February 2007 Archives

Vitamin A may reduce stomach cancer risk

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stomach cancerHigh intakes of vitamin A apparently reduce the risk of developing gastric cancer, Swedish researchers report.

Vitamin A comes pre-formed, as retinol in foods of animal origin, or in precursor form, as carotenoids in fruits and vegetables, Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and colleagues explain in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Vitamin A may influence the development of stomach cancer through its role in controlling cell proliferation, the researchers write. "However, epidemiologic studies of vitamin A, retinol (preformed vitamin A), and provitamin A carotenoids in relation to the risk of gastric cancer have documented inconsistent results."

Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Increased Sarcoma Risk

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sarkomaSurvivors of pediatric cancer face nine times the normal risk for developing a sarcoma at least five years after treatment for the initial cancer, a new study reveals.

The risk for developing sarcoma -- a cancer of the connective or supportive tissue -- is particularly elevated among patients with a family history of cancer or whose primary childhood bout was a form of sarcoma, a bone tumor or Hodgkin lymphoma, the researchers found.

The use of radiation and certain kinds of chemotherapy drugs was also associated with higher sarcoma risk.

Scientists tout new prostate cancer test

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prostate cancerOregon scientists say a simple test can identify men at high risk of life-threatening prostate cancer even after a biopsy finds no signs of it. The key, researchers say, is "PSA density," which compares the size of a man's prostate with his levels of a cancer-related protein called prostate-specific antigen.

Men with the highest PSA densities were much more likely to later be diagnosed with aggressive cancers than men with lower scores in an Oregon study, even though both groups had clean prostate biopsies.

If it survives scientific review, it could help save the lives of men with serious cancers and avoid repeated biopsies in others.

"It's that 1-in-10 men that do have a life-threatening cancer that we wanted to identify," said Dr. Mark Garzotto, an Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researcher, who recently presented the study at a cancer conference in Florida.

Glaxo set for big push into cancer medicine

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GSKGlaxoSmithKline Plc is preparing for a "renaissance" of its oncology business, led by Tykerb, a novel pill that is expected to win U.S. regulatory approval for breast cancer next month.

Oncology head Paolo Paoletti said Monday's launch of a Phase III study in head and neck cancer underlined Tykerb's potential in more tumor types, while four additional cancer medicines could win a marketing green light by 2010.

"We have five drugs that can be approved in the next few years," Paoletti said in an interview.

"If you compare that with the leaders in the field, Roche and Novartis, they have each had four drugs approved in 10 years.

Secrets of Self-Healing Cancer - press release

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healthSelf healing does occur for people with cancer. It doesn’t yet happen as often as it does with the cold or with the flu, but it can. Remember that the same flu which kills an elderly person may be shaken off and healed in a younger person. Cancer is very different than the flu, but numerous cases exist of cancer being shaken off in the same way.

There are a number of practices that can be quickly and easily instituted into your life which will help to increase you capacity for self healing of any disease, and in particular cancer. The concepts of self-healing are both accepted and rejected by the Western medical establishment. This means that they accept it in some cases, such as the common cold or the flu but don’t accept it in other cases, like cancer.

Skin Drugs Used By Millions Could Pose Cancer Risk

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protopic(CBS) CHICAGO Drugs used to treat skin conditions were prescribed to millions of users for years before federal authorities warned that the medicines might cause cancer. CBS station WBBM-TV In Chicago's Dave Savini reports on the risks that some say should have been made known from the start.

“I would never have put this in my body had I known how toxic and potent this drug was,” says Traci Reilly of Naperville, who believes two widely prescribed medications may be responsible for her breast cancer. “I noticed a lump in my right breast which is the exact area where I was using the drug.”

avastinDURHAM, N.C. -- Avastin, a relatively new type of drug that shrinks cancerous tumors by cutting off their blood supply, can slow the growth of the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, a pilot study conducted at Duke University Medical Center has found.
The study marks the first time that Avastin has been tested against brain tumors, the researchers said. The drug, whose chemical name is bevacizumab, currently is used to treat lung and colorectal cancers.

The researchers tested the effectiveness of Avastin in conjunction with a standard chemotherapy agent in patients with recurrent cancerous brain tumors called gliomas. They found that the two drugs together halted tumor growth up to twice as long as comparative therapies. Though gliomas remain incurable in nearly all cases, the combined drug therapy may buy precious time and preserve physical and mental function longer for patients facing this grim diagnosis, the researchers said.

Breast cancer therapies' side effects vary by age

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breast cancerEven among relatively young women with early-stage breast cancer, the side effects of therapy can vary by age, according to a new study.

