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August 8, 2007, 9:38 PM CT

Control Mechanism For Metastasis

Control Mechanism For Metastasis
Metastasis when cancer cells dissociate from the original tumor and migrate via the blood stream to colonize distant organs is the main cause of cancer death. A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science has now revealed new details about the mechanisms controlling metastasis of breast cancer cells. Their findings, published recently online in Nature Cell Biology, add significantly to the understanding of metastasis and may aid, in the future, in the development of anti-cancer drugs.

For a cell such as a cancer cell to migrate, it first must detach itself from neighboring cells and the intercellular material to which it is anchored. Before it can do this, it receives an order from outside the cell saying: 'prepare to move.' This signal takes the form of a substance called a growth factor, which, in addition to controlling movement, can activate many processes in the cell including division and differentiation. The growth factor attaches to a receptor on the cell wall, initiating a sequence of changes in the cellular structure. The cells internal skeleton an assembly of densely-packed protein fibers comes apart and the protein fibers then form thin threads on the outside of the cell membrane that push the cell away from its neighbors. In addition, many protein levels change: some get produced in higher quantities and some in less.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 3, 2007, 9:59 PM CT

Radiofrequency ablation for kidney tumors

Radiofrequency ablation for kidney tumors
A relatively new, minimally invasive therapy was 93 percent successful in eradicating cancerous kidney tumors, as per a recent study conducted by scientists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC.

I have performed a number of radiofrequency ablations of renal tumors and the results looked promising, said Ronald J. Zagoria, MD, lead author of the study. I wanted to scientifically review the data to better assess the results and look for patterns that might predict success or complications, he said.

The study consisted of 104 patients with a total of 125 tumors ranging from 0.6 cm to 8.8 cm. In all patients, a biopsy confirmed the presence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer. Of the 125 tumors, 95 were smaller than 3.7 cm and were completely eradicated in one therapy. Fourteen larger tumors were also eradicated after one therapy. Of the 16 remaining larger tumors, seven were eradicated after a second therapy.

Patients who are not good operative candidates, commonly due to co-existing illnesses, and those with multiple renal tumors, now have an excellent option for curing their tumors, said Dr. Zagoria. Surgery should be the first option, since the long-term results of this procedure have not been substantiated, he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 3, 2007, 5:24 AM CT

Electric fields as cancer treatment

Electric fields as cancer treatment
Alternating electric fields affect tumor cells by (a) slowing their division time from under one hour to more than three hours. The fields also (b,c) disintegrate cells in the later stages of cell division.

Credit: Physics Today, adapted from Kirson et al., Cancer Res. 64, 3288, 2004.
Low-intensity electric fields can disrupt the division of cancer cells and slow the growth of brain tumors, suggest laboratory experiments and a small human trial, raising hopes that electric fields will become a new weapon for stalling the progression of cancer. The research, performed by an international team led by Yoram Palti of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, is explained in the recent issue of Physics Today, the flagship magazine of the American Institute of Physics.

In the studies, the research team uses alternating electric fields that jiggle electrically charged particles in cells back and forth hundreds of thousands of times per second. The electric fields have an intensity of only one or two volts per centimeter. Such low-intensity alternating electric fields were once believed to do nothing significant other than heat cells. However, in several years' worth of experiments, the scientists have shown that the fields disrupt cell division in tumor cells placed on a glass dish (in vitro).

After intensively studying this effect in vitro and in laboratory animals, the scientists started a small human clinical trial to test its cancer-fighting ability. The technique was applied to ten human patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer with a very low survival rate. All the patients had their earlier tumors treated by other methods, but the cancer had started to recur in all cases. Fitting the patients with electrodes that applied 200 kHz electric fields to the scalp at regular intervals for up to 18 hours per day, the scientists found that the brain tumors progressed to advanced stages much slower than usual (taking a median time of 26 weeks), and sometimes even regressed. The patients also lived considerably longer, with a median survival time of 62 weeks. While no control group existed, the results compared favorably to historical data for recurrent GBM, in which the time for tumor progression is approximately 10 weeks and the typical survival time is 30 weeks. In addition, 3 of the 10 patients were still alive two years after the electrode treatment started. These results were announced in a recent issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Kirson et al., PNAS 104, 10152-10157, June 12, 2007).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 1, 2007, 9:26 PM CT

Coffee drinking reduces risk of liver cancer

Coffee drinking reduces risk of liver cancer
After lung and stomach cancer, liver cancer is the third largest cause of cancer deaths in the world. A new study on the relationship between coffee drinking and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) confirmed that there is an inverse association between coffee consumption and HCC, eventhough the reasons for this relationship are still unresolved.

