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May 3, 2006, 0:25 AM CT

Targeted Virus Eat Cancer Cells

Targeted Virus Eat Cancer Cells
An engineered virus tracks down and infects the most common and deadly form of brain cancer and then kills tumor cells by forcing them to devour themselves, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The modified adenovirus homed in on cancerous glioma cells in mice and induced enough self-cannibalization among the cancer cells -- a process called autophagy -- to reduce tumor size and extend survival, says senior author Seiji Kondo, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at M. D. Anderson.

''This virus uses telomerase, an enzyme found in 80 percent of brain tumors, as a target,'' Kondo says. ''Once the virus enters the cell, it needs telomerase to replicate. Normal brain tissue does not have telomerase, so this virus replicates only in cancer cells.''.

Other cancers are telomerase-positive, and the scientists showed in lab experiments that the virus kills human prostate and human cervical cancer cells while sparing normal tissue.

In addition to demonstrating the therapeutic potential of the virus, called hTERT-Ad, Kondo says the international research team also clarified the mechanism by which such conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAs) infect and kill cancer cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 2, 2006, 7:19 AM CT

Biomarker For Persistent Fatigue From Breast Cancer

Biomarker For Persistent Fatigue From Breast Cancer
Wouldn't it be nice to know in advance if you would develop long-term persistent fatigue from chemotherapy for breast cancer, so that an informed decision can be made previous to taking chemotherapy? Thanks to the finding of some of the scientists this may be possible in future.

Dr. Michael Irwin of the University of California, Los Angeles' Semel Institute and his colleagues have discovered a biological marker to identify breast cancer survivors at risk for long-term persistent fatigue. It is estimated that about one third of breast cancer survivors experience disabling fatigue that lasts for years.

Breast cancer survivors who suffer from persistent, disabling fatigue may have immune systems that don't shut down following therapy. Dr. Irwin says that this newly discovered biomarker could identify and predict which women would develop long-term persistent fatigue. Currently we have no available therapy for cancer related fatigue. Dr. Irwin hopes that this finding will lead to development of drugs that would one day be used to treat persistent fatigue among breast cancer survivors.

The study included blood samples from 32 breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue and this was compared to blood samples from 18 breast cancer survivors who did not suffer from fatigue.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


April 27, 2006, 11:51 PM CT

Arthritis For Fatigue In Cancer Patients

Arthritis For Fatigue In Cancer Patients
Scientists here have found evidence that combining a drug typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis with chemotherapy might help reduce fatigue and muscle wasting that often afflicts cancer patients.

The findings of the preliminary study with 24 patients are published in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"Even though this was a small study, we found that we could deliver more chemotherapy when combined with the drug etanercept," said lead author Miguel A. Villalona-Calero, an associate professor of hematology and oncology and of pharmacology at Ohio State.

"This shows promise in helping reduce fatigue in cancer patients while increasing their ability to tolerate higher doses of chemotherapy on a more frequent basis," said Villalona-Calero, who is also researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James).

Patients' fatigue - the state of overwhelming and sustained exhaustion that is not relieved by rest - often hinders physicians' ability to deliver chemotherapy to them on schedule because of their weakened state.

The fatigue and muscle wasting that are associated with cancer are largely caused when immune cells release a substance known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Eventhough TNF historically has been studied for its anticancer properties, recent studies indicate that TNF probably promotes tumor growth instead of hindering it.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 26, 2006, 7:46 PM CT

Cure for cancer worth $50 trillion

Cure for cancer worth $50 trillion
A new study, would be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Political Economy, calculates the prospective gains that could be obtained from further progress against major diseases. Kevin M. Murphy and Robert H. Topel, two University of Chicago researchers, estimate that even modest advancements against major diseases would have a significant impact - a 1 percent reduction in mortality from cancer has a value to Americans of nearly $500 billion. A cure for cancer would be worth about $50 trillion.

"We distinguish two types of health improvements - those that extend life and those that raise the quality of life," explain the authors. "As the population grows, as incomes grow, and as the baby-boom generation approaches the primary ages of disease-related death, the social value of improvements in health will continue to rise."

