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October 8, 2007, 8:47 AM CT

Medicare modernization act and chemotherapy

Medicare modernization act and chemotherapy
Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have not noticed a restriction in their access to therapy following the enactment of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), despite the act's significant reduction in government reimbursement to oncologists, as per a new study led by scientists in the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

Critics of the MMA often said that it would reduce patients access to chemotherapy services, because doctors would receive 30 to 40 percent less reimbursement from the government for administering therapy, said Kevin Schulman, M.D., director of the DCRIs Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics, and senior investigator on the study. Our study showed that patients actually do not perceive barriers to their access to chemotherapy and perceptions about access are really the same among patients who received therapy before the legislation went into effect, and those who received it afterwards.

The team's findings would be reported in the November 15, 2007 print edition of the journal Cancer, but also will appear earlier in the journals October 8, 2007 online edition. The study was funded by a grant from the National Patient Advocate Foundations Global Access Project, which brings together 42 national healthcare stakeholder groups -- such as pharmaceutical companies and advocacy groups -- to fund health research projects. The Project has focused on examining the MMAs consequences for patients, providers and healthcare systems.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 8:36 AM CT

Hip size of mothers linked to breast cancer in daughters

Hip size of mothers linked to breast cancer in daughters
In a study of the maternity records of more than 6,000 women, David J.P. Barker, M.D., Ph.D., and Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University discovered a strong connection between the size and shape of a womans hips and her daughters risk of breast cancer. Wide, round hips, the scientists postulated, represent markers of high sex hormone concentrations in the mother, which increase her daughters vulnerability to breast cancer.

A womans hips are shaped at puberty when the growth of the hip bones is controlled by sex hormones but is also influenced by the level of nutrition. Every woman has a unique sex hormone profile which is established at puberty and persists through her reproductive life. The studys findings show for the first time that the pubertal growth spurt of girls is strongly linked to the risk of breast cancer in their daughters.

The study, carried out with colleagues in Finland and the United Kingdom., is described in an article just published online by the peer-evaluated American Journal of Human Biology. The authors followed up on 6,370 women born in Helsinki from 1934 to 1944 whose mothers pelvic bones were measured during routine prenatal care. The study observed that breast cancer rates were more than three times higher among the women in the cohort, born at or after term, whose mothers had wide hips. They were more than seven times higher if those mothers had already given birth to one or more children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 5:13 AM CT

Towards Early Cancer Detection

Towards Early Cancer Detection
A test to detect the very early stages of cancer could one day result from new research by Cardiff University scientists.

A team at the University's School of Medicine has just published a study on telomeres - small structures at the end of human chromosomes which can play a crucial part in the onset of cancer.

Telomeres control cell division in the body - by gradually becoming shorter they can tell cells when it is time to stop dividing. However when telomeres stop working properly, they can cause the cells to mutate and start dividing uncontrollably, which can lead to the formation of tumours.

The Cardiff study used ground-breaking techniques to study telomeres in human cells. The scientists found the critical length at which telomeres stop working and also that some telomeres can be shortened or deleted at random, without any external cause.

The scientists also discovered how chromosomes can fuse together once they lose the protection of their telomeres. Chromosomal fusion causes the chromosomes to disintegrate, which can result in the development of malignant growths. The Cardiff study means there is now a system which can detect chromosomal fusions from single DNA molecules, opening up the possibility of an "early-warning" test for cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 4:53 AM CT

Apple compounds reduce risk of pancreatic cancer

Apple compounds reduce risk of pancreatic cancer
Eating flavonol-rich foods like apples may help reduce the risk of pancreas cancer, says a team of international researchers. Quercetin, which is found naturally in apples and onions, has been identified as one of the most beneficial flavonols in preventing and reducing the risk of pancreas cancer. Eventhough the overall risk was reduced among the study participants, smokers who consumed foods rich in flavonols had a significantly greater risk reduction.

