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Patented Technology Could Improve Efficacy of Monoclonal Antibodies
By HCat at 2007-02-06 10:34
 

    BioWa, Inc has a patented technology platform called Potelligent which modifies monoclonal antibodies so that they have enhanced binding to increase Antibodyterm-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). ADCC is the mechanism by which some antibodies can kill cancer cells. Once an antibody binds to a cell, Natural Killer (NK) cells and Monocytes in the immune system attack the bound cell, ultimately killing it.

    UCB biopharmaceutical company has been has been allowed to use Potelligent in order to develop new antibodies toward novel targets. The enhanced ADCC could help bring new antibodies to market that have greater efficacy while possibly lowering production costs of the treatment. Erbituxterm and Herceptin are antibodies whose efficacy is dependent on ADCC.

read more | 3377 reads

FISH-ing for links between cancer and aging
By Dross at 2007-02-06 08:27
 

Wielding a palette of chromosome paints, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have taken a step closer to understanding the relationship between aging and cancer by visualizing chromosomes of cells from patients with a heritable premature aging disease known as Werner Syndrome. In a study to be published in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers led by Jan Karlseder, Ph.D., assistant professor in Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory, showed that rebuilding structures called telomeres, which are found at the tips of each chromosome, significantly blocks the type of genetic damage seen in cells of patients with Werner Syndrome. Patients with Werner Syndrome manifest signs of aging, such as skin wrinkling, baldness, or hair graying, in their teens. Most die in their 40's or 50's due to a predisposition to diseases like cancer. "Cancer is almost always related to chromosomal instability," explains Karlseder. "If telomeres are lost on individual chromosomes, then chromosomes are not protected and can fuse with other nonprotected chromosomes. Then when cells divide, chromosomes randomly break, leading to genome instability." The current study extended work published in 2004 by Karlseder and first author Laure Crabbe, Ph.D., who was a graduate student in the Karlseder lab at the time. In that work, the team used a technique called FISH-short for fluorescent in situ hybridization-to microscopically visualize both the telomeres and chromosomal DNA from Werner Syndrome patients. They reported that some protective telomeres were actually missing on patients' chromosomes, a finding Karlseder describes as "a fairly catastrophic event for a cell." For the current study, Salk researchers grew cells from Werner Syndrome patients in tissue culture dishes and, aided by colleagues at the Institute of Human Genetics in Heidelberg, Germany, evaluated DNA damage using a highly colorful variation of the FISH technique called chromosome painting. This technique "paints" or labels every pair of the 46 chromosomes with a different colored fluorescent dye, enabling investigators to easily see breakage or fusion of chromosomes that are characteristic of damaged DNA under the microscope. Then they artificially supplied the cultured cells with one of two genes-either a functional copy of the WRN gene, which is mutant or nonfunctional in Werner Syndrome, or a gene encoding the protein telomerase, which elongates short or missing telomeres. After cells divided several times, their DNA was reexamined for the type of damage associated with both aging and cancer.

read more | 845 reads

New Study Seeks Better Outcomes for Kidney Cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-06 02:37
 

 

 

 

A new clinical trial at the Ohio State University Medical Center’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute will investigate the safety and toxicity of a new combination of drugs for treating kidney cancer.

 

The phase-I study combines high-dose interleukin-2 with the drug sorafenibterm and will enroll up to 24 patients.

read more | 2 comments | 2181 reads

Why Her-2 has not been a magic bullet in Breast Cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-05 21:00
 

The success of the ABL-kinase inhibitor Gleevec in the treatment of BCR–ABL-driven leukaemiaterm (CML) raised hopes that drugs that target key kinases underlying other cancers, such as members of the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family, might be similarly efficacious. However, several small-molecule inhibitors of HER family kinases have shown limited efficacy in HER2-driven breast cancers, despite effective inhibition of kinase activity. Writing in Nature, Sergina and colleagues now provide an explanation for this phenomenon: failure to completely inhibit the kinase activity of HER2 allows oncogenic signalling through the kinase-inactive family member HER3 to continue.

read more | 4 comments | 2133 reads

A Debate About Mandatory Cervical Vaccines and Those Who Would Benefit
By HCat at 2007-02-05 12:44
 

    One article from the Associated Press has raised a debate on who stems to benefit from mandatory cervical vaccines. It has been reported that Merck has been lobbying through the Women in Government advocacy group in order to pass state legislation requiring mandatory vaccination for girls 11-12 with their vaccine, Gardasil, that protects against certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Certain strains of HPV are associated with increased risks of cervical cancer.