A number of critiques of rising medical expenditures focus on life-extending procedures for persons near death. By breaking down net gains by age and gender, Murphy and Topel show that the value of increased longevity far exceeds rising medical expenditures overall. Gains in life expectancy over the last century were worth about $1.2 million per person to the current population, with the largest gains at birth and young age.

"An analysis of the value of health improvements is a first step toward evaluating the social returns to medical research and health-augmenting innovations," write the authors. "Improvements in life expectancy raise willingness to pay for further health improvements by increasing the value of remaining life."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 25, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Predicting Success In Cancer Treatment

Predicting Success In Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy drugs, given intravenously, are the mainstay of the fight against cancer. But doctors know that sometimes these drugs effect a complete cure, while other times they can be nearly ineffective. How to turn some of those failures into successes? A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute, headed by Prof. Hadassa Degani of the Biological Regulation Department, has come up with a non-invasive, magnetic resonance imaging- (MRI-) based method for predicting possible problems. The findings of their studies on animals, which appear today in the journal Cancer Research, may, in the future, influence therapy regimes for millions of cancer patients.

Intravenous infusions rely on the bloodstream to carry drugs to where they are needed. Normally, a material such as a chemotherapy drug crosses into a tissue on the principle of concentration equalization -- the material diffuses from an area of high concentration to one of low concentration until the concentrations become equal all around. However, in some cancers, even though the material "wants" to spread out evenly, fluids inside the tumor may be exerting pressure to prevent this. When the internal pressure created by these fluids rises above a certain level, it acts as a barrier that keeps drugs and other materials from entering the tumor.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 25, 2006, 7:08 AM CT

Pioneer Of Angiogenesis Reports Panel Of Biomarkers For Early Cancer Diagnosis

Pioneer Of Angiogenesis Reports Panel Of Biomarkers For Early Cancer Diagnosis Judah Folkman
Dr. Judah Folkman, the scientist whose discoveries founded the growing field of angiogenesis research, now reports the finding of a panel of biomarkers in platelets that may permit very early diagnosis of cancer. Working with mice bearing human tumors, Dr. Folkman and Dr. Giannoula Klement found that platelets took up angiogenesis regulatory proteins secreted by these tumors. When the microscopic tumors began to grow new blood vessels and grow, these angiogenesis regulatory proteins began to appear in the plasma as well as in the platelets. If this biomarker can be validated in patients, says Dr. Folkman, it may be used in conjunction with other biomarkers to diagnose the recurrence of cancer years before such a minute tumor burden became symptomatic or able to be located by conventional methods such as imaging.

Dr. Folkman described the work April 2 in the keynote lecture of the American Association of Anatomists meeting, part of Experimental Biology 2006 in San Francisco.

The finding of selective uptake of angiogenesis regulatory proteins secreted by tumors also marks a novel function of platelets, the blood cells responsible for blood coagulation and repair of damaged blood vessels.

The "platelet angiogenesis proteome" provides a stable, sensitive, and reliable biomarker for very early diagnosis of cancer, says Dr. Folkman. It could be used to detect recurrence of cancer or to diagnose a new primary tumor, for example in women with the mutated breast cancer gene who have still not developed a clinically detectable cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 25, 2006, 6:54 AM CT

Chemotherapy Gel To Fight Breast Cancer And Reduce Breast Deformity

Chemotherapy Gel To Fight Breast Cancer And Reduce Breast Deformity
Women who undergo surgery for breast cancer followed by radiation therapy often experience breast deformities that can only be corrected through reconstructive surgery. Researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in collaboration with bioengineers at Carnegie Mellon University, have developed a polymer-based therapy for breast cancer that could serve as an artificial tissue filler after surgery and a clinically effective therapy. Their findings, based on studies with mice, will be presented at 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, April 25 at the World Congress on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, April 24 to 27, at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

"Although radiation therapy is the standard treatment for breast cancer following surgery, it is expensive, time consuming and increases the cosmetic deformity caused by surgery," said Howard D. Edington, M.D., associate professor of surgery and surgical oncology at the University of Pittsburgh and faculty member at McGowan. "We sought to develop a possible alternative to radiation therapy that would not only release chemotherapy slowly to kill the cancerous cells left behind after surgery but that also would fill in the dimples and sometimes quite significant indentations that are common after breast surgery and radiation".........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 9:05 PM CT

Laser Therapy For Melanoma Of The Eye

Laser Therapy For Melanoma Of The Eye
Mayo Clinic scientists report that transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) appears to be a successful therapy for most patients who have small choroidal melanomas -- a primary cancer of the eye. The results of the study are in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

In TTT, a wide laser beam is directed at the choroidal tumor through a contact lens, causing tumor cell death. In 1996, Mayo became one of the first centers in the nation to use TTT. Three years later, Mayo scientists published the results of TTT for the first 20 patients seen (available online at http://archopht.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/117/11/1512).