This study, reported in the October 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, is the first of its kind to evaluate the effect of flavonols compounds found specifically in plants on developing pancreas cancer. As per the research paper, only a few prospective studies have investigated flavonols as risk factors for cancer, none of which has included pancreas cancer.

Scientists from Gera number of, the Univ. of Hawaii and Univ. of Southern California tracked food intake and health outcomes of 183,518 participants in the Multiethnic Cohort Study for eight years. The study reviewed the participants food consumption and calculated the intake of the three flavonols quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin. The analyses determined that flavonol intake does have an impact on the risk for developing pancreas cancer.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 4:50 AM CT

Stomach stem cell discovery could bring cancer insights

Stomach stem cell discovery could bring cancer insights
Researchers have identified and described stem cells specific to several tissues and organs of the body key master cells that give rise to the specialized cell types characteristic of that organ. But to date, it hasnt been possible to pinpoint functioning stem cells in the stomach, either in laboratory animals or people.

Now, a group of University of Michigan Medical School scientists has succeeded in finding and manipulating a population of cells that strongly resemble stem cells in the stomachs of mice. They have been able to show that these cells, which they call gastric progenitor cells, can give rise to all the different types (or lineages) of specialized cells needed to form the functional stomach glands that line the lower portion of the stomach. This property of multi-lineage potential is considered a key stem cell property.

The identification of these progenitor cells will not only aid in our understanding of normal cell turnover in the stomach, but could potentially open some new and exciting doors in our investigation of the origins of gastric cancer, says Deborah Gumucio, Ph.D., a U-M developmental biologist and senior author of a study which appears online ahead of print in the journal Gastroenterology.

The epithelial cells that make up the millions of glands of the stomach are constantly turning over. Most of the mature functioning cells live only 20 to 60 days before being replaced by progeny of dividing resident stem cells. These stem cells are not only a constant source of new cells, but they represent an important reservoir for repair of damage to the stomach caused by injury or inflammation. In addition, since the stem cells are the longest-lived of the gastric cells, it is thought that these are the only cells that live long enough to accumulate the multiple mutations that can cause cancers. For these reasons, the ability to identify and manipulate stomach progenitor cells has been an important goal for decades.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 2, 2007, 10:01 PM CT

Path to new leukemia drug

Path to new leukemia drug
Feverfew

Image courtesy of ucdavis.edu
A new, easily ingested form of a compound that has already shown it can attack the roots of leukemia in laboratory studies is moving into human clinical trials, as per a new article by University of Rochester researchers in the journal, Blood.

The Rochester team has been leading the investigation of this promising treatment on the deadly blood cancer for nearly five years. And to bring it from a laboratory concept to patient studies in that time is very fast progress in the drug development world, said Craig T. Jordan, Ph.D., senior author of the Blood article and director of Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Clinical trials are expected to begin in England by the end of 2007. Investigators expect to initially enroll about a dozen adult volunteers whove been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or other types of blood or lymph cancers, Jordan said.

Under development is dimethylamino-parthenolide (DMAPT), a form of parthenolide (PTL) that is derived from a daisy-like plant known as feverfew or bachelors button. DMAPT is a water-soluble agent that researchers believe will selectively target leukemia at the stem-cell level, where the malignancy is born. This is significant because standard chemotherapy does not strike deep enough to kill cancer at the roots, thus resulting in relapses. Even the most progressive new therapies, such as Gleevec, are effective only to a degree because they do not reach the root of the cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 2, 2007, 9:55 PM CT

On-screen smoking in movies and young adult smoking

On-screen smoking in movies and young adult smoking
New study findings show that exposure to on-screen smoking in movies has a strong correlation with beginning to smoke or becoming established smokers among young adults 18-25, a critical age group for lifelong smoking behavior.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of California, San Francisco. Prior studies from around the world observed that viewing on-screen smoking was associated with recruitment of adolescent smokers, but this is the first time that smoking among young adults has been linked to their exposure to smoking scenes on screen, said senior author Stanton Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Ages 18 to 25 are critical years, when one-third of smokers start and others who began smoking as adolescents either stop smoking or become regular smokers, he said.