The results of this study appear in the August 2007 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

At least eleven studies conducted in southern Europe and Japan have examined the relationship between coffee drinking and the risk of primary liver cancer. The current study, led by Francesca Bravi of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, was a meta-analysis of published studies on HCC that included how much coffee patients had consumed. Scientists combined all published data to obtain an overall quantitative estimate of the association between coffee consumption and HCC.

The results showed a 41 percent reduction of HCC risk among coffee drinkers in comparison to those who never drank coffee. Moreover, the apparent favorable effect of coffee drinking was found both in studies from southern Europe, where coffee is widely consumed, and from Japan, where coffee consumption is less frequent, and in subjects with chronic liver diseases, the scientists state.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 1, 2007, 9:18 PM CT

New technique for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

New technique for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
A new optical technology, coupled with routine endoscopy, may enable doctors to detect the subtle tell-tale traces of early pancreas cancer, as per scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois. The optical technology, developed by biomedical engineers at Northwestern exposes cellular changes indicative of cancer in tissue near the pancreas that had previously been detectable only through intensive radiologic scanning or invasive surgery, two techniques that can put pancreas cancer patients at risk.

The results of the pilot study, presented in the August 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, could represent a new approach to detecting pancreas cancer at a very early stage, when therapy is most likely to succeed.

Pancreas cancer is not often detected early because it is a rather inaccessible organ, so this technique holds the potential to be the first reliable, routine screening tool for pancreas cancer, said co-author author Randall Brand, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University and physician at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. If we could apply this to those at high risk such as people with chronic pancreatitis or who have a family history of pancreas cancer we might see a drastic improvement in pancreas cancer survival.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 1, 2007, 9:03 PM CT

Vaccine For Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Vaccine For Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
A therapeutic cancer vaccine has shown effectiveness when given alongside chemotherapy to patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in a phase II trial, as per scientists at Oxford BioMedica (UK) Ltd. The study observed that six of the 17 metastatic colorectal cancer patients in the study showed tumor shrinkage, classified as complete or partial responses following independent expert review.

The study, published in the August 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, was designed to demonstrate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine, called modified vaccinia Ankara-encoding 5T4 (TroVax), when used alongside standard chemotherapy. The research was funded by Oxford BioMedica which is developing the vaccine in partnership with Sanofi-Aventis.

Unlike preventative vaccines, such as the human papillomavirus vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, TroVax is a therapeutic vaccine, designed to stimulate the immune systems of patients who already have cancer. The vaccine consists of an attenuated (non-disease causing) version of the vaccinia virus modified to deliver the gene for 5T4, a protein found in a number of tumors.

The idea is that the modified virus enters cells, produces the tumor protein and stimulates the immune system, said lead study author Richard Harrop, Ph.D., vice president of clinical immunology at Oxford BioMedica. To give a vaccine alongside chemotherapy might seem counterintuitive, since chemotherapy can weaken the immune system, but our study shows that TroVax could be complementary to standard chemotherapy, enhancing the immune response to tumors.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 30, 2007, 10:10 PM CT

Caffeine plus exercise to prevent skin cancer

Caffeine plus exercise to prevent skin cancer
Regular exercise and little or no caffeine has become a popular lifestyle choice for many Americans. But a new Rutgers study has found that it may not be the best formula for preventing sun-induced skin damage that could lead to cancer. Low to moderate amounts of caffeine, in fact, along with exercise can be good for your health.

