General Cancer News: January 2007 Archives

Too Young for This: Facing Cancer Under 40

cancerIn July 2005, Jeff Carenza and his girlfriend were enjoying a getaway weekend in Miami when food poisoning landed them both in the hospital. Blood tests showed that Dr. Carenza, then 29, had iron-deficiency anemia.

“It’s probably nothing,” the doctor told him. “But have it checked when you get home.”

This type of anemia can be caused by blood loss from the intestinal tract. So back in St. Louis, where Dr. Carenza was a radiology resident at Barnes Jewish Hospital, his doctor sent him to a gastroenterologist.

Hot chili pepper compound kills cancer without side effects

hot chili peppersCapsaicin -- the compound that makes chili peppers spicy -- can kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells, with no side effects, according to a new study by researchers at Nottingham University in the UK.

The study, led by Dr. Timothy Bates, found that capsaicin killed laboratory-grown lung and pancreatic cancer cells by attacking tumor cells' source of energy and triggering cell-suicide.

"This is incredibly exciting and may explain why people living in countries like Mexico and India, who traditionally eat a diet which is very spicy, tend to have lower incidences of many cancers that are prevalent in the Western world," Bates said.

Many Genetic-Based Cancer Studies Flawed


cancer researchTHURSDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Many cancer studies that rely on what scientists call genetic microarrays have critical flaws in their analyses or their conclusions.

This means doctors are taking this flawed research and using it as the basis of treatment for cancer patients -- treatments that may adversely affect patient outcomes.

That's the surprising conclusion of a new study by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute that's published in the Jan. 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Cancer deaths decline for 2nd straight year


US cancer rates (courtesy AP)ATLANTA - Cancer deaths in the United States have dropped for a second straight year, confirming that a corner has been turned in the war on cancer.

After a decline of 369 deaths from 2002 to 2003, the decrease from 2003 to 2004 was 3,014 — or more than eight times greater, according to a review of U.S. death certificates by the American Cancer Society.

The drop from 2002 to 2003 was the first annual decrease in total cancer deaths since 1930. But the decline was slight, and experts were hesitant to say whether it was a cause for celebration or just a statistical fluke.

President Bush Wednesday hailed the downward trend in cancer deaths in the United States, a signal that medicine is making strides in the battling a disease that kills nearly 1,500 Americans a day.

New study supports a stem cell origin of cancer


cancer research Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) recently made significant strides toward settling a decades-old debate centering on the role played by stem cells in cancer development.

According to the study's findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of Nature Genetics and now available online, genes that are reversibly repressed in embryonic stem cells are over-represented among genes that are permanently silenced in cancers; this link lends support to the increasingly discussed theory that cancer is rooted in small populations of stem cells.

USC researchers uncovered this link after observing that of 177 genes repressed by Polycomb group (PcG) proteins, fully 77 showed evidence of cancer-associated enzymatic modification of DNA (known as methylation). "Finding that a Polycomb target in an embryonic stem cell is 12 times more likely to become abnormally methylated in cancer is highly significant," says Peter Laird, Ph.D., one of the lead researchers and associate professor of surgery, biochemistry and molecular biology, and director of basic research for surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

spread of cancer cellsLiverpool, UK - 8 January 2007: Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found how two molecules fight in the blood to control the spread of cancer cells.


Researchers discovered that a large protein, which forms a protective shield around cancer cells and prevents them from causing secondary tumours, is attacked by a small protein that exists in the blood.

In diseases such as breast, lung and colorectal cancer, infected cells lose growth control and eventually form tumours at these sites.  If caught early these tumours can be effectively removed surgically. However, when the cancer cells have invaded the blood, the effectiveness of surgery is reduced.

Renegade RNA: Clues To Cancer And Normal Growth

cancer researchResearchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that a tiny piece of genetic code apparently goes where no bit of it has gone before, and it gets there under its own internal code.

A report on the renegade ribonucleic acid, and the code that directs its movement, will be published Jan. 5 in Science.

MicroRNAs, already implicated in cancer and normal development, latch on to and gum up larger strands of RNA that carry instructions for making the proteins that do all the cell’s work. They are, says Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins, like "molecular rheostats that fine-tune how much protein is being made from each gene."

Parents' refusal of cancer therapy raises issues


children and parentsUnder U.S. laws, parents have wide discretionary authority in raising their children. However, when a child has cancer, and parents and cancer specialists disagree about how to treat it, a number of ethical and legal concerns come into play.

In the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Jeffrey J. Hord and colleagues explore the fallout from such decisions, made in six children over the last 30 years.

Hord, of Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron, Ohio, told Reuters Health that in these cases "standard treatment for a favorable prognosis cancer was stopped prematurely at the request of parents who wished to pursue alternative interventions such as Bible readings, chelation, dietary changes, and medications not approved in this country such as amygdalin, Laetrile."

