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July 20, 2011, 10:36 PM CT

Keys to Melanoma Progression

Keys to Melanoma Progression
Lei Xu, Liquan Yang, and Sonali Mohanty in the laboratory
Place your ad here Melanoma is devastating on a number of fronts: rates are rising dramatically among young people, it is deadly if not caught early, and from a biological standpoint, the disease tends to adapt to even the most modern therapies, known as VEGF inhibitors. University of Rochester researchers, however, made an important discovery about proteins that underlie and stimulate the disease, opening the door for a more targeted therapy in the future.

This month in the journal Cancer Research, Lei Xu, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, proposed that a receptor called GPR56 - which mostly has been studied in the context of brain formation -- has an important role in cancer progression.

Xu and his colleagues believe they are the first to show the biological mechanisms of how GPR56 relates to the growth and spread of melanoma, and might even be responsible for triggering one of the lethal processes of cancer progression, known as angiogenesis.

"We are very excited about this work because not only did we find an important new factor in melanoma, but we have also shown the signaling pathways through which these G-protein coupled receptors could impede cancer cell growth," Xu said. "Perturbing these pathways could potentially lead to more effective therapys for cancerous melanoma".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


March 1, 2011, 9:25 PM CT

Tanning bed exposure can be deadly

Tanning bed exposure can be deadly
Tanning bed exposure can produce more than some tanners may bargain for, particularly when they self-diagnose and use the radiation to treat skin eruptions, as per research conducted by the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Dermatology.

"There are a number of reasons to be cautious of tanning bed radiation but some people use tanning beds to 'self-treat' skin eruptions," said Jeffrey B. Travers, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of a study published online in the Archives of Dermatology "If the skin eruption is eczema or even psoriasis, a tanning bed might help. However, if the eruption is caused by a drug reaction then it can be dangerous".

Dr. Travers, who is a professor of dermatology and of pharmacology and toxicology at the IU School of Medicine, said caution should be exercised when a person has an undiagnosed skin condition.

The study reported a patient who went to a tanning bed to self-treat a mild skin rash caused by an allergy to ibuprofen. Following the tanning bed exposure, the skin subjected to the UV light developed toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) with severe blistering. Her blood pressure dropped significantly and her rash spread. TEN can be a life-threatening skin disorder that can attack the skin and other tissues causing hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, vision abnormalities and digestive track complications.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


February 21, 2011, 7:40 AM CT

Relatives of melanoma patients

Relatives of melanoma patients
It is well known that sunbathing increases the risk of skin cancer and that this risk is increased in people with a family history of melanoma. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health shows that young people in this 'at risk' group are still ignoring sun safety advice.

Professor Sharon Manne at the Centre Cancer Prevention and Control Program, New Jersey, asked over 500 people with a family history of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, whether they regularly sunbathed and whether they used sunscreen. Eventhough most of these people were aware that sunscreen would protect them against cancer and premature aging, a number of of them still did not feel it necessary to use any form of sun protection.

Disturbingly she observed that, despite their increased risk of melanoma, the younger women in this survey still viewed a tan as being healthy and were the most unlikely to use sunscreen. Professor Manne said, "To reduce the occurence rate of melanoma we need to reduce the perceived benefits of sunbathing and to increase to use of sun protection".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


February 21, 2011, 7:25 AM CT

Careful cleaning of children's skin wounds key to healing

Careful cleaning of children's skin wounds key to healing
When it comes to curing skin infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), timely and proper wound cleaning and draining appears to be more important than the choice of antibiotic, as per a new Johns Hopkins Children's Center study. The work is reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics

Scientists originally set out to compare the efficacy of two antibiotics usually used to treat staph skin infections, randomly giving 191 children either cephalexin, a classic anti-staph antibiotic known to work against the most common strains of the bacterium but not MRSA, or clindamycin, known to work better against the resistant strains. Much to the researchers' surprise, they said, drug choice didn't matter: 95 percent of the children in the study recovered completely within a week, regardless of which antibiotic they got.

