unprecedented, both in its breadth and depth," said senior author Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., a senior associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and an associate professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It lays an essential foundation, and has already pinpointed an important gene that controls the growth of lung cells. This information offers crucial inroads to the biology of lung cancer and will help shape new strategies for cancer diagnosis and treatment."

Each year more than 1 million people worldwide die of lung cancer, including more than 150,000 in the United States. The new study focused on lung adenocarcinoma, which, as per the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is the most frequently diagnosed form of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for approximately 30 percent of cases.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 1, 2007, 10:08 PM CT

Radio waves fire up nanotubes embedded in tumors

Radio waves fire up nanotubes embedded in tumors
Cancer cells treated with carbon nanotubes can be destroyed by non-invasive radio waves that heat up the nanotubes while sparing untreated tissue, a research team led by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University has shown in preclinical experiments.

In a paper posted online ahead of December publication in the journal Cancer, scientists show that the technique completely destroyed liver cancer tumors in rabbits. There were no side effects noted. However, some healthy liver tissue within 2-5 millimeters of the tumors sustained heat damage due to nanotube leakage from the tumor.

"These are promising, even exciting, preclinical results in this liver cancer model," says senior author Steven Curley, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Surgical Oncology. "Our next step is to look at ways to more precisely target the nanotubes so they attach to, and are taken up by, cancer cells while avoiding normal tissue".

Targeting the nanotubes solely to cancer cells is the major challenge in advancing the treatment, Curley says. Research is under way to bind the nanotubes to antibodies, peptides or other agents that in turn target molecules expressed on cancer cells. To complicate matters, most such molecules also are expressed in normal tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 1, 2007, 8:37 PM CT

Red Wine, Fruits And Vegetables May Stop Cancer

Red Wine, Fruits And Vegetables May Stop Cancer
The next cancer drug might come straight from the grocery store, as per new research reported in the November 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal. In the study, French researchers describe how high and low doses of polyphenols have different effects. Most notably, they observed that very high doses of antioxidant polyphenols shut down and prevent malignant tumors by cutting off the formation of new blood vessels needed for tumor growth. Polyphenols are usually found in red wine, fruits, vegetables, and green tea.

At relatively low doses, the French scientists observed that the same polyphenols play a beneficial role for those with diseased hearts and circulatory systems by facilitating blood vessel growth. The amount of polyphenols necessary for this effect was found to be the equivalent of only one glass of red wine per day or simply sticking to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables containing polyphenols. This diet is known as the "Mediterranean Diet."

This study also adds to a growing body of research showing dose-dependent relationships for a number of types of usually used compounds. For instance, research reported in the October 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal shows that aspirin, through different mechanisms, also has a dose-dependent relationship for heart disease and cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 31, 2007, 8:10 PM CT

Avastin Improves Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Avastin Improves Ovarian Cancer Treatment
A new study appearing in International Journal of Gynecological Cancer states that Bevacizumab, a biologic anti-cancer agent that prevents tumor growth by interfering with the formation of new blood vessels, may have the potential to improve the efficacy of standard combination chemotherapy in ovary cancer.

Ovary cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, accounting for nearly 14,000 deaths annually in the United States. Despite the use of chemotherapy therapy, nearly 70 percent of all ovary cancer patients will eventually succumb to their disease. Consequently, studies have continued to investigate the activity of novel medications in combination with standard treatment to improve overall and disease-free survival in ovary cancer patients.

Bevacizumab has been studied clinically and was recently approved as a therapy for metastatic colon cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Currently, Bevacizumab is also being studied as a therapy to improve patient survival rates for breast and kidney cancers. Since Bevacizumab has a unique mechanism of action and a favorable safety profile, the medicine is not linked to unreasonable levels of toxicity. However, prior studies have reported that gastro-intestinal perforations and high blood pressure may be a consequence of therapy involving Bevacizumab. "The results from our research suggest that the combination of Bevacizumab and standard treatment for the therapy of ovary cancer may be promising, especially with regard to safety and efficacy," says Dr. Bram Goldstein, co-author of the study.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 29, 2007, 10:33 PM CT

Can statins make radiation more effective?

Can statins make radiation more effective?
Prostate cancer patients who receive high-dose radiation therapy and also take statin drugs usually used to lower cholesterol have a 10 percent higher chance of being cured of their cancer at 10 years after diagnosis (76 percent), in comparison to those who dont take these medications (66 percent), as per a research studypresented at a scientific session October 31, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncologys 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

The study demonstrated that the greatest benefit of statin medications was observed in patients who had more aggressive or advanced forms of prostate cancer. The research also showed that men who took statins during high-dose radiation treatment had a lower rate of the cancer spreading to distant parts of the body.

We were, indeed, surprised by the findings that statins used by these patients for other conditions was shown to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy in killing prostate cancer cells, said Michael J. Zelefsky, M.D., the senior author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The use of statins during radiation may also be effective in the therapy of other types of cancer. However, more studies are necessary to explore the association between statins and radiation therapy in curing cancers.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 29, 2007, 10:18 PM CT

Radiation seeds effectively cure prostate cancer

Radiation seeds effectively cure prostate cancer
Radiation seed implants (brachytherapy) are just as effective at curing prostate cancer in younger men (aged 60 and younger) as they are in older men, as per a research studypresented at a scientific session on October 31, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncologys 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive procedure where a radiation oncologist places small radioactive seeds into the prostate in order to kill the cancer cells. It is an attractive therapy option for prostate cancer patients because it has a much shorter recovery time than surgery and studies have shown brachytherapy to be just as effective as surgery. However, surgeons have commonly advised younger men to undergo surgery to remove all or part of the prostate (prostatectomy) over other therapys like seed implants because they believed younger men could physically tolerate surgery, plus they believed surgery was more effective than brachytherapy at curing prostate cancer long term. This meant that a number of younger men would undergo surgery without ever learning about other therapy options, like brachytherapy or external beam radiation treatment.

These results suggest that brachytherapy is extremely effective in curing localized prostate cancer for men aged 60 and younger. When younger men are diagnosed with localized prostate cancer, they should be presented with all viable therapy options, including brachytherapy, said Alice Ho, M.D., the lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Every man with prostate cancer, regardless of his age, should have access to the therapy that is best for his cancer and lifestyle.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 29, 2007, 7:16 PM CT

Breast cancer in African-American women

Breast cancer in African-American women
African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and have larger tumors and more lymph node involvement than Caucasian women, a Yale School of Medicine researcher reported today.

Speaking at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Los Angeles, Meena Moran, M.D., assistant professor of therapeutic radiology and Yale Cancer Center member, said her results were based on 2,164 Caucasian women and 207 African American women followed over a 30-year periodthe largest most comprehensive study of its kind to date. All underwent lumpectomies in which the tumor, not the entire breast, was removed.

The occurence rate of breast cancer is actually lower in African American women in comparison to Caucasian women, yet their mortality rates are higher, Moran said. We were surprised. Prior reports did not show higher relapse rates in African American women after surgery to conserve breast tissue. This might be because we had so a number of African American patients and a longer follow-up period.

She said there are several possible biological risk factors that need to be explored more fully. African American women have a lower level of estrogen/progesterone receptors, which means existing anti-estrogen therapies are not effective on these tumors. African American women have a higher rate of triple negative tumors, which have been linked to a worse outcome in early stage breast cancer. They also have a higher rate of mutation in the p53 gene, which normally acts to suppress tumors.........

Posted by: Janet      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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