"We wanted to reaffirm the effectiveness of TTT for our original patients by examining their follow-up data," said Colin McCannel, M.D., Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist and study co-investigator. "In addition, we hoped to show continued success with the procedure as a stand-alone therapy for choroidal melanoma."

The choroid is the vascular layer of the eye between the retina and the sclera. It is responsible for limiting reflection of light within the eye as well as providing blood supply and oxygen to the retina. Choroidal melanoma can cause vision loss and eventually spread to other parts of the body. While cancers of the eye are not very common, they historically were treated by removal of the eye to prevent spread of the cancer. There are limited therapy options beyond removing the eye, but the Mayo team showed that at least for small tumors, TTT is a very good option.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 8:59 PM CT

Inducing Melanoma for Cancer Vaccine

Inducing Melanoma for Cancer Vaccine
Cancer vaccines are being investigated in early-phase clinical trials around the world, with a number of of those trials recruiting patients with melanoma. Eventhough tumor regressions have been seen in 10% to 20% of patients with metastatic melanoma, the great promise of cancer vaccines - controlling tumor growth and cancer spread without serious side-effects - remains as yet unrealized. This could be set to change with the publication of a new mouse model technology in Cancer Research, the journal of the American Association of Cancer Research, from a multi-national team led by researchers at the Brussels Branch of the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR).

"Melanoma has been a focus of cancer vaccine development because a number of melanoma-specific vaccine targets, so-called 'cancer antigens', have been defined," says the study's senior author, LICR's Dr. Benoit Van den Eynde. "However, we have a limited understanding of how most, but not all, melanomas evade an immune system that has been primed to detect and destroy cancer cells carrying one of these defined cancer antigens".

As per Dr. Van den Eynde, this is due in part to the lack of appropriate animal models in which detailed immunological analyses can be performed before and after vaccination. "The models we use to investigate cancer vaccines at the preclinical level either have a defined cancer antigen in a transplanted tumor, or they have an 'original' tumor that doesn't have a defined antigen. However, in human clinical studies, we have original tumors with defined antigens. So there has been a need for a mouse model that more closely follows the human model."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 8:57 PM CT

Diabetes and Cancer: Alpha Connection

Diabetes and Cancer: Alpha Connection
A study published by Nature today has defined the function of p110 alpha, the flag-ship molecule of the eight member PI3K family, which is one of the most frequently activated pathways in cancer. The function of p110 alpha in the body has eluded scientists for over a decade but a new approach to generating mouse models, has allowed researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research's (LICR) UCL Branch and the UCL Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology to solve the mystery and yield important information for planned clinical trials with PI3K inhibitors.

The study showed that p110 alpha controls the action of insulin and other key hormonal signals that play roles in growth, diabetes and obesity. p110 alpha is frequently mutated or overexpressed in cancer, and the results of the present work imply that cancer cells hijack a key signalling pathway to fuel their energy needs and drive their proliferation and survival. The current work has far-reaching implications, given that several million of people are affected by metabolic disorders, and every year, several hundreds of thousand new cancer cases with mutations in p110 alpha are diagnosed.

Importantly, says LICR's Dr. Bart Vanhaesebroeck, the senior author of the study, the findings have immediate implications for the testing of p110 alpha-specific inhibitors for human therapies. "Accurate information on the specific role of p110 alpha is needed urgently by the pharmaceutical industry, which is preparing to initiate clinical trials based on PI3K inhibition, not only in cancer but also in inflammation, allergy and auto-immunity. These mice mimic the effect of systemic administration with a p110 alpha-specific drug,".........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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