The finding led the research team to conclude that proper wound care, not antibiotics, may have been the key to healing.

"The good news is that no matter which antibiotic we gave, nearly all skin infections cleared up fully within a week," says study lead investigator Aaron Chen, M.D., an emergency doctor at Hopkins Children's. "The better news might be that good low-tech wound care, cleaning, draining and keeping the infected area clean, is what truly makes the difference between rapid healing and persistent infection".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


February 17, 2011, 7:11 AM CT

Regrowing hair

Regrowing hair
The CRF1/CRF2 receptor antagonist, astressin-B, injected intraperitoneally (ip) in CRF-OE mice with fully developed alopecia induces hair growth and pigmentation. Photographs: Row A: Male CRF-OE mice (4 months old) injected ip once daily for 5 consecutive days with saline at 3 days after the last injection and Row B: astressin-B (5 mg/mouse) at 3 days after the last ip injection, and Row C: the same mice as in the middle panel Row B at 4 weeks after the last ip injection.

Credit: UCLA/VA

It has been long known that stress plays a part not just in the graying of hair but in hair loss as well. Over the years, numerous hair-restoration remedies have emerged, ranging from hucksters' "miracle solvents" to legitimate medications such as minoxidil. But even the best of these have shown limited effectiveness.

Now, a team led by scientists from UCLA and the Veterans Administration that was investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function may have found a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone linked to hair loss � entirely by accident.

The serendipitous discovery is described in an article reported in the online journal PLoS One

"Our findings show that a short-duration therapy with this compound causes an astounding long-term hair regrowth in chronically stressed mutant mice," said Million Mulugeta, an adjunct professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a corresponding author of the research. "This could open new venues to treat hair loss in humans through the modulation of the stress hormone receptors, especially hair loss correlation to chronic stress and aging." .

The research team, which was originally studying brain�gut interactions, included Mulugeta, Lixin Wang, Noah Craft and Yvette Tach� from UCLA; Jean Rivier and Catherine Rivier from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.; and Mary Stenzel-Poore from the Oregon Health and Sciences University.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 18, 2011, 7:27 AM CT

Follow-up program helps detect melanoma earlier

Follow-up program helps detect melanoma earlier
A follow-up program for patients at high risk of developing skin cancer may be linked to the detection of melanomas at early stages and with good prognosis, as per a report posted online today that will appear in the May print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Efforts to improve melanoma prognosis have focused on identifying and closely monitoring individuals at high risk, as per background information in the article. "Fair-skinned persons, persons who tan with difficulty, blond or red-haired persons and persons with blue eyes have more risk of developing melanoma than the general population," the authors write. "The presence of a number of pigmented lesions, including freckles and clinically typical or atypical nevi; intermittent sun exposure and severe sunburns, particularly during childhood; and exposure to artificial UV-A radiation have all been linked to an increased risk of melanoma." Individuals with a personal or family history of melanoma are also at high risk.

Dermoscopy�a noninvasive diagnostic technique in which a physician performs a microscopic assessment of a skin lesion�improves the accuracy of melanoma diagnoses, the authors note. Gabriel Salerni, M.D., of Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biom�diques August Pi I Sunyer, Barcelona, and his colleagues analyzed data from 201 patients diagnosed with melanoma in one specialized unit, including 40 who were in a follow-up program for high-risk individuals and 161 who were referred for assessment by another clinician. All melanomas diagnosed among these patients were reviewed by dermoscopy.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 18, 2011, 7:26 AM CT

Barriers to performing skin cancer exams

Barriers to performing skin cancer exams
Time constraints, other illnesses and patient embarrassment may prevent dermatologists, internists and family practitioners from conducting full-body skin examinations, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, dermatologists are significantly more likely than internists and family practitioners to conduct such screenings.

Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, as per background information in the article. "It is critical for patients to adhere to primary prevention behaviors and for clinicians to adopt secondary prevention strategies aimed at early detection of skin cancer to reduce its associated morbidity and mortality," the authors write. "Prior studies have suggested that a number of individuals, especially those with established risk factors for melanoma, would benefit from active skin cancer screening and surveillance, and screening by dermatologists in particular may also be cost-effective".

Susan A. Oliveria, Sc.D., M.P.H., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and his colleagues surveyed 2,999 physicians randomly selected from the American Medical Association's Medical Marketing Services database in 2005. Of those, 1,669 (59.2 percent) returned surveys, including 559 family practitioners, 431 internists and 679 dermatologists.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model
Sean Morrison
Michigan scientists have determined that most types of melanoma cells can form cancerous tumors, providing new evidence that the deadliest form of skin cancer does not conform to the increasingly popular cancer stem cell model.

In addition, the scientists observed that melanoma tumor cells can change their appearance by switching various genes on and off, making the cancerous cells a stealthy, shape-shifting target for scientists seeking new therapys, as per a team led by Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology.

Both findings fly in the face of the cancer stem cell model, which states that a handful of rare stem cells drive the formation, growth and progression of cancerous tumors in a number of cancers. Some supporters of the model have suggested that melanoma might be more effectively treated by taking aim specifically at these rare cancer stems cells, rather than attempting to eliminate all melanoma cells.

But after conducting an exhaustive search for this elusive sub-population of tumor-forming melanoma cell, the U-M team concluded that it probably does not exist. The scientists analyzed 44 sub-populations of human melanoma cells, and all 44 had a similar ability to form tumors when transplanted into mice.

"Some have suggested that melanoma follows a cancer stem cell model in which only rare cells are able to proliferate extensively and form new tumors," said Morrison, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 7:19 PM CT

Earlier detection of melanoma

Earlier detection of melanoma
This skin tumor is shown after treatment with a new contrast agent that can improve the visualization of skin cancer cells using an advanced medical imaging device.

Credit: American Chemical Society

Researchers are reporting development of a substance to enhance the visibility of skin cancer cells during scans with an advanced medical imaging system that combines ultrasound and light. The hybrid scanner could enable doctors to detect melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in its earliest and most curable stages, the report in the monthly journal ACS Nano indicates.

Lihong Wang, Younan Xia, and his colleagues point out that early diagnosis is key to improving survival in patients with melanoma. The five-year survival rate for melanoma is about 98 percent if detected early but can be as low as 15 percent when detected at an advanced stage. Existing imaging techniques for early detection of melanoma produce low-quality images, can "see" only a fraction of an inch below the skin, and use potentially harmful radioactive materials. A promising new technique called photoacoustic tomography (PAT) can overcome these problems. The system shoots light into tumors, which slightly heats up the cancer cells and produces high frequency sound waves that provide images of the tumor. But the PAT system lacks an optimal contrast agent that can easily enter skin cancer cells and make them visible.

The researchers developed such an agent by attaching a peptide (one of the building blocks of proteins) that targets skin cancer cells to gold "nanocages." These hollow gold nanoparticles have a box-like shape and are barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. When injected into mice with skin cancer, the nanocages improved the image quality of the cancer cells by three-fold in comparison to nanoparticles lacking the peptide. The gold nanocages also show promise as a way to kill skin cancer cells using heat or anti-cancer drugs, they add.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


July 9, 2010, 7:29 AM CT

How to slow growth of malignant melanoma?

How to slow growth of malignant melanoma?
New Queen's University research has shown that the growth of melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer, can be slowed when a little known gene called MicroRNA 193b is added.

Victor Tron, head of pathology and molecular medicine, focused on miR-193b when he discovered that it was deficient in melanoma tumors and because there were very few studies done about the gene. The miRNA-193b gene is found in people's DNA and was unknown until 10 years ago.