Past research has found that for some premenopausal women, breast cancer treatment with standard chemotherapy or a hormonal therapy with goserelin is equally effective. This includes women with early-stage cancers that are positive for estrogen receptors; in these cancers tumor growth is fueled by estrogen.

Goserelin treats breast cancer by blocking the action of estrogen on tumor cells, while chemotherapy directly kills cancer cells, as well as some healthy cells in process.

Cancer of the larynx linked to asbestos exposure

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larynxAsbestos, already generally accepted as a cause of a number of respiratory ailments including lung cancer, may also be a source for laryngeal cancer, the U.S. government's Institute of Medicine says.

The Associated Press reports that a series of studies have found that certain cancers of the throat and lungs are similar, so the U.S. Senate asked the institute to investigate a potential link between asbestos and other upper-body cancers.

Sylicon Valley Moms Blog

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sylicon valley moms blogI invite you to explore Sylicon Valle Moms Blog.

Not only these women describe what's happening in their lives as many other people do nowdays, SV moms are touching some sensitive and important topics, such as how to deal with the tragic news like having a cancer.

Read the article - It Happens. It's true that it's tough to talk about cancer, but it happens. Sharing the experience is important. So, give this article a read.

Six schools exceed proposed radon limits

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radon gasSix schools in the Halifax area have had higher levels of potentially harmful radon gas than the new, stricter limits Health Canada is considering.

The schools, among 14 tested in the province for radon gas in 2004, exceeded the proposed advisable limit of 200 becquerels per cubic metre but fell within the current federal guideline of 800, provincial records indicate.

They were: Atlantic Memorial Consolidated in Shad Bay, East St. Margaret’s Elementary in Indian Harbour, Five Bridges Junior High (the former Sir John A. Macdonald High) in Hubley, St. Margaret’s Bay Elementary in Head of St. Margarets Bay, Terence Bay School and William King Elementary in Herring Cove.

Cancer Is A Stem Cell Issue

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european science foundationScience Daily There is an urgent reason to study stem cells: stem cells are at the heart of some, if not all, cancers. Mounting evidence implicates a clutch of rogue stem cells brandishing ‘epigenetic’ marks as the main culprits in cancer. Wiping out tumours for good, some biologists believe, depends on uprooting these wayward stem cells.

A team in the Netherlands has uncovered a key protein that could stop these stem cells from becoming malignant. “This is a hot topic in the cancer field,” Maarten van Lohuizen of The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam told participants at a EuroSTELLS workshop, held in Montpellier, France, 23-24 January. “To be successful in cancer therapy you need to target these stem cells: they are intrinsically resistant to chemotherapy.”

Polycomb proteins have emerged as key players in cancer pathogenesis. They are powerful epigenetic regulators that normally silence genes without altering the cell’s DNA. Compounds that regulate polycomb could result in novel anticancer drugs that shrink malignant tissue, and prevent cancer recurrence, a common problem with most chemotherapies.

astrazenecaAstraZeneca and the American Cancer Society has announced a strategic collaboration to significantly extend the reach of the Society's innovative Patient Navigator Program" an initiative to assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system. With major support from AstraZeneca, the American Cancer Society will accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over the next five years in communities throughout the United States.

The first three sites to launch are Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, Washington; Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care in Wilmington, Delaware; and, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides individualized personal guidance for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers to help them navigate the cancer experience. The Society's initiative places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved. As part of its ongoing organizational commitment to patient health, AstraZeneca has pledged USD$10 million to help fund the Society's Patient Navigator Program operations, as well the time of its local employees and other resources to support the program.

Researchers in Spain conducted a Phase III clinical trial called GEICAM. They wanted to compare different chemotherapy regimes in women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The trial included 252 women who had already been treated with anthracyclines and taxanes and experienced a recurrence.

One group of women was treated with Gemzar (gemcitabine) and Navelbine (vinorelbine), the other group was treated with Navelbine alone. The results were published in Lancet Oncology that states the combination of the two drugs improves progression free survival. It was also mentioned that this combination however did not improve overall survival.

Breath test to detect lung cancer

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lung cancerA new breath test has been reported to detect lung cancer in its early stage. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and doctors believe that early detection could offer sufferers their best chance for early survival.

Dr. Michael Phillips, CEO of Menssana Research, the company that developed the breath test, said, "We developed a breathalyzer that is one billion times more sensitive than those the police use to measure alcohol in the breath. It detects around 200 different chemicals in a person's breath, and some of these chemicals are markers of cancer. A breath test has great advantages over most other medical tests - it is completely safe, painless and non-invasive. All you have to do is breathe gently into a tube for two minutes. There are no potentially dangerous x-rays to worry about, and it will certainly be a lot less expensive than chest imaging."