    Although the spread of HPV is a public health issue, some groups maintain that mandatory vaccination violates personal rights since HPV is spread through sexual contact. The support of big pharmaceuticals for certain legislation from which they stand to benefit is unsettling, but the promise of reducing risks of cervical cancer seemingly outweighs this thought. More news and heated debate from watchdog groups is sure to follow soon.

read more | 1 comment | 2631 reads

UM/Sylvester Researchers Identify Molecular Pathway That May Help Fight Breast Cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-02 23:23
 

Miami, FL (January 25, 2007) -- Researchers at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified how an important growth control mechanism is disabled in cancers – and have successfully restored its function in the lab. The research promises to eventually help restore the effectiveness of some breast cancer drugs in cancers that have become drug-resistant.

Joyce M. Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P.(C), Director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, identified how a key growth inhibitor protein is switched off, allowing cancer to proliferate and spread. “Our work solves a big puzzle in this field that has been around for almost 10 years,” said Slingerland.

read more | 2000 reads

First Dual inhibitor of AKT and S6K to Enter Clinical Development
By HCat at 2007-02-02 10:53
 

    The compound, XL418 is an inhibitor of protein kinase B (PKB or AKT) and S6 Kinase (S6K), key components of the phosphoinosotide-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway. Activation of these kinases is a frequent event in human tumors, promoting cell growth, survival and resistance to chemotherapyterm and radiotherapy.

 

   "One of our drug development strategies is to systematically target key nodes in signaling pathways that are frequently deregulated in human tumors. An important component of this strategy is our focus on signaling downstream of PI3K," said Gisela Schwab, senior vice president at Exelixis.

read more | 4226 reads

Phase II trial of peptide vaccine in breast cancer patients through the US Military Cancer Institute's Clinical Trials Group
By HCat at 2007-02-02 10:41
 

    The immunotherapeutic vaccine, AE37, is being developed by Generex' Antigen Express division in the US. The phase II study will enroll patients who have completed standard therapy for node-positive or high-risk node-negative breast cancer expressing at least low levels of the HER-2/neu oncogene. These patients are at an increased risk for recurrence; therefore, the endpoint for this study will be a 50% reduction in the rate of relapse of disease at two years.

 

    The immunotherapeutic agent being developed by Antigen Express is a peptide derived from a tumor-associated protein that has been modified to enhance stimulation of CD4+ T helper cells. The target protein is encoded by the HER-2/neu oncogene, which has been found to be over-expressed in a variety of tumors, including breast, ovarian, prostate, lung, colon, stomach and pancreas.

read more | 3176 reads

HHMI News: Critical Stem Cell Survival Factors Found
By Dross at 2007-02-02 06:40
 

As researchers attempt to take advantage of the potential of adult stem cells in regenerative medicine, understanding the mechanisms that delimit lifespan and longevity of stem cells will be critically important. Researchers have now identified a family of proteins that contributes to the survival and regenerative potential of blood-forming stem cells. According to the researchers, their findings in hematopoietic stem cells might be relevant to stem cells in other tissues, and provide insights into potential strategies to enhance the longevity of stem cells.

 

The new knowledge, gleaned from animal studies, could help enhance the viability of blood stem cells used for bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemiaterm.

read more | 1801 reads

New biomarker test could predict outcome for bladder cancer patients
By Dross at 2007-02-01 23:58
 

A 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.

 

read more | 1391 reads

Obesity drug helps unlock clues about cancer
By Dross at 2007-02-01 23:56
 

An approved drug for fighting obesity is helping scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine uncover clues about how to stop the growth of cancerous tumors.

 

"Our discovery makes an exciting treatment target because theoretically you don't have to worry about harming nearby healthy tissue," said senior researcher Steven J. Kridel, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology.

 

In the current issue of Cancer Research, Kridel and colleagues are the first to report that a tubular network within cells, known as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is regulated by an enzyme that is tightly linked to tumor growth and development. "When the ER cannot do its job properly, there's a series of events that gets turned on that can lead to cell suicide or death," said Kridel. The research showed that an enzyme known as fatty acid synthase is vital for the ER to do its job. Blocking this enzyme, which makes fat in cells, has been shown to prevent tumor cell growth and to promote cell death. "No one had made connection before between fatty acid synthase and the function of the ER in tumor cells," said Kridel. "This is the first to show that fatty acid synthesis is important in maintaining ER function and keeping tumor cells alive."

read more | 1 comment | 1025 reads

Crist: Pay for stem cell studies, but not new embryonic research
By Dross at 2007-02-01 23:03
 

- Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida said Wednesday he will recommend that lawmakers spend state money for stem cell research, but only research that doesn't require the destruction of embryos. Crist said he would recommend spending $20 million for a grant program to pay for studies that use cells culled from adults, umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women. But he won't recommend paying for the most controversial - and many say most promising - type of research on embryonic stem cells. Crist said he stopped short of asking for state money for that because too many people - including state lawmakers - oppose destroying embryos, which is required to do the studies. Some say the frozen embryos, created outside the womb for in vitro fertilization, are human life that should be protected. Crist, a Republican, formally announced the plan after a quick tour of a Tampa brain research lab that will soon open at the University of South Florida's School of Medicine. Crist said he would support an initiative to use embryonic stem cells in research, but wants to begin with a proposal everyone can support.

read more | 1068 reads

Scientists identify pancreatic cancer stem cells
By Dross at 2007-02-01 22:30
 

 

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical Center have, for the first time, identified human pancreatic cancer stem cells. Their work indicates that these cells are likely responsible for the aggressive tumor growth, progression, and metastasistermterm that define this deadly cancer. In the February 1 issue of Cancer Research, the researchers demonstrate that only 100 of these stem cells are needed to produce human pancreatic cancer in half of mice tested.

 

They also found these cells are at least 100 times more tumorigenic than cancer cells that did not have one of three protein markers they believe to be associated with pancreatic cancer stem cells. The findings could help advance development of new therapies for this cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of only three percent -- the worst prognosis of any major cancer, said the study's lead author, Diane M. Simeone, M.D., an associate professor of surgery and molecular and integrative physiology. "The cells we isolated are quite different from 99 percent of the millions of other cells in a human pancreatic tumor, and we think that, based on some preliminary research, standard treatments like chemotherapyterm and radiation may not be touching these cells," said Simeone. "If that is why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat, a new approach might be to design a drug that specifically targets pancreatic cancer stem cells without interfering with normal stem cell function." While such a drug has not been developed, ongoing research suggests it is possible to do so, she added. The study also advances the emerging notion that stem cells may lie at the heart of some, if not all, cancers, Simeone said. That theory suggests that only cells that have the properties of "stemness" -- that is, cells that can self-renew and differentiate into other types of cells -- are the only ones capable of producing tumors. These "cancer stem cells," could derive from normal adult stem cells in organs that have mutated, or from a differentiated cell that has devolved to take on the qualities of stem cells. They are resistant to traditional therapy designed for cells that rapidly turn over because stem cells don't, according to some researchers. Thus, they remain after tumors shrink and may be responsible for cancer recurrence and metastasis. This study confirms at least one of those concepts, the researchers said. "Our study demonstrates that the very small subset of cells in a human pancreatic tumor that cause the cancer to grow and propagate have stem cell-like features," Simeone said.

read more | 1 comment | 2007 reads

Peptide vaccine fights off breast tumors with aid of bacteria-mimicking agents
By Dross at 2007-02-01 22:29
 

The following discusses a mechanism to reawaken the patient's immune system towards cancerous cells, which is the normal case in our individuals. While this study is in mice, it is important to pay attention to the researcher Esteban Celis, M.D., Ph.D, at Moffit in Tampa, and to look out for future clinical trials of the idea. You will note that he is an MD/PhD so you can bet its at the top of his agenda.

 

With the help of immune system-stimulating molecules that mimic bacterial components, researchers have used a type of cancer vaccine to both delay and prevent breast tumors in mice.

read more | 2 comments | 1618 reads

Gut research yields new anti-cancer approach
By Dross at 2007-02-01 22:28
 

 

Researchers believe they have discovered by chance a new way to fight colorectal cancer, and potentially cancers of the esophagus, liver and skin.

 

Early work shows that a group of compounds called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) inhibitors may have an unexpected cancer-fighting effect, according to research published today in the journal International Cancer Research. Furthermore, the new studies suggest that PPARgamma inhibitors act through some of the same mechanisms as the blockbuster chemotherapyterm Taxol, but with key differences. While studying whether compounds known to affect PPARgamma could play a role in inflammatory bowel diseases, a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that medium-to-high doses of PPARgamma inhibitor killed colorectal cancer cell lines. Despite the compound's class name, the anti-cancer effect has nothing to do with the ability of the compounds to inhibit PPARgamma function. Researchers believe that PPARgamma inhibitors instead attack the "skeletons" of cancer cells that enable them to reproduce, grow and spread. Better solutions are needed because, according to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer remains the no. 2 cause of cancer death for men, and the no. 3 cause of cancer death for women. "This is the first observation of a small molecule dramatically reducing levels of the proteins called tubulins, the building blocks of cancer cell skeletons," said Katherine L. Schaefer, Ph.D., a research assistant professor within the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and first author of the paper.

read more | 5 comments | 1041 reads

 
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