"Our experiment was a bit of a fishing expedition in the beginning. We thought 193b might be important but the fact we got such a tremendous reaction the melanoma really slowed down when we added 193b was really startling," says Dr. Tron, who worked with eight other Queen's researchers. "It's a totally new discovery".

In experiments, increased levels of miR-193b increased in melanoma cells led to lower levels of a well-known protein called cyclin D1, and decreased melanoma cell growth.

Lab experiments with tissue samples proved that miR-193b plays a role in the melanoma process. Further studies will be needed to find out what causes miR-193b levels to go up and down.

"This is the first step in a long road towards finding a melanoma cure," says Professor Tron.

Melanoma is one of the least common forms of skin cancer, yet causes 75 per cent of skin cancer deaths.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 16, 2010, 7:22 AM CT

Personalized treatment for melanoma

Personalized treatment for melanoma
Identification of a key player in a signaling pathway involved in the development of melanoma the deadliest form of skin cancer may offer hope for new targeted melanoma therapies.

Ann Richmond, Ph.D., and his colleagues at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center report that a signaling molecule, known as IKKβ, is essential for melanoma tumor development in a mouse model of the disease. The results, published June 7 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, also point to ways of targeting therapies that inhibit IKKβ toward the patients most likely to benefit from them based on their genetic profile.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and incredibly difficult to treat successfully once the tumor has spread beyond the skin.

Previous studies have shown that the NF-κB signaling pathway centered on the protein NF-κB, which regulates gene expression is abnormally activated in tumor cells; the pathway is turned "on" constantly, even at times it should be turned "off." This activation often results from abnormal activation of another enzyme in the pathway, IKKβ.

Just how NF-κB contributes to tumor progression has been unclear. And with drugs that inhibit this pathway entering clinical trials, a clearer picture of its function in tumor progression is needed.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 19, 2010, 7:32 AM CT

Acne Drug Prevents Hiv Breakout

Acne Drug Prevents Hiv Breakout
Janice E. Clements, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins researchers have observed that a safe and inexpensive antibiotic in use since the 1970s for treating acne effectively targets infected immune cells in which HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, lies dormant and prevents them from reactivating and replicating.

The drug, minocycline, likely will improve on the current therapy regimens of HIV-infected patients if used in combination with a standard drug cocktail known as HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), as per research published now online and appearing in print April 15 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. "The powerful advantage to using minocycline is that the virus appears less able to develop drug resistance because minocycline targets cellular pathways not viral proteins," says Janice Clements, Ph.D., Mary Wallace Stanton Professor of Faculty Affairs, vice dean for faculty, and professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"The big challenge clinicians deal with now in this country when treating HIV patients is keeping the virus locked in a dormant state," Clements adds. "While HAART is really effective in keeping down active replication, minocycline is another arm of defense against the virus".

Unlike the drugs used in HAART which target the virus, minocycline homes in on, and adjusts T cells, major immune system agents and targets of HIV infection. As per Clements, minocycline reduces the ability of T cells to activate and proliferate, both steps crucial to HIV production and progression toward full blown AIDS.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 19, 2010, 8:35 AM CT

Costs of psoriasis treatment

Costs of psoriasis treatment
Findings from a cost model suggest that expenses for systemic psoriasis treatment appear to be increasing at a faster rate than inflation, and newer biologically derived therapys are more expensive than traditional systemic therapies, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 4.5 million to 7.5 million Americans, costing the health care industry approximately more than $3 billion annually, as per background information in the article. The severity of the disease varies, as do the therapiessome patients with mild, localized disease can use creams or other topical agents, whereas those with more extensive disease typically require phototherapy (exposure to ultraviolet light) or systemic therapies (substances that travel through the bloodstream, such as oral medications).

