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July 1, 2008, 8:36 PM CT

Designer diet for prostate cancer

Designer diet for prostate cancer
Eating one or more portions of broccoli every week can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and the risk of localised cancer becoming more aggressive.

For the first time, a research group at the Institute of Food Research led by Professor Richard Mithen has provided an explanation of how eating broccoli might reduce cancer risk based upon studies in men, as opposed to trying to extrapolate from animal models. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer for males in western countries. The research has provided an insight into why eating broccoli can help men stay healthy.

For the study, reported in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE on July 2, men who were at risk of developing prostate cancer ate either 400g of broccoli or 400g of peaccording to week in addition to their normal diet over 12 months. Tissue samples were taken from their prostate gland before the start of the trial and after 6 and 12 months, and the expression of every gene measured using Affymetrix microarray technology.

It was observed that there were more changes in gene expression in men who were on the broccoli-rich diet than on the pea diet, and these changes may be linked to the reduction in the risk of developing cancer, that has been reported in epidemiological studies.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 26, 2008, 9:22 PM CT

Promising cancer drug target in prostate tumors

Promising cancer drug target in prostate tumors
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report they have blocked the development of prostate tumors in cancer-prone mice by knocking out a molecular unit they describe as a "powerhouse" that drives runaway cell growth.

In an article that is being published recently as an advanced online publication by the journal Nature, the scientists say the growth-stimulating molecule called p110beta -- part of a cellular signaling network disrupted in several common cancers -- is a promising target for novel cancer therapies designed to shut it down. The report's lead authors are Shidong Jia, MD, PhD, Zhenning Liu, PhD, Sen Zhang PhD, and Pixu Liu, MD, PhD.

The p110beta molecule and a counterpart, p110alpha, are "isoforms" -- slightly different forms of an enzyme called PI(3)K that is an intense focus of cancer research and drug development. PI(3)K is the linchpin of a cell-signal pathway that responds to growth factor signals from outside the cell.

When activated by growth factor receptors, PI(3)K turns on a cascade of genes and proteins that drives cells to divide and grow. The molecular accelerator is normally kept under control by a tumor-suppressor protein, PTEN, which acts like a brake to curb excess cell growth that could lead to cancer.

Mutations that inactivate PTEN -- in effect releasing the brake on growth signals -- are found in a significant proportion of prostate, breast and brain tumors. The senior authors of the new report, Jean Zhao, PhD, and Thomas Roberts, PhD, previously showed that blocking p110alpha protein inhibits malignant growth induced by various cancer-causing proteins, such as Her2 and EGFR. With that knowledge in hand, the researchers, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, are in the process of developing p110alpha blockers.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 26, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

Higher Coffee Consumption: Lower Liver Cancer Risk

Higher Coffee Consumption: Lower Liver Cancer Risk
Higher Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Liver Cancer Risk.

Liver Cancer is the Third Most Common Global Cause of Cancer Death.

A new large, prospective population-based study confirms an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and liver cancer risk. The study also observed that higher levels of gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) in the blood were linked to an increased risk of developing the disease. These findings appear in the recent issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article and an accompanying editorial are also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

Scientists led by Gang Hu at the University of Helsinki set out to examine the associations between coffee consumption and serum GGT with the risk of liver cancer in a large prospective cohort. Residents of Finland drink more coffee per capita than the Japanese, Americans, Italians, and other Europeans, so Hu and his colleagues studied 60,323 Finnish participants ages 25 to 74 who were cancer-free at baseline. The Finns were included in seven independent cross-sectional population surveys conducted between 1972 and 2002 and followed up through June 2006.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 23, 2008, 7:13 PM CT

Anticancer agents on patients with heart disease

Anticancer agents on patients with heart disease
A set of promising new anticancer agents could have unforeseen risks in individuals with heart disease, suggests research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The anticancer drugs which go by the strange name of hedgehog antagonists interfere with a biochemical process that promotes growth in some cancer cells. But the scientists showed that interfering with this biochemical process in mice with heart disease led to further deterioration of cardiac function and ultimately death.