According to the National Cancer Institute, sunlight-induced skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than 1 million new cases each year. A research team at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, showed that a combination of exercise and some caffeine protected against the destructive effects of the suns ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation, known to induce skin cancer. The caffeine and exercise seemingly conspire in killing off precancerous cells whose DNA has been damaged by UVB-rays.

The studies, conducted in the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, appear in the July 31 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Groups of hairless mice, whose exposed skin is vulnerable to the sun, were the test subjects in experiments in which one set drank caffeinated water (the human equivalent of one or two cups of coffee a day); another voluntarily exercised on a running wheel; while a third group both drank and ran. A fourth group, which served as a control, didnt run and didnt caffeinate. All of the mice were exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation that damaged the DNA in their skin cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 26, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer
Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a gene associated with the development of an aggressive form of breast cancer.

The scientists observed that the gene, FOXP3, suppresses tumor growth. FOXP3 is located on the X chromosome, which means a single mutation can effectively silence the gene. This is unusual, as only one other gene associated with cancer has been found on the X chromosome.

When one copy of the FOXP3 gene is silenced, the scientists found in studying mice, 90 percent of the mice spontaneously developed malignant tumors. The scientists also looked at FOXP3 in human breast tissue cells, comparing malignant and non-malignant cells. FOXP3 was found to be either deleted or mutated in a substantial portion of the cancer sample: about 80 percent of the cancer tissues studied did not express the gene at all.

In addition, the scientists found FOXP3 to be a repressor of HER-2, a protein that typically marks a more aggressive form of breast cancer. The scientists believe FOXP3 suppresses the HER-2 gene. HER-2 can be activated by a number of different factors, but the scientists observed that when FOXP3 is normal, it keeps HER-2 levels low; when FOXP3 is missing or mutated, HER-2 levels are likely to rise.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 26, 2007, 4:54 AM CT

Unsubstantiated Claims About Cancer

Unsubstantiated Claims About Cancer
A new study from American Cancer Society scientists finds a surprising number of Americans believe scientifically unsubstantiated claims concerning cancer, and that population segments suffering the greatest burden of cancer are the most likely to be misinformed.

Evidence indicates that healthy behavior depends in part on an accurate assessment of proven risk factors. Prior research has shown that undue concern over unproven risk factors may distract some attention from proven risk factors and might actually result in decisions that are bad for the health. For the current report, reported in the September 1 issue of CANCER, a peer evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, scientists led by Kevin Stein, PhD in the American Cancer Societys Behavioral Research Center used a nationwide telephone survey to assess the prevalence of unproven beliefs about cancer in the U.S.

The survey included 12 inaccurate or unlikely statements about cancer risk, risk factors, and prevention, some of which frequently show up in email inboxes, and asked participants to identify the statements as true or false. While more than two-thirds of the participants were able to identify seven of the 12 statements as false, five of the 12 statements were endorsed as true by at least a quarter of the respondents, and for seven of the statements, uncertainty was higher than 15 percent. Among the surveys findings:........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 25, 2007, 5:21 AM CT

Additional mammogram readers improve breast cancer detection

Additional mammogram readers improve breast cancer detection
Mammogram readings by both radiologists and non-doctor technologists improve breast cancer detection rates, as per a research studyin the July 24 Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Studies have shown that breast cancer detection may increase when mammograms are evaluated by both a radiologist and a mammographic technologist. In The Netherlands, a breast cancer screening program was implemented in the 1990s that mandatory all mammograms be read by two radiologists. Mammographic technologists were also trained to look for abnormalities.

Lucien Duijm, M.D., Ph.D., of Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and his colleagues examined whether adding readings by two technologists to the standard examination by two radiologists would improve cancer detection rates and the accuracy of the readings.

The breast cancer detection rate increased 6.8% (from 5.27 to 5.63 cancers per 1,000 women screened) when the mammograms were read by two technologists and two radiologists. And adding two technologists only slightly increased the number of false positives, compared with readings by a pair of radiologists alone.

Our results indicate that all technologist-positive readings should be considered for [further] examination because this subset of screening mammograms shows a high prevalence of breast cancer, the authors write.........

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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