Vivianne Beyer, M.D., now at St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, and Stephen E. Wolverton, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, constructed a cost model to analyze the current total cost of systemic treatment for psoriasis. Costs for each treatment were assessed by using the average wholesale price of each drug, as paid by third-party payers, and costs of related office visits, laboratory tests and related monitoring procedures were determined using Medicare fee schedules. Trends were analyzed by calculating the change in average wholesale price from the prior year and then were in comparison to the Consumer Price Index for urban areas.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 13, 2010, 8:15 AM CT

How Melanoma Ivades Immune System

How Melanoma Ivades Immune System
Melanoma, if not detected in its early stages, transforms into a highly deadly, therapy-resistant cancer. Eventhough the immune system initially responds to melanoma and mounts anti-tumor attacks, these assaults are generally ineffective, allowing more advanced melanomas to win the battle and spread beyond the primary site. Now, scientists at Children's Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) shed light on how melanomas stimulate, yet ultimately evade, a patient's immune system. Their work, published online January 12 by the journal Cancer Research, also suggests ways drugs might block these tactics.

In 2008, the same team, led by Markus Frank, MD, of the Transplantation Research Center of Children's and BWH, and George Murphy, MD, chief of Dermatopathology at BWH, showed in the journal Nature that a key reason for melanoma virulence is a small group of tumor stem cells that are able to grow despite chemotherapy drugs, allowing the tumor to re-grow and progress. They also showed that targeting these cells (identifiable by a molecule on their surface known as ABCB5) could successfully inhibit tumor growth in mice. (The ABCB5 technology has been licensed and is currently in clinical drug development.)

In their new paper, first author Tobias Schatton, PhD, of the Transplantation Research Center, and his colleagues show that these ABCB5-positive cells also produce molecules that inhibit the body's natural immune attack, known as PD-1 and B7.2. These molecules work, they found, by triggering white blood cells known as regulatory T cells (T-regs), to dampen the normal anti-melanoma response. The T-regs are thus tricked into protecting the deadly melanoma stem cells from the body's own defenses.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 8:39 AM CT

Celebrex may prevent skin cancers

Celebrex may prevent skin cancers
A widely-available anti-inflammatory prescription drug can reduce the risk of a common skin cancer in humans, as per a researcher at Stanford's School of Medicine. Eventhough oral administration of the drug, celecoxib, is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in some people, it's possible that topical application could have a safer, protective effect for people prone to developing the cancers, called basal cell carcinomas, the researcher believes.

"Basal cell carcinomas are the most common human cancer in the United States," said Jean Tang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology, "and their incidence is increasing steadily. This work identifies a possible way to prevent them." She and her colleagues dovetailed studies in mice with a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial in humans to reach their conclusions.

Tang was an assistant professor at UC-San Francisco and Children's Hospital Oakland when the trial was conducted. She is the main author of the research, which will be published in Cancer Prevention Research on Jan. 5. Tang also recently published a separate study in Cancer Causes Control showing that elderly men with relatively high levels of Vitamin D in their blood were less likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer than were men with lower levels of the vitamin.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


December 10, 2009, 11:12 PM CT

A Novel Model of Skin Cancer

A Novel Model of Skin Cancer
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have developed a new model of skin cancer based on the knowledge that a common cancer-related molecule called Src kinase is activated in human skin-cancer samples.

"Our prior work demonstrated that Src kinases are activated in human squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. We modeled these observations by increasing the expression of the gene Fyn, a member of Src family of proteins, in mouse skin," explains senior author John T. Seykora MD, PhD, assistant professor of Dermatology. In addition, previous work by the Seykora lab on a related protein called Srcasm, discovered by him in 2002, suggested that Srcasm may function as an anti-oncogene, a molecule that keeps others in check in order to control cell growth.

In this proof-of-principle study, published this month in Cancer Research, the authors observed that genetically engineered mice expressing a K14-Fyn transgene develop premalignant lesions and invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) spontaneously in 5 to 8 weeks. Skin SCCs are the second most common form of cancer, with greater than 250,000 cases annually in the US, leading to approximately 2,500 deaths.

