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September 11, 2007, 11:34 PM CT

New Clues to Breast Cancer Development

New Clues to Breast Cancer Development
Physicians who treat women with the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 often remove their patients' ovaries to eliminate the source of estrogen they believe fuels cancer growth. Yet they also know that anti-estrogen therapies don't work to treat breast or ovary cancer that might develop. That paradox has led researchers to question exactly how, or if, estrogen is involved in cancer development and whether removal of ovaries makes sense.

Now, a team of scientists from Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center have shed light on the mechanism that makes ovary removal protective against tumor development in this unique population. They discovered that estrogen is needed to start the cancer process, but then the BRCA1 mutations somehow render the new tumors unresponsive to estrogen, producing cancer that is more aggressive and difficult to treat.

As per a research findings published electronically on July 23 in the journal Oncogene, Georgetown scientists observed that mutations of the BRCA1 gene can cause the estrogen-signaling pathway to go awry after cancer starts to grow. The mutated gene somehow causes the tumor cells to stop expressing the estrogen receptor, a protein that sits on the surface of the cell and recognizes the presence of the hormone. This means that these cancers lose sensitivity to estrogen (and potent anti-estrogen therapies like Tamoxifen) after tumors begin to form.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:23 PM CT

Restoring Fertility In Women With Cancer

Restoring Fertility In Women With Cancer
The Oregon National Primate Research Center and the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine have been named to a national team of institutions hoping to preserve or restore fertility in women battling cancer. The Oncofertility Consortium, funded for five years by the National Institutes of Health, features participants from five universities and comprises researchers, physicians, engineers, educators, social workers and medical ethicists.

Biomedical research has helped save the lives of a number of women battling cancer, explained Richard Stouffer, Ph.D., director of the research team at OHSU. Stouffer also directs ONPRCs reproductive sciences division and is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine. However, the powerful chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to beat cancer can also result in a loss of reproductive function, which is a tremendous blow to young cancer patients who hope to have children. The bottom-line goal for this research team across the United States is to help these women through various avenues including research, therapy and counseling.

Additional members of the OHSU research team include Mary Zelinski, Ph.D., an affiliate assistant scientist at ONPRC, and David Lee, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the OHSU School of Medicine.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:21 PM CT

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder
Tamoxifen
The medicine tamoxifen, best known as a therapy for breast cancer, dramatically reduces symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder more quickly than a number of standard medications for the mental illness, a new study shows. Scientists at the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) who conducted the study also explained how: Tamoxifen blocks an enzyme called protein kinase C (PKC) that regulates activities in brain cells. The enzyme is believed to be over-active during the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

By pointing to PKC as a target for new medications, the study raises the possibility of developing faster-acting therapys for the manic phase of the illness. Current medications for the manic phase generally take more than a week to begin working, and not everyone responds to them. Tamoxifen itself might not become a therapy of choice, though, because it also blocks estrogen the property that makes it useful as a therapy for breast cancer and because it may cause endometrial cancer if taken over long periods of time. Currently, tamoxifen is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for therapy of some kinds of cancer and infertility, for example. It was used experimentally in this study because it both blocks PKC and is able to enter the brain.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

Women less likely to change heart-disease risk habits

Women less likely to change heart-disease risk habits
Smoking, eating fattening foods and not getting enough exercise are all lifestyle habits that can lead to poor health and cardiovascular disease - more so if you have a family history. But scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have observed that women don't change these habits as often as men, even when they have relatives with heart disease.

The scientists, reporting in the recent issue of the American Heart Journal, observed that women with a family history of heart disease are less likely than men to change habits such as smoking and infrequent physical activity. They also are more likely to engage in lifestyle choices that increase their risk of heart disease than are women who did not report a history of heart disease.

"A family history of heart disease is as important an indicator of future cardiovascular health in women as it is in men - perhaps more important," said Dr. Amit Khera, assistant professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study. "And yet there is an underappreciation of cardiovascular-disease risk among young women, which may contribute to unfavorable trends in important lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and increasing physical activity".

Scientists looked at data from more than 2,400 people between the ages of 30 and 50. Family history of premature heart disease was defined as a first-degree relative with history of heart attacks before the age of 50 in men and 55 in women.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:28 PM CT

Personalized cancer treatment

Personalized cancer treatment
Researchers and clinicians from around the world will gather in Atlanta, Georgia next week at the American Association for Cancer Researchs second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development. The conference is subtitled Maximizing Opportunities for Personalized Treatment, which reflects the potential of molecular diagnostics to provide new strategies for tailoring therapies to fit the needs of each cancer patients unique biology.

Sessions will include discussions on the use of biomarkers blood-borne molecules that indicate the presence of cancer in clinical practice and new drug development, advanced imaging technologies for diagnosis, and the application of proteomics in personalized medicine. Novel findings to be reported at the conference include:
  • Case studies that report how clinicians are already bridging the gap between basic cancer biology and personalized clinical care. Scientists present examples of how they fine-tuned the therapy of many different cancer types, including lung and ovarian, based on the genetic profile of the patients tumors.
  • A new acoustic sensor device that could make it possible to screen for multiple cancer biomarkers during a routine doctors visit.
  • A sensitive blood test for early-stage liver cancer that detects a gene altered by the molecular processes that lead to cancer.
........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer
New insights into the role of estrogen receptor in mammary gland development may help researchers better understand the molecular origin of breast cancer, as per new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC).