"This finding should serve as a warning that these drugs might have adverse effects on the heart and that it could be very important to monitor patients' cardiovascular health when using this type of anticancer drug," says senior author David Ornitz, M.D., Ph.D., the Alumni Endowed Professor and head of Developmental Biology. The research was reported June 20, 2008, in advance online publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Hedgehog antagonists are drugs that inhibit the hedgehog signaling pathway, a chain of biochemical signals that regulate cellular growth and differentiation. The odd term hedgehog has little to do with the small, spiny mammals it originated when researchers noted the spiky, hedgehog-like appearance of fly embryos with abnormal hedgehog genes. Every organism in the animal kingdom has hedgehog genes, which play an essential role in guiding cells to mature into the appropriate form for proper function.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 23, 2008, 7:10 PM CT

Idle Computers Offer Hope

Idle Computers Offer Hope
A biomedical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin is using a concept called "grid computing" to allow the average person to donate idle computer time in a global effort to fight cancer.

Muhammad Zaman, assistant professor in biomedical engineering, recently introduced Cellular Environment in Living Systems @Home or CELS@Home for short. The program already has more than 1,000 computer users worldwide contributing to the project. And the numbers keep growing.

The idea is based on what is called grid computing. Instead of using local computing resources, which are almost always limited, grid computing allows Internet users worldwide to contribute their idle computer time, creating a "virtual" supercomputer to solve a difficult problem. In this case, the grid computing program is calculating cellular interactions in different environments to help understand the principles of cell migration and cancer cell metastasis, or the spread of cancer from the original tumor to other parts of the body.

"We have launched a global effort to recreate the in vivo (live) environment of cancer cells in a computer model. This allows us to perform virtual experiments and study processes that are too costly or technically very difficult to study," says Zaman, who also directs the Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics. "By recreating this whole 'system of processes inside a cancer cell' we will be in a position to fully comprehend the problem and hopefully identify targets that will one day translate into anti-cancer drugs".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


June 19, 2008, 10:20 PM CT

On the path to personalized medicine

On the path to personalized medicine
Medicine has moved a little bit closer to the era of tailor-made therapys, based on the unique genetic profiles of individual patients, as per recent research conducted by Dr Rima Rozen of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) at the Montreal Children's Hospital and McGill University. Her study, published June 18 in the journal Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, shows how minor genetic differences between individuals alter the way a common drug affects the body.

Rozen has measured the impact of Methotrexate -- a drug that inhibits the metabolism of folate -- on mice with an altered MTHFR gene, which is a gene crucial for folate metabolism. The results were striking: after therapy with Methotrexate, mice with the altered gene had approximately 20 per cent less hemoglobin and red blood cells than their counterparts with non-altered genes. The altered mice also showed increased susceptibility to liver and kidney damage following therapy.

"We know that these results are applicable to humans because a parallel mutation in the human MTHFR gene affects human folate metabolism similarly. The results demonstrate that medicine affects subjects differently as per individual genetic traits," Dr. Rozen explained. "And tests exist to detect this mutation." Genetic testing would allow physicians the modify therapy based on each patient's personal genetic makeup, limiting potential side effects.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 19, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Weight-loss surgery can cut cancer risk

Weight-loss surgery can cut cancer risk
Successful bariatric surgery allows morbidly obese patients to lose up to 70 percent of their excess weight and to maintain weight loss. The latest study by Dr. Nicolas Christou of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University shows that this surgery also decreases the risk of developing cancer by up to 80 percent. Dr. Christou presented his preliminary results yesterday at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

The scientists compared 1,035 morbidly obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery at the MUHC between 1986 and 2002 with 5,746 patients with the same weight profile who did not undergo the operation. The number of cancer diagnoses in first group was 85 percent lower for breast cancer and 70 percent lower for colon and pancreas cancers, and was also distinctly lower for several other types of cancer.