This study demonstrates that Fyn is a potent oncogene in skin. When Srcasm levels are raised in the mouse skin cancer model, tumor formation is dramatically inhibited showing that Srcasm functions as an anti-oncogene.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


December 8, 2009, 7:42 AM CT

Hidden sensory system in the skin

Hidden sensory system in the skin
The human sensory experience is far more complex and nuanced than previously thought, as per a groundbreaking newly released study reported in the December 15 issue of the journal Pain (http://www.painjournalonline.com/article/S0304-3959%2809%2900526-0/abstract). In the article, scientists at Albany Medical College, the University of Liverpool and Cambridge University report that the human body has an entirely unique and separate sensory system aside from the nerves that give most of us the ability to touch and feel. Surprisingly, this sensory network is located throughout our blood vessels and sweat glands, and is for most people, largely imperceptible.

"It's almost like hearing the subtle sound of a single instrument in the midst of a symphony," said senior author Frank Rice, PhD, a Neuroscience Professor at Albany Medical College (AMC), who is a leading authority on the nerve supply to the skin. "It is only when we shift focus away from the nerve endings linked to normal skin sensation that we can appreciate the sensation hidden in the background." .

The research team discovered this hidden sensory system by studying two unique patients who were diagnosed with a previously unknown abnormality by main author David Bowsher, M.D., Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool's Pain Research Institute. These patients had an extremely rare condition called congenital insensitivity to pain, meaning that they were born with very little ability to feel pain. Other rare individuals with this condition have excessively dry skin, often mutilate themselves accidentally and commonly have severe mental handicaps. "Eventhough they had a few accidents over their lifetimes, what made these two patients unique was that they led normal lives. Excessive sweating brought them to the clinic, where we discovered their severe lack of pain sensation," said Dr. Bowsher. "Curiously, our conventional tests with sensitive instruments revealed that all their skin sensation was severely impaired, including their response to different temperatures and mechanical contact. But, for all intents and purposes, they had adequate sensation for daily living and could tell what is warm and cold, what is touching them, and what is rough and smooth".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:26 AM CT

High-frequency ultrasound to diagnose skin cancer

High-frequency ultrasound to diagnose skin cancer
High-frequency ultrasound with elastography can help differentiate between malignant and non-malignant skin conditions, as per a research studypresented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"High-frequency ultrasound with elastography has the potential to improve the efficiency of skin cancer diagnosis," said main author Eliot L. Siegel, M.D., vice chairman of the Department of Radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSM) in Baltimore. "It successfully delineated the extent of lesions and was able to provide measurable differentiation among a variety of non-malignant and cancerous lesions".

There are more than one million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. every year, as per the American Cancer Society. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for about 68,720 cases of skin cancer and 11,590 deaths in 2009, despite the fact that with early detection it is highly curable.

Suspicious skin lesions are typically diagnosed by dermatologists and biopsied based on their surface appearance and characteristics. Unfortunately, even to experienced dermatologists, non-malignant and cancerous lesions often appear similar visually and on physical examination, and some cancerous lesions may have a non-malignant appearance, particularly in their early stages. It is not uncommon for patients to have one or more lesions that appear concerning.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


October 15, 2009, 5:33 PM CT

Skin cells may provide early warning for cancer risk

Skin cells may provide early warning for cancer risk
Berkeley -- While some researchers have argued that cancer is such a complex genetic disease that you'd have to sequence a person's complete genome in order to predict his or her cancer risk, a University of California, Berkeley, cell biologist suggests that the risk appears to be more simply determined by inexpensively culturing a few skin cells.

Harry Rubin, professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, acknowledges that cancer cells have mutations in hundreds of genes, making it hard to determine which are the key triggers and making prognosis and therapy equally difficult. Even normal tissue differs from person to person because of a myriad of less disruptive mutations and because of different environmental exposures, both of which affect future cancer risk.