Remotely Activated Nanoparticles Destroy Cancer

Targeted nanotech-based treatments will enter clinical trials in 2007.

Author: Kevin Bullis

The first in a new generation of nanotechnology-based cancer treatments will likely begin clinical trials in 2007, and if the promise of animal trials carries through to human trials, these treatments will transform cancer therapy. By replacing surgery and conventional chemotherapy with noninvasive treatments targeted at cancerous tumors, this nanotech approach could reduce or eliminate side effects by avoiding damage to healthy tissue. It could also make it possible to destroy tumors that are inoperable or won't respond to current treatment.

One of these new approaches places gold-coated nanoparticles, called nanoshells, inside tumors and then heats them with infrared light until the cancer cells die. Because the nanoparticles also scatter light, they could be used to image tumors as well. Mauro Ferrari, a leader in the field of nanomedicine and professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center, says this is "very exciting" technology.

Hybrid molecule causes cancer cells to self-destruct


cancer research By joining a sugar to a short-chain fatty acid compound, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a two-pronged molecular weapon that kills cancer cells in lab tests. The researchers cautioned that their double-punch molecule, described in the December issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology, has not yet been tested on animals or humans. Nevertheless, they believe it represents a promising new strategy for fighting the deadly disease.

"For a long time, cancer researchers did not pay much attention to the use of sugars in fighting cancer," said Gopalan Sampathkumar, a postdoctoral fellow in the university's Department of Biomedical Engineering and lead author of the journal article. "But we found that when the right sugar is matched with the right chemical partner, it can deliver a powerful double-whammy against cancer cells."

Nutritionist says too much milk can promote cancer


casein micelleby Jerome Douglas, NewsTarget

Drinking an excess of cow's milk can promote cancer growth, according to Dr. T. Collin Campbell, Emeritus professor from Cornell University. After 27 years of animal research, Dr. Campbell came to that rather surprising conclusion which he revealed in his book, "China Study."

Dr. Campbell wrote a book on diet and cancer in 1982 that shocked U.S. medical authorities, as he organized an epidemiological study in China seeking associations between diets and diseases. The New York Times called the study the "greatest in the world" of epidemiological studies.

In Dr. Campbell's experiments, two groups of rats were exposed to equally high doses of highly carcinogenic aflatoxin to induce cancer. The rats were then fed a diet either with 20 percent glutencasein from animals. After a certain period, cancer cells did not increase in rats on the gluten diet, while the number of cancer cells in the rats on the casein diet drastically increased. from plants, or 20 percent.

Fighting cancer costs $2.3 billion in lost time

cancer time lost (courtesy of AP)WASHINGTON - The hours spent sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms, in line for the CT scan, watching chemotherapy drip into veins: Battling cancer steals a lot of time — at least $2.3 billion worth in the first year of treatment alone.

So says the first study to try to put a price tag to the time that people spend being treated for 11 of the most common cancers.

Even more sobering than the economic toll are the tallies, by government researchers, of the sheer hours lost to cancer care: 368 hours in that first year after diagnosis with ovarian cancer; 272 hours being treated for lung cancer, 193 hours for kidney cancer.

One in three think cancer is fate

survey A third of adults in Wales believe getting cancer is down to fate and are unaware many cases could be prevented, researchers have found.

Cancer Research UK, which surveyed 4,000 people, said more than half of all cases of cancer could be prevented.

But researchers found 33% of Welsh adults thought it was down to destiny, compared with the UK average of 27%.

The charity said it was alarming many people were not aware making lifestyle changes could help reduce their risk.

New Canadian technology tracks cancer's spread


cancer researchWhen it comes to cancer, it often isn't the initial tumour that kills. It's the cancer cells that migrate and spawn new tumours. Now scientists at the Robarts Research Centre in London, Ontario, have devised a new way of following cancer cells as they spread that may help them learn how to stop them.

Researchers have long tried to understand the process of cancer spread -- called metastasis -- hoping to find a way of stopping this destructive process. They know that many of the most common cancers, including breast and lung cancer and melanoma, can metastasize to the brain and spawn new and potentially fatal tumours. In fact, it's estimated that as many as 22 to 30 per cent of breast cancer patients will have their breast tumours spread to their brain.

Now Robarts researchers have created a powerful new technology that allows them to watch for the first time how single breast cancer cells migrate from the body into the brain.

Simple cancer risk test 'two years away'


blood testA simple blood test that would predict a person's likelihood of developing different types of cancer could be in use within two years, scientists said yesterday.

Researchers have found evidence supporting the theory that mutations in stem cells, the body's basic building blocks that can change into other types of cell, are fundamental to the development of cancers.

Stem cells are kept in an immature state by proteins called the Polycomb group which suppress critical genes that would otherwise cause them to develop. When the body functions normally, it can transform stem cells into different types of cell by allowing different combinations of genes to be switched on.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the General Cancer News category from January 2007.

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