About a decade ago, U.S. researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a standard estrogen receptor (ER) gene knock-out mouse model to study the estrogen receptor's role in human diseases.

"Unfortunately, because these mice lacked mammary glands as a consequence of genetic manipulation, using this model to study the relationship between the estrogen receptor and breast cancer proved ineffective," explains Sohaib Khan, PhD, professor of cell and cancer biology at UC.

"Knocking out the estrogen receptor gene for the entire genome, as the NIH researchers did, doesn't just affect the function of the receptor in all estrogen-responsive organs. It also creates an imbalance in the body's circulating sex hormone levels, which could affect other physiological functions," Khan adds. "An alternative model was clearly needed to study the intricacies of estrogen receptors involvement in this disease".

Estrogen receptor is a cellular protein that binds with the hormone estrogen and facilitates action in different parts of the body, including the mammary gland. Research has shown that about 70 percent of patients with breast cancer have estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, meaning their tumors will have some beneficial response to anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen (ta-MOX'-ee-fen, marketed as Nolvodex).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:50 PM CT

Avocados May Help Prevent Oral Cancer

Nutrients taken from avocados are able to thwart oral cancer cells, killing some and preventing pre-malignant cells from developing into actual cancers, as per scientists at Ohio State University.

Scientists observed that extracts from Hass avocados kill or stop the growth of pre-malignant cells that lead to oral cancer. Hass avocados are year-round fruits known for their distinctive bumpy skin that turns from green to purplish-black as they ripen.

While there are more than 500 varieties of avocados grown worldwide, Hass avocados are the most readily available at supermarkets nationwide. Similar research has not been conducted on other varieties of avocados.

The findings are published online in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology.

Lead author Steven M. D'Ambrosio, a member of the molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention program at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center, also wrote an accompanying editorial for the journal, discussing the cancer-fighting potential of fruits and vegetables. D'Ambrosio collaborated with Haiming Ding in Ohio State's College of Medicine.

Studies have long associated the consumption of fruits and vegetables with a reduced risk for various types of human cancer. The protective effect is attributed to the high levels of phytonutrients or phytochemicals - plant compounds thought to have health-protecting qualities - that are often found in dark colored fruits and vegetables.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:24 PM CT

Exercise, yoga and breast cancer

Exercise, yoga and  breast cancer
Two studies report that exercise and yoga can help maintain and in some cases improve quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer. The first study observed that resistance and aerobic exercise improved physical fitness, self-esteem and body composition, and that resistance exercise improved chemotherapy completion rates. The second study demonstrated that yoga was especially beneficial for women who were not receiving chemotherapy during the study period. Both studies will be published online September 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

Resistance and Aerobic Exercise.

In the first study, Canadian researchers explored the effects of exercise on quality of life, physical fitness and body composition in women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. This study, the Supervised Trial of Aerobic versus Resistance Training (START) trial, is the largest to date to explore the effects of exercise during chemotherapy and one of the first to evaluate a regimen of resistance exercise.

Scientists divided women into three groups: supervised resistance exercise three times weekly (82 women), supervised aerobic exercise three times weekly (78), and no aerobic or resistance exercise, also known as the usual care group (82). The median duration of chemotherapy and exercise was 17 weeks. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and middle of chemotherapy and up to four weeks after completing therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:16 PM CT

Promising Drug Combination For Ocular Melanoma

Promising Drug Combination For Ocular Melanoma
Image courtesy of looc.org.uk
A combination of two drugs shows promise in treating a rare and treatment-resistant type of melanoma that originates in the eye and spreads to other organs, as per a new study led by Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers.

The drugs -- decitabine, which can turn on certain genes in cancer cells, and interferon gamma, an immune system protein -- may work together to cause cancer cell death.

"Metastatic uveal melanoma, or melanoma that originates in the eye and spreads to other parts of the body, has been very difficult to treat, in fact there have been no effective therapies to date," said Jared Gollob, M.D., a medical oncologist at Duke and lead investigator on the study. "This study could lead to a very promising new treatment for patients who previously had very little hope."

The scientists published their findings in the September 1, 2007 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

This pre-clinical study came on the heels of prior lab work examining proteins called interferons, which originate from immune system cells. These proteins were shown to boost immune function and directly affect melanoma cells, inhibiting their growth and accelerating their death, Gollob said.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery
The use of hypnosis previous to breast cancer surgery reduced the amount of anesthesia administered during the operation, the level of pain reported afterwards, and the time and cost of the procedure, as per a research studypublished online August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Breast cancer surgery patients often suffer side effects such as pain, nausea, and fatigue during and after their operation. These complications can lengthen their hospital stay, lead to hospital readmission, or require additional medicationsall of which increase medical costs. Several prior studies have suggested that hypnosis may reduce pain, recovery time, and the need for medications after surgery.

Guy Montgomery, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and his colleagues conducted a clinical trial to examine the effects of hypnosis when it is given within one hour before surgery. Two hundred women were randomly assigned to either 15 minutes of hypnosis by a psychology expert or a control session in which they spoke with a psychology expert. The scientists then compared the use of pain medications and sedatives during surgery, as well as the levels of pain and other side effects reported afterwards.

The hypnosis session began with suggestions for relaxation and pleasant visual imagery. The patients were also given suggestions on how to reduce pain, nausea, and fatigue, and instructions on how to use hypnosis on their own.........

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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