But in the recent issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Rubin argues that, while it appears to be hard to dissect the role of each of these mutations, their collective effect should be observable in tissue before any cancers develop.

Specifically, increases in how densely the cells grow, which Rubin argues are a prelude to cancer, appears to be detectable even before the cancer appears, warning of risks that could be lessened by behavioral changes.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:06 AM CT

Ultrasound can predict survival in melanoma

Ultrasound can predict survival in melanoma
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that patterns of ultrasound signals can be used to identify whether or not cancer has started to spread in melanoma patients, and to what extent. The discovery enables doctors to decide on how much surgery, if any, is mandatory and to predict the patient's probable survival.

Dr Christiane Voit told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): "We have identified two ultrasound patterns of lymph node metastasis in melanoma patients which can identify correctly any amount of tumour cells in the sentinel lymph nodes in 75-90% of cases before proceeding to surgery on the sentinel lymph nodes".

Dr Voit, who is a dermatologist and head of the diagnostic unit at the Skin Cancer Centre at Charit Universittsmedizin Berlin, the Medical University of Berlin, Gera number of, said that eventhough her research needs to be confirmed in multi-centre, randomised clinical trials, it had the potential to spare patients unnecessary surgery, particularly if it was combined with ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of lymph nodes rather than conventional surgery.

Since 2001 Dr Voit and her colleagues in Gera number of and The Netherlands have included 850 melanoma patients in a prospective study to investigate the use of ultrasound in diagnosis and therapy planning. They have already demonstrated that ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of sentinel nodes before conventional sentinel node surgery can identify up to 65% of patients in whom the cancer has started to spread. The study presented today shows how far ultrasound patterns correlate with disease progression, tumour burden, survival and prognosis in the first 400 of these patients with stage I/II melanoma and with the longest follow-up.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:04 AM CT

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma
Berlin, Gera number of: Scientists have made significant advances in the therapy of metastatic cancerous melanoma one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully once it has started to spread as per a research studyto be presented at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin on Thursday.

In the phase I extension study, scientists have seen rapid and dramatic shrinking of metastatic tumours in patients treated with a new compound that blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutation of the BRAF gene, which is implicated in about 50% melanomas and 5% of colorectal cancers. In new results from 31 melanoma patients with the BRAF mutation who were treated with 960mg of PLX4032 twice a day, 64% (14) of the 22 patients who could be reviewed so far met the official criteria for partial response (this involves the diameter of tumours shrinking by at least 30% for at least a month). A further six of the 22 patients also showed a response, but, at the time of the congress presentation, it was too early to say whether the tumours would shrink far enough to meet these criteria.

Dr Paul Chapman, an attending doctor on the Melanoma/Sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) and who was one of the leaders of the trial, told a news briefing: "We are very excited about these results. Of the 22 patients we have been able to evaluate so far, 20 have had some objective tumour shrinkage. This is impressive as they all had metastatic disease and most of them had failed several previous therapies. A lot of these patients were pretty sick but a number of of them had a significant and rapid improvement in the way they function. We've had patients come off oxygen and we've got several patients who have been able to come off narcotic pain medicine soon after starting therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 10, 2009, 7:14 AM CT

Role of vitamin C in skin protection

Role of vitamin C in skin protection
Researchers have uncovered a new role played by Vitamin C in protecting the skin.

Scientists at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal studied new protective properties of vitamin C in cells from the human skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.

The work, by Tiago Duarte, Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones, observed that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells. Their findings have been reported in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine This report is the latest in a long line of publications from these researchers, at the University of Leicester, concerning vitamin C. Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The scientists have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the 'Comet' assay to study DNA damage and repair.

Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, said: "The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher occurence rate of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is only partially associated with exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, the rays in sunlight that increase in summer and cause sunburn.

Medicineworld.org: Skin News Blog

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