"The relationship between obesity and a number of forms of cancer is well established," said Dr. Christou. "This is one of the first studies to suggest that bariatric surgery might prevent the risk of cancer for a significant percentage of morbidly obese people".

Obesity affects the body in multiple ways, so a single hypothesis cannot fully explain these results, say the researchers. However, excess body fat is widely believed to be responsible for increased hormone production, a major risk factor for breast and colon cancer. Thus so modifications to the patient's hormonal metabolism due to weight loss might explain the lower occurence rate of these cancers in patients who underwent surgery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 19, 2008, 10:16 PM CT

Math could help cure leukemia

Math could help cure leukemia
When kids complain that math homework won't help them in real life, a new answer might be that math could help cure cancer.

In a recent study that combined math and medicine, scientists have shown that patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) may be cured of the disease with an optimally timed cancer vaccine, where the timing is determined based on their own immune response.

In the June 20 edition of the journal PLoS Computational Biology, University of Maryland associate professor of mathematics Doron Levy, Stanford Medical School doctor and associate professor of medicine (hematology) Peter P. Lee, and Dr. Peter S. Kim, cole Suprieure d'lectricit (Gif-sur-Yvette, France) describe their success in creating a mathematical model which predicts that anti-leukemia immune response in CML patients using the drug imatinib can be stimulated in a way that might provide a cure for the disease.

"By combining novel biological data and mathematical modeling, we found rules for designing adaptive therapys for each specific patient," said Levy, of the University of Maryland Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling. "Give me a thousand patients and, with this mathematical model, I can give you a thousand different customized therapy plans".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 18, 2008, 9:02 PM CT

Understanding Of Cell Behaviour In Breast Cancer

Understanding Of Cell Behaviour In Breast Cancer
The invasion and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body, known as metastasis, is a principal cause of death in patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Eventhough patients with early stage, small, breast tumours have an excellent short term prognosis, more than 15 to 20 per cent of them will eventually develop distant metastases, and die from the disease. Vascular invasion - through lymphatic and blood vessels - is the major route for cancer spreading to regional lymph nodes and to the rest of the body.

Dr Stewart Martin, Professor Ian Ellis and their colleagues at The University of Nottingham, and worldwide, are combining many approaches in a dynamic effort to improve our understanding of cell behaviour in breast cancer. Discovering how these cells operate is vital in improving diagnosis and therapy for the cancer patient in the longer term, and in identifying therapeutic targets. Already the results of their work have been excellent - with findings in relation to the spread of cancer through the lymphatic vessels prompting a much larger study funded by Cancer Research UK.

A research student within the Nottingham team, Rabab Mohammed, showed recently that specific factors that regulate the growth of blood and lymphatic vessels can identify a subset of tumours which have a high probability of recurring or spreading.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 17, 2008, 9:42 PM CT

Inherited melanoma risk: What you do know?

Inherited melanoma risk: What you do know?
Salt Lake CityWhen people know the results of genetic tests confirming they have inherited an increased risk of developing melanoma, they follow skin cancer screening recommendations more proactivelymuch like those who have already been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease, as per results of a study completed at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute. and reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Tests for mutations in the CDKN2A gene can reveal a reason that melanomas "run" in families. The study reviewed the intent to follow, and the actual practice of, skin cancer early detection methods by members of families that carry CDKN2A gene mutations. Study participants were drawn from a group of Utahns who participated in the original "CDKN2A gene hunt" 10 to 12 years ago. They already knew that their family history might put them at increased risk for melanoma, and they had previously received melanoma prevention and screening education.

The results showed that people who tested positive for the CDKN2A mutation followed melanoma screening recommendations more carefully than before, even if they had not had a melanoma. In addition, knowing the test results did not lead family members without the mutation to decrease their screening measures.........

Posted by: George      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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