The research team found a dose-response relationship between exposure to smoking on screen and the likelihood of having smoked in the past 30 days in a sample of 1,528 young adults. The study findings appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Young adults who saw the most smoking on screen have a 77 percent greater chance of having smoked at least once in the last 30 days (a measure of smoking initiation) and an 86 percent increased chance of being regular established smokers in comparison to young adults who saw little smoking in movies, the study showed. Established smokers are defined as those who have smoked 100 cigarettes or more and currently smoke.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 10:03 PM CT

Bright tumors, dim prospects

Bright tumors, dim prospects
Cervical tumor PET
It doesn't matter how small or large it is, if a cervical tumor glows brightly in a PET scan, it's apt to be more dangerous than dimmer tumors. That's the conclusion of a new study of cervical cancer patients at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"We've seen that among patients with the same stage of cervical cancer, there will be some patients who don't respond to therapy as well as others," says lead author Elizabeth A. Kidd, M.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in Washington University's Department of Radiation Oncology. "Our study suggests that PET (positron emission tomography) can reliably identify patients who have a poorer prognosis."

Kidd and her colleagues, including scientists with the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, report their findings in an upcoming issue of the journal Cancer.

The scientists used FDG-PET, a widely available three-dimensional scanning technique. FDG-PET measures how rapidly tumors take up a radiolabeled glucose tracer (FDG) - high uptake results in a stronger or brighter signal in the scan. The scientists observed that the higher the standard uptake value (SUV) for FDG in the primary tumor, the greater the recurrence rate and the lower the survival rate of patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:41 AM CT

Residual fetal cells in women may provide protection against breast cancer

Residual fetal cells in women may provide protection against breast cancer
Fetal cells that persist in a womans body long after pregnancy a common occurrence known in scientific circles as fetal microchimerism in some cases may reduce the womans risk of breast cancer, as per scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The findings, reported in the Oct. 1 issue of Cancer Research, add to the Jekyll and Hyde characteristics of fetal microchimerism, or FMc, which has been found to be both detrimental and beneficial to womens health.

In this latest prospective study, researchers V.K. Gadi, M.D., Ph.D. and J. Lee Nelson, M.D., examined the blood of 82 women post-pregnancy, 35 of whom had had breast cancer. They looked for male DNA in the blood, presuming it was present due to a previous pregnancy. Fetal microchimerism (FMc) was found significantly more often in healthy women than women with a history of breast cancer, 43 percent versus 14 percent respectively. The researchers concluded that FMc may contribute to reduction of breast cancer based on the hypothesis that residual fetal cells may provide immune surveillance of cancerous cells in the mother. They caution that further studies are needed to confirm the theory.

To our knowledge, the current results provide the first indication that FMc could impart a protective effect against breast cancer, Gadi said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:06 AM CT

Standard treatment for prostate cancer may encourage spread

Standard treatment for prostate cancer may encourage spread
A popular prostate cancer therapy called androgen deprivation treatment may encourage prostate cancer cells to produce a protein that makes them more likely to spread throughout the body, a new study by Johns Hopkins scientists suggests.

Eventhough the finding could eventually lead to changes in this standard therapy for a sometimes deadly disease, the Johns Hopkins scientists caution that their discovery is far too preliminary for patients with prostate cancer or physicians to stop using it. The treatment is effective at slowing tumor growth, they emphasized.

David Berman, an assistant professor of pathology, urology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues identified the unsuspected potential problem with therapys that suppress testosterone after discovering that the gene that codes for the protein, called nestin, was active in lab-grown human prostate cancer cells.

Curious about whether prostate cancer cells in people also produce nestin, the scientists looked for it in cells taken from men who had surgery to remove locally confined cancers of their prostates and found none. But when they looked for nestin in prostate cancer cells isolated from patients who had died of metastatic prostate cancer - in which cancer cells spread out from the prostate tumor - they found substantial evidence that the nestin gene was active.........

Posted by: Mark      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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