Cancer cells more likely to genetically mutate

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research When cells become cancerous, they also become 100 times more likely to genetically mutate than regular cells, researchers have found. The findings may explain why cells in a tumor have so many genetic mutations, but could also be bad news for cancer treatments that target a particular gene controlling cancer malignancy.

The research was led by Dr. Lawrence Loeb, professor of pathology and biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Loeb presented his research Feb. 18 at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

Study finds drug Avastin helps brain tumors

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avastinAvastin, one of a new family of drugs that starves tumors of their blood supply, can slow the growth of the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, researchers reported on Monday.

Avastin combined with standard chemotherapy could temporarily stop the growth of brain tumors known as gliomas, the researchers reported in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Made by Genentech under the chemical name bevacizumab, Avastin is currently approved to treat lung and colorectal cancers.

Breakthrough in early cancer diagnosis

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cancer researchAUSTRALIAN researchers have discovered a new way that cancer can be passed down from parents to children that will allow them to diagnose the disease earlier.

Previously researchers believed young cancer sufferers inherited a parent's gene mutation.
However doctors were at a loss to explain why tests showed no sign of genetic mutation in some people with cancer.

Now researchers from St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney and the University of New South Wales have discovered that a chemical which paralyses part of the body's DNA can also be passed down from parents to children and cause cancer.

Emerging research heralds new era of breast cancer management

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breast cancerAggressive research currently underway brings hope of dramatic advances in breast cancer management, according to a new review. Published in the March 15, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the review reveals that new approaches in breast cancer imaging, investigations into the timing of chemotherapy, and research on breast cancer vaccines may lead to exciting new nonsurgical tools for the physician treating breast cancer patients. These new tools may significantly alter current screening and treatment paradigms used by surgical oncologists, as well improving the care of patients.

Hawkins and colleagues have linked anticancer agents to a PET tracer substance to deliver the treatment directly to tumors in mice (red and yellow color shows highest amounts of tracer). (Image courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis)Science Daily — Cancer cells are sick, but they keep growing because they don't react to internal signals urging them to die. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an efficient way to get a messenger into cancer cells that forces them to respond to death signals. And they did it using one of the most sinister pathogens around — HIV.

"HIV knows how to insert itself into many different types of cells," says senior author William G. Hawkins, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and a member of the Siteman Cancer Center at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "A portion of the HIV protein called TAT can transport biologically active compounds into cells. TAT is small, but it can move massive molecules. You could almost hook TAT up to a train, and TAT would drag it inside a cell. So we've taken advantage of this ability."

Study finds newer breast cancer drugs save lives

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cancer research WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women who switch from the breast cancer pill tamoxifen to a newer class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors live longer, Italian researchers reported on Monday.

Their study, published in the journal Cancer, adds to a growing body of evidence that the new drugs are far safer, preventing cancer with fewer side effects than tamoxifen.

Dr. Lauren Cassell of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York said the research is changing how doctors treat breast cancer patients after their tumors are surgically removed.

"If they have been on tamoxifen we are switching them to an aromatase inhibitor. If they are newly diagnosed we are using an aromatase inhibitor instead of tamoxifen," she said in a statement.

Supersize Cigarette Warning Label?

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lung cancer labelAmerican cigarette warning labels might be more effective if they were big and graphic -- like those in some other countries, according to a new study.

The news appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In the study, researchers surveyed nearly 15,000 adult smokers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia to test the effectiveness of the warning labels used in those four countries. The surveys were conducted between 2002 and 2005.

Young women at threat of cervical cancer

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smear test Thousands of young women could be at risk of life-theatening cervical cancer after being excluded from the NHS screening programme, say doctors.

Regular smear tests are no longer offered to women under 25 and experts say at least 3,000 women will develop abnormalities that could result in cancer if left untreated.

A change of policy in 2004 stopped women aged 20 to 24 years from getting screening tests on the grounds it could do 'more harm than good'.

reovirusNewswise — In the past couple of years, researchers at Oncolytics Biotech have been developing a harmless virus as a potent cancer killer, but they have also been accumulating data that suggests in addition to directly killing tumor cells, the reovirus may prime the immune system to mount a separate, powerful and long lasting defence against cancer.

Evidence for this theory has been mounting for the past year. On January 10, 2007, Dr. Sheila Fraser of St. James' University Hospital in Leeds, U.K. delivered a paper at the Society of Academic & Research Surgery Conference in Cambridge, U.K., in which she described a test tube experiment further supporting this claim.

Fraser’s presentation, titled “Reovirus as a Potentially Immunogenic as well as Cytotoxic Therapy for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer,” reported how cells taken from a colorectal cancer liver metastases were more susceptible to death many weeks after treatment with reovirus, and long after the virus had cleared the patient’s system. These cells, when cultured in the laboratory, also appeared to be vulnerable to re-infection with reovirus. Moreover, Dr. Fraser noted that dendritic cells, which prime the immune system against cancer, were activated by exposure to the reovirus.

FDA approves new breast cancer test

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FDAWomen with early stage breast cancer may soon get another gene test to help predict whether they'll relapse in five or 10 years, information that could influence how aggressively they fight the initial tumor.

The MammaPrint test isn't the nation's first such predictor for breast cancer — a competitor has sold here since 2004 — but on Tuesday it became the first to win formal approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The test is far from perfect, warned FDA's Dr. Steven Gutman.

Indeed, the MammaPrint is much better at predicting who isn't likely to relapse than who is, Gutman said. He cited studies suggesting that when the MammaPrint predicts a woman is at high risk of cancer returning in five years, it will be right just a quarter of the time. That compares with 95 percent accuracy if the woman is told she's at low risk of a relapse.

European cancer cases rise 10 percent in two years

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cancerDiagnosed cases of cancer rose by 10 percent in Europe over two years, an increase attributable to the continent's ageing population, the effects of smoking and better screening for breast cancer, doctors reported.

In 2006, there were 3.2 million new cases of cancer in 39 European countries, compared with 2.9 million in 2004, they said.

For the first time, breast cancer overtook lung cancer as the commonest diagnosed cancer, with 429,000 new cases in 2006, or nearly one in seven of the total.

Vitamin D may reduce colorectal, breast cancer risks

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vitamin DRaising vitamin D levels by taking supplements and absorbing a little bit of sunshine each day may help prevent colorectal and breast cancers, said two studies.

A high blood level of vitamin D could help reduce the risk of breast cancer by half and of colorectal cancer by two-thirds, the studies found.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in food and is made in the body because sunlight's UV rays trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin. US health authorities have not established a recommended daily allowance for the vitamin due to insufficient scientific evidence.

Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug

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cancer researchHer carefully cultured cells were dead and Katherine Schaefer was annoyed, but just a few minutes later, the researcher realized she had stumbled onto a potential new cancer treatment.

Schaefer and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York believe they have discovered a new way to attack tumors that have learned how to evade existing drugs.

Tests in mice suggest the compound helps break down the cell walls of tumors, almost like destroying a tumor cell's "skeleton."

The researchers will test the new compound for safety and hope they can develop it to treat cancers such as colon cancer, esophageal cancer, liver and skin cancers.

cancer awarenessIowa City, Ia. - Kara Meiborg told her 2-year-old son, Max, that they were going to a party in his honor.

The Cedar Rapids boy, whose hair is sparse and downy from chemotherapy, paraded in front of more than 1,000 college students, all cheering and clapping as the Meiborg family's name was read on a loudspeaker, along with the names of dozens of other families battling cancer.

"They loved it," Kara Meiborg said of her sons, Max, and Ozzie, 4. "They thought it was great."

The real cancer

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profitA promising drug for fighting cancer is found. It has already been proven relatively safe. Laboratory and animal tests have shown it kills cancer cells and shrinks tumors.

You would think the drug companies would fall all over themselves to do the clinical trials necessary for the drug to be prescribed to cancer patients. Right?

Wrong.

This may be the biggest scandal to hit the medical world in years. Yet so far, all the commercial U.S. media have stayed away from reporting on it.

bladder cancerA set of molecular biomarkers might better predict the recurrence of bladder cancer than conventional prognostic features such as the stage or grade of the malignancy at the time it is discovered, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Once a patient undergoes surgery for the removal of their bladder and lymph nodes -- the standard treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer -- researchers say a routine tissue analysis could easily test for the presence of mutated proteins, or biomarkers, that they found to help ascertain the chances that the cancer will return.

Scientists identify cancer stem cells

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stem cellsScientists in the US claim to have discovered a small group of cells in pancreatic cancer that are capable of fuelling tumour growth.

The research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre (UMCCC) appears to be the first to successfully identify stem cells in pancreatic tumours.

Cancer stem cells are crucial to a tumour's development and it is hoped that successfully identifying them will lead to more effective treatment.

Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates among cancer types, making a potential breakthrough in this area all the more significant.

Greek health ministry rejects olive cancer cure

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olive leavesThe Greek health ministry has moved to curb what it called "ridiculous behaviour" following reports that a wonder-cure for cancer had been found in olive leaf extract.

"No systematic clinical study exists ... to prove the usefulness of olive leaf or fruit extract (against cancer)," the ministry said in a statement, warning patients against straying from their prescribed medication.

The statement came after several TV chat shows last week hosted self-styled therapists claiming that olive leaves mixed in water had curative